A Temporary Goodbye to “Magazine House”

There is a state of cleanliness and organization in my house that I think of as “magazine house.”  I love reading magazines about home decorating.  Actually, I love looking at the pictures.  Whether or not I would want that particular style in my home, I love seeing pictures of clean, shiny floors, perfectly strewn throw pillows, and perfectly made beds.

My own home reaches “magazine house” status when everything is put away.  Who knows what you would see if you opened a closet door…some seasons are better than others for the “inner organization.”  But if my house is 10 minutes or less away from being ready for company, it is a state that pleases me.

Everyone is different.  Some people thrive on clutter and randomness.  Cluttered space makes me anxious.  “A place for everything, and everything in its place” makes me feel calm.  Waking up to a clean kitchen makes me feel prepared for the day.  Coming home to a clear coffee table and dining room table makes me feel welcome in my own home.  It’s not about being ready for unexpected company — that’s just a side perk.  It’s about taking care of myself.  It’s about waking up sick in the middle of the night and knowing that the bathroom floor is a perfectly acceptable place to lie down, because it has been recently cleaned.  It’s about how when one day gets away from me, or even several days in a row, there will still be clean dishes in the cupboard and catching up won’t take long.  It’s about having a space where I feel welcomed and nurtured, even if I’m the one that made it welcoming in the first place.

In a few weeks, I will be moving to a new apartment.  (Literally, a new apartment.  The building was finished less than a year ago, and I’ll be the first tenant to live in this particular unit within the building.)  I’m so excited about my soon-to-be new home, excited to find what “magazine house” will mean for me there.  This move is my version of “buying a house.”  I don’t want to buy a house.  That’s a topic for another conversation.  This apartment will not be a means to an end, but my home for the foreseeable future.  So, for this move, I chose an apartment based on the life I want to live, not the cheapest apartment I’m willing to inhabit.  It is bigger.  It has an open floor plan, windows on three sides (technically…I’ll explain with pictures later!), a laundry room.  It has a kitchen big enough for me to invite my entire family over and let them help with the cooking!  It has a den.  And get this…it has 1 1/2 baths!

Only God knows what the future holds.  I’m trying to get better at living in the present moment, without dwelling on the past or obsessing over the future.  And I chose the new apartment based upon what I want, now, in this season of life.  It was time to choose a home in the same way I want to live:  Living life now, not waiting for something else.  This will be my home, the one I chose for myself and created for myself.  If someday it is the home of my husband and I, fine, but I’m not concerning myself with that right now.  I could even imagine bringing my first baby home there, but again, that has no bearing on my choice now.  I can’t possibly know if or when those things will happen, or where I will choose to live when they do.  I’m choosing for me, and for now, and it feels exactly right.  It feels heaven-sent.

I’ve moved quite a bit in the last ten years, and I know that a few weeks before a move, I start feeling anxious.  I’m feeling that anxiety set in.  The symptoms are strange:  I water my plants a lot more than usual, I watch a lot of Friends and Dharma & Greg, and I read books I’ve read a hundred times.  In other words, I crave things that are familiar and will never change or leave me.  My plants are living things that I take with me from home to home.  I know exactly what will happen next when I watch familiar TV shows and read familiar books.

Because, in the last couple of weeks before a move, “magazine house” disappears.  Shelves are emptied.  Boxes get stacked up in corners. Pictures are taken down from walls.  It gets worse before it gets better.  Even when I move into the new place, it will take awhile before I find exactly where I want to put all the furniture and hang all the pictures.  I am probably enjoying my last weekend of magazine house for awhile.  It will be SO worth it.

But I think I’ll go water the plants one more time anyway.


Book Report #2b: How to move the cheese

Yesterday I spoke about the book Who Moved My Cheese?  and said I’m adaptable to change.  That’s true–when the change is forced upon me.  I don’t really resist, I just jump in with both feet and think about how to follow through later.  Not the most responsible strategy, to be sure.  But I experience very little stress or discomfort when the decision is made for me.  I just jump.  One of my coworkers said recently, “This organization (the school district) likes to build a plane and fly it at the same time.”  That’s how I am with change that is imposed on me.  Unfortunately.

I also, unfortunately, think it makes me frustrating to the people around me.  We are experiencing some major changes in our school and our district, and people vent and complain.  A lot.  More than once, I have been asked by a coworker, “Are you just completely stressed this year?”  They want me to say, yes, I’m stressed, it’s not just you, I can’t handle it.  But if I’m being honest, I say, “No, I’m fine.  This year, for me, is so much better than last year!”  It probably peeves them.

Who Moved My Cheese? doesn’t talk about initiating change.  In that regard, I sit and stew and stall.  And stall.  And stall.  I’m not at all scared of things changing.  I’m terrified of changing things.  But then, I find myself wishing for change, but completely ignoring the fact that I could change something.  I just wait for change to happen to me.  Sometimes under the pretense of something noble, like “letting God work in His own time.”  A lovely sentiment, and a good concept to consider, but not always a good reason to keep from making a choice.

I didn’t particularly need this book.  I need a book called How to Move the Cheese.  🙂  There is one question in this book that would be helpful for me to ponder:  What would you do if you weren’t afraid? 

I quote this song a lot in regards to change, and I’m quoting it again:

Foolishly I fall into the obvious pattern of it all.

Carelessly I stall, thinking change was just a friend that never called.

“London (Foolishly)” by Nick Jonas

The Edge

I’m just sitting here listening to Switchfoot, feeling….just feeling….

I’m standing on the edge of everything I’ve never been before.

–“On Fire” by Switchfoot

I wish I could write a song.  I’m just not built that way.  But just playing music is so cathartic, and creating my own little piano arrangements of songs I hear is even more cathartic.  I can only imagine how it feels to play something that you conceived beginning to end.  I am fascinated by how lyrics and music come together.  I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to someone write music.  How does it happen?  What comes first?

I was going to say:

For all my talking and reflecting and thinking…aren’t I ever going to take action?  What will push me over the edge to actually change?

And then I found this quote…

The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me.  The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them. 

–George Bernard Shaw

I am such a different person than the girl who moved to Omaha to student teach six years ago.  I change.  I change when my job stays the same.  I change when my relationship status stays the same.  I change when people’s expectations stay the same.  I change when my own behavior stays the same.

Therein lies the conflict.  “You can’t take the same action expecting a different result” and all that, but…  When I continue to take the same action, expecting the same result, when I am actually needing a different action with a different result……….How long can I continue on this tired, rutted path?

We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.

–Lynn Hall

I knew that when those few intense weeks were over, I would be back to the ennui of “I don’t know what I want!”  And it’s true, I don’t know what I want, but I do know that I’m finding myself bored.  Not just I-have-nothing-to-do-today bored.  That kind of boredom is easy.  No, what I am experiencing is I-am-tired-of-looking-at-the-same-old-thing-every-day boredom.  Or this-is-not-quite-where-I’m-supposed-to-be bored.  I want something exciting and fun.  I want to experience the excitement of moving to a new city again.  Or falling in love.  Or breaking up with someone!  Or running a marathon.  Or something.  I don’t really want to buy a house, but this ennui makes me want to buy a house.  Now is not the right time to be moving to a new city, but I crave moving to a new city.  Just…something.  Something, change.  Something, show up at my doorstep and change me. 

I’m on this cliff.  I know that what I want is just on the other side of the canyon, but I can’t see what it is.  I know I need to jump, but I’ve never jumped over a canyon before, so my feet don’t quite know what to do.  So I run to the edge, and then I stop short and back up again, thinking maybe it’s fine, maybe I’ll just stay on this side.  And then, I can feel the cool breeze from this invisible place on the other side of the canyon, and I know I can’t just stay over here.  So I run to the edge again, and I stop short again. 

If I could write a song, that metaphor would be a good place to start.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let
God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know
God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Romans 12:2 (NLT)

And what, exactly, am I afraid of???

Foolishly I fall into the obvious pattern of it all.

Carelessly I stall, thinking change was just a friend that never called.

“London (Foolishly)” by Nick Jonas

14 Inspirations and 5 Gratitudes

Some ideas that have affected me recently, via other people or experiences or for no reason at all, that I need to remember:


From Aunt Betty:

-There are lots of ways to pay the bills.

-If you don’t like your situation, change something.  You can’t keep doing the same thing expecting different results.


From Megan:

-If you are absolutely supposed to get married and have children, but it’s not until 15 years from now, would you want to be a teacher for those 15 years?


From Sarah:

-It’s not about you.  It’s about God’s will for your life.  If you are pursuing what God doesn’t want you to do, it won’t work out.  If you aren’t pursuing what God does want, He will make it happen somehow anyway.
-So what if I am the only person that is supportive of your choices?
-What makes you think that this is the beginning of the journey?
-I think you do have a defined idea of what you want.  I think the undefined part is how to get from here to there.


From Miranda:

-No, it doesn’t sound crazy, because you are so passionate about it.


From Christine:

-Life is too short, and you are too wonderful, to not pursue something that you love.


From the Jonas Brothers

-Where would we be, if we couldn’t dream?

-Live like you’re at the bottom, even when you’re at the top.


From a sermon at Sarah’s church:

-Let Jesus make you a fisher of men.

-Follow Christ regardless of your past.


From a prayer at my church:

-May you find true happiness in God’s will.


<<I am grateful for: AC, JS, BM, AE, GZ (five kids in my class)….cool fall temperatures….YouTube….downloadable sermons….passion>>