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More isn’t more

Three days ago we moved for the second time in three months. This was a mixed bag of feelings for me. When we moved back to Lexington we were thrilled to quickly find a home to rent out in the country… farmhouse built in the early 1900′s with a huge yard and gorgeous view. It seemed perfect and we moved in with high hopes in mid January. Unfortunately, for reasons completely out of our control, the house became uninhabitable and we began looking for a new home. The situation became unbearable last weekend, prompting us to leave very quickly. On Friday several friends came with their pick up trucks, trailers, and trunks of cars. By the end of the day we were exhausted, but almost completely out of one house and into the next.

To be honest, I love moving. I  like setting up my home and finding new ways to decorate. I love the freshness that a new space brings and being forced to organize everything and purge others. But I did not love moving with such little notice and hardly any time to pack or prepare. I did not love uprooting my kids so soon after a major life change. I do not love the way this move came about. But, friends, I am so glad to be moved! I am so happy in our new home and so relieved to know we are someplace safe and warm. An added bonus is that we live about 50 yards from friends now.

One of my favorite parts of the move was the ability to downsize. I know this goes totally against the grain of the typical American Dream type thinking/goal making. The idea is that as you get older you ought to be gaining. That line on the bar graph should be moving upward as you measure things like salary, square footage, possessions, ect. But I’ve never quite bought into that. Something about it doesn’t sit right with me as I ponder what is most important to me. (Francis Chan explains it better than I could. Watch my husbands favorite sermon illustration to use here.) We just moved from a large farmhouse on a big piece of land into a two story townhouse. Big downsize and to others it may look  like a big step backwards. But, truly, I couldn’t be happier right now.

Yesterday a friend was wondering about our move and sweetly asked if we had enough space. I didn’t really think about it as I was cheerfully responding to her question. “Oh yes! We have a little living room, a big kitchen, a dining area, a laundry room, and a half bathroom downstairs. And upstairs each of the kids has their own little bedroom, they have their own bathroom, and we have a very nice master bedroom with our own bathroom. There’s a lot of closet space throughout the house for storage, so really what more do you need?” I later thought about what I said and asked myself the same thing again. “What more do I need?” The truth is simple. Nothing. But what’s more special to me is that I don’t want anymore.

Bigger always seems better. More always seems more. But our cozy little townhouse is perfect to me. And I really believe the saying that less is more in many ways. I have my family safe and warm and happy with me every day. My husband at work doing a job he loves. We are surrounded by amazing family and friends. I have toys strewn on the living room floor and scribble art hanging on my fridge. Laundry is tumbling around in the dryer while my daughter sleeps in her crib upstairs and my son plays trains on the floor near my feet. It’s all I need and all I want.

We took the day off of moving and settling on Saturday to head down the road to Lynchburg for some Easter fun with friends. Arsema and I dyed eggs and then all the kids took part in an Easter egg hunt (Arsema’s first!)

There were eggs in plain view  on the grass right when we walked outside, but the first egg he noticed was up in the branches of this bush!

Arsema started out enjoying her basket, but quickly ditched it when she realized there was candy in each egg!

Mareto loved filling his basket and graciously shared his eggs with Arsema. Sweet brother.

Mamas rationing out the sweets! (These are the sweet friends who live on our street now!)

John loves this last photo because it captures each of their little personalities so well. I’m fairly certain Arsema is bossing someone. I love her sass.

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  • Amber - Girl, I love this post! We are still in our “starter home” and never thought we’d still be here, but ya know, two adoptions and stay at home mom thing doesn’t leave as much wiggle room as we had planned when we first moved in here 10 years ago.

    Soo often I am tempted by my friends moving to larger and more extravagant homes to think we need something like this. We have everything we need in our sweet little cape cod home. It doesn’t look like something out of a magazine. I don’t have all the perfect lighting and hardwood floors, but I have my little family here and I love it and need to keep remembering that small does not mean less.

    xoxo, AmberReplyCancel

  • Caroline - Sweet! When we moved from Virginia Beach to Bellevue, NE, we went from an 1800 sq ft house to a 974 main living space house! We really did love it. Well, we could have used just one more bathroom but it was perfect. :) Now we are in a too big house and looking for something smaller. I’m with you on the smaller IS better!ReplyCancel

Spring again and painted bottle vases

When things get hard or uncertain or a bit stressful I tend to clam up and turn inward. If I don’t know how to deal or what the outcome will be I just keep my silence until I have it figured out. Life has been odd lately. It’s a strange mix of really really really good, and then really really really hard. Most of you know that we moved a few months ago. The kids have been amazing. We love our community and have made some incredible new friends. You know how there are some people that you just instantly connect with and it’s like you’ve been friends for a decade? That’s what we’re finding right and left. It’s been wonderful for our hearts. And then there’s John’s job and the ministry… again, just wonderful. He loves every bit of it and we love being a part of it with him.

But there’s been one thing since our move that has been increasing difficult to the point of almost unbearable – our living situation. I don’t think it’s wise at this point (if ever) to share much online. But we’ve been struggling in this area. It’s hard not to feel “had” or taken advantage of in a big way. We’ve had to make some hard decisions in the face of a lot of unknowns. And when there are any unknowns I bolt up the doors, draw the shades, and hunker down until I’ve got it figured out… usually.

There’s nothing quite like feeling convicted during a Sunday morning sermon given by your own husband. I tell you. But it’s special and I’m so proud of the man who chose me. What did Jesus do when faced with the most difficult thing in the history of ever? As John shared Sunday, 6 things:

  • He chose some close friends to be with him (Matt. 26:37)
  • He opened up his soul to them (v.38)
  • He asked for their intersession and partnership (v.38)
  • He poured out his heart to his Father in prayer (v.39)
  • He rested his soul in the sovereign wisdom of God (v.39)
  • He focused his gaze on the future joy waiting for him (Heb 12:2)

 

I realized I had the first four points down. I had shared our struggle with our families and a few very close friends who have been praying for us and supporting us. It’s been so incredible to be loved so well. I’ve been praying about this on my own, every day, often every hour! But I hadn’t been resting in the will of God and I hadn’t been focusing on the fact that no matter what… no matter our circumstances… I will yet praise Him!

So rather than put life on hold while things are tough, we are moving forward, trusting God, and preparing to praise Him for the joy set before us. And for those of you Created for Care gals, I’ll put it in terms you’ll understand…. I’m packing my tambourine!!! 

So, as silly as this might seem, for me this looks like being creative and embracing the new season and that Spring has come again… after a long hard winter. Yesterday I grabbed a can of white spray paint, some glass bottles, and a few fresh flowers and made something pretty.

And we’ve been outdoors more than ever enjoying the warmth and dirt and sunshine. There’s nothing sweeter than flushed sweaty toddlers at the end of the day… with dirt on their feet and smiles on their faces.

And we’ve been getting out and about meeting new friends and having all sorts of adventures. Two weekends ago we saw a sign for a “High Five for Autism” event, so we just showed up to see what it was all about. We ended up having a blast watching a flag football tournament, watching the kids play in the bounce house, draw with chalk, blow bubbles, and even give a high five to the big chic fil a cow!

And I’m fairly certain the kids think their Daddy has the coolest job ever… and the coolest work outfit ever… and the coolest place to go to work ever. The reason I feel so sure about this is the fact that they ask to go to VMI every single day about 30 times a day. Really. And I’m so grateful for all the fun being a VMI family brings. I mean, we get to watch helicopters land on the parade ground, parades every single Friday afternoon, big beautiful flags whipping in the wind, and so much more.

… and sometimes an excited little boy gets to bring up the rear and bang his chest to the beat of the drums while marching right beside his Daddy.

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  • Megan - I’m so glad you went to the High Five for Autism!

    My goodness, you make me long for Lexington. I love your photos.

    I hope your living situation gets better :) ReplyCancel

    • Lauren - I wish you still lived here Megan!! Things are going to get MUCH better on Friday… we’re moving to a different house. ;) ReplyCancel

  • Galen - I love reading your blog. Your children are absolutely beautiful. I’m praying for you and your family, Lauren.ReplyCancel

    • Lauren - Thank you so much Galen!! I’m partial to the kids as well. ;) Thank you for your prayers!! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Amy - Wonderful photos Lauren!
    Once you are settled again it’s going to be great :) ReplyCancel

    • Lauren - you’re right mom! two more days … ;) ReplyCancel

  • Sarah-Anne - Oh Lauren,thank you so much for sharing your heart. I continue to be so blessed and encouraged by what you share. And THANK YOU for sharing those six points from your beloved’s sermon!!! I am appreciating pondering them. I continue to struggle with if/what to share on my blog…hard to strike that balance of how much and what…and yet you share so beautifully.

    I am keeping your precious family in my prayers. Sending love to you, sweet friend.

    ps – and ohhhhhhhh, how I wish we lived in Lexington or on post. What an awesome place to be with your family! And what fond memories we have of VMI. xoxoxoReplyCancel

  • Alison - Love keeping up with your sweet family! Will you do a hair tutorial post one day on the adorable hair style that Arsema has in? Love the braids into the puff! So precious!!!ReplyCancel