Tour de Wheelburrow (& a giveaway!)

Welcome to The Wheelburrow; Wheel, as a tribute to its mobility and Burrow for it's rabbit-hole style coziness.  I know, a fancy name doesn’t magically make it not a camper, but humor my romanticism!

This has been our little home for the past year;
all ye gather ‘round for I shall tell you the tale as to why…

Last summer (2012), we were saving our pennies to put a house on my parents’ 20 acres in the country.  In perfect timing, just before our two-bedroom apartment lease was up, my aunt asked if we were interested in buying her 50ft. camper for a very gracious price.  She and my Mom schemed that, with the camper, we could move onto the family property sooner and start developing the land for the house.  We weren’t sure how we felt about moving next door yet, since we would be in the driveway until we could put the camper on our piece of land.  But after praying it through, we just had a feeling it was the right decision to buy it.
Our kitchen, and the dining-room-turned-nursery beyond.
Little did we know that, despite having financial remorse and difficulties living next door to my crazy family, we did make the right choice.  At Christmastime, just five months after we bought The Wheelburrow, my sweet Mom passed away very suddenly (one day, I will share more on this story and how God has been gracious and faithful in our grief).  This made my Dad a widower who works full-time, with four children under 15 years old at home.

It is evident of God's providence in putting us here.  Ministering to Dad and the kids, and helping them in this new season, would be so much harder if we weren't in the driveway.  They have also ministered to us in ways that cannot be repaid, so we are also thankful for this little piece of community we have for this time of life.
View of our living room from the kitchen.
Up the step is the bathroom and master bedroom.
Here we are, in our cozy little space.  We are very happy here for now, and praying that God show us when it's time for us to move on to more wide open spaces!  There are days that the burrow walls are closing in around us and we'll never get out. But then there are days that I could live in a big camper forever.  It definitely has it's perks:
  • The smaller space is easier to manage and clean!  That is, as long as it doesn't get out of hand, which can happen faster in smaller spaces with tornado toddlers on the loose.
  • The size demands that we live simply, keeping from having too much stuff.  Sometimes this means I'm not able to store things that would be helpful down the road, but it definitely keeps me from collecting anything unnecessary!
  • We have to stifle the desire to buy things we don't need, so we end up saving money!  We also have to quiet discontentment on a daily basis.  I pray this makes us a happier-with-little family even when we have space for more one day.
I'm fashionably late, but I'm going to be spring cleaning this week, hoping to comb through even more of our junk to see if we can possibly minimize anything else.  Which brings me to a plug!  Kindred Grace is hosting a giveaway for Lorilee Lippencott's book Simple Living.  You can read Chantel's excellent review of it on the giveaway post!  Lorilee is a minimalist, which I could never aspire to be, but the practical advice and disciplines sound wonderfully helpful if you're wanting to simplify your life, finances, possessions, schedule, etcetera.  Kindred Grace is giving away 3 copies, but even if you don't win the giveaway, or live in a camper, it sounds Amazon-wishlist-worthy!
Kindred Grace: conversations between sisters in Christ


Romance & Quiet

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
Matthew 5:6
I read this beloved verse tonight, and it transported me back to when I had read it for the first time.  I was a young lady in my early teens, lost in finding myself and lost in this burning ache to know God.  The One who forged the greatness of the heavens and the miraculous cities of my microscopic cells.  Those were the romantic days of my life in Christ; when he first called my name and my heart longed to hear more.  I couldn’t keep my nose out of his Word, and like a sponge, I absorbed everything I read.  How lovely are the romantic days of our faith, when we are full of angst for our Creator and He satisfies our spiritual taste buds with the wonder of him!
I often reminisce through those days in unhealthy ways, wishing that those days were now.  I long for those better ones again, instead of rejoicing in these days, too.  These days that are full of spiritual familiarity and monotony.
“Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”
Ecclesiastes 7:10
Until tonight, my spiritual life had felt like the middle-child years of marriage.  At least, from what I hear and witness of those middle years!  The season after you have grown past the sweet, romantic days but an eternity away from the seasoned and weathered days of 50 years.  My heart and spiritual life felt terribly quiet, familiar, monotonous, and sometimes out of place.  I even admit to this middle season being fallow ground to complacency and idleness.  During this time, the Lord Jesus had grown somewhat abstract to me.  He’s the perfect Prince in the sky, the sinless, sacrificed Lamb who conquered the enemy, death.  The universe is in his hands and everything in existence exists by him and for him!  He loves me with an unfailing love and has the power to sanctify me into his image.  I know this and believe it, so fiercely.  But sometimes it’s a knowing like the wonder-filled pages of a treasured storybook.
I have wrestled with applying that wonder with the God who is with me in everyday life.  This Savior that once captured all of my heart—who let me taste and see his goodness—has felt terribly quiet.  Not necessarily distant, since I can testify to knowing he is with me.  Just not near, and very quiet.  However, I have not been the pursuer nor the one pursued, that I once was either.  It’s like he became two Gods—the lovely, near One who romanced me once.  And this One, the quiet, aloof, familiar one.  The one who has journeyed a long journey with me, and is just quietly here.
Until tonight.
Tonight, when I read Matthew’s account of Jesus teaching on a mountainside, I was reminded in the depth of my soul that both those Gods were the same one.  I read these words spoken by the one who is Faithful (promise-keeping) and True (never lying), saying that he promises to fill me with himself if I am hungry for that.  And like a husband lovingly romancing his beloved after 25 quiet, complacent years of marriage, I was reminded that the same Christ that I only dream about is the Christ that I know now.  The One who is here and has kept his promise to be with me is the one who was with me from the beginning.  He is the same.  The same glorified and victorious Son, who will make all things new, is with me now.  Not abstract, but very alive and with me.
Tears came as I remembered this, and received it for the first time again.


Tour de My Crazy Days These Days

I'm really enjoying my days lately.  After nearly 3 years of marriage, 2 babies and all the mountainous slopes thereof and therein, I actually feel like my house gets clean sometimes.  It's a grand accomplishment, indeed, for one to feel that their job is partially completed decently part of the time.

Our normal very-flexible-hardly-go-as-planned weekdays look like this...

Mr.O awakes and readies himself for a day of Jesus-trinket peddling (haha I kid).  I make his lunch for the day and his coffee to-go, then kiss him goodbye!  Little Bee is usually awake and ready for her morning bottle and cuddles.

The Bear is awake.  We girls start our Spotify playlist of morning music then sing and dance into breakfast time!  Bear loves scrambled eggs and fruit, so that is our usual morning menu unless I decide to shake things up a little around here.

This is prime time for Mom-chores.  The girls are freshly rested, changed and fed--so they are super independent and like to entertain themselves for about an hour or two.  This is when I do the previous day's damage control, a.k.a. dishes, a bit of laundry and general through-clutter-pathmaking!

Bee is down for her morning nap, so I try to devote this time to Bear.  We have one hour to ourselves to color, play with toys and read books, etc.  Her all-time favorite is P.D. Eastman's book Go, Dog, Go.  She quotes it all the time, asking us, "Doyouwikemyhat?"  Or if we ask her if she likes our hat, she answers, "I do!"  I really want to theme her upcoming birthday party after the dog-party at the end.

Bee is awake from nap.  This is a miscellaneous time--for more cleaning, playing, dancing, and sometimes Veggietales or Bubble Guppies.

What time is it?!  It's time for lunch!  (See everysingleepisodeof Bubble Guppies)
We heat up leftovers or have sandwiches, yogurt and veggies.

The girls both go down for their glorious, togetherness nap.  Bear will sleep for up to three hours, but Bee only sleeps one right now.  I get one lovely hour to myself, and maybe one day I will tell you of all the horrible, treacherous, widely concealed, mustache-twirling, muahahahaha adventures I embark upon whilst they slumber.
And yes.  I'm part-Native American, so I DO have a mustache.  Be jealous.

Bee is awake and Bear has up to two more hours of nap left, so this is me and Bee time.  We also read books and play with toys.  I've been teaching her the parts of our face, but even though she knows where noses and eyes are, she gets all coy and isn't brave enough to show the world how brilliant she is yet.

I put on supper, unless it's for the crockpot when I would have put it on at lunchtime.  Then, if it's cool enough, we go outside to play until suppertime.  Bear is a very stereotypical toddler and loves to be outside!  She enjoys my Dad's apple tree (we live in my parent's driveway....stay tuned for Tour de Wheelburrow [yes that is the correct spelling of the name of my house] and a long-story-short), and this poor kitten that she carries around wherever she goes!  I don't say poor, because he follows her around and purrs even when she picks him up by his neck or tail.

To the girls' giggly excitement, Daddy is home!  I finish up supper while they reunite from a day of labor.  Then we pray and eat together.

7pm:  Bathtime.
8pm:  Winding-down time with storybooks or a movie.
8:30-9pm:  The tiny monsters are in their caves for the night.

The End.