Conquering the Beast (a.k.a. disastrously messy van!)

Okay, I will give all of you neat-freaks (or just ordinary people) fair warning. What you are about to see may be appalling to you. Personally, I don’t enjoy our van being this messy…but I can be known to put up with it for a wee bit too long. And in the interest of full disclosure, I am sort of a messy person. You couldn’t tell that by the picture below, right? Believe it or not, I have come a long way in the neatness/organization department. Clearly, I have a ways to go yet.



You see, with a 3.5 year old, 2 year old, and 6 month old, every time we come in the house I have to unbuckle two big girl car seats, carry the baby in her car seat while managing to keep kids headed in the general direction of the front door and dig for the house key that I put in my pocket (yes the one that I can’t reach since it’s on the side I’m holding the car seat). That leaves me without any free arms to carry in junk that accumulates in the van. You know, extra gloves and hats, dirty diapers that were changed in the van, and all the remnants of my coupon cutting that took place while sitting in the grocery store parking lot. Oh, and can’t forget the coffee cups and apple cores that remain from my breakfast on the go. You mamas know the feeling of making meals for everyone else (and dressing them, changing, diapers, packing bags, brushing teeth…)then realizing you have no time to eat your own food before you need to leave for church, right?

Oh, and there’s the whole “I don’t want to make an extra trip back out to the van to bring junk in because I live in the Midwest and it’s probably 20 degrees out with 25 mph winds and maybe ice on the ground, and I just cannot afford a broken tail bone right now, so I’ll just let the junk pile up until I get too sick of it, then I’ll go to the car vacuum place and clean it all out at once” thought. And sometimes, I am finally prompted to clean out the van because I can NOT find a single pair of matching mittens for the girls, or my debit card is missing and surely it’s in there somewhere, and we are running out of clean drinking glasses because half of them are in the car. So, here’s the equation.

I get really fed up with gross van + can’t find anything among the rubble + there is a random warm February day + my parents take the older two girls on a mini-vacation on President’s Day=a trip to car vacuum place and a clean(er) van!




and little Karis came along for the ride!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the trunk swept out because this cute thing was getting fussy and the sweeper ran out of time and that would’ve been $.75 more to go with my crying baby, so I decided to quit for the day. I do feel much better now. And I’ll probably text my husband to tell him to look in the van before he comes inside when he gets home from work. I am kind of proud of myself. 🙂

Do you have any dirty secrets? I mean the kind where there is actual dirt and trash, and you’d be a bit embarrassed to let others in on it?



A Time for Everything :: Part 2 :: A Homesteading Dream

This series, “A Time for Everything,” will focus on the changes happening in my life, how the Lord has prepared me, and is continuing to do so, and what I’m learning about Ecclesiastes 3. If you missed Part 1, read it here.


the log cabin I grew up in (recently painted white)

I grew up in the woods. My parents dreamed of a log cabin in the woods, and before they were 30 they made that dream a reality. They built our home on 9 acres of land with the help of family and friends, and a little bit of hired help to make sure it was strong and square and up to code. I turned four the summer they built it. That place – those woods – defined my childhood. My dad split all our firewood for the stove, and my brother (3 years older than me) and I would help load it into little wagon hooked up to back of the riding lawn mower and stack it in the garage. My brother and I played baseball in the yard (I may or may not have insisted on always being the batter and never the pitcher), we built ‘forts’ in the woods, enjoyed hotdogs over campfires, heard owls hooting, coyotes howling, and saw deer gracefully bound over the fence across the road.

I’d like to say I enjoyed all the work that comes with country living, but I suppose I should tell the truth. I often tried every possible tactic to get out of chores, to no avail usually. I enjoyed the quiet of our little refuge in the woods, but sometimes I resented being a 20 minute drive from my friends’ houses in town. I did love our home, but didn’t fully appreciate the gift that it was to live between the trees, where the sound of a truck kicking up gravel was a familiar but not frequent sound, where the songs of birds were carried into my bedroom on a breeze through the open window, where we looked forward to wading in creeks and hunting (morel) mushrooms, where our Beagle, “Opie,” could run free and howl at the moon without a complaint from a disgruntled neighbor, where I could know a little bit more about God because I could step out the back door and see the beauty of His Creation everywhere.


I left for college nearly 11 years ago, only living at home during the summer for the next four years. I moved away entirely the summer I turned 22 for a job in the big city. Josh and I were married the following summer, and we stayed in the city a year more. I have always known the city is not my home. Too much busy, too much noise, too much commercialism. Not enough peace, trees, clean air, or space. The next two years were spent living with my uncle, who graciously gave us a place to stay so we could move back home, in his beautiful house in the woods. But it wasn’t our home, so after Halle was born and Josh got a new job, we felt the Lord’s blessing to buy our own place. We looked at many houses, but we both knew when we found the one we were supposed to buy. We knew it was God’s hand leading us because how else could we look past the cigarette smoke stained walls and decades old carpet and wallpaper and did I mention the cigarette smoke smell that permeated everything? We got the house for way less than asking price, got a tax credit to help with the renovation, and had the wonderful help of family and friends to whip this place into shape. We have truly loved being here. It was perfect for this time in our lives.

house before

house before

house after

house after

Slowly but surely, though, that dream of a home in the woods has been slipping into our hearts and minds. With three growing girls – and possibly more children someday – we long for a place where they, too, can experience all the joys of a quiet place to rest, a vibrant place to explore, a space budding with possibilities of a garden, an orchard, and maybe some chickens even. I’m getting a head start on homesteading practices now through learning many new techniques of food preparation for Josh’s new diet, and we’ve had a garden for the last four years.

For us as a homeschooling family, country living is ideal for learning and growing together as a family and a wonderful place to prepare our girls to wives, mothers, homemakers, gardeners, caretakers of the land and home. The details of how this might happen aren’t all clear yet, but possibilities are coming into view. I feel like we are in a pretty balanced place right now – very grateful and content in our current home but feeling the pull in a new direction. This is very much a matter of prayer and thoughtful consideration for us. I am certain the Lord will guide us now as He always has.

Have you made a significant move or lifestyle change? Was it a welcome change or a time of uncertainty? Was it by choice or by necessity? Do you have a dream that the Lord is asking you to put on hold? Or a dream that He is leading you through now? I’d love to hear about it!