I guess I'll start with Nutritionally, since that one came first.
A while back my cousin asked me to paint a picture of her boyfriend's plane for his birthday. I didn't get it done in time, but we saved it for a Christmas present.
So she kept asking me how much I wanted to charge for it. I really don't know. Since she's a health nut, and has a bachelor's degree in Health and Exercise Science, I asked her to to put together a meal plan for me. She asked me all sorts of questions about my normal eating habits, what I crave, what I don't like... and put together a nutritional plan that now lives on my fridge. I lost 2-3 lbs the first week! I'm just finishing up week two. This week I haven't done so well on following it. For a few reasons. 1) I started it without going grocery shopping, so I ran out of food a while into it. I made do for a bit, but really needed more groceries! 2) I got lazy with the self discipline. Although I have been eating WAY better than I was before, I still didn't follow the plan as well as I did the first week. 3) I'm blaming the husband for hounding me for cookies! He says "Just because you have to suffer doesn't mean we do!" Which is true... I've been making myself my own little meals if I "can't" eat what they're having. But I just can't say no to cookies (Or more specifically, cookie dough!). And last but not least, 4) Stress. I've had some major stressors over the past week. Which, overall turned out to work to my advantage... but not nutritionally. We'll get to that.
Okay, on to the next part of the journey.
Some Back Story: My husband and two daughters and four dogs live in a small 2 bedroom ranch on one perfectly square acre. For the longest time it has felt too small. We purchased this house with the idea that it would be our starter home. Well, we've been married 10 years, lived here for 7, and since added two children. Sounds like we're past the "starting" point to me. We've talked about moving out almost since we moved in. Not that we were in a hurry, but we just knew that we didn't plan to live here forever. We found a house that we LOVE. On 40+ acres! My husband is a hunter, and just an outdoors guy. We'd LOVE a big piece of land like that. That house isn't overly excessive. Three bedroom, two bathroom. Large garage for my husband to set up his furniture making shop. Perfect for us. Less than 2 miles from my mom and family. Did I mention it's perfect?
We've talked about buying that house for close to three years. It's been for sale for 5. We knew a girl who was renting it for a while, so we went and took a tour. And we just kept thinking "If it can just stay on the market just a little bit longer... just a little longer..." But we're caught up in American Consumerism and we create more debt just as quickly as we pay it off. Honestly, it's ridiculous and it's stopping. But that part comes later. Anyway. Back to the house. We've dreamed of this house. Literally. My husband has had real dreams that we've won the lottery and the first thing we did was buy that house. We had plans upon plans for that house. How we were going to live in the upstairs bedrooms, and the girls would share the 2nd upstairs bedroom, and the downstairs bedroom would be the "playroom" or daycare room if I kept doing that after we moved. How we could put a doorway in right from the "office" area (kind of a small balcony area at the top of the stairs) that would open right to the upstairs of the garage, which we were going to turn into our master suite. We knew where we'd build the dog kennel outside, and where we'd put the Christmas tree. I started picking out new dishes based on what would look nice in that kitchen!!! Part of me started on the minimalist journey thinking that I needed to cut down on stuff for when we moved. I didn't want to move junk. I've walked around my house and made lists of the things we need to do before we put our house on the market to make it more valuable, so we could buy THAT HOUSE!
We talked a few times about maybe doing a rent-to-own. Maybe the seller would consider it since it had been on the market so long. But we'd still have to sell this first. We toyed with the idea a few times, and eventually my husband said I might as well at least call the Realtor (a friend/distant relative of ours) and see if he'd do rent to own. So last Thursday I called her.
The home is under contract.
Do you hear the deadness in my voice as I say that? Oh, it hurt! But in some ways, not as much as I had thought. But really, it was a sad moment for me. We had so many dreams and plans for that house. I mean, of course we always knew that it was possible, even likely, that someone could buy the house before we could afford it. But boy didn't it take the wind out of my sails!
Well, that sent me on a new quest. At first it was just browsing for fun. Until I found another house. A beautiful, SIX bedroom house (really 4 bedroom plus a 2 bedroom apartment), on 17 acres (nothing to sneeze at). In a great school district. Not that much farther for DH to drive to work. A great location that is out of town, in the middle of nowhere, but at the same time, only 4 minutes from the small town, and 15 minutes from what we actually call "town" around here. Well. That sent me into a frenzy. We NEEDED this house and we NEEDED it NOW. We weren't going to miss out on another PERFECT house. I can't even describe how much it completely consumed me for two days. We'd missed out on the other one because of our foolishness and we were going to find a way, any way, to get that house before someone else. My husband really liked it too. Although I don't think he really realized how completely it obsessed me. My mind was racing so much and so overwhelmed that I couldn't even think straight for a while to start doing whatever it was that I needed to do to make it happen. I was going through our bills in my head thinking of what we could cut to make more $$ available for the mortgage on a house that big. I was thinking of what we could sell to help pay down our debt. I was trying to think of what loans we could consolidate where to make less payments. What we needed to do to sell the house THIS SUMMER.
I've really been trying to listen to God and what His plans are for me. I think that's why the "loss" of the first house didn't hit me quite as much as I'd have expected. I prayed that if it was His will for us to have this house, then he would make it happen. God is bigger than our debt (which is quite small on the grand scale of things). He is bigger than this house. And He could make it happen if it was supposed to happen.
And I can tell you the exact spot I was standing in my kitchen when He spoke to me. I was in front of the pantry. And God said to me "Do you want to live in that big, fancy house and be stressed out every single day about money? Or do you want to live fairly financially comfortably in this house?"
And that was it.
From that moment on I've been completely at peace about living in this house. No hesitation whatsoever. I feel perfectly content about staying here indefinitely.
For those that don't know or remember, I run a small daycare out of my home. I had two full time kids (siblings) and three preschoolers that come a few mornings a week. The two full timers made up 2/3 of my weekly income. And the preschoolers the other 1/3. On Sunday I found out that the full timers' mom lost her job and they wouldn't be coming anymore effective immediately. Yes, I require a two week notice, paid. But am I ever going to see it? No. Probably not. A young, single mom who is now unemployed. Where is she just going to come up with two week's worth of daycare fees for two children with no job. She's not. I won't take the kids back again without getting the money. But I can't hold a grudge against her either. I just can't.
So... Enter STRESS! Again. This is one day after I finally calmed down about the house. This time I harnessed the stress energy. That night I immediately got up and did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. I started having big plans for the kitchen. But it was 8pm, and I knew I didn't want to be up all night tearing the kitchen apart. So Monday THIS is what I did:
|My cookbooks! (I LOVE COOKBOOKS)|
|Keep in mind... The kitchen was also a mess again when I started. I should have cleaned it before tearing it apart more, but I didn't.|
|Top of the fridge.|
|No longer taking up counter space!|
|Took some of these with my phone, so they're darker.|
|Look at my clear counter!!!|
And there is my kitchen transformation! And it gets even better.
The matching dishes you see in all the pictures. I have at least 20 pieces. Some of them I use daily. Some of them I NEVER use. I just sold the ENTIRE set on Facebook for $250! I'll be able to replace the things I use with probably half the money, and the rest can go toward groceries, or debt or whatever! AND it will all take up less space!
|Just a sampling of SOME of the dishes I have.|
And yesterday I sold my guitar. It's been sitting in my closet for over 10 years. I've had it probably 16 years or so. I don't play. Even when I did play I wasn't good at it. But I couldn't bear to let it go... until now. I wish I'd gotten more for it. But I got more than it was worth sitting in my closet. Bittersweet. But needed to be done. And hopefully it will eventually find a home with someone who loves it.
Oh, and speaking of which... one more bit of kitchen transformation. I painted this picture in High School.
It's been hanging in my kitchen since we bought this house. I fell in love with Magnolias when I painted this. Which is why I eventually bought all the magnolia dishes. And then I got the painting back from the high school after that, so I was excited to put it in the kitchen when we bought the house. Well... since I'm ready to move on from the magnolia theme, I'm going to give the painting away as well. A friend of mine is IN LOVE with the painting and reminds me every time she comes over that she has a nice empty wall space that's kind of naked. (I'm not a naked wall kind of person, but this is 4'x4' roughly.) My husband hates this painting. Calls it the "blue corn". I've been hesitant to let it go because I do love it. But since I have someone who I know loves and appreciates it, I feel much better about letting it go. I'm not even charging for it. I'm just giving it to her, because it means a lot to me that she appreciates it.
So... now I'm just trying to harness more stress energy, without grabbing the stress along with it, so that I can do THAT to the rest of the house.
As for income... I'm going to start working at my uncle's restaurant a couple of nights and Saturdays so that hopefully I can just keep the preschool going, and not do the full day daycare anymore. I have a few more spots open for just preschoolers, so it would be nice if I could fill those up too. But I'm not going to stress about it. God is in control. He hasn't left me in the cold or starving yet, and I don't anticipate that He will. I'm going to pray and listen and go about my business in the meantime.