Wow! When Jill takes over my blog, I sure get a lot of pictures posted! She did a great job. (No really, she did. Seriously. Okay, I'm a dork.)
Okay, so, I figured all of those pictures should be accompanied with some writing. My search for a home continues. Life is so interesting. I remember packing when we moved out here, wondering whether we would be with Jeff's parents for a short time or a longer time (say 3 months or so). I packed accordingly. That has left me with no access to my sweaters, etc. Sad day. It is amazing though how I once thought that three months might be tops for how long we would be here. Little did I know how hard it would be to find a job (and Jeff was blessed to find one that quickly in today's job market) and then how arduous the path of finding a home could be. We've been here about seven months now, and we might even hit a year before we move out! Life surprises you.
I made a list the other day. Well, three lists I guess: Starter Home, Forever Home, and Dream Home. I finally sat down and honestly listed what I thought we needed in a house right now and what I could wait for and what I might never actually need but would be pretty sweet. It's interesting, most of my criteria for the forever home are the same rooms the Muncie house had, and the dream home criteria are similar to the Alphaville house.
So, the debate between buying an existing home, building a home through a company that does everything, or building a home somewhat on our own (hiring our own general contractor, doing what work we know how to do, etc.) continues. We're in the "information gathering" stage. I had no idea that purchasing a lot and running utilities, leveling, etc. cost so much money.
Off of the house note. Here are some interesting articles I have read recently. I will share the beginning of each and then link to the story, so you can read the article in its entirety.
Behavior and Consequences
Dr. Bill Maier
The effective use of consequences can be a powerful parenting tool. When our children break a rule or fail to act responsibly, we can implement a consequence or allow the natural outcome of their behavior to take effect. Over time, these results act as a teacher, helping our kids to learn how things operate in the real world.
Unfortunately, far too many parents short-circuit this process, either failing to implement appropriate consequences or bailing their kids out—shielding them from the slightest discomfort. These parents believe they are expressing love by sparing their children from consequences; in reality, they are setting up their kids for frustration and failure later in life. Read the whole article.
This one is becoming increasingly important as Jill ages and gets closer to the age where she'll need discipline. She's too young to understand it right now, but if I make the habits now, then I'll be able to be consistent for her when she's older. Sometimes I feel very intimidated by the responsibility I have try to mold her into a responsible adult. Article like this, the Church, examples of other parents, and prayer help me acknowledge that it can be done!
The Grief of Infertility
As we entered the one-room country church, my dad reached to steady my mom. The explosion of color, the thick scent of lilies and the face of my grandfather in a bronze casket had knocked her off balance.
At 9 years old, I was too young to fully understand what was happening, but I could feel my mom's anguish. The closer we got to the casket, the more violently she wept. Her legs faltered under the weight of her grief. There was nothing I could do to ease the pain.
Nearly 20 years passed before I again encountered such physically intense grief from a loved one. This time, the deep pain came as my wife, Kerrie, explained through tortured sobs over the phone that a medical lab had confirmed that we were unable to have children. Once again, I could do nothing. I remember thinking, It feels like someone died. . . . Read the rest of the article.
I have never personally dealt with infertility, but there are many people in my acquaintance, family, and friendships who have. I often don't know what to say to them, because I haven't felt it, and I'm sure even if I had, no one's pain is the same, but I do believe this article had good information on how to deal with the pain. I also found it valuable, because while I hope to give birth to more children other than Jill, there is never any guarantee that I will be able to. Being able to bear children is a gift, one that I am reminded of and grateful for every day. Never take it for granted.
It's Good to Be Bored
When I hear people say they "get bored easily," my tendency is to think that they feel a bit superior to the rest of us. Sophisticated. Maybe even pious. Why? Because in American culture, getting bored quickly is practically held synonymous with having advanced acumen and/or being a fascinating, very important (and therefore very busy) human being in general.
It's almost as if we believe that "achieving" effortless ennui must mean we are savvy and cosmopolitan enough to have "been there, done that, thrown away the T-shirt."
Yet, paradoxically, we constantly flee boredom by toting iPods, cell phones and a host of other electronic gadgets or diversions. A few years ago, Motorola even coined a word for the brief moments when (gasp!) we're without a device to distract us from inactivity: microboredom.
But boredom—micro or macro, of the common variety or the snobbish—isn't the enemy it's made out to be. And stillness, which we incorrectly link with boredom, definitely isn't. . . . Read the rest of the article.
It's funny. I always go by the mantra that if I've ever bored, it's my own fault, because there is always something to do. A new game to play with Jill. A new book to read. A phone call to make to a family member. A blog article to post . . . You see? But reading that post made me re-evaluate boredom. It really is important to set aside time to look within and get in touch with the Spirit. I remember how much I hated college psychology, because I didn't want to look within and try to figure out why I felt what I did. I was too lazy. It was too difficult. But when I don't know why I act how I do, then I lose my right over myself.
Why Kids Beg . . . And What You Can Do About It
It was the autumn of 1980. "Another One Bites the Dust" ruled radio. The nation was about to elect Ronald Reagan president. And if pestering parents had been an Olympic sport, I would've been a 9-year-old gold medalist.
In those days, J.C. Penney's Christmas catalog was a favorite read among grade-schoolers. My family's copy was always dog-eared to the Breyer Horses page. One year I wanted—no, I pined for—the special collector's edition of The Black Stallion and his boy rider, Alec Ramsey, wearing riding silks.
I saw the toy only in the catalog and a horse-lovers' magazine, but that was enticement enough. It positively called to me. After all, my life's ambition was to become a jockey. "This would be an educational purchase," I calmly reasoned.
I left my parents notes. I verbally reminded them daily for three months. I told my Sunday school teacher about it and even got on my knees and pleaded when it looked as if all the adults in my life were oblivious to my deep need. But despite my zeal and determination, I did not receive The Black and Alec that year. Or any year, for that matter. And I still remember the disappointment, all the result of my exposure to one page in a catalog. Read the rest of the article.
I am definitely not looking forward to dealing with this. But I am going to do my best! I have few sayings in my wallet that help me when I'm shopping: "I don't need the most expensive; I need what works." "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." and I can't remember the last one, but it's a quote that is similar to those ones. They help me evaluate before I buy. They actually even help me not even go shop in the first place. :) I almost get angry by sales, because I think the sales price should be the every day price. The words printed on a label should not make something more expensive. The amount of fabric, quality of work, detail of embellishment, cost of shipping, and overhead of store and employees should determine the price—not the name. Sigh.
Breaking the Debt Cycle
Zombies. Vampires. Werewolves. They’re amateurs. Sure, movie monsters can be a little frightening, but if you want a real scare, take a look at your 401(k). Or hunt for a job. Or turn on the evening news for five minutes. Fake blood doesn’t send chills up the spine like red ink does. The economy is as terrifying as anything at the multiplex these days. And while few teens are feeling the pinch enough to impact their spending, they need to understand how we got into this recession . . . or risk repeating those mistakes. Read the rest of the article.
One thing that I found interesting about this article was the part about how people think life with debt is normal now. It's true. I do think that many people think that debt is a normal, necessary, part of life. It is scary to discover how many people spend more than they can earn. I wonder what America would be like if we saved more than we spent. Is it possible for an economy to survive based on saving rather than spending? I don't know. I didn't do very well in economics.