Monday, January 11, 2010

Dormitories, Parsonages and Decorating Schizophrenia

For the past 6 years my little family has been all over the USA. We originate from beautiful Colorado (I miss you!) and have lived in 3 different states in the past 6 years.

Nate, my hubby, really felt led to attend the same college in California as his Dad. After praying and seeing the open doors, we sold and left most everything in Colorado to allow my husband to pursue a degree at Christian Life College in Stockton.

I was not at all happy about this move in the beginning, though it turned out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made (albeit a tough one).

While my husband studied and went to school full time, I worked at the college and we lived on campus.

"Living on campus" was anything BUT! We lived in the BOYS dormitories!!! Our apartment (as it was so graciously called) was really three hollowed out dorm rooms with an exit door in every space, a bathroom in every space, void of dishwasher, oven, garbage disposal, washer and dryer... Wheww...

Thinking back, it was really more like "Camping on Campus". I cooked on a grill and hotplate and shared my washing machine with 60 boys (There were many times we would end up with someone's old boxer briefs...)

At any given moment, my day would be interrupted by farting, skating, wrestling, burping, etc. One particularly fond moment found me up in the face of a young man, who, at three am, decided it would be great to set up a skate ramp off his bed doing alley oop skate moves right over our heads... This did not bode well for him as I charged up those stairs like a raging bull in my bathrobe, hair all helter skelter and on a mission.

(Lord forgive me, I know not what I said...)

Like I said, living on campus was a real hoot at times and a total disaster other times (I often fluctuated between the two) It was fun to have young people surrounding us, and then again, not so fun to have young people surrounding us... (there goes that Schitzophrenia again)

My kids, suprisingly, loved it - they had their choice of over 150 playmates who were putty in their little chubby hands. Most of the college kids were considered "best fwends" to our kids. Tristan and Madeleine often recall and talk about various people who were an impact in their life even at such a young age.

One of the pitfalls of living on campus and working for the college was, we had very little money or space to decorate as I would have liked. But we made it homey, and discovered it doesn't matter what you have in your house as long as your family is there. I have many precious memories from Stockton and I wouldn't trade that time or those lessons learned, even if I didn't have a dishwasher for over 3 years... =)

After what seemed like an eternity, Nathan graduated with his bachelors degree and we then left California for a position in Fort Lauderdale Florida.

Our housing there was a tumbling down parsonage on the church property. We had a large pond in front of our home, complete with church bus parked right in line of my front windows... there were skads of mosquitoes, toads, tree frogs, ducks, lizards, turtles, water snakes, possums, raccoons, horses, ect...

(I have many a story about our son, the crocodile hunter, as he was known) Funny little man, I love him! Don't ask about the day I found a dead squashed frog in his jeans pockets as I was preparing to wash his clothes, or the colony of toads doing a chorus line in his sock drawer, or the iguana he chased into my house that hid under my dishwasher (Yes I finally got one!) for several hours... or... or...

You get the point!

By this time, I have adapted well to the salary of a minister and made that little place our cute home. It was decorated on next to nothing, and I was not at all ashamed to have people over. That little house was a haven in some dark times in our life.

So, now flash forward to here and now. We moved to AZ in October and have been so blessed living here. When we moved here, we moved into a darling new rental home (we are planning to purchase a home next year). My huband is now pursuing his Masters degree, and money still isn't growing on trees, but life is great and we are abundantly blessed.

I love that I have a real house, with real doors, dishwasher, no lizards (though I did get scorpions... Hummmmm.... I think I'd almost rather have lizards) and no college boys dirty underwear in my clean laundry.

For the first time in 6 years, I have a real house to decorate! Wow! I was given a budget by my hubby and off I went. And I fell flat on my face... Money in a girls pocket and she didn't know how to spend it!! (that could be a newspaper headline eh?)

I love so many different types of decor. I love traditional styling with it's tailored put together look (though that's really not my personality, YET!). I love the eclectic look, with many bold patterns, color mixes, and objects of interest (this is more my personality). I love French cottage, with a vintage feel, cozy settings, and casual elegance (This is a love of mine too).

So, after much thought and stress and planning, I put it all together. I renewed my love affair with Home Goods (Don't worry, Nate knows about this love interest)Pier One, Kirkland's, Hobby Lobby, Anthropologie, etc and went hog wild.

I just walked downstairs, stood on the stairwell, and just looked at the new personality of our house. It looks so, so, so... ME!

It's not completely finished yet, I still have to pull out the old sewing machine and add some interest to my drapes, and hang that vintage mirror on the wall, and straighten the flowers on the sideboard...

I'm home - and it feels great.

I truly believe that living without has made me more aware of what I have been given, and to truly appreciate the little things I am blessed with. I know without a doubt that all I have been given is from Him.

What are you thankful for?

(pictures to come when I figure out how to add them the way I want to... Help Amy!)


  1. call me tonight missy. Like lateish. xoxo can't WAIT to see what you've been up too! :)

  2. Keep writing, you're incredible with words! Makes me feel like I'm not really 1500 miles away... xoxo

  3. I like the blog. I blog also but not with words, only with my photos. I know that I will regret not putting my life in words. I just can't write like you, it doesn't flow. Maybe it takes time and practice. You do a great job.