When You’re A Part of Something More

part of something more

When we moved here almost a year ago, there was a certain sense of excitement and freedom.

We had lived in #littleapartmentontheprairie for two-and-a-half years, which was two years longer than we had planned. Moving out of there, of course, brought it’s own degree of freedom, but there was a restlessness I wasn’t aware I had.

I had a restlessness that could really only be tamed by living here. Continue reading “When You’re A Part of Something More”

“I Don’t Know How You Do It”

victory choice

Last week, I sent my people a little email that resonated big time.

First of all, if you’re asking yourself, “Why didn’t I get an email?”, it’s because you haven’t  told me where to send one. So do that now. I’ll wait.

Hey Val, I want some Friday inbox love!

* indicates required



Email Format

 

This email resonated so much with those who read it because it’s something we’re all dealing with in one way or another. Continue reading ““I Don’t Know How You Do It””

Why I Stopped Eating Pork (once upon a time)

A while back, I sent a survey to my subscribers (that sounds so official) asking what they’d be interested in learning about me. I put in one answer just to take up space, knowing no one would take it seriously or give it a second thought.

Except I think every person who answered the survey checked that answer.

I don’t know why I didn’t think anyone would pick it. Then again I’m not sure why I chose that as my space-saver topic to make the quiz look meatier, as it were… Continue reading “Why I Stopped Eating Pork (once upon a time)”

When I Had Church At The Airport

It was undeniably God-ordained, and it almost didn’t happen.

That’s how I explain an encounter I had on my flight home from Dallas, TX. I spent five days in Dallas for a work event, and while I was gone, Hubs and kiddos moved from #littleapartmentontheprairie to our #bighouseonalittleprairie. I left North Dakota, spent five days in Dallas, and returned home to rural Minnesota – all of which is symbolic in a unique way and I will attempt to unpack later. But for now, back to the trip home.

dallas airport Continue reading “When I Had Church At The Airport”

Hell in the Hallway

Recently, I prayed for a man who lost his job last winter and has been searching for another job since. It isn’t for lack of effort that he hasn’t found work yet. It seems his field is a competitive one and for whatever reason, he hasn’t been able to secure a new position.

My heart ached for him. I could feel the frustration in his voice. This in-between place he’s in is what I heard a man once refer to as the “hell in the hallway.” When God closes one door and while you’re waiting to find the next open door, you experience hell in the hallway.

hallway hell

Continue reading “Hell in the Hallway”

We’re Going Home

Right now, it’s 82 degrees outside with 46% humidity. A little more humidity, and I would call it the perfect day. (Not southern humidity, mind you.)

I’m sitting with our patio door wide open, letting the apartment fill with heat, because I. Love. This. Weather. These are the days that make the long, windy winters worthwhile. These are the days making you forget what it’s like in January. These are the days we spend months longing for.

In a few hours, Hubs will come home and I’ll have long since shut the patio door and turned on the AC so everyone can stay cool and content, but for now, this is my time, and this is how I like it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was not so cool and collected. I was not so grateful or blissful, or even one ounce of happy. Continue reading “We’re Going Home”

Harlynn’s Gift To Mama

I’ve really been struggling.

I’m leaving for a business conference, and it’s a high-energy, intense 3-day event. The last day of the event is April 9th, and I leave a room of 1,000 of my new best friends to fly home on April 10th.

Which should have been our daughter’s 4th birthday.

I’ve been wrestling with this, as probably only other loss-parents might understand. And I’ve been wrestling with the fact that I’m wrestling with it.

It’s a little messy in my head with all this wrestling going on. Continue reading “Harlynn’s Gift To Mama”

Awaiting My Exodus

exodus

I am an Israelite, and I am waiting for my exodus.

In reading through the Bible, you’re eventually going to have to read through the book of Exodus. I say “have to” because it’s not one of my favorite books to read through. The intricate detail of the ephods and the temple construction and the linen threads and the cubits and the rings and the poles and oh my gosh stoppit already, Exodus. It’s painful for me to read.

Until recently. Continue reading “Awaiting My Exodus”

The Straight Paths

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5,6

I was reaching into the cupboard to grab a glass. With my hand around the mason jar (that’s what us country bumpkins use to drink from), my arm stayed stiff-straight, reaching up to the shelf.

“Stop using faith as a foxhole.”

It was a phrase I heard with my whole body. My entire mind. “Stop using faith as a foxhole.” Continue reading “The Straight Paths”

When Living Simply Is Complicated

[ insert giant sigh here ]

Oh, friends.

I’ve shared a few times my love for sleep. How when I was younger, my family was afraid to rouse me from slumber, because it was like waking a bear from hibernation. Someone might die.

Then I had babies and didn’t sleep all that great for a while, but this past summer, Little Man finally started sleeping through the night! So my life was almost perfect again.

Until the wee hours of Monday morning.

A visitor decided to call on his friend around 2:30 in the morning. This visitor was carrying on lengthy conversations, and from all I could hear, it sounded like he was conversing with himself.

In the entrance of our apartment building.

If you’re wondering how I would even know someone was talking to themselves in the entrance of our building at 2:30 in the morning, I’ll let you in on a little secret: our bedroom wall is adjacent to the entrance. Because, #apartmentlife.

This visitor was out there for a long time, dropping many an f-bomb, and Mama Val was growing more and more irate. I pounded on the wall. No change. Brent went out to advise him to quiet down. It helped only barely.

The situation (allegedly) was he was supposed to be getting into someone’s apartment on 3rd floor, but the intercom was dialing straight to the person’s voicemail. Mr. Visitor was then leaving lengthy, profanity-laced threats on the voicemail message through the intercom.

Because that’s how you talk to your “Buddy” as he kept referring to him.

Folks.

If you’re trying to get into someone else’s home at 3 in the morning, and the intercom isn’t allowing their phone to ring to let you in, leave.

For nearly 90 minutes this guy left message after message on his “buddy”‘s voicemail. Let me just say, if that’s how he talks to his friends, I don’t want to know how he talks to people he doesn’t like. We called the cops; we have no idea if they ever arrived. The issue appeared to have resolved itself before any enforcement came. I was kind of looking forward to hearing a handcuffing scuffle, but no such luck.

I was preparing to go out and confront Mr. Buddy myself, but Hubs wouldn’t allow it. In my sleep-deprived state, it was most likely in the best interest of the safety of the visiting stranger.

After the great visitor debacle of 2017, I was wide awake, and so was hubs. Our day started before 3:00 a.m.

God forgive me, please, for what I’m about to say: I hate this apartment.

Our desire is, and has been, to live a simpler life. Get a home away from city limits, get our chickens and a rooster, grow our own food in the biggest garden we could manage, put my aprons to work while I can all the foods in between baking loaves of bread… The simpler life.

But it’s complicated.

It’s complicated because until we find the place that suits our needs and our budget, we’re stuck here. Stuck hearing everyone’s footsteps, conversations, f-bombs, no matter the time of day or night.

Stuck where our kids can’t just run outside and hop on their bikes, because people drive through the parking lot like it’s a Daytona track.

Stuck where I can only see to the east, and only the sliver of sky above the garage rooftops.

Stuck in a herd of people who forget they’re living with an entire herd of other people.

I adopted the #littleapartmentontheprairie tag last year in an effort to embrace our situation and make the best of it. Now… I’m so over it.

I don’t know what’s next for us. I don’t know if we’re staying local or uprooting and replanting hundreds of miles away. I’d love for there to be mountains in my near future.

All we want is the simple life.

But it’s complicated.

Yes, I’m complaining. Yes, I’m discontent. Tagging on to a conversation we had with friends this past weekend – discontent does not mean ungrateful! I’m thankful we have this place, and it has filled our needs from the time we moved in. We’re warm, we’re more organized than we were (as far as stuff and possessions go, because we’ve downsized so much), we’re on the first floor so at least the kids can run inside and not drive anyone beneath us crazy – – – we’re very grateful!

I’m not content to stay here, though. I don’t believe we were intended to rent forever, let alone in an apartment building. I don’t believe this is where God intends us to stay long-term. I believe my discontent is healthy, and motivating us to take those steps in faith to get out of here and move to where God DOES intend for us.

I only wish I knew right where that was, and it could have happened four days ago.

Deep breath. I have the aftermath of making fresh applesauce to clean up from, so I’d best get to it. I’m praying for the complicated to become clear, and for the simple to be achieved. May the #littleapartmentontheprairie tag rest in peace in our very near future.