The Front – More than Curb Appeal

As you pull up to our house during late spring and throughout the summer and well into the fall, you’ll see a lot going on usually. There’s a high chance the garage door will be open and kids will be playing somewhere. The driveway gets turned from a place to park our cars into a place to play basketball, ride rip sticks, a parking lot for bikes and many other things that has nothing to do with me. There’s also a chance you see a few adults sitting in their lawn chairs enjoying conversation while watching the kids play.

As you walk up the driveway toward the porch, you’ll notice the flowerbeds blooming with all kinds of color. There are red knockout roses that bloom from late spring until the first freeze. They are gorgeous and have grown over the years into very beautiful bushes. There are also yellow day lilies blooming to give us some other color in the front bed. In the beds just off to the left side of the walkway we have the knockout roses along with some ornamental grasses and blue salvia. The dark blue blooms almost get hidden in the foliage when the shade hits but when the sun hits them, you can see the blooms and they are gorgeous!

The yard is generally green and we attempt to keep it a nice height to help keep it healthy and weed free. We try our best to keep the yard looking as good as possible but there are times it’s almost impossible with the amount of traffic the yard gets. At any given time there could be a kick ball game, a baseball game, a football game or tag being played. And many times we have come home to find the neighborhood playing in our yard without our kids. And you know what, that’s okay. Our yard is there to be played on by anyone who wants as long as they are respecting our house!

As you walk on to the front porch, you’ll notice many pots of plants. We really like to have an inviting front porch and the coleus in the urn pots as you come up the walkway perfectly frame in our double front doors. To the left on the porch are 2 rocking chairs for anyone to sit in while they watch kids or simply just want to visit about the day. In far corner are 3 pots we’ve had for many years. They’ve actually been to each of our houses with us. They have survived many moves and are still some of our favorite pots. During the summer, because of how much shade we get in that area, we plant inpatients. They grow all summer and by the end of the fall, they have turned into large bushes and become the focal point of our porch. On the other side of the front doors, we have a bay window that allows our front room the light necessary to make it the perfect place to relax.

The front of our house is meant to be more than curb appeal. It’s meant to be inviting and a place where fun can happen. We want anyone who comes to our house to feel welcome from the second they pull up. With the kids playing out front and the adults talking about their lives, the front of our house is extremely important. It’s the first part of our house people will see and it’s also the last as they leave. It’s the place where friendships have been started by people of all ages and where great ideas on what to do next have been planned. It’s the place where, after a hard day’s work, I can shoot hoops with the kids and visit with them while shooting hoops. The yard is a place I can throw a baseball or football with the kids and not have to worry about getting into trouble for throwing in the house! The front of the house is the place we can sit and enjoy the beauty of the day no matter the weather!

Our hope is to always have an inviting front so when front door opens into the entry, you’ll know you are welcome. The front of our house says, “Come on in and enjoy your visit.”

Our House

As I looked back, it has been almost a year since I’ve written anything. As I think back to as why, I think it’s mainly because I’ve been in a place in life where all I wanted to write about was dealing with a difficult situation in our home. With that in mind, I am going to write more over the next few weeks not about things at our home but the things that make up our home.

In this first installment, I will describe each house we have lived in and then going forward, I will go through each room of the house we live in now from the front porch, into the front door, through the house and into the backyard. In each segment, I will explain what each room or portion of the house means specifically to me and why it’s an important into making up our home. I really hope you enjoy this project!

As a family, we have lived in many houses. We have lived in 2 apartments, 4 houses and a brief few weeks with each of our parents. Each of our places were much different and were perfect for the season of life we were living. Our apartments were where we lived as newlyweds. They were not the best of places but we made the most of each of the apartments. As a very young couple still in college and working full time, we lived in what we could afford. It wasn’t much but it was a place to lay our head each night.

Our first house was a small 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1 living room and 1 car garage house. It was in a nice neighborhood with great neighbors. This was our oldest 2 kids first house. It was a simple layout and needed a ton of work when we first moved into the house. It had been run down from years of neglect and we were more than happy to fix it up the best we could. We weren’t alone in this endeavor. Our parents helped and many friends helped us as well. It was the first time in our young marriage where we really had help from close friends in helping us. It was a great time and this home was perfect for our young and growing family.

As we continued growing in that house, an opportunity to buy another house came up and we jumped. It was owned by the widow of a family friend and we were blessed to be able to purchase this house. Our plan was to have this house as our forever house. It was much larger than our previous house and it was perfect for entertaining. We were so pleased with this house because it allowed us to serve as a place for many college aged people to come and worship, fellowship and learn about Jesus. I remember a dear friend calling while I was sitting in the living room one day asking if she could bring her brother over to visit. I was the only one home and said sure. Her dad, brother and she all walked in a few minutes later and while visiting with her brother, we all saw a broken man give his life to Christ right there in the living room. This college group filled our large living room with love, laughter and support. This house is where our 2 oldest kids really “grew up” and made many friends at the school in the area. It was where we went from having 1 dog to 3 dogs. (What was I THINKING??) This house was our house and we were never leaving. Well, not until we decided to buy a business and have Christy quit her teaching job. Due to this, we had to say goodbye to this house and sold it to a very good family. The interesting thing about selling this house was not only did we sell the house because of downsizing but we also no longer had our college group. In a way, it closed a chapter on our life that was one of the most important and fun times in our family.

Our next house was a true blessing. It was a family house that had been a rent house for many years. There were funds to fix up the house to what we wanted without us having to do a lot of the work. It was much smaller but we had no mortgage came along with it. It was an adjustment to our 2 kids at the time because we no longer were in the same neighborhood as the majority of their friends. It was in the same house my wife lived in when she was a girl and in the same neighborhood I grew up in so many years ago. When we first got there, there weren’t many young families but within a year, we had two new families with young kids move in across the street. They were a blessing to us in so many ways. As time went on, we rearranged the house, redid a bathroom and did a complete overhaul on the landscaping. It had become the perfect place for us and what happened next in our life literally reshaped our family because of our willingness and need to downsize. We fell in love with a little girl we had never met. She instantly became part of our family from the first day my wife heard about her. In my mind, she was crazy but in her mind and her heart, this little girl was born to be our daughter. I remember sitting in the living room telling her there was no way I wanted any part of this and someone else could take her in. Then, after many weeks, maybe 2 months or longer, I remember sitting in that same recliner in the living room crying my eyes out for this little girl. By us downsizing our house, we were able to up-size our family. We had to rearrange things in our house again and make room for her to move in with our oldest child. This was not an easy transition but it helped our entire family grow into the family God intended us to have. This was also the home of great heartbreak as we had to say goodbye to a loved dog named Chester.

As we grew in our little house, we knew it was time to start looking for a new place. So, once again, we moved into a new house. This is the house I will go through over the next few weeks and explain why this house is not a house but a home. This house no doubt fits us best for who we are today like none of the other houses could. This house gives us the personal space each of us need but allows us to be intimate as well. Everyone has their own room and it’s the perfect place for large gatherings. The neighborhood is great and the people around us are amazing! There are tons of kids always running around and everyone comes out to play. There are times we adults just sit and visit while our kids play. There’s always something going on and at any given time, there could be multiple games being played by kids of all ages. This house has so many things about it that reminds me of our journey. It started out as a simple house for a small family and over the years, it has been added to and changed in so may ways. Each owner has put their own stamp on this house and the stories the walls could tell if they could talk would be amazing.

Just like our house, our journey as a family hasn’t always been easy or clean but we’ve survived every storm. There have been times when each of us has shut a door to try to keep others out but have opened that same door to the people we were trying to keep out because we love them. Buying a house is easy. Building a home that will last is the hard part. As I go forward with each part of the house, I hope to build a picture of our home. I do believe we have a beautiful home, no matter if the lawn has been mowed or not, if the beds are made not or if the dishes are clean or not. All of this because our home isn’t a house, it’s what happens inside us that makes it a home. I hope you enjoy the next few Mondays as I share!

Love you all!!