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Leaning in to Change

Sunset in our back yard

Sunset in our back yard

So…remember the thirty days photo project? Yep. So do I. Only, I kinda suck at remembering to share the photos I’m taking.  Oops. Sorry!

I promise I have a good excuse! June has been a whirlwind of change for us. We decided at the very end of May to put our house on the market. We have spent the last three weeks feverishly decluttering, repairing, mulching, landscaping and more. We’ve been in this home for almost ten years now, so it is very “lived in.” Even with our yearlong journey to declutter and simplify, it was simply staggering to us to look around and realize just how much crap had accumulated. We’ve had two yard sales and multiple trips to the donation center–and there is still so much more to go.

We are putting ourselves through all of this because we are CRAZY. I mean that, capital-letter C-R-A-Z-Y. I think it’s a good kind of crazy. You know, the kind where there is a method to your madness? You see, for many years we chased the American Dream as most people know it–bigger house, lots of land, lots of stuff, lots of clothes, lots of food, lots and lots and lots. And yet we found that the more we got that “dream” the less we were doing the things truly important to us. Which is what led us over the past few years to begin our journey to simplify. We were living in a chaotic world, one where the chaos monster had more control than we did. So we began to fight back, and to tackle that. I quit my job, we began small-scale decluttering. We slowed down our pace of life. Took more naps. Thought very carefully about where we spent our resources. Changed our diet to mostly whole foods. All of which added up to a much saner life. The chaos monster doesn’t rule us any longer.

But the stuff of that “dream” still does. You see, this past year God has been showing us just how much all of the stuff we’ve accumulated is costing us. Over an acre of land is a wonderful yard for kids to play in, but it takes my husband four hours every week just to keep it mowed. Never mind the weeding and other upkeep! Our home is beautiful but three floors is a LOT of work to keep clean, especially if three of the four people in the house have ADD. We have a good mortgage with good equity but a house this big is still eating up a huge chunk of our resources every month. Resources we’d much rather put towards missions, or travel with the kids, or visiting our friends and family. I am LittleMissKnowitAll and I’m still the queen of frugal, but even so, it was all too much to live the way we really want to live.

We’ve heard God loud and clear: he’s calling on us to reject what the world today tells us we need, and to live what He calls us to be. To chase a very different kind of dream. So we are downsizing, in a major way. We are selling this beautiful home and looking to find a home half it’s size–or smaller! We are also looking to move from the suburbs into a more urban environment. We may not make it all the way into the city, but we will be much, much closer. We long to live near our church and the people it serves, as well as closer to many of our dear friends who have made similar moves in the past few years. We long to cut our mortgage in half, so that we can freely live out more of our value for travel and missions with the kids. We long for a simpler lifestyle, from a small yard and a small house to maintain. None of this has been easy–most of our household doesn’t deal well with change. We are wrestling with ourselves as much as the stuff we’ve accumulated. This is not an easy process by any means.

We feel God’s presence in all of this. He has been faithful along every step of the way. You see, we have an extra challenge in this: we have to move before school starts in mid-August. JD does not do well with transitions, and the idea of moving is hard enough for him. But moving in a school year? That would be incredibly difficult for him to handle. So that means we have exactly two months from the date we listed our home to get it sold, closed and a new one bought so we can enroll the kids in their new schools. And because I feel God calling me to share with you, I’m going to share with you our specific prayer right now. I don’t usually pray this specifically–we usually ask for what God wants for us. But I feel he’s told us to be specific, and to share that with all of you. So here i go, taking a leap of faith! We are praying for:

  • an older home, preferably a craftsman style or cottage style in good shape
  • In the Ft Thomas school district
  • Three bedrooms
  • Two bathrooms
  • Small but nice back yard
  • Nice patio, deck or terrace to entertain friends on
  • Nice big front porch
  • A large dining room for my grandmother’s dining room set
  • A pantry or area to store our grocery stockpile
  • Walking or biking distance to shops, parks, restaurants and more
  • Cutting our mortgage by at least a third, in half is preferable
  • Close to our church
  • A neighborhood we can be a blessing to, and have a positive impact on
  • Kids for LittleMissSunshine and JD to play with and be good to them

I’m not asking for much, right? Actually, if you know our target price range in that section of town, you’d know it’s one of the most desirable neighborhoods around–which means finding a good house in our super-low budget is asking for a LOT. For us to get these things in the next two months will take an actual miracle. It doesn’t happen. Everyone we know shakes their head and laughs when we tell them. I know! I mean, we totally get that we are asking the impossible of God. We feel him calling us to ask, so we are asking. We will be just as blown away as anyone else when he answers our prayer.

So that’s my excuse–I’ve continued to take photos, but I’ve failed to post them. I’m sorry! I will try at the end of the month to share the highlights with you. But tell me–what are YOU doing this month? What challenges have you been tackling? What things have you been doing to enjoy the good things in life? What values have you been living out? I want to hear your stories too!

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