Time Passages …

I know it is so cliche’ … but TIME DOES FLY!  Babies become young adults in the blink of an eye.  Sometimes those baby and toddler years seem ENDLESS – the diapers, the long nights, the training, the teaching, the laughing, the wonder, the FUN!

And then, it’s over.  The kids grow up and they want to MOVE ON … and leave you … and do their own things …

And you know, I very well remember the month of my high school graduation – I COULD NOT WAIT to be done with school and move on and leave and do things on my own!!!!

May is going to be a nostalgic month for me – very emotional – and has already brought back so many memories for me.

My baby boy, who loved his Lambie, whose smile lit up a room, and whose eyes more or less TWINKLED with delight at everything …

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is now this young man:  he’s lost some of the twinkle due to the realities of life, disappointments in people, and responsibility of being in a family that can’t just give him everything he wants or needs … but he is still full of hope and has plans and is fun to talk to and can discuss anything from politics to God to personalities … and he has developed a sort of sarcastic humor that I get very well (but isn’t always appreciated by everybody, especially a certain teacher …).  I love that he is responsible and orderly and helps his Momma so much, even yet … He’s a great kid over all – not perfect – but from all we can tell, God has answered our prayers and he’s kept his heart pure and desires to do what is right.

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He will be graduating from high school on May 28th.  He has already sang in his last high school concert, and he is coming up on his last high school Field Day and last Honors assembly and then his last finals.  And then, he is done – finished with high school on May 18th – but the other grades go one week more, and then he doesn’t graduate until a Saturday after that.  And he is SO ready – Senioritis is REAL.

Just the other day Drew was graduating from Kindergarten (and Annie-Belle was very little – and Daniel and I were very young … and thinner!!)….

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And NOW our youngest girly wants to graduate from Kindergarten, too!

Mimsy will graduate on May 24th.  What a great year she has had!!

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She’s reading so well!  We were a little worried when our school switched its entire curriculum from what was familiar to us (ABeka) to something only familiar to us for older grades (Bob Jones).  It has been somewhat of a different approach to reading (now known as “literacy”!) and math … but the Bible stories and songs have been awesome – and Mims knows her phonics.  It works!  Her 2 teachers were a HUGE part of that as well, obviously.  Her main teacher is one of those Pinterest-worthy crafters who has done some really clever crafts and projects with the kids, and the other teacher has a degree in education which is paired with her compassionate heart – and it’s been a GREAT combination!

Our middle child has had a tough school year … despite this being her 3rd here in Arkansas.  I think our first year here we were full of high hopes and expectations, and then in our second year here, some of those expectations weren’t met – and hopes were dashed.  And this year has just been a struggle – academically (imagine your high school Biology teacher having his PhD in Microbiology and teaching you like he might a college class!!) and spiritually (our church’s youth group went through some changes and lost a beloved leader, but thankfully a friend’s youth leaders have taken Annie-Belle in to their ministry on Wednesday evenings) and emotionally (hormones, hormones, hormones!).

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But what I love about Annie-Belle is that despite her struggles with sadness and loneliness and anxiety is that she has TURNED TO God and COME TO her parents (mainly me) with her issues and talks to us openly and prays about situations.  While she doesn’t quite understand everything that is going on within herself and around her- and sometimes doesn’t like what we have to tell her (the reality of life and the truth of God’s Word that contradicts what the world tells teens) – she is open to listening to us and to godly teachers/counselors at school.  We have also recently turned to her wonderful pediatrician whom we have seen here the last 3 years and are getting some further help from her.  It is something that I may or may not share as time goes by … It is – of course – a very personal journey … but as I’ve been able to talk to a friend lately about teenagers these days – and teens who are trying to reconcile GOD with an enticing yet evil yet alluring yet dangerous world and its philosophies, who need support and godly counsel and good friends – even good adult friends (which seems to be more what Annie-Belle has right now than her-own-age friends).   Raising a child in this time period is not easy … I often pray for Jesus to just return and right all the wrongs (preferably before this coming presidential election!!).

I am so thankful for my momma-friends.  While most of my most-trusted friends don’t live near me, I know they are out there doing what I am doing:  their very dead-level best – with God’s help – to raise good, godly kids!  And many of my friends have raised some pretty wonderful adults at this point already (college kids and married adult children!) – and they are SUCH a huge encouragement to me that it CAN BE DONE!!  There are tears and prayers and worries and apologies along the way … but the end result of a great, life-long relationship with your kids is so worth it!

May is going to be bittersweet – but it isn’t the end … for many chapters of our family’s life, it is just the beginning!

 

 

Posted in Annie-Belle, Christian Education, Drew, Family, MiMi, school | 1 Comment

A Confession:

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It’s supposedly a Scottish proverbs that says, “Open confession is good for the soul.”

Psalm 119:26 says, “I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.” in the King James … and as I’ve studied upon that, I have found out that this means something of the same as the above proverb.  Kind of like “I have told you what I have done … and You heard me and taught me Your law.”   To that, commentator Matthew Henry adds, “While the souls of the children of this world cleave to the earth as their portion, the children of light are greatly burdened, because of the remains of carnal affections in their hearts. It is unspeakable comfort to a gracious soul, to think with what tenderness all its complaints are received by a gracious God.”

I am so thankful I have a gracious God!!  I can complain and confess and converse with Him, and as a tender Father, He hears me and continues to mold and teach me.  He is very, very patient … especially with me.

Occasionally, I just ice the cake, go over the top, and do something just really, really dumb.  You’d think I’d learn … you’d think I’d never want to feel the way it feels to feel so badly … but I continue in my willy-nilly ways and do things without really thinking (ironically, this is a classic lecture I give my 15 year old daughter at least weekly – “Think before you act!!!!”  You wonder where she got her spontaneity and inclination to do things without really regarding the consequences?!?!).

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Here is my confession:

Today I spent most of my day with a crushing weight on my chest … I was almost literally sick … and I could feel my blood pressure coursing through my entire body.  Yeh, I was THAT stupid.  Or at least I perceived myself to be!

You see, a few days ago, we got one of those tempting offers in the mail.  Innocent enough – it was from some satellite tv company (Direct TV) about how many channels you could have FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY for a really ridiculously low price.  Of course, there are clauses and limitations and whatever … and normally, I just throw that stuff away.  BUT this year, I wanted to figure out a way for my husband to watch his beloved St Louis Cardinals on TV.  Last year, this time, before baseball season, we had this huge struggle with our cable company because they dropped Fox Sports Midwest, which is THE Cardinals channel, and exchanged it for Fox Sports Southwest (the Texas Rangers channel … I mean, SERIOUSLY …. NW Arkansas is STILL Cardinals Country!!!!!).    Because we didn’t want to pay for any upgrades to our cable (and actually because of this practically canceled all TV services!!), we tried other means, but in the end, my husband ended up listening to most Cardinals games the old fashioned way:  on the radio.

THIS YEAR, I wanted him to SEE his Cardinals.  I mean, the man works 50+ hours a week to keep us going, he DESERVES this, right?!?!?!  And this offer in the mail offered the MLB (Major League Baseball) channel as part of their super, wonderful package deal.  And there were other perks … and after NOT having real TV for over a year, I just kind of wanted to do this.  My husband, being the go-along-with-the-wife-to-keep-her-happy guy that he is said OK.

Little did we know what we were getting into!   After talking to the customer service rep, the financial aspect of it all WAS true and good (even better internet service to boot) … but I found out today that the (FREE!!) installation of this service involved not just mounting a satellite dish to the house but also adding wires outside and drilling 2 holes in the walls and through to the outside vinyl siding!!   Which I authorized …. and the tech started working … when I realized WE RENT THIS HOUSE!!  It DOES NOT belong to us!!!  And I’m letting someone drill holes into it!

With a big gulp, I texted my landlady (and she works during the days so wasn’t sure I should call her).  I asked if she’d consider letting us wire the house for Direct TV … and she sent back  some message about she didn’t get my full message and she was busy at work (she’s a nurse) and that was all she said.

Of course, by this time, the satellite dish is ON THE ROOF, and the tech guy is nail-gunning new wiring to the outside of the house!!  The scenarios that went through my head for the next 5+ hours of the installation ranged from calm (“It’s really no big deal … just some wiring, a few holes in the wall, a satellite dish on the roof …”) to SHEER PANIC (What if she says NO and that she DOES NOT want any kind of satellite services done to her home!?!??!!?!  How do I explain – and what do I say and HOW do I reverse the damages??!?!?) and even more sheer panic (the landlady’s parents live DOWN THE STREET, what if they drive by and see the installer’s truck in my driveway!!?!?  WHAT will I say??!?!?  I am SO busted!!).

I couldn’t eat …. I couldn’t even enjoy the fact that I practically had the day off work because I had to be present for the entire installation.  THE LONGEST 6 hours of my life.  I couldn’t enjoy the Netflix series I’m currently watching.  My stomach hurt … my brain hurt!  WHY WHY WHY … I was too embarrassed to tell my husband what I’d done when he called to check in.

So, the installation was finished.   New TV with lots of sports programs and even faster internet service.  It was a done deal.  No turning back.   And I had to go about my evening … but still, that dread was there –  what if, what if, what if.

FINALLY, at 8:30 p.m. tonight I got the text from my landlady … and the final verdict:  SHE IS OK with having Direct TV wired for the house … In fact, she’d like us to just leave everything to include the satellite dish when we move out as it will be an “asset” to renting the house out again.  I have not felt this relieved in a very, very, very long time!!!!! 

And my husband fell asleep tonight on the couch with a pre-season baseball game on the TV.

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My reminder for the day —- and for many days ahead — is the wonderful feeling of a BURDEN LIFTED.  Today could have gone so much worse, and I could have faced some embarrassing consequences. Thankfully, I didn’t have to … BUT I was reminded not just of the wonderful feeling of release of a burden but also to “think before I act.”  And perhaps, the next time my daughter does something spontaneous that turns into a disaster, I will be much more tender and gracious towards her!

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Cars

My parents-in-law came to visit this past weekend … It isn’t an unusual event, and normally, they bring their motor home so their visits aren’t an imposition on our already crowded little 3 bedroom house.  But this time, they said they weren’t bringing the motor home, and as they drove into our driveway in their brand new 2016 sparkling red Cadillac SUV, I realized why.  My father-in-law wanted to take his latest acquisition on a road trip … and who could blame him.  It is a fancy, powerful vehicle – a lot of fun for a former state trooper who is used to fast vehicles and precision handling.

The funny thing is this … Many years ago, I loved brand new cars – how they smelled and how they looked and all the fancy things they did.  Even as a young adult, I used to take pictures of BMWs and Porsches and Mercedes when I visited Germany.  I knew their names and their model numbers … which isn’t really something anyone knew about me because – let’s face it – it isn’t the “godly, young lady” thing to like or want.  That is more for the men – the guns, the cars, the gadgets and gizmos.

I have been privileged to own 2 brand new cars … modest Saturns, made in Tennessee, built in the mid 1990s and early 2000s.  They weren’t the fanciest – but they were fancy enough for me – and I, not my husband, was the driving (no pun intended!) force of getting both those cars.  Thankfully, both of those vehicles served us very well, and I traded the first one for the second … and now, most recently, after 13 years of hard driving and adventures, we laid the second one to rest with a worn-out transmission.

I write this because I am amazed at where I am now … Another sign of my lack of interest in this material world.  While I do not begrudge my father-in-law his newest toy, I lack any interest in it.  Sure, I had a ride, and it smelled new and it had so many features of convenience that I never knew possible!  Bluetooth and self-closing trunk and push starter and heated seats and mirrors that adjust themselves …. But here’s the thing:

If you asked me if I wanted a new vehicle, I’d tell you YES, OH YES!!  How I long for a nicer vehicle … but you know which one I want?  Not the 2016 Cadillac SUV with a fancy paint job and seats that adjust themselves according to who is driving.  I want one that can accommodate my kids and their friends and their stuff – and safely get me to work, to school, to church, to run all my errands – with well-treaded tires and a motor that won’t stall out and a battery that won’t die.  Stow-and-go seating would be a bonus and dual climate control is something I’d love … but most of all, I just want a vehicle that I don’t have to worry about my kids eating their French fries in or climbing into with muddy shoes because we’ve been playing at the park … and I can stuff a bicycle into it and not worry about scuffing its fancy leather seats.  That’s my dream vehicle!

The car I’m proudest of right now already sits in my driveway anyway … It is a little 2006 Honda Civic that is licensed in my son’s name because he paid for ¾ of it by working at his part-time job.  THAT is a car to admire – It has a cute little sun roof that Miriam thinks is just the best thing ever …and just for fun, there’s a spoiler on the back … just for looks, just what a teen boy might think is “cool”.  The perfect little car for a 17 year old boy – to get him to work, to take his sisters to school, and in the fall, to his college classes.  It has some issues even yet as it was rebuilt after being bought at auction, so even though it rumbles a little louder than a fancy Cadillac, that sound is as beautiful as any humming engine on the road today.

I begrudge no one a brand new car … I’d be a hypocrite if I did because I’ve had 2 myself … but it is funny how God changes your perspective when He brings you low … when He shows you enough is enough – that having needs provided each day is something to be incredibly grateful for – that material possessions are nice (believe me, I want MORE!!!) but they are worth nothing in comparison to your life, your health, your family, your closest of friends, and best of all, eternal life!

Recently, I’ve just been so “world weary” in this political season, now because of yet another tragic world event in Belgium.  The Germans have a word that describes what I feel:  Weltschmerz = world pain.   This world contains so much evil – and yet, thankfully, we do not fear because we know WHO has the ultimate control.  But still, to be an observer of the pain, the insanity, to see our Christian values so – well – devalued … it hurts.  To just be living the daily grind – for what?  To get a new car??  To live in a fancy house??  Is that all there is?

Thankfully, in Christ, there is SO MUCH MORE.  More purpose.  That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of the luxuries of this world, as we work hard and frugally to obtain them … but there is more – so much more – ETERNITY.  Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.

Posted in Random Thoughts | 2 Comments

Room Re-Do Review

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My attempts at Pinterest pins.

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Posted in decorating, home improvement | 1 Comment

A Brighter Outlook

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Ironically, the BHG magazine that I was suckered into subscribing to for “only” $6/year arrived today.  The cover was a reflection of all the things I’d been studying on Pinterest for the last few weeks in getting prepared to transform my girls’ room.   For us, though, the deed was already done this weekend!

Our inspiration – more so Annie-Belle’s than mine – was this palette:

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Annie is my bright and cheerful child … and while I was leaning towards painting the walls a nice light gray neutral, she totally wanted TEAL/AQUA/TURQUOISE and maybe coral accents.

She chose Olympic paint’s Caruso color for the walls:

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and after some contemplation, we decided coral was too orange-y for us and went with a more raspberry/pink color for accents.

We went through 4 cans of Valspar’s Passion Pink spray paint to cover the book case and a piece of a desk:

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So, last Saturday afternoon, I prepped the room with painter’s tape, and we were ready to transform the old flat green walls.

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The paint went on shockingly BRIGHT SKY BLUE, and I think we all were just a wee bit panicked!!!!!!!  This is NOT what we’d signed up for!!

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But soon enough, the paint dried into a lovely teal-y blue color – just as the paint sample had promised.  PHEW!!

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Annie-Belle’s new bed arrived on Monday – a daybed, just as she’s wanted forever, too.

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Mimsy has made out well too as she’s finally moved out of her old crib (a hand-me-down from Missouri friends), which we had turned into kind of a daybed for her.  She inherited Annie’s old twin bed and some old bedding we had in storage that is now all new again!  :)

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If you know us or have read some of my previous DIY misadventures, you must know that I faced this project with GREAT trepidation!!  We are SO not good at home improvements.  Our budget is just too tight to call in the experts … but with this project, I don’t think there were any major tragedies!!  Hallelujah.

The girls are super excited about the outcome -and even I am embracing the very bright colors (that are usually not in my comfort zone).  Now, hopefully, they’ll just keep their room this clean!!!  :)

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Posted in Annie-Belle, decorating, home improvement, MiMi | 2 Comments

Snippets from My Haus:

First of all, to know me, read this article:

Rearview Perspective on Moving

I’ve had friends tell me that they’ve always just penciled in my address because it changed so much!  Even within the cities we’ve lived in, we’ve often had to move from one place to another.  MOVING IS IN MY BLOOD!!

And yes, there are times I envy the “natives” … but I think I’ve moved so much now that I don’t know if I’ll ever feel at home any where ever again … until Heaven!

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Ok, enough about that.  Here’s the latest from our Haus:

  1.  No, Daniel did NOT get the budget analyst job he interviewed for a few weeks ago.  And you know what?  He breathed a big sigh of RELIEF!  He’s been out of the business world – with its modern business applications – far too long to be qualified, not that he couldn’t learn … but it IS hard to teach an old dog new tricks.    There is some impending change and shuffling going on in the clinic he works in right now – and some day there may even be opportunity to move up there … For now, he says he definitely prefers to work with people rather than crunching numbers.
  2.  I am quite the opposite of my husband in that regard.  I have 4 “office days” each week now, doing all the medical billing for my organization, and I swear I’m becoming a hermit.  I sneak out of my office and slink myself to use the fax machine – only when I absolutely have to, just to avoid making small talk.  I do have an ever full candy jar in my office to entice people to visit me, so I do get interaction with those who truly make the effort to talk to me.  Selfish and weird … but that’s how I roll these days.
  3. It’s been almost 2 years since we moved into our sweet little (and expensive to rent) house … and I guess we’re staying put.   For now.  The budget is still tight, but we have decided it is more expensive to move – again.  Not until we truly know if we’re staying in this area, if we can ever buy a home again, or the landlords kick us out!  AND SO, I am considering updating things a little:

Mimsy – believe it or not – still sleeps in her crib … not as a crib with rails, but as a type of day bed.  She is getting tall, though, and soon will need a “real” bed.  We just haven’t had the money to buy one – until now.  The girls have decided to pitch in Christmas money to remodel their bedroom.  Annie-Belle is getting a full-size day bed … and Mimsy will inherit Annie’s old twin bed.  Along with those changes, the girls want to re-do their decor (which is really just a crazy mess of teen-and-kindergartner-thrown-together-into-one-room right now).  Our landlord gave us permission to paint anything when we moved in – and I finally feel like I have the fortitude to do it!

The new color scheme is:

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teal & coral (and maybe yellow?) with white furniture.  Now we have to decide what to paint the walls:  the light teal-ish color, a sunny yellow, or maybe a neutral gray??

I also want to re-do the girls’ bookcase from this:

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^^^which is what I painted a brown bookcase to when we moved in here … to this:

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and I also want to add turquoise to my dark, old living room…but I will spare you the details of that for now.  One step at a time.  I also found a website that will (hopefully) help me spruce up my old, sagging couch and love seat with poly-fill and batting.
I guess this weird warm weather here in Northwest Arkansas has given me motivation to do some Spring sprucing up!  :)

I just hope it lasts …. the warm weather & the motivation.

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Posted in decorating, every day life, home improvement, moving | 4 Comments

Half Empty or Half Full?

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It was my Saturday to work … Reluctantly, I got up (which isn’t so hard for me anymore) and got dressed (this part is harder as I long to just LOUNGE AROUND the house in my jammies or comfy clothes and not worry about my hair and make-up).  Work went by fast enough, and despite a customer who came in at 12:55 and seemed totally oblivious to us closing at 1:00 p.m., I was done with work in no time!

My plans included picking up lunch for me and Drew.  We were the only 2 at home since Daniel and the girls had gone to visit his parents.  I drove to the Chinese place we love, placed my order, and happily drove home with visions of eating my yummy lunch!!

Drew met me at the door to the house, took the food bags, and I went to kick off my shoes and get ready to settle into an afternoon at home … when Drew asked me, “Um, Mom?  Did you order any meat?”

“What?  Meat?  OF COURSE, I ordered MEAT, if you call orange chicken ‘meat’.”

But alas, while Drew’s order was perfectly fulfilled in his Styrofoam box, my box only had an unhappy pile of chow mein noodles.  AND NO MEAT.

Yeh, just my luck, right?!

And so, I had to trek all the way back to the restaurant, which at this point was overcrowded, as it is right by the university, and there are about 3 separate athletic events happening on campus today.  But I marched up to the cashier, caught her in between customers, and showed her my half-empty box and the receipt.

She showed it to the manager … and my compensation for wasting an hour of my day driving in circles and my sadness at not getting to eat my lunch right away:

A hasty “sorry” while the manager dumped a spoonful of orange chicken on my now very cold chow mein noodles.  Needless to say, since there is a survey on the receipt, I will definitely be filling it out.  I think they should have at least thrown in an egg roll for my trouble!

While I had promised to start writing less complain-y blog posts recently, I think this one is truly just stating the facts. No one can accuse me of seeing my plate half-empty …

OH WAIT.  But it really was!

 

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Posted in irony | 2 Comments

Back to Blogging Basics!

When I started my blog in October of 2008, my motive was really to share life and thoughts and ideas and recipes and little things I accomplished or cherished.  I also did product reviews, give-aways, and participated in a few mom-blog communities; and I dreamed of being THE Ordinary Hausfrau – inspired by my own German Oma, who was the ULTIMATE Hausfrau.  Of course, it helped that at the time I *was* mostly a Hausfrau (German for Housewife).  If you’ve been around for that long, you know what all transpired as time went by – some BIG transitions and LOTS of bizarre stuff and MUCH worrying and wondering what in the world God wanted us to do and learn.  And everything changed.

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So, looking back, my blog has most recently become my venting place.  Besides one friend here, I really don’t “talk” to anyone … you know, really “talk” … which is fine – but I miss the feedback (and quite honestly, occasionally the sympathy) of friends who I know and trust.  The silly thing is that taking my life to the WORLD WIDE WEB has given me the audience of sympathetic hearers (and probably lost me a few who got tired of my tragic story and outlook!!).  But lately, this has been my place to process life – and I’m thankful for every comment and prayer and reader who has encouraged me.

BUT lately, I’m tired of bearing heavy, deep thoughts.  I mean, I know I will always, always contemplate life and analyze events and people to the extreme … but I know – despite all my talk about CHOOSING JOY – that it is TIME to do it!  Even when yet another blow knocks us down.  And it will happen because doesn’t that happen to all of us in some form or other?!  (ßah, the realist in me strikes again!).  I don’t foresee that I will ever become Pollyanna (I already live with him … ummm … I mean a personality who chooses to see GOOD always – and I am thankful that my husband is like that or we’d be doomed!) … but I have decided I need to – for my own sanity – change my perspective.  While writing out our situations is therapeutic and often even amusing (to me anyway because SERIOUSLY, who else has to go through weird stuff like we have!?!), I find the negativity creeps in too much despite my attempt to recall God’s marvelous and adequate provision time & time again.

AND SO, the Ordinary Hausfrau is back!

Well, ok, I’m a working Frau … but since that can’t be changed, I will embrace it for what it is.  AND God has been working behind the scenes for me lately there as well:

Since August, I’ve been working 3 days a week at a new, remote pharmacy that our main branch opened – it is about a 15-20 minute drive from my house whereas the main office is only 7 miles away.  At Christmas, our boss announced he was transitioning out of his job, and in the meantime, he’s been preparing us and his co-owners (a pharmacist-turned pastor and his wife) to take over daily operations.  That meant financial reconsideration, and many employees were asked to cut their hours (not me because I already had reduced my hours from 40 per week to anywhere from 32 to 37 on average since the summer).  I still did some billing work for the organization, and at the end of December, the girl who did the other “half” of the billing left us.  Now I do “all” of the billing as well.

As of last week, my boss and the head pharmacist asked me if I’d like more time to do billing, and I said I thought 3 office days and 2 pharmacy days might work better for me IF they ever could manage it.  And since they are letting some of the pharmacy techs incorporate more hours again, I was released from remote pharmacy duty for all but ONE day (Mondays).  And so, I am back safely in my little office right in town 4 days a week – in close proximity to the school where my kids are and my home – with the flexibility to come and go somewhat as I need to (with the knowledge that if I don’t work, I don’t get paid, of course!).  BUT what a relief for now!!  And I really DO like medical billing, even though I am finding that Medicare is about as evil and messed up as the IRS is!!!!  :-O

Lastly, I still need an outlet to write … and in my head, I am forever processing thoughts for a book or a blog post or an essay.  I think part of my dissatisfaction with life lately is that (1) I take my ordinary life for granted too often and forget that I don’t really like it when things happen that are OUT OF THE ORDINARY … and (2) I am disillusioned by this concept of “finding your passion” and “living your dream” – what are mine and how do I get to live them out if I just believe I can and work hard to “make them happen”??!!?!?  My dreams are all way too expensive:  travel, experiences, and technology I can’t afford.  I think sometimes the WORLD gets twisted into the Christian mindset, and even good people will share quotes about how God wants us to be happy and fulfilled — which I’m not saying He wants us miserable either (unless it suits His purposes, Jonah comes to mind!).  But God’s abundant life comes from giving up yourself, and joy comes from living the Jesus-Others-You model.  It’s true.  While I don’t want to lose myself completely, as such, isn’t that what “taking up our cross” entails?!  I struggle with the balance of what that means and the exhaustion I feel when I don’t actually have time to take care of MYSELF and the resentment I sometimes feel when I think EVERYONE wants something from me.

Anyway … I have thought about it long and hard, and I do have a passion I can live out and share:  my German heritage.  It is something I want to nurture in my children – even if I can’t physically take them there, I can tell them about it.  And I’m scheming how to do that – maybe even more so via my blog (of course, I’ve had many ideas for my blog that never came to be – so don’t hold your breath!).  But maybe… just maybe … my blog will once again become a HAPPY PLACE and a flourishing place for this Ordinary Hausfrau!

Posted in blogging | 2 Comments

Little Things

Do you ever come to yourself and realize how shallow you really are (-or it that just me)??!  You finally see that the things you worry about are all such a waste of time in God’s perspective.  I’ve recently spent too many hours hashing and re-hashing our budget, worrying about how we’re going to ever get ahead and how we can afford to do this and that and the other (college, housing, etc) … and I blame Dave Ramsey entirely for the pressure to make our budget right … but I also know if God can take care of sparrows and lilies, He will take care of us.  (and hadn’t HE proved that over and over!!?)

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It might not just be the financial security I am mulling about, I look at other people our age, our former peers and neighbors and family, and I realize they started out a long time ago, making the right choices.  This is because I compare my story to others’ stories far too often – God’s path is individualized.  Granted, we too thought we were making “right” choices all along the way – and no regrets about the career path – but we could have made BETTER financial choices.   Now, of course, we can’t go back.

Today I got a text that a father of one of the 8th graders at our kids’ school had passed away from a heart attack this morning.  This happened a few months ago when a family friend – a young man of 31 – passed away suddenly as well.  Don’t those things just stop you in your tracks and make you realize what IS important?!

I spent my days hoping for a time when we’ll finally be debt free and able to do more things that I want to do (#1 on the list is GO TO GERMANY!!!) or have a reliable vehicle or live securely without having to worry about moving (but after all the moving I have done, will I ever really be able to plant roots?!!).

I think about turning 50 “in a few years” … and I think how much I haven’t accomplished.  I want to write and home-make and travel and do things with my children … but they are growing up!  Fast!  Time isn’t slowing down … but isn’t time on this earth fleeting anyway??!  What will it all matter when we get to Heaven – for ETERNITY!

I forget to think about TODAY – what I can do in the now.  While a day trip to visit a college in a near-by town with my son doesn’t sound as exciting as traveling to a foreign land with him, it was a fun day.  I am thankful for that day.

I have a decent job – for the most part, I have very little stress, and I’ve been able to position myself where I never again have to feel the pressures that I did in my last job (probably more self-inflicted, but if I didn’t accomplish things I needed to, no one would have!).  And yet, I gripe about the time away from home, away from my own pursuits instead of being thankful.

I want to push my husband to get a better paying job because he “deserves it” … and he, of course, wants to advance, but his time table and mine are so polarly opposite.  He is methodical and steady – and I am frantic and pushy!  Yes, he had a job interview yesterday … and it went OK … but he has not used modern business applications in a long, long time now and may not be suited for this job, despite all the ways it seems PERFECT financially.  If he isn’t happy there, then I have to remember it isn’t worth it.

I want my children to succeed.  This is one of my downfalls with Facebook … people’s children are out there with amazing opportunities in sports, travel, education, and outside activities (theater, art, etc) … and my kids are fairly ordinary in comparison.  They come by it naturally (hence the name of my blog – the ORDINARY Hausfrau!).  They are INCREDIBLY SPECIAL, talented, smart, and have wonderful character IN MY OPINION.  But comparatively, they haven’t done much to have great success in this world – or even in their own local environment.

And I’m not even saying success is a bad thing … It just isn’t the main thing.  And that’s what I’m forgetting sometimes.  I feel a little like we not “normal.”  And then I think about what I recently told my daughter when some of the girls in her class were teasing her about liking old fashioned TV shows and not wanting to get into the vampire/zombie shows and movies that are so prevalent now:   I told Annie-Belle that THOSE GIRLS DO NOT GET TO DEFINE WHAT IS “NORMAL”.  They do not have the authority over her to tell her what she should and shouldn’t be doing at her age.

Some days I just want to barricade our home and shelter my children from everything in this world that is enticing us – even from the good things like technology that is so beyond our means despite the fact that it is AMAZING!  I can see the appeal of home-schooling and home-steading … although with my “black” thumb and lack of knowledge – and the fact that I really am a city girl – I think I’d kill all our crops and livestock.  And I don’t know how to cook or sew very well, so we’d probably not last too long – plus I’m not sure I could find a recipe to make Oreo cookies from scratch and so I’d be doomed to go to Target “for supplies” far too often!! 😉

In the end, I am thankful today that God loves me and gently prods me along despite my coveteousness and worries and wrong perspective.  I’m thankful for my husband and kids are PERFECTLY NORMAL to me, if not to anyone else in the entire planet!  I’m thankful for friends – who are diverse in where they live and how they live and what they value – but who accept me with all my craziness.  I’m thankful for this little blog outlet to process these things out loud.

Today – I am reminding myself – yet again – to be thankful for the LITTLE THINGS and ENJOY TODAY.

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Posted in every day life, Random Thoughts | 3 Comments

Monday: A Story Continued

Last week ended in an ironic situation that left me wanting to move to Australia … I really wonder sometimes if God delights in keeping me on my toes … and He delights in making me eat my words of frustration by coming through for me after my complaining!!  He MUST have a great sense of humor!!  And as an honest testimony to HIS goodness, I need to chronicle today as well:

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So, today we took Drew to a Christian college across the border in Missouri for a college entrance interview.   It was more of an informational tour (for us), but we thought we’d check it out before we marked this particular college off the “to be considered” list.  I was actually more impressed than I thought I would be, but perhaps I was also feeling a little nostalgia for the Christian university I attended and graduated from.  This campus has about 1,500 students and is very self-contained (they have their own ZIP CODE!!) … and best of all, every student comes out DEBT FREE.  This school has some pretty impressive visitors such as Bill O’Reilly, Dr. Ben Carson, various presidents (not Obama), and coming in April, Tim Tebow.  They don’t admit just anyone, so we don’t even know if Drew will get an acceptance letter from them…. But anyway …

It was nice to take the day off with Drew and Daniel and go on a little road trip while the girls went to school.  We also stopped to have brunch with my in-laws before the interview.  During brunch, Drew to a text from the owner/manager of the Chick-Fil-A where he works and was asked if he could meet with them (husband/wife team) on Wednesday afternoon.  HOPEFULLY, this is a discussion about promotion as Drew recently completed a leadership course CFA offers, but in any case, we are optimistic that it is GOOD NEWS.  Ironically, they texted during what would be a school day, and normally, Drew would NOT have his phone on him as he has to turn it in to the school office each morning or leave it in his car.  But he was able to answer and make the appointment right away.

Later, Drew was in his college interview, from which parents are – logically – banned.  Daniel and I were hanging out in the waiting room, reading, when my phone rang.  It was the organization that Daniel works for, and he answered, anticipating the offer of over-time hours (which in and of itself is a good thing)!  HOWEVER, instead, it was the invitation to a job interview tomorrow (Tuesday) for the business side of the organization.  It was a job he really didn’t have much hope that he’d get, and I actually I facilitated sending in his application.  Again, normally, Daniel would have been at work, where he is NOT supposed to have a cell phone out.  Plus, this call came in on MY phone.  Coincidence?!  I’m not sure … but I prefer to think it was not.

For several years now, our family has been tracking how God provides for us – usually and often at the VERY LAST MINUTE.  I am of the opinion that this is God’s way of keeping me connected and dependent on Him.  When you literally have to ask for DAILY BREAD, you become very aware of your need for a gracious God.

Our family are the poster children for Dave Ramsey’s Cautionary Tale (if he had such a thing); you DO NOT want to be in our shoes!  Our situation is somewhat the consequences of our own choices – with many things beyond our control – because we were NOT prepared for “emergencies” like unemployment, a house that would not sell, moving out of state, more expenses than income for far too long, etc.

The point of my post is to ask my friends to please – again – pray for our situations mentioned above.  Whether or not God answers in the way I want to believe He is directing, I am thankful for opportunities coming – yet again – on the heels of bad news (our taxes, Dan’s vehicle which really needs to be replaced soon).   Otherwise, we have been contemplating our budget (that I’ve been tracking by the penny for over a year now – just as Dave Ramsey WOULD recommend!), and the only other way we see cutting something else out of it is to move into cheaper house (or duplex or apartment) for another year or two.   This makes me really sad because I love this house and its location – but I will admit we lived here because *I* wanted this house!!  I love its beautiful hardwood floors and the back yard and the open floor plan kitchen/dining room/living room and the fire place and all the storage I have.  Plus we are no more than 5-7 miles from any of our work places or school.   But what we save on fuel each month doesn’t justify the $250-300 that we are over-paying based on our budget that we could be applying to debt/emergency fund/vehicle fund.

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This could all be exciting … or disappointing … depending on the outcomes.  And my brain will be swirling with the possibilities.  Hopefully, if all goes well, I won’t be moving to Australia after all …

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Posted in every day life, Prayer, provision | 5 Comments