I'm Tonia and this is my family. There's Hubs, my wonderful partner; Bug, my darling daughter; and Boo, my charming son. We are the Collins clan. We are a homeschooling family who try our best to live out God's will for our lives every day. There are lots of stumbles along the way, but we love each other and this little life we're carving out for ourselves. Recently we found ourselves called to make some big changes in our lives so we're packing up the McMansion and moving out to a little farm in need of a lot of TLC. We have tons to learn and tons to do and we invite you to share the journey as we turn our not-so-new heap into a home.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Long Road Home

It was a day 10 years, 6 months, and 2 weeks in the making. From the moment they placed little baby Bug in my arms, I knew I belonged at home. There were so many times I didn't think it would ever happen, but finally  here I am - I worked my last day yesterday. It is tempting for me to talk about regret, about all the things I wish I would've done differently, to list all the mistakes and heartache, but that would be such a waste. Because there have been lots of bright spots and lots of lessons learned on this road home. For instance, I've learned:

There is ALWAYS someone worse off than you.

I have cared for those struggling to live...and those struggling to die. I've held impossibly small babies and the hands of lonely old women, with no family left. I've cared for extra children for 16 hour days so that their exhausted single moms could go to work. I've complained loudly only to be humbled by another's harder story. I know without a doubt that these years had to happen so that I could open the door to the Heap and not run screaming the other way. Is it bad? Yeah. Is it the worst I've seen? Not even close.

I am absolutely, 100% sure, we're doing the right thing.

The thing about working for 10 years for something is this: there's no way you're getting there if you don't believe in what you're working for. I have worked from 7p.m. to 3a.m. so I could be home with my kids during the day......even if I was operating on 3 hours of sleep. I have worked weekends while the rest of the family went off to do fun stuff like go the zoo or the lake. I have juggled 2 and 3 jobs at a time, trying to get a new business going while still bringing in an income for the family. I have cried all the way to work and then all the way back home. It would have been easy to just stop the struggle and work a normal, full-time job- to accept life for what it is instead of what it should be. I have had plenty of time to think about it, to decide if I really believe in this lifestyle.

I do.

You can never give too much, but you can only give what you have.

I love to give gifts... to my family, to my friends, to complete strangers. I have been known, many times, to give away something I was still using because someone else needed it- and then turn around and get myself a new one. It has taken a lot of years for me to realize how foolish this is. I have been wasteful and irresponsible with money over and over again. As painful as it is for me to admit, I know that these past ten years were absolutely necessary in order for me to learn what money is, what it is for, and what it can really supply. I will never miraculously turn into someone who doesn't give, but now I understand what Gandhi meant when he said, "Live simply so that others can simply live." I can't have everything I want and still have enough to bless others, but I can certainly have everything I need and have plenty left over.

Organization, Time management, Biblical womanhood, Patience (okay, still working on that one...), the list could go on and on......so much growth, so many things that have made me who I am today. These past 10 years were essential and valuable and I am grateful for them.

And now, I learn what I've been waiting ten long years to learn.......

.....how to just be Mom.


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