Homer Family Values

April 23, 2014 — Leave a comment

One day, many years ago, Brent and I sat down with the 31 Days to Fix Your Finances  from The Simple Dollar and had a long talk.  We have since started the 31 days many times, but never have finished.  But in my opinion, the most important day is the first one – defining your values.  What drives you and your family?  On what basis do you make your most important decisions?  What happens when you can’t decide which path to take?  For us, we found it was extra important right now to take another look at our values and put them in the forefront of our minds to help us when we’re faced with so many paths to take.  We don’t know where we’re going, but we do know where we’re not going – because of our values.

One caveat – those of us who know us personally will be surprised to see that God and/or Spirituality is not on the list.  It originally was, but we decided that it was so overarching and global over our lives that it was just understood.  God is the one who holds all the values together.  Just like we wouldn’t deliberately make a decision for our family that would cause us to die, we wouldn’t make any choices that would cause us to go against what we feel is God’s will for us.  And we feel that our values are God’s will for us.  So God isn’t on the list, because He is the list.

Even if you think you don’t have any values – you do.  The problem is that when your values aren’t defined, you forget them or have ones that you don’t find important.  Going into a no-job situation, we could easily have a value of “making money” without knowing it, but then we’d end up at the first fast food place we’d see that was hiring.  Not what we want.  When we have values that we really care about. we can make the right decisions for our family.

Homer Family Values

  • Adventure
  • Family
  • Service
  • Personal Development
  • Freedom

 

In between telling people you’re moving and then actually moving.

It’s sort of like when you’re walking to your car and you say goodbye to your friend just to find out that they are parked right next to you and you have to do the weird second goodbye and it’s just strange.

We’re planning on doing something, and at the same time vowing not to look for jobs until May.

We’re trying to save as much money as we can, and at the same time cramming in all the repairs we can manage while we still live near my dad and an address.

We’re trying to recover from holidays and rest, and at the same time schedule time with every single person we’ve ever cared about since we’ve lived here (30ish years).

We’re hugging people and agreeing that it’s sad we’re leaving and then see them the next week and talk about… what?

It’s a very odd place to be.

I sat down with Andrei today and he started a new school method that requires a lot less of my help.  So I had more free time – yay!  But I didn’t know what to do with it!  I have some great ideas and plans but I feel like I can’t start them until we’re rolling out.  Then I realized it will be immensely harder to get things done because Brent will be home all the time.

Usually when I’m in distress I go into information gathering mode, but I can’t find even one article about moving that applies to our situation.

I’m counting down the days half because I’m excited, and half because I’m ready to get on with life!

“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.”
― Bob Goff

When we got rid of all of our stuff, we didn’t know we were going to buy an RV.

When we bought an RV, we didn’t know there would be a sermon about  -”You don’t have to understand completely to obey immediately”

But when we heard that quote, we did know what we had to do next.

This past week, Brent gave his notice at his job.  His last Sunday will be May 4th.  We don’t have another job lined up, we don’t even know where we  are going.  But God is asking us to go and we are saying yes.  We are saying yes to fear and uncertainty but also saying yes to faith and trust.  We are saying yes to jumping and the expectation that God will go before us and meet us where we are at.  We are saying yes to God’s grand adventure.

We do have some plans.  Visit friends, write a lot, rest and drive and meet new people.  But most of all our plans are to love and trust and say yes a lot.  It sounds irresponsible but sometimes God is that way.  We expected and waited for God to show up with a grand plan but as we waited and waited it became more clear to us that we would have to start walking in faith before we knew what would happen next.  As Brent likes to say, “God is a lamp to our feet, not a lighthouse to your future – he’ll only show us the next step”

We don’t know where we will be a year from now – heck we don’t even know when we start driving, if we will go North, South, West or East (probably not east).  We only know that it will be difficult and scary and a whole lot of messy, but also exciting and adventurous and even more of faith than we ever thought we had.  And we can’t wait to tell you all about it.

We live in a garage, if any of you readers don’t know that.  We have a toy hauler RV which means there’s a completely separate room with a locking door that is typically used for ATVs, motorcycle, whatever “toys” you have.  We saw this as a bedroom.  It’s tight, and our king sized bed barely fits in it, but we make it work and have for almost two years now.

Last winter we realized that the garage area was not as insulated as the rest of the RV.  Now the rest of the RV is not very insulated at all – we joke that the windows keep out heat better than the walls.  So to have a room that is less insulated?  We really were living in a garage.  We had ice on the wall and stuff frozen to the ground and a mini glacier in the corner, and when spring came it all melted and then our room was damp, damp, damp and gross.  We had a dehumidifier but it didn’t completely fix the problem.  So I said – before this last winter, we had to do something different.  We knew that the box springs were getting completely wrecked because of the moisture and we needed to get them off the ground somehow.

Well, it didn’t happen.  We did get some garage insulation sheets to put around the bed and that helped us feel warmer, but it didn’t completely help with the moisture problem.  We thawed out in spring to water and wet everywhere and our box springs were getting worse and worse.

So as soon as it got sort of nice out, we set out to make this happen.  We didn’t want to put a normal metal frame around our bed because the floor is slanted at the end, and also our bed is so ginormous that we already have to climb in from the foot.  I just saw gashed up shins with that solution.  So I suggested we throw simple pallets on the ground and just put our mattress right on top of that.  I asked around and confirmed that this would work, and found that they weren’t that expensive so it seemed like the perfect solution.

So I took myself to the hardware store and asked about the pallets and they sent someone out to help me load them.  I’m pretty thankful for this because there was no way I could have gotten them in myself.  I think I grossly underestimated the size of just normal pallets compared to the size of our truck.

When we got home, the plan was to open the back, slide the mattress out, throw the box springs onto the lawn, put the pallets in, slide the mattress back on, and viola – a new bed!  Of course things are never that easy.  First I had to sweep a million feathers and dust bunnies out of the corners – and everything was damp.  It was really gross and I’m trying not to think about it too much.  :P

Then, I completely forgot that there’s this *thing* sticking out into the middle of our room.  I think it’s a fuel pump that goes into the gas tank or something?  But it sticks out so far that the pallets couldn’t fit the correct way.  So the one row of pallets were the short way and the other row was the long way.   Because of this, there is about 8 inches of pallet sticking out at the bottom of the bed.  We could pull our mattress down so it’s flush with that, but there’s already so little room in there.  So we might still get cut up shins but I’m going to ask my dad if he’ll come over with a saw and help us get rid of that.

IMG_0972

IMG_0976

But after it all was done, I laid down and it was pretty comfortable.  It’s solid and the slanty floor is not noticeable.  Next on the docket it is a new mattress and I have been eyeing this homemade wool mattress tutorial with interest, but I don’t know how far Brent is willing to let me go….

So not 100% totally crappy, but works for us.  I guess that’s how we roll in RV land.

Lest you think I’m a super awesome baker just because I don’t stir my soda with carrots or dust pans with sugar, you are incorrect.  I’m not bad at it or anything, but I really dislike baking.  I enjoy baking for special occasions like birthdays or pi day or Thanksgiving, but other than that, it really is not my favorite thing to do.

Brent’s last birthday he said he wanted a “cake ball cake”.  I said no way!  He countered with some type of begging and I told him if he remembered in a year, I’d make him a cake ball cake, whatever that was.  I thought the matter was over – until Brent pulls out his phone and sends himself a reminder a year from then.  Checkmate, Brent!  You won this one.

So my friend has a cake ball maker thingy so I asked her if I could use it and she gladly offered.  I made no plans in my head until the last day and then the plans got super epic.  Three kinds of cake balls, three different types of frosting – one glorious tower of cake balls.

We live close by so I gathered all the ingredients into a couple of bags and hauled it all over.  Then I made about three trips back home to get all the things I forgot.  Then I set to work.  First I made a batch of vanilla, then of chocolate.  And just one cake recipe is a big batch.  I had probably over 80 cake balls by the end.  When I saw the difficulty of the third recipe and the amount of cake balls I already had, I just scrapped it right there – two was good enough.

I will say that the cake ball maker is a blessing and a curse.  My friend told me how to work it and I also watched a youtube tips tutorial.  If you overfill the little cups, the batter will spill all over the inside of the maker.  If you under fill, the cake balls won’t be perfectly round.  Somehow I managed to do both of these things.  All of my cake balls were flat and it looked like a waffle iron with all the spillage.  I tried to clean it up before my friend came home but I don’t think I wrecked it or anything and now she’s reading this so I hope she isn’t mad!

Anyway, now I had 80 odd cake balls in the fridge.  Now to frost them and pile them into a tower of awesomeness.  If you search pinterest for “cake ball cake” you will come across some crazy cakes.  I’m not sure if that was what I was envisioning, but that is not what happened.

First, I had cherry chips and I put them in a candy melter type thing.  They weren’t melting fast enough for me, so I decided to work on the second flavor – lime.  I had vanilla chips in a pot on the stove and I added lime juice for the flavor.  Anyone who has melted chocolate will immediately see the gigantic mistake here.  You never, ever add water to melting chocolate – it will never melt and basically ruin it.  The thing is – I Knew This!  I knew this would happen and I did it anyway.  So when it didn’t melt properly, I went to google how to fix it (you can’t) and while I was doing this, it burned.  So now I had two of my three flavors that weren’t doing what I wanted.  And Brent was due home soon.

So I went for my final flavor – peanut butter chips.  I took my time, melted them on the stove slowly and adding shortening instead of water and it worked fine (surprise surprise).  I managed to dip about 25 cake balls before it started running low so I borrowed some white chips from my friend to stretch it out for the last few balls.  I managed to make a nice looking pyramid of 30 chocolate cake balls with peanut butter frosting and chocolate drizzle.  The only problem – the peanut butter frosting was brown and the whole thing looked like an unimpressive pile of poop.  Literally.

But it tasted good.  And I managed to finish just minutes before Brent got home.  And he liked his birthday cake and gift, and all was okay with the world.

Happy Birthday babe!  I love you but I’m never making that cake again!

Way back when I was 20 (okay maybe not that long ago), I lived in my own and had big plans one Friday night.  Then they fell through.  I was really itching to go out and do something fun.  So I got on the dial-up and looked at what cities were within a few hours of driving and took off.  I ended up driving for 4 hours, catching a hotel, driving the rest of the way to St. Louis, MO the next morning and spending the day taking the free bus around the city and just seeing the sites.  I spent the next night back at the hotel and was back by Sunday.

A couple of weeks later, I ran into this new guy at my Bible study church group and mentioned that I had just been to St. Louis for a mini vacation.  He was intrigued by this girl who just went out of town on a whim and did whatever she wanted.

Almost a year later, I was on my annual *Oh my goodness summer is almost over I must go camping before it gets cold* Camping Trip (traditionally the last weekend of September).  Halfway through, I realized that I didn’t need or want to be alone on my adventures anymore and I called my boyfriend and told him I was coming home a day early.

Twelve years ago today, I married him.  We’ve been all over Wisconsin, and a bunch of other states.  We’ve been to two other continents – one to add a new, 6yo adventurer to our family.  We’ve flown all over the US and driven our house across the continent.

I’ll go adventuring with you, Brent – to the end of the world – as long as we’re together.

Every year, I pick out a cake for Brent to make for my birthday, and every year I sit in the other room and listen to him talk to himself and laugh and laugh and laugh and write down what he says. Here are the highlights this year :)

(Our friends graciously let us use their nicer kitchen, and they have a dog named Frank)

I am prepared! Maybe.

Come on, Franklin! Grease the pan!

It’s like an awesome cooking show in here!

I’m going to line it with kibble.

You know how I know this cake is going to be awesome? I’m going to dust the pan with SUGAR!

FLOOOWWWWERRRR

I like that what you use to deodorize your fridge is what you bake with. “Takes the butt smell out of your fridge, and makes your cake rise”

Friend walks in – “HOLY COW”
It said put cocaine on the dish!

We’ll do extra nutmeg, cuz we don’t have allspice – the stupid spice

You stir it with carrots

*Brent comes out with a carrot in his drink*

Oh Crap I screwed up

Screwing up is optional.

Directions are optional

(Singing) “Beat it – beat it – when you’re making birthday cake and there’s no one in the room, just beat it!”

This cake tastes amazing and there’s not even any carrots in it!

I need a carrot grater to wreck this thing.

Can your dog have a carrot?

Friend – we could all share a house and Tracy could do all the dishes.
Brent – and that is the story about how Tracy murders us all

I hit bake and it went to 350, is that good? Yes? That’s awesome, I’m a big boy!

Even Frank won’t eat carrots!

Friend – Is the oven on?
I don’t know – it said bake and 350.
*Friend gets up to look*
Bake
Preheat, c’mon just do it!
Preheat is for babies.

Will it ever go off of preheat? Preheating is optional.
*Friend – no it’s not*
Listen! I’ve made 6 awesome cakes, and i’ve never preheated. Preheating is a wive’s tale.
I don’t even listen to Jack when he says preheat. I just put it in for 10 minutes and it’s done.

*Friend – why is the microwave on?*
*Me – he’s melting butter*
It said room temperature butter and this is just much quicker.
*Friend – Then you put it on defrost to soften it and not melt it*
Oh, Audrey, I don’t do that.
*Friend – If you make chocolate chip cookies with melted butter they won’t turn out – it changes the whole structure.*
I would never make chocolate chip cookies.

Let’s beat this butter – I have to realign the molecules.

⅓ cup marmalade. Do you want me to just throw the rest of the marmalade in the garbage? Who are we going to pay to eat it?

Dude I’d make an awesome cooking show

What a nice hubby!  Although I haven’t tasted it yet…..

 

Life manifesto

March 19, 2014 — 1 Comment

 

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

All our lives and choices hang on these two commandments.  We love God by loving our neighbors.  We love God by caring for His creation.  We love God by following his guidelines for our lives.  We love God by loving and caring for ourselves because we are also children of God.

We love our neighbors around the world by sharing God’s love for them in our words and actions.  By not thinking worse of people because they are different.  By purchasing ethically made products.  By working toward access to food, shelter, and family for everyone.

We love our neighbors who are our families and friends by standing by them when they are hurting.  By helping them with their life situations when we can.  By not using our inside knowledge of their weaknesses or failures to exploit or hut them.  By remembering that if they hurt us, they are probably hurting too.  By giving them grace and also not allowing them to continue to hurt us.

We love our neighbors who are our children by helping them grow into the people God wants them to be.  By giving them rules that help them grow and not stifle them.  By not using our authority over them to antagonize them.  By not being threatened by their immaturity.   By letting them express their feelings and opinions safely.  By teaching them how to love others they way God loves us.

We love ourselves by remembering that we are also children of God.  By forgiving ourselves when we mess up.  By getting adequate rest and food to keep our bodies healthy.  By understanding how our emotions and feelings interact with others and learn the proper response.  By finding out how we uniquely fit into God’s plan and working toward that ideal daily.

—–

On love hangs all the law.  On God’s perfect love.  On God’s perfect ideal for us to love others the same way He loves us.  When we don’t love each other and ourselves perfectly, we are sinning.  We are missing the mark on God’s ideal for humanity.  When we join His family, however, he asks us to try.  We can never attain perfect love, but only work tirelessly toward it in our every word and action.  But God’s love for us is perfect and unending.  He allows us to continue to learn and try and fail and try all over again.  In his infinite grace, He forgives us every single second of every minute of every day that we’re alive.  And only when we get to heaven can we really see the entire story laid out and our place in it, and experience the true purpose that God has for humanity.

Realize we are all on a journey.  Some of us have deep hurts that make love more difficult, but that does not make any of us more unworthy or further from God.  Some people’s choices have far more reaching consequences, and their lives may not be as pretty as ours, but God’s love for each of us is infinite, and so should our love for each other.

Choose love today.

February:

- For Valentine’s day, Brent brought me flowers and then we had a friend over for lunch and had dinner with our BFFs at their house.  And we all did temporary tattoos.

- Reorganized our homeschool regimen for the 5397th time.

- Tried to make a potato battery and failed.

- Did our taxes and then did our taxes again and then did our taxes again from last year.

- Paid *alot* in propane since our electric fireplace went out and it was colder than the dark side of the moon.

March:

- Found a sale on TP and bought enough to probably last us a year.

- Started a sleep challenge with Brent where we try to sleep 8-9 hours per night and take a nap during the day.

- Failed at the sleep challenge a couple of times so we could have a sort of social life.

- Bought a fancy new electric fireplace that we don’t even have to move when we put the slide in.

- Made pie for pi day, of course. :)

IMG_0767“I hate you, and your RV”

Lately we’ve been having some issues with various things in our RV.  Our fridge is supposed to run on propane and electric but it only works on propane.  Our furnace has been finicky.  We thought it was just the cold.  But today the furnace quit working altogether.  Not good in the dead of winter.  Brent tried all of his normal tweaks but couldn’t get it to go.  Then the fridge quit working too.  Then the water heater.  It seemed that no propane was getting to any of our appliances.

We made some calls, did some googling and figured it might be the regulator.  Which would require us to drive the house to the garage and have them replace it.  Ok, so lets start packing up and seeing if this thing will even start after not running since Thanksgiving.  It started, thankfully.  The jacks went up, thankfully (not frozen to the ground).  The slide out room, not so much.  The slide motor was not even making any noise.  The button would not do anything.  We went outside and knocked all the snow off.  Brent crawled underneath but I don’t remember why.  We started the RV up again.  We checked the e-brake was on.  On and on and on.  Nothing.

So back to googling.  I will interject that, every morning when we get up, the cat has opened one of the closet drawers.  I have no idea why he does this.  Once he crawled in and got stuck behind the drawer and caused a ruckus trying to get out.  He hasn’t crawled in lately, but still, every night he opens it for no reason.

Anyway, we’re googling the problem and we keep both insisting to ourselves that its an electrical issue.  Brent goes to check the fuse box again. He saw online that one particular fuse runs the slide, water heater, and fridge.  Sure enough, that fuse is loose.  And guess where the fuse box is?  Right next to the drawer that the cat is mysteriously messing with every night.

So all our problems came down to the dumb cat messing with things.  Thankfully no money to fix this, but sadly for the cat, the drawer will now be taped shut from now on.