Monday, September 14, 2015

landominium life

Six years ago, Stephen and I bought out first house.  Correction: our first (and oh Lord, let it be our only) landominium.  Yes, that is a real thing…supposedly.  It differs from the more well-known condominium in that we actually own both the home and the land on which the home is built.  Think single-story retirement community, not modern high-rise looking over the city.  We don’t own the land around it – that belongs to the homeowners’ association – just the land on which our home is built.  The only benefit we’ve concluded is that we have the freedom to install a basement should we so choose.  Start digging, Stephen.
After living the apartment life for a number of years, Stephen and I were thrilled with our new, spacious abode.  I remember sitting in our living room soon after we’d moved in listing all the “amenities” I loved about this new home.  Vaulted ceilings.  Walk-in closets.  A washer and dryer!  2 bathrooms.  White kitchen. Fireplace.  Walk-in pantry.  Beautifully painted walls.  Cars right outside our front door rather than 3 flights down and across the parking lot.  Kitchen big enough for a full out Zumba class (and there have been many of those!).
At the end of my list, I foolishly declared, 
“This house is perfect.  I could raise four kids here!” 
(And no, this is not a baby announcement.)
I still adore this home and all those items on my original list.  It really is a lovely little place, and at this very moment, the laminate kitchen flooring is being replaced with gorgeous tile, making me love it even more.  We have hosted countless parties in this tiny place, joyfully cramming 15 people around card tables.  We have moved the couches into the kitchen to make room for a dozen grad students to spread out sleeping bags for a Saved By the Bell marathon sleepover.  Our second bedroom housed an international student for a semester and has also welcomed many Air BnB guests for overnight stays.  Three years ago that same room was turned into a nursery, preparing this home for our growing family.  We are not short on precious memories in this home.
However, since baby #2 arrived last year, we have reached exceeded maximum capacity, and I fear we could burst out of this place at any moment. All too often I feel the walls of this tiny home falling in on me, and I imagine myself buried under a pile of blocks, random puzzle pieces, boxes of baby clothes, cookbooks and shoes.  Why do we have so many shoes?  Every so often, this claustrophobic feeling will display itself in the form of an outburst. Stephen is wise enough to sense the tone of my tirade, and if I’m on the verge of hysteria, he’ll just listen, hug me, and retreat back to our bedroom to start cleaning up his piles of clothes, most likely just looking for any excuse to get away from the crazy lady on a warpath regarding where to fit all the Christmas wrapping paper. If he senses even the slightest bit of humor in my meltdown, he’ll remind me of that fateful statement.  “You still think we can raise four kids in this house?  The second bedroom can definitely fit double bunk beds.”   
Oh, how I rue the day.
But even in the midst of my ranting and raving, God is gently reminding me of His truth.  Lord willing, there will come a day when we don’t live in this landominium.  We will have a garage for storing Christmas decorations, a yard for enjoying summer nights, and perhaps even a basement for stashing baby items so my parents can stop driving Jump-a-roos and baby swings baby and forth from Chicago.   
But I have a feeling that when that day comes, I will look around that house, exhausted by all the rooms to clean and longing for the simple days of landominum life.  I will miss the extra sleep I got on snowy mornings because someone shoveled my walkway, and I’ll wish I could still plug my vacuum cleaner into one outlet and clean the entire house.
Reality check.
As I type this, my children are still sleeping, the house is quiet, and a beautiful sunrise is creeping up out my window while I drink hot coffee from a cute green mug.
In this moment, it is easy to laugh about the fact that my son’s pack ‘n play was set up in the bathroom for the first 9 months of his life or that visting family has to stay in a hotel because we have no room to host them. 
In this moment, I am amused by the fact that we have boxes of babies clothes stored in a friend’s basement while bikes and a baby pool are in another friend’s garage.
In this moment, I can make jokes about how Stephen is addicted to Amazon Subscribe and Save which has resulted in no less than 28 rolls of paper towels stashed in every nook of the house.
In this moment, I can easily be thankful God has given me a good sense of humor about it all. 
But there are many days I am a hot mess.  I see no humor in the situation, only chaos. My frustration is real, my complaining is ugly, and I am in desperate need of a good dose of God’s truth. 
The truth is that none of this is mine anyways.  My inner toddler wants to scream mine, mine, mine, and cry out for more, more, more.  God is so patient with me.  Gently reminding me that I cannot insist on ownership when it comes to stuff, but I can freely claim mine, all mine, when it comes to my Jesus. 
He is all mine, and he loves me enough to discourage a death grip on what can never satisfy.  
I know this, but many days I forget and let the scrunched up chaos get the best of me.  It might just be one of those lessons I have to keep learning over and over.


  1. Beautifully written. Authentic, funny, and totally you. I needed to read this. To be reminded to be patient, that God is in control and that he alone is enough. Thank you friend for sharing your life to encourage mine.

  2. Love your perspective and your heart. #realdeal

    1. Thanks, girl! But no matter how snug, there is always room for a Julie!!!!

  3. Your post was an encouragement and blessing to me. I am grateful that Julie (berry ) led me to this. She is a huge blessing. I'm married to her father. I look forward to more posts.

  4. Your post was an encouragement and blessing to me. I am grateful that Julie (berry ) led me to this. She is a huge blessing. I'm married to her father. I look forward to more posts.

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words, Kathleen.