Life of a suburb mom

Saturday morning.

I have my coffee, I have some nice tunes playing, and I am enjoying something that doesn’t happen too often these days…

Quiet…alone time.  I have space.

My three adolescent girls are at a multiple day youth group event, and Stephen just headed out with Wingman to go to some antique weapons show (not my thing).

Part of me wishes that I had some ocean to walk out to right now, or that I could look over a field of wheat.  But that is not my life.  I live in the suburbs where the neighbors can hear each other, and Earl freaks out when the leaves in my yard pile up.  The fences separate one backyard from another, the children in the neighborhood play in the street, and 1 out of every 8 homes has a for sale sign in the yard.

We have lived in this house for 12 years now.  When everyone is home, it can be crazy sharing 1700 square feet.  Sometimes when I walk into the bathroom that my teenage girls share, I have to walk out immediately before I get grossed out by the multiple items piled around the sink and wet towels strung out on the floor.

During the day, I work from my office, which serves as Isabel’s bedroom at night.  Stephen’s office is Julia’s room too.  Coming up with two office spaces took multiple family meetings, but we have made it work.  Isabel respects my days when I need to be in her room, and I respect her nights.

Sometimes I dream of space, to be able to find a quiet corner in my home, but it’s not always possible.  Sometimes, I dream of moving to a farm, or on a river, or to be somewhere that I can walk outside and see BIG; big beautiful trees, or big beautiful mountains.

I dream of planting a large garden full of fresh vegetables that we can enjoy all summer.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

Ok…I admit, I don’t much like yard work, but the vegetables still sound nice.

Steve and I now have two incomes.  We could afford a bigger house, except for the fact that we lost money on an investment a few years ago that ate up our equity.  But, we just realized the other day that we now are no longer upside down in our house.  We could sell and break even, or close to it.

We have no debt beyond the house. It feels good.

So how about that farm?  How about more space?

I admit, the dream of space, beauty, mountains, rivers, and barns, or gardens still exists.  When the tension builds, and the five big personalities start to rub against each other, I dream of space.

But this is not what God has for us.  No, God gave me a beautiful hydrangea bush to enjoy outside my living room window.

He gave me squirrels to watch as they climb the trees.  He gave me a neighbor to pray for, when the neighbor complains about our bushes, our leaves and our dogs.  He gave us family.  My mom lives a block away and Stephen’s mom lives a mile away.  My girls can ride their bikes on the safe streets and bike paths to visit Grandma and their friends.

God gave us the suburbs and 1700 square feet.  And when the tension of five big personalities starts to build, God gave us a chance to learn how to dwell amongst each other and practice patience and peace.

God also gave us a life of travel.  I get to see BIG.  I SEE BIG OFTEN.  I see a big God in people across the world who live in places so much smaller than my home.  They live in shacks, and in closed spaces without proper ventilation, without sewers to collect human waste.  They live in destruction and dirt where goats and chickens run around outside of their homes.

And our two incomes?  This income allows us to give, allows us to save, to help when it’s necessary, to travel, to ski on big mountains, to fly on big planes and purchase fancy cameras.  This income allows us to think and plan on what is best and wise.  This income also brings temptation to spend on the unnecessary things and to be excessive.

Maybe in a few years we will move.  I don’t know if Stephen and I will ever want something bigger than what have now.  We like the fact that our money doesn’t get eaten up by our home or by our cars.

The American dream certainly tries to tempt us to want more.  I get it.  Living unsatisfied is one of the hardest places to live.  To find contentment in all circumstances is a challenge when you are surrounded by a culture that loves to spend money on the next best thing or the next new trend.  Keeping up with the Jones’ can be rough.  Yes?  However, I don’t want to be the Jones family that others try to keep up with because of what we have.  I want to be the Jones family that others try to keep up with because of how we give and how we live.  We want to live in a way that honors God.  I want us to honor God with our time, our hearts and our money.  How this plays out is a day-by-day decision full of lots of worldly temptations.

I am a suburb mom.

3 Comments on “Life of a suburb mom

  1. great post! so great to get a perspective when we start to think we neeeeed more.
    God bless you guys for the work you’re doing and for keepin us in check too 🙂

  2. Well, I hear you are going to a small ranch in September. Watch how busy your sister is running that place; it is a lot of work to have that garden and the horses and cats and dogs that go with it.
    My point is I think we should enjoy what we have. I think you do and you shared your viewpoint……thanks

  3. This is a wonderful post.
    I quit my job two years ago. It was a point of integrity and I had to remove myself from it, but I didn’t know how the bills would work out, My husband has a good job and we have always lived on his income. Mine was for purchasing a car, or if we wanted a new couch or if we wanted to give more to missions etc it came out of my income. Now that I have been home it has been amazing to see how it all has worked out. Somehow the bills are paid, somehow we have small vacations, somehow we have learned to do without. I am content to not shop like I did, what did I do with all that ‘stuff’ and why did I want it? how many purses does one need? or shoes or coats? We live in a two story that is 1680sq foot. When all six grandchildren come over and the their parents I feel this house is way too small. I would like a bit bigger home like 2000 sq feet with a nice big kitchen my husband is content here. So who knows. God places each of us in the perfect setting. Neighbors can be your mission field. It is all about perspective. I like this post for many reasons.
    It is about family, teamwork and the ability to give up desires ‘for others.’ I guess compromise would fit in there too.

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