Just over a month ago, Pete told me he felt God was showing him a path that would take us another step toward Kenya and living more simply. This journey has been ongoing for us. We started by getting organized. Then we got a dumpster to clear out junk. Finally, we had an estate sale to sell everything but what we were using regularly. We sold the house and bought a furnished condo on the lake. Then we went down to one vehicle and had a six-month spending freeze. In the year-and-a-half we’ve been in the condo, we’ve tried to keep from accumulating more things, but let me tell you, it’s hard! We don’t intentionally go out to buy random things that will become clutter. In fact, we always have a “to be donated” box in our laundry room that fills faster than I expect it to. Friends and family have bought us experiences as gifts rather than little items, which we have loved and so greatly appreciate. Additionally, I go through nearly everything every couple months to keep our belongings under control. But even with all that, I was not at all surprised when Pete told me we need to pray about another step toward simplicity.
So pray we did. And in that praying, we felt that the time had arrived to prepare our condo for renters. This is something we didn’t think we’d be doing until we were also packing our bags for Kenya. However, when we looked at the numbers, we realized this plan could cut our monthly budget tremendously by allowing renters to move in and pay our monthly mortgage. Once we felt that this really was something God was putting in front of us, I began looking for inexpensive rentals around town. After a week or two of searching, I found one sweet little rental that feels as though it’s been waiting for us. It has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a small kitchen, and a cozy living room, all in 1,000 square feet. It’s right along the Lakewalk, where we can ride bikes and go on runs and walk the five short blocks to my favorite local coffee shop. We’ll have a yard and a shared garage and the little house sits right along the route of Grandma’s Marathon, one of our favorite events of the year. It is exactly what we were looking for.
We are leaving our condo furnished for renters, so nearly everything we put into our new place is temporary. I’ve had great luck finding a dresser and a bookshelf and bunk beds on Craigslist (which means Sammy is moving to a big bed!). All other items have come from IKEA, Target, Amazon, thrift stores or are things we don’t need to leave in the condo. It is our main goal to begin living even more minimally with this move. With very little closet space, we will all reduce our wardrobes. The kids already have a fairly small amount of toys and books, which helps. Our kitchen will be stocked only with what we use on a daily basis. Pete and I feel confident that we want to live minimally as we continue forward, and we are excited about it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean this an easy thing to do.
I do trust that this is what God has for us. My heart feels joyful with the idea of clearing more clutter from our home and our lives. But I love our condo. I love waking every morning and peering out over Lake Superior to discover her always-changing mood. Enormous ships move through her waters and sea planes fly over her surface. We fall asleep to the sound of the waves, even on these bitterly cold nights of winter. Our condo is new and beautifully furnished. We have space to host friends on a regular basis and to let the kids play freely. As much as I adore the space we call home this week, it does not compare with following every step that God puts in front of us. I have lived enough years and followed (or not followed) him enough times that I find it a bit easier, and certainly far more exciting, to follow his path and plan without as much questioning as I once did. So in one week, when Pete is off for the weekend, we will make our official move out of the condo and into our new house. Pete and I often sing to each other, “Home, let me come home // Home is wherever I’m with you.” And we believe that. Where we’re together, celebrating life and living our days, that is where our home is.
As we get ready for this move, will you please be praying with us? We’re taking the step to move out and allow renters to come in, but we don’t yet have those renters. We’re working with a management company who is very familiar with our building, and we’re praying for the right renters to come in as soon as February 1. I will be working on preparing it for renters while Pete is away in New Mexico the remainder of this month. Also, please pray we settle well in our new home. I love to decorate and make a space cozy, so I’m really looking forward to that part. We first took Ella to the new house before New Years to help her mentally and emotionally begin the transition, and she’s gone shopping with me for her new bedding and such. She seems to be doing well with the idea of the move, and the promise of having the top bunk makes her want to be there already!
So we’re off on a new adventure! We will surely keep you posted on our progress in the days ahead. I’ve said it before, and I certainly mean it…we are so happy to share this journey with you!