Small House Living to Intentional House Living

After years of going back and forth between deciding if we should build an addition (we love our neighborhood and location!) or move, we’re moving.  Our smallish 1,800 square foot house was our first, bought quickly in the wake of evacuating/moving from Hurricane Katrina (read story here).  We assumed we would move sometime between the birth of our two children, but the economy had other plans.

A semi-regular glance at house listings ended up with one that actually met our wishes/needs and the possibility that our own house would sell at a price that would allow us to move.

So, we’re moving!  Despite anxiety and sleepless nights, everything fell into place.  (To clarify, I feel very blessed with the house we currently live in and for all that we have, and to be able to move to something a bit bigger is a majbonus.)

The moving date looms, but with all the packing and arrangements, but a major question overshadows everything:

How will this new house change our lives?

Will a different layout really be good for us?  I’m used to parenting in a house where everyone can hear everything.  Will my desire to keep the family emotionally close still work with more space?  Even if that space isn’t that much bigger and the main rooms are open to each other?

Will it meet my expectations of helping us provide for our children’s needs?   We have a dramatic princess and a determined builder, both with diverse interests.  Also, our son has a number of unique needs (I dislike the common phrase “special needs”), and I hope we can include a number of sensory resources that don’t fit in our current house.

Will we be able to financially afford all the improvements?  It’s a standard house, but hasn’t been updated since it was built.  It needs almost everything new – windows, doors, appliances.  Fortunately my husband’s calling provides a very adequate salary, but not getting a recent job I hope and prayed for leaves us without a nice cushion.  I pray we do not get any expensive surprises, but surprises seem to be guaranteed part of home ownership.  (With the recent epidemic of foreclosures – finances are always a question.)

Will we like our neighborhood?  As an introvert, getting out and meeting the neighbors is difficult for me.  I’m hoping this time around will be easier, but we live in Minnesota and we are moving in November.  Around here, people literally hibernate from November-ish to May-ish.  Now, we do go to work, school, do errands, and everything else…but you usually only see your neighbors if you are highly intentional and/or you wave at them as you both are blowing out the snow.  Fortunately we heard from a fellow hockey family that neighbors will be building a rink on a neighborhood pond.  So, perhaps a few friends through that?  (I just hope our son will be able to easily join the small herd of young boys that live there.)

Yet, I mostly wonder about the subtle changes.  I don’t think it will change our personalities or morals, but I do believe that the places we live in do have an affect on our spirits and lives.  Our life routines outside of the house won’t change much, but it will be different.  The children are very close friends, and sharing a room has been a big part of that.  Instead of everything everywhere, we will be able to have more defined spaces, keeping play apart from eating, maintaining some adult space, and my side of the bedroom will no longer be the dumping ground for everything that doesn’t fit anywhere else.   Little changes, but little changes can lead to big ones.

We keep moving forward and are very excited for this move (though are sad to leave our current neighborhood).

So what is my plan?  To focus on living deliberately.

I hope and pray that despite any changes in our lives – and there are many more to come – we can live in a way that keeps our family together, our children knowing that they are loved, that we support and celebrate their uniqueness, and our focus on what God wants for us, rather than what society says we need.

The new house can create for us a new beginning, but I don’t want a new beginning.  I love my family, I love our life.  I pray that we don’t loose anything that we cherish, but rather find that our lives have improved.

Posted in Intentional House Living, Marriage, Parenting, Small House with Kids | Leave a comment

Writing Spiritually – Prompt #1, The Different Answer

I’m all about writing spirituallyjournal, memoir, fiction, anything.  I have witnessed many times how inviting God into our writing can change lives.  Yet what do we write about?  How do we get started?  Here is the first of many writing prompts to help you get pen to paper and work with the Spirit to lead you along your journey.

A note about writing prompts: Use them as you are led.  Perhaps the Spirit wants to take you in a different direction, go ahead!  If you have a negative reaction to the prompt – either struggle with it or want to avoid it – that is the Spirit opening a door for you to go through.  Just pray, and write!


Before you start to write, ask God to send the Spirit to be with you and help you to not judge anything you write and think.  Ask to have your heart and mind open to whatever comes, trusting that you are not alone and you are loved!

The Different Answer

In Jennifer Hill’s Walking with Tensionshe brings up how she strongly identified with story of Jesus and Bartimaeus in Mark.

46 Jesus and his followers came into Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho, together with his disciples and a sizable crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, Timaeus’ son, was sitting beside the road. 47 When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!” 48 Many scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, show me mercy!”  49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him forward.”  They called the blind man, “Be encouraged! Get up! He’s calling you.”  50 Throwing his coat to the side, he jumped up and came to Jesus.  51 Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The blind man said, “Teacher, I want to see.” 52 Jesus said, “Go, your faith has healed you.” At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus on the way.  (Mark 10:46-52, CEB)

Most theologians and pastors will tell you that when Jesus asked Bartimaeus, “what do you want me to do for you?”, Jesus was asking for a profession of faith.  Seems pretty self-explanatory.

But what if you were blind, or had CP, or another life-long issue?  What if you were like Bartimaeus, desperately wanting the issue taken from you so you could be normal?

Jennifer Hill shares with us that when she heard this passage as a young girl on the way to seek healing from a modern-day Christian healer, she didn’t hear Jesus asking for a profession of faith.  But rather, she heard Jesus putting Bartimaeus on stage, asking him to publicly admit his faults in front of a crowd, publicly draw attention to how he was different than everyone else.  Couldn’t Jesus see what Bartimaeus wanted?  What Bartimaeus needed?  Didn’t the Healer know what this guy, or Jennifer, need healed?

Writing Prompt:  Is there a scripture passage that you have understood differently than what someone else said it meant?  What did you see/understand?  What led you to that understanding?  Did it help/hurt you at that time?  How could your insight help others?

Posted in Journal Prompt, Mental Health, Spiritual Practice, Spirituality - Spiritual Journey, Theology, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment