Saturday, March 20, 2010

Be It Ever So Humble.....

Sometimes, I think God just lines things up in my Google Reader to make a point to me. Is that weird?

First a little background......

I love my little house. But some days I do not.

We will probably be in this house for another five years. We will probably have another baby in this house.

I hate to say this, because I realize there are SO many people in our country with way bigger families that are living in like one bedroom apartments (and much worse all over the world)....

BUT, I do like to keep things real on my blog. So, I'm just going to be vulnerable here. Some days I really struggle with jealousy because the vast majority of our friends that are in our situation (married with at least one child) are either in, or about to be in, either their "intermediate" house or their "dream house". Some of these families have dual incomes, but many do not. Anyway, I'm ashamed to say it, but it's sometimes hard for me not to worry about "keeping up with the Joneses". I need to work on not being so envious of others.

I married someone who is very dedicated to meeting our financial goals (paying off school/car debt, saving sensibly, and giving generously) and I have worked really hard to make these goals my priorities, too. In all honesty, I don't feel like I've made any huge sacrifices. But the biggest one has defiantly been living in a house below our means. It is something that I'm very proud of (clearly, I should work on not being prideful, too).

In many ways, I've gotten attached to this house and will be pretty sad when it comes time to leave it. I don't know if I would feel that way if we hadn't brought our first child home to it. But I do now. Obviously, it is not all bad and I really do LOVE it. And, my, having the narsty carpet gone has done wonders!

Really, the main thing that has been hard lately is storage. I don't feel like the house is super small, but the storage is AWFUL. It just doesn't have closets like a new house does. It is pretty crammed with all our stuff (which is definitely indicative of the fact that we have too much stuff), so I get pretty stressed out when I think of living here with another child one day. I try to be *really* organized, which is something I love to do anyway, and make the most of EVERY space. I'm going to do a whole post on that one day soon.

Anyway, three out of four of my closest friends that are currently in "family mode" (i.e. making/raising babies) have either upgraded their living situation or are in the process and I was really struggling with some jealousy over it. In fact, just the other night a friend was saying something about the furniture from her "starter home" and I thought "yeah, this sucks, five years from now, I'm going to be thirty and have two kids and still be in my starter house". [I can't tell you how hard that was to admit. I feel like a total brat. It really makes me sick.]

Well, here's where the Lord must have thought I needed a little convicting. First, I read this post written by one of my best friend's best friends (does that make sense?). And then tonight I was reading this on Angie Smith's blog and she was asking for prayers about their moving to a new house that is much SMALLER than their current one, just as they are getting ready to add a fourth child to their family. They just felt led to downsize. She didn't say this in the post, but in a tweet she had mentioned that all four of her girls might be sharing a room. I am ashamed to say I have fought Peyton over the possibility of our second child having to share a room with Ann Peyton (whenever that time comes). And the night before last, I stumbled across this post from Girl's Gone Child about a brother and a sister who share a room. See what I mean about things lining up? I just felt a little prick on my heart.

One thing Angie said in her post is that she was very surprised when she found out as a young college-bound woman how much income her father actually made. It got me thinking.....wouldn't it be neat if Ann Peyton never really knew how much money we had (not that Peyton makes an extravagant amount, or anything)? But, then, I'm not so sure. I'd kind of like to bring her up knowing that we are intentionally living below our means for certain specific reasons. I'd like her to know that carrying debt is not something we believe in. That we'd like to pay cash for our next car, and hopefully our next house. That we are saving for her college, her wedding, and our retirement. Perhaps most importantly, that we try to live sacrificially so that we can bless others generously.

I have a long way to go if that is what I hope for her to see in me. My actions are not always close to that and clearly, my heart has not been in the right place. I have so much to be thankful for and yet it took couple of silly blog posts to remind me.

Happy the home when God is there,
And love fills every breast;
When one their wish, and one their prayer,
And one their heav’nly rest.

Happy the home where Jesus’ Name
Is sweet to every ear;
Where children early speak His fame,
And parents hold Him dear.

Happy the home where prayer is heard,
And praise each day does rise;
Where parents love the sacred Word
And all its wisdom prize.

Lord, let us in our homes agree
This bless├Ęd peace to gain;
Unite our hearts in love to Thee,
And love to all will reign.


Christy said...

I struggle with the same thing you do. I am 27, Clay is almost 30 and we have moved 6 times in our 8 year marriage. In those 6 times we have bought 3 homes. ALL of them are starter homes! We could live in a more expensive house but would then be house poor and we can't do that and raise 3 or more children. I know this intellectually but it is SO hard when the majority of my friends have large, beautiful, magazine worthy homes. I struggle with envy very often because I think why can't I have that?! Will and Layton will have to share a room and I was just pouting over that last night to Clay. I am such a baby. I am very impressed that you have the guts to post about this because i think many, many women are in the same situation. I am impressed that you and Peyton are saving and living wisely-Clay and I did not do this the first five years of our marriage and as a result we have debt that we are struggling to get rid of.
Anyway, I wrote this novel to say that I understand how you feel and thank you for writing about it! :)

Megan said...

Thank you for sharing this so honestly. I'm not in my "starter house" yet but I already feel some of these jealousies-- I really enjoy your blog!

Ashley said...

I hope I've never said anything that could come across the wrong way about us moving soon! Fact of the matter is, we'll actually still be living beneath our means too. And I can already tell that we might have some storage issues, simply because it's an older home.

I'm proud of you for posting this! It's SO HARD to admit jealousy or even a hint of "wistfulness." I deal with it ALL the time!

Allison said...

I can definitely see how this could be a struggle, seeing that all of your friends are so well off. Honestly, though, it's SO crazy for me to read that people our age are in their dream homes! Personally, I'm so jealous that you own a house at all. We looked into buying a couple months ago (granted, homes are a little more expensive in Denver than MS), and we decided we couldn't afford the mortgage payments. I wanted a house SO badly, and I was almost willing to give up our financial stability for one. But then, I just had to step back, get some perspective, and realize that it's not something I NEED right now. Anyway, just wanted to say that I can see how you'd be jealous of your friends for their bigger, nicer homes, but just know that there's at least one girl who's jealous of yours :).