Thursday, October 3, 2013

A House Has Rooms

I've mentioned before that our family has lived in many different places over the past 16 years. Those places include the following residences (Please excuse my lack of proper real estate terms!):
  • a one-bedroom, one-bath basement apartment (rented)
  • a top-floor, two-bedroom, one-bath apartment (rented)
  • a three-bedroom, two-bath, split-level house (owned)
  • a three-month stint with Greg's parents in their six-bedroom, two-bath rambler
  • a three-bedroom, two-bath, basement apartment (rented)
  • a two-story, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath house (rented)
  • a two-story, four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath house (owned)
  • a two-and-a-half month stint with my mom in her two-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath, two-story condo
  • a three-bedroom, two-bath rambler (own)
  • a three-bedroom, two-bath, one-floor house (rented)
  • back to our three-bedroom, two-bath rambler
Now before you get all "What's wrong with them? Why have they moved so many times?!"  judgmental on me (Don't do it!), you must know that many of those moves were due to unforeseen circumstances like job layoffs. The first layoff came to my husband even though he had two bachelor's degrees! The second layoff was due to The Great Recession, when my husband was nearly finished with his MBA. Might I add that my husband is a most excellent employee and a great provider for our family. (I'm very grateful for Greg's current company!)

My point is, you just never know what life is going to throw at you—even if you are super-prepared like we were/are. One job layoff caused a domino effect, which resulted in our family moving four times! The other layoff caused us to move twice. But the other moves were choices we made, due to our desires for a larger house or a new job for Greg. With every move we made, we followed the spiritual promptings we received—which have always been spot-on. :)

Side note: I'm guessing if I were employed outside our home, we wouldn't have moved so many times. Our society seems to operate under the idea that each household needs two employed adults—which is simply not true. Thankfully, Greg and I happily decided before we were married that I would be a stay-at-home mom. Thus, with the choice we made to not have me work outside the home, we had to do what we could do to stay financially afloat. Neither Greg nor I have ever regretted our decision! :) Yes, it's been physically and emotionally hard to move so many times, but we've absolutely "made it." Yay! We are immensely satisfied that we have stayed true to our family's goal of having me stay home to raise our priceless children. *Because there's no going back, you know. Babies grow into children, who transform into teenagers, and teenagers become adults faster than you can snap your fingers! We must live in the childhood moment and cherish each day before our babies are grown and gone! :)

As Greg and I have looked back on all of our moves, we can see that every single one of them needed to happen. We learned so much from every move. For a couple of years after we moved from Colorado, I worried that the beautiful and grand house we bought there was a mistake (because it was such a hard trial!), but in hindsight I know—absolutely—that we made the right decision. We were supposed to live there, trials included!

Even though I can't believe I'm writing this (And people who know me will be shocked! Ha ha.), I am sincerely grateful for each move our family has made. I couldn't say that even eight months ago. Yet, with the way our life has settled down with this past move, I feel a happiness that cannot be adequately described! I agree with what my mom stated to me a few months ago: I feel we've learned things that we couldn't have learned any other way. I'm grateful every single day for this lovely little 70s rambler. We affectionately refer to our house as The Disco Dandy! It really is such a fitting name for this happy (old) place. :)

That said, one of my children is struggling with our current house. My child is embarrassed by the way our house looks on the outside. My child thinks our house has nothing fun to do inside or outside of it. My child doesn't want to invite friends over to our house. This fact makes me sad.

After my child expressed the above feelings, I had a frank discussion and explained (something like),
"Just because our house doesn't have two-stories, or six bedrooms, or the latest Xbox, or a basketball court, or the fanciest furniture, or designer drapes, or 12-foot ceilings, or anything else you think we should have, it doesn't mean that our house isn't worth living-in or visiting. I've learned that a house has rooms in it—no matter the size. All houses have bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a family room, etc. It doesn't matter how many rooms a house has. It doesn't matter how big those rooms are. It doesn't matter if a house has the coolest gadgets, or not. A house's decor doesn't matter.
What matters is how a house feels when you walk inside. What matters is that a house engenders peace, comfort and happiness. What matters is a house is a place where people want to stay and spend time with those they care about. 
Plus, a small house can be as nicely decorated and well-cared-for as a larger/grander house. Don't knock the small spaces! Our house is open to any of your friends at any time. Invite them over! Have fun with them! And don't feel like you can't hang out at someone else's house that's smaller or less pretty/fun than ours, either. Life is not about stuff! Life is about personal connections with people we care about, and a well-cared-for house (no matter the size) helps strengthen those important relationships."
My child listened, but I think it's going to take a while for the ideas I've presented to sink-in. For we all know this world is a competitive and comparative place. Many people only look at what other people own, not at who they are.

I hope I will be able to help all of my children fully internalize that what matters in life is doing their very best—not someone else's best. As long as they are doing their best job of taking care of whatever they've earned, own, or been given in their lives, they can have confidence with who they are. Then they won't need to compare themselves to anyone else or their stuff!

Please let me state that I have no problem if people have more than others. If someone has worked hard in their lives and have been able to earn their way to the top, or if a rich relative gave them an enormous amount of money, I say, "Yay, you're rich! Good for you!" :) But I also think, "Feel free to invite me over to your grand and glorious house for a party sometime!" Ha ha. I'm truly happy for people who have a lot. Also, I don't look down on other people who appear to have less. I have definite thoughts about the Less is More theory, which I'll write about in another post someday.

Life is what it is. We can either have a good attitude and embrace the life we've been given, do our best to find solutions and ask for help if it's needed, or we can have self-defeating thoughts and shrivel into a mushy-moldy-stinky tomato! Eww, gross! ;)

I hope everyone can see the value of their house—no matter the size, and make it a delightful environment for every soul who enters its doors!

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