Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On The Benefit of Waiting

I've felt a little fake in some of my last few posts.  It's not that I'm telling you anything that's untrue.  But, I almost feel like I've painted a picture that doesn't fully convey reality.

What in the world am I talking about?

Well, lately I've been talking about some changes we're making in our kitchen right now.  New flooring, a new island, changing the layout, dining room chair re-do's, etc.  And, while all this is happening right now I need you to know something.

I waited a long time for this.  

Like 10 years long.

I've talked on here before about how our house is an older home with lots of needs for renovations.  (There's still old linoleum on my stairsteps and the walls going up my stairs folks).

John bought this house about a year before we were married.  (We've been married 10 years).  At the time he focused on the practical stuff.  Stuff like putting in electricity.  (Our home was built and owned by an Old Order Mennonite family that didn't use electricity).  Insulating the home (there was none) and updating the plumbing (I'm pretty sure old garden hose in places doesn't count as legitimate plumbing, but it was here!) were a couple other items that were at the top of the list.  

He also drywalled the upstairs rooms and once we were married we made a few other cosmetic changes here and there.

We did turn one of the 4 original upstairs bedrooms into a bathroom right around the time I was expecting Boy #2.  Trekking up and down the stairs in the middle of the night to use our one and only bathroom downstairs while pregnant was not fun.  But, I guess I should be happy that at least the downstairs bathroom was there.  The original family added that when the Mom and Dad were getting up in years and using the outhouse wasn't just inconvenient but not as feasible for them.

Oh yeah, the outhouse still sits in our back yard.  We did however move it to another location.  (And we don't use it.  FYI)

We also bought a new furnace a few years ago.  It's a wood/coal burning furnace.  Our heating is via hot water radiators.  So we don't just turn up a thermostat when we're cold or turn it back when we get too warm.  We go to our basement and adjust the vents or how much coal or wood we're throwing into the furnace.

Anyway, it's been a long, slow process of making changes to our home.  We've been committed to remaining debt free with the exception of our mortgage. Plus my husband pretty much does all the work himself.  (The floors were the one exception to the rule.  We ripped out the old, but we did pay a flooring guy to put in the new ones.)  That all makes the process even slower.

And so cosmetic details often get buried under the practical. 

For the most part I'm OK with this.  But, I'm human and I get caught up in the contentment trap just like everyone else.  

We are bombarded with all the stuff we should have RIGHT NOW.   Our homes should be perfect RIGHT NOW.  We should wear all the right things RIGHT NOW.  We should have what we want RIGHT NOW.


When did this become the rule?  

Honest to Pete.  Hear me when I say that waiting is hard.  I KNOW waiting is hard.  But, I fear that we as a society have missed the benefit of waiting, of saving, of sacrificing.  And we are in the midst of a financial crisis largely because of this.  

Young couples think they have to have perfection when they buy their first home.  People are constantly making themselves 'house poor' by trying to keep up with some random definition of  'acceptable'.

And here's the thing.  The reward is so much sweeter when you've waited and worked for it.  Truly it is.

I love the changes that are happening in my kitchen.  I love my new floors!  I love that everything is being paid for outright...because we've been saving for years.  (Although it's hard to watch that money go...).

But in the end all of this is just a vapor, a mist.  It's here today and gone tomorrow.  The granite countertops or hardwood floors everyone HAS to have will be outdated in 5 years and in 100 years they'll be dust.  

I do believe God gave us a spirit of creativity and beauty.  After all He is the Creator of all.  He gave us beauty to enjoy.  I don't think it's wrong to take pleasure in making our homes a place we enjoy and find beautiful.

But we need to take care not to distort that into something it was never meant to be.

And we need to recall the benefit of waiting....


  1. I so understand! As I pack our family's bags to go visit relatives I feel like I need to pack all our Sunday clothes and none of our regular clothes so we'll look nice enough for them. Why is appearance so terribly important to us? To me? Thank-you for this reminder that true beauty is not found in outward appearances.

  2. You are so right- I need to keep this in perspective.
    Love that you said Honest to Pete- I don't think I have ever heard that one before!
    And I love your kitchen chairs- I would be drawn to those in a catalog in an instant.
    I am happy for your changes and love how you have explained about waiting for things and how you deal with money.
    I wish I would of been smarter with mine.
    But reading the things you write encourages me and I am sure others, to be more careful with money.

  3. Karen - What a beautiful post! If only our country and our culture would get this idea! I've always said an ugly floor is just as sturdy as a beautiful one! Not that I wouldn't rather have the beautiful one but all in good time, right? It's how we LIVE on the floor that matters most.

  4. I blame hgtv. :) Awesome post! I need that reminder so much, especially when I feel insecure about my own house. All we need is 4 walls in a roof, right? And indoor plumbing.
    Thank you!


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