Character Lessons Learned by Downsizing in House Size

Previously, I  shared with you our journey taken that brought us from living in a 2,260 square foot house to our current home of 1,245 square foot home.

Our last year of being here, we have learned a few things about being a large family living in small accommodations.  There are positives and negatives to any situation. I’ve read many articles and posts highlighting all the glimmery spots of smaller living, and while there are really great benefits to smaller living, there are also hard parts in it.  I want to share some honest feedback about the benefits and the challenges that we have encountered during this time of scaling back on house size.  I will be sharing this over a period of several posts.

The first thing to share is the character lessons learned by downsizing in house size.

 Scaling Back is a Great Time to Sharpen One’s Character

Lessons on Thankfulness and Contentment

As I mentioned in my last post on how we got to the purchasing of this house, all of us were experiencing a lot of disappointment about being here in this town and in this house.  While disappointment was expected, what I quickly realized was that the kids, as well as I were grumbling and complaining.  Quite bluntly, we were sinning.  Scripture tells us plainly that God’s will for our lives is to give thanks in all circumstances.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Also, Paul gives us example in Philippians to be content.

“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”

Clearly we needed help in his area.  We needed to practice thankfulness, even though we weren’t feeling thankful.

Cultivating thankfulness

To work on this we did a couple of things.  I picked back up my Thankful Journal and made a practice to try to write down thanksgivings each day.

Strawberry's thankful journal.

Strawberry’s thankful journal.

I also made each child a thankful journal for them to record those things in their lives that they were thankful for.

In addition, we took up the practice of Thankful Thursdays that a friend told me about.  Every Thursday, she had her children write a note of thanks to someone in their life.  We’ve missed several Thursdays, but more often than not, the children and I all try to write a note of thanks to someone.  Sometimes that note is because someone blessed us with a physical item, other times we express thankfulness to them for speaking kind words or truthful words to us.

We’ve also made a point to discuss with our kids how truly blessed we are.  We read to them stories from Gospel for Asia highlighting our great luxuries compared to the poor conditions so many others live in.  We discuss the blessing it is to have all our family here, not struggling with chronic disease.


Bearing with One another in love

Living in close quarters gives us many opportunities to practice patience, grace, and just good old bearing with one another in love.  Since every time we turn around, some one is there, and it is rare to get to have a room or space in which someone is not in there with us and we have had to learn different coping mechanisms.  Some days we do this well, but often times we do not.

Giving preference to One Another

Eight people in a small house and only 2 bathrooms gives us a natural environment to learn to give preference to one another.  It seems like the bathrooms are always needed at the same time around here.  I am not really sure why everyone seems to think they need access to the bathroom at the same time, but they do.  So, we are daily reminding our children to wait patiently on the person in the restroom.  Also, we have conversations with them about how little one’s may have more urgent needs.  This character lesson plays out in many other instances in our home.  It’s also a trait that I realized I could use some more growth in as well as the kids.

What are some character lessons you have recently learned in a hard place? Please share in the comments.

Watching Faith Grow

One of the best things about being a mom is the privilege of hearing my kids grow in faith and understanding.  I delight to hear them blurt out their observations and thought processes.  Sitting at a concert the other night, a lady was speaking expressing her heart that the kids in the program would grow in their faith and learn to seek God.  Strawberry tilts her little face up to my ear and proclaims, “She’s crazy! God Is EVERYWHERE.”

It took me a minute to realize that she was confused as to why the lady would say kids should seek Him, because one of the basic truths that Strawberry has learned is that He is everywhere.

It looks like we have some work on teaching her what it means for a person to seek after His heart.opening-my-eyes.JPG

But I love watching faith grow in my kids.

Blogelina #1000 Mom Blog Makeover

Blogelina is a great resource in building and growing your blog.  Tanya has a great heart to see others succeed in this blog world.  To help accomplish that as well as raise money for she has initiated a plan where you donate $10 to this ministry and her team at Blogelina will makeover your blog with one of the new WordPress themes.  This applies to the first 1000 who sign up. For more information check out her post on this great deal.


Free Children’s Book

I had an email just come across my inbox that I thought a few of my readers might find of interest.  Titus2 ministries has the first book, Summer with the Moody’s,  in their children’s book series free until May 9th.  I grabbed a download for my girls.  Your kids might enjoy one too.


No More Glasses

I recently shared about Strawberry getting glasses.  It has been six months since she first started wearing them. For the last month, she has been complaining that her glasses are blurry.  Now, my little girl managed to cover her glasses with smudges and food many times throughout the day.  But even after cleaning them, she would still complain about them being blurry.  I didn’t push the issue too much, because I knew we had an opthamologist appointment scheduled for this month and she was really great about wearing them up until this point without complaining that they were bothering her.

When we went in, I had them asses her vision both with and without glasses.  They found her vision better without the glasses and her eyes are both seeing at nearly the same strength. No more glasses for Strawberry!  YAY

Strawberry with doll her Mee-Maw got her for her 4th birthday.

Strawberry with doll her Mee-Maw got her for her 4th birthday.

While she looked adorable in her glasses, I am thankful that she now can have the freedom to go without the additional luggage of her glasses.  Praise be to God.

Large Family – Small Bathroom

Having a large family, it seems like someone is always needing access to the potty in a bathroom. Our large family, small bathroom scenario at home is very manageable even if it is inconvenient.  But the fact that some one always needs to use the bathroom means that I am very well acquainted with the bathrooms around town.  I know which ones are generally clean, how many stalls they have, the proximity of their location in the building of an establishment to the area I want to shop in.  I will even not go into stores or restaurants solely based upon the fact that I don’t like their bathroom facilities.

Being heavy on girls, and light on boys makes a difference in our public bathroom habits too.  I prefer the men’s restroom to have one hole, that way I can send only my son in to the men’s room, and know he is alone in there and safe from any would be predators.  On the other hand, where my girls are concerned, the more stalls the better.  There are a lot of us, and it can take a very long time for everyone to have their turn.

Today,  we went to the big city for Strawberry’s ophthalmologist appointment.  Following the appointment and a trip to the zoo, we searched out a restaurant to grab some grub.  As I don’t reside there and infrequently dine in the restaurants of this city, I was unaware of potty facilities in the eating establishments nearby.   I was completely disappointed when we got there to realize there was only 1 mens and 1 women’s, and we had to go outside to utilize those.  So, what’s a family to do while they wait, and wait, and wait for the bathroom to free up?  We took pictures. A lot of pictures.  I will share just a few. Enjoy.

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Do you have ideas for ways to pass the time while you are waiting for everyone to have their turn in public restrooms?

Tomorrow – Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday’s word this week:


A new beginning.  A new perspective.  New opportunities.  Tomorrow at one point in my life was filled with expectancy, excitement, hope.  As I sit contemplating on “tomorrow” I realize that somewhere along the way I lost my wonder.  The excitement and the joy that came in the new day.

I realize my folly.  I should look upon my tomorrows with an expectancy that God will show up.  A zest for life.

I’m finding my way back to this place, as I dig in the Word. Sitting with the Lord changes me.  Takes away fear.  Gives me eyes to see more of the wonder and the glory that occurs in the day-to-day of life.

Tomorrow: A day worth being excited about if I’m letting the Lord lead.

How do you view your tomorrows?

I’ve linked up with other writers on blogging on the word “tomorrow” over at 5 minute Friday.  Come join the fun.

Articles to mull over

Here are a few links to articles that I have found interesting and have been mulling over in my mind these last few weeks.  Hopefully you will enjoy them too.

*There are a few affiliate links in this post.

On Health

I have become fascinated with magnesium and the role that it plays in bodily processes. This article highlights some of the hormonal symptoms that result in magnesium deficiencies are outlined in this post.  As I have researched magnesium I have found it linked to ADHD, cholesterol issues, fibromyalgia, migraines, restless legs syndrome, irritability, insomnia, to name a few off the top of my head.  To help get our magnesium in we eat leafy greens, take a magnesium supplement, take our baths with epsom salt, spray magnesium oil on body, and on stressful days will drink Natural Calm.  

I was fascinated with this article about how the acne on your face is a road map to what systems are struggling internally.   Interestingly enough, the areas that my face keeps breaking out in does correspond to health issues that I am currently aware of and working on trying to find a remedy.

The impression that I got in my education was that the human race is so much smarter now than they were thousands of years ago.  I found myself questioning that as a kid, but as I asked questions the answers received always confirmed that thought process, because my teachers were all coming from an evolution based mindset.  But as I started teaching my children from a creation based perspective, I was amazed at all the resources that pointed out this line of thought obviously was not the case.  I have become even more fascinated with this concept as I have started studying more aspects of natural remedies, health foods, and traditional diets.  I am amazed as more and more studies are going back and finding out some of these natural remedies do in fact work.  This article was thrilling to me, as I read about how they are finding evidence that an onion and garlic remedy that is at least 1,000 years ago is proving to have great potential in fighting the MRSA.

On Education

In homeschooling, conversation is a vital part of your children’s education.  I talk to my kids all the time, but I need to amp up the quality, non-rushed conversations that happen in the home between my children and me.

Thought provoking article on how we educate our children at home from a veteran homeschool mom.  Have homeschoolers slipped too far back into the model of what public schools are doing because we are struggling under someone else’s idea of what a “proper” education is? 

On Parenting

As of late, a frequent discussion among some of my friends has been along the lines of doing things that will mess our children up or cause them to walk from the faith.  This was a great post about the most important thing that one family did in encouraging their children to continue to walk with the Lord into adulthood.

On purpose

I loved this article about how to find your “thing.” 

Answered Prayers for Strawberry

My Strawberry turned four in February.  This little girl, whom we desperately cried out to the Lord for in her early years.  So many of you did too.  We appreciate those prayers.  We are so thankful for His answer that the spot continued to shrink.

Blessed to have to deal with just the effects.  She had surgery to correct the droopy eye in September of 2013.  An addition of glasses in  December of 2014.  Praise be to God, that is the extent of her physical effects.


She’s always been a bit different from the others.  Dissolving to tears in frustration, fear.  A loss for words.  Complete meltdowns. Much more clingy to her parents than the others were.  Mistrusting of people she first meets.

We’ve discussed often, is this just the make-up of her dna?  Is she just a more sensitive child? Would she have been as high-strung had she not been poked and prodded at by strangers at such a young age? Or maybe we coddled her too much? Spoiled her when she was little.  Over reacted to all her needs for fear there was more gloom to come.

Whatever the case, we have learned disciplining her is a different ball game than it was with her siblings.  She’s just more sensitive.  We have to talk to her differently.  Get her to catch her breath so she can even begin to hear what we have to say.  She is a different child.

God still is in the business of answering prayers, and I saw it in regards to this child a few weeks past her 4th birthday.  We were having a rough patch of tears and meltdowns.  I found myself one night beseeching the Lord, “I need wisdom for this kid.  Help her.  Draw her to you.  I don’t know what to do with her. Only you Lord can change her.  Only you can draw her heart to You.”


The following morning, we had breakfast and followed that up with chores.  All the kids were beginning their school work, and I thought to myself, that it just seemed so much more peaceful. I wondered why.

My Strawberry, stands up from her activity, walks over to me, and boldly announces “I’m going to obey today.”

“You are?  That’s good.  What made you decide to obey today?”

“Because God told me to last night in my bed while I was sleeping.”

She did really well that day.  At one point I asked her to complete a task that was displeasing to her.  I saw it on her face.  “Sweet girl, remember what you were going to do today?”

“Yeah, I told you I was going to obey.”

As she went about completing her task, with a pleasant face.

God hears.  He answers.

And He has a plan for this little girl.


I began a post for FMF back at the beginning of March, but never finished posting it because I was tucked away in a tent that weekend, hidden from the world, but not all the kids.

The word to blog about: plan

A white, crisp blank calendar is a thrill to my heart.  I love to look upon the days laid out before me, to imagine, plan, and dream of the excitement that they may contain.  I thoroughly enjoy jotting out the ideas, the things I want to see come to fruition.

Plans are so much fun.  The what if, and the how, the lists, all of this doing brings about a thrill in my heart.  I actually really love to plan.

Plans are full of expectancy, hope, greatness.

But the reality of what is met in the middle of the excitement of planning to the execution of the plan, well that is another story.

In my zest of planning, I seem to over plan.  Then, I struggle to meet those expectations that I’ve put upon myself.  I often think I am failing others, but I’m not sure that I am so much as not meeting my own ideals. Perhaps, I’m just more keenly aware of all that is left undone.

I find myself flustered over my plans in the end. Overwhelmed.  Wondering why in the world I ever thought I could muster up the energy or the ability to do whatever it was that I had planned.

I’m so thankful that scripture teaches that man makes plans, but God directs the steps of man.  So thankful that He will set me on a right path, even though the plans I make seem to be failing.