Weekend Favorites: Home

I always enjoy coming home after being away on vacation for awhile. 

I like my own bed, and I like my clothes hanging in a closet instead of packed up in a suitcase.

I like getting back to our usual schedule.

We had our usual Saturday morning pancakes.

The girls were very happy to be reunited with their toys.

And they spent some time getting reacquainted with snow.

Which meant hot chocolate was also necessary.

It’s good to be home.

What do you miss when you’re away from home?

34 Days of Favorites: Home

I heard a song the other day which started with this line:

They say one day you’ll look out your door, and you’ll find you’re right where you belong. (“How I Love You”, by Rob Laufer)

And then I almost started crying.

Because that line speaks of the longing I’ve felt for a few months. It promises that transition will pass, and everything will settle into place, so slowly and surely that you won’t even know it’s happening.

I would very much like to look out my door, and find I’m right where I belong.

I think we’re getting there.

Right now, when I look out my door, I see weeds everywhere, half-finished houses, trucks parked randomly all over the place (sometimes on our yard, which crushes our beautiful weeds! Oh, no!), and lots of shirtless construction workers, which I’m getting really tired of.

When I told Ben this the other day, I said something like, “I can’t wait for the day when I can look out our windows, and NOT see half-naked men everywhere outside our house.”

Ben thought this sounded as though these half-naked men were standing right outside our windows, peeking in, and suggested that maybe I was being a little extreme.

Whatever. Let’s just say I’ll be thankful when the construction is finished, our street settles down, and we all plant some grass. Looking out my door will be more pleasant at that point.

I do have to say that despite the construction and weeds, this is feeling more and more like home all the time, and I am extremely thankful for the growing sense of belonging.

And I love our house. I really, really love our house. When listing my favorites of this past year, a new house would definitely have to make it on the list.

This is the second time Ben and I have been part of the building process, and I love it so much, I would do it again! It can be very stressful, and there are seemingly endeless amounts of decisions to make. A few times, it did feel as though I might lose it completely, and run out of the flooring store, wringing my hands and weeping because I couldn’t make one more big decision.

But now it is done, and it’s our, and it’s home. Love, love, and love.

I think my favorite thing about our house is that it looks like us. That sounds completely strange, but what I mean is when you come in the door, you see spread out before you everything that Ben and Kendra love. (Maybe a bit more Kendra than Ben….but I think our taste is similar enough that he’s happy with the outcome, too!)

It is open and bight and airy. The windows are huge and let in a ton of light. Dark floors, white kitchen, calm soothing colors, everything that makes me happy. (Some of it is a pain to clean, but I will choose to focus on loving the way it looks, and being thankful for all things Norwex.)

And I realize we’re spoiled rotten. Being able to build a new home not once, but twice, is really amazing.

Ben dreams of wild and crazy adventures all over the world, and I dream of growing old in Niverville, living in this house and growing apple trees in our backyard.

We’ll see what happens.ūüôā

In the meantime, I have to say that coming home to this house has been a highlight of the last year for me.

Maybe looking out my front door is not a beautiful experience, but coming in the front door definitely is!

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Okay, your turn! Tell me what you love about coming home.

And here’s the list of the favorites we’ve covered so far:

Counting Blessings

New Recipe

Quote

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

Breakfast

Lunch

Supper

Sleep Habits

Body Brushing

Pinterest

New Camera

New Friends

Serious Music

Happy Music

Apple Cider Vinegar

Movies

Smiling

TV Show

Books

Clothing

Daddy’s Home to Play

Ben is home again, and we will live happily ever after.

Kaylia set right to work playing the “Bed Game” with Daddy. Ben is still very tired from his trip, so he thought “Bed Game” was perfect. For Kaylia, it’s all about getting tucked into someone’s bed (our bed, Anika’s bed, she’s not picky), and arranging the blankets and pillows just so, and then pretending to sleep, or hide, or play with toys.

It’s very relaxing.

We hope “Bed Game” continues for a long, long time…

Travelling Home

I love coming home.

Driving 2 hours to get anywhere is sometimes a big pain, but often, it is such a great time to unwind, and leave behind all of the busyness.

By the time we pull up the camp driveway, it almost feels like we’re entering another world – the smooth lake to my right, the homey lodge lights straight ahead, and scattered throughout are happy people talking, laughing, and relaxing.

And then we get to our house, and there really is nothing in the world like getting home.

I am very thankful for all that we’ve been able to do while we’ve been gone -seeing family and friends, and getting things done in the city, but I am so happy to be home!

Chocolate Cheerios, and other disturbing things

Kaylia and I went on a little shopping trip to Superstore today, and I saw something really disturbing.

I saw Chocolate Cheerios.

So, I realize that there are many, many other disgustingly sugary cereals out there, and some of them are also chocolate. But seeing those Chocolate Cheerios was just another reminder of the fact that in our world, we need to wait for absolutely nothing.

We have microwaves so that we don’t need for food to thaw, or even heat up on the stove or in the oven. We have email so that we don’t need to wait for mail. Starbucks even has instant coffee so that not only do you not need to drive to a Starbucks for Starbucks coffee, you don’t even need to wait for it while you make it at home, because it’s instant.

And you don’t need to wait for dessert anymore, because breakfast is dessert.

That’s kind of gross, actually. I’m not even referring to the fact that eating Chocolate Cheerios for breakfast is gross. I’m talking about the disturbing fact that there’s actually a demand for that kind of thing.

So you look at the world around us, where everything is instant, and it’s no wonder that there’s very little patience for anything. Kids grow up even faster than they used to, and don’t wait to do things that they should be waiting for, and innocence is not desirable anymore.

And we can go to the store and buy Chocolate Cheerios.

But my favorite thing in all of this is that we get a choice. Those things may be happening all around us, but we still get to choose if we’re going to go along with it.

I can choose not to buy Chocolate Cheerios, and I can choose to make healthy breakfasts from scratch. I can choose to slow down, and learn patience, and embrace innocence for our girls, because it’s up to us to determine what our home will look like. We make a safe little haven in the midst of craziness, and we don’t chase naivity, but we go after an enchanting childhood, and a place to rest and relax and rejuvenate, before heading out into the big wide world once more.

I’m really glad there’s a choice. We’ll choose to skip the Chocolate Cheerios, among other things.

Anika’s Camp Experience

She says she’s having a great time. She hugs us wildly whenever she sees us. But she doesn’t see us a lot of the time, because she’s too busy having fun.

And I think I’m ready for her to come home! I’m looking forward to tucking her in at night, and combing her hair, and making sure she doesn’t eat candy until she feels sick. I’m looking forward to having all her energy and drama back in our house – it’s too quiet around here!

Pure Bliss and Joy…Kind of…

WE ARE HOME!! It’s felt like a looong two weeks. We are quite giddy about being back, but we have come home to some chaos. While we were gone, the flooring was redone in our house, and although the work crew tried to put everything back in the right place, that’s kind of a difficult job….They did their best. But I still¬† have some major work to do!

So. I love the new flooring. I’m super thankful for all the work everyone did to get it done while we were gone. But I’m itching to get my house in order. THEN I will truly feel settled. (Anika says, “It doesn’t really feel like our house!”) But it’s like a treasure hunt! The girls will be searching for their toys all day….

Been Thinking About Greenhouses

Paul Scanlon is a pastor in the UK who writes:

“Our native environment is not the church: it’s the world – not the comfortable club, but the dangerous ocean. We were born to thrive in the adversity and hostility of a broken world. Like fish, who do better in water, we do better among a lost world because, like fish, we were designed to always stay in that native environment. Remove a fish from the water and it dies. Remove a flower from the soil and it dies. Remove the church from the world and we die.”¬† (from The Love Revolution, p. 144)

I feel like I’m a fish who has grown up in the comfortable club.

I was raised in a Christian home, lived in a small Mennonite town where almost everybody was a Christian, and went to a school where almost everybody was a Christian. The question was not “Should I go to church?” but rather, “Which one of the Mennonite churches in this town should I go to?”

Then I left to go to Bible school for 3 years. Once I was done there, I taught piano in a Christian school, married Ben, and moved to another Mennonite town where he became a youth pastor.

And now, we have entered the most sheltered environment of all, a Bible camp in the middle of nowhere.

Sometimes that bothers me.

Sure, the nearest town is about as unchurched as you can get, but it’s 20 minutes away. We don’t really “rub shoulders” with the world on a regular basis.

I have nothing against Christian “bubbles” – there is an important time and purpose for them. And I know that many, many people have been blessed in life-changing ways because of the ministry of Red Rock Bible Camp. It is so amazing to have a quiet place to get away to where you can slow down, be surrounded by nature, and experience God in ways that you often can’t in the regular busyness of life.

But living at camp has made me see how important it is to remain in the bubble only for a time.

We need to come away from everything so that we can be refreshed and strengthened to go out into it all again.

That’s the point.

Ben and I have often talked about how Red Rock is like a greenhouse. Plants can thrive in a greenhouse because they get the perfect amount of sunshine, the perfect amount of water, the perfect temperature. Everything is controlled in that environment to provide the optimal experience for growth. The plants grow big and strong so that they can be planted out in the real world with a “head start”.

photo © 2008 Wendy Piersall (via: Wylio)

There is an important purpose for a greenhouse.

And so I think that sometimes Christians need “greenhouses” too.

But only for a time. And then it’s so important to get back out into the real world, before we start to think that the comfortable, safe, “easy-to-grow-in” environment is actually “normal”.

I think I’ve forgotten what “normal” is. Actually, I change that – I don’t think I’ve ever fully known what “normal” is. I am so very thankful for the life that God has blessed me with – the home I grew up in, my parents, the churches I attended, my Christian friends – but these days I’m asking myself what I’m going to do with it. I’m like the plant in the greenhouse wondering how it will survive in the real world.

It reminds me of playing Prisoner’s Base. Two teams, each team has their own line, and you keep trying to tag people from the other team. Whoever was on their own side of the line most recently is “freshest” and can tag other people who have been out in the middle longer, who aren’t as “fresh”.

So you run around yelling “Fresher!” at the top of your lungs. If you just hang out around home base, it’s a really boring game. You miss out on all the excitement and action.

Camps are great and churches are great, but I’m just feeling like it’s been a really long time since I’ve gone running out into the world yelling “Fresher!” at the top of my lungs. I’ve been swimming in the safe, comfortable waters, instead of in the dangerous ocean. I’m not blaming this on camp or churches – I’ve chosen to stay in my comfort zone. It was all I knew how to do. And learning new stuff can be scary. Excuses? Yes.

But I’m realizing that while fantastic quiet times with God, or amazing times of prayer and worship with other Christians feeds me and helps me to grow stronger, it can’t be the end of how I live out my life of faith. The point of being a Christian is not just to try to increase my own level of “holiness” or to continually bask in the glow of knowing that Jesus loves me, just for the sake of feeling great about it.

It’s not supposed to be like Tupperware, keeping the freshness all sealed up inside.

So how can I live in the bubble of camp and not feel like Tupperware?

How can I make the most of this “greenhouse experience” while still realizing that it is most definitely not “normal”?

And when the time comes, will I learn to thrive in the dangerous ocean when I’ve never really done it before?

These are the questions I’m asking myself these days…

So how about you? Do you feel like you need to get away from the craziness of life, and have a greenhouse experience? Or do you feel like your life has been a bit too sheltered, and you’re longing to get out into the ocean? Or maybe you’re completely comfortable swimming in the dangerous ocean, and you could give me some tips!

Pictures From Our Weekend

We had such a fun time with family this weekend. We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving last weekend, so we headed out to my parents’ on Friday.¬† My family tends to just meet at my parents’ cabin here in the Whiteshell all summer, so it was nice to go back “home” for a change. We also haven’t been to my sister and brother-in-law’s in forever, so we spent the day with them on Saturday, which was so much fun.

All the girls went out for lunch (but we left Kaylia at the house, because I was worried about all of her energy in a dainty tea house.) Anika was so excited about the experience that she barely ate.

Amber is a regular customer, so she calmly took in the whole experience, and ate everything on her plate:

Then Wally gave us a tour of his workplace. Just recently, I was explaining to Anika how Uncle Wally makes books, which pretty much amazed her. She asked if she could see for herself how it was done, because that would be, in her words, “a wonder!!” It was a wonder…

I loved spending time with my sister, and the guys went golfing, and it was just a really nice, very full day!

On Sunday, we were at my parents’, and had our Thanksgiving meal with some birthday cake for desert! Anika turns seven this week:

So it was fun and relaxing, and just great to be with family. I love bringing our little girls to the place where I was a little girl.