In the green house at the end of the cul-de-sac...
It's where we've found HOME.
It's where we've found COMMUNITY.
It's where we've found HOPE.
It's where we've found GRACE.
It's where we've found JOY.
It's where we've found FAMILY.
It's where we've found PEACE.
It's where we've found LAUGHTER.
It's where we've found REDEMPTION.
Today marks 8 months exactly of waking up in the green house. The place that instantly became home instead of house.
That first morning living here we woke up in the floor because our bed wasn't moved in and put together. This morning we again woke up on a mattress in the floor because after about 20 years our bed bit the dust. As in broke and done for. We literally bought it in the middle of our first big move. Stopped in Nashville and loaded it on the U-Haul as we were headed to live several years in Arkansas. It served us well. We did everything possible to get more days out of it because I just didn't want to let it go. Lots of memories wrapped up in that bed. (Yes, "those" memories matter, but I'm really referring to memories as a family. :) All of my babies shared this bed for a time. Our family grew up together on it. Gosh, I spent 4.5 months of not being able to get out of it while on bedrest with #3.) I had grown quite sentimental to it. However, Kev just couldn't find anymore places to screw in more support boards or hold it together with bolts, zip ties, and nails. Every single time you moved you wondered if you would fall to the ground. THAT day came. Kaput. Plus, SOME of us had grown quite out of love with its sleigh design and wanted more contemporary (that "some" was not me and I was in the definite minority!).
But today, though we find ourselves sleeping just on a mattress, I'd rather be sleeping nowhere but here. We see countless projects left to be done and a bank account pretty much empty for awhile and we are determined to not add debt so we can't get as many done as we want. WE are ecstatic with all that we HAVE accomplished and restored. We know the rest just has to wait. While we wait, we know we are HOME. It's been an adventure, but honestly seldom stressful. Isn't that crazy? We literally have had to rip apart something in every room and have worked tirelessly to clean up landscaping. Even just last week we had a bathroom flood a SECOND time. Every single day there seems to be something else added to the "list" of need to. But we just smile. Because we're home. In the little green house at the end of the cul-de-sac.
It's here that we truly know we are home. We've LOVED living in Central IL (aside from HARSH winters!). The town gave us the roots we desperately needed and were searching for when we moved here almost 11 years ago. Living in one place was not something that had ever happened in our marriage, so to finally be able to do so was a priceless gift.
Don't get me wrong, we LOVED a few of our neighbors in our old neighborhood and MISS seeing them on a regular basis. However, from the first moment we moved here we knew it was HOME. Yes, it has partly to do with ownership versus renting, but it goes FAR beyond that. We waited MANY long years for God to say "NOW" instead of the "NOT NOW" we'd been hearing over and over. When that day came, EVERYTHING fell into place and in so many ways we know that it was PURELY His hand. Admittedly, we weren't so patient in those waiting years and our faith was shaken quite often, but we stayed obedient and waited for His timing.
One of the most remarkable feelings of home has been the building of community. As much as we loved where we lived previously and had no complaints, we just didn't fit. We struggled to find our place. Honestly, many times we felt less than. I felt frowned upon for being home with our children instead of pursuing a career. Many of our belongings didn't "measure up" because we refused to buy bigger and better on credit. Living on one income, buying second hand, or re-purposing something old into new just wasn't the "typical". We felt like life was a rat-race and we never got on the spinning wheel. It was about keeping up with the Joneses, but we never wanted to be a Jones so to speak. We've always lived differently and nothing about that was going to change. What we observed with many (VERY much a generalization, so please don't take offense!) was that marriage was a chore and raising children an inconvenience and if you could pay someone to do something for you instead of doing it yourself you did. We just didn't fit with that mentality.
Here---feels like home in every capacity. We're surrounded by EVERY background and yet it feels like true community. We're building relationship with neighbors and are enjoying doing so. (Even though this introvert still has to be purposeful about not 100% hiding out!). I know that I can call one of many with a need and they'd jump right in. Ok, that should probably say TEXT a neighbor since I still refuse to talk on the phone and I've come to notice I'm not the only one! :) We've recently been experiencing a great spree of home and car break-ins and individuals wandering around on private property. Yes, that has been unsettling and we're hyper aware, BUT I don't have fear or anxiety because I know that we're surrounded by a great group of people keeping on eye on each other.
In very recent days we had new neighbors, immediately behind us sharing part of our backyard, move in. That brought some temporary anxiety as we waited and wondered if they'd be good neighbors or "challenging". As soon as the sweet older couple put their for sale sign in the yard I began to pray. Though we've had limited personal contact so far, the conversations and observations can only be described as "But God." Today, I witnessed a sweet moment that really touched my heart. It was seemingly ordinary to most passerbys, but for my heart it was a direct confirmation. I shared with Kev and he agreed that it was definitely a God nudge.
Besides each around us "just" being neighborly and courteous, each particular one seems to bring something special about them to the table. Something our hearts were needing or something our hearts can offer.
In the green house at the end of the cul-de-sac, we've found many great things. Hope has been restored in multiple ways, laughter seems to be more free flowing, we feel redeemed in so many ways as we feel He has been restoring the years that the locust had eaten (in reference to Joel 2), and joy in the simplest things. The kids are happy and feel the decision was great on countless levels which brings peace (except they still fight like cats and dogs). They love (and SO DO I) the freedom to walk to church,McDonald's, or to meet up with friends. Our family unit as a whole is growing and thriving. This home has also been a place of grace. We've needed lots of it and had to give lots of it, but it's been free flowing.
The green house at the end of the cul-de-sac.
*Well, as I reflect on this being home I suddenly realize there is one thing that has been missing that needs a remedy. Fast. Dancing has to return to this kitchen. We've more space than ever before with its layout, but yet, we've not taken advantage enough. We used to dance around the kitchen and living room OFTEN. It was commented on more than once that someone would drive by and later tell us that they saw us dancing. The to-do lists got longer as the projects were many and that became our focus. Time to change that. Time to get back to embracing the little things that matter. Get back to hearing the kids say, "Ugh, there they go again". Besides that, they're gone more than ever anyway. Plus, they need to be reminded of the beauty of marriage and not the picture that the world tries to paint. They need to know that even after 21 years and counting, that love still grows and matters. Yep. Kevin---that's your reminder, not a hint. I'll get back to my obsession of lighting candles and make our home a haven---you get back to taking your wife on a spin around the kitchen.*