Things have been kinda crazy around here (but seriously, when are they ever not?) We’ve had the house under construction (again) – this time a bathroom remodel to hopefully help the house sell. Because there have been workers in my house the past week, I have been trying to stay out of the way. One day I threw Roo and Nate in the car and went for a fall drive over Guardsman pass. Here are some photos from the drive.
ON Minimalism We decided we’d put our house on the market as soon as we got home from Hawaii, around May 15th. In anticipation of that I packed the basement up – books, movies, wrapping paper, art supplies, pictures . . . all gone. We weren’t any where near ready for the market when we got home. So I continued to pack – the bedrooms, the kitchen, the bathrooms and closets. Everything was gone through, donated, thrown away, and/or packed. Even the furniture. I sold the piano. I sold the beds. I got rid of the dressers. I got rid of the table. That was in June.
Since then we’ve eaten outside on the deck or the grass on paper plates. We’ve slept on mattresses on the floor. Our individual possessions (books, toys and clothes that aren’t packed) have been stored in plastic storage bins – one per person in the family. We’ve lived with two pots and no measuring cups.
We have lived the very essence of that minimalist lifestyle that’s so en vogue right now.
And I think it’s DUMB!
The most surprising to me has been my books. Those were the first things to be packed as I figured they would be the easiest to go without. WRONG! So many times in these past months I’ve needed to reference books that I know I own, but can’t because they’re packed away in boxes at Jena’s house. Not just one or two books either. Lots – probably dozens – over the summer – have come up in conversation or interest, and yet I can’t go find them to clarify what ever thought or point I have. GRRR!
And I’ve found that after all these months without a functioning kitchen, all I want to do is make a meal. A real meal. Maybe even a cake! I want to paint a picture (I put my art supplies at the cabin, and have brought a few back because it was too much). So – I’m calling the whole minimalist movement out. It’s dumb. It doesn’t work for a real family. And if you think it’s cool, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
ON Adventures Back in August I told Roo – “when you’re at school I will clean the house. Then when I pick you up we can go do something fun.” He latched onto that idea like it was a blood oath! He wants me to take him on fun adventures. Trouble is . . . I’m busy. Gosh darnit! I’m always busy. But I’ve bit my tongue and taken him anyway a couple times. I’ll admit, the activity is always bombarded with my thoughts of my never ending to-do list, but I’m exercising self control and Carpe-ing the Diem out of this time with Nate and Roo. One day we went to the dinosaur Musuem, another day we went on a hike and fall drive. Good times.
Last winter scientists announced that they had detected and proved a theory of gravitational waves. The way they did this was by splitting a beam of light down two different tunnels about two miles long, and reflecting the light back to a sensor. When the gravitational wave hit, it bent the light on one side, delaying the light’s time back to the sensor by just the smallest fraction of a second. That delay in the light was the evidence of the gravitational wave bending the light. The big deal part is that the gravitational wave was detected within months of the calibration/experiment. Because they found evidence of the waves so quickly, scientists now believe that gravitational waves are probably more common than previously supposed.
So here’s what I thought when I read it, but I haven’t seen it addressed in any follow up articles to this discovery: If gravitational waves have the ability to slow down light as the light passes through them, doesn’t this then change all previous calculations of distance and time based solely on the speed of light? I mean, if you assume something is x distance away based on the speed of light which is constant, but that constant now has the ability to be manipulated by waves, and if those waves are common – isn’t it kinda like figuring out how far away down town is based on a car that travels 60 miles an hour, but now you find out that the car has been stuck in traffic the whole time? I mean, shouldn’t this change a lot of what we “know” in astrophysics at least as far as distance and time are concerned?
I love science, but it always makes me want to scream when someone tells me a scientific absolute.
ON House Projects
The house has been on the market a little over a month. In that time we’ve had showings once or twice a day – which is a lot. But no offers. Some of the feedback we’ve gotten a few times is that they don’t like the layout of the bathroom. So yesterday Wyatt took the house off the market and today we started another project . . . a full bathroom remodel. I was praying that it wouldn’t come to this. But . . . here we go again.
I’m trying to change some of my habits right now (let’s be honest, I have a lot of habits I want to change). One habit in particular I am using a friend as mentor/person to help me be accountable for the change. The other day I text her a small success I had. She text me back and said “It only takes 21 days to make a habit”
And in my head, my snarky side said “Oh bull.”
Maybe it takes 21 days to develop a bad habit. But at age 36 I can say I’ve never developed a good habit yet. I looked through my whole soul to see if I have any good habits, and guess what? I don’t. NOT ONE. Example: Going to church.
I’ve gone to church pretty much every single week of my entire life. Other than being out of town and out of range of a church, which happens maybe once a year, I’m at church every.single.week. And still, it’s not something I consider a habit. I still have weeks where I’m tired, overwhelmed or just plain have a bad attitude, and I don’t want to go. On those Sundays the only reason I’m there is because I willed myself to be there. But it most definitely isn’t out of thoughtless habit.
There’s lots of other things I’ve done for much longer than 21 days, and those habits have never taken either. So . . . I don’t know what to say about that other than it probably only takes 21 days to set a bad habit, but definitely not a good one.
Wyatt and I finally found a house to buy. In June we found this house in Pepperwood – it was everything a person probably wants on paper – a very nice neighborhood, a large home, a big lot, the home had been remodeled top to bottom and was in great condition. But . . . there was just something off, and I couldn’t fall in love with it even though I knew I should.
Then not long after that we were driving through a neighborhood in Draper that we looked at a couple years ago. It’s in the heart of old draper, right by the Draper Park. The lots are large and the homes are old. We talked to a few residents and I don’t know, something just clicked. I knew that was the neighborhood I wanted to live in.
The only trouble was there wasn’t a SINGLE.HOME. in the neighborhood for sale. A few days later we went back to the neighborhood and started knocking doors. We asked if anyone wanted to sell or knew of anyone that was looking to sale. We had no luck. No one we talked to had heard any rumors of anyone wanting to move. So on Sunday we went to the ward. We cornered the bishop and asked him. He didn’t have any ideas for us either.
The next week we knocked doors again, asking if there was anyone around that wanted to sell. Finally we met a lady who told us she had just done her visiting teaching last week, and her teachee had told her they might start thinking about downsizing.
She pointed us to the house on the corner. We went and knocked on that door. But no one was home. A few days later we went back and knocked again. This time a very sweet old lady answered the door. We introduced ourselves, told her what her VT had told us, and told her we were looking to buy in the neighborhood. She invited us in to talk. There wasn’t much time to talk that evening so we made an appointment to come back the next week.
And we talked some more. Eventually over the next couple days we settled on a price and selling conditions. We’ve been working on the purchase ever since. The home is nothing compared to the Pepperwood home. It’s not nearly as big, and the condition leaves a lot to be desired. The couple is very old and in frail health, so the property hasn’t been properly maintained in many years. The trim on the house is warped, rotting and falling off. The inside is . . . vintage . . . and worn. The yard is both overgrown and dead. It’s a BIG project. But we’re really excited. Both of us think in the long run it will be fantastic. But . . . we’re in for another long run.
Last summer I never even saw Anna once. In January I wrote her a letter apologizing. That’s not the type of person I want to be – one who is too busy to make time for people who matter to me. I promised her and myself that I wouldn’t fall into that again. This summer I made time! And we got together several times. It was never a big event, in fact we just hung out at her house or Aunt Linda’s.
And Andi has been asking me to come to Colorado for years, but I’ve never gone. This year when she invited me to Chris’s birthday party, I knew I needed to go, and figured it out and went.
Hanging out with both Andi and Anna made my soul fill up. Like lungs with oxygen, it was sooooo good for me, and I left their company each time feeling joyful. Friends are important. And old friends really are GOLD. There’s no pretense. There’s no being something other than what I am. And I always feel like they see the best in me. Like they remember me when I was fun and adventurous, instead of the me that’s always stressed out and annoyed. And it’s soooo good to be seen that way sometimes. I need to hang out with them more often ON the Lord
I’ve had a lot of thoughts about blessings this year as we’ve been tackling this move. Obviously my prayers have been anxious as I’ve felt such heavy needs weighing on me.
At first I felt a lot of guilt: “Heavenly Father, please bless me with more . . . while other of your children in this world go without so much.” How could I even dare to ask for more when my blessings were so grand in the first place? And how could I ask for the resources of attention from Heavenly Father when others were so desperate? Shouldn’t I instead pray “bless them?”
But then it came to me . . . my concern of asking for more, as if doing so was taking away from someone else, was a very mortal perspective. Heavenly Father is omnipotent. His resources are eternal and His ability to bless me in no way detracts from His ability to bless His other children. (And I did, and do, pray for the blessings of others in the world.)
Also, we had a regional conference on Sunday. The opening hymn was “How Firm a Foundation.”
Which, being a lifetime member of the LDS Church, is obviously one I can sing from memory. I probably haven’t popped open a hymn book for that song in 20 years. But seeing the words on the screen of the broadcast made me really pay attention to them. And the first couplet: “How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent word.”
Those words pierced my heart at that moment. How exciting and comforting to know that in this world where men’s hearts truly are failing them – when people are abandoning what is right to follow the loud voices of the world – how wonderful to know that the foundation is solid. If I can develop and resolve in my faith of Jesus Christ, that foundation will not fail me. Others who are failing are not footed in the correct foundation of the gospel. They must have had “testimonies” of family expectations, or social outlets, or cultural traditions. If their faith was footed on the foundation of the Savior and his doctrines, their faith would have never failed them.
And being given that little bit of spiritual direction from Heavenly Father was then followed up by the very last words of the song:
Mostly the words were a great comfort to me because I’ll admit, at times I’m overcome with distress for my children. I see so many friends and family members who have left the church. And the strength and welfare of my own children is constantly at the forefront of my mind. I felt very reassured by Heavenly Father that he has prepared a way and foundation for my children to have spiritual strength in this world and this time.
The funniest/best part of the weekend was when I arrived. Chris didn’t know I was coming, so I snuck in through the basement. Then I went upstairs very non-chalantly and went and sat down on the couch, next to him. Then I turned to him and said something like “How’s it going?” and he completely jumped out of his skin, and we all laughed and laughed and hugged hello. And just like that, the weekend kicked off.
It was wonderful to spend time with Andi and her family. It’s comforting to be around people from my childhood. Its good to be back in the company of people who know me well, and never hold it against me.
On Wednesday, August 25th, we finally had to accept reality and . . . go back to school. Of course, I think the kids were thrilled. They were awake and fully ready by 7 am – only having to wait the last hour and ten minutes until it was time to walk to the bus, in complete agony.
Finally we all walked to the bus and the three got on. I can’t believe another year has come!
Our theme for this school year is “Have Courage and Be Kind” At dinner we talked about our theme. First, what it means to have courage. Courage is more that simply being brave. It is more that doing something that is scary. Courage is doing the right thing, even if you are afraid of doing it. Sometimes it takes great courage to do what is right in this day, and I’m afraid it will only become more difficult to do so as time goes on. We want our kids to have the courage to stand up and be one who is always doing what is right, irregardless of what may be popular.
The second part of our theme: Be Kind – Kindness is more than simply being nice. Once can be nice with good manners and complete indifference. But kindness is a skill – an ability to see those around us, to understand their needs, and attend to those needs with gentleness. We want our kids to be kind, to help the weak, the weary and the invisible ones to have a voice, and to have a friend. We want our kids to develop the skill of seeing people, not for the surface of what is going on, but the depth of who they are and what they need. In this way they will be able serve those around them, and serve their Heavenly Father.
This back to school dinner may have been the most simple yet. With the house packed up for a move, I didn’t have supplies to do anything elaborate. I did paint a theme, and we went to the cabin for a yummy steak dinner. But I didn’t do anything much beyond that.