Friday, June 20, 2008

Milk and Eggs Should be Easy

I've debated on this post for a while. Should I write about how incredibly emotional I am and near a breakdown? Will I regret having that in print? Can I actually get through the typing process without breaking down into sobs and scrapping it all together? I'm not sure. But if you end up reading this post you'll know what I decided.

After my divorce at the ripe old age of 19 (it was final 3 days before my 20th birthday) I decided to take the tough approach to everything. A pick yourself up by your bootstraps sort of thing. I would not be weak, I would not give in, I would do the hard thing, make the difficult decisions, be daring, take risks, grab life by the tail and make it work. And I did. I also became incredibly tough. I really had no sympathy for people that couldn't make things work. I had no use for quitters or people that were weak. Of course, people didn't see me have near breakdowns then either.

This isn't really about that though. I just think that as a result I *always* look for the hard thing to do. I mean, really, if I have two choices I seem to be inexplicably drawn to the one that's hardest. That's probably not completely true. A lot of the hard decisions I made were "God decisions". I knew I was supposed to go to Southeastern. Working my way (with a lot of help from student loans) through was just necessary. Moving away to PC was a calling- with horrifying results- but was part of the "sanding process". Moving to Hendersonville, Birmingham, Hendersonville, Franklin, staying home with the girls when I really "need" to work, all of that were things we felt were the right things to do. Oh, and buying a "fixer" that's two sizes too small for our very first house when we'd never done more than install a ceiling fan into an apartment, yeah that seemed like the right thing too...but in hindsight...maybe. And I don't want to whine, really. I used to whine- a lot- and God put some very patient people in my life to listen to me whine. I wouldn't have been as patient with me and I most certainly would have told me to shut up. But thankfully they didn't. And now I'm tired. Very, very tired. I see a purpose in all of it; I really do. But it feels like I'm nearly purposed into a breakdown. I don't think I should be on the verge of tears all the time.

I know the right answers, Christ is our strength, all things work together for good, be happy when you face trials because the testing of your faith works patience and proves your faith, He will lift us up on wings as eagles, we'll run and not grow weary walk and not faint- when you wait...etc. And I'm not making light of any of that. If I didn't have those promises I would take things into my own hands, get a job, shove the kids in daycare and whip my life into shape. It's what I do. Or did. I don't have permission to do that anymore. It's very difficult for a take charge person to sit back, let everything go and say "OK, God I'm trusting you to do this. I'm not going to try to fix it and you can do whatever you want to". Well, actually I had no trouble telling God that He could do whatever He wanted to because I *assumed* that whatever He did would be instantly wonderful. Then I learned that God isn't in a hurry. And it's been a *long* time. And it's much more difficult at times to say to God "I'm OK with what you're doing right now".

So since I can't change anything, can I at least simplify something? Anything? Please? Well, actually yes, I can. For the last year or more I've been part of a co-op that buys farm fresh milk, eggs, cream and butter. Once a week we all meet at someones house to pick the stuff up and it takes about an hour out of my day. We all take turns driving into the middle of nowhere and pick it up for everyone else and that takes me about 5 hours and a half tank of gas. Why would I do that? Well, because it's all fresh, organic, healthy stuff and I swear I've turned into a hippie. I even make my own kefir. But as I was boohooing to God this past Monday, I found myself saying, "God, I just need some things to be easy". Yes, this from the girl that makes everything difficult. Tthe next day I got an article in the mail (from my M-I-L) about the FDA cracking down on raw milk, with a bunch of unsubstantiated propaganda from the FDA and dairy council (but this isn't a post on debating raw vs pasteurized milk) and while I wasn't instantly converted to the pasteurized side of the fence, it did make me think about how much trouble I'm going through to get raw milk and cage free organic eggs. And I decided to drop it. I'm OK, with it. I hate quitting but I think my stubbornness could kill me. I feel a little less stressed. But I've decided some other things too, it's like a snowball of easyness rolling over me. The cottage cheese ceilings? They're staying and getting a coat of paint. The termite damage? It's getting a coat of drywall mud, then I'll sand and paint. Am I tearing out the wall between the kitchen and living room? It's not likely, unless I have themoney to hire somebody. Will we take out all of the trees and bushes growing in random spots with a hand saw? Nope, we're buying a chainsaw- a cheap chainsaw, but since we'll never need to take out a giant redwood I figure we'll be OK.

If I'd had my way when we first moved in, I'd have torn out everything down to the studs and started over. So I think in a big way it has been a good thing that we haven't had money to renovate right away. If Travis had never worked at Home Depot we would have spent *way* too much money on things we didn't need to(of course it's also meant that we've lived in a house that- to put it nicely is really gross). It hasn't helped my stress level but we've learned a lot of things. And I'd like to be noble and conservative and jump on the "less is more" bandwagon but 1025 sq. ft. is too small for 5 people. I don't really care if they did it in the old days or that families used to live in one room or that they do it in NY city. There's a reason that houses are the size of McMansions now. People were tired of being crammed into a small space with stuff falling on their heads, tripping over the stuff that they didn't have room to put away, and catching their shoulders on doorways when they walk through (I'm always doing that and it makes me really mad). That's also why there are open floor plans- and I'm a big fan of those. But first comes the completion of renovating. We have a few years of renovating ahead of us, unless God has another plan. And it's not nearly as much fun as they make it look on HGTV.

So, I've simplified what I can and I trust that God will accomplish whatever his plans are for us. I could talk about our lack of accomplishing anything significant or not realizing our dreams for ministry but that's another thing that I will most likely not rant about. I shouldn't be frustrated. I think if I could go to a batting cage and knock the heck out of some softballs I would feel much, much better. Milk and eggs should be easy.


Mary said...

Well, I feel better. I've been questioning it all myself, though I don't have the stress of the co-op, I drive a heck of a long way for them healthy things.

One thing I'll say having some experience with a smaller older home. Only tackle the projects you can finish and don't worry about a complete overhaul before you move on. You will not regret the rooms that you can't get done before you leave. You'll forget about it. Your house is livable and you've already done an amazing job with paint and good taste. You should probably just stick it out until the market improves a little and do as much as you can in that time.

God can do amazing things with good listeners. And yes, sometimes He encourages us to make "unwise" decisions but He always has a payoff.

I know God has BIG things in store for you guys. I know it.

Amy said...

I don't know that the co-op is any more stressful than what you're doing. I would think that, if anything, it would be more stressful for you because you drive more often, don't you? I'm trying to get away from the health food "hype". Meaning that I'll do what I can and not sweat the rest. I will do my best to buy healthy stuff and leave the rest in God's hands.

Thanks for your kind words about the house. I'm confident that once we put our stamp on it and are ready we'll be able to sell. 3 bdrm. 1 bath aren't the most popular homes in Franklin but anything that is affordable is selling quickly right now. And I'm sure that there will be someone that wants to get their foot in the Franklin market like we did. I really hope by next springs selling season we'll be ready.

Christy said...

Groan. I know how you feel. We (4 of us) live in a similarly sized house and it's definitely a squish. Can't imagine five peeps.
I've had to make a lot of compromises that I never thought I'd make in order to just get by and not lose my sanity, too. It's frustrating - feels like I'm failing to meet some goal or standard - but so far, my kids have turned out fine. They are emotionally healthy even though I'm not at home with them and they are physically healthy even though I can't afford organic stuff or even always whole grain stuff. God has always provided what they have needed in spite of my failures and silly goals. I mean, I guess I say that as an encouragement. Letting go is sooooo hard, but so far, so good....
One thing I've been questioning, personally, is spending less of my time getting "inspiration" and "information" from outside sources like the magazines, blogs and HGTV stuff that I can never get enough of. I get so burdened with the things I should be doing or even just want to do. And it drives me nuts.

Amy said...

Yeah, that's the conclusion that I finally came to. God is going to provide what we need and I don't have to roam the wide universe to get it. My kids teeth won't fall out and we'll be fine.

Is it just we creative types that put so much pressure on ourselves for perfection?

Christy said...

I think it's a little bit of that and a little bit of just being able to visualize what we hope for so effectively. That makes it awfully hard to live anything out unless it matches the beauty that we see in our minds.

Mary said...

That's a post in itself isn't it? The idea that we are so driven by our idealism. I have realized that no matter how good something I have is, I always want to do something to change it and make it better. I don't think it's as much discontent as it is creativity like you said. However, if the discontent is added to it, I'm a mess!