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Monday, October 10, 2011


Photo Source: Pinterest.

I am living out of a suitcase.  

My three children are sharing a full-size bed and just about all of our belongings are shoved in a 10’ x 20’ storage unit, balanced dangerously and teetering hither and yon.  To make it worse, we unloaded the moving truck in the dark and several of the items that were meant to stay out of storage (um, like, checkbooks and passports, business cards and stamps, conference tickets and cute dresses and school supplies) were packed away and buried in the rubble... and no luck so far on trying to retrieve any of it without completely unpacking the darn thing.

This is unnerving, especially because, after much scramble regarding employment here in Oregon, we’ve determined that, although we are blessed beyond measure to both be gainfully employed (and for me to work at home – hallelujah!), for several reasons, we’re better off staying put at my mother-in-law’s house for awhile.

Like, staying a few months when I was really banking on (and packing for) a few weeks.

I am having a hard time rolling with the punches on this one.

Not because I don’t like being here.  Actually, I love, love, love my in-laws and couldn’t really think of any place I’d rather have to shack up like teenage parents (which, for the record, we're decades away from being).  But living in someone else's home goes against my very strong instinct to nest (no, I’m not pregnant) and putz about, fluffing this and straightening that, hanging curtains and wall decor, introducing my DIY-creations to their proper locations... and making a home.  And my guilty conscience makes it hard to feel like I'm okay here, that I'm not being a burden, or stepping on toes, or creating a hassle for anyone. 

The antidote to living in transition is, for me, to settle down and make a home.

Alas, I cannot.

This year, I will probably not get to decorate my home for Christmas.  I will not bake in my own kitchen, or set up my office to watch my kids run around the back yard while I work.  I will find, several times every day, that the outfit or nail polish or legal document I desperately need is packed away and I’ll have to live without it.

A few tears were shed when I realized that my Bible, devotional, current Bible study, and favorite commentary also managed to get (accidentally) packed away.  Six days without my Bible was remedied by six bucks at a local bookstore, and had me sniffing the pages and holding the thing close to my heart, soaking up the Scriptures even with closed covers, filling with the words inside like osmosis, gripping the paperback make-do like the precious possession that it is.

I’ll be heading to Relevant ’11 in a few weeks, and, bummer, despite my plans for a put-together-girl on display, it looks like I’ll have to head out there with just the comfy clothes I had packed for a few weeks at grandmas.  No high heels.  No cute jewelry.  Some jeans, my camera, and a pair of gray Chuck Taylor’s are about all I’ll wind up there with, I’m afraid.  You’ll love me anyway, won’t you?

I’m taking the opportunity to prove to myself all the things I can live without when I really need to, to count it blessing that we have this opportunity and that our belongings are only temporarily in storage and not incinerated in a house fire, or vandalized in a burglary.  It’s all only stuff, after all.  So I’ll rejoice in less cooking and house cleaning for the time (since I have others to share that responsibility with here).  It will be good for my soul, too, to go to Relevant without knowing anyone, and wearing no disguise – just me, myself, and my Chucks to show y’all the real Slim Shady Whimsy Smitten, in my grubby-girl finest.  Something tells me I’ll be welcomed with open arms anyway, and that, my friends, will do a girl good.

Counting, still numberless, today, all the gifts that keep on giving.  Linking up with Ann, and all the others counting, counting away. 

-          Husband, hired!
-          Starting work myself soon (later this week, probably).
-          The graciousness of my in-laws.
-          Our anniversary on Thursday, six years of marriage, ten years together.
-          Reading A Confident Heart by Renee Swope.
-          An opportunity to learn more about simplicity.
-          Conference tickets that are re-printable.
-          Being able to afford a plane ticket to Pennsylvania and a hotel room at Relevant, even while being in between jobs and during a tight financial time for us.
-          A beautiful drive this weekend, soaking up the beauty here I’ve missed for so long.
-          Discovering an omission error in my husband’s veteran’s benefits documentation that will be $150 in our favor every single month for the rest of my husband’s life.
-          My kids absolutely loving being at their new/old school.
-          Hot, middle-of-the-afternoon coffee, and weather chilly enough to enjoy it.
-          So much peace and family time, lately.
-          My kids, getting to spend time on a regular basis now with their grandparents and great-grandparents.
-          Our boys back in Texas, apparently doing okay with the transition of new houseparents.
-          Returning to our home church again yesterday.
-          Big, busy dinners, full of laughter… and lots of leftovers.  
-          Provision, in all the ways it comes. 


  1. hi Cara!

    i popped over from the comment you left--thanks for visiting and for your kind words.

    loved this post--a few parts i was chuckling at and even though i wanted to laugh, i couldn't because i was just so mesmerized by your writing. 

    i loved celebrating six years of marriage, because i believe in the sacredness of marriage, and we just celebrated our (11th) anniversary as well! happy anniversary!

    blessings new friend!


  2. Greetings Cara, I'm so glad I found you through Ann today.  You may be feeling a little out of sync with the place you're in and the things you're missing, but you certainly have a disarming way of making a new reader feel welcome!  I'll be back often!

  3. What a sweet comment, Shaunie.  Thanks for your kind words.  And please do visit often.  It makes my day to know you came by.  Be blessed, new friend!

  4. Nacole, thanks for visiting and for your nice words!  Happy anniversary to you, too!  Eleven years is definitely worth celebrating!   

  5. That must be difficult. I know regardless of how much you love your family, it's tough to live with them - especially with kids in the picture too. But how blessed we (I count myself in there too) are to have loved ones so close and so willing that when it's needed they open their homes and their hearts extra wide to help through. Prayers for you as you continue to transition - even though it's longer than you anticipated.

  6. This must be hard.  What a great opportunity to discover how much you can live without.  Blessings on your trip to Relevant '11.

  7. We lived with my in-laws for a few months during our transition from city to farm. It was crazy, but we made a lot of amazing memories. A few years later, my father-in-law passed away, so those memories are very dear to us.

  8. That being said, I also remember very well the feelings you describe here. It's hard to live in someone's home. I felt in the way a lot, even though my mother-in-law assured me that I wasn't.

  9. I just love your honesty, here I am sitting in a tiny bedroom in a home that is not my own, living with my husband and my two children under the age of 2. We are living with my husband's parents, his grandparents, his great aunt and his brother. Did I mention I have 2 children under 2? So tears streaming down my face while reading this post, because I often feel so alone in feeling sad about living out of boxes, not being able to cook in my own kitchen, not decorating and just not feeling like I belong or own anything anymore. So glad to have read this and to be reminded there are so many blessings to consider given the circumstances. =)


Your comments are such an encouragement. Thank you for sharing your valuable words.