Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Little Something for the Family

The stretch of I-77 from Ripley to Akron and I are well acquainted. The kids (sometimes all, sometimes not) and I have driven that route more times than I can remember in the last few months.  I was looking for a little something for the family. I found it.

I know. I know. I posted a mere three weeks ago that I was trying to control my impulsiveness. I just shared publicly, a little more than a month ago that I was thinking of leaving the 100 Acre Wood. But the idea had been stirring inside of me since October, and truly my heart was settled on the move before I began to share the thought.  I was making myself a little crazy looking at listings online, visiting houses, and weighing options. It came to the point that I either needed to move forward with the process, or walk away for a little while.

This was the very first house I saw when I began looking in Wadsworth, Ohio. It had just gone on the market. At the time, mom and I were considering sharing a house. My niece, Ashley, would be there too. This house has a finished basement with a kitchenette. We decided it would be too small for all of us, and later mom and I decided a shared house probably wouldn't work well for either of us. I had kind of taken this place off my radar.

Later, I came back to it and realized that while it might not work for mom and I, it really was great for the kids and I, and would work well for the transition that I soon will be facing, kids leaving home. The house sits on two acres. There are large trees for privacy from the road and neighbors. It literally is five minutes to shopping (including a brand new Aldi, I am thrilled!) It is only a few minutes from families who we know that live in the area.

I guess it is never a done deal until closing, but we are well into the process. We won't take possession until May, and probably will gradually transition there over the summer between getting the 100 Acre Wood ready for market and getting Kellen off to college.

I know there is a lot to do, and it will be kind of a crazy time.  It has motivated me to start taking care of somethings that I'd been avoiding. I need a deadline to get me moving. It has given us something to be excited for. The work ahead doesn't feel like a burden. It feels like a new adventure. We need a new adventure. So, impulsive or not, Wadsworth, Ohio here we come!

Saturday, February 20, 2016


The storm was dark. All around it seemed as if the world had come to an end. She was scared. She was broken hearted, and could not see her way through. Then a little flicker, a tiny light was visible. The light brought hope, comfort, and peace. There was life in and beyond this storm.

The Lord asks us for a humble heart to allow the Spirit to work with in us. He asks us to be still and listen for His voice. No one wants to be in the storm. No one would choose to have their whole world wrecked, but when you are there, being humble and still comes easily. And that place brings a reality to those truths we, as Christians, all claim to know.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. -Matthew 5:4
Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion, " says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" The Lord is good to those who wait for Him to the soul who seeks Him." -Lamentations 3:20-25
 I can say the hope, comfort, and peace of the Lord have been more real to me in the last six months than they have ever been. It has truly been a shelter in the storm.

My dad's favorite verses, ones he would quote often, were
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. -James 1:2-3.
Like any good hard headed Miller, I thought I knew what this meant. When times are hard, you put your head down, give a bigger push, and just keep moving forward. That may be needed sometimes in this life, but there is more to it. Verse 4 continues
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
As I start to come out of the storm, the light of the Lord is still there with His truth of hope, comfort, peace, and promise of a completed work, but I find it harder to be still and quiet my heart. I find myself plowing through the day entirely on my own strength. There are exciting things happening, and they can be a distraction. Perhaps the perseverance James is referring to is not just the pushing through the hard times of this life, but the perseverance of nurturing the work of the Lord in us. The continual quieting of our hearts before Him, regardless of our circumstances,

Of course I do not want to stay in the storm, but I do want to remember what I've learned  about quieting my heart, and finding life in Him. I want to have a humble and still heart before Him.  I want to persevere to nurture what He began in the midst of the darkness.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


Photo credit: Fredericksburg, Ohio  Facebook
In what seems like another life, I remember sitting in the pastor's office, in this building which no longer stands, talking about the future. We were there, a rule following high school senior and a slightly rebellious recent college graduate. We were there to talk to the soft spoken Pastor Ken about getting married.

I am not sure what Ken thought about this seemingly odd couple sitting in front of him. Perhaps he, like my parents who were Tim's youth pastors, were worried about Tim. Ken spoke to us about a Biblical marriage, about expectations of a husband and a wife, and he had us take some sort of personality assessment. Perhaps I imagined it, but I am fairly certain that Ken was slightly surprised at the results of that assessment.

Tim and I knew we wanted to be together. We thought we were a good match, but we couldn't have put it in words at that time the way the assessment did. It showed where we were well matched. It pointed out some differences, which Ken explained and we would figure out years later, were assets to our marriage when we learned to appreciate them in one another. It also showed one area  Ken cautioned us could be a problem. We both were impulsive.

Looking back at our marriage I can see how that tendency was ever present in little and big decisions that we made. It made for some grand adventures, but it also created some messes that took us years to recover from.  In our early years of marriage, our finances were a classic case of impulsive spending. Thankfully, we did learn that painful lesson, eventually.

I find it interesting (and a bit scary) to look back and see how many of our big decisions were made on a whim and an impulse. The decisions often came with other life changing events. There was not a pregnancy or birth of a child that didn't involve some other sort of major change in our life. Those changes were not well laid out or planned. It was almost like we said, "Hey life is about to really change. Let's just throw it all up in the air, and see what happens." There were some good and happy memories that came from those decisions, but there were also some hard painful learning moments.

There was the time Tim graduated from college, we quit our jobs and moved with a two week old baby back to our hometown where Tim would drive two hours to attend graduate school while I attempted to complete my student teaching for the college that we just left, and work part time so we would have some income.  Oh yes. A well thought out plan.

But I think the winner (or loser) of impulsive decisions would have to be the six months where we had a baby, bought a duplex in a questionable part of the city, and then both quit our jobs before we had new ones in place. That was the year where we truly learned frugality and the control of our impulse spending.

Of course I am only giving you a part of the stories. Behind both of those crazy impulsive decisions, and many of the others we made  through our marriage, were difficult circumstances that we wanted to leave. We saw an opportunity to leave and jumped at it without fully weighing the options, considering the consequences, or dealing with what we were leaving behind.

That is exactly where I find myself now. This is the most difficult life changing event. All around I see overwhelming messes that need dealt with. I see broken dreams, and bittersweet memories. I just want to leave. I just want to move away and move on. I want to throw it all up in the air, and see what happens. This is the impulse I am fighting against. This is what I was referring to in my post, From Adventures to Burdens.

Though I know we can not move until summer, I feel this urgency to pick a house, and to start down a new road. I look at houses daily online. I have a realtor. We've visited several houses. I am feeding the beast.

Sunday was a beautiful day, sunny and warm. It felt like spring. Vivian and I walked to the end of our ridge. We walked away from all the messes to the place that Tim and I once dreamed of building our earth bermed home. It is a beautiful spot overlooking hollows on three sides. Sitting there brought tears for the dreams that will never be. I also realized that those dreams were our dreams, but they are not my dreams, and there is a difference between what we dreamed together, and what I dream alone.

So I find myself in that place knowing I want to leave, looking for that opportunity, but hoping I am truly weighing the options, considering the consequences, and dealing with what we are leaving behind.