Sunday, May 20, 2012

Still Marveling About This

I keep thinking about my sister Leah. When I go to visit her in Eagle, she has a great big house, they built it and it's lovely, with beautiful grounds. She has a peace garden she created with all white flowers and a little patio surrounded by a partition of trees, beautiful landscaping and planning have helped make this home a sanctuary. They have an ATV track, dog runs, a frog pond, a trampoline, a swing set, a hammock beside a restful willow tree and you get the picture, they have created a beautiful home inside and outside, they have worked very hard.  When you drive up and get out of your car, the air is heavy, thick with flowers you can't help but feel at peace and drink it all in.

They are giving it all up.

Nope, the money hasn't run out. The home wasn't built on a fault line, they love their church friends and neighbours. But for some reason, with the insight only a loving parent can have for their children they decided they wanted to give their children more. More as in this...

Nah, this isn't the home they rented for the summer, I took this picture to horrify Leah, did it work?  The house they rented is an early 70's farmhouse, dirt road and horse pasture and all. Four bedrooms, two bathrooms with a creek running behind the yard etc...

A few months ago, Jay and Leah went away for the weekend. They planned out the next few years together and decided what was really important for them as a family. They even wrote a family code to live by! I wanted to talk about one of the big reasons they decided to move. It may be more or less noble than I make it out to be but here it is.

As a young family Jay and Leah moved to Eagle city in its infancy. It is a lovely town with a great family feel, well planned, with fountains to splash in but Eagle has way too much wealth to be a normal city. They are moving on behalf of their children.

I grew up in Montreal, Canada, and it wasn't until my mom and dad saw that their kids were about to dive into the pit of worldliness that they pulled up stakes and moved to Idaho. They didn't want that for us. Having things, clothes, cars, being someone, doing something didn't matter to them. They didn't want it to matter to us, so they left. Having gone back and visited old friends there, very few made it, in fact only one out of all the good kids we played with in our youth group and school, and the good parents that raised them, one made it out of the addictions and gambling and partying that cropped up to become... a successful wife and mother. Really that is what it is all about? We can talk about that later. But I am glad our little seedling selves were repotted in different soil now that I saw the outcome.

Austin and his truck
Back to Leah's people, her seven children are growing up good and strong and getting ready to go to a high school were you are given your own new SUV when you start driving, it is just almost the standard. (And there is nothing wrong with this. Take no offense wealthy peoples I give you none, I am simply exploring a noble cause) They are getting ready to feed into this high school that is crazy competitive about sports and grades- achievements and scholarship. While those are important, they are not where a childs self worth is generated. I guess they could afford to buy SUVs for their kids, but instead, Jay and his oldest boy Austin elected to rebuild and repaint an old yellow truck that we used to drive when we were kids, and it was old then! We called it Dolly, I wonder if he has a name for it, probably he will want something more manly. It is a sweet little number now!

I also heard Jay say about Austin, "I have three more years until Austin graduates, I only have three more years with my son, I don't want to spend it working the whole time." I see now how quickly children grow up. I remember Austin as a baby. A desperate little voice in my head often whispers that this time is short with my loved ones, so I appreciate the time valued with their children and that they don't want to spend it mowing 3 acres every Saturday. I love this family! I love their children, they are so good and loving, they come from parents that have watched over, trained and nurtured them with wisdom and love. Truly, why don't I live in Boise where their goodness (Amy's and Tiffany's kids too) can rub off on mine!

I am sure the decision to move is not entirely as noble as I am making it sound, the market is doing better, good time to sell, Leah has ants in her pants and always wants to move, it is not a permenant move, yes they are renting the place, I am sure they think of it as something like a summer cottage, I am sure they will have to find a much bigger place eventually, they do have seven growing kids.

Here is how I look at it. Leah and Jay are moving from their McMansion into a house not much bigger than mine, because they want to? Is there something I am missing here? My sister is willing to give up all that she hath, to save her family, so that they can spend more time together, have a less worldly approach to life, a better schooling experience and save money?
In Middleton, visiting my sister Amy's family. Lindsay, (Amys oldest girl) is teaching the family a lesson about the good samaritan. Leah is wearing the yellow tee and Jay is next to her.  The children are a smattering of Leah, Amys and mine.

I wonder if she has ever felt looked down on by those with more, I wonder if those with more, know what it takes to sacrifice the appearance of wealth for a something so good. I am not calling for anyone to make any life changes. I am just thinking aloud here. I hope when the time comes, I will be visionary enough to see a problem from a far and have the character to fix it for me and for my family.

Sort of makes giving up a cute SUV for a minivan seem downright noble eh Amanda?


  1. Well said. Our big change last year had some of the same undertones. Also not all noble (there is also the perk of living next to a not so humble castle and calling the castle grounds our playground) but we felt the need to draw our family closer together, make time for adventures, move the focus from work and monetary success to more time together. Ironically our "oh so adventurous" life here in Vienna ends up costing about half of what our life in Provo was. Funny how that works out. Time goes by so fast. Sometimes we have to do the unreasonable thing to make the most of that fast moving time. I love reading your blog! Thank you so much....

  2. Wonderful, Sherry. And wonderful, Mirjam.

  3. Found your blog again today. I seem to keep coming back to it every year or so. :) What a beautiful family you have! Thank you for sharing this post - I needed to read it. Our family has been contemplating some of the same things recently. Thanks for putting it so eloquently!