Monday, September 14, 2015

I have felt a lot of hope and peace about going to Provo, although nothing has been settled yet. In my impatience to know more, to figure out when we will finally hear from our alma mater, and hopefully at that point be able to set in motion some of the key aspects of this move, I checked the last email Avram got from them. And...I had never actually read it right.  Oh, well for my reading comprehension abilities.  I thought it had read more strongly than it does. Sure, it does say that he is exactly the kind of adjunct that they like to have. But it also says that they currently have three other people like him, on the market, adjuncting for them (I'm not completely blind - I had read that before.) What I didn't realize is that essentially it was saying that first those three will get any classes, and then if there are any left over Avram will get them.  And the whole reason I was checking for was depressing too (to find out how long ago they wrote, and when we might hear from them again) - it also said after they ascertain their needs for the fall classes they would let Avram know. But what if they don't do that until this Summer? We have to be out of our house by the end of May (by our own doing - our original contract went until the end of July).

Spring is here - as is the first spring snowfall.  In some ways, though, I am grateful that it has remained cold, since there was nothing for this snowfall to kill - there are no blossoms yet, no flowers, no greenery (except the stems poking up out of the ground - there is hope yet!)

We are in sight of the end of this crazy editing marathon.  Saturday is the final day we will be doing this round of edits, and then Monday morning Avram will be turning in a hard copy on campus. From that point there will still be more edits he will do in the next three weeks, but they will not be as extensive as these ones. We have already arranged to go out to lunch on Monday, and then I have the rest of the week planned for us, with cleaning our poor, neglected house, spending time with our poor, neglected children, and purging for our move.  Our move that we still have no details over!  I have felt, and continue to feel, a lot of peace over our future, despite the fact that we currently have no actual information on any future. But...lately I have been telling God in my prayers that while I do feel peace, and I know that we don't need to know things about the future, that I do need to do things like reserve a moving truck, and find somewhere to live, and these things are hard to do when I do not know anything?!!!Yeah, I kind of sound like a little kid complaining to her parent, but hey, this metaphor is not actually a metaphor, it is just true.

We haven't made a major move, including the moving of all our belongins, in the last eight years, since we left Provo the first time. And now, looking to go back again, I am dumbfounded at how much we actually own.  Of course, we have had four children since then, which means five times the amount of clothes and toys. And we have collected an impossibly large amount of books in that time, which I suppose we can't actually blame on our poor children, but I may give a small side eye to my husband at least. Not to mention my collection of home decor and beloved furniture.

I am not a minimalist - I am not even a kind of pretend one. To be honest, I am not sure that I can even support a movement that praises, even implicitly, the absence of belongings over the abundance of people. However, I do want more simplicity in life, in our belongings. The more people that join our family, which I do not want to be minimal over, as I theologically believe that God has given us an imperative to bring children into this world, the more that to maintain a balance of sanity and time I find myself craving less belongings and posession to clutter up our days and life with.

As anyone who would enter our house currently could tell you, five kids with very busy parents equals a house that looks like a home that was probably professionally ransacked for a movie starring the lost arkenstone, or maybe the hope diamond. Now, between living in England, with only our belongings that would fit in three peoples' suitcases with us, and spending two summers in Utah, with just one van full of stuff, I have learned that you can live with almost nothing and still manage to have messes, disorganization, and clutter. But the grand key here is that those messes are always a lot fast and easier to clean up. In Provo in the two bedroom basement home we lived in we could on a Saturday clean the whole place from top to bottom in two hours maximum, and be ready to go and have fun as a family the rest of the day.

Now, I am not ready to discard all our belongings except those that fit into our van. I like having things like furniture or saving clothes between ages for kids, or even keeping a few sentimental papers and pictures from life.  But, I do want to get to a place where I feel like our physical belongings aid us in living the life that we want to have, not impede us. I want to own things to help in my living an abundant life, not live a life that consists of me taking care of my abundant things.

I read the organizatin book currently burning throught the Internet (and library reservation lists), Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. There were things I really liked about it, and some that I didn't (like, only keeping things that bring you joy work if you perhaps are single, living in an apartment. But with five kids, I cannot get rid of every practical thing I own, like my old glasses that are mismatches, even if I do not feel joy in them - they are still serving our family.  I like better William Morris's, "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.") Her ideas have helped with letting go of items, though, and recognizing that if my personal belongings do not spark joy in me, that I don't need to save them just because they may be useful someday, or because of guilt or whatnot.

Another thing that has helped is the blog, Assortmentblog. This family lives in a 665 square foot cabin, and I love the aesthetic of the home, and the fact that although even my modest, by current American standards, home of 1100 square feet is almost twice its size, hers feels larger when I look at the pictures, precisely because every belonging has its place, and there are no extraneous belongings creating havoc.  Although, I think even more key is something that the author, Carmella, said in a recent interview that she linked on her blog, which was that her cardinal rule is that they always put whatever they have out away before moving on to the next thing, no matter what.

Perhaps that's what I need to focus on the most - much more than the precise number of items we own, is focusing on keeping those items all in their places.

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