Originally published May 22, 2020 on alifeofsimplejoys.com.
It feels like we just unpacked, happily discarding the last of the boxes and beginning a new life here in this beautiful neighborhood surrounded by hills and pasture. I have become accustomed to the drone of maintenance equipment each morning as they parade out onto the golf course. The dawn has awakened me with her bright glow before my alarm even has a chance to chirp and I always say it’s the best way to wake up–slowly, naturally, aware that the day has just begun and I haven’t missed the sun’s appearance on the molten edge of the distant hills. The sunrise never gets old.
Even on rainy days like today.
But, still, there was always this feeling, this place in my gut that knew where we are isn’t where we will always be. I couldn’t have articulated it before now but it was there…persistent. I found myself perusing listings, looking for land, telling God if He wanted us to move He would need to show us. I’m happy here. It’s quiet and the neighbors are always nice, ready with a smile and wave or quick conversation when I’m walking the dog. But I was unsettled, restless, open to change.
Three years ago, before we moved out here, we almost bought another house near where we had lived for twelve years. It was older but situated on beautiful acreage. We nearly pulled the trigger but backed off because it needed so much work. We were in an intense season of life (When I say intense, I’m not exaggerating. We were drowning.) and the thought of taking on a remodel was more than we could handle at the time. So we ended up out here, surrounded by land but without the upkeep required of acres and an older home. We have played and rested and found our calling within God’s Kingdom during this season. And we have gathered strength with each sunrise and nuzzle from the horses across the street.
So many good things have happened here. I discovered I do, in fact, enjoy exercise. I found the most amazing trainer in the world who helped me overcome my insecurity and anxiety about fitness while also acting as a counselor when I talked her ever-loving ear off to get my mind off the pain. (Planks are of the devil.) I have run miles and miles around the horse pasture, walked even more, and even taken up TRX and Cardio Kickboxing.
I have written and published a book, composed dozens of blogposts and poems, and learned that being an editor is extremely fulfilling. Coaching young writers and encouraging them to take the leap to put their words out there…out here on the interwebs…gives me great joy. Helping them find their voice and be true to it is an incredible experience, especially when working with those from different backgrounds and cultures than my own.
But I also realize there were some things I missed. Like gardening. I had this farm-girl dream that just wouldn’t die. My brother, in Texas, realized the dream for himself and moved his family onto acres of farmland that are already bursting with chickens, goats, and Longhorn cattle. I swallowed back an ugly lump of envy, kicking myself for not being satisfied with the beauty I experience right here where I am.
Then, just a couple of weeks later, I got an unexpected text from my husband.
He was visiting a friend, who just happened to live next door to that house we almost bought three years ago. “They are selling it.”
My first thought was, “Didn’t we just do this? We have barely settled in here. There is no way in ‘you know where’ that I want to pack all this up again. Besides, that house was full of carpet and this girl loves her hardwoods and hardwoods are expensive.”
“They apparently remodeled it. We could look.”
Breathe, Jeanine. Didn’t you say you wanted land? What if this is your chance?
“Yeah, I guess we could look.”
You know where I am going with this, right? It’s perfect. Not perfect in the sense of having no flaws. It’s perfectly imperfect. The house was remodeled beautifully, exactly as we would have done it, in fact. There is no carpet. NONE. It is more rustic and has room for improvement in a couple of places, but nothing that is urgent. Maybe we will eventually add a front porch, because right now the house has just a plain brick face, more of a formal colonial feel. We are in the south, people. Front porches are a staple just as much as sweet tea and biscuits. Maybe we will even German Shmear the brick! (Chip and Joanna, y’all free this summer?)
There are acres of ponds and woods backing up to a creek. There are wide open spaces with plenty of room for the chickens, goats and maybe even rabbits along with the fact that my younger kids will have friends living just across the bridge that straddles the ponds. It’s closer to town, but not in town. It’s closer to church. And it’s in the community which God has called us to serve. (Remember where I mentioned how we found our calling in God’s Kingdom? It’s awfully hard to minister within a community if you don’t actually live there.)
There are so many reasons this is right and good. Though the move is bittersweet (because we do LOVE this neighborhood that has been so good to us for the past two an a half years) it feels like going home. Home…our home until we go home. Roots driving deep beneath the green gracing the water’s edge. Memories waiting to be made accompanied by the scratching of chickens and the antics of goats. Hands that will surely develop callouses and kids who will be happily filthy after cutting a path through the woods. Gatherings of friends under the stars, bonfires and pool parties and house concerts. Grandkids (someday) and little ones squealing as a goat nibbles their hem or they reel in a fish for the first time. And vegetables. A huge garden bursting with enough to be eaten throughout the cold of Winter. Homemade everything, especially salsa! Spectacular sunsets over the ponds, one of which I captured in today’s photo. Amazing.
Yes, so many reasons. So much good is awaiting as we prepare to go “home.” The Lord is blessing us, redirecting us, and has even given me a name for our new place…
Which I will share in my next post…because that is a beautiful story all on it’s own.
Pray for us, will you? We are selling our house and praying it will go quickly. What a fun place for a young family to grow up. We have loved it here. It’s just time to go. From one good thing to another.
From grace to grace.
I am grateful.