Monday, September 8, 2014

Perfection, the mess and my home

I am so glad that I started following The Nester on Instagram, so thankful that I was browsing Instagram on our lazy Monday Labor Day morning and so happy that the book The Nesting Place went on sale for Kindle. I bought it without thinking twice, downloaded it to my phone and started reading it right away. IT IS SO GOOD!!! Especially relating to the ideas of perfectionism & contentment. I feel like the heart of the message of this book applies to everything and everyone, everywhere - no matter what your life circumstances are. It's about our home but it's primarily about my heart.

I am so loving this book that I knew I had to blog about it but then I came to this place mid-way through chapter 4 and I knew exactly what I wanted to say...


The Tyrone house  in spring
our little duplex
When my oldest two, who are only 18 months apart, were very little it was a crazy season of our life together in pretty much every way. My husband worked a residential pest control route and I stayed home. We drove an about-to-break-down car that was made the same year I was born. We lived in this tiny little duplex, on a little road lined with duplexes on the other side of the rail road tracks.  We had no money but we had fantastic friends and a really good life.

We lived in this itty bitty space that was almost never ever clean. There were dishes in the sink and laundry waiting to be folded piled up in my bedroom. Our couches were the ugliest things ever. But when I wasn't busy feeling guilty for my house not being clean enough, or good enough - we were really happy. Our kids jumped on that couch, our dog sat on that couch and when we got rid of it and bought something slightly less embarrassing it was terrible for jumping on. It had recliners at the end of each side so that if my girls wanted to jump they would get hurt. It was awful and I hated it. Turns out this cheap ugly awful couch was perfect for our family and this simple, mundane un-noteworthy life I was leading turned out to be really sweet. 

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I was so eager to move out of that place and so thrilled to get rid of that furniture, but looking back - that was such a sweet season of life (and I really do miss that couch!)  I could not wait for my girls to get a bit older so we could move onto a less boring and messy stage, but it turns out that this stage is really hard too and I look back at that season with a little bit of longing, wishing I could have lived those years with the perspective I have now.  I stayed home with my girls and even though I was generally bored out of my mind (and at the same time exhausted all the time!) it was a whole lot of nothing that added up to one beautiful something - a life. 

One of my favorite quotes so far in "The Nesting Place" is:
"It's easy to make decisions based on what others will think, settling for the appearance of perfection instead of insisting on authenticity. But is that really how we want to live? Just keeping up appearances?"

In some seasons there is an appearance of lack. I lack a pretty house in a chic neighborhood. I lack the Pinterest-perfect living room ensemble. I lack the business-card-worthy job title. But despite the appearance of lack, I have a life. A good one. One I want to embrace with both arms.

"Most of us renters are choosing to live someplace we don't love because there are more important things we need to tend to: raising children, paying off debt, living close to family, finding a job, supporting a spouse, being independent, being financially responsible. Remember there are a lot of women who would consider you lucky that you even got to make that choice in the first place. You will look back and have fond memories of the rental you currently despise. And choosing a less than ideal home in order to have the kind of home life, financial peace or family circumstances you want is not the kind of decision you look back and regret." 

I can say from my experience that this is so true. You could even re-phrase this to say most of us are choosing to live a life the way that we are (not even just the where but the what too) because we see something more important than keeping up appearances. Making the decision (and sometimes having to make that decision again on a daily basis!) to live small, to stay focused on home and kids and not pursue other things - I know that these are things I won't regret. I don't look back at that time when my bigs were itty bitty and think how I should have gotten a job so we could have a bigger house or a better car. I think how glad I am that I got to be present during those highly formative years of my oldest girls lives. I have to remind myself of that now, while Eli is little and I sometimes get a bit restless, this is not the kind of life I am going to regret.

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