Category Archives: Homeownership

BLOWN AWAY

Well hi there, old friend!

2016

Much to my dismay, Kevin and I didn’t get to take our annual “New Year’s Getaway” to plan and dream for 2016. That would be why you didn’t get an enthusiastic blog post full of !!!!!!!!! and confetti and Livspiration. It’s also why you didn’t get a memory post about the best of 2015. And I didn’t post a best nine because EMBARASSINGLY, two of my five selfies were in the best 9! Gross.

But what we did get to do these last three weeks, was pack our rhinocerously big house into boxes with three kids under the age of four. And then unpack it in a size half the space! Doesn’t that sound like fun!? (you can read about our operation downsize here)

My answer is YES! IT WAS SO FUN!

Why? Because two years after deciding we didn’t love our big house anymore, we finally sold it! Ideal timing to move a week after Christmas? Not in my opinion. How about moving in the dead of winter? Suck. How about finding a house in three days when pretty much everything is pulled off of the market? Slim chance.

But once again God’s timing was ridiculously better than ours.

We are OBSESSED WITH OUR NEW HOUSE! Christmas was still sweet and magical. Our moving day was like 40 degrees and sunny. And God’s hand has been on every-stinkin-thing-else.

I was worried my heart would hurt. That I would fear we were making the wrong decision. (add a kid, shrink a house? Seems confusing.) That I might be so sad to say goodbye to the house we brought our second and third babies home to. But those worries never bloomed.

We were shocked at how peaceful our hearts felt through the whole thing. My stress levels probably never got over an 8 (on a 10 point scale…and that was on moving day when I realized I forgot my kids at preschool….30 minutes late and still working on forgiving myself). In fact, this whole last month our stress hasn’t even gone over a 3-4! How is that even possible?!?

I think it’s possible because:

  1. God. “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” -Matthew 19:6
    “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” -Genesis 18:14

 

2. Our people. You know who you are:

  • You bubble wrapped wine glasses.
  • You helped us cleanse.
  • You watched our babies.
  • You fed our grumbling tummies.
  • You brought us coffee.
  • You lent us your trucks and muscles and elbow grease.
  • You encouraged us not to give up…to keep waiting…to follow God’s prompting to downsize even when the rest of the people cocked their heads and said “huh?”
  • You hung out with our kids at the preschool until we finally remembered that we have to pick them up, even on moving day.

I’m utterly speechless about how amazing you actually are. Words just don’t do justice. So I’m going to take you all to Hawaii with all this extra money from the downsize. 😀 Okay, you know I would if I could.

Thank you for all of your encouragement and your love. To say I’m humbled by this move and what God is doing in our hearts is inadequate.

(and to say I’m thrilled about our new back yard being flat, awesome, and a harbor to a hot tub is also inadequate.)

Dream session 2016 might have to happen in the hot tub. ❤

Do what you love and love what you do, it’s your life. Have an amazing weekend!

 

 

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Simple Living 101

Simple living in a nutshell is living with less. Pardon the French…but it’s something like this…

 Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 11.15.12 AM

It’s living a life consistent with this quote:

best things
I don’t like sharing belly pics for reasons obvious to those going through infertility or loss…also because I’m kinda insecure about my 36 week belly/arms/face/etc but I’m choosing to share this one today because I believe this quote to be so good & so true. Props to Stephanie Michelle Photography for the photo. In the midst of the fear I faced throughout the pregnancy, I’m so glad we stopped to take a few pics.

I’ve always been fascinated with the Amish way of life. I’m fascinated by people who practice “sustainable living”…growing their own vegetables & bartering & leaving teensy carbon footprints. I’m fascinated with the tiny house movement (which we will not be participating in 😉

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Is gardening in my future?? Do I have a green thumb? I’ll let you decide that on your own based on this little story:

Multiple tragic times I’ve been given a potted plant as a gift. My heart sinks when I see the green thing enter my house. Said gift givers see my agony and then smile as they give the same disclaimer I’ve heard so many times, “Don’t worry! This plant “_____insert name I’ll never remember” is super easy to take care of! You couldn’t kill it if you tried.”

Not. True, my friend. I can kill it. Needless to say, I won’t be starting a garden. At least not right now when we have two under three…or ever. Yeah probably never.

But there are about 5 thousand other ways I can simplify, and I’m so intrigued and drawn in…like Marlin and Dory to the “Angler fish.”

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live simply

Thankfully, Kevin is excited about it too. You guys…our house is too big!

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 11.26.25 AM When we bought it two years ago we thought “The bigger the better! We’ll grow into it and have five kids and use every square inch.” But the truth is…we don’t use it or need it right now, so we want to move on! 

Albeit, this isn’t the best sales pitch for our beautiful house…but its undeniable. Want to sell. We want to simplify…and we are doing a happy dance over here about it!

It’s time to give our stuff away. It’s time to downsize. (We’re not like, turning Amish, but moving more toward that end of the spectrum than we are now). I think it’ll be hard at times and I have noooooo idea what it’ll look like, but it definitely means using our time, space and money more efficiently.

Is anyone else drawn to that?! I was afraid at first but now I’m excited, especially cuz it’s oober trendy right now, so there are lots of good resources out there!

These are some of the blogs I like a lot and will be having coffee with in the near future:

Be More With Less

Miss Minimalist

The Simple Year

Slow Your Home

Stay tuned as I keep you updated on our simple living journey. Maybe it’ll inspire you to declutter your life as I declutter mine. It’s gonna feel so good!!

 

Raise your mug this morning (or afternoon) to simple living!

 

 

wanna snoop in my life?

Two weeks from today is opening night! I’m going to be in Quad City Music Guild’s production of Les Miserables, which is totally a bucket list show for theater people. 🙂

I’m a factory girl, a “lovely lady,” a beggar, a grieving sister, and a person excited about the revolution. And the leads in this show are ridic so you should prob get your tickets now. Details here.

Anyway, there’s a line in the show sung by the beautiful Cosette:

“In my life…there are so many things unclear, so many things unknown”
So many things

That’s sorta how I feel right now. The future seems like it could go in so many wild, amazing directions and I’m just along for the ride. Some of the uncertainty, though, totally freaks me out. Here are the 4 areas of life about which I’m feeling nervous and excited for the future:

1) Our house. This one is at the forefront of my mind because we have been cleaning like mad people up in this crib. Crazily enough– the house that me and Kev moved into 1.5 years ago, thinking we would live here forever and raise tons of babies in, has been feeling TOO BIG. Like, we have two kids..(both still practically babies) and 1,300 square feet per person is just a LOT! We had a totally groundbreaking, God-moving conversation a few weeks ago where we both shared that we were feeling led to downsize!!

It was a scary conversation…I might have cried about having to let go of some of the hopes and dreams I initially had for this house, but mostly I was crying thankful tears. I’m so grateful that God moved in BOTH of our hearts. Now future-wise…just feeling a little uncertain! What will showing our house be like while we still live here? Will God bring a buyer? What will actual moving with two toddlers look like? What will our new house be like? Where will it be? Will our new neighbors be as awesome as our current ones? If no one comes to buy it, we’re cool with that too. But we feel like we’re stepping out in faith by putting this house on the market. We’ve done a ton of updates, and feel like selling it would put us in a great financial position to become debt-free, save aggressively, and give generously. These are a few pics of the house if you want to come through it and maybe buy it 😉

House collage

2) #1 leads me to #2. Babies. We always thought we wanted babies…boom boom boom…one right after another. As many as God wanted to give us!! (or 5…probably the lesser of the two). (Hence, moving into a 5 bedroom house.) Now, I keep going back and forth on this one. Part of me thinks there’s something Biblical about the Duggar philosophy…and part of me says (holy mama. I can’t believe I’m typing this) “I think I could be completely content with our two miracle babes.”

I’m not saying I don’t want more babies. BUT, as much as I thought I would be ready to try again by this point (Annabelle being over 1 and pretty darn amiable), I’m just not. And I don’t know when I will feel ready…waiting for God to prepare my heart for that. Obviously, I wouldn’t be upset if I got pregnant…but for right now, I don’t want to hop back on roller-coaster-let’s-try-for-another-baby. #ohmiscarraiagehowifearthee 😦 I love that our family in heaven is big, but I so fear pregnancy. It’s the most intense Love/Hate relationship I have evaaaaa felt. SO, no babies for team Ryan as of right now. As far as we can control it.

3) My writing career. My query letters are at the Ready…Set…when-I-click-send-it’s-GO point. My proposal is being tightened up and edited on a few levels. The first book in my series, “Bearing Hope: Your Inspirational Companion Through the Darkness of Infertility” is in the starting blocks as far as getting an agent/editor goes. On June 7th I will be attending the Write-To-Publish Conference in Wheaton, Illinois and I’m hoping to make some professional contacts and generate some interest in my series. This is a terrifying AND exciting place to be. I know the rejection letters are inevitable, and I’ve actually already gotten one! (Hooray! AND oh crap!) The fears are setting in big time.

The voices in my head chitter chatter back and forth:

“Am I cut out for this?”

“I AM GOING TO BE PUBLISHED”

“I need a more professional website.”

“I CAN DO THIS!”

“My resume is too short.” Etc. etc.

I want to believe in myself with my whole being, but it’s a VERY competitive industry and it’s easy to cop-out and simply give up before I even put myself out there. Why? Because rejection is terrifying. The thing is, I feel called to this. I feel equipped. I feel like I have something amazing to offer, and I am willing to fight an uphill battle to make this happen!!

My book is written in a similar, creatively handwritten style like SARK, and she is a National Best Seller who has been published by RANDOM HOUSE!! If she can do it, I can do it. Plus, I have a gorgeous amazing illustrator named Hannah Slay who has drawn some amazing pics and fonts for me. I KNOW KNOW KNOW my books will change the world for God’s glory! They will change the lives of people walking through infertility, miscarraiges, eating distorders, etc…so it’s WILL happen. It’s just a matter of when…and finding a visionary editor. Will you pray with me for that?!

I am fighting to believe what SARK says: “Have the mentality of ‘they will be lucky to find me.'”

4. My financial representative career. Yesterday I passed my Life Insurance and Disability Insurance exams to become a licensed part of my husband’s financial planning practice! woot woot! My sexy husband, Kevin, has had the honor of growing a thriving practice with Northwestern Mutual since day one of his college intern career 7 years ago. Our dinner conversations have  pretty much been about financial planning for forever, so this is a pretty natural move. It’s also natural because I have already been a part of his team in the marketing aspect for a few months. However, my role is changing for the better. I know I have what it takes to help people in the same way Kevin does, and working in this regard will help expand the reach of his practice and make it more efficient. I am excited tohelp people I care about make wiser and more secure financial decisions!

Kevin’s passion for helping people is contagious, and after a couple years of struggling to find the right person for his team, we made the decision that I will work as an Associate Financial Rep with him for a year or two and see how things progress from there (personally and professionally). The best part is, I’ll still be working part-time hours so I don’t miss a full day with the kids (I’ll miss a few morning hours and then be home when they wake up from their afternoon naps). And bonus: Kev is super fun and easy to work with.

 

SOOOO yeah, Big changes ahead around here.

You guys, life is crazy. We just never know what twists and turns this journey called life is holding. I’m so glad I am surrounded by people who love me, love our kids, and love Jesus. Even with “so many things unclear, so many things unknown” I can hold fast to this passage from Isaiah 46:9-10:

“Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.”

God is in control. It’s all going to be okay. (But I’m definitely wearing a seatbelt because whoa…)

Does anyone else ever experience twists and turns, or is it just me?

It’s a good thing I love change.