Tag Archives: Home

The Dwelling 2016

A year ago, Hubby moved us into a house we didn’t technically own yet – had carpet that was beyond description – holes in the wall, missing fixtures, no working appliances, black water that trickled out of one facet, and – virtually – no heat.

“By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.”~Prov 24:3-4

I’m not sure this move had much wisdom or precious and pleasant riches in it when I first saw it, but God’s blessing colored those first impressions, and I smiled. Found it in late December, changed our plans to build and got a contract to buy before New Year’s Eve. Luckily, the day we moved, the first new toilet was put in place, carpet removed. the water lines flushed and one bed erected. Everything else remained in boxes in the garage or stored in trailers on some land we owned about 3 miles away. 2016 was shaping up to be an interesting year.

“The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you.”~2 Sam 7:11

This I know for sure – the LORD has always made a house for me even before I recognized it. There is a history to our spur-of-the-moment decisions that come at the end of certain sporadic years in our journey together. As high school sweethearts, we broke up for 10 years and got back together in December. Three years later — in late December – we changed our wedding date from May to January 9. Six years later – we found the perfect place to build a home – on New Year’s Eve. 25 years later – in January – we moved from OH to NC. And there we were again – 3 years later – in another December/January quandary of moving craziness.

(Personally – I am adding this prayer to my war room door – “Can our next major move in life, to a home you have waiting for us – PLEASE – be in spring or maybe fall?”)

So tonight, as I sit in a completely re-done house, I look around and am content. The somewhat, squeaky wood floors and gas logs wraps around me just as my childhood home on Riverside Dr, used to do. A new kitchen, two new bathrooms, a brand new heating/AC system, and two silly labs asleep at my feet remind me of how much Our Father can accomplish in our lives when we are listening and willing to step out in faith.

A house that the Grands called “the spooky, stinky, ugly house” is the place they love to visit and spend the night. Clean, patched walls are covered with treasured memorabilia from our 36 years of traveling together and revered, separate pasts. A true war room closet door filled with the WORD, praises and prayers that Abba has lovingly blessed over the past few months. And 2 sleepy chocolate dogs that curl into me at the end of day have made that house a home.

This is as close to heaven as it gets. A neighborhood full of people we know by name and visit with often in the course of a week. Laughter from children who still play outside – not to mention the “boys” who love riding their noisy “toys” along with the kids. I guess this is just my way of saying, “Thanks, Father”. 2016 was one crazy year, and I’m just waiting with anticipation to see what 2017 will bring our way.

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”~Jn 14:2

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PACKIN’ MY BAG

“Oh – I’m packin’ my bags,                                                                                                                          And I’m leavin’ today,                                                                                                                                    I’m takin’ a trip,                                                                                                                                      OHIO way…”

Long ago and far away, my next-door-neighbor, best friend, ‘sister’ and I found out that we could sing together.  She was 9 and I was 7 when we discovered this. We sang A cappella long before Glee and Pentonix.

1st singing performance together

1st singing performance together

We sang with our 33 recordings of broadway on a screened-in front porch – My Fair Lady – South Pacific – Porgy an Bess – West Side Story. We sang on the way to girl scout camps.  We sang on the Band and Choir Bus. We sang in local shows. We sang in church.

We sang in the backseat of my parents’ car on the way to the drive-in. The same refrain torturing their ears over and over – “my baby don’t care, my baby don’t care.” – until they threatened to turn around and dump us with her parents. We laughed and started all over again.

We sang as we walked the streets on a spring warm-up day, a hot summer evening, a crisp fall night or caroling with our church groups.  Neighbors often requested us to linger and sing a favorite song or a song from their past.  We sang as we drove her to city for her first week of college.

“Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will praise the LORD, the God of Israel, in song.” Judges 5:3

It is what we did.  Tomorrow, I am packing my bags and making a trip back OH way.  This mother-daughter trip will be the first one in 3 years.  I will drive past familiar places.  I will drive our old neighborhood, wonder about the changes and look to see if the hole in the fence is still there.

It will be good to meet up with old friends.  Meet up with teachers and other best friends that I have worked with over the years. Visit my OH son, my big brother, and his family.  Walk familiar streets, spend a minute at my parents’ graves and look at things that have made up the landscape of my life.

“Sing to the LORD a new song;
            Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

      2Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
            Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.

      3Tell of His glory among the nations,
            His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” Ps 96:1-3

Singing, home, family, friends, God seems to be the multicolored strands that are woven into the tapestry of my brain.  I am excited to go home.  I am excited to sing praise in the place where I first knew LOVE.

It is good to take trips even when my ‘sister’ won’t be there.  She lives far away in another state, but we still find ways to sing to each other over the distance.  Technology makes things like this so much easier these days.  However, we are making plans to see each other in September in NC.  Hmmmm – come to think of it – that’s another song we used to sing.  How fun is that?

“See you in September
See you when the summer’s through…”bryn and jo

A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME

containersThe home is becoming just a house again.

“A chair is still a chair
Even when there’s no one sitting there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home….”

Knick-knacks wrapped and tucked into containers. Teacher lesson plans/books/teacher samples that STILL have some sort of power over me, have jumped off the shelf and into their old boxes that they remember well from our school days together. 35 other books (that weren’t so powerful in their magic) raced out the door, jumped into the car for a ride to our local Saxapahaw community bookshelf to be re-homed. And – the piles of containers continues to grow higher.

“A room is still a room
Even when there’s nothing there but gloom;
But a room is not a house,
And a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart…”

To me, a lot of what makes a house a home is the heirlooms. Today, I watched my daughter climb up on the kitchen counter and pulled down things that sat in our OH homes and even some from my parents’ home. Things that hung in a window. Things that sat on a shelf and lit the night with their simpleness. Things made by hand from someone that loved us. Those are treasures I can’t seem to part with – even as I pack them once again.

“Now and then I call your name
And suddenly your face appears…”

picture wallThere are still a million and one things to pack. There are still pictures hanging all over the walls that defy any container whatsoever. The golden threads that ties four generations together on one wall will be some of the last things to head out the door. After all – it is the people that truly make the home. The Grands laughing and racing to the hot tub every time they come over. The little table that helped me write my first words – the same one that sat patiently as all of my children scattered their treasures on its nursery rhyme top – the same table that now jiggles and giggles as the Grands create new masterpieces of pictures and words.

tableThe neat part is knowing that once it is all packed away – once the house is cleaned and empty – this house will hold a lot of happy memories to pass on to the new owners, so that they can make it their home. And us? After all the times we have moved, I think we know how to make a house a home.

A little hard work.

A few touchstones.

A lot of love.

The daily WORD.

And – tons and tons of prayer – circling and weaving Our Father’s blessing around what He has entrusted to us. That is why Covenant always plays a prominent role in the name of our properties. A simple reminder of a promise given long ago by a promise keeper who never breaks His word.

“He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word [which] he commanded to a thousand generations.”~Psalms 105:8-11

Alliteration of Thankfulness

Yesterday, my son reminded me that I had not written a blog in awhile.  I justified it in my mind by saying, “School does that to a teacher…pray for my students, make lesson plans, implement plans, correct plans, grade papers, analyze outcomes, research new lessons and pray for sleep, patience and wisdom…”  I feel justified, but sad because I can’t do it all.  However,  swirling around me, remains the glow of thankfulness because of where I stand today.  As my son smiled at me, the full meaning of the day filled me – a simple alliteration of powerful words:  Faith, family, friends.

Leaves cover our driveway and gardens…still.  It would take an army of rakes, sans ornery winds, to keep up with the thousands – dare I say – millions that litter our 35 acres.  The golden hues, bright magentas, rich oranges have faded now into the solidarity of neutral browns and mock my efforts to corral them.   But as I rake the few stragglers my husband missed on the first round of leaf collection, I manage to remind myself to be thankful.  Sore muscles will undoubtedly call for a couple of minutes in the whirlpool tub…such a sacrifice…but well worth it if I can crawl into bed without medication.  “I walk in the garden alone…” becomes “I work in the garden alone…”  Mom’s low alto harmony blends with my daddy’s deeper voice as my mind’s data widgets kick in helping me sing my favorite hymn.  Before I know it, the small memorial garden I built for them and my mother-in-law is clear, and I’m ready for a break.  The fullness of my faith matches the bright sun that warms me. and I am thankful.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I’ve questioned, argued, yelled, ignored, adored, banged my head, but I have never been tempted to walk away from the faith of my fathers.  Mom loved to tell the story of trying to buy me this little cute lamb for my first Easter, and all I wanted was to play with a plastic crucifix (which by the way, along with the lamb, I still have).   Faith has been my touch stone; it stabilized my chaotic choices and provided some peace when the consequences of choice confronted me.  Faith has a way of transcending the physical world.  It is the chocolate my soul craves as I read my Bible or cry in the darkness of midnight’s trevail.

“Bless this food to our bodies…” I looked up after blessing the food and saw the 60 years of Thanksgiving blessings stretched out in the sun’s rays that shone through our kitchen windows.  Prayers of my father, mother, father-in-law echoed softly in my heart.  Being a wife isn’t always easy.  Compromise, acceptance and commitment are harder than the fairy tales I grew up reading and loving.  Hurt holds hands with hope.  Choices chase complacency.  Yet, this is my journey, and my feet steadily walk the road, waiting for the next curve or bump.  I chose to become a help mate, God blessed it , and I continue to learn more about myself everyday because I left my birth family and became part of a new family.

Yesterday, I watched my son stand by our great room window and remembered all the times I had watched him, his older brother and his sisters, look out that very same window…camping with cousins up in the loft, watching white fluff giving us our first snow day to play, laughing at the dogs running through the yard, ooooing over the big buck picking his way through the woods, playing games in a hospital bed, waiting for  daddy to make it home from his late night at the car dealership, saying prayers before falling asleep wrapped in their special blankets.  I wonder if I shared enough of my faith to help them to make it through the trials that lie ahead.

As a teacher, I had all this book learning on child development, but none of the wisdom of a parent.  At my first inner city school, a wonderful mentor teacher, who was also a mom, helped me learn the difference between knowledge and wisdom. One tidbit from her bank of sayings still sticks in my mind,  “Children of your own and the children of your classroom will teach you more than you ever learned in that college, chile.”   Her smile and silver hair still light up my memory banks as I realize how correct she was.  Being a wife, a parent, a part of a family extended me further than I ever thought I could go just on my own.  Funny.  I have one video of my children on dvd, but I can still hear their young voices any time I want, and I remember what they taught me.   I am thankful for family.

Today, I went into our small town to do my black Friday shopping.  I’m on that bandwagon for shopping locally, but I only made it to three stores because I kept running into my former teachers, high school buddies, friends and acquaintances.  Didn’t do much shopping, probably wasn’t very profitable for the shop owners (who are also friends), laughed a lot, listened even more, and took a lot of time, yet…I loved it…I was thankful for it.  It reminded me why I loved growing up in a small town where “…where everybody knows your name…”  Rare November days, like yesterday and today, shared with friends and family are the warm wraps that walk us through the wonders of winter after the bounty of the harvest.

The more I think about the things I am thankful for, the more things I could continue to add:  food, failures, future, fun…but encompassing those small details are the bigger gifts of the harvest:  friends, family and most of all, faith in My Father and His Son.  Where would I be without them?