Saturday, March 31, 2012

Just waiting...

We worked and worked and worked and worked for weeks and weeks and weeks.
Now we wait.
And wait.

At any minute during the day we are ready to evacuate at the drop of a hat.
But hats aren't dropping.
So far, only one showing.

I remember now why I never wanted to sell another house I was currently living in.
Last time we did this we only had two kids.
And they weren't huge mess-makers... yet.

Daily I am reminding myself that God is doing something good in this, regardless of whether or not our home sells.
We are correcting bad habits.
We are forging new, healthier ones.

And while we wait, I still welcome you to come and have coffee with me and share life.
As long as you don't mind being kicked out.
In 15 minutes or less.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How do you decide...

Movie? TV? Music? Books? Hobbies?

What do you think about as you consider what to spend your time on? Money on? Affections on?

Do you consider a friend's opinion? Or follow the fads and popular tides? Decide purely based on your own personal interests? Do you search the Scriptures?

I ask because I am mulling things over in my mind. This weekend two movies were released at the movie theatre - October Baby and The Hunger Games. I went to one of them. I couldn't even stomach reading the reviews of the other. One movie portrays the value of life and God as Creator. The other glorifies teen killings under the guise of giving a social warning.

When I think about what the Bible says should be guiding principles in making wise, God honoring decisions, viewing them through the light of Scripture, I must be ready to deny myself any "pleasures" that would not be Christ exalting. Consider the verse from Philippians 4:8 which tells us what to think on:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

What do we think about? I, personally, think about those things which I have exposed myself to. When I have been busy with knitting or crocheting on a project, I think on how it will look when it is finished, would I do this project again, I imagine the anticipated joy of the recipient, I think about how by being made in God's likeness He has given man the ability to create and be creative. When I am reading through a book, I find myself remembering the heroism of the protagonist or drawing in my mind's eye the beauty of surroundings described or recalling a humorous or witty line. When I have been studying Scripture, I find myself speaking the very Word of God back into the lives of those around me for the Bible says that the overflow of the heart is from where the mouth speaks, from which our actions come.

So let me ask, what if we pour into our minds gratutious violence? At worst, violence comes out. At best, a desensitization of the value of life, the very life which God created and called "very good". And somewhere in the middle of those two things comes nightmares, polluted thinking, even possibly a desire for more and more graphic media. What if the movie, or book, or TV were heavily steeped in objectionable language or was overly sensual? If we are to be thinking on things that are pure, lovely, and honorable, how can I justify or approve that which God does not approve, by giving my time to it, my money, my mind?

All that to say, I am turning this over and over in my mind. I know that I have a great responsibility to guard my mind, to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. And also within that, I have a calling to raise up children who will, with God's help, be a beacon of His light to a dark and lost world. And I also don't necessarily think all violence is bad, if used to recount a historical scene it could be instructive and provide understanding, or when it is used to show good versus evil with a clear message that evil is evil and good triumphs, that is real life, something that could provoke discussion to point us to the Lord and how He works in the world.

My desire in this is not to stir the pot on a controversial topic but instead, to endeavor do a better job of understanding how to practically apply Biblical principles to my thinking. So, I really want to know, how do you decide? Movies, TV, games, hobbies... What gets in, what is cut out? Why?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Impromptu bluebonnet photos...

We visited James and Joyce today and while we were there we threw the kids into the bluebonnets for some quick photos. Please ignore the mismatched clothes and crazy sweaty kids who had been playing outside for two hours before these photos.

A new toy...

I read a blog today about dedicating yourself to taking a Sabbath rest each week. This author discussed how she does not check email, blog, get on FB, Twitter, Pintrest, or Instagram on the Sabbath. Intriguing thought, but since I am already Face-less and never have tweeted nor do I like pinning things, I wondered want Instagram was. So I checked it out. Love it! Not so much the looking at other people's stuff but the photo editing... Here are some I played with tonight... All already on my phone, just edited them in the app.

And now to live like this...

We are now live on the market, sign in our yard and everything. Now we wait for our first showing... And prepare for being ready to evacuate at any moment within 15 minutes.

We looked again at the other house today... Just to make sure before we put in our offer. When we saw it originally we had all the kids with us. I was super concerned they would break something. This afternoon Elliott and I were able to really look hard at everything. We still so love this house. We know it would be a lot of work but I think it would be wonderful for the kids to work hard and have something to show for it... A garden and farm animals... A pool... So many blessings packed into such a lovely property.

So we wait and we try to live here without looking like anyone lives here. We start back with schooling Monday and we shall see if we get an influx of daytime showings or not. We have had some lovely friends offer to let us crash with them if we get kicked out for a showing and we are thankful, very thankful to know we have great places to go!

Throughout this process so far God has taught me some good things. He has shown me my excessive stuff and taken from me the desire to shop for more of it, convicting me of my lack of stewardship in this area. He has shown us where we have lacked perseverance in diligently laboring together to do our household chores, as well as providing opportunities to improve. I am being given daily challenges to choose how to speak and I am striving, with the Lord's help, to choose kind words with a patient tone.

I am tired. I just painted my last bathroom. Tomorrow I will go to sleep like a normal person at a more normal time. For now, paint is drying and the laundry is tumbling. I decided laundry at night was the best plan as our normal laundry process would not be conducive to a 15 minute evacuation. We shall see how this goes...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How do I...

... make obeying beautiful to my children? That was one question that was asked at the NANC training that Elliott and I attended this past weekend. The last three weeks I have not be giving much attention to anything at all besides pre-packing and staging our home in hopes of a quick sale. The children have enjoyed the free time in the wonderful springtime weather. But this time of excessive unstructured time will end this week and we will need to settle back down into our little routines.

As I begin to look towards next week and getting back to "real life", I am trying to prepare myself for the possibility of a little resistance to the more stringent schedule of homeschooling. Our break this spring means we will likely school quite a bit into the summer, but that works well since the summers are so incredibly hot in Texas.

So, now I am pondering the idea... how are we making obeying beautiful to our children... and I have to admit that I am drawing a blank. And now I wonder how I could... especially heading into the coming weeks where quick obedience will be an even greater blessing as we will need to be prepared to quickly leave our home on short notice for potential showings.

What would you do, to make obedience beautiful for your children?

The final push...

We took the photos today and will be live on MLS tomorrow. Officially for sale. Wow. Tonight I have some finishing stuff and the sign will go in the yard tomorrow morning. Eek! People will hopefully want to see our home and buy it. Quickly.

Here are the photos going on line... I never got to retake that girls room one with the doll... oh well.

A closer look at my landscaping and entry.
Dining Room redo, thanks to my awesome friend for coming to the rescue again.
Office redo. Much better. :)
Kitchen finally cleaned. Bright and spacious, well at least it was for the three minutes I took the photo.
Kitchen Nook.
My cozy new living room. One of my favorite spaces now!
Master Bedroom.
Fun trick photography! Lots of staging in here. Not sure we will be using this bathroom anymore.
Sweet retreat, my bathtub.
Playground close-up.

Some more work remains, but we are near the end. Little things to keep doing but we are going to try to return to normal life in the next couple of days. As normal as life can be, that is, as people are asking you to get out of your house to come look at it! Ha!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I always forget...

... the before pictures. Sigh. I don't totally forget, I remember halfway through the project that I forgot the "before" picture. Sometimes I stop and take the "mid" picture, but most of the time I just depend on people remembering what the "before" looked like.

For two weeks I have done little else besides drink coffee, eat chocolate and prep my house for sale. I have moved out all of our craft stuff and packed anything that could be packed without taking the personality out of my home. A sweet friend who has the gift of interior design and real estate staging came and rearranged every room of my house and told me what to paint. And now, as soon as I get photos of every room, we will be officially on the market.

Here were my first attempts at photos... I will play with them a little more tomorrow, and I will remember to take the doll from her contortionist position and put her away. :) And I need to finish cleaning the grout in my living room and hall before I retake those photos.

The front of our home, lots of my favorite plants growing beautifully this spring!
First room you come to upon entering our home, the office. I had some lighting issues in this room, I will give this photo another try tomorrow.
Dining room. We now eat on the floor as there is no way we are trusting six children to eat over a carpet.
The cozy new arrangement for my living room. Love this room now!
A far back corner view of our 1/4 acre backyard. We have enjoyed many lovely days outside in this space. (Playground stays with the house.)
Our large entertaining deck. We love it, and this is where we are eating most meals. Here or on the kitchen floor during inclement weather.
Piano got a new home and the classroom was packed up and parts of it re-purposed for this home selling project. Had some lighting trouble here too... I need to try mid-day instead of late afternoon. 

The girls room or "Bedroom 2".
The boys room or "Bedroom 3"
This is our "fake" room or "Bedroom 4". No one actually lives in this room, we just staged it as a bedroom with one of our girl's beds. They have been taking turns sleeping in the extra room.

Anyway, lots more photos to take, as well as some tinkering with angles on these. We are very close to being fully ready and on the market and we hope to put our offer in on the house with property by the end of the week. We are very excited and are praying for God's will. As much as we hope all works together for us to get this new house on property so we can do a little farming, our desire is much more to be content with whatever the Lord deems for us as good.

And I better try to get to sleep... one thing about this pre-packing and staging thing has been that I have been pulling all nighters almost every night, staying up until 2am or so. Going to bed before then feels weird now. And a huge storm just blew it, it sounds like the water is coming in through the walls! Crazy!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What I am learning...

We are hoping to have our house on the market in a week and a half. I have been pre-packing for a week and will hopefully finish this weekend and early part of next week. I am learning a lot about myself in this process, and I can't say all of it is good, much of it is convicting. I don't think I will need to go inside of a Target or Hobby Lobby for at least another 5 or 6 years, and at Costco I will need to steer clear of the isles with "stuff" and head straight to the food. I wish I was kidding.

I have learned that being super organized can do one thing for you... it can cover-up the fact that you have way too much stuff because you can tuck it away so neatly no one notices it. However, when you go to move it all, everyone notices. Sigh. I have been thankful for the weather, as it has been a joy to watch my children run about in the lovely weather. Storms are predicted for the next few days, I will likely have to rely on videos to get work done. I will likely choose something historical so I won't feel so guilty about the TV time.

Today I started the day at my mom's. I am going to be storing most of our books there during this transitional time. We moved three of our regular bookshelves to her house this weekend, in preparation. So, this morning the kids played downstairs while I rearranged, moving some bookshelves of hers down into her office, then moving the couch around that was already upstairs and placing the three bookshelves we brought over. I had lugged over 9 copy boxes full of books, so they got unpacked and tucked into the bookshelves. Then we headed home for lunch. After lunch I packed more, and by the time I ran out of boxes, I had 16 more copy boxes full of books. I am glad to say that we are nearing the end of the books... in case you haven't guessed this yet, I have a lot of books. After the kids went to bed E and I moved the last three regular bookshelves to my mom's but the unloading of books will have to wait until tomorrow.

Some friends and I are also having a garage sale on Saturday. I am hoping that the predicted rain holds off, I really want to get rid of as much stuff as I can, I plan on emptying out my mom's garage, whatever doesn't sell is GONE! I have piles from my house to take over there too. I have to work really hard tomorrow to weed stuff out, anything I don't get rid of after Saturday will go straight to donation. I am thankful for E's parent's letting us borrow their truck, besides loving driving it, I am thankful not to have to take seats in and out of the Suburban to move things.

All in all, no matter what happens with regard to whether or not we get the opportunity to purchase the property which has so motivated us to sell our home as quickly as possible, I am confident that the Lord is using this time, this trial, this work, to show me areas where I could be conformed to His image. Areas which I had sadly ignored just by "organizing" them more neatly. I feel like I am holding all this "stuff" much looser now. Good things to learn. And if I know you, and you come to my garage sale, you can have anything you want from it for free. No kidding.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Working late...

... getting ready to put our house on the market. We just listed our land in New Braunfels (1 acre) and we would love for it to sell quickly. We are considering a move into the country to farm with the kids. We are praying for God's perfect will in this whole endeavor, and for contentment no matter the outcome. If you come over in the next couple weeks, you probably won't even recognize the place! :) I will put up photos once we stage the house and get it on the market...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

When plans change...

Twenty minutes ago our plans for today changed. What had looked like a fun, productive day ahead will be turned into a quiet day at home in quarantine. Two words... Stomach virus.

Thinking about conversations that may be looming as kids wake up in a few hours wondering why we aren't going birding with friends or why can't the rest of us go to the birthday party... We will get the opportunity to practice "preferring others" and "doing to others what you would have them do to you" and showing love even when that means missing out on some very much looked forward to events. But truth be told, in 10 years of having children, we have yet to ever keep a stomach virus contained so it would be silly of me to think this time would be any different.

When plans change so drastically and unexpectedly, it helps me to remember that God is sovereign and controlling even this. We know God causes all things to happen for our good that we might be conformed to Christ's image. In the morning we will have a chance to model for the inevitably disappointed children how to thank the Lord for His good will for us even when it looks different than our plans.