I was bored this evening, laying on the couch with my foot propped up on a bunch of pillows recovering from this first surgery.
Sometimes I like to rearrange the furniture in the living room or bedrooms. But since I can't be lifting heavy things right now, and we are in a rental house, I couldn't move the furniture around. I feel like I am in "nesting mode" big time. No I am not pregnant ( though my vein doctor asked me that twice in the course of just a few weeks) but I am eager to get back home to our house in Zambia and re-organize and rearrange things.
We are talking about switching some of the kids rooms around so the older ones can have a bit more space. And re-decorating.
Well I should just say Decorating.
The first few weeks back visiting in people's homes I was struck by how well decorated homes are. And there is a broad spectrum of course. Many are decorated so nicely and every corner of every wall has something going on. Pictures, artwork, floral arrangements, candles, etc. The list can go on and on. Some are more simply decorated but still decorated. The homes feel warm and inviting. I miss that. I want that for my home.
When we moved over to Zambia we pretty much sold everything we had, saved a few boxes of keepsakes, and sent a small pallet of our things. Things that were toys for the kids, a few pictures, a few linens and a few boxes of kitchen items.
We purged everything. Our blender, food processor, griddle, waffle maker, popcorn popper, ice cream maker, fondue pot...all those things that are fun to have but not necessary. ( We have since bought a few of those things over there. In fact that was my delight last Christmas to get those things which were helpful to have but expensive over there. So I cried when I opened up a griddle! )
Funny story about our fondue pot. I had wanted one and James bought me one once in Washington State. On one of our trips when we lived in Montana. I think it was for our anniversary. I had great dreams of using it, it was a top notch one with a lazy susan that spun around with all the cups to put the dippers in and the sauces. It was really cool.
But like so many things we want that we get, I never used it. Never. Until we got ready to move, then I decided well we moved this from Montana to KY 5 years ago I should at least use it once before we give it away. So we made chocolate turtle fondue for Sarah's birthday. I think James actually made it. We used it and then gave it away to some dear friends.
A few weeks ago we had dinner with those friends. A chocolate fondue was prepared for dessert and served on our fondue set, because she thought surely this had sentimental meaning to us. We laughed when she told us that, but then laughed even harder when she also told us that she had been digging around in her storage closet for all the pieces trying to assemble this since they had not used it in the 2 years they had it! After dessert I told her feel free to give it away!
So purging these things...
Well since we have been back we actually have bought an air popcorn popper and ice cream maker to take back with us!
Still not necessary, but more necessary then they were to use here in America.
Microwave popcorn is like $5 for a box of 2 bags, so we do alot of homemade popcorn for a snack. It can be even more inexpensive and healthier if we don't use any oil to cook it so that is reason for that.
Then as you probably have heard us mention before, the ice cream in Zambia is not very good. Made out of vegetable fat solids oil and things like that. And it is about $7 or $8 for a half gallon. My favorite is Breyers All natural Vanilla Bean Ice cream, and I would always make it a point to read the side aloud to James- pure ingredients. We have tried to make ice cream without a maker and it turns out ok but we will be glad to have a real ice cream maker to try our own pure vanilla.
(Speaking of vanilla we bring over our own pure vanilla extract. not the "vanilla essence" they have over there.) I will admit I am a bit of a snob about baking. For the most part my kids never really got to get "store bought cookies". Why when you can have real fresh homemade cookies? Maybe... because its normal to buy packages of cookies, like most everyone does? I guess they have been deprived!
It is funny how much packaged, convenience food we have bought these few months we are here, just because we can. Velvetta Kraft Cheese and Macaroni, cans of soup, the kids got to pick out a kids meal tv dinner the other day and boy that was exciting for the little ones. It will soon come to an end and we will be eating homemade things again so we are enjoying it while we can.
But I got off track. So I was struck with the decorations and "homey-ness" of making your house your home.
When we set up our home I picked out some nice fabric for curtains and we hung up the 2 pictures that our friend gave us and the vinyl lettering on the walls and 2 candle holders. Then I bought 2 frames that would hold pictures of our dear friends and family. And that was it. Its nice and feels like home but doesn't really give you the warm fuzzies when you come in.
A few rugs in the rooms since it is tile floor throughout and one for the living room. A little more than the basics, but I wouldn't say it was "homey" or "decorated". And that's ok. Its more than any of my friends in Kabanana have. But I have come to realize it is also ok to have some extras. Some things that you like just because you like them and you hang them on your wall because it makes you smile or it cheers you up or it reminds you of home. It serves no purpose or function but you like it and thats ok.
The problem though is that several of the decorative things for your home you can find in Lusaka at Mr. Price Home or Woolworths, are so expensive 3 times at least what you would pay for the same item here. That then makes it hard to buy.
At one point I mentioned wanting a few more picture frames when James was shopping with me last year, so he said just get them. It took quite awhile to pick them out because I knew the cost. I think though that is a good thing to make me more appreciative.
So for Christmas my sweet husband took me to Hobby Lobby. Wow. I had never been in that store. And they were having a sale!
So one duffle bag is already packed and filled with some home items that serve no purpose whatsoever. And I am good with that!
I have read a few blogs and articles recently about the excess of things and the materialism and just the super abundance of possessions Americans in general have. And I totally agree. SO much stuff.
When I see all the nice things here, I sometimes am between 2 extremes.
One-"That is so ludicrous, and so pampering and absurd". Just browse through the sky mall magazine and you know exactly what I am talking about. Or just look down the aisles at Target ( one of my favorite stores ). "Don't people know how many kids you could send to school or buy a meal for with the money they are using on ..."
Two-"Wow. It is so nice. I really wish I could have that. I really wish my house looked like that." and I am jealous.
Seeing some of these comforts and extravagant things (that people here would not even see as extravagant) does make me jealous. A few times I have had to wrestle with those feelings, just seeing all the nice things. Or worse seeing things that we gave away freely to friends and loved ones as we prepared to move to Africa and thinking, "oh, that was nice. Sure would be nice to have that again".
(But don't worry we are not going to be going around asking for everything back!)
But just the struggles. Then we watch the video we have been showing that summarizes what the Lord is doing in Zambia and I am reminded again why it is so much MORE than worth it. I see the kids faces, all 30 of them that we are directly impacting and it puts these struggles into perspective. I hear the pastors in their own words, thanking the Lord for being able to study and learn how to be a better pastor and I remember it is a privilege to be part of it. And I know that can sound so cliche, when I hear others say it I sometimes think, really ? Do you really feel privileged to be living in a 3rd world country? And I would say YES. When my heart is right, Yes, I do feel the great privilege.
So please pray that my heart stays right. Focused on serving Jesus not myself!