This is my favorite season, it always has been. Fall gives me a feeling that I have permission to nest and create, to leave some of those to-dos on my list until Spring. Oh, and there are quite a few of those to-dos for us these days. Since I last posted, we have moved into an older home in a charming neighborhood, after living in the same neighborhood for 20 years! Our new residence is around 30 minutes (longer with heavy traffic) away from our former home. That doesn’t sound like a lot of distance, but everything is different here. My friend said it was like we moved to a whole new city, but still have all our friends and family nearby.
The initial thoughts on us moving both scared and excited me. My husband and I have looked into moving to more land for the last two years. It didn’t work out, and we just decided to stay put as we apparently could not compete in this crazy housing market. We loved our place and it was a perfectly acceptable option to toss out the idea of a move.
For years now, my husband and I have loved to spend time downtown by the river – walking under the shade of the many mature trees, getting coffee, admiring the old houses and the architecture of the buildings, eating at locally-owned restaurants. It was our go-to when driving up to the mountains wasn’t an option, and we would talk about what it would be like to live downtown.
We couldn’t really imagine such a thing, though it seemed charming and nostalgic (maybe we could get a condo downtown for the weekends if we ever got rich – haha!). We have always firmly believed that the more land we had, the better. We aren’t used to having close neighbors, and didn’t necessarily want that. But as we would sit in the coffee shops by the window and look out at all the passers-by walking with their families and dogs in their neighborhood, we started to think that it would be pretty great. Maybe we even started to dream about it a little.
Here we are, two and a half months after our move to that very same neighborhood, more pleased with our decision than we ever thought we would be. For a while, it seemed like we weren’t going to get the house. I have to tell you that during that time, I actually hoped it would fall through, even prayed that it would. I got too scared of all the change and all that it would mean for our day-to-day lives and for the foreseeable future. I just couldn’t see it working for us. Never had we envisioned ourselves moving to a fixer-upper (albeit a pretty one) with tiny yards. We had always talked about just the opposite – Our next house has to need NO work and it must have a lot of land. – not – Let’s move to a house where nearly everything is original and will all eventually need repair or replacing – and one where we can live super close to our neighbors.
One day, after it was clear we would indeed get the house, (unless God heard my prayers for a big intervention that would cancel everything and allow us to stay in the same comfy place we had been for so long) I had a pretty big panic attack about the whole thing. I kept it mostly to myself, not wanting to upset my husband who was happy and certain about it all. But I had absolutely NO peace – not an ounce of it. I prayed and prayed for it to fall through, and if it didn’t, I needed to have peace about it.
There are some things that only a dad can do for us. I don’t exactly know why, but there is something so deeply reassuring when a father speaks words of encouragement. It has a unique and stabilizing quality that makes you believe it will all be okay.
I talked to my dad on the phone in the midst of my crisis – fervently resisting the change that now seemed inevitable. What was I thinking?! I had a perfectly lovely, comfortable home. Why on earth were we pulling up the posts and moving to the unknown? Whyyyyy? But all it took were a few kind, calm, wise words from my dad to settle my terrified heart into a safe place that I couldn’t get to on my own. From that moment on, with his support (and my mom’s – always my precious mom’s) things began to turn around. I found little bits of courage to go forward with this giant change.
Last Saturday my husband and I walked from our front door to get coffee, then to see a movie, then to dinner, then back home all in one afternoon. It was freezing and rainy and windy and wonderful.
One of my dearest friends came with me to the house one day while it was still in escrow. We had permission to begin tackling the yard work before we got the keys, and she faithfully worked alongside me with her gloves and tree clippers in the summer sun. We were only able to peek through the windows, but she told me that she believed that we would be far more blessed here than we ever thought we would, that God would show us all sorts of little gifts we couldn’t even see yet, gifts specific to us and for us from His heart to ours.
We already have stories to tell.
What if I hadn’t had the strength of my dad to give me the courage to proceed through all the new things? I am thankful for his steadying hand. I am also comforted to know that my Father in heaven will always be my strength in every crisis, every change. He answered my plea, just not as I had asked. He used my dad to be His voice of calm and peace in my heart, to reflect His own heart.
So here we go into this new way, this new place with new people. We keep saying that we can’t believe we live where we live and how much we love it. It is all so new still. I can’t believe we made such a huge change! Though I miss my old house, I don’t miss it as terribly as I thought I would. The first week here was rough. I just wanted to go home. So strange to realize how much of a role familiarity plays into my sense of security. It’s still not home in the way that my other home was, but time and making new memories will help that. But maybe it’s not supposed to be exactly the same. Maybe our world will be a little bit bigger and my sense of security less dependent on the familiar.