Seeking Balance in Downsizing

May 12, 2014 · 8 comments

Proverbs 30:8-9   Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. 

That was the verse I attached to the photograph of the house I printed off the computer last year when I was dreaming of downsizing and finding balance in our lives and finances. I was dreaming of having a house that was completely paid for, with land for a big garden and some livestock, in an area where my children could have more opportunities for things like hopping on bikes to go fishing. Just wistful dreams, mind you. But I put the picture of the sweet little house (advertised for sale as “the Lord’s house”) into my “God jar” as a visual representation of what I really hoped my life would look like: simple and deliberate, free from debt, in balance and pleasing to the Lord.


This  jar is where I put little strips of papers with what I just need to give to God. It helps to do the physical act of writing it down and putting it where I can see it. And anytime I worry about anything at all, I can just pray about it and remind myself–and again see it in full visual view–that I have, in fact, given it to God. I got the idea from Julia Cameron.


God jar and more


As it turns out, that little house belonged to (not a surprise) a godly Christian man. And that we had actually met him once before when he visited our church and he remembered us. And that he and my husband after reconnecting had many good talks about living that kind of proverbs 30:8-9 kind of life. Finally, that man offered us a lease-to-own option, to allow for us to have the house as ours while we sold our current one, extracting–we hope–a good down payment to complete the purchase when all was said and done.


I still am rather stunned by the whole course of events, but here we are. That little house I stumbled upon has become ours. I still keep asking the Lord, “Really? Really?


Meanwhile, my current house is a wreck. Trying to navigate the first trimester AND pack up an entire household into boxes is, shall we say, challenging. Knowing that I’m moving into a space a third the size I currently have for living and storage is also tricky. Part of me is thrilled; I guess I am a bit of a practical minimalist at heart and I’m quick to throw out anything that isn’t really necessary (which, face it, is most of what we have). The other part is sentimental; I’m not very quick to throw out family heirlooms or furniture, no matter how much I can’t see where it’s all going to go in the new house.  I’ve made peace though: one garage sale here, and one later there for the stuff that doesn’t fit! What better way to meet my neighbors?


So the beds are pretty much constantly unmade these days.



And the dishes…well…they get a few meals in before they’re washed.




And oy, the boxes upon boxes upon boxes. Thankfully, we’re moving them out of the house and into the garage. That will make our house easier to show for potential buyers and the move itself easier, too. We can move when the new-to-us house is ready; it needs insulation and walls upstairs. For starters.



One difficulty I’ve had is what to do with all of the unfinished projects I have everywhere. At first I thought I ought to finish as many of them as possible, to make the transition more orderly and to better organize. But then…really…I hardly have the time to finish up these things during NORMAL life…and I’m supposed to finish them while pregnant, packing for a move, fixing up an old house, and changing locations? Yeah…right.


I am, however, hoping to finish these kitchen towels. I’m about halfway through, and I can’t imagine trying to move my loom with a working project on it.




Other projects I have that I’m trying to get into some order are things like pasting into my art journal all kinds of papers that I had in piles all over my desktop.




I’d like to finish sewing up some leather journals I made while I was in Portland last month.




And–bother–the piles of recipes I’ve clipped over the years, to organize “someday”. Do I just plop the whole mess into a box to do “later”? Or toss it all?




One thing I can’t toss is the miscellaneous hand projects I have going: binding a quilted table runner, embroidering an apron, knitting a scarf, appliquéing wool felt…plus odds and ends of mending. Maybe, I think, once my current house is on the market and I’m waiting for the other house to be ready for us, I can work on these lovely things. Maybe.




Don’t even ask me about schoolwork. My older kids are pretty much on independent studies, and my younger ones are “taking a vacation” like the mass of public schoolchildren counting the days until summer break. I was thankful to get “unsolicited advice” (her words, not mine!) about letting the schoolwork go for right now. I was more than relieved to box most of it all up! I did keep MY schoolwork out, thinking, again, maybe, I might have a chance to pick at it.




So that’s where we are right now…crazy busy getting our house ready for market and packing, packing, packing. I do feel the *deadline* of getting everything sold here, ready there, moved and put away and organized before autumn, when baby is due. But I suppose that instead of stressing over it, I would do well to get out another scrap of paper, write “transition” or some such onto it, and put it into the jar. Don’t you think so?



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Joy May 12, 2014 at 11:07 am

I so love the idea of a ‘God Jar’ so am going to start one myself, thank you for sharing that.

Big hug to you my friend, you sound rather frazzled. xxxxxx


kerimae May 13, 2014 at 7:52 am

I’ll take that hug!


Emily May 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm

You’ve got a lot on your plate there, lady! Regarding the recipes: you’re gonna have to go “tough love” there and throw out any that are more than a year old and still unused, and anything that involved more than 12 ingredients. Because you won’t have time, or all the kitchen supplies, to do anything too fancy for a little while.
Your answered prayer gives me some hope for our situation. We’ve been praying for something for a while now, and it actually looked like the ball was rolling, but then everything stalled. We don’t know what God is doing, but we still feel like the thing we’ve been praying for is supposed to happen. Seeing an answered prayer is a reminder too me that God really does give good gifts to those who love Him.


kerimae May 13, 2014 at 7:55 am

Thanks, Emily. I was able to do a half-tough love and went through and tossed about a third of it. The funny thing was that I kept coming across recipes and saying, “oooooh yummmo!”….and then saved them again for “later”. Silly rabbit I am. It felt good to stuff a bunch into the trash though!

Keeping a prayer journal (or jar) is a good way to keep track of answered prayers too. We do serve a very good God.


Melanie May 13, 2014 at 12:26 am

Love the ” God Jar” idea! Thanks for sharing! I think we have all been in a similar situation where the laundry is piled high, the sink hasn’t been seen in quiet some time, unfinished projects keeps reminding us of our long lists of to dos, and an unorganized home. Hang in there! It will all pass. My mom used to always tell me when I had tons of things to do and really just needed a nap, “the chores will wait on you. They will still be there tomorrow.” It is nice to hear this and makes me remembe sometimes you just need a nap or just take some time to relax. Hope you find some calm in the middle of a storm. Best wishes!


kerimae May 13, 2014 at 7:59 am

Thank you, Melanie. My “nap” today comes in form of a friend coming over to visit with her children. Thankfully I don’t have to clean counters (or sofas or floors….) for any of my friends to come share some time and scones :)


Kim May 13, 2014 at 6:52 am

I think you’re making great progress!! Don’t be discouraged. This is a season……so what if the beds aren’t made for a few weeks or that your house is a little messier than you like it, or you have to eat “convenience” meals for a few weeks; at this time all those things can be a blessing to let slide for awhile. I remember a wise old lady sharing the above with me when I was having problems carrying my last little boy.

Thanks for the God Jar idea. I made on this morning and I am so grateful to be able to hand a few things over to God! Thanks for the blessing.

I too had a lot of recipes from various magazines and such. I gave the job of scanning each one to my son who likes to help. He scanned them into a file on the computer. I figured when I “got around” to trying them I could print them off or simply delete them. I also did this with any craft ideas. It has worked well for me. This freed me to throw out those two large piles

I also had a lot of unfinished projects around. I decided to put each one in a gallon Ziploc bag and mark it. I put these in a Xerox box and set it by my chair in the bedroom. When I was up with a little one, or had 15 minutes in the morning, “here a little, there a little” concept. I’m glad to say, I only have a few left. Since I knew they were in one area and packaged separately, I could grab one quickly and work on it.

I chuckled at the “unsolicited advice” comment. :)

Praying for you and your family,


kerimae May 13, 2014 at 8:01 am

Hi Kim

I don’t mind the “sliding” part; it’s the “slippery slope” I worry about! And I *love* your ideas of scanning and bagging up projects! Keep those ideas (and prayers…thank you…) coming.


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