Wednesday, January 20, 2016

To own a house

When Thomas took me to see our tiny honeymoon house twenty years ago, I was excited. A place to call our own. To make cozy and keep clean. A place to invite friends & relatives. Best of all a place to just be together and grow our love.

Cooking for two after cooking for eleven was a definite challenge. It takes two people quite a while to eat a 9 x 13 pan of grub. Ha. Joke on me. At least we were both big eaters.

Three sons were born to us in this humble dwelling. Although humble, it boasted great times. Sledding on the hills. Snakes- in the house and out. A boy lost (to me) with his dog in the woods. A bear walking across the field. Watching the yearly hay-mowing on the place. Picking cherries galore. A skunk shot in the outdoor stairwell. Seeing the monarch butterflies making their annual pilgrimage. Picnics. The morels that grew under the old apple trees.

But alas we did not own the place. We left our pleasant spot after eight years to move to Thomas’ boyhood home when his mother left to work in another country.

This was a big house. Three adults made their abode with us during our stay there. They came and went like the tide until finally it was just us again. Two more sons were added to the family in this house. Family reunions, a 30th birthday party for my sister, a family trip to Paraguay, settling an uncle's estate, house repairs. So much happened here. A time so busy it makes me tired to remember it.

But again, it was not ours. After two years we moved on so Thomas’ mother could sell the house. Into another large farmhouse. And this time all to our own blessed selves. No one else's belongings to live around.

Oh, we have such pleasant memories in this house. So many windows; so much light! The boys loved to roam the fields, playing their imaginary games. Our two dogs worked together to kill groundhogs... but the wily coon got away from them. The boys got measles. One boy loved to eat cat litter. Thomas replaced some roofing and built a shop. A unique storm blew the chimney over onto the kitchen roof as we prepared to eat pizza, giving us all a fright. The church experienced a revival and then a dispersion.

And this time, praise the Lord! We did not own this place. After being there only a year and a half we were free to move on to another house in a new community. A small double wide. All five boys slept in one small room.

Again memories were made. Boys playing in the willow tree. Hikes in the woods. The unique neighbors on either side of us. Trying to sell homemade lemonade by the road on a hot day. Selling cheesecakes in town. Thomas’ first construction job on his own in a new community. Trying to make ends meet where costs were much higher than we were used to.

We did not own this place and it was far from church and school. Within 6 months we made another move. Our 5th dwelling place was a trailer with an addition. Not much acreage so we had a garden spot a mile and a half out the road where the deer benefited from our labors. It was in this trailer that we began our homeschool journey. We lived “in a fishbowl” on the corner of a subdivision. No place to even hide behind a tree! The neighbors knew the boys’ names before we formally introduced ourselves. We enjoyed the people in this community.

The 90+ year old man who always had something witty to say as he walked or drove by. The couple across the road and the man back the road who brought us extra tomatoes. Or sometimes we went to pick them. The boy to the right of us who became like a brother to the boys. “I like her cooking”, he'd say as he stayed for yet another meal. The little boys to the left who came down to play in the sandbox with our little boys. The elderly couple back in the subdivision who loved when we would visit and felt honored to be invited to a birthday party. She gave each boy a set of state quarters.

But such a small house for growing boys. I was once again cooking meals in 9 x 13 pans! Now after five years at this place we were being offered a very spacious house not very far away. Oh yes! And the rent is even less. Fourteen acres to roam. A fenced garden. An orchard. Adjacent fields where the owner is delighted to allow us to run cattle. Two kitchens. Four toilets. A working outdoor hand-pumped well. A nice large deck for parties.

Onward we go. This is just a wonderful gift from the Lord. But we don't own it! We often thank the Lord for all this wonderful space, wondering when we will need to let it go. This is an all too familiar scenario. We are again making memories and with three years behind us this feels like home.

Last year the owner let us know that he can't afford to continue leasing it. He needs to sell. Thomas wondered what he wants for it and whether they would finance it for us? They soon replied in the affirmative with a reasonable offer. On Jan 4th, 2016, with trepidation and excitement, we signed the papers that make this place ours.

After 20 years of wandering about and wondering where the Lord wants us we've found some permanence. Of course, we continue to live with a "stranger and pilgrim" mentality but there is such a difference in how things look through an owner's versus a renter's eyes.

Ah, how nice to own a place! A freedom we have not known before. Freedom to tear down. Freedom to build. Freedom to paint. Freedom to replace flooring. Freedom to make a workshop. Freedom to build a barn. Freedom to cut down trees. You got it? Freedom, people!

Do you own or rent?

Share your perspective.