hello new life

I feel like I’ve stepped back in time.
This is so much fun.
I must be in the honeymoon stage.

These three statements have played over and over in my mind since we moved into our new home 10 days ago. I realize I’ve been somewhat elusive concerning our plans and destination, so I’ll start by pulling back the curtain a bit on where we are at and what we are doing. Back in 2000, my husband I and moved from the midwest where we graduated from college and settled in Redlands, California. At that time, I was starting a new elementary teaching position and Trent began a new job working for a company that makes mapping software. Even after we moved to Idaho and Trent maintained his previous position from home, he kept in contact with one of his previous co-workers and the two of them maintained their friendship through frequent phone calls and occasional visits. A few years ago, this friend purchased an RV park a few hours south of where we were living in Idaho. In April of last year, Trent’s friend offered our family the unique opportunity to live rent free in the “family suite” of his RV park.  Although Trent would be maintaining his previous work position, in exchange for the free boarding, Trent would also help oversee the upcoming transition of the RV park to a KOA campground. We prayed over this opportunity and through a series of confirmations, answered prayers and eventually peaceful hearts, we agreed to move forward in listing our house for sale. Although the timeline for the sale of our house stretched beyond what we initially expected, in the end the timing proved seamless.

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counting moments

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

The pile of packed boxes is growing. Time is thinning. I notice the shrinking days in a variety of ways. For example, all of our library books are now due “post move date.” Although there are distinct feelings of loss and sadness that have shown their faces over the last several weeks, overall I have found this last month to be one of my favorites. The opportunity to truly “count your days” is often infrequent. As a child I remember counting down to summer break, to my birthday, to a special vacation. As an adult I recall counting down the months and days to college graduation, our wedding, the birth of our children, our move to Idaho. . . While these are all celebratory in nature, many people also experience counting down after they receive news of a poor health prognosis or a foreclosure on a home or loss of a job.  Whether the reason appears positive or not, we are given a unique gift when we are able to number our days.
 

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traveling light

“Flying is a lot harder than it was before I acquired all these possessions.  The best way to travel, really, is to travel light.” ~Louie from The Trumpet of the Swan

Louie was one wise swan. I can’t think of a better way to word the way that possessions weigh you down. I’ve discovered that traveling light is often harder than it seems. Letting go and lightening the load isn’t difficult if there is no attachment. However, memories and sentiment muddle things for me. I often hold onto to things unnecessarily long. Take my childhood collection of ribbons and trophies as an example. These colorful momentos have been gathering dust in a box in our guest bedroom for over 15 years. When we prepared to list our home for sale several months back I asked myself: Do I look at them? No. Do I display them in my house? No. Do I think about them from time to time? No. Is it hard to throw them away? Yes. Do I have to throw them out? No. Will I miss them if I do? I doubt it. Continue reading “traveling light”

be not dismayed

The sky is my living room.  The woods are my parlor.  The lonely lake is my bath.  I can’t remain behind a fence all my life. ~Louie from The Trumpet of the Swan

Not long ago the seed of an idea started growing in our hearts.  The concept was simply to loosen our grip on the things that claim so much of our time, money and attention in order to open up our hands to more reaching out and our hearts to embracing things with more eternal value. As this thought pattern matured we began praying and asking God to show us how to respond.  Though many prayers and deep soul searching, a collective and consistent series of events pointed us in the direction of putting our home on the market and waiting for God to respond in His time.

And then He did. He waited and chose not to sell our house in the first few days like I anticipated. He waited and chose not to sell it to the first people who looked at our house as I expected. He waited, allowing me to stand on the water and feel the wind and temptation to take my eyes of the Savior. He waited, allowing me to sit in the wilderness for a time and choose to trust (over and over again) instead of fear.  He reminded me that He is in charge. He gets to make the calls. He alone gets to decide the timeline of my life.  I get to follow. I get to obey. I get to trust. Once again He is moving and leading and we are doing our best to step one foot further into His plan. Continue reading “be not dismayed”

snack shop

Most habits and routines in our home are intentional and planned, but the snack shop was not.  It started out as a fun hands-on one time math lesson for Hunter almost a year ago.  I gave him a dollar and a homemade menu and he purchased his snack(s) for the morning while we discussed coin values and making change. He enjoyed it more than I anticipated and requested that we repeat the routine the next day.  A weekend came and went and both of us forgot about the fun snack shop until a month or two ago when he looked at me with eyes laced with hints of nostalgia and said, “mom, can we do the snack shop again?”

As I thought about it, I realized the snack shop could be a really fun and educational routine in our home.  We began doing it almost every morning between 10:00am and 11:00am. Here is how it works: Using a container of loose change to hold my coins, I “pay” my older two kids (9 and 11) $1.00 and my younger two (3 and 5) 0.10.  The menu is written up on a small white board and changes periodically based on the availability of the items listed.  For my menu items, I stick to basic things that I almost always have on hand and foods that are quick and easy.  I have two columns of prices, one for the older kids and one for the younger kids.  I have a variety of price ranges for the older kids to allow them the opportunity to use different coin values. I often price anything sugary higher than the healthy options and limit the purchases to one.

I began by giving my younger boys ten pennies (counting them out loud) and stuck with that until they were very familiar with the routine.  Later I began giving my 5 year old his pennies two at a time so we could practice counting by twos allowing my 3 year old to listen in and learn as well.  Recently I introduced the dime to my younger two.  I give them a dime and then they trade it in for 10 pennies and then begin to make their purchases. I plan to continue with the dime concept for another month or so until I feel they really have the idea solidified in their mind that one dime is equal to ten pennies.  After that, I will give them two nickels and we will trade those in for ten pennies and then later I will give them one dime which we will trade for 2 nickels which will then be traded for 10 pennies. Continue reading “snack shop”