Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The move-in process has begun!

Well, we signed our lease on Monday, and we are officially moving in! =) Yesterday I took the first load of boxes over with the kids, and started to slightly freak out when I realized just how little cabinet space the kitchen has! This wasn't news to me, I guess I just hadn't thought too much of it before!

The apartment itself is nice ~ berber carpet, nice doors and fixtures, spacious closets, etc. We did a pre-lease signing walk through, and most of the annoyances that we had asked them to fix were fixed before we started with the boxes yesterday. Now, we've lived in some not so nice places, and we've also lived in some very nice places. At first glance, I would have thought this place fell closer to the nice places... I'm not saying that it isn't... but I guess at this point I'm just hoping that it falls on the nicer side of the middle! Apparently we have a problem with rain water somehow coming under our door and into our entryway - not nice. And the master bedroom window wouldn't stay open upon our inspection, and whatever they did to fix it now has the opposite effect, because now it won't open up at all - not nice. My biggest concern though is our feet - which turned blue after walking on the carpet. It (the carpet) kind of felt like soap residue, if that makes any sense. Ellie's were the worst (she may be small, but I'm pretty sure she covers more miles than any us! She was running all over the place yesterday!) Her feet actually looked as though she had taken a blue/green piece of chalk and just rubbed it all over her feet. So of course I called about this, because that's just nasty, and apparently they hire someone to come in and clean their carpets. I suggested finding someone else! I'm really not sure what else to do though, we're moving stuff in daily for the next several days, I think I'm going to have to just shampoo it myself because there really isn't time for them to send someone out again.

Now, my mini-rant aside, I am trying to stay focused on the very positive here. God has provided for us a home to call our own. There may be some downsides, but there are many good-sides as well. (And the lease is only for 11 months, so hopefully come this time next year, we'll have purchased a house in the area and can start to feel truly "grounded" here!) We'll have our things out of storage, our own beds, our own couch, our own cups and spoons. Yes, I will be simplifying and getting rid of some things, but the comfort of having our own space will truly be nice.

Speaking of simplifying... I started emptying some of those boxes yesterday, and my camera is charging so that I can share with you the first few things that I know will not make it anywhere within the apartment other than another box for a yard sale/donation OR the garbage can! Nothing too exciting just yet, but enough to get me started!

Lastly, and this is a bit off topic, but if you pray, please lift up those who have been (and will be) in the lines of these awful tornadoes. The devastation is just heartbreaking. There have also been wildfires in Texas, so cover those affected there in prayer as well.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where will I begin?!

We walked through our "new" apartment yesterday evening, and I have to say, I'm pretty excited! Yes, it is small (we could probably fit the entire thing in the downstairs of our previous home) but it will be our space ~ and that will feel SO good after living in my parents home, with nearly all we own in storage, over these last seven months! Don't get me wrong - I am very grateful to my parents, for their hospitality, for allowing our family of six to live under their roof. They've been a blessing to us, more than they'll probably ever know. But these kids need their own space, and I need my own space!

As I've shared before, my husband is a pastor, and now a church planter. We've always had a gut feeling that God would lead us to church planting, I guess I just thought that would happen later in our lives, and I never thought that it would lead us back to Ohio! About two years ago we knew this was the direction we would be taking though, and about one year ago we knew the time was quickly approaching. Leaving our church and home in Pennsylvania last fall was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

As we packed up that house, we thought we were doing good at downsizing our things. We had a yard sale, sorted through things, tossed broken toys, gave things to charity. But then we started to load the truck. And I started panicking! I gave away a LOT of stuff that night, out of fear that it wouldn't all fit. The husband wasn't as concerned as I was, and he kept shaking his head at me as I gave stuff away to those helping us! BUT that truck was crammed full when we moved and I bet a lot of what I gave away would not have fit easily, if at all! So, with the truck packed, and my van full as well, we left Pennsylvania and started on this new journey.

I never thought we would move into my parents house, not ever. When we first moved back to Ohio we rented a storage unit with the idea that we would only have our things in storage for a matter of weeks - 2 months tops! Here we still are though, 7 months later! At first we waited because we thought maybe we would buy instead of rent. Then we waited because it became clear that the job the husband had was not going to sustain us. Honestly though, it's all a matter of God's timing and not our own. I see it all coming full circle now ~ the timing of the husband's new job, the paperwork process for the North American Missions Board and SBC is finally wrapping up (which will provide funding for the new church plant, including a pastor's housing allowance), our school year is drawing to a close (which will give me the time I need to slowly unpack and evaluate our surplus of things), and I've experienced shifts in my perspective that may not have happened without this time of waiting.

We've lived 7 months without most of our material things.
Which leads me to wonder: Do we really need all of those things?
Are we storing up our treasures here, in things that are only temporary? (Maybe moths and rust will have set in while we had it all in storage, making it easier to part with!)

I've always considered myself frugal , maybe not as frugal as some, but I'm careful with how much I spend on food and necessities, I reuse what can be reused, and so on. But, I've learned how to stretch a dollar a little more during this time of waiting. I've cut things that we may have once thought of as necessary, learning that we really don't need them after all. Simplifying doesn't just mean reducing the amount of stuff we have, but it also means reducing the amount of stuff we consume and reducing the amount of money we spend. I plan to focus on all of these things, the latter being an ongoing lifestyle change.

But where will I begin?!

Clearly one of the first things on my "To Do List" will be downsizing our material possessions. I am SO excited about this! I can't wait to open those boxes and see what all we have. I think it will be a little like Christmas morning, no doubt I have forgotten some of those things! It could get dangerous though. I mean, what if I open a box and it is full of things that I can do without, but I just don't want to? Being selective will be important. Then comes the problem of clutter, or more specifically, paper clutter. Boy oh boy, do I dislike paper clutter. Even in the small space we have here at my parents house, we have paper clutter. I hope my paper shredder can handle all that is to come!

How do I plan to tackle these first things? Well, getting the husband and children on board will be important. We're all going to have to be selective, and we're all going to have to make sure we aren't holding on to things unnecessarily. As of right now, everyone seems to be gung-ho over this idea, but we'll see how things go when it's time to follow through! My plan also involves this blog. Expect pics. Lots of pics - of all the stuff. I may even need your help deciding what to keep!

I'll probably be posting less once we start moving next week, and even less for the first week or two after the move (as we await internet!) So if I go several days, or even a week ~ *GASP!*, without sharing on here, fear not! I will return - with probably a LOT to say!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Welcome to my journey!

I'm just going to snag my "about me" for the intro of my first post...

My name is Jessica, but most people just call me Jess. I am a homeschooling mom to my four children, and I've been married to my best friend for just about 15 years. I am 32 years old, and some days I feel like I'm just getting started!

In the fall of 2010 my husband and I moved our family to the state of Ohio, accepting the calling to begin a new church plant. As we begin this new work, I have felt the need to simplify my life. Through this blog I hope to journal my journey to minimize the bulk of our material possessions, learn to live on less (because the life of a church planter in an economically depressed area requires this!), learn to reduce our consumption, and learn to save more. Our children are quickly growing and I want so desperately to teach them the importance of living simply, without the restrictions of "things", and I want them to know the joy of being able to give generously.

I hope you'll encourage me through this journey and that this blog can be an inspiration and blessing to you!

So yeah, that's me - a brief snapshot of where I've been and of where I hope to go (I'm sure I'll share more as time goes on!) The real beginnings of this blog will happen over the next few weeks, as we begin to move our family of six into an *almost* 1200 sq. ft. apartment! See why simplifying is so necessary?! And I don't think that is going to be a bad thing, but it could get interesting!