The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


Why doesn’t anyone listen to what I say?!

It’s not just my children, it’s my entire family. They don’t listen. I’m not a difficult person to please. How hard can it be to buy a stinkin’ ten dollar travel mug?

Did I get a travel mug? No! Did I ask for one? Yes. Over and over and over again, so they wouldn’t forget. Did my husband keep me hanging on to the hope that I might be getting one at any moment. Yes! Did my children make me write down what I wanted? Yes. Did they completely ignore my request? Yes! Did my husband think, oh heck I’ll just go get her one? No. Am I complaining about it every chance I get? Darn right! How can that many people not come through for me?! Ugh, I have to do everything myself! Geeeez!

Instead, I got a navigation system. At least I won’t get lost on my way to Target to buy my own stash of travel mugs!

Oh, Happy New Year!

Our Christmas card, story, hoopla…

One year in Sunday school I made an advent wreath. It was constructed of a Styrofoam hoop, colorful felt, gold tinsel and birthday candles. My mother humored me and placed it in the center of our coffee table. Each week leading up to Christmas my mom would let me light one of the candles and then quickly blow it out, since its burn time was probably less than a minute. But, to me, blowing the candle out immediately after lighting it wasn’t really enough fanfare and didn’t do my beautiful piece of art any justice. After all I’d spent at least twenty minutes pouring glue on it.

One evening, after the celebratory lighting and snuffing of the advent candles, my mother shuffled my sister and me off to take a bath. As we were soaking and having fun my parents came in to say they were off to their bowling league. They gave us strict instructions to finish cleaning up and get straight to bed.

I’ll pause here in my story while you all contemplate that… and I will end your thoughts with, those were different times. I also didn’t have a car seat or a bike helmet.

When I knew the coast was clear and my parents were well on their way to the Bowladium I made my move. Naked as a Jaybird, I streaked back into the living room and gave my advent wreath one last lighting. I paused to reflect upon the beauty of the tinsel glittering from the tiny flames and then remembered I was cold and fled back to the warmth of the bathtub.

My sister and I splashed and made Santa beards with the bubbles until the odd smell of charcoal began to fill the bathroom. We sniffed, we pondered, we splashed some more and then we panicked. The Advent wreath!!! Great horrors! We slipped and slid across the tile floor and then dripping wet we sprinted across the avocado green shag carpet to see the center of the coffee table smoldering.

My precious advent wreath had completely disintegrated. We ran to the kitchen and grabbed the necessary tools; a metal spatula and a can of Pledge dusting spray. We took turns scraping the charred circle while the other would run around the living room spraying Pledge into the air in attempts to mask the smell of smoke and charred furniture. We did this until the can of Pledge was empty and we came to the realization that the coffee table was ruined, my Advent wreath was gone and we were cold, tired and naked.

I went to bed that night feeling miserable. I knew there would be a punishment. My imagination ran wild with the endless torture that my parents would surely bestow upon me. Slowly, I drifted off into a troubled sleep.

Later that night, I awoke to a warm hand touching my back and a kind voice saying my name. I sat up to see my mother’s lovely face. I immediately began to cry, I was so repentant and so guilt ridden. I don’t remember ever receiving any kind of punishment for that horrific crime; I just remember we never had another advent wreath in our house, ever. And that’s when we started having a babysitter on bowling league nights.

Breakin’ it down for the Fam…

Ellen is 13. More than once this year we have bought the same shirt from a store. I’m not sure if that means I’m dressing like a teenager or that she’s dressing like a, uh, um, 25 year old. Yes, I was only 12 when I had her, isn’t that obvious? Anyway, my sweet little girl is catching up with me quickly in size and wisdom, not to mention sarcasm. She started taking a couple classes at Wildwood Christian School and has enjoyed the social aspects and the new challenges that being taught by someone other than her mom brings.

Seth is 10. His geography teacher wrote on his report card, “Seth contributes interesting comments to class discussions! He is well mannered and friendly with his fellow students.” I can only imagine what he contributes, but I know that he brings a daily dose of whacko to my world. One day during school he brought me to complete exasperation, as I laid my head down on the table he gently patted my head and sighed, “Don’t worry Mom, you won’t have to homeschool me forever.” Thank God for that and for Seth, who makes me think about things that hopefully will never have any relevance to my life.

Isaac just turned five, but if you ask him how old he is he’ll say seven or six or four. Any number but five and it’s not because he doesn’t know, it’s just to get you going. Which is all fun and games until the Pediatrician starts quizzing him and he decides to not only tell the Dr. he doesn’t know his ABC’s or how old he is, but that his little brother doesn’t know how to talk. We left that appointment with a lot of information for Parents as Teachers and were strongly suggested to have them visit us soon.

Levi is two. God help us.

Clay has again managed to coach every sport his children play. He can’t help but be involved and feels anguished if he ever misses a game or, heaven forbid, a practice. He took up hunting this year. He came home weary, cold and empty handed, but had a lot of fun holding his new gun while sitting on a tiny metal shelf nailed to a tree for the good part of a day.

We said goodbye to two loved ones this year. Clay’s mother, Susan Lovett, passed away in May. We hung many of her Christmas ornaments on our tree this year and it’s nice to have things to remember her sweet Southern style. The Lord finally gave peace to my Grandpa Herb a couple weeks ago. He was the best Santa I’ve ever known. My mind is crowded with found memories of him. We miss them both.

And then there’s me. I continue to search high and low for a place that we can call “ours”. It’s a bit like an addiction; I have to follow the path of every For Sale sign, surf the web and call about the price of land. Surely, someday soon we’ll find “IT”, and when that day comes I may need to join House Hunters Anonymous. I’m still sharing a bit of my world on my blog. We’ve raised a beautiful flock of chickens this year. We’ve had fun learning that chickens are not as dumb as we think and they poop more than I could ever explain.

That’s it from here. We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. Our door is always open, unless it’s closed; because if it’s open the chickens get in.


Isn’t that a great word? Blurt.

Ellen came in to the office and blurted, “Levi is in the pantry singing, stacking and stinking!”

Isaac blurted, “Mom, I want a big tractor for Christmas so I can take you to run all your re-runds. It will hold all the stuff and I’ll drive you all over, you just have to sit in the back.”

We saw the movie Happy Feet. No. That’s all I’ve got to say. Well, and it was not all that happy or funny. So just No.

We made those 3-D snowflakes that Notes From the Trenches had on her sight. They were fun, easy and cheap, cheap, bok, bok….for those of you who live in St. Louis raise your hand if you do not get that Cheep Cheep Fun Fun liquor store chicken commercial, but say it in your head often enough to wonder if you should go buy some liquor there? The same with that mortgage guy that ends with “ninety-nine, ninety-nine”. You know who I’m talkin’ bout.

People are so weird. Sooo glad I’m not.