Friday, September 17, 2010

Wonderfully Exhausted

Well...we made a BIG trip and we drove the whole way there (with that on our back window). We dropped Little Bit off with the Grands (again, apart from them - trips like these would NOT happen!) She spent a little time with The Engineer's folks and a little time with my Mama. It was FANTASTIC! She had a blast and says she wants to go back!

It was a long trip. On the way there we broke it up - drove a small leg of it and left the rest for the next day. But on the way We live a ways away from DC. We pulled out of DC at 6am our time and arrived home at 11:30pm that night. YIKES.

And so we are all...wonderfully exhausted!

The scenery was beautiful. Specifically Virginia! I'll share the DC highlights in a later post.

With all that time in the car, we finished...yes, we FINISHED the Little House series. We were all a bit sad. The last two books kept me grinning and choking up. In fact, the day before we left, Sister and I sat in the car while the oil was being changed and I read aloud to her and broke down into a mess of tears. I think I weirded out the guys working on the car. Then we grabbed some breakfast and over coffee, I did it again. The stories are so rich. They touched our hearts.

We've decided we need to make a trip to Missouri so we can see the house in which Laura and Almanzo lived and the furniture he built for her. I am just in love with that couple. With that story. With that time period - when showing your ears and ankles was inappropriate! Precious. It's been a wonderful adventure for our family! One I'm sure we'll repeat when Little Bit is older.

We practiced blowing bubbles...or trying to. And we began a new series: Anne of Green Gables!

And now the struggling little geranium on our sink is named Lissy (because Anne names hers Bonny) and our house is now affectionately referred to as "The Camelia Cottage" (because we do have a LOT of Camelia's in the front yard). And while we ate soup for lunch, Sister told me she would like to call our soup the "Shining Soup of Wonders" (Anne refers to a certain body of water as the Lake of Shining Waters) and that if she (Sister) could swim in it, she would "drink it up" while swimming.

We are welcoming Anne into our lives and there is such joy and delight as I watch Sister listen and then digest what she hears. Anne is "a wordy girl" as Sister said, but she is precious and we are quite smitten with her.

The dishwasher I picked is on back order. Go figure. I dread hand washing and I've instituted a MANDATORY one cup per person per day OR ELSE rule.

On the night I photographed the sink, I was so tired and just didn't have it in they stayed there all night long. God's mercies are new every morning and my attitude was definitely improved that next day. I'm not sure what I am to learn during this period - for sure I have a new appreciation for that wonderful appliance called the dishwasher...I pray I learn it soon and well! -oh perhaps it's that God is glorified in the the washing of dishes with a good attitude and a heart of thanks. Now to get my heart there...

And I wanted to share something...I wrote a very long post solely about this one thing...but it was more for just getting my guts out on I didn't publish it...but here goes.

I am quitting freelance.

For a long time my heart has been divided. I've been working part time from home since Sister arrived. When I started, I was only going to work until we'd paid our debts. Once we reached that milestone, I kept working. Largely, because the money was fun. I mean, we could do more and faster with me working.

And so the years have passed.

And over the course of the last few years, The Engineer has suggested I quit freelance.

But the fact is, and I'm terrified to share this, my ego is largely wrapped up in it. I want to be one of "those" moms who has it all together in terms of balancing being a wife and mom and designer. But the harsh reality is, I can't balance it. And when I am working, most of the time, I can almost audibly hear my responsibilities as a wife and mom screaming at me! And I can't silence them. And it drives me mad. And I lose my temper with my children. Often a chunk of what I make working is consumed with the expense of eating out because I wasn't available to cook. And what's left doesn't cover the emotional strain induced by my working.

The bottom line, I don't doubt at all, in fact, I am certain that God called me to work while we were getting out of our financial mess and He blessed us with some HUGE jobs - with clients who needed a LOT of work done. And that was a HUGE blessing! HUGE!

But now, He is and has been calling me to let that go.

I quit the stationery side of things a few months ago and thought that would bring the needed relief. It didn't.

I think I've been a bit like Jonah. I just didn't want to go where God was telling me to go. I thought by scaling back, I could suppress the undeniable call of God in this area. He wasn't fooled.

So I've made my "Finish Line" list. There are five "jobs" on it and I am working to bring each one to completion. There's a possibility I may be doing a few yearbooks come spring, but that's just because a few contracts had already been put out. I want to make good on my word, so if they sign and won't let me out, I'm good for it.

It's bittersweet. I can't deny the pull on my heart in this direction. I am oh, SO thankful for a supportive husband and we are so thankful God has provided in such a way that I am able to be home 100%.

So I'm babbling.

I hope to be finished by the end of the month. After all, this is a precious, sweet season of life. I want to look back with confidence that we invested our time wisely. And this, my friends, for us, is one step in investing wisely.

When I told Sister our plans, that I was working my way out, she jumped up and down screaming and threw her arms around my neck and shouted, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

Solomon said it well, "There is a time for everything."


  1. It's hard to let a piece of us go,even if it is just for a season. I feel that way about singing right now.

    I still remember going to Missouri when we made our big trip back east. I was 8 years old and I was addicted the Little House on the Prairie books. We got to visit all the historal sights and see Ma and Pa's grave. It was so special to their home and really feel like they were real people.

  2. Oh Jenn...I *love*love*love* the "Little House" series of books! I also think it's kinda cool that we have the SAME ones! ;-)

    But I also *LOVE* Anne! (She's Canadian, you already know that, I'm sure ~ and so is her times!)

    Yippee Yahoo!!! YOU are going to be home full time...what a great HUGE blessing!! I think Sister's reaction to the news was WONDERFUL!! PRECIOUS!!!!!! You will not regret it!

    Have a wonderful weekend!


  3. I have to admit, I produced an ounce of jealousy reading your post. WHATABLESSIN'! How wonderful to know that you will be available to your children and home 100%. We're praying we are soon able to move in that same direction..but are willing to wait on God's direction for us right now.

    I love that you did Little House with your precious ones..I am searching for a 'boy-friendly' series for my 1st grader!

  4. So excited for you J! Thanks for your honesty. I saw many of my own struggles there too.
    And, as much as I love Little House, I love Anne more. I almost can't re-read them b/c I cried through them so much. And wanted red hair until I was well into double digits :) Sweet times. Glad for your fun trip!

  5. I sooooo remember the Little House series from elementary school-I still have some originals in my classroom-I loved "On the Banks of Plum Creek" best. Loved them building the little house in the sod-the underground house. So cool.

    Glad y'all went to DC to fight for us conservatives!! Bet that was fun and hope you have some stories to share.

    Congrats on listening to God's will-it is hard and often times we pull our own way!

    Missed ya!

  6. Yes, yes, yes! I ADORE the Green Gable series...growing up I adored Anne and was terribly smitten with Gilbert Blythe. In fact, to take a break from my pregnancy books, I pulled Green Gables off the shelf the other day and plan to re-read the series before baby girl comes. I'm so glad Sister is enjoying it!

  7. Oh my word-so much to digest!
    1. So glad the trip went so well! Love that you wrote on the rear window! You need a "we live within our means bumper sticker!"

    2. Definitely bittersweet about little house, but you will LOVE Anne of Green Gables-we do!

    3. Freelance-had to pick my jaw up off the floor! So proud of you. I know that was such a hard decision and I totally understand the ego/pride issue. So excited for you and your family-definitely a new season!

    4. Sister is growing so fast and she somehow continues to become more beautiful. Is it wrong that pictures of her skin made me jealous :)?

    Love you and miss you tons!

  8. Congratulations on being able to quite Freelance! While it is bittersweet, that is wonderful that you're able to spend all your time and efforts on being a wife and mother. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

    This post made me sooo anxious for the time in our life when I care share those book series with Caroline. So glad y'all are loving them!

  9. I love Anne!!!! So happy for you about not working!! I am feeling the pressure and the pull and struggle to balance it all. You are very wise to have sacrificed earlier so that you can be fully home now!! So happy for you!

  10. Call me a space cadet, but all this time I had no idea that you were doing freelance! Wow, you did have a full plate. I'm praising God for you obedience to go where He is leading, even though it is hard, and I trust that you will find both blessing and peace in His place.

    I can't wait to hear more about your trip.

    Tell Sister that we cried at the end of the Little House series too.

    Jenn, you are a blessing to me. We must try to work it out some time to get together if we ever happen to be in our hometown at the same time! Wouldn't that be fun?!

  11. I just want to tell you - good for you on your big decision! You are so lucky to be able to quit (and by that I mean reprioritize as necessary and put what's important first). I don't know a single mom that REALLY can "do it all." I know lots of moms with fab jobs that have tons of help and lots of moms that stay home and are WONDERFUL wives and moms, but to truly do it all?? I work {during tax season I work a lot}, and just about every single day I feel inadequate at one or the other...or both. Most days I'm a C+ mom, employee and wife (sadly, in that order). And I did NOT make C's in school :) So, good for you! I'm proud of your decision, though I know it was a difficult one to make!

  12. Wow! Wow! Wow! So excited for you...that you have heard God's call and are being obedient. Praise the Lord!

  13. Love the reaction to Little House and then Anne :) I also quit my photography, which was difficult in the ego sort of way. What a huge relief and blessing though! I love your honesty about it. We can always get back to those things one day.... if need be. In the meantime, life rolls along much better. You won't regret it.

  14. We just finished Anne of Green Gables a week ago. My son feigned disinterest for the first couple of chapters. By the time Gilbert and the slate-breaking scene came... he was hooked.

    Ahh, the wonders of good literature.

  15. Thanks for representing in DC! My husband went last year.

    I hope this next chapter of being 100% home is a good good change. I know that's a hard decision - hard to let go - I've struggled with some of that myself.

  16. What a hard decision to quit freelance! I echo the other comments made here. I can relate--it is so hard giving up things that we are good at (that God has truly given us a gift for), but so freeing when we can let them go and trust Him to fulfill and reward us in these busy seasons of life. Good for you for making wise decisions! :)

    One thing I have noticed from reading your blog is that you truly have a gift for bringing beauty to all aspects of your life--your home, you children's clothes, your homeschooling, your blog--everything. SO...even though you may not be getting "paid" to do this in an official capacity, you are still bringing your Heavenly Father a smile on His face by using the gifts He has given you in your everyday life. I will pray that He will continue to confirm in your heart the path He is leading you on. :)

  17. Visit Missouri and then visit Kansas and the Wizard of Oz Museum!!!! (Its in the city next to us! Anne of Green Gables & Little House on the Prairie series were treasured in my childhood too!

  18. Visit Missouri and then visit Kansas and the Wizard of Oz Museum!!!! (Its in the city next to us! Anne of Green Gables & Little House on the Prairie series were treasured in my childhood too!

  19. Visit Missouri and then visit Kansas and the Wizard of Oz Museum!!!! (Its in the city next to us! Anne of Green Gables & Little House on the Prairie series were treasured in my childhood too!

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