Re-invention

Sitting here at Book & Bean listening to some local boys play some incredible music. Feel like a queen bee.
Yet, the reality is that I still can’t pay the bills. I still am overwhelmed by the fact that I have eight kids to care for and very little time to devote to them.
Read recently about how businesses and products must be constantly evolving to stay alive. How do we embrace our values of family and stay relevant to our culture? And make a living?

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And yet…

How does one follow the last post? Choosing joy in spite of being absolutely miserable inside…I don’t know the answer. You just choose. You put one foot in front of the other.

And yet…

Here it is almost a year later and I am still choosing joy in spite of being so unhappy.

I sometimes feel like a foreigner living in a foreign land. I love my town. I love the people and yet…I feel like an alien.

And yet…I seem to like yets and pauses…I use them a lot. That is kind of what this blog is about pauses, reflection, the yets.

A friend struck a chord with me this morning. She said she was going to buy an RV and put a juicer in it and travel the country heralding the virtues of juicing. Oh, if only life were so simple and blissful. Traveling and juicing.

It seems that all the things we set out to do when we started this blog have been destroyed. Was it the enemy? Were we naive? What happened to family? What happened?

Such lofty dreams of making a difference; of loving each other. But we have made bad choices. Choices I take full responsibility for.

I can’t undo my choices. I don’t even know how to fix them.

I may not seem like it, but I really am trying to choose joy. I really am trying to press on toward the prize. Tomorrow I will go and dance with all my heart for Jesus who loves me…sinner and all.

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Choosing

Rough night, rough season. If you read my previous post, I am sorry. All of it is true, but who wants to read depressing stuff? Who wants to know the truth? It’s not good for business.

That’s probably my hardest thing…always being “on”. Always ready with a smile, but inside I am screaming, “I am drowning.”

Wallowing in the mud gets us nowhere though. Worry, anger result in nothing. There is no fruit in it.

God says to “consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds”. I am trying my best to do that. I am trying to choose joy, not because I am hiding, but because it doesn’t do anyone any good for me to be angry and upset. I can’t walk away. I can’t quit. That is just the truth of it. So I better make the most of it.

I am choosing to do the best job I can. I am choosing to enjoy the few precious moments I get with my son everyday. I am choosing to take it one moment at a time. I am choosing to rely on God. Is there any other way?

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Moving forward

The death of Blackjack forced our family to ask some hard questions; questions we hadn’t had the time to ask ourselves. We have been so busy investing time and energy at making Book & Bean successful that our family time got pushed to the back burner. 

After talking about it, we decided we wanted a home base. A place of refuge to come home to. A place where we could all be under one roof. A place where we felt safe and at peace.  And at the same time, we wanted to  be in the city…able to bike ride to the store or take walks without cars whizzing by us.

On the practical side, we also knew we needed to find a house with 2 baths, a larger water heater, a central furnace, and within our budget.

As of the beginning of August, we now have moved into such a place.

As many of you may recall, we had to get rid of many of our possessions in Ohio; beds, appliances, dressers, hangers, chairs, lamps, etc.

For the last 15 months, we have been living in either our RV, a small furnished house, or a tiny house and the trailer at the same time. So moving into this 2300 sq foot house made us very aware of some things we were lacking; stove, fridge, beds, chairs, hangers, lamps…

So far we have been EXTREMELY blessed to receive a couch, a stove, a fridge, two sets of bunk beds, a crib, and a vacuum! (Oh, and Josiah got a snake.)

I am still in need of hangers and lamps, and could use a queen size mattress for the RV (I had to take out the mattress for our bed in the house), but I am so grateful that we have such a wonderful and spacious place to live. It seems like it has been a long time waiting for such a day as this. And yet I know, it is only a blink in our Father’s eyes.

http://youtu.be/eG8JJkH-ZhU

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Putting Away My Cup

When I was a teenager, my mom was often very angry and frustrated. She was mostly mad that we treated her like a slave. She was mad that we would leave our cup next to the sink and not take the time to put it in the empty dishwasher. She was mad that we didn’t appreciate her. We would tell her we appreciated her but it didn’t matter.

I think I understand now why.

Actions speak louder than words.

When my daughter comes in after being home most of the afternoon with nothing to do, and I have just spent the last 30 minutes washing dishes just so I could start making dinner, and she asks so sweetly, “Is there anything I can do to help?”, I want to scream and say, “Yeah, you could have done the dishes.”

I spend a good portion of my day maintaining stuff…mostly other people’s stuff. For the most part, I don’t mind. I enjoy taking care of my family, just as my mom did. But what I don’t enjoy is having to turn a sock that is so stiff and dirty from over wear right side out just so that it can be washed properly. I have told my kids time and time again, “Turn your clothes right side out before you put them in the laundry”, but my words fall on deaf ears. Instead I get, “Thank you for the yummy dinner.” Not, “Can I do the dishes?”

And then there is the stuff. Clothes, toys, papers …stuff. It seems that my days are consumed with sorting, organizing, cleaning stuff. I don’t have the authority to toss it, but apparently only the authority to sort, organize and clean.

I asked my daughter once if there was anything that she thought I was obsessed with. She responded with, “Yeah, cleaning.”

She’s right. I am obsessed with hoping to find a place of solitude, a place that isn’t overwhelmed with junk, clutter, crap. Obsessed with finding a clean place. Yet, I can’t seem to find that place. You have no idea how much this bothers me. I just want to be able to relax, to be in a peaceful, clean place. Does such a place exists? I thought the RV would be such a place. Boy, was I wrong. I thought getting rid of so much stuff would help, but the cycle continues on.

My mom’s place is like that. Always clean. Always free from the junk, clutter, crap. Thank you, Mom, for taking care of us all those years and cleaning up our stuff and putting our cups in the dishwasher. I know that means nothing now. But thank you anyway.

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Blackjack

Back on May 1st, the day we moved to Prineville, we also got a goat. He was a gift for our 10-year-old son, Elijah, whose birthday was the week before. Blackjack was extremely loved and cared for. In many ways, he was like a dog. We would lead him around the yard on a leash. At first we kept him in a kennel in the house, but after a while made a nice place for him in the barn.

This last Saturday, July 2nd, as I was getting ready to close up the Book & Bean, I got a call from Papa Joe that Blackjack had been shot with a BB gun and I needed to get home and take him to the vet. Joe was out enjoying his first afternoon off since we bought the store. Josiah was home with the boys. The girls and I were at the store.

Since it was a holiday day weekend, it took several hours for us to figure out what to do with Blackjack. All the vets I called were gone for the weekend or they didn’t see goats. During that time we were able to discover many things. One, the bleeding was coming from a half inch gash in his back. Also, we found at least 5 wounds from a BB gun. And, a seven-year-old neighbor boy had taken a loaded gun and used Blackjack as his target. His aunt, who was not there when it happened, was a vet tech.

The aunt was great. She got us into a vet, attended to Blackjack’s care, and paid for all expenses. Blackjack had an x-ray and we found two BBs were still in him. Also, the gash needed several stitches. We were sent home with pain meds and instructions on how to give his antibiotics.

Over the next few days, Blackjack was lively. Other than his shaved areas, he looked great and healthy.

On July 5th, I noticed that Blackjack just didn’t seem right. He was peeing excessively and not eating. He also was rather lethargic. I had the aunt come and check him out. We forced him to swallow some water, and decided to check on him in the morning.

This morning, Blackjack was up, but he had vomited. I called Joe and had him get an appointment with the vet. It wasn’t till 3:30 that afternoon. It was 8:30 am. I decided to put him in a cool spot in the shade with some fresh water and come back and check on him later.

At 9:45 am, I went and checked on Blackjack, and he was dead.

I don’t know why he died. Maybe it was an adverse reaction to the antibiotics. Maybe it was something he ate. But it is my very uneducated belief that he died of lead poisoning from the BBs.

His death is more than the loss of a goat though. We have already had problems with a different neighbor kid and now this. We are already not liking being in the house we are in. And now this.

The store, while we love it, consumes us. We love ministering and being a part of the community. But we also would really like to relax at home, spend time in our yard, have time as a family just chilling.

After Blackjack’s death, we closed the store for the day and went up to the mountains to bury him and Josiah’s snake, Lucy, that died earlier this year. It was quite lovely and peaceful.


We have two places that we are looking at moving to. Neither are ideal, but is there such a thing?

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Speaking without Fear

I am struggling. Struggling with the desire to vent, to complain, to get some sympathy, and struggling with the fact that I don’t want everyone to know my business. I write because I find it soothing to get my thoughts down in writing. It clears my head. So maybe what I need is a journal.

Yet, I want to share my thoughts with others. I find it comforting to know that others may find inspiration or a kindred spirit in me. There is a narcissistic reason too. I like thinking that someone or maybe many someones are listening.

Yet, there are some who I don’t want to know my thoughts. Some who twist them. Some who really don’t listen. They only hear what they want to hear. They put themselves into my life when I never asked for them to be there. They don’t care what I want. It is always about them.

So I find myself with words circling around in my head with no outlet, no place to rest. Fear overwhelms my words so that they can not escape. I hate this turmoil, but I don’t know what to do. I just want to be able to speak without fear.

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