The Silence of Saturday

I didn’t write anything for Easter.

It’s not that I wasn’t inspired to share about the grace I’ve experienced because of God’s love. It’s not that I don’t want to tell everyone who’ll listen that once I was blind, but now I see. Once I was lost and in despair and now I’m filled with hope. Once I felt worthless and broken and now I have a reason to go on.

It’s not that.

All weekend I read blogs and articles and posts declaring the love of God. Believers around the world shouted out the good news – that we don’t need to be ashamed because God has freed us from our sin. Our sin and guilt can be washed away!

And I could only think of those without shame, who don’t feel guilty. Those who are fundamentally insulted by the idea that they need a savior. Those who see God as cruel and petty and small.

Like the man who wrote this: “If, for whatever cruel twist of fate, the God of the Bible exists, I want no part of him. I, along with what I hope is the vast majority of humanity, am better than him. I know more than he ever taught. I see beyond horizons that he could never reach. I love more genuinely than He. I help more than He. I understand myself better than He ever could. I see planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies just on the edge of humanity’s perception. I can even sometimes catch a small glimpse of our universe, and all the wonder and beauty it holds. Your God is too small for me.”

I know people like this. I love people like this. And why not? The idea that we have done wrong is uncomfortable. And let’s face it, most of us haven’t done anything we consider sinful. Murder, theft, adultery, these aren’t part of who we are. Any wrongs we’ve done can be explained away – I was young, people do things like that all the time, it didn’t hurt anyone.

Why would I choose a faith that includes the idea that I am fundamentally bad and in need of saving?

There are answers to these questions. I know them. I can rebut the bad theology that says God is vengeful and angry. I can show how the Bible, while not a science book, in no way contradicts modern discoveries. I can point to the undeniable complexities of our existence as proof of intelligent design. I can show by scripture and testimony how God loves more genuinely and selflessly, knows more, sees more, is more than any person. I can apologize and preach until I’ve run out of words but when I look into the faces of those who can’t fathom a God who is bigger than their understanding I am crushed by it. I don’t want to fight it. I don’t want to explain. It feels too hard, and I am well aware that anything I say will be met with derision and scorn.

So, no. My heart hurts so deeply, but I don’t see the point of trying to reach them. Besides, I hate conflict and don’t like being sneered at, so no thank you very much.

Then I remember Barabbas.

He’s the guy in the Easter story who seems a little out of place. He’s thrown in as a plot point, a last-ditch effort for Pilate to get out of being responsible for Jesus’ death. Right? He was just this anonymous guy, even his name means simply, “son of the father”. He’s a guy who apparently hated the Romans, not too unusual, and who made some poor life choices. He may have incited rioting against the Roman government; he certainly was a murderer. He was undoubtedly deserving of his punishment, in fact I assert that Pilate chose him as the alternate to Jesus because of this. I think he really believed the Jewish people would choose for Jesus to be released rather than Barabbas because of his reputation and violent past. But they don’t; he gets out of his death sentence, and no doubt he’s thrilled. The chains are removed and he descends into the cheering crowd and we don’t hear any more about him.

Barabbas gets his freedom, Jesus gets the cross. We can all see the parallels – Barabbas is us. But there’s something more. The chains are removed and he descends into the cheering crowd and we don’t hear any more about him. We have no evidence that he turned his life around, or even that he felt any remorse or gratitude for the fact that an innocent man died in his place. None.

God knew this would be the outcome. He knew Barabbas would walk into his freedom and never glance back. But he did it anyway. He loved the guy who walked away. He loves the people who scorn and sneer and don’t believe and mock him and put him down. All the way to the cross, he stumbles and falls and loves. He prays for the guards dragging him up the hill and the crowds shouting at him, and every fragile, self-made person to ever walk the earth, before or after that day.

………….

Saturday is my favorite day of Easter week. Maybe that seems odd; it’s the day nothing happens. Jesus is in the tomb, everybody is either grieving or freaking out, and uncertainty and despair are the mood of the day. But I love that it’s a day of reflection. A day to remember that conquering death was no easy feat; that it cost something very dear. This last Saturday, Barabbas was on my mind. The original, and me, and all the Barabbases that walk through the world certain of their own superiority.

I don’t know how to reach them. I understand intellectual superiority – I’m guilty of it and I’m not that smart. I don’t know how I would reach me if I were on the other side. But I know that if I were, I would want someone to try.

So this year, in the silence of Saturday, during the pause, when everything felt like a universal breath-holding waiting for Sunday, I prayed not for the unreached or those seeking, because we all know that everyone who seeks, finds. I prayed for those who don’t want to be reached. I prayed for wisdom and gentleness and words that aren’t derogatory or superior or offensive. I prayed for everyone I know who can’t see because they don’t want to see. I prayed that all the stupid, hurtful things that have been done to them and around them in the name of Jesus would be made right.

And I prayed for myself, for the courage not to hide in my own corner. It’s so much easier and more comfortable to live in my echo chamber where everyone agrees with me. It’s so much nicer in here.

Unfortunately, nice and comfy are not in the Bible.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:9-12 

 “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

 

A Letter to My Daughters on Internet Selfies

Don’t put naked pictures on the internet. The end.

Kidding! Totally not the end. I’ve got a lot to say about this.

We live in a very strange world. It’s so incomprehensibly different than it was when I was your age, and I know I really don’t understand what it’s like to be an adolescent right now. I’m sorry for that. I so often wish I could stop this mad world and turn things back to when you didn’t need to worry that the entire world would get a glimpse of your life through your Instagram feed. Back before people were famous just for being famous; before the competition to be the popular became a lifestyle. Before ordinary people could use filters to make their lives appear to be something they’re not. Before decency and modesty and class went out of style. But I can’t.

And you know what? This messed-up, crazy, broken, brilliant world? I love it so much. I hope you do, too. There is so much good.

But back to being naked online.

Here’s the thing. I’m not going to tell you not to post nude selfies because it’s indecent (although it is) or because I can’t stand exhibitionism (although I can’t). I’m not going to ask you not to do this because it’s classless and base and voyeuristic, although it is all of those things.

I’m asking you not to post nude pictures of yourself on the internet because you live in a world where 90% of the people who know you, don’t really know you. They know the internet personality you have put out there. They know one facet of you.

A diamond is beautiful because it is multi-faceted. It is cut so that it’s many faces catch the light and send it back, sparkling and glowing, into the world. If you have just one of those facets, its beauty is gone. A single facet is like a pane of glass – rather boring but valuable because it lets us see through it. Your one facet that you show to the world on Twitter is like a pane of glass. No one who sees it knows the brilliance of who you are in all your facets. They only see this one window into you.

There’s nothing wrong with that. In life you’ll find that your people come in spheres. A vast number of people will be in the outer sphere, far from your true self, only seeing the piece of you that you show them. A smaller number will know there are more sides to you. They’ll see more of your facets, but not all. A very, very select few will ever know all of you, and I pray desperately that those people will see the glorious beauty of who you are.

When you post a picture of yourself on the internet, you are choosing a facet to give to the world. This is true of every tweet, every Facebook update, every everything you do. The key is to stop and consider – what side of myself am I showing? If this picture (post, whatever) were the only thing someone knew of me, what would they think? Because for many, many people, that picture is the only thing they will know of you.

Will they think you’re funny? Smart? Surrounded by good friends? Really good at decorating your room? Compassionate? Tender? Hard-working? All good things. Some are shallow, but let’s face it – pretty much everything on Instagram is shallow.

On the other hand, will that one picture of you make them think you’re vain? A show off? Shameless? Cruel? Lazy?

If it seems unfair that people will judge you based on a single picture, you’re starting to get my point. You might insist that you aren’t lazy or vain, and that if people only knew you they would understand that – but they won’t. They’ll only know that one piece of you that you present to them.

So post carefully. But also remember that no matter what you post, if you make a mistake and send something into the void that you wish you could take back, I will be here for you. I’ll have your back. We’ll walk that out together, because I see you as the whole, incredible, marvelous, beautiful, wonderful person you are. Every facet.

I love you,

Mom

 

Becoming Disciples

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.  Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.  But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” 

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!  There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NLT

Believe me when I say that I understand busy. I have six children. My oldest goes to a college preparatory middle school, so she has three hours of homework almost every night. Which means I have homework every night. My next four are home-schooled. I don’t think I need to qualify that; suffice to say I do a lot of stuff during the day. And I have an 18 month old, so my house is regularly torn apart by a two-foot tall tyrant.

My husband is a pastor, which means that he only gets one day off per week and we can’t afford to hire help.

For years I envisioned myself becoming a disciple of Jesus. My visions were generally of me, early in the morning, before anyone else was awake, sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee, swaddled in a warm blanket, enjoying the peace and quiet of a clean house, reading my bible and taking notes. Or when everyone was napping or reading, the afternoon sun pouring in through the windows, in a clean, quiet house, with my cup of coffee at the dining room table.

The problem was, I thought the clean, quiet house was the precursor to my time with Jesus. I thought I had to do things in the right order – first get myself organized and calm and then dive in to Jesus. First do the work, then relax with the word. This is backwards! I can have my coffee, thanks to Keurig, but expecting to achieve a Pottery Barn photo shoot in my living room as a predicate to following Christ is ridiculous. I think this comes from a childhood of having ‘work first, play later’ drilled into my brain. What I had forgotten was that studying God’s word is not play. It’s not optional. It’s not the icing. It’s foundational to everything else that will happen in my life.

Expecting to achieve a Pottery Barn photo shoot in my living room as a predicate to following Christ is ridiculous.

The disciples of Jesus’ day didn’t have it all together. They lived on the road, staying with whomever would have them, moving on at a moment’s notice. Jesus would say, “Let’s go across the lake,” or “Today we’re going to Bethlehem,” and off they went. They were dusty and footsore and had no plan for next year, or even next month. (I honestly wonder if this is why His closest disciples were men. All the women I know would go crazy with a lifestyle like that.)

Their chaotic and unpredictable life didn’t stop them from sitting at the feet of Jesus. They drew near to hear His voice in the midst of their busy, crazy lives.

My quiet time may not be Instagram-ready, (you really, really want to click that link) but that’s not the point. The point is time with Jesus. Learning, listening, growing, building toward the future He has for me. Becoming the person He designed me to be. Figuring out what the heck I’m doing by allowing myself to be guided by the Holy Spirit. In the middle of the mess, in the middle of the chaos, in the middle of life. 

So today I’m putting my priorities in order. I’m ignoring the laundry that needs to be folded and the random stuff all over the living room floor and I’m spending some time nourishing myself first. I’m remembering that me and my soul are more important than anything else in this beautiful life. It feels awkward. And a little indulgent, I’m not going to lie. But I’m doing it anyway.

So should you.

Brieana

 

 

 

 

Why We Celebrate Halloween

This post originally ran on October 24, 2013. Apparently, I am currently a one-post-per-quarter kind of blogger. I don’t mean it to be this way, but it happens. I have many, many ideas and thoughts I’d love to share with you, so if you’re the patient type, stick with me. And if you’re working on a mind-to-blog app, could you speed it up a little? 

Love, Brieana

Don’t mess with Halloween Jesus.

Around this time of year there are always questions about whether or not Christians should participate in Halloween activities, due to their pagan roots. It’s true that Halloween has a rather sordid past, with pagan-practicing communities performing rites to ward off evil spirits. Here’s a quote from history.com:

It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating.

Many Christians feel it’s not okay to participate in Halloween festivities because they were, originally, decidedly un-Christian. Before we start in on Halloween, let’s look around our culture at some other customs that have pagans roots.

Let’s clarify – I’m not saying we should now spend the weekend Googling to find the pagan roots of common things in our lives and then purge ourselves. My point is simply to give perspective. There are many things in modern American culture that were at one time part of pagan worship, but the spiritual aspect of those acts has long since died away.

I found a fantastic article from Grace Communion International outlining some Biblical perspective on dealing with paganism. A few excerpts:

In Deuteronomy 12, God, through Moses, tells us: “Be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, `How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.’ You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.”

Do these verses mean that we cannot do anything pagans did in worship? Of course not, for pagans prayed, sang hymns, played musical instruments, and some baptized by immersion. They also had priesthoods, special garments, temples, altars and sacrifices. They had annual festivals in conjunction with the agricultural seasons. None of these practices are wrong. Some are even part of Christianity.

Pagans also had many funeral customs, such as embalming, ceremonies and giving of flowers. Even though these common customs were shaped by non-Christian ideas about the afterlife, and these customs continue to be used by non-Christians, we may, and do, use them in Christian ceremonies without indicating any agreement with the originating beliefs.

In the United States, no one would think it odd for a Christian to have a small ornamental figurine of a bird or animal. In Moses’ day, however, such statues would have been inappropriate. Whether something has pagan connotations is often cultural. What is acceptable in one nation or century may be frowned upon in another. But we do not have to be restricted by erroneous concepts of the past.

We can make decisions about embalming, burial, caskets, crypts, cremation and flowers without having to investigate which of these customs originated in paganism. It is even possible to use these things in religious ceremonies without fear of contamination or compromise.

Of course, some people are uncomfortable with customs such as wedding rings and cremation. Others are not. Different people draw their “lines” in different places, but they need to respect each other’s beliefs. The advice of Romans 14:6-13 applies to such matters: “He who participates does so to the Lord. He who abstains does so to the Lord. So then, why do you judge your brother? Each of us has to give our own account to God. Therefore, do not pass judgment on one another, and do not put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Halloween. I have a deep dislike for scary, gory stuff. Last year I offered to buy each of my kids a bag of candy and pay them $10 to skip it. Sadly, they passed.

For us, Halloween is a great chance to get to know our neighbors and build relationships in the community. Here’s the line our family has drawn – we let our kids dress up, but we don’t allow frightening costumes or those that appear evil (demons, witches, etc.) We usually carve pumpkins. I’m not worried that by dressing up and carving pumpkins we will be worshiping the devil because you can’t accidentally worship something. Carving pumpkins doesn’t make me a pagan any more than sitting in church makes me a Christian. Now if all our neighbors were carving pumpkins as an act of worship to something demonic, we wouldn’t do it. But in our culture the act is purely traditional.

If you live in relative solitude, on a farm or in the country, it’s easy enough to ignore Halloween altogether. But in a neighborhood like ours, it’s impossible. There are pumpkins on every doorstep and skeletons in some of the trees. I don’t know a single family that won’t be out trick or treating. We have a choice to make, and it comes down to that 90’s anthem: What Would Jesus Do? He told us to be in the world, but not of it. This is a very important line to draw. If we’re going to say we’re set apart by God we can’t rush in to do everything the world does. But remaining ‘not of’ the world doesn’t mean shunning the people around us. There are plenty of examples in scripture of Christians setting aside their objections in order to love their communities.  Would Jesus hide in His house with the lights off and ignore all the little children knocking for candy? Even if you don’t participate by following the usual customs, buy a bag of candy, turn on the porch light and meet your neighbors! If you are worried about exposing your little ones to demonic-looking costumes, put a sign in the drive way that says, “Small children at home, no scary costumes, please.” Will a few teenagers defy your sign? Maybe. But rather than being seen as the ‘odd family who goes to church’ you can be seen as the ‘really nice and friendly family that goes to church’.

Let’s be clear, if you feel strongly that your family shouldn’t celebrate Halloween – don’t. If your church community or family would be offended by your participating, don’t put a stumbling block in their way. In the end, none of this is about our personal feelings and desires – it’s about behaving toward others in a way that points them to Jesus.

Happy Halloween,

Brieana

Some Reminders To Myself For Back To School

This is a bad title, I know. But I’m coming down from six weeks of cramming for the upcoming school year with five grade levels, home renovation projects that lead to more home renovation projects and a surprise visit from my mother in law. And it’s hot, what do you want from my life?

*******

It’s September! Target is full of school supplies, streets are full of yellow school buses, and moms are, tearfully or gleefully, getting ready to send those kids off to their respective halls of learning for another nine months of academics, social awkwardness and cafeteria food. Hooray!

At this most wonderful time of the year, I like to pause and remind myself of a few things. Things I tend to forget in the whirlwind of planning and good intentions. Things I’ll need to remember come Thanksgiving, when I’m ready to throw it in. And since I have self-styled myself as a writer, it’s my moral obligation to share these things with you, my adoring public. (Love you, mom.)

Truth #1 – You cannot be all the things to all the people. You can’t be PTA president, coach soccer, write a cooking blog, and also direct the Christmas play. You can’t have a high-powered career and also stay home and do Waldorf preschool in your basement. You can’t be the crunchy, kale-eating, yoga-loving, all organic mama and also the laid-back, brownie baking mom. At least, you can’t do these things with out a schizophrenia diagnosis. Pick the thing you love and do it well.

Truth #2 – Life is a mess. When you’re doing that thing you love well? Other things slide sometimes. The mom with the gorgeous home probably orders pizza for dinner. The mom who cooks gourmet meals might have a messy car. Nobody’s kids, clothes, home and life look good all the time. Relax. We’re all busy. We’re all doing our best. We’re all living the same messy life, some of us are just better at Instagram.

Truth #3 – Messy can be glorious. Real life happens when you’re tickling your kids on the living room rug, or playing Uno for the eighty-third time, or building with Legos, or cooking together, not when everything comes together perfectly on the schedule you created. Embrace the moments. Also, realize that the moments are short. This makes them more precious, but it also is good to remember that there will be lots of moments that are not glorious and beautiful. Sometimes kids are cranky. Sometimes you have to do the dishes. These things are life, too. Don’t expect your whole life to be wrapped in a golden halo of awesomeness.

Truth #4 – This is the time of year when most moms are happily sending their kiddos off to spend 30 hours per week in the hands of someone else. Homeschool moms, on the other hand, are grabbing another cup of coffee and buckling down. When you see all those pictures of moms getting first day of school pedicures? You will be jealous. You will question your value system, your sanity, and the state of your heels. Stop it. Every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to lots of other things. Get off Facebook and be at peace with where you are.

Truth #4b – For those homeschool moms who don’t resonate with truth #4. If you’re the kind of homeschooler who would never dream of sending your snowflake to the evil, bad public school – stop it. Not all public schools are bad, not all public school teachers are bad and not all parents who send their kids to public school are bad. The vast majority of them are doing what we’re doing – their very best to raise their kids right. We’d do much better to band together than pull each other down. Get off Facebook and be at peace with where you are.

Truth #5 – Right now you’ve got everything ready. The schedules. The plans. Everything is perfect. You will get up at 5:00 to work out, pray and eat a healthy breakfast! The kids will love school! All the activities will be performed on time and with joy! Try to remember that a lot of this will change. Some of your goals will go unmet. When this happens, try to relax. Your value isn’t dependent on what you get done. On the other hand, don’t stop planning. Don’t stop setting goals and having big vision for the future. That vision is what keeps you moving forward, and forward is good. Just try not to get too wrapped up in the vision to enjoy actual life.

Here’s to a new year. May it be full of all the things you hope for; moments of wonder, days of peaceful reading, Instagram-worthy science experiments and a math book that the kids don’t cry over. And maybe a new crockpot.

Brieana

We got a new fridge!

I know, my life is one thrill ride after another.

The fridge that came with the house was rather small. So small, in fact, that my monthly Costco trip had to be curtailed based on the volume of my freezer. Plus it kept freezing things. I mean, this thing might have been 16 years old but it was no sissy. I turned it all the way to ‘cool’ (which is the warmest setting in the fridge) and it still blasted anything on the top shelf with enough freon-laced air to turn it all to ice cubes. And let me tell you, lettuce and cream? Not the same once they’ve thawed out.

So last week I sent a text to my husband. “Grr. Tomato, cucumber, lettuce and two fruit cups frozen and destined for the garbage.”

His reply, “Ugh. We need to look at a new fridge.”

So I looked at a new fridge, and you know what? They are spendy. And I am not one to just spend money if I don’t have to. I got on Craigslist and found one for less than half the price of new. Less than half! We were going to SAVE MONEY.

Of course it wasn’t going to fit in the minivan, even if we did put the kids in the trunk, so the next day my dear husband went and rented a Uhaul with which to bring said fridge home. And an appliance dolly, and some furniture pads. And we had to pay gas and mileage. But even so, we were SAVING MONEY.

Once he got it home it was quickly apparent that the new fridge was not going to fit through the front door. We also realized that we don’t own a tape measure. I mean, we did own one but the kids used it for a jump rope or something and now we don’t have one anymore. I’m sure our neighbors enjoyed watching us measure the new fridge and our doorframe with a 12 inch ruler.

In the end we had to take the doors off. The fridge door, not the front door, although that might have been easier.

So! Doors off, now to get it up to the kitchen. We made it four feet into the entry and realized it wasn’t going to fit around the corner of the closet that I want to knock out. We measured. We pondered. We debated hauling it around the back and bringing it up the deck stairs. And then we said to heck with strained backs and scraped up walls and just muscled the thing. Up the stairs to the second floor where the kitchen is. Fun.

At this point I had to call the Uhaul people and ask for more time because two hours wasn’t nearly enough for moving an appliance.

Pulling out the old fridge was easier, although it did leak all over the place because it hadn’t occurred to us that if we were going to disconnect the water hose we should probably turn off the water. Mop up the water, pull out the old fridge, slide in the new one.. which didn’t fit. We had to remove the upper cabinet. Seriously, you’d think this house was built in 1966 rather than 1996. ..And put the doors back on. Funny thing is, once we put them back on they wouldn’t close. I’m pretty sure this is the point at which my husband started muttering something about the reasons we pay people to do things. Eventually we figured it out (hinges on backwards – whoops) and got it all set up. Now just to hook up the water line!

Wait. The old fridge had a weird, giant connector thingy and the new fridge has a normal plastic tube. And the house has copper plumbing. These things do not go together. Hmm..

The kids hauled the frozen food that was languishing on the counters down to the garage fridge and I ran out to McDonalds (because it was now almost 3:00 and we hadn’t had lunch) while Justyn went to Home Depot to get whatever you need to connect a fridge to copper plumbing.

We eat, we connect, we turn on the water and.. it leaks. Everywhere. So he unhooks it and tries again. No luck. I run to a different hardware store in town and explain to the guy there what we’re trying to do. He informs me that we’ve done it right, we just need to tighten it more. Problem is, I get home and attempt to do just that and find that my wimpy lady muscles are simply not up to the task. But you know what? It’s okay. Sure, we haven’t had running water for 12 hours but doesn’t most of the world’s population go without running water just fine? Besides, it’s totally worth it because Justyn will come home and fix it and we will have SAVED MONEY.

The next day my fearless husband braves yet another trip to the hardware store and comes home with the same advice and some new tools. At this point we’ve spent more on our three trips to the plumbing department than it would have cost to have someone come out and install the dang thing for us but that’s okay. Still cheaper than a new one and it’s almost fixed! Sadly, the new tools and parts give us the same result as the old ones. A leaky connection and a very frustrated husband. He breaks down and calls a handyman.

When the handyman gets here, he kindly informs us that the hardware store folks had got it wrong. We had installed the connector with an extra piece. A piece all three plumbing department employees had told us to use. It took him five minutes, which means he makes a killer hourly wage.

But it was DONE. Installed! Ready for use! Filtered water never tasted so good! And despite the rental truck, the new tools and paying the plumber, we had still SAVED MONEY! Kind of!

So the moral of the story is.. I don’t know. Listen to your husband? Don’t trust 17 year old Home Depot employees?

But I do love that fridge.

P.S. Want to know the kicker? The first time I turned off the water main I mistakenly turned off the GAS main, causing our hot water heater’s pilot light to go out. So we also went two days without hot water before we figured that out. I love home improvement.

The Crazy Person’s Guide to Moving

This week marks a momentous occasion. We closed on our house last Friday and will spend the week packing and hauling and breaking things in our eleventh move in fourteen years. Yes, you heard that right. Eleven moves. Fourteen years. So I’m kinda like an expert on this.

Since I’m such a pro, I thought I’d endow upon you some tips I’ve learned on How to Make Your Move Go As Smoothly As Possible.

Tip #1 – Decide on Thursday afternoon to have a garage sale.. on Friday. Because the neighbor is having one and has already put up signs, and not having to put up signs is SUCH a time and work savings that it makes the crazy garage sale prep at the last minute totally worth it.

Tip #2 – Make sure that said Friday is also walk-through and closing day. Two birds, one stone. Something like that.

Tip #3 – Friday should also be grocery shopping day. Obviously you won’t have time to go grocery shopping, so you can just skip it. You managed to avoid grocery shopping! Well done. Dominos delivers, so you’ll be fine. Bonus: hire a truck for Saturday to take the non-essentials. This way you won’t have time to go grocery shopping Saturday, either. Your local McDonald’s will thank you. 

Tip #4 – To occupy the young children in the house while you’re packing, leave some Bingo dotters lying around. You know the ones that are full of runny, permanent ink with the huge spongy dotter on the end? The ones that splat satisfyingly when you slam them down onto cardboard? Yeah, those. Leave those out right next to a stack of new boxes. The children will be thrilled and will leave you alone for at least half an hour. You don’t really need those Bingo markers anyway (they’ll be pretty well ruined by the slamming). Or those boxes. Or that.. carpet.

Tip #5 – Pack up ALL the children’s books a week early, seal the boxes and drop them of at the new house on the first run. This way they’re as inaccessible as possible. The three year old will not understand why there are suddenly no books in the house. There will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. But it’s worth it because three more boxes will be at the new house.

Tip #6 – For homeschoolers only (sorry): Don’t schedule any time off of school during the move. Of course you can do a full six hours per day of academics, host the co-op and go on a field trip during the week of the move.

Tip #7 – Happily agree to a four-day business trip for your husband the week before the move AND do all of this while six months pregnant. It’s like the X Games, baby. The more extreme, the… more extreme.

So there you have it! Just a few tips to make your next move more.. exciting.

Off to pack!

Brieana