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The Things We Miss Game

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We were laying in bed the other night, waiting for the kids to go to sleep (which is much later than usual due to living in a tent that is not dark until sunset). We somehow started listing the things that we miss. Almost all of them, thankfully, are things that we will have again, but we miss them nonetheless…..

I miss having a living room. (me)
I miss having a shop. (husband)
I miss fresh food from the garden. (husband)
I miss popsicles on the porch. (me)
I miss having a porch to have popsicles on. (husband)
I miss having a swimming pool. (husband)
I miss staying up after the kids go to bed and spending time together. (me)
I miss having dinner at a table. (me)
I miss our church and small group. (husand)
I miss our friends and having people to talk to about life. (husband)
I miss MOPS and my fellow mom friends. (me)
I miss having time away from the kids. (me)
I miss home-cooked meals. (husband)
I miss washing machines. (me)
I miss having more than one room for the kids to play in. (me)

This was where our list ended and we rolled over and went to sleep. It felt good to voice our ‘misses’ and it also felt good to realize that there are not any that we cannot replace with time. In time, we will look back at this list and realize that we have all of these things again and much, much more. Our lives are much harder now, there are so many more decisions to make, but our days are so much richer, so much more full. We are growing as people, as parents, and as a couple, in ways that we never imagined. Some of the growth (okay, most) is painful, but it is good stuff. Do you ever find yourself missing things? Look at your list- Is it full of things that you can have again, or things you didn’t really need in the first place? I am full of thanks today- I am thankful for family, I am thankful for God, I am thankful for my husband and kids, I am thankful for everyone that has been on this journey with us in body and in Spirit. I hope the next time we play the ‘I Miss Game’, our list will be much, much shorter….

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It Has Begun!

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We have had so many setbacks this summer that we were seriously starting to doubt our sanity. Who brings two kids to a rural property in northern Minnesota to camp while building a house? After wasting a month trying to find a contractor to pour the foundation, we gave up and decided to do the slab ourselves. The slab was far from our first choice but it was our only feasible choice on our budget and with our heavy clay soil. Once we finally decided to do it ourselves the rain came….and came….and came. There was no way we could do concrete work in the rain! A family member suggested building an ark!

The weather finally cleared two days ago and we have begun! Five weeks after pulling in, we have finally started building our house. In many ways, it feels like what a barn-raising must have been like in the old days. We have family coming from all over the country and state to help and once we pour the foundation, we are expecting the house to go up in about two weeks. We did not originally want a standard stick frame house, but again, our limited budget and time has dictated changing some of our plans. It feels exciting to be getting some work done! After such a long time camping, I cannot even begin to tell you how sweet it is to look down the field and see that house starting from the ground up!

A Dream Is…….

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I guess the young and foolish part of me always thought that making a dream become a reality was something fun and exciting. The truth is that this is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It is not really difficult like learning a new skill, or overcoming some obstacle. It is difficult to the point of being completely overwhelming. It is difficult to get up in the morning, because what used to mean padding downstairs in our pajamas to get coffee and breakfast now means so much more. It means getting everyone dressed, in mud boots, and tromping through the field to heat water for coffee and make breakfast while trying to also keep the baby occupied and the three year old from getting eaten by mosquitos or kicking the dog. Every simple task becomes a challenge. Laundry means pulling out our buckets, washing everything by hand, and getting it on the clothesline before it rains. If it is raining (like it is now), there is only one place to be. So we all attempt to get along while fighting cabin fever in our little 10×20 tent. There is no place to hide, or hang out, or be alone. Decisions about the land or the house building project seem impossible to make when you are trying to just simply survive. I am torn at night when I go to bed because I have this weird mixture of relief that I finally get to go to sleep, and mild horror at the thought of having to wake up again the next morning. Sometimes we lay in bed at night talking about how there is a large majority of people in the world that live like this every day, with no hope of anything different. It makes me feel somehow selfish to even be grumpy about my four weeks of hardship, but I am grumpy about it anyway.

We have been here four weeks. How can that be? It seems like it has been a lifetime since we drove away from our house. I thought we would have something built by now. I thought camping might be more fun. I thought we might have campfires in the evening and roast marshmallows and talk about our dreams. But dreams are just that….talk. Turning them into something tangible is so much less glamorous than most of us probably realize. Every day we spend hours trying to just get basic needs met, and the ‘down’ time that we have is spent working out details of the house plans, making phone calls to get things ordered, or make lists of things that need to happen for the project. There is ‘rest’ time, but no reprieve from the rain or sun or bugs or chores.

I guess I am glad that I didn’t know how hard it would be, because then I might not have done it. I am glad that God lets us dream. I think about the settlers moving West, leaving their families behind and heading into hostile, unfamiliar territory. They did it for a dream. A dream of a better life for their families. A dream of land and prosperity and opportunity. Sounds much more glamorous on paper. I am sure that it was beyond horrible at times. I am also sure that for most of them, they questioned daily whether they should have come or not. The dreamer in me, though, also believes that at the end of the day they were glad that they were there. I am trying to also be glad. I am trying to look past the hardship and see the glory. I am trying to look through the rain and see the deer feeding at the edge of the field. I am trying to keep dreaming……

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