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Have you ever visited a friend, only to come home and start to think you need to invest in an interior decorator.
They had just scraped everything they had together to buy their first house. She was schooling at home and making every penny count. She wondered if she should be redirecting her already limited funds toward a beautification project. Her house was shabby. She felt like it was a reflection the showed she didn’t care. Obviously, she cared enough to ask a few Mom friends for advice.
As I read her question, I remembered feeling that exact same inadequacy. We bought a little 100 year old farm house. It was perfect for us. It was far from a show house. It had good bones but it was going to take years to get out to where we needed it to be.
When we bought the farmhouse, we knew we were going to have to pay it off before we could do the updates it needed. It was going to take years of looking at bad walls, ugly tiles and playing the light switch game. A game you can only play with old wiring with switches all lined up on one straight run. Before dinner, it could take three of us, each stationed at a different switch. On. Off. One at a time until we got the right combination of switches flipped for the light to come on. It was crazy, but we made it a game we still talk about today.
Every time I would get frustrated with the ugly parts of our house, I would just tell myself; We are in Phase One. It became my personal catchphrase.
Phase One; when the tiles literally fell of the kitchen wall, and when the squares of linoleum came up and we had a plywood patch in our kitchen. When the kids brought me the tub faucet because they broke it off, and the plumbing was so old, the guy at Home Depot had never seen a pipe that size before; I would just repeat to myself we in Phase One and it won’t be like this forever.
I did paint with bold colors, so we didn’t look like we were moving. I put up the art work we had even though I didn’t really love it. It was a start. The reward of a beautiful home was not going to be quick in coming. This “Phase One” attitude helped me to remember why my house looked the way it did. We had a long term goal.
When other people’s kids sat neatly in church without being hovered over and I had to retrieve mine from under the front row again, I would remind myself that we were just starting.
The first seven years of homeschooling were our training years. We worked on kindness, sharing and ownership, self discipline, and obedience more often than we worked on letters and numbers. We trained our kids with long term goals in mind. When we saw areas that were frustrations or skills we needed, we set up ways to work on them.
Just like the Lady who wrote the post wondering about her decorating skills, I had a friend question her parenting skills after a particularly grueling morning spent wrangling two rowdy boys out from under pews. She expressed, wishfully; if only her kids would sit as quietly in church as our kids did. I laughed out loud, remembering the days when I said the very same words. I reminded her about being in the learning phase of living, the Phase One years.
Don’t fall into pushing so hard for your goals that you miss what is right in front of you. Embrace the season you are in and look for ways to get a little closer to your end goal every day. We are so blessed because we learned to look at our long term goals to motivate us in our daily life.
Ps. We did get that farmhouse paid off in 13 years and did our whole house renovation. I am still working slowly on decorating. I have completed one room at a time. All with resale or clearance items. If it is not your bag to decorate ask your sister in law if she wants to help keep an eye out for great deals for you. She might actually be a great resource. If you have a house project on your list you definitely want to read the series on Sanity Savers for Remodeling.