The next phase begins… and thank you.


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It’s been another up and down week.  We went in to the doctor on Wednesday for Kevin and I to learn how to give him his interferon shots.  He will be taking these shots three times a week for the next eleven months.  We didn’t have a sitter lined up, so we just brought the kids along, and amazingly, they were good as gold.  After a check in with Dr. Lawson, the nurse showed us how to prepare the shots and perform the injection.  For whatever reason, I don’t think Kevin or I had really thought about the fact that he was going to actually be giving himself the injection that day.  Which of course meant that he was going to be getting sick a few hours later.  Which of course would mean that he would have to come home early from work, and I would need to figure out how to tend to him and the kids at the same time.  I had also volunteered to watch a friend’s son that evening, so I had inadvertently added even a little more chaos into the mix.  The house was a mess and I didn’t have a meal planned for that night.

In the moment at the doctor’s office right before Kevin gave himself the injection, we both looked at each other and thought, “Oh, crap.”  And oh crap we were right.  That day was a mess.  We were unprepared and every little thing that could go wrong pretty much did.  On the way home from picking up my friend’s son from school, Jude peed in his pants, in his car seat, less than five minutes from our house.  I pulled up to the house and sent K inside with Evie, stripped Jude’s car seat off, and carried him in to strip him down and get him cleaned up.  I got a text from Kevin saying he was upstairs and to please bring water and a bin.  That meant he was throwing up.  Luckily I had managed to prepare the meal before I had gone out, so it was waiting for us in the oven, but still, I was overwhelmed with how I was going to tend to Kevin and the three kids, two of whom should really not be left unattended, all at the same time.  I called my friend Becky.  She didn’t answer her phone, and it just might have been because she had other things to do.  I called her again, and then again.  Then I called her husband Tim.  I pretty much begged them to drop everything and come over and tend to the kids so I could tend to Kevin.  It was just like that first day of his high dose phase of interferon all over again, except I was totally unprepared this time.  But I was going to make sure that Kevin was cared for, and not puking his guts out all by himself upstairs.  Like I said, I didn’t exactly give my friends a choice, I kinda just said, I really need you, like now.  Can you please please please come over?  The amazing friends that they are, coupled with the fact that they live three streets down, got me help in about five minutes.  As soon as they arrived, I threw the food at them and darted back upstairs with nausea and gas medications for Kevin.  After about 30 minutes, we had his side effects basically under control, and now he only felt like he had the flu, not the stomach flu.  Small improvements, but we’ll take what we can get.

I went back and forth between Kevin upstairs and the kids and Tim and Becky downstairs.  They had everything under control, and Becky said just stay upstairs with Kevin and be there for him.  I was grateful beyond belief.  I lay down and rested a little with Kevin, listening to the summer sounds below our window.  Tim was playing on the porch with Jude and K, while Evie and Becky watched.  They flew this beat up old styrofoam airplane over and over until it was in such shreds it couldn’t take another flight.  I heard laughing and giggling and little feet pounding against a background of our neighborhood’s ice cream truck (which coincidentally also sells cigarettes and condoms… this is the ‘hood, yo.)

That ice cream truck song and those sounds of childish laughter are sounds that are etching themselves inside Kevin’s and my hearts.  They remind us that through all of this, we are surviving.  Kevin is going to make it.  I am going to make it.  And our children are still healthy and happy, not neglected.  They are giggling and playing in the summer breeze like they should, because we have the help and support of so many dear friends and neighbors.

I want you all to know how much all of your support has meant to us, for the last six months and for the next eleven months.  I know we have not gotten thank you cards out yet, and the list continues to grow, but please do know that we will get to them eventually.  Each one of you who has brought us a meal, sent us a check, mailed us a bible verse, said a prayer for us, or babysat our children, know that you are all giving us the beautiful gift of ice cream truck music and giggling children on a summer day.  You are giving us a normalcy and a beauty to our life that is carrying us through.  We appreciate each and every one of you more than you know.

We are going to spend the next week or two trying to figure out a rhythm and routine that will work for Kevin.  His primary goal is to be able to feel well enough to keep working full time, and his secondary goal is to have enough energy to be able to participate in family life.  Please pray that we can find that balance.  We will experiment with him taking his shot at different times and logging when he starts feeling side effects, when they wear off (mostly) etc.  Please pray that we will have patience to figure out how to make the best of a challenging situation here.  Please pray that Kevin’s side effects will be able to be remediated completely enough for him to continue to have some decent quality of life, because eleven months is a loooong time to be sick, ya’ll.  Please also pray that we continue to be able to have these moments where we can enjoy our kids and they can enjoy us, and that they are not too affected by this cancer.

As we get a basic schedule figured out, we will probably be asking for some more help in specific ways, though we are not yet sure what that help will look like.  For now, my sister has set up a new way for folks to sign up to help with meals or to chip in for help with housekeeping services.  Click on the “How You Can Help” link at the top of the page for more info.



Jude at seven months

I just finished putting the kids down for their naps.  We have fallen into a bit of a ritual where I turn off the lights and rock Jude for a few minutes while singing a few lullabies to him and Evie.  I started singing the first lullaby that came to mind, “Hush Little Baby”.  In case you don’t remember it, here’s how it goes:

Hush little baby, don’t say a word

Momma’s gonna buy you a mockingbird

If that mockingbird don’t sing, momma’s gonna buy you a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring turn brass, momma’s gonna buy you a looking glass

And if that looking glass gets broke, momma’s gonna buy you a billy goat

And if that billy goat won’t pull, momma’s gonna buy you a cart and bull

And if that cart and bull turns over, momma’s gonna buy you a doggy named Rover

And if that doggy named Rover won’t bark, momma’s gonna buy you a horse and cart

And if that horse and cart falls down,

You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town

Bad grammar aside, I found myself thinking about what the words of that song were really saying.  I mean, here is this momma who is giving one gift after another that keeps getting broken and messed up.  And the wording, in passive voice, carefully fails to place blame.  Now I don’t know about you, but pretty much every time my son comes up to me and shows me a broken toy, he tells me that “It broke.”  Somehow, magically and mysteriously, without any involvement from him, it just sort of… broke.  You and I both know that at least nine times out of ten, my almost three year old did something to mess up his toy.  And every parenting book in the world tells us that we would be a fool to keep replacing those broken toys, one after another.  And certainly not with even bigger and better toys.

So back to the song.  This momma never even takes a moment to discuss who was at fault; the grace is so complete that fault is a total non-issue.  And without even missing a beat, she replaces it with something else.  I think this is the way it is with our Heavenly Father.  We break stuff, he forgives us.  He fixes it or gives us something else.  We break it again, we mess it up, we run it over or fail to take care of it, he gives us grace.  Grace, grace, grace, again and again and again and again.  And at the end of the day, when there seem to be no gifts left because our sin has destroyed them all, we are still his most precious, sweetest, little baby in town.

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Evie at seven months

The second song I sang was the ever popular, “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands”.  Again for reference, the verses go something like this:

He’s got the whole world, in His hands

He’s got the whole wide world, in His hands

He’s got the whole world, in His hands

He’s got the whole world in His hands

He’s got the mommies and the daddies

In His hands….

Well, you get the idea.

It’s a great song to sing with little ones because of the repetition, and again, I think the repetition may be as much for me as for my littles.  After the first couple of verse, where He has the mommies and the daddies in His hands, the little bitty babies in His hands, you and me brother in His hands, etc. Jude and I like to make up verses.  We sang about how

He’s got Jude and Evie in His hands

He’s got Nana and Papa in His hands

He’s got Grammy and Paul in His hands

He’s got the whole worlds in His hands.

Jude’s next verse went something like this:

He’s got Sadie and Moe (the family dogs) in His hands

He’s got Will and Lauren (his cousins) in His hands

He’s got Aunt Sarah and Uncle Johnny, in His hands

He’s got the whole world in His hands.

Then Jude started calling out the names of our friends and neighbors on our street…

Miss Maiya and Ra’Niya, in His hands

Charelle and Nekayla, in His hands,

Di’Amos and Talicia, in His hands,

the whole world in His hands.

He called out the names of everyone he could think of in his little world (probably because he was stalling naptime, but still).  He called out Curt and Maya, in His hands.  That one got me a little choked up, and then I started calling out anyone and everyone I could think of, even things, not just people.

He’s got mel-a-noma, in His hands

He’s got contractors who won’t call you back, in His hands

He’s got leaky skylights, in His hands

He’s got the whole world in His hands


He’s got my hurting back in His hands

He’s got Kevin’s nausea, in His hands

He’s got all the broken people, in His hands

He’s got the whole world in His hands.


He’s got all of our problems, in His hands.

He’s got all our sins, in His hands

He’s got you and He’s got me, in His hands.

He’s got the whole world in His hands.


Up and Down

Honestly, I feel like my life these days is just an endless series of ups and downs.  Perhaps it is truly like that for everyone?  Having struggled with depression in my past, I know what it is like to feel like my emotions are on a roller coaster, but these days the ups and downs are not from my own emotions, but truly from our circumstances.  I am praying and working through how to not respond to those ups and downs with roller coaster emotions. It’s tough as many of you know.

This past week was really one of pure bliss.  We were still getting back into the swing of things, catching up on laundry, dishes, housecleaning, etc.  And we were getting the kids back on a good schedule and really just laying low around the house.  But it was a quiet, simple week.  I often found myself being very purposeful about sitting down with my kids and playing with them.  I mean like, really playing with them.  We had dance parties in the kitchen, played with “sea creatures” in our homemade aquarium on the porch, and had lot’s of little friends over.

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Homemade aquarium with sea creatures and glass rocks in an empty dish tub… I have never gotten so much mileage out of $3 worth of supplies! RSH 0033

Jude’s BFF Abby

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She wouldn’t stop saying “Baby!” over and over and over again.  And she said it with a French accent, which was even cuter… bebe!

I had been feeling rather convicted over the past few months about my cell phone use around the kids.  I don’t mean talking on the phone too much, but rather the aimless clicking of buttons, just “checking in” on facebook, pinterest, email, etc that really accomplished nothing except making me disconnected from what was happening in “meatspace”.  For whatever reason, perhaps the healing that happened on our vacation, I found myself feeling motivated and refreshed with energy to try to focus on “what matters”.  For me, what matters is the life right in front of me, not the life I picture on staged pictures and carefully crafted status updates all around the interwebs.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still do my fair share of surfing and gathering fun ideas, but for whatever reason, I really felt motivated this week to focus on putting the phone down, heck even putting the laundry down (that’s obviously not as hard for me!) and focus on my husband, my kids, just being present.

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Yes, Evie is eating a green onion.  The whole thing.

I had countless moments of sitting on our porch swing, reading a REAL BOOK and listening to the birds, sirens, and other sounds of our neighborhood. I had moments where I felt like a “good mommy” (whatever THAT is), where things were really just “flowing” from one activity to the next, the kids were actually picking up the messes we made, and we went whole hours without someone in timeout!  The weather had been lovely and breezy, and I really felt like things were going to be okay.

We got ready to go to Kevin’s appointment on Wednesday where he would be instructed on how to give himself his interferon shots, and that would have marked the beginning of our next phase of treatment, which is to last for the next year.  But wouldn’t you know it, the appointment was scheduled for Tuesday, and we had missed it!  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t TOO broken up about it, knowing we had inadvertently bought ourselves another week of hopefully him feeling better.  Like I said, things were looking good.

Then the weekend started.  I had volunteered to help out a friend who runs an urban baseball program for middle school students, through Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  It was the program’s big championship tournament, end of season banquet, and keynote speaker.  I had signed up to photograph the event from 10-6.  Kevin and I had worked out an elaborate back and forth with the kids so they could enjoy some of the games, he could help out for some banquet set up stuff, and the kids could still get naps.  We only live a few minutes away from the ball field, so this all seemed pretty doable.  We generally try not to have such “complicated” days, because I’m just not that good at handling it, but it seemed pretty doable, and we both are frankly so sick of always needing everybody else’s help for stuff that we were excited to be able to be doing the helping for a change.

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Enjoying the game with “bebe” and “monkey”

But then there was my back.  It had been bothering me a little through the week, and I’d been thinking that I needed to go to the chiropractor, but so far hadn’t made it over.  Squatting up and down, splaying myself out on the ground, and hanging off the backs of fenceposts to get good shots was quickly making my back pain go from mildly irritating to almost intolerable.

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Getting down low for shots like these is HARD, but worth it!

Then Kevin got sick in the middle of the day.  We don’t know why, but he still has nausea that just kind of comes out of nowhere, and if you remember the last time you had the stomach flu, food poisoning, or motion sickness, it’s an icky feeling that’s almost impossible to ignore and push through.  So that put Kevin out for the count right in the middle of the day.

Still, I was putting on my “Pollyanna” attitude, and determined to keep a positive outlook, knowing I was doing something I enjoyed, was good at, AND was helping out a friend.  Both Kevin and I pushed through and made it through the day, tired, but still feeling pretty content.

Then we woke up Sunday morning.  We got up before the kids and were enjoying a quiet Sunday morning, reading books and drinking our coffee in the living room.  Then we felt rain.  In our living room.  And we looked up and saw this.

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Seriously!  I mean seriously!  A leak in our ceiling!  And I know it’s not super clear from this picture, but the water damage along the seam is at least three feet long.  How did that happen overnight?!  Our friends Tim and Jeff came over to assess the damage and figure out a way to stem the bleeding.  It turned out that the leak was from a skylight that our contractors had installed last fall.  Ugh.  I’ve refrained from talking too much about our contractor and home renovation woes, but seriously, it’s been a horrendous, nightmare situation.  About half of the experience was great, and the other half totally sucked.  They cut corners in lot’s of places, were delayed numerous times, and some things I finally gave up trying to get them to fix and just figured it out with my dad.

But I discovered about two months ago that they didn’t do a big thing that we’d paid them to do, on top of lot’s of little things.  The owner of the company didn’t return my calls, emails, and text messages for over seven weeks.  Then, when he came out, he flatly refused, saying that it wasn’t part of the job for him to do this thing I needed to discuss with him.  He agreed to a few other small repairs, but still hasn’t shown up to do them.  I texted my project manager from the company yesterday morning as soon as we discovered the leak was from the skylight, and I’ve received no response in over 24 hours.  I’ve finally come to the realization that I need to handle this from a legal standpoint, and am headed to the courthouse today.  I’m totally discouraged about it, because I truly believed these guys ran a good company and would do the things that they should have done to make it right.  It’s also WAY outside my comfort zone to do something like this, plus I really have no idea exactly what I’m doing.

So yeah, that was my morning Mother’s Day present.  Luckily Kevin had another awesome present for me, a cruiser bike that he’d gotten from the Beltline Bike Shop, a neighborhood ministry run by the same friends who helped with the roof.  I can’t wait to get a bike trailer hooked up to it and take the kids around.  But on this Sunday morning, it was raining, so there was no bike riding and only a big fat leak that had destroyed my living room ceiling.  We barely made it to church, I with giant circles around my eyes from exhaustion and crying.  During the worship time, the kids were just a mess, they must have been over tired from their big day yesterday.  Evie wouldn’t stop asking to be picked up, then wriggling to get down, over and over again.  Jude kept begging for his pacifier, his blanket, my iPhone.  I was pretty much at the end of my rope, had tied a knot, and was hanging on.

Our friend Jeff could tell I was losing it, I think, because he came over and scooped up Evie and disappeared with her to the back of the church.  I couldn’t have been more grateful.  I didn’t have the energy to sing.  I just listened to the words, “What Can Wash Away My Sin?  Nothing But the Blood of Jesus.  What Can Make Me Whole Again?  Nothing But the Blood of Jesus.”  I thought about what those words meant to me.  Could Jesus’ blood truly wash me white as snow?  Could it truly wash my troubles away, like the heavy rain outdoors was washing away the kids’ chalk?  I lost it and just started crying.  I cried and cried and cried.  Kevin put his arms around me, and amazingly, Jude quit begging me for that stupid pacifier and just sat quietly.

I bawled like I haven’t bawled in a while, feeling sorry for myself, sorry for Kevin, mad at the world, mad at the stupid contractors, mad that we just seem to keep getting attacked again and again and again.  Frankly, I was mostly just feeling sorry for myself.  But the church just kept singing those beautiful old hymns, and Kevin just kept his arm wrapped tight around me, and I imagined God’s arms wrapped tight around both of us, the heavenly angels singing songs of praise.  Sometimes I wonder how much of my faith is just imagination and creativity in my mind.  I know a lot of Christians wouldn’t say something like that, but truly I have moments of doubt pretty much constantly throughout the day.  I pray to God and I wonder, Are You really real?  I mean, really really real?  Or are you just my made up imaginary friend?

But in moments like these, where God sends friends from out of nowhere to rescue you from your clingy, overtired babies, and words of truth to ring in your ears.  It’s in those moments that I realize, there will be ups and downs and God may not wash my troubles away like I wish that He would, but through His body, He WILL hold me and carry me and send me exactly what I need, exactly when I need it.

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True Beauty

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I’m amazed at what a different place the whole family is in since my last post.  I’m so sorry for those who keep updated with the fam through this blog and my lack of timely updates.  I will try to be better, but no promises.  So much has happened, and I don’t know if I could recap everything or even if that’s necessary.  More than anything, Kevin and I are both in a spot where we are happy, rested, peaceful, and seeing the true beauty in all of this.  The kids are happy, not as whiny and clingy.  I think even they know that things are starting to get better.

It’s been a few weeks since the last post, and so I’ll do my best to give a quick update.  Kevin had his last day of intravenous interferon treatments on Friday, April 20th, and it wasn’t a moment too soon!  He probably had the worst side effects the following three days, which was especially discouraging, because we were so proud and happy for him to be done on Friday, and then he was so horribly sick on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Lila had headed back to Los Angeles on Friday the 13th, and Kevin’s Aunt Barbara had arrived the following day to help us through that last week of treatment.  Both Lila and Barbara have been so amazing, taking care of the kids and the house so that I could take care of Kevin.  We are oh so grateful to have had both of them out here.  Barbara left on Wednesday April 25th, and thankfully, Kevin had started to turn the corner and was back at work doing full days.  He joked that he had been so used to working half days that he’d been a little spoiled!  Honestly, I’m still so amazed that he went into work almost every day of his treatment.  That man is so amazing, and I couldn’t have been more proud of him.

On Saturday, April 28th, Kevin and I piled in the car and ran away.  And it was awesome.  My parents kept the kids for a week while we drove to Jacksonville, FL and jumped on a cruise ship.  The cruise was to the Bahamas, but it didn’t matter to us, we weren’t going on the vacation to sight see, we were on a “recovery vacation”, as we put it.  Cruises, while seeming pretty decadent, are actually an extremely cost effective way to vacation, and we wanted a place where we could just rest and relax, have all our meals included and easy to get to, and, as we found out once we were there, sleep.  A lot.  And I do mean sleep.  I honestly think neither of us have slept well for the past seven months (has it really been that long since the diagnosis?  Wow.)  Anyway, we just barely made it onto the ship, because we were so late leaving Atlanta.  The cruise pulled away at 4PM, and I think we pulled into the parking lot at about 3:30.  After the safety training and getting checked into our room, we had dinner and… went back to the room and went to sleep!  I seriously think we went to bed at about 7:30.  And it was wonderful!  We “slept in” until about 7:30 the next morning.  After a wonderful room service breakfast, (free room service on cruises!  How awesome is that?!)  we gathered up some books and towels and parked ourselves in a covered area on an outdoor deck.  We read, and read, and read.  I read a wonderful book called “Traveling Mercies” by Ann Lamott, which I will be doing a whole post on later.  Kevin read some great nerdy economics books, sheer indulgence for us both!  We ate lunch, then came back and read some more.  The skies were overcast and there was a cool breeze.  The temperature could not have been more perfect.  After walking around a little and then having dinner, we headed back to our room and went to sleep super early!  Again!  We honestly were feeling guilty, like we were “wasting” this vacation, by spending so much of it sleeping, but then we figured that this must have been exactly what both of us needed.  I can not tell you how much we realized on that cruise how worn out we were and how hard we had both pushed through this past half a year.  Neither of us really realized it until we felt the rest that streamed down on us on that cruise.

I’ll be honest with you, we prayed long and hard over whether or not we should take this vacation.  So many of you graciously contributed financially to us, and every penny of that was socked away in savings in case Kevin should not be able to work or it was spent on parking, babysitting, etc.  We used some of that money to purchase this cruise, and know so well that this is something that many folks would not be able to do (heck, this is the first vacation we’ve ever taken since our honeymoon seven years ago!)  But on the way back, as we turned our phones back on and re-entered “real life”, we both could feel that we had somehow been healed during this trip.  Though we have struggled through and leaned on God and each other more than we ever thought possible, our hearts and spirits were still bruised, broken, and tired.  I love the word “weary”.  Though it sounds so dramatic and poetic, it speaks volumes to the way both of us have felt.  We were so very weary, and returned refreshed and uplifted and healed.

Now in getting back to real life, we have lot’s and lot’s of pieces to pick up from the last month.  And there is still perhaps the greatest hurdle left in this battle… a year long treatment of interferon shots three times a week.  We are hopeful that it will be nowhere near as difficult as the previous month’s high dose phase, but while the intensity may not be there, it will be more a battle of attrition, as 12 months is a loooong time to be sick.  Please, you dear prayer warriors, keep those swords and shields at the ready, as Satan continues to attack and the battle is certainly far from over.

But at the other end of things, real life continues to meander along, and we are settling into a beautiful, quiet life here.  It’s funny that when I was little, I certainly never saw myself happily settled in a gigantic hundred year old bungalow in an inner city, high crime neighborhood.  I never saw myself choosing a quiet simple life over adventure and travel.  I never saw myself sitting on the floor of the porch with my two littles happily stacking dominoes, playing with washbins filled with water, or dancing around the living room to The Sound of Music.  And loving every minute of it!  We’ve only been back to reality since Friday, and yet the nightmares of the past several months are already seeming a distant memory.  We live in the present beauty of the thunderstorm that is crashing down around my porch while I happily type away from the shelter of its roof.  We live in the beauty of the calm between the storms and the hopefulness of new life that comes after the rains.

I was chatting with Kevin yesterday over dinner, a simple meal of some homemade soup pulled from the freezer that had been gifted to us by a friend and neighbor, and some croissants from the day old bread section of the grocery store.  We had some freshly cut up cantaloupe from the farmer’s market that I’d scored for a dollar a piece!  I felt it was a perfect meal for a stormy May evening, and was pleased with how little the meal had cost.  We talked about how when we got married, most of our food came from “meal kits” in the frozen section of Trader Joe’s.  We bought already cut up melons and bagged salads and plenty of other prepared and convenience foods.  We also ate out with regularity, enjoying our Saturday morning breakfasts at 4 ‘n’ 20 and our Sunday evening dinners at Toluca Garden.  Kevin worked crazy long hours with an hour long commute, and I was in school full time and also working.

Over the past nearly seven years of marriage, we’ve seen slow and steady changes in the way we live our lives.  When we chose to go down to one income so that I could be at home with the kids, we started to pay attention to areas where we could cut back.  I learned to cook from scratch (it’s still nothing fancy, and as often as not just may include a jar of spaghetti sauce or a couple of cans of cream of mushroom soup in the recipe somewhere, but darned if I didn’t stock up on those jars and cans when they were on super sale at least!)  We’ve found ourselves eating out waaaay less.  That wasn’t too hard of an adjustment, since it’s just so much work to to eat out with two little kids.  Even when we’re too tired to cook, it’s still usually easier to eat at home than to pack everybody up and try to eat out!  On those nights, we just eat cereal, since the kids are too little to know that that’s weird.

I spent yesterday working on a price book at the grocery store to see where I could get the best prices on my staples, and over the last year I’ve developed a system for once a month shopping and filling in with weekly trips to a super cheap farmer’s market for produce.  We’ve gotten our food budget to be about the same as it was or less than when it was just the two of us.  And that doesn’t even count how much less we spend on no more eating out!

Our journey into more frugal living was simply a means to an end… living on less meant we could, well, live on less!  We didn’t set out to find the best prices on milk or learn about freezer cooking because we thought it was so virtuous or anything.  There are plenty of people who live on waaaay more than us, and it totally works for them.  Plenty of people eat out for nearly all of their meals, and again, it works.  Frugal living meant that I could stay home with our kids.  I could be around to make our house a home.  And in this current season, with seemingly endless doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and treatment, it’s meant that we’ve had a lot more time margin in our life that we’ve had to use, and then some!

I’m not sharing all of this to suggest anything about how anyone else should be living their lives.  For many people, two incomes work, daycares and preschools work, eating out regularly works.  There are tons of different lifestlyes and value sets that really do work.  Plus, add to it that our values are relative to the society we live in.  The laptop I am typing this blog post on is hardly frugal or indicative of a simple life when compared to someone living in a lesser developed country on a dollar a day.  But for us, the way we are living, it has given us the ability to do something that is really beautiful for us, and it works.  Frugal living, simple, quiet living, has been giving us a source of peace, and even strength in the midst of all of this insanity of the last year and a half, since we moved out here! (Did anyone else notice how long that last run-on sentence was?  But I digress…)

My point, which I promise I have, is that for us, these things have given and are currently giving us, a beauty that we never knew we could have.  It’s a beauty in the limitations, in the small blessings, in the things we have the time to enjoy and appreciate.  I don’t know, these last few days, they have been quiet and, dare I say, peaceful.  It feels ridiculous to use that word, considering that my current world includes an almost three year old and a 16 month old who rarely stop moving (or talking!) throughout the day.  They seem to require constant care, constant energy and attention.

The house is a complete wreck, as one would expect from pretty much abandoning all semblance of routine for more than a month.  I’m keeping just one step ahead, making sure we at least have clean laundry, and not too many dirty dishes piled up in the sink.  When we ran away for our vacation, we literally made sure there was no wet laundry and that there were no dirty dishes that were filled with rotting food.  Other than that, you would have thought that we had been burglarized during our vacation from the state of things upon re-entering.  The house truly looks like a tornado has blown through it.

But here’s the thing.  Normally, these things would leave me completely overwhelmed, the pressure slowly building up, as I tried to get the house back in order while tending to the other necessities of two kids and real life.  I would at least be feverishly running around in circles trying to figure out where to get started, trying to get at least some of the mess cleaned up.  At some point, I would end up depressed and discouraged, not wanting to get out of bed and face the day.  But it’s not been like that at all.  I’ve made a little headway on the clean up, but I’ve also spent a lot of time shoving away the least offensive messes, and sitting on the floor with my kids and playing with them!  And it’s been awesome!  I’ve not been worrying about the things I should be doing, the long to do list of projects piled up, papers to file, appointments to make, etc.  I’ve just been present, enjoying every moment.

Right now, I’m sitting on the front porch while the kids are napping, and the sun has come out to shine cheerily through the fresh spring leaves.  I’m listening to birds chirping and, you guessed it, “The Sound of Music” soundtrack.  And I’m loving it!  Yes, my house is a mess.  I need to clean it up.  I should definitely do that.  Yes, there are appointments to be made, bills to be paid, yards to be mown, house projects and repairs to be done, and I should definitely definitely get to some of those things.  Definitely.  But you know what, it’s waited this long, it can wait another day.  For today, I’m sitting and resting, and enjoying all of the true beauty around me.