When Less is More

When Less is More | One Radiant Home

Two years ago we lived in an 1800 sq. ft. house. It was comfortable. We had enough space for all of the kids, plus enough room for guests.

Then we moved across the country. To say that finding a house for a family of 8 is difficult is an understatement. Property managers believe that every child needs a room of their own and can’t imagine how we could possibly “fit” into a 4 bedroom 1800 sq. ft house. Independent landlords freak out, imagining 6 unruly children tearing apart their lovely homes. One lady said pets were fine, but kids…no, they would ruin her home.

 

Through a network of friends, we found a place to stay—a vacant home, on the market for many months and unsold—for a month, so we could search for a rental and avoid living in a hotel (in separate rooms) for a month.

We were grateful—to the family and to the Lord for his provision. The home belonged to a family of 10 and they never questioned or wondered at our family size.

After several disappointing calls and a week of exhaustive internet searching, we gave up and decided to stay. The owners were thankful to have someone living in their home. The location of the house was less than ideal, but with no other options we thanked God for providing us with a home that met our needs.

We loved the quiet street with a full acre of land, the chicken coop, and the wooded area. We appreciated the extra space for guests. We knew the layout wasn’t ideal, but it was manageable.

When our furniture arrived, I knew that we had another problem. I suddenly realized that 3000 sq. ft. was too much. Since the layout of the house was nearly identical to the house we had left, it seemed like the same size when it was empty. It wasn’t.

For weeks we lived with the 2nd living room unfurnished and for 2 years we lived with an empty bedroom. Our own bedroom was so big that we hung a curtain across the middle to divide the space and make it more cozy. The other side functioned as a “garage”.

Empty space isn’t a big deal. I’d rather not fill it up with useless stuff anyway. The hardest thing was that the kids were all over the house. I literally ran up and down the stairs all day trying to keep track of them all. It seemed like I could never catch up.

I would hear quarreling, but by the time I figured out who was yelling and where they were it was too late to intervene. Toddlers made messes (giant red paint spot on beige carpet!) without being noticed. Big kids disappeared to read and missed out on family fun. Schoolwork went unfinished because I was too far away to keep an eye on it. I could never keep the whole house clean because they made messes on the opposite end of the house while I was cleaning the other end.

I hope that this does not come across as complaining, as that’s not my intent (though I do admit to complaining about the house a lot on days when I was overwhelmed). I tell you the hard things so that you can understand why we are so thankfu to have less space. For us and our house…less is more.

I cannot express the feeling of relief we have felt this week after leaving the 3000 sq. ft. house for 1800 sq. ft. again. I know where my kids are. We talk more. I can cook and clean while they play within my sight. I can hear everything that is going on and get to them quickly. They can hear me without yelling.

Less is More | One Radiant Home

We still have plenty of space for dinner guests, a dedicated school space, and a little room for my sewing and art. There is plenty of storage space and enough toilets to accommodate 8 people, potty-training toddlers, and guests.

I am looking forward to homeschooling this year. With a work area and a play area near the kitchen, we can all work and interact in the same space. I know there will be days when I wish we had more space to spread out or more beds for guests, but we are relieved and grateful to have less this week.

Less is More | One Radiant Home

There are whole blogs dedicating to simplifying and downsizing. This is just our experience. “Less is more” proves true in this case. Less stress. Less cleaning. Less house. Less stuff. More time. More community. More family. More of the things we enjoy.

Less is More | One Radiant Home

Thanking God for providing a smaller space, lifting the burden of a big home, and bringing us closer to our church community!

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Thinking Much (but not Out Loud)

I know I’ve been pretty quiet over here. It kind of drives me crazy when other people apologize for not blogging. Does anyone even notice?

I regularly post on my sewing blog, but writing about real life is much harder. I mean, I sew a lot…so that’s a big part of my life. But there is always so much more going on.

We are still in transition. I seems like it’s been that way for a few years actually. Maybe all of life is like that—moving on from one thing to the next. I guess I just like the action parts. Sharing the ups and downs of our daily life and discussions might be helpful to me, but I think it would just confuse everyone else. So I’ve spent a lot more time thinking through our plans and the upcoming changes, but not sharing them publicly.

We are slowly sorting through our stuff, trying to pare down for another move. It’s amazing how much stuff accumulated when I stopped dropping off a bag at Goodwill every couple of weeks. At our last house, Goodwill was conveniently located right next to the grocery store. Here it is not, so the bags have piled up…

Right now, we are only planning a local move. Our rental term is up and we will be moving to another rental. But our hearts are in England and the new church there. We long to be a part of the work God is doing and are waiting for the Lord to work out the many, many details.

Watching the Elephants | One Radiant Home

The kids are growing! I will have 3 officially in school next fall. I actually have a 4th grader! What?! I remember 4th grade very clearly. There was a huge step up in the amount of work and expectations that year. Writing went from sentences to pages. I started playing the flute, participated in band, and sang in the chorus. We studied early American history and looked forward to “Pioneer Day” when we came in costume and did related activities all day. I can’t believe Kyle is that old.

Sun in her Eyes | One Radiant Home

Lydia loves crafts. Probably no surprise there, since she watches me making stuff all the time. Her sewing skills are quite good for her age. She loves giving gifts to other people, and is planning to make a dress for Jerusha’s birthday.

Kids Sewing Project |One Radiant Home

Handmade Felt Mice| One Radiant Home

Owen is a deep thinker. We always thought he seemed very serious as a baby. He tends to go off and build things or draw things. His drawings are very detailed and accurate, and the contraptions he builds usually show a lot of thought and detail as well. Next project: learning to read.

Elephant | One Radiant Home

Jerusha and Jonathan are always busy and usually getting each other in trouble having lots of fun. I often find cups of water that they have been dumping back and forth, leaving puddles in random places for the rest of us to step in. But they are both sweet, happy children that love other people.

A couple a weeks ago at Target a group of 4 or 5 rough looking men walked by. I started to walk a different direction when Jonathan called out “Hi guys!” All of their faces softened and their eyes lit up. They smiled and waved back. And I felt silly for judging them based on their appearance. My little J’s don’t seem to notice those things. They just love people.

We recently took a trip to the zoo (thus the elephant pictures) when I realized that neither of them remembered going regularly when we had a zoo membership at our last home. It’s crazy that the last two years here are all they remember of their lives.

Charlie is experimenting with walking, but he’s still much faster crawling and prefers speed. He looks like a giant sprawled out in his pack ‘n’ play bed, and is nearly off the charts in height.

So, life is moving along and we are waiting for more direction. We are trusting the Lord and his timing and trying to prepare for whatever will be coming.

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A Baseball Game and Some Sun

We’ve been enjoying the recent sun and warmer weather.

The kids are spending hours outside, instead of minutes. They play family, make mud pies, and use trees for homes.

Last weekend, we had a chance to enjoy a baseball game in beautiful weather. It has been years since we have taken the kids out to do something like this. So many babies and a tired momma has made it difficult to go to events like this. I’m finally starting to feel up to the challenge again, and it has been a really nice change.

Baseball Flag | One Radiant Home

Look at the Parachutes | One Radiant Home

What does she see? Well, a group of military veterans parachuted out of a plane as it flew over! They each landed on the field, trying to hit their target landing pad. Four out of the Six hit the target exactly! Very impressive!

Veteran Parachute Team | One Radiant Home

Baby and Baseball | One Radiant Home

At the Game | One Radiant Home

And a “selfie”… since I firmly believe my kids will want me in the pictures someday, whether I have make-up on or not.

Baseball selfie | One Radiant Home

We recently bought a youth-sized football for the kids (mostly for Kyle). Shawn spent some time teaching them how to use the grip properly and they passed the ball around for a while. We also played a family game with Mom and Dad as team captains (Shawn won, since I can’t get past him!). Then we played kids against parents, which we won, of course. It won’t be long before they can beat us though!

Football Grip Lesson | One Radiant Home

Ready to Throw | One Radiant Home

Getting a Grip | One Radiant Home

Girls can Throw | One Radiant Home

Football Toss | One Radiant Home

Happy Football | One Radiant Home

The rest of the pictures are just playing outside pictures. The little kids wanted me to keep taking pictures of their “treasures”. So quite a few are little sticks and flowers, hopefully taken with an artistic eye.

Look at my Stick | One Radiant Home

Pinecone Treasure | One Radiant Home

Look at this stick | One Radiant Home

Purple Flower Treasure | One Radiant Home

Making Mud Pies | One Radiant Home

Big Boy | One Radiant Home

Stick and String | One Radiant Home

And another “selfie”, because Lydia made me a beautiful grass headband…

Grass headbands | One Radiant Home

And just a quick update, for those that have asked…we are still praying about and hoping to move to England. The complicated immigration rules have pushed out our time frame, but please continue to pray that the Lord will provide work here for us and eventually work in the UK in His time.

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A Little Bit of Sun…

I always take more pictures when the weather is nice. We had a little bit of sun and warm weather here after the snow and ice a couple of weeks ago.

Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order:

Straight that Way | One Radiant Home

She was aiming down the hill, trying to avoid all of the brothers and sisters wandering around the yard at the bottom. Her aim was good, and she successfully navigated through the obstacles.

Tough Guy in a Helmet | One Radiant Home

I’m not entirely sure what he was…but this is armor of some kind. And seems to be pretty water resistant as well.

Gardening in a Dress | One Radiant Home

This little cutie is always digging in dirt and playing with the hose…in a dress. That’s what happens when girls are sandwiched in between lots of brothers.

Swinging Baby Brother | One Radiant Home

Swinging the baby—who’s not really a baby anymore! He turned 1 just a couple weeks ago.

Uprooted Tree | One Radiant Home

We had a bunch of ice everywhere when we left on a short trip to Pennsylvania for a wedding. We came back to this…

Happy in the Sun | One Radiant Home

Just enjoying the sun.

Handful of Flowers | One Radiant Home

The kids like to collect all of the flowers that have fallen off the bush. The color is beautiful, and since most of the yard is brown and dirty, I like taking pictures of the bright pink.

Baby Boy in a Swing | One Radiant Home

He was trying to catch me…

Ready to Ride | One Radiant Home

The lighting was just right here. I love how this one turned out.

Happy to Be Outside | One Radiant Home

This little guy is always excited to go outside. He just needs help with his shoes. If I don’t catch him in time, he usually ends up out there barefoot.

Blooming Daffodils | One Radiant Home

The flowers are blooming again. Spring is (hopefully) here!

Uprooted Tree | One Radiant Home

Another view of the tree roots. This was the worst damage in yard, but many of the neighbors and friends in surrounding cities have similar damage.

Silly climber | One Radiant Home

And my silly boy enjoying the day!

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A Few More England Pictures

I had a few pictures of England from the more “tourist-y” days we spent there that I wanted to share.

Darlington Station | One Radiant Home

This is Darlington Station, the day we took a train from there to London on our way back home.

York Minster | One Radiant Home

We walked around York one day and stepped into York Minster Cathedral. It is one of the largest in North England.

Flower Market York | One Radiant Home

I snapped this photo of a flower market in York while we were waiting for some others to meet up with us.

London Eye Dusk | England Pictures | One Radiant Home

We had a few short hours after the train ride to walk around London. Here’s the London Eye in the typical cloudy and wet weather. I started to brighten it up in Photoshop, but it looked too sunny and bright compared to the actual conditions.

Darlington Station Clock | One Radiant Home

There’s something beautiful about the architectural details of the train station roof and the old clock in Darlington Station.

Veggie Market York | One Radiant Home

We walked by a few of these produce stands in York.

York Minster Architectural Details | One Radiant Home

I loved the beautiful, detailed architecture at York Minster Cathedral. We were in awe of the work they were able to complete without modern machinery.

Praying we can return as a family soon!

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