a lesson on contentment

On Monday, we signed on the dotted line, and our ‘For Sale’ sign was taken out of the yard.

Only, we didn’t sell it.

I’m spilling the beans today, and sharing our little story. I realize I’ve said next to nothing for fear of jinxing, compromising, and other various real estate whatnots for the past four months. In short, I had no idea what to share, until now.

I think some of you may remember this post? Last December, mum was the word. I was nervous, because we were putting a lot of things on hold, to make what we thought needed to happen, happen.

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Both options, staying or moving are great opportunities. But let me rewind:

We definitely caught the house bug. In early December, we found a neighborhood about ten minutes from our own home. A nice little development with homes that had the square footage of a king’s castle. {Over 4,000 Sq Ft, for only a few hundred more a month on our mortgage.} Their prices were ridiculously low for many reasons, but the construction is excellent quality. So the prospect of moving, and actually making an affordable leap with space, seemed like the logical thing to do. Bonus round: this new development is in a school zone {to be built in 5 years} and chartered by our own beloved Auburn University. A backup plan for a school system, where we are, may as well be the equivalent to liquid gold. It’s a sign! We not-so-jokingly said to each other. Some of our really close friends are moving out there, and will own a beautiful house very soon. We are so happy for them. At the time, it just made sense and seemed like the next logical step, to put our home on the market and try. 

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But then there were the cons. We went through the pros and cons for what felt like an eternity. We literally made lists, so I’ll spare you. From the beginning, I was torn. We are already part of a really great magnet school, and have enjoyed it this year. We couldn’t let a soon-to-be-maybe-built-five-years-from-now-backup-school affect our decision. As far as the house went, while it seemed right at the time, let’s just say I was frustrated by the fact that we would be building, only to be tearing things out that we didn’t want, and had very few choices with what we were building. Thus part of the reason for the affordable price. I have a clear idea as to what I want our ‘forever home’ to resemble. I want a huge transition like this to be really worth it, for us. I had to weigh what I was trading on. But from the beginning, I was captivated by the space and location. I was bound and determined that this could work for us. And it very well could…

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I was all about the square footage. Just give me that house, and I’ll make it work, I thought. Let me just say, I can also, on the flip side, make this same argument for right now.

In good faith, we put our house on the market with a wonderful realtor. And then the months began to creep by. Honestly, we did everything right. It’s a buyers market, so we priced it below it’s appraisal value. We kept reminding ourselves, that we’re in a good situation, where we are now. No sense to lose our heads about it, we said. We would wait.

This is hard for me to share, and it may not be such a shocker, but I’m not exactly what one might refer to as patient. Any of you who have ever tried to sell a house before, and things weren’t moving as quickly as you hoped, I think you know that feeling. When we put our first home on the market, it sold in two weeks. And it was kind of like when Aiden was born, and he was a good baby. My (oh-so-stupidly-naive) logic went to I must be a good mom. I don’t know why all of these other people complain so much. Buck up, fellow momsies. And then God laughed, and blessed me with Emerson. I think you know what happened next. Cue colicky reflux sleepless nightmare baby. Such is the same with this house selling experience. I said I wasn’t going to be impatient, but I was. I realize we weren’t even in a situation where we had to move. And the average home stays on the market much longer than ours. I just couldn’t stand the uncertainty.

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I wanted to stomp my foot and whine like my two year old. I was, as hard as this is to admit, kind of feeling sorry for myself. In a way, I secretly felt like a failure. I know. Poor pitiful me. People are starving in Africa, and I want to move from my, by any standard nice home that we love, to an even bigger one. So my kids can play with all the toys they can’t even keep up with, that one child in a third world country would be so grateful to have. Wah. How pretentious of me.

Time for a reality check, right?

In all of this, I started questioning my motives. What I found, wasn’t pretty. I had fallen back into a preconceived notion of silly expectations. I wanted it to happen, for all the wrong reasons. Some unwritten rule that my home is ‘supposed’ to be a certain size. ‘Supposed’ to look a certain way. Having a lot of square footage is wonderful. Maybe it’s relative. Maybe it isn’t everything. Maybe it just wasn’t the right timing. It felt a little forced for us.

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And then a few things happened, that on the surface were small. They were hard to put a finger on. Just sharing one of them here: they had a way of making us rethink things.

They were simple, and poignant, but consistently there. And I began to realize that maybe, just maybe, if we actually paid attention, there was a clear message there. On the surface, it’s just a house. But for anyone who has little ones counting on the choice you make, you know it’s so much more. It’s about making a decision for their future. Maybe the ‘next reasonable move’ was an amazing option, but not the right one for us.

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So about a week ago, the kids were in bed, and Jamin was sitting across from me. I was writing this entry:

This is what I love about the southern tropics of Alabama. You just never know what amazing piece of land, draped with charming moss and beautiful wildflowers…picturesquely adorned with apple red barns you’ll stumble upon next. {Yep. I kind of want an apple red barn of my own.} 

My High School English teacher was right. It’s amazing, the revelations that will come when you write. I promptly looked up from the screen, and told Jamin, “I want a barn. Whether I have to build it, or we find one…I want a little red barn.”

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….Aaaaand a horse named Artex. {Cue unabashedly inappropriate insertion of  a childhood confession, here. Name that movie!}

That little red barn is an all encompassing, symbolic statement of what we’re really waiting for. The irony of it is, that this is something Jamin and I have talked about doing, on and off for the entire 13 years we’ve been together. He smiled, and then calmly informed me that he was going ‘incognito’ to check out some land this week. As it turned out, it was already under contract, but he knew he’d wanted something like this for a very long time. He secretly made up his mind. When I asked him why he hadn’t spilled the beans, he said he could never talk me into it. I would have to make that decision for myself.

I kind of feel like this, about our home. And our marriage, too.

So, while it seems like the all american pipe dream kind of loaded fantasy, we’re totally going for it. We want to find some land and build our “forever house.” Preferably, with a barn. It won’t be an ‘easy’ route. (For the record, I don’t think making a decision to move and actually going for what you want, is ever easy, and everyone’s situation is completely different. Isn’t that the beauty of life?)

I don’t consider these last few months ‘wasted,’ as it was time we spent that made us realize what we truly want. Let me clarify, that I know our perfectly good home would eventually sell, if it was still on the market. This isn’t about sour grapes. But we’ll have to dig in, reconfigure, and reorganize to make it work. I’m happy to say our story here, and our vision for our home, isn’t over yet. I’m up for the challenge.

Maybe the ‘opportunity’ for our children isn’t in making a move that on the surface, made logical sense. Maybe, for us, it’s in staying put, and saving for what we truly want. Maybe it’s in being a little more creative, to make it work. It’s all about diving in, and I’m kind of excited. In the meantime, making fun changes to our current home while searching for just the right piece of land…certainly doesn’t hurt.

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After all is said and done, I’m left with an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. This has been a real life lesson for us on contentment, and patience, and what it may take for us to get to where we want to go. I’m thrilled that I get to experience this little adventure, with my wonderful family, no matter what the outcome. The funny part is, within 24 hours of making that decision, two amazing, definitive ‘yeses!’ happened, to completely confirm our choice. Maybe I can share more on that later, and whether I can or not, it really was all we needed.

Thanks guys, for sticking with us through this crazy roller coaster, slightly vague,  insanity ride. I had a little explaining to do. You all mean so very much to us. We can’t wait to see what it brings next…and share it with you along the way.

Have an inspired day!


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75 Responses to a lesson on contentment

  1. Erin Dolimpio says:

    Artex you’re sinking! Poor Atreyu. I heart The NeverEnding Story.

  2. I love that you figured out what you really want! It’s so easy to get caught up in a dream that isn’t really yours, and what an awakening when you figure out what you really want! Congratulations!

  3. Diane says:

    You just got a lesson in life a la Sheryl Crow “It is not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”
    How cool that you were smart enough to recognize it ~ even if it took a little meandering for it to become clear.

  4. Brooke says:

    Great post! I’m learning contentment slowly. I love your blog.

  5. paige says:

    beautiful & raw my friend.
    thanks for sharing!!!
    xoox

  6. Colleen says:

    I don’t know where to start. I love The Never Ending Story, and I still cry every time Artax dies in the swamp. I’m so with you on the contentment lessons…isn’t it funny how allowing discontent to creepy in can ultimately steal us of our true dreams? It just comes back to the fact that our best is so far from God’s best, but we so often settle for it. Thanks for being so open about your journey…can’t wait to follow the next installment. Oh, and your husband reminds me of mine. He will stay silent if he thinks it will make me happy. I’ve learned to read the signs that he isn’t sharing his true opinion and to draaaaag it out of him. Sweet fellas!

    • Colleen says:

      I just read my comment and realized that in my haste and excitement to join the conversation my grammar sounds like I’m a non-native English speaker. Good night. “Creep in,” not “creepy in.” “Rob us” not “steal us.” Goodness. I’m going to get more coffee.

  7. Brandy says:

    What an absolutely beautiful post! Our house has been on the market and I, too, have gotten antsy. I have been praying for God to realign my focus. And then I read your post….and I get it! I understand that sometimes we must first learn to be a little more content before we can have what we really want. Thanks for helping to realign my focus. Beautifully written!

  8. Lauren says:

    Maturity isn’t about age, it’s about insight and it looks like you are incredibly blessed in that department. Congratulations!

    PS – I’ve always dreamed of a red barn, too. What is it about those gorgeous structures??

  9. This is one of the most uplifting posts I’ve read in several days. Thanks for all the great reminders – that contentment will NEVER be found in wishing for more, that good things happen in time, that understanding what you really want (instead of what you think you should want) is one of the best gifts of all!

  10. amanda says:

    I’m definitely learning a thing or two about contentment while living in China! So many things here aren’t what you would consider the American Dream, but I am learning to be okay with that because that’s not what our life is about. Our life is about serving Him, and pleasing Him, and being thankful in ALL things! Little things such as not having hot water come out of your sink, only having one sink in my kitchen, only having two stove burners, having mold grow on things (including my shoes) because there is so much moisture in the air, mismatched furniture – are all things that my flesh wants to be discontent over. But that’s not what it’s about. Thankfully the father is truly patient with me and I think part of the reason I’m here is so I can learn so much more about contentment and thankfulness. Thanks for sharing this with us;)
    Love,
    Amanda in China

    • Amanda- thank you for that sobering reminder. I know I must seem so petty to you-I know you’ve read for a long time now, and that means the world to me. Your comment didn’t reflect that at all, I just know that there are real situations out there, and I get caught up in what I wrote above – people are dying, and I want a bigger house. Wah. I’m working on my heart…one day at a time, so thank you, for doing what you do. What a true light you are! I’m praying for you guys.

  11. heather steinbeck says:

    It’s funny…God has had me learn and relearn, learn and relearn this lesson over our almost 16 years of marriage together. Never did I think I’d be a pastor’s wife. We were on track to grow our income at what seems like lightening speed as he moved up and up in the corporate world. He left it after being there 10 years and we cut our income more than half with that decision, to follow after a calling that God had on us all along (and half the time we were too selfish/stupid/discontent to follow). So the secret dreams that I have had for us to move up and up into the bigger and the better are now looked at through a very different lens. Simplicity and contentment have suprisingly been very, very sweet and I don’t take for granted the little blessings now that God has been so gracious to give us along the way…and thank Him for them. My reliance on Him has grown over the years…and really, that’s what it’s all about, right? I dream of a little rolly spot of land with a pretty lake and a barn (I’d really love to convert the barn into our living quarters!!)…He knows, and He sees it, and fow now I’m good with that. I love that you guys as a couple are determining that for yourselves too–being in step and content to be patient for what you really want…those quotes you have in your post are things I’m going to write out and keep going back to when I get squirmy. :)

    • Heather-if we’re being completely honest here, Jamin knows I almost didn’t want to marry him because of his decision to be a youth minister. It can be a little rough, to say the least, at times. But I’ve got it pretty good. You are so right:

      ‘Simplicity and contentment have suprisingly been very, very sweet and I don’t take for granted the little blessings now that God has been so gracious to give us along the way…’

      You nailed it. Thank you.

  12. Jennifer T. says:

    Refreshing. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Julie says:

    I just want to let you know ”I’ve been there!” & lived to tell about it. I can tell we have a lot in common. For one, we both can write endlessly about decorating & our homes without running out of things to say. People like us are usually way too picky to be able to be fully satisfied unless we choose every detail of our homes from the bottom up. That’s pretty much why we decided to build as well. We had planned to be in our previous house around 4 years. We ended up living there 9, the last 4 of which I learned A LOT of lessons on patience. I’ll spare you all the long details, but we bought land 3 times before finally building where we are now. The Lord simply told me ,”wait.” over & over again during that time. The good news is, we were forced to wait so long, we were able to save more money, make money on each turn of land, plus get the land we’re on now for a price only God could’ve worked out. And the house we have now is far bigger & better than we could’ve had if we had built on our time schedule. I wish I could say I trusted Him all along & knew it would all work out, but in reality, there were a lot of pity parties & tears. And like you, my previous house was even better than many people have now. Looking back on it, I’m so ashamed of my impatience. And so thankful for His patience with me. Just like so many other times in my life, I realize again that His plan is always what I would choose if I knew all the facts. I’m happy for you. I’ve seen this situation before. And I think God has some big blessings in store for you. And I pray He’ll give you the patience & contentment to hold out for them. Good for you! Can’t wait to see how it all turns out :)

  14. NMaret says:

    Dear Ashley and Jamin,

    I have been reading your blog for nearly a year. It’s been a rollercoaster year for me, and when I have been in my most doubtful you have posted a Wonderful and REAL story that relates to my situation. (Throwing cheerios…)

    Today as well as the other times you nailed it. I thank you. Being parents, living life with dignity and contentment is NOT an easy journey. Thank you (again) for sharing yours.

  15. Love your story because it reiterates what I believe. I’ve had times in my life when something wouldn’t work out no matter how hard I tried and, because of it not happening, something better came along as a result. I think your home not selling was to give you time to come to the realization that it wasn’t a perfect fit for you. I think now that you are clear and the wishy-washy has subsided, you will get your red barn!

  16. Sarah says:

    We’re in the process of looking for a home to buy and I THINK we found a good one, but I’ve been nervous. It’s a great house, a nice lot size, decent location, but I still find myself dreaming of an older styled home with wrap around porches, original hardwood floors, detached garages, and in a location closer to friends. But then I think, all those things are not within our limited budget, and all those things include major renovations if they are anywhere close to our budget, and I cannot imagine being able to do them in the short time we have left before we start having children.
    It’s a tough call, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one struggling to make the best decision. :)

  17. Yarnista says:

    Well said, Ashley. And I’m totally with you on a barn.

  18. I love that you have found peace and confidence in your decisions :) Its inspiring to hear a story of bucking the dreams of others for your own. I know our friends and family question us all of the time and we find ourselves defending our choices. It can be maddening. The decision to continue to rent, for me to remain home, for hubby to not seek that big promotion have all lead to a family first life style. We know we are choosing the correct path for our family and the success of my girls is all the proof I need. Thank you for reminding us all to stick with our dreams!

  19. Emelyn says:

    Thanks for this post. I needed to hear it because I’ve been wanting to move to a different house. And I’m finding that my motives may not be the best ones for our family. I have gone over and over a pros and cons list and then something really big happened to our family which forced me to halt all my lists and be content with where we’re at. So, I appreciate so much your honesty because a lot of your sentiments were and are mine. Good luck with the red barn and I so know which movie you are talking about.. The Never Ending Story, right?? White horse and Atreyu (spelling?)

  20. Paula says:

    Great post and great life lesson! Thanks,
    Paula

  21. Linda says:

    Oh how I love your posts! Thank you for being so “real” and so easy to relate to! My husband and I have moved and lived in 5 different states over the course of our marriage and I can definitely relate to that feeling of making the right or wrong move. Good for you for realizing exactly what you want! Your children are very lucky to have you and Jamin as parents and I wish you the best in finding the home and space that you are looking for.

  22. Jesyka says:

    My husband and I reached a similar conclusion over the past year, albiet with much smaller numbers in the square foot-age department. We felt so much pressure to be in a house and have 3 bedrooms to have a “proper” home for our young and growing family. The economy crushed our first plan for owning a house, and now we are years away (although we have a new plan! :D). We were approved to rent a 3 bedroom home, but through a fluke with our apartment manager, we discovered we were still stuck in our lease for our apartment. We were distraught, but 6 months later my husband got a new job which is two blocks from our apartment! (This is a really big deal in Los Angeles). Which means he can walk to work and come home for lunch! We decided just to stay in our ~1000 square foot apartment until we have a down payment for a house, and enjoy living walking and strolling distance to pretty much everything before we are doomed to having to get in a car to go anywhere… We will have another baby here, and I will make it work. I begun to really enjoy the “curated” life–one in which you maintain a very tight and neatly organized home that can meet everyone’s needs, and you think very critically about the things your bring into your home. We need to remember what we really want for our families, not what outside pressures are making us think we should want, right?! :)
    Also, I just wrote a post called “why make your rental a home” and I used two of the same posters you did in this post! But I haven’t seen the “small homes grow tight families” — love that! :D

  23. Beth says:

    This is a wonderful post!! Thank you so much. Are you able to source the Hazrat Inayat Khan art print? I am interested in purchasing that identical one and cannot find it on the internet. God bless!

  24. Karen says:

    We moved into a 4000 square foot home a couple of years ago, and while it is nice it would really be fine if we lost 1000 of it, really we don’t even use it. You think that if you have lots of space your kids won’t constantly be climbing all over you, but I can guarantee they are always within 10 ft of me. Also it takes an annoyingly long time to clean my floors.

  25. Erica says:

    Oh, doesn’t it feel good when you realize God has bigger and better plans for you? That peace will carry you through the ‘not so good’ times that it will take you to get where He wants you. Why are we afraid of asking Him for BIG things instead of what we think we ‘deserve’. If we don’t ask we will never know if it is from Him. Just like you want the best for you kids, He wants the best for you…a thousand fold!!! Can’t wait to see that Little Red Barn.

  26. I don’t even “really” know you, and yet, I feel so proud of you and happy for you over this decision. I was broken-hearted when you posted that you were putting your home up for sale. Silly of me, I know, but it just seemed so full of love and joy and happy family stuff that I couldn’t imagine you leaving there. How blessed you are to live in such a way that you are tuned in to the important and meaningful things of life and also that you can respond to what you know is real and good for you and your family. God can surely surprise us. May He continue to bless you with this sweet and special kind of leading.

  27. Katie says:

    As soon as I started reading this post, I knew I was going to comment, and I’m not a big commentor! ;) It was encouraging to read, and man, my husband and I are going through something similar. We’re in an apartment, and when our lease was up in January, we put on offers on 3 houses, like “we are getting OUTTA here!!”. And then all 3 houses had super random circumstances where offers went in 5 minutes before ours, the homeowner decided they didn’t want to sell, etc. and we started to sense that maybe we weren’t supposed to buy a house right now. God knows how badly we both want to get out of the apartment, and it’s a similar thing to you guys: looking in good neighborhoods with good schools (for our non-existent future kids ;), but deep in both our hearts we want land so bad. And when we sensed that the Lord was keeping us in the apartment, and we committed to stay for another year, literally all the anxiety of house-hunting–”where do we want to live?!?” stress was gone. It was kind of nuts. And these last few days I’ve been thinking so much about our dream of having land and possibly fostering a bunch of kids, and we wouldn’t be in the right spot to do all that if we’d forced buying a house that wasn’t really what we wanted. So, heavens. This is the longest comment ever. All that rambling to say, I’m glad you wrote this, and we’re rowing in the same “learning to be content” boat! :)

  28. Cheryl Curtis says:

    I am sitting here truly amazed. I almost feel like your words were meant just for me! Thank you for sharing your story. I am encouraged and feel like this is God’s confirmation for me today.
    <3

  29. Sandra says:

    I went from a small home to a 4,000 square foot home..it has it’s pros and cons.

  30. Debbie says:

    Thanks for sharing this Ashley, what a great reminder :)

  31. Jennifer Savage says:

    Love that you shared this & love all of the comments! Cliche’, I know, but there is such a peaceful contentment when we finally “let go & let God”. P.S. pinned most of the quotes (c/o Handmade Home blog):)

  32. Dorothy says:

    Good for you, Ashley! I’m happy for you making a decision that seems so right. And you gave us that little tease at the end to keep us on edge!

  33. My husband and I have done the exact same thing twice before getting where we are now. Years ago before kids, we pulled out of an offer on a house that sounded right but didn’t feel right, Fast forward a year and we built a house that felt right directly across the street which sold in a seller’s market before we moved across the country.

    Then two years ago we again put an offer on building a house on a wooded lot off a main highway that didn’t even have a road yet. And again, afterwards it didn’t FEEL right. So we pulled the offer.

    And within 2 months we drive past a lot on a sloping hill of old farmland and we both KNEW. This was ours. And the builder that came with that lot happened to build in the exact style I love (craftsman) so no building and then renovating needed.

    You are so right to listen to your gut. To listen to those whispers. When you look back on it, it will all make sense.

    Love the idea of a little red barn. :)

  34. Oh, do I ever understand! I’m in the exact same place myself! Move or stay? I want the large dream home but can’t decide where it should be- city or country? Too funny. I want my son to grow up with lots of friends but also lots of room. :) Love your signs. I have to find contentment in today! :)

  35. Your post brought tears to my eyes!

    Acceptance.

    It’s about acceptance.

    I’ve been fighting and fighting and fighting against my circumstances as well. Mind you, compared to most in the world, none of my problems are problems.

    Finally, I’ve started to realize that it’s all about acceptance. Accepting where you are right now. Today.

    Doesn’t mean you can’t plan for tomorrow, but so much better to do from a place of acceptance and satisfaction with today.

    And, I don’t know what size your house is now, but, for what it’s worth, I’ve realized that larger doesn’t equal more efficient. My old smaller house – close to half the size, used space much more efficiently, and I actually had more storage in the smaller house (not factoring in the basement…no basement in the old house).

    So, if you’re planning to build your own forever house, you’ll be able to factor in your own specific storage needs, which will be great!

    Thanks for a beautiful post!

  36. Isn’t it great to be able to step back now and see clearly and discover new growth and contentment? We built our forever house….and then God had other ideas and my husband went back to school and became a minister….and haven’t owned our own home since. I’ve had to learn contentment….and to make the most of each home….and that hasn’t always been easy. I’d think of Paul in the New Testament, but I should have had a print with Teddy’s quote – it’s a great one. One has little thing. You are incredibly blessed to even be able to entertain building your forever home as the wife of a pastor. So very happy for you.

  37. Michelle says:

    Poor Artex…I was seriously traumatized by the loss of him!!! I had nightmares about the scene for a loooong time. No. Joke. Thanks you for sharing on your house. We put our house up for sale on Monday, and I bawled. Our neighbors brought in their Mom, she loved it. I bawled again that our “baby” would be in good hands as we really liked the buyer. They said an offer was coming. No offer. I bawled. I’m so silly, all will work out and all is well. I’ve always loved that quote by Marjorie Hinckley, and this post is a well timed reminder. Thank you!

  38. Amy says:

    Good for you. Clearly this post spoke to people!

    My husband and I and our 3 kiddos are *still* living in our first home, the home we brought a 2 year old and an 8 month old home to 10 years ago. I would never have guessed that we would still be here at this point. It is a wonderful house, and with it came many of the best neighbors on the planet (literally some of our dearest friends live next door). HOWEVER, I have been inwardly moaning (and sometimes outwardly moaning) about my desire for more space. It’s not a tiny home, just average, I would say) for a few years. Living in Orange County, CA, has not helped, either — it is literally the land of “bigger is better”.

    Here’s the thing: I go through seasons where I love having a smaller home. It’s cozy, it’s not a huge amount of maintenance/cleaning, and in 10 years I have really gotten the spaces where I want them and “grown into” the house. I don’t want a 4000-sq-footer, I just want a bit more than I have now. When my husband left a very lucrative career to start his own business, I knew that we would be waiting a bit longer to move. After 3 years at what he is doing, we are blessed that things are going along swimmingly — just not to the point where we can move. In the midst of this, I have been able to be a stay-at-home mom all along, and I haven’t had to worry about money. I know that I am blessed in this. I really do.

    Anyway, your words today are just another flashing red light reminding me that I need to trust God’s timing instead of my own. Clearly, He can see the whole picture and I can’t. Thanks for the reminder today!

  39. amelia says:

    LOVE this post! Jamin is a youth minister? Awesome! We need more people in the world like you two :)
    Small Homes Grow Tight Families ;) Less is more!

  40. oh, i so totally ‘get’ the decision making based on the little ones future…

    we’re there.

    in a few short months it will be time to move on from our temporary home (we moved in knowing we’d be moving out by a certain date).

    trouble is, we don’t have a permanent plan to base our next move.

    options are many – almost overwhelmingly so, and difficult to plod ahead with so much uncertainty to make the effort to choose.

    blessings to you. :)

  41. Shaunna says:

    Very well said and beautifully written, friend. Love your heart in this–and I have no doubt you’ll be incredibly blessed for it.
    :-)
    shaunna

  42. Debbi in Texas says:

    You are right to follow your instincts; if it doesn’t feel right then just wait. There is no reason to hurry. My husband and I have been going through the same thing this past year as empty nesters. We do have the barn, but now we want the lake and we found it. If it’s meant to be then it will happen. We are making an offer this week after 8 months of pros and cons. The property has not sold yet; a sign? We will be okay to stay here and we can dig our own lake if need be although we need a tad more house and this one will require major updating. Make a list of “wants” and stick to that list. You will find your paradise but don’t hurry. Good luck.

  43. Jami Nato says:

    feels good to get it all out there doesn’t it? :)

  44. This post definately brings back some past and not so distant memories! When we put our farm on the market about 5 years ago, we were moving from the country into a better school district for our children (namely my oldest, who has dyslexia). It took a year and a half to sell…but it had God all over it when it did. The same week we got a contract on our home, a builder lost a home to a bank because it had not sold. In the end, the builder got to finish the house in order to “clear his debt” to the bank, the bank didn’t have to hang onto this home and try to sell it and we got a killer deal on a home that would have been WAY more than we could afford. Now, if life were not complicated, this story would end here but in our nice fine home, in a neighborhood full of other nice fine homes, we have had a terrible experience with bullies that live behind us. For a long time, I questioned whether we made a mistake moving into this house from the country as all three of my kids hate living in a neighborhood, as do my husband and I. I struggled for a long time as to whether it was a mistake to move into a subdivision but it got us into a great school district and we’ve made some wonderful friends so I think this is just a little detour that we were supposed to be on to point us in the right direction. …and sometimes your plans are not just your plans…they intertwine with Gods will for others we may affect too. We now have our house up for sale and we are looking at buying land and building again….building our forever home….but the difference is, that we know where we want to be…and it’s near where we are now. In the school district that has been helpful with my son’s struggles in school…just somewhere where the kids can catch frogs, lizards and snakes and enjoy the nature that God created and that most kids miss out on. My kids were lucky enough to have it for quite some time and lucky enough to appreciate and miss it and know what’s out there. Sometimes our plans don’t go the way we think they should….but if they always did, we’d miss so many other opportunities that God has lined up for us. I hope you are able to find a perfect piece of land. You should read “Last child in the woods” by Richard Louv….that will seal the deal on moving out. Good luck and thanks for sharing your story.

  45. Holy crap….now that I hit publish, I apparently wrote a book on your comments! ;)

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  53. Lesley says:

    Artex, the Neverending Story (My favorite!)

    Thanks for this entry. I’ve read it over and over and it’s all so true for me right now. Living more simply and making the absolute best of what I already have is a goal of mine. PS…I want the red barn too!

  54. Melissa Vines says:

    This post really hit home with me. My husband and I took our house of the market this fall after listing it for 3 months and showing it 50 times…I thought I was going to loose my mind! We had already bought a lot in a beautiful neighborhood with houses that are twice the size of our little house. Our reason for moving was the great interest rates affording us to build a larger house but as I started thinking about it more and more I realized I don’t want 5 bedrooms…I don’t want 3 different living spaces and another house with no old trees or the character I crave. So we decided to sell our lot and like you be content with what we have and wait for what we really want. :)

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  57. April says:

    Oh my word… I just discovered your blog and reading this entry is like my little ” sign”. I needed this for so many reasons:) Thanks for doing what you are doing.. so excited to see what is next for you and your sweet family!

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