Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fighting With Myself

I didn't grow up wealthy and I didn't grow up living in large and luxurious homes.

In our family, there were three boys and three girls (in that order) and we always lived in smallish houses with three bedroom and just one bath. I even recall one house that we lived in briefly where we used an outhouse and took our baths in a galvanized tub in the kitchen. (Helloooo, Laura Ingalls!)

So. No silver spoons in this particular mouth!

And I was good with that. Waiting in line for the bathroom taught me patience. Co-existing peaceably with two younger sisters in a small bedroom taught me forbearance; in fact, it imbued all three of us with a dollop or two of unselfishness. (Which didn't mean, of course, that my lovely little sisters and I didn't occasionally have a disagreement or two.)

I was basically happy as a child and didn't think much about the fact that maybe we were living with too many people in too little space. But when I got into my late teens and started looking ahead to adulthood and marriage and family I would occasionally think, "Someday I would really love to have a little extra living space."

And so what did I do about that wistful dream? At the age of nineteen, I married a fella who, like me, was called and gifted to minister in music. On the road. Full time. For over fifteen years.

And where did we live during those years? Well, for the first three years we lived in 275 sq. feet of space. Which isn't much for two people.

It's even less when you add a baby. And, um, also add a sister and brother-in-law. Who were newlyweds.

But we did it. Quite happily, may I add.

However, every once in awhile, I would look around at our cramped quarters and my little ol' heart would yearn for space, for extra footage, and for room to stretch out just a little.

After those first three years, our ministry was able to provide Randy and Debbie with their own RV so then it was just Steve, Nathan and me in our wee bit of space. A few more years passed, Sarah joined us and we moved into a new RV featuring a glorious 475 square feet of space. Wow! Mammoth livin'!

And that's where we lived for a very long time--a family of four (and one dog) in less space than the equivalent of many peoples' garage.

Back then, I was quite creative in my use of space; for instance, I kept my breakfast cereal boxes in the oven and then when I had to use the oven, I moved the cereal boxes to the bathtub. A bit cumbersome, but it worked.

And not only did we have regular household items to make space for, we also had home schooling materials in addition to all the stuff (printer, lap top, office supplies, posters, mailing materials for promo) that were needed to maintain the business side of our ministry.

Of course, whenever we moved the rig (about twice a week) all the things on the counters and shelves had to come down and be stored securely. Because of that, I tended to be a bit thin in the decorative knickknack department; I didn't want a surplus of delicate little things to have to secure whenever we hit the road.

I remember once when I was in a store and saw some Willow Tree figurines which I absolutely love. I stood and stared longingly at one particular piece for a long, long time and thought how much I would love to buy it. In fact, I actually remember crying over that little figurine because I so longed for a day when I might have a house with more space and lots of shelves and no more Cheerios boxes stored in the oven.

Those little fits of angst were few and far between though, because as a rule, I loved the way we lived; it was something I had wanted to do since was I was a child. But that still didn't mean that it wasn't occasionally challenging and frustrating to live within such limited parameters.

Fast forward with me to 2002 when Sarah was diagnosed with cancer. We left the road. We sold the RV. We rented a house for a while during Sarah's treatment and then we moved here to Smithfield.

Ahhh. Space. For the first time in my life, plenty of space!

Our current house is 2150 square feet. Not huge by some standards but a whole lot roomier than the 475 feet we were used to.

The house has four bedrooms. Four! Which means that we have space for guests to stay overnight and we have a room set aside just for an office. No more sharing our tiny RV bedroom with all of the office equipment. Living here has been a blessed balm to my space-starved soul.

Now we're getting ready to move again. In fact, in just a few minutes we'll be leaving for an overnight trip to Manteo. We're going to spend part of today with our realtor there, looking at homes for sale and then we'll spend the night at the home of the chairman of the church board and his family.

There's just one little ol' problem. The houses in Manteo are at least twice as expensive as the houses in Smithfield, mainly because of the cost of land. Which means that buying the equivelant of our current home would cost us a whole lot more in Manteo than we could afford.

And this is where the "fighting with myself" part comes in.

As I just said, I have spent many years of my life living full time with my family in an amount of space that most Americans can't even imagine. I have done it happily and with gladness and most of the time, I didn't even think twice about it.

But now? Now I have experienced the wondrous joy of having space. Steve and I have had thirty people at a time over for meals and have had room for them all; in fact, over the 4 1/2 years that we were at First Assembly, we had at least 200 people from the church come over. When we've had overnight guests come to visit, they've had their own bedroom to sleep in. (Well, it was actually Nathan's bedroom but he gave up his room and slept on the couch.)

And now I'm facing the very good possibility of living in a whole lot less space than I've gotten used to; a place where I might possibly be squeezing ten people in for a party instead of thirty and putting overnight guests in much more cramped and less private quarters. And for someone who loves opening her home to a lot of folks, that's kind of tough.

But it's okay. Really it is. Because I know very well the statistics which say that even someone living in a 700 square foot house in the U.S. is fabulously wealthy compared with the average world citizen. In Manteo I will have running water, electricity, garbage pick up, refrigeration, a soft bed, a working stove and a flushing toilet. Those things mean that I will be incredibly and luxuriously rich.

I understand that. And yet the fight with myself continues.

I know full well that we can still entertain people on a smaller basis and that overnight guests can sleep on a pull out bed in the living room and that I can sit in a closet when I need a writing nook. Kitchen tables make good desks and home school areas and if anybody can make do with living in a smaller amount of space, surely I can after all those years of living in my "little house on the freeway."

But my heart still longs for space. It longs for room to entertain, room to have a writing nook, room for a piano, room for living beyond the confines I've experienced for so long.

And yet, I am bound and determined to be grateful for whatever the Lord provides because I remind myself again how blessed I am to live in an abundant land like America. And I also want a truly thankful heart, not just for myself but also for my daughter who will "catch" whatever attitude my heart exhibits.

Just when I think that I've won that hard heart battle, that little ol' voice pops up again and screeches, "Space. I want space!"


I'm just being as honest with you as I know how to be. And I wonder if any of you ever struggle with this sort of thing? Anyone else occasionally deal with unthankfulness? Wanting more than you have? Like me, do your yearnings sometimes outpace your earnings?

This morning we'll head out and take a look at where our future will probably unfold; we'll possibly even find a house today at will shelter our hearts, our lives, and our family for years to come.

And whether it's 1,400 square feet or 3,000 square feet (be still, my heart!) there will be plenty of room in that home for thankfulness.

Which is good. Because I plan to take plenty of it with me when I go.

68 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Saffyres said...

2200 sf now - that IS a big house. Let me tell you, though - I grew up in a 1200 sf house with a bath-and-a-half, and my parents often had 20-30 people over to visit. We had three bedrooms, one of which was set up for overnight guests.

It's not the square footage of the house that makes it "company friendly" but the layout. Our kitchen/dining and living rooms were arranged in such a manner that everyone could mill around fairly comfortably. My bedroom was nearest these areas and was where any/all kids would go while the adults hung out in the other rooms. If the weather was nice, the carport got used as a gathering space, too.

I never thought of that house as particularly "small" but I can see where you're coming from.

My husband and I, on the other hand, currently have 2000 sf and are looking for something MUCH smaller. We're thinking 800-900 sf. Seriously. Cheaper to heat/cool. Easier to keep clean and maintain. And plenty of room for friends, really, with the layouts we've been looking at.

As for tchochkes, well, I'm getting rid of mine right and left because I'm tired of looking at them and DUSTING them.

Good luck in your new home and remember that the house you currently live in right now is far nicer than ANYTHING (and probably a few of your readers) have EVER lived in. :)

Saffyres said...

Hmmm - no way to edit.

My last sentence should read: ...is far nicer than ANYTHING I (and probably a few of your readers) have EVER lived in.

Anonymous said...

You're gonna be living at the ocean for heavens sake... Don't worry about the house your gonna be living in. You can go to the beach anytime you want and admire God's creation. Manteo/Nags Head is great, we live about 2 hrs away and it's never close enough. Enjoy the scenery!

Marysienka said...

From what I've read on here through the comments and your entries, Manteo looks like a beautiful place! But I understand your feeling... I would have a few examples to give you, but I'm kind of in a hurry right now. Anyway, just know what what seemed "unacceptable" to me once became one of the best moves my parents made (when we left the country to go in town)!

I know it's probably not what you want to hear at the moment, but I'm confident things will turn out just fine :)

Thinking of you as always,


Shannon said...

We had to down size our vehicle this past year, more for gas mileage reasons and I was being a brat about it...until my best friend and her husband lost their jobs on the same day within 10 minutes of each other.
Gives life a whole new prospective!!
Although I've never visited nor even know exacatly where it is you're moving, by other comments it's sounds beautiful!! Maybe you can just have big outside parties!!
Good luck house hunting today!! God Bless

min said...

I can relate to your feelings. We decided to send our oldest to Catholic high school this year. It is a wonderful school and we are happy with our decision but when the the monthly tuition payments started being dedcuted from our checking account in July I couldn'thelp but think about the nice new clothes I could have bought for work or the new rug I have been wishing for could have been bought with those dollars. I know we have made the right decision for my son and for our family but it doesn't mean I don't have those moments...just like you with your house. I know you know you are blessed and will be happy with your new home but sometimes you have to let out those feelings. I'm glad you shared so honestly.

Jan Reynolds said...

FUNNY! I was just talking to some friends at work (before pulling up your blog) saying I wish I had a house with more space because I love to decorate! We decorated my daughters room this weekend (in our apt) and you can only do so much. I would love to have a house that I owned! But you know what, I have a very nice apt, and 2 beautiful healthy girls, and a really good job. I always go over all of these things in my head (and heart!) when I start feeling sorry for myself...

Your home will be a loving and beautiful "home", you will make sure of that. The love in your family will make up for any space lost.

Pat said...

I live in a 1400 sf house. I can't believe you are complaining. You have one full time child at home..... Well, hopefully you can have a huge house at the ocean.
So many people's houses have been foreclosed on. I feel so sorry for the ones in shelters. I have a friend that went from a 1800sf house to a 1 bedroom apartment, because of a cheating husband. But, I would not want you to suffer if your new house is not quite big enough for the three of you.

Terri said...

I can relate to what you are saying, Becky...as well as the person who talked about paying Catholic school tuition. We live in a 4-bedroom, 2500 square foot house with our four boys. When we bought it, we thought we had died and gone to heaven, having been in the military and then in an apartment while it was being built. We also live at the edge of one of the most rapidly expanding, affluent areas around Cincinnati...most of my children's friends live in mansions. So, my children started to complain that we were poor, and we should put our names in for Extreme Home Makeover like someone we know had done for them. I will admit...there are times when I wish I had a beautiful kitchen like these folks have, or a finished basement, but then I catch myself and remember that I grew up in a 1200 square foot house with one bathroom, one phone (with a cord on it!) and three siblings, and we were quite happy. I try to instill an attitude of grattitude in my children, and teach them to live within their means. Four in Catholic schools means there is NOTHING left over to spend frivolously, and in this economy, I have tried to emphasize that even more. We have tried to fill our house with laughter and love, rather than expensive furniture and big screen TVs (although all five of the men in this house would LOVE it if I gave the nod for one of those things!) My point is...you can be happy if you determine to be that way, and Becky...I think your heart long ago determined to be happy! You are my kind of gal (thrift stores and all!) Pray for a miracle...ask God for what you want, and believe that what you get is his finest gift to you! His timing and his plan for us are perfect in every way. Continue to fill your house with love and laughter, and your life (not just your square foot living space) will be full indeed!

brooke said...

unthankfulness.. yes, i deal with it all the time. being ungrateful for the gifts i've been given.. i get snarky and grumpy at unsuspecting people. luckily there's apology. and luckily the big guy (God) knows how terribly imperfect we are and affords us His grace simply because we Are. of course you all know this.. but it's knowing how terribly imperfect i am and that being ungrateful is simply a part of it.. that's how i deal with it. (and apologizing when my imperfection causes me to be an idiot. i've noticed how surprised so many people are when i apologize.. i don't think we apologize enough).

that's my soapbox for first thing in the morning. enjoy your trip east. i'm jealous you get to see the ocean.. i'm jealous you get to look for homes so close to the ocean.

Anonymous said...

It sure sounds like you are starting your new adventure with a whining attitude instead of a winning attitude. What has come over you!!!! And Steve doesn't even officially have the job yet.Did it ever occur to you that your prospective congregation may read what you have written and ponder just a bit?

lesley said...

Well Becky, I must say, some of the comments to this post are 'interesting' for sure :)

Anyhoo, I am in the exact opposite situation as you are. I grew up very wealthy, with huge homes, fur coats, Christmas lists from FAO Schwartz, 2 maids (one only did ironing!!!!) and all the rest of the material things you can imagine.
All I ever wanted(and still enjoy) is a small little house with a happy family inside of it(think Little House on the Prarie with a bathroom inside). Surprisingly, having 'it all' throughout my childhood in no way determined my wants or needs as an adult. I like 'little', 'cozy'. I married young, we struggled financially, had children, divorced, and I still aim to keep it small-lol. Not hard to do as a single mom :)

Sue G said...

I always want more. I call that setting goals. But wanting more doesn't mean I don't appreciate what I do have. I do. I just figure God knows the desires of my heart, and He isn't limited in His thinking so why should I limit myself in mine?

Whatever you find in Manteo, it will be filled with God and His blessings for you and your family. So I suspect it will be more than enough.

You don't fill your house with space. You fill your space with love. And that won't change. Of this I am quite sure.

Anonymous said...

You sound a bit selfish, sorry to say. I'm not trying to pass judgement or be rude, but I grew up in a 1200 square foot house, after living in a remodeled garage for quite a few years in my early childhood. Why not be thankful you can afford a home? There are plenty of homeless that would be thrilled to have even a simple roof over their heads.

Pat said...

I really don't mean to seem rude. It is so hard to see others suffering and then reading your blog. I use to enjoy your blog so much. There is a little boy that comes through my neighborhood every week to collect cans so he can help his family eat. His dad was laid off from his job. He wonders how long he will have any type of home. There are so many people at shelters today. You seem to live in a very sheltered world. Maybe you should volunteer at a shelter and see how bad things are. You would then be thankful for what you have.
My friend that is in a one bedroom apartment now because of a cheating husband, well she is now a co-manager of a home. They are wonderful people with no where to go.

Anonymous said...

Wow Beck, you've been taking some hits on this one.

People, you need to back off.
I am one of Becky's sisters and I know her pretty well. She is one of the least whiny, prone to complain people I know. Maybe mix a little kindness with your sermons.

Being a (small)apartment dweller myself, I know the challenges of limited space. But be encouraged! We still manage to get 15 or so people in at a time for get- togethers and guests don't seem to mind the pull-out couch too much.(I give them homemade pancakes in the morning to help dull the memory. :-)) But it works. And I know you will make work whatever God gives you because you are a very creative, generous and "think outside the box" person.

Have a good trip--we'll be praying for God's direction.

Love, Deb

Pat said...

There was absolutely nothing wrong with anything we said. She just needs to get a gripe on reality.
So much suffering in the world today and she posts this????

min said...

Wow, I do feel some people are being awfully tough on Becky. We all know from reading this blog that Becky in unselfish, frugal, giving, and generous. She chooses to share a very natural emotion and boy I a must say I am shocked at some of the responses. I am sure she is very aware of the suffering of others but there is nothing wrong in admitting that it is tough to see that you are going to get a lot less for your money when moving to a new area. We all are dealing with these tougher economic times in some way or another and it is a struggle. Even if we are truly grateful for what we have 98% of the time I don't think there is anything wrong with admitting that sometimes it is hard and we are all human. For me groaning about something here and there helps me get it off my chest and move on. As wonderful as it is to have a new job to move to, moving is hard and stressful and change is difficult and I think it is good to acknowledge that.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Becky is all I can say. I think you are being a bit selfish. Say many folks do not even have a home over their heads any more.
I think you should be blessed for what you have/find.
So many do not even have food on the table.
We do not even have shoes for my childs feet right now, and we just lost our home. And yet you worry about not having a huge house to live in.
But yet we feel blessed to still have each other.
I am done reading your blog. Not sure how one can be so selfish in todays world.

Anonymous said...

I would also like to add that there is such a thing as processing. Becky is dealing with a lot of emotions and uncertainty right now. Having been unemployed for the past nine months, she is well aware of the hardships out there. If you read her blog carefully, you will see that she acknowledges everything some of are saying so ungraciously. Those of you who read her blog regularly know what kind of a person she is and and I don't think that "selfish", "whiny" and "ungrateful" are the words any of us would use to describe her.

It seems like you are big fans of hers when she talks about doing unselfish things or having more noble emotions and inclinations that we all want to emulate. But when she becomes human for a while and expresses the same fears and concerns any of us might have if we were honest enough to admit it, she's judged and disposed of.

Becky has encouraged me to write a blog. Well today's performance is precisely why I never would. Why can't people disagree without ripping each other to shreds?


Anonymous said...

Hi Becky,
I love the honesty of this post. It is so obvious from reading this post and following your journey through unemployment that you appreciate everything that you have and take nothing for granted. It is nice to hear even the most frugal and humble people be honest and say that we all have fleeting moments of unthankfulness. It is these moments that reaffirm for us that we are blessed. Thanks for sharing your experience with this process.

Karen C said...

You are probably worrying so much about the future, and who wouldn't? You have become accustomed to your home in Smithfield and love it -- some because of the space, but mostly because of the memories it holds.

All of us have wanted "more" from time to time, or not to lose something we currently have. Certainly all of us can admit we have longed for something we didn't necessarily need -- just wanted (new clothes, a vacation). It doesn't make us selfish, just human, knowing all along we are thankful for what we DO have.

Just remember that God provided a new church -- he will provide the home you need, and you will become accustomed to whatever it is because you have done so in the past -- and he provided that wonderful ocean where you can sit by and read/write when those walls, whatever size they may be, don't seem enough.

Love Being A Nonny said...


I understand and I can feel your heart. I am sorry you are getting some of these comments. I did not take your post as being whiny. I know you will be sad when you get to your computer and read these posts. May God bless your house hunting efforts.

Pat said...

No one here has tried to be mean. We are all human and have wants and desires. But, when you put yourself out there for everyone to read, you do open yourself up to criticism. Just before I would post something like that, go out into the real world and see how some people have to live.

MaryH said...

It is only human nature to want more than you have or perceive you will have. There is always something out there that is greater or bigger or better than we can afford and it is logical and understandable to long for it or pine for what we had and now do not. So, don't be so hard on yourself for opening up to us and honestly saying how you feel and know in your heart that you should be more positive about the move. I think this visit will settle and soothe some of those worries. We all have more "stuff" than we need and I am sure you will understand that not carrying some unnecessary stuff with you to your new life will be a wonderful free feeling. You have adapted to so many challenges and heartaches in this life and have made whatever, wherever and with whomever work and work beautifully. I can't imagine anyone who would come to your house would be upset or unhappy because the "space" wasn't there - your guests and family only want you and each other there - you will always have enough space for that. Smaller can be cozier, more comfortable, more manageable, less costly and just down right better. You may be able to move to what I have always dreamed of - a cottage by the sea! Keep your dreams and sight on the best that lies ahead, because I feel that is exactly where you are going.

Kathie Mayo said...

Whatever size house you end up with, the important thing is that you have a wonderful husband, a healthy cancer-free daughter and a son who will have a place to rest when he comes home from college. Think of the wonderful new memories you will be able to create!

I tell people all the time that our home is much, much too large for just Fred and me. But, when I think of moving to a smaller place and remember all the memories of my sweet Rachael in this home, I am unable to part with it.

Happy house hunting...whatever the space, I know you will make it into a wonderful home.

Anonymous said...

I got what you were saying, Becky, and I appreciate your honesty. =]
Hugs from AK! L

Karo said...

You know what Miss Becky? Very few people will step forward and speak with the honesty that you do. Personally, I believe that I have read and followed you all for long enough to know that you ARE thankful for all you have and will have.

No matter what any of the negative comment writers have said, I also know that each and every one of them have, at some time, longed for more than they have. Big deal--it is one of the human failings we all deal with.

It just so happens that I have complained an incredible amount over the last 5 weeks about the fact that I don't have any hot water. Yes, I am thankful that I have a home, running water, and electricity. I could be doing without water altogether. I realize this. It doesn't change the fact that I want some hot water.

These things do not make us selfish, they make us human. The fact that you will share your feelings with honesty should be appreciated.


P.S. To all the Negative Nellies--think back to all the posts Miss Becky has written here. How many can you think of that didn't include her expressing her thankfulness??

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a very well said post, Karo. Helps put things into perspective.

Megan said...

Just wanted to make sure you knew about www.realtor.com . I have used this site many times to help me get a head start on our house hunts. I looked a little bit in Manteo and hopefully you will find something you love without having to sacrifice the space you long for. I saw one that looked like it was a nice size for less than $180,000 but it looked like it needed LOTS of TLC.

Ann Martin said...

Wow, Becky, reading these comments to your blog was an eye opener. For people to say they will stop reading because of your honesty is incredible. I know you have been going through many emotions the past two-three weeks because I've been there with you. I, too, wish at times for a larger home. I am thankful ours is paid for and I don't want house payments again. Sometimes when I visit and see all the space and orderliness I long for that. I grew up with 2 brothers and a sister, one indoor bath when I was in the second grade (outdoors until then) and for a while only two bedrooms. When we moved to the 3 bedrooms and an indoor bath I thought it was terrific. I am thankful for my home but that still does not stop me from sometimes longing for something else. I stop and thank God for what I have and ask Him to forgive me for not being satisfied. I just need to clean out clutter and maybe I would think I have more space. We will continue on and enjoy life with what we have. God knows our heart and I know you are a fantastic person who is very concerned about others and being careful with God's money that you invest in food, clothing, etc. People who have read your blog and Sarah's have seen that many times in the past. God bless and keep on smiling. Don't let those negative comments get you down. We all have times of feeling down and we all have times of wanting more. That's part of life and dreaming. Hope you enjoy Manteo today and waiting to hear about it. Love you guys!!!!

SuziQCat said...

I do that now Becky, and I'm not even planning on moving! I think how fun would it be to live in a small apartment, above a bookstore (that I would own) in a big city. How quaint. Then I wonder where I would put my stuff, would my cats be happy, etc...I can't even dream with myself without an argument! Good luck, I know everything will work out to His Glory!

Anonymous said...

I just have a quick comment to everyone that said Becky needs to go out in the real world, visit a homeless shelter, speak to people who have lost their homes...

While I do understand and feel for those who have lost their jobs in this ecomony, I am sick and tired of the "feel bad for me" mentality. So, you've lost your job? Well, go out there and flip burgers, do whatever it takes for your family! And to those facing foreclosure, I bet a lot of people would still be able to afford their homes if they had bought homes they could actually afford in the first place!

Becky, there is nothing wrong with expressing how you feel. I completely understand where you are coming from. I moved from a large house to a small apartment when my husband's job relocated. Of course, I want my big house back and there is absolutely nothing wrong with me saying so!

Melissa said...

I don't see the point of these negative comments. You can't help how you feel, and Becky came on here to be honest and share her feelings. Not everyone is 'perfect' and feels grateful everytime they should, and she realizes that. I think people are missing the point. She has lived her entire life in homes and situations that aren't anywhere near luxurious, and now that she's finally lived in a more spacious home, she's grown attached to the house and the extra room she's always wanted. Letting go of that and maybe downsizing is hard, and I don't care who you are, it would bother you. I understand exactly how you feel, Becky. My situation is a bit different in that we aren't as well off as most of our friends and acquaintances so literally everyone has a larger and nicer house than ours. I sometimes get embarrassed for people to see our place, knowing they live so much nicer. I try to remind myself that at least I have a home when so many don't, it's a decent home if maybe a little small and plain, but those feelings still surface. Feelings like you have are only natural and part of being human. I know that you're grateful for what you have and just mourning the loss of the 'space' you've come to love. I really appreciate your honesty in sharing your feelings with us on this, and I understand!

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky,

I'm not sure how I stumbled across your blog but I'm so glad I did.

I live outside of Clayton, NC and used to go to First Assembly in Smithfield many years ago. Before that, (at least I THINK it was before) I heard an amazing ministry in song..."Heartsong." I remember it so well. It's been so long now but I think I heard you perform at a small AOG Church in Garner. Ray Sowell was the pastor.

Anyway, I bought a cassette and wore it out listening to it. I wanted to tell you how much that cassette blessed me at a difficult time in my life. Thank you.

To think...you guys have lived "just down the road" for all of these years and I didn't know. Wish I'd known earlier. I sure would have like to have talked to you and Steve in person. I lost my oldest son a few years ago and life has been very hard since. I don't really go to Church any more but I would have loved to have heard you guys sing again.

All the best to you in your new journey. Manteo is beautiful and I hope you'll be very blessed there. Email me if you get a chance...I would love to hear from you.


Sandy Smith
Clayton, NC

Anonymous said...

Well, I live in a 5000 square foot 100 year old house. I raised my family (5 kids) here. The memories are wonderful and I don't think I can sell it without my kids disowning me.....but, I can't help but think it would be nice to only have to clean about 1500 square feet!!!! Think about it!

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous, who wrote about some loosing homes because we bought what we could not afford.

How do you know that is the case? Also how do you know family members are not out looking for work or flipping burgers? You have no idea what some of us in life have to endure to make ends meat, or why the loss of a home.

So before you start making a jugment of why one looses a home, walk in others shoes!

Catherine said...

We currently live in the biggest house we ever had. I know how you feel about the prospects of getting something smaller. We actually wanted to sell our house a few years ago and get something smaller, but the market crashed before we could get a move on it.

In many ways it has worked out as every square foot of this house has had a work out with my older kids coming home for periods at a time and both grandmoms needing shelter as well. Our home has been a sanctuary of sorts for a lot of our friends and family, and we were able to do this, giving everyone lots of room because of the space we have.

I also collected waaaay too much junk as well that will have to go out when we do downsize, and downsize we shall have to do.

Having had those years in that RV, I know that you will be able to make the most of what ever square footage you get, Becky, and am looking forward to seeing how you organize and make that new house your home.

Caleb said...

Hi Aunt Becky,
I just wanted to say that all you negative posters need to read her blog again and PAY ATTENTION!!!!! She is a wonderful person and is very unselfish, let alone whiny. Just wanted to say I'm supporting you Smiths ;-).

Anonymous said...

I hope that you had a hopeful and energizing day of house hunting -- you've earned it in every moment of stress and struggle you've endured in the past nine months.
I so appreciate the honesty of your post, and I think what all the comments (pos and neg) have shown is that everyone is struggling with their own forms of stress and wanting. Obviously, it's unfortunate when people direct their own hurt, disappointment and anger outward, but they have their own internal struggles to deal with --as do all of us.
There is no one who has followed your blog who could ever call you ungrateful. You are, honestly, a model of gratitude. I think about the honesty with which you've dealt with your family's financial struggles, and honestly, I am humbled.
I simply think some people have misread your post. Please don't let that ruin your day. (I think this is where I would simply turn the other cheek. All your past blog posts speak eloquently and honestly for themselves)
BTW, my house has about 1700 sf of living space and we have had parties of 40-50 people. Everything depends on the layout. Having a patio also helps. Besides, most people in Manteo are probably living in much smaller houses than you would be used to in Smithfield.
Blessings and thank you again for your honesty,
GS in Canada

Mary said...

Hi Becky! I've been reading for a long time, but haven't commented very much. But after reading this section, I had to..interesting comments you have gotten on this one to say the least.

I have to say that I agree with someone that said we all have at sometime wanted more than we have. That doesn't make us selfish, it makes us human. It also doesn't make us whiny, again it makes us human.

I always go back to what we teach in our Sunday school....God made me, God loves me and God has a plan for me. God has a plan for your house...it will turn out just fine.

I'll be praying for you.

Sue G said...

Wow, Beck, you got more flack from this post than I did from the one I wrote about healthcare reform!

I suppose it's the nature of the beast that people who don't know you sit in judgement of you (good and bad). If only Adam and Eve had kept their mouths shut, literally. But they didn't. So, I guess we will all have to live with the results.

Okay, people, let me spell it out for you...This is a huge change in the Smith family. It means a move from the home they love to a place where they know no one. It means a move from the home they love to a home they haven't found yet and are probably worried about the cost of it, especially since they haven't sold the one in Smithfield yet. It means they are going to start a new job when they haven't worked in nine months and have had lots of time to worry and wonder about their futures.

And now it's here. The future, at least the beginning of it. It's exciting. And it's scary. And it involves a whole lot of trust in God and in each other.

Most of the time when Becky writes, we hear the excitement in her...her excitement for the love of her family, for a good game of Taboo, for going to a discounted movie or getting a great bargain at a thrift shop. Yes, she gets excited over a $2 dollar shirt!

Today, you heard the fear. And it wasn't about space, people. It was about change, and the housing market, and affordability, and taking on home schooling, and moving across the state, and still having so many "balls" up in the air and not knowing what will come next. It was about losing a beloved father and having to deal with suddenly being half an orphan. It was about so many things that are whirling around in her brain.

Good grief, people, she is doing the best she can on this roller coaster that is her life recently. And just when she found something supposedly harmless to write about, many of you swoop down like vultures to pick her apart.

Well, good thing the Becky I know isn't a victim of anything or anyone. Not even you.

And you know who you are.

Nancy said...

Oh wow, and I've been coming to Sarahs site for like, 6 years. I am at a loss and struggled all day on how to respond to this.
Let me tell you a little something about Becky. Becky has been a loving part of my family's life since we reached out to her about 4 years ago. She always answered my emails, always answered my questions.
See, Becky nearly lost her daughter to Cancer. And thats her biggest fear. So Becky has lived her life to the fullest and the most positive way she can. She cherishes EVERY MEMBER of her family. She is the most caring, loving and selfless person I know. She is going to be so hurt by some replies here. All because she was being more human with human feelings??? Can i get that right?
Becky, I am just at a loss over some of these replies. AFter all you and your family has been through.
Your reading inspires me and you have taught me to be a good person and love my family regardless of how they treat me.
I am s o sorry you have to read some of these :(
I agree with Sue

Beverly said...

We have lived for 18 years in a house with three bedrooms and one bath...though not as many children as your mom and dad!

I sometimes struggle with jealosy. Just another bath! Just a small room off to the side that can be only mine!

I know it's wrong, and it doesn't happen often, but we're human!

The great news is that we know its wrong, we don't act on it, and we try to keep those jealous feelings at bay.

And on a totally different subject...I was in the grocery story and smiled at every single person (who would make eye contact with me!) because of the post you wrote a few weeks ago!
My grocery story compatriots thank you Becky!

Anonymous said...


I was planning to go to bed but after reading all the negative comments I had to chime in.

Every time we move, I go through the same emotions as you. Leaving the house you've called home and made memories in is painful. Finding a new home is always stressful. We're in the biggest house now we've ever been in and once our child is off to college we plan to downsize. Our dream house on our lake lot won't be huge because the lot isn't that big but our plan is to make it smart and work for us.

Praying that you will find the right house, in your price range that feels like home to you when you walk in. That's happned to us each time we had a choice in our homes, starting with our apartment in Turkey, to the rental in Alaska then on to the homes we bought in Texas, Colorado and Nebraska. None of them is perfect but we could visualize ourselves in each almost as soon as we walked into the door. We've had to do a lot of compromising and rearranging our list of what is important but everything always seemed to fall into place and it surprised me at how good we got at compromising each time we looked for some place to live.

You will find where you are supposed to be. Praying that the critical comments of this post won't bring you down. Moving isn't easy and it's especially difficult when you throw the loss of a parent into the mix. As I've told you, you are now where I was two years ago and it's hard.

Prayers and hugs,
Connie F-G

Nancy said...

WE LOVE YOU BECKY, SARAH, NATHAN AND STEVE. Becky thank you for being there when I was at my sickest. You never ONCE complained that I was bothering you. I know you are attached to your home as it has all your memories in it. but know what? My Mom used to say "YOu cant take materials to Heaven with you". But let me also tell you, your heart is overloaded with love for your family and others.
You will definatley always have a place in my heart.
Love again

Lori said...

Wow! Was it be mean to Becky day or something?

Unless any of you have NEVER wished for things to be different you have no right to bash Becky for her very valid feelings. We have ALL wanted something we don't necessarily need at some point. That just makes us normal human beings.

I have a house probably around the size of Becky's. I like it. We aren't moving. There are always things I would like to do or extra rooms I would like to have. A large playroom in the basement would be nice. Another bedroom, maybe. A 3 car garage so we have one stall just for all the kid and lawn stuff. I call them my lottery dreams. It doesn't make me selfish to have them. It doesn't make me ungrateful for what we have. If I had to downsize right now I would be crying my eyes out. Becky is entitled to her moment of sadness.

Nancy said...

This is my third comment here. And I want you to be ok. We love you. You did nothing wrong

Anonymous said...

Sue G ~ you always say what I want to say ~ except I never know how to say it. Thanks for being the voice of at least a few, if not more, of the Smithellaneous readers...

I keep checking back here to make sure things have calmed down and are okay...

Peace, L in AK

Karen P. said...

I have been following you for years and I feel like I know you even though you don't know me. It made me sad to read some of these comments because I know you have endured so many trials and have handled them with grace, strength and unselfishness. None of us would want to go through the hardships that you have faced.
I will be praying for you and your family. I pray that you will sell your house and find the perfect house for your family in Manteo.
I pray that God will bless you so that you can serve His purpose and bless others.

Love Being A Nonny said...

This is my second post but I have to say, Karo said it very well!! Thank you Karo. I don't know you, but Becky is blessed to have your post.

Unknown said...

I was wondering if you saw this, Becky. You probably have, but I thought it was worth pointing out.


This is a link to affordable housing in Manteo. And one of the conditions of buying one of these places is that you are not allowed to resell them at market value. That tells me that they are selling them to people at a cost that is under market value..You may be able to get more house than you think for your money.

I was also going to say that it is the layout of the house really that makes it appear small or large but that was already mentioned =)

Good luck and God Bless..

Anonymous said...

I think Sue said it best!! All of us that know you and have followed you for years completely understand what you were saying, that you are going through lots of different things right now. Hang in there and don't let any of the negative comments affect your positive outlook!!
Love you & your family,

Chris Pitonyak said...

Room for the piano and a writing nook (however small) should be prerequisites. Things that go on there minister not only to you, but to us.

Where God leads, he supplies.

Anonymous said...

I have been a years long lurker on this site - loved the response by Sue G. Becky, I have a son just one year younger than Nathan. Your posts on the last years of high school and the move to college have been so helpful to me. Your family shines with love and light and we
so blessed to share the glow.


Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 4:32. When I was employed I could afford my house. When the company I worked for went bankrupt, I lost my job. I had worked there 20 years, so I made a good living. Now, I can't afford my house, not because I over bought, but because I am 50 years old and "flipping burgers" does not pay my house payment.
There is a community within my community where people are living in tents behind a store. It is sad, but I guess when you have everything you want you don't care about the real world. You can criticize the unfortunate people, and say they are making all the wrong decisions. It is not like that all the time.

MaryH said...

Amen, Sue G. - I couldn't have said it better - this is so much about grief - we grieve about a lot of losses - it was NOT about losing a big house - it was about losing a father, a church, a home, a community, a safe haven, a familiarity. It is grief, people, it is not selfishness or whinning...it is being human. Did anyone pay attention to the title of this post - "Fighting With Myself"? Keep your chin up and your head held high, Becky, because we have your back!

lesley said...

Well! Glad THAT'S over ! :)
How did the trip go? I hope you took some pictures of the lovely little seaside town. I live in one too! My favorite part is the foghorn. So soothing to the soul.

Nancy said...

We love you Becky. Please let us know if you are ok
Nancy(missing you terribly)

Nancy said...

Not so long after i found out I was terminal, my mother wrote to Becky This was during atime in her life that she was struggling, but Mom still reached out to her. Because she knew that Becky would understand her questions and fears. Becky emailed my Mom back immediately, and I am unsure of w hat they said, but I know Becky helped her.
A couple of months ago, I wrote to Becky(not my firse email to her :-) ), but I told her I was afraid to let go, and afraid of Heaven. I was afraid to "go by myslef" and asked what if I got lost.
The way Becky described a journey to Heaven in her beliefs, mirrored Moms. She told me that I will be too "happy" in the "glorious place" to worry about earthly things anymore.
You see Becky and Sarah have been in my life for many years.
Becky doesnt have a mean bone in her body. And she has made many of us laugh till we cried, cried till we llaughed. She gives us hope and reminds us we must have a Servant Heart.
I just wat the naysayers to remember that she is only human and she has helped more than you will ever realize.
We love you Becky, Sarah, Nathan and Steve

Anonymous said...

Wow... the comments are both hurthful and insightful....

Don't really understand not working.....family finances have been cut back so I have been working at a diner. my husband is a lawyer and a I am a legal assistant....but....perhaps that is not appropriate for a pastor and his wife.

Many prayers for your family.....

Anonymous said...

Have I ever told you how happy I am that you are a prolific poster. I can always count on you having updated your blog or Sarah's site and there is something very comforting about that for me. So thank you for sharing your life with us!

Monica Rulon

Anonymous said...

Becky, I am so tempted to put some of these people in their place. However, revenge belongs to the Lord. I will let Him do it.
Praying for you!

Unknown said...

Oh Becky! We are in the same boat (again). Our current home has 3200 square feet and when (not if) it sells we will be probably looking at houses with around 1000 sq feet. We have 3 small kids (9,6,1) and my husband has even mentioned renting a 2 bedroom for a while. I keep hope that Gods plan is bigger and better than anything I can come up with. Whatever and wherever we live I will be ok as long as we have each other. I know you feel the same way, but I also know the struggle :).

Anonymous said...

I fully support you, having lost my well paying job due to "company restructuing" recently, I am currently working part time making much less money. I sometimes long for all the things I had (and could afford to do) before. Does that make me selfish? Does that make me whiny? I think not. I think it makes me human. I think that you are such a good person, that people forget that you are human, too. They don't want to see that you are human just like the rest of us. And, for those who are so critical of an honest feeling, I will quote the bible to you . . . "Judge not, lest you be judged." and "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." Ok, down off my soapbox now!

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

I just wanted to express to you how much I (and my family) LOVE the Smith Family.

I've ALWAYS enjoy your honesty...the good...the bad..and the ugly...because in all honestly, we EACH deal with highs, and lows.

Throughout the 22years my husband and I have been married and in ministry, we've learned this important lesson: 'wounded people wound people'..meaning..those who throw stones, cast judgement are really people will deep hurts and instead of dealing with them, they deflect their pain on others.

You Becky, are an example to me (and to countless others)of a woman who walks out her faith...each step of the way and you aren't afraid to BE REAL!

You truly are a very unselfish, loving, caring person.....and I have a GREAT example of your character.

I'll never FORGET when 'Heartsong' ministered in our small church in northern WI some 18 years ago. I remember as if it were yesterday, holding your concert in the park....and we SO enjoyed the fellowship we had with you, and Steve, and Randy and Debbie. (And I remember how Nathan and Ashley ran, laughed, and had a fun time) I will NEVER forget..your love and kindness on the day you left for your next scheduled concert. As my husband, Ash and I were saying our good-byes to you, you gave the offering that our church BLESSED you with...TO US! You knew we were carrying a heavy load, and only earning $200.00 a week from this small church, and we had our second child on the way.

That day has been FOREVER etched in my mind, and my heart...serving as an example...of being a TRUE servant of God...and that is what you are!

Be encouraged Becky that nothing happens in our lives that first doesn't pass through our Saviors hands. He's there...leading, guiding, and directing you..to your next. And I KNOW..your NEXT...will be an amazing adventure!!

Blessings to you and your sweet family!


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