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!!

Worth Every Tear

From as far back as I can remember, I have cried. I came into this world crying, somehow showing the doctors I was normal, and I’ve cried for many reasons throughout my life. Tears are proof that we do have emotions and we need  to release our emotions somehow. Tears are cleansing and come out for a variety of reasons.

I can remember the tears of sadness and pain when I learned of my dad losing his job at the bank and again when he got injured at work. Then after finding out he would never walk again, more tears. I cried when losing people in my early life like Uncle Bob, Bart Flenniken (my best friend), Scott Greever and Casey Angel. And more recently losing 3 friends in their thirties to cancer like Andrea Dobbs.

But I’ve also experienced tears of anger. Like when I was so angry because I had screwed up a relationship or when I was so angry at a friend for breaking my heart. Tears of anger on September 11, 2001 because of what was happening and also tears of worry on that day because I knew my brother could be in the Pentagon and I couldn’t reach him. 

Tears of confusion and frustration over job, church and family issues and just not knowing where to turn or how much worse things could get. But finding out in the long run that it was always God’s plan and getting to see the growth that came from it.

I’ve also experienced tears of joy in my life. When Christy said yes to going out on a first date, then more tears when she said yes to a second date, even though I had forgotten her name on our first date. Joyful tears when she said yes to marry me and on our wedding night. Again when we found out we had a baby on the way and tears of worry when I found out our first would be a girl. Tears of excitement when we found out we had a second baby on the way and tears of a proud dad when I realized I would have a prince to go along with my already perfect princess. More tears of happiness and worry when I realized they would be looking at me every step of their life as to what to do and what not to do. I hope I’ve not let them down and I pray that I never do.

As I sit back and think, I realize that God intended us to have tears for cleansing and release. I’ve learned it’s okay to just let the flood gates open on my emotions because without them being open, I have a tendency to get down and be depressed. I’ve also realized that with every tear, there’s growth. No matter how happy or sad, when I look back at every tear, I see a lesson learned. I see the things my dad was able to teach me while not being able to walk. I learned from my Uncle Bob that the bonds of brotherhood are meant to be solid no matter what and that you can show someone love just by squeezing their hands while in a coma. I’ve also learned that no matter what age, you’re going to lose friends and family and it’s all in God’s plan. I’ve also learned that tears of joy are just as releasing as tears of worry, pain or sadness.

But through every tear, I’ve found that if you could bottle every tear from either pain, sadness, worry or joy, you would have one heck of a story to share. Don’t be afraid to share your story. I have many more tears to come for a variety of reasons and know my tears over the years have been worth it. I pray that you also see your tears as worth every tear.

I love you all!