Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Simple and Direct

I have a new mantra for my life (the idea of even having a mantra came from my friend Margo, so thanks a bunch) which is "Simple and Direct". I am trying this approach in my relationships, communication, decisions and general eating,sleeping,breathing LIVING. It is not as easy as you would think.

Things like nuance, irony, sarcasm, expectations and so on keep life from being simple or direct sometimes. And more often then not, if the person you are dealing with has a mantra like "Passive and Aggressive" then I come across as the ass and they walk away calm as a Spring morning.

I also have to be careful that being simple and direct is not mean. I have been known to blame my new life goal for a harsh tone in my voice or just being a jerk to Grant. "It is not my fault you took it like that... I am just trying to be simple and direct with you". Meanwhile, his skin is slashed open and he is bleeding on the hardwood floor- and I throw him a wet wipe.

But one area in which it has become essential that our communication is simple and direct is while we are in the process of figuring out the next step in our life. Grant is finishing up his PhD and starting to go on job interviews, we are talking about neighborhoods and churches and elementary schools. This next move is going to be a big deal- because we will have two babes that we are essentially deciding how they will grow up. Some things we know we want- no suburbs, two-car dependence or house we can't afford. We want a good urban church where we can serve our city, a community of people to love on, and good schools for our babes. My interpretation is: camelback house in the upper Garden District, Redeemer New Orleans on Sunday morning and one of the many fantastic charter schools that make up the public school system in New Orleans. Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, crawfish po-boys, French Quarter and the streetcar. Grant's interpretation is: rowhouse in Lawrenceville, City Reformed on Sunday morning and either the lottery for a charter school or private school. Season tickets to the Pirates, the Andy Warhol museum, Primanti Bros sandwiches, and his family close by. He can't imagine anything better then Pittsburgh.

So here is where I need to be simple and direct. I love my husband and my home is wherever he is. And I know before I married him that this would not be in my beloved Colorado. I did not think it would be western PA, but he is holding up his end of the FIRM promise he made me never to take us to Florida or Texas. Nothing wrong with these states, I just don't want to live in them. So we have fought, argued, debated, danced and general had many lively conversations about this next move over the past few months. I have two cards in my hand that he has unfortunately already seen.

1. I am a Registered Nurse. I can literally work anywhere in the world.
2. I am one of the easiest people to make happy, and would be content anywhere in the world, as long as I had my husband and babes.

So there is my head today. Don't make me feel alone- has anyone else gone through this? How do you figure out how to be simple and direct with a life decision this huge?


  1. Hi Beautiful! Scott and I went through this about two years ago. It was VERY hard. I was New England bound, back to the dark green waters and cloudy mornings of my childhood and Central PA was NOT that dream. I was hoping for Boston, but God taught me a lot about that hope. It was based in my emotions, not in reality. Not that this is your situation; take or leave what I have to say, but here are my two cents: First of all, Pittsburgh is a Beautiful city. I've been to both Pittsburgh and New Orleans and they actually remind me a lot of one another. The rough and gritty history of Pittsburgh and its culture are fascinating and I think you will find a similar life in each. That said, I suggest taking some quiet time or chatting with the friend who makes the best sounding board and working out the knitty gritty of WHY New Orleans is so important to you. Sometimes art can help us get to the root of our desires as well. When you find the core of your hopes, share them with Grant and keep communicating. Maybe he can come up with some more reasons Pitt is so important to him too. There are good schools, great cultures, public transits, fun communities in both cities. The fact that Pittsburgh has family is something you and Grant need to consider together. Finally, be at peace knowing that as long as the conversation stays open, you will both be content wherever you end up - even Texas. Love you!

  2. Oh friend, this is a conversation that Barry and I are having and will continue to have as he wraps up his master's program next year. He wants to live in Maui or CA and I'd be content to move to Denver. This is how I'm planning on tackling this issue. 1) Apply to any and all places we would both be happy living. 2) See where the jobs are and who wants to employ him. 3) Pray that we both hear from God and can move forward in agreement. 4) Be ok with whatever the answer is. Simple and direct. You guys will figure it out. Love you!

  3. I am the "pack up and go girl". Let's move, and a job will fall out of the sky....John is the opposite, and needs to have a job in hand before we even slightly consider in moving....."sigh". Before being married I traveled for 10 years....saw the world, made great friends, was content, had jobs, and GOD PROVIDES. If it was just me, I think I still would lead this lifestyle. (I think it in our genes). It frustrates me at times, but then again, we have given the choice to look at life in two different ways. We can see it as a hinder, a roadblock, or we can see a God given blessing of a character that God has given our spouse (to compliment what we lack), we are blessed with spouses that are devoted to their family, and their role of being providers. In my moments of split personality I still think back "before married life", and I find that content feeling in my heart...but I know too that during these times of traveling contentment, there was a gaping hole of desiring a family, desiring a love, desiring to see my own children play. I have always known that THAT is what i want from and for my life. I still do sink in the adventurous site, and I think once the kiddo's are older, I might satisfy this thirst by doing short term missions. This season is being a mom, and indeed involves picking right churches, schools, neighborhoods....and I have been amazed by God who has placed me in the most undesired places, and even then have met the greatest people.....We think we know what we like, or what we don't but our Father has it figured out, and sometimes letting go of our heart desired is hard to do. By the way...very risky of you to say that you do not want Florida or Texas ;0).....Never say never..."yeehaw"

  4. I vote for suburban Pleasantville...just kidding.

    I feel you on this one; Just try trying to decide between rural/rustbelt Ohio and Africa!! :) I have a feeling the Martsolf clan will be a blessing to WHATEVER community they land in.

  5. You should call Margo and talk about this stuff. Especially when the job ads come out in Sept/Oct, we'll be thinking about this stuff A LOT. But without babies, which I know is a big deal.

  6. Such great advice and thoughts. Thanks friends. I think when I am completely honest with myself about why I want New Orleans so badly it is because I have come to love the drama-free life. (stop rolling your eyes and let me explain) I feel like in New Orleans, the values I want to teach my children are right on our doorstep. They will have to love their neighbors because if we live on the right street, neighbors are at home in each others houses and the front stoop is a public meeting place. The heat and lack of central air in most houses drives people outside and community is formed. They will have to appreciate good culture because New Orleans IS food and music and festivals and architecture and color. No one is content to produce mediocre art- it is all fantastic and shared. They can't escape caring for orphans and widows because the poorest areas are not hidden away from the wealthiest. So as a parent, I feel like living in New Orleans will make my life easier- all Purslane and Knox will have to do is live and ask questions. I know this is an oversimplification and rose-colored glasses view of New Orleans but you get my gist. And Pittsburgh may offer all of these things to our family as well- I just don't know Pittsburgh like I know New Orleans and thus my heart isn't in it. But I have admitted to Grant that I feel this way and he is walking slowly and we just keep talking. He doesn't force change out of me- just keeps holding my hand.

  7. Dear Christy,

    Thank you for your transparent sharing. Four words: I feel for you! Having married your Uncle Greg, I made the decision to surrender my comfort zone. All I had ever known. The unfamiliar is scary! It has NOT always been easy; but like you, where my spouse & children are -- that's my home. Over the years, God has vetoed some of our well-laid plans .... Looking back, we can see how His hand has gently opened doors and slammed others, all for our good. He wants the very best for you & your family, and already knows where you'll land long before you pack your first box. Perhaps it won't be your preference, but it just might be somewhere where someone is right this minute waiting to be blessed by YOU. You might have to do something very difficult, and that is to die to your preferences. LOVE YOU, Aunt Sharon