the little white house

I stumbled on this song months ago and knew it gave words to our one-day new home.  I knew we would probably end up with an old home, a fixer upper, and I find beauty in that.  In living new fresh life in old walls.  Consider playing this song as you scroll through these pictures.  It’s somewhat of a blessing I’ve been humming over this new home.

These pictures are from our first time showing the kids the house, after we had keys in hand.  We didn’t want to show it to them at all until it was officially ours, because the process had been difficult for them when offers on previous homes had fallen through.  We opened the door for the first time, they ran in squealing.  Brandon carried me over the threshold.  It was a sweet, sweet moment after a long wait.  And how appropriate that we closed on the house and took the kids to see it for the first time on the first day of Spring!  I kept thinking of these words:

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
    the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land.”
Song of Solomon 2:10-12

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And so, we get to move in and watch everything come to life, turn green, blossom and shine.  We feel full of hope for what is ahead, seeing God provide this home for us in His own time and way through miraculous means.

Brandon and I have been working all week getting things ready and clean, and we emptied out our storage container yesterday into the home.  I took the kids this morning and began unpacking a few toys for them to play with as I set up the kitchen.  They were so excited, seeing our things again and seeing the home begin to take a bit of shape.  The furnace decided not to work the day after we closed, so we are still working on getting that taken care of so we can move in officially.

Our last home had the numerical address 23 and for a long time now I have been clinging to Psalm 23.  As we’ve walked this journey with Phoebe and her health battle, as we’ve admitted to ourselves that we have a chronically ill child, as I’ve fought gnawing fear in the dark of night, Psalm 23 has been a constant companion and comfort.  It was always familiar but now it is personal.  Now it is like a sharp sword in my hands against the darkness.  When I saw that our house number on this new little white house was 623, I thought immediately of Psalm 23:6 and looked it up.  How fitting it is.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

This is His promise to us in this life, isn’t it friend?  No matter what we are walking through, whether joy or pain in our current circumstances, surely GOODNESS and MERCY are gonna follow us everywhere we go.  AND?  We might have just bought our first home, but our hope isn’t wrapped up in these walls, thankful though we are for a place to call home.  We are always a bit out of place in this world, always a bit left longing for the house of the Lord.  Always pilgrims until we make it there one day.  We are gonna make it there one day, friend.  We are going to dwell with Him in HIS house forever.  If the joy we feel in buying our first home is only a foretaste of that joy, oh what great joy it will be!

I can’t wait to share more of our journey as a family in this new little home with you, readers!  Let the years we’re here be kind, be kind.  And may our hearts like doors open wide, open wide.

ps.  Thank you to so many of you who have prayed with us and for us as we walked out this long journey and as we continue to face battles and uncertainties ahead.  We couldn’t have done it without you!  Specifically our families, our parents, my parents for letting us live with them in the interim and bring a whole lot more noise to their lives, as well as our church family and specifically our life group.  Kim + Time, Heather + Chris, Kevin + Mary Lynn, Tessa + Rod: you guys are OUR PEOPLE.  You have blessed us with scripture, prayer, encouragement, meals, muscle and brawn.  You are teaching us what it means to live as Christ’s hands and feet here and how beautiful it is to live knit-together lives.

 

yarn along

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Still knitting away on my Campside and enjoying it so much.  I feel like I’m close to finishing it already, which seems crazy and too soon!  At the same time, it would be nice to cozy up in it in this freezing weather we’re having lately.  If you wanted to see pictures of my finished sweater, I shared some here.

I finished Long Days of Small Things last night, savored the last chapter and didn’t want it to end.  So good, friends, so good.  I’ll post an official review soon.  I haven’t even picked up Is the Bible Good for Women this week, haven’t read much I guess.  I have read a bunch to the kids, and this one, Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol, that we checked out from the library is hilarious for any knitter or mom surrounded by a brood of children who just wants some time to KNIT (or pursue some other sanity-saving hobby).  In the end, the only reprieve from her 30 grandchildren is to find her way through a wormhole in outer space and there she can finally finish sweaters for each of them.

Linking up with Ginny of Small Things and her weekly yarn along.
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Falling Free

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You guys.  I am so terribly behind on posting a review for this book and I feel awful about it because IT IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE BOOK!  It deserved a really great, lengthy, shining blog post a long time ago.  I received it last fall when it released and read it within a week or so.  Honestly it was maybe in my top five favorite reads from 2016.  It was one of those books you finish and want to immediately purchase copies of for everyone you love.  I highly recommend it!

Shannan Martin’s book Falling Free: Rescued from the life I always wanted came into my hands in the middle of our house search.  In a sense I was resistant to reading it, since Martin’s book is a memoir sharing about their leaving behind the life they thought they always wanted for something that seemed far riskier, smaller, and challenging.  Its good to read something like this while in the midst of your own home search.  What Martin was leaving behind–a cute farmhouse, a mini homestead, a comfortable community–these are some of the things my husband and I are looking for and dreaming about.  And not that there is anything wrong with having a farmhouse or a homestead or a wonderful church community.  But Martin sure does challenge our notions of what we need, what we expect, what we feel entitled to, what we think God would have for us, what we think is safe, what we hope for.  She brings perspective.  She gives courage to truly abandon your life to the faithfulness of God, even in the face of the risk and discomfort involved.  She holds out the glory of Jesus and the life of following and obeying Him as higher and greater than our small dreams, our small hopes for a comfortable, safe, monochromatic life.

An author I have loved, Emily P. Freeman, has highly recommended Martin’s writing, which is what led me to check out her first book. I was not disappointed!  She is at turns hilarious, witty, and yet poignant and insightful.  She can turn a phrase like few authors I’ve read, bringing fresh insight and conviction to our typical American way of life and thinking.  And her taco recipe has become a regular staple in our home.  (Thank you, Shannon.)

I can’t tell you more about it because I simply can’t decide what to emphasize most.  Just go read it.  If you at all feel bound up, go read it.  If while you have most comforts and pleasures accessible at your right hand yet can’t shake the niggling sense that you’re missing something, go read it.  If you’re hungry for the kingdom of God, go read it.  If you’re hungry for more of God, go read it.  If you’re just plain bored, go read it.

Read at your own risk.  Prepare to be perturbed, disturbed, challenged, convicted, awakened, and set free from the life you think you want to the life God would have for you.

Thank you to Book Look Bloggers for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

 

snow and sweaters

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We saw (maybe?) our last snow of the season on Sunday morning and felt again the child-like wonder and awe that always comes over us all with new snow.  My sweater had been finished for about a week but I hadn’t worn it because I’d been recovering from the flu and just wanted to save wearing it for the first time for when I actually felt normal.  It’s the first sweater I’ve knit for myself so I was a bit nervous I would mess up the sizing.  I slipped it on Sunday morning and Brandon snapped a few photos of me (sorry for the crazy lighting) and then we went out with the kids for a walk in the snow.  The arms are a tad bit long, as I added about 2 inches of length to both the body and the sleeves, but I’d rather them be long then short.  It truly is so cozy and warm without being too heavy.  I loved every minute of knitting it.  Totally easy, relaxing, and simple.  Shepherd’s wool is so squishy and soft and just 100% wool.  The colorway, “sea breeze,” makes me think of the ocean.  I could definitely see myself knitting it again.

 

yarn along

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In the midst of our move at the end of February, Philippa had a high fever.  A few days later, I took her to the doctor who confirmed she had an ear infection and also Flu B.  A few days later, I came down with the flu as well, and spent the weekend in bed.  Everyone else has gone on tamiflu to avoid getting it and so far that has worked.  Thankfully, one of the few things that the flu is good for is giving time for rest.  So I was able to finish a few things!  I finished my lila sweater and love it so so much, can’t wait to share pictures with you.  I haven’t worn it yet because  it seem sacrilegious to dirty it with flu germs somehow, so I’m waiting till I’m all better.  I cast on the Campside shawl by Alicia Plummer and have been literally enjoying every stitch.  I always love knitting with Madelinetosh, maybe my favorite yarn, and this colorway is so bright and happy.

I finished Braving It, and it was a great read/distraction while being sick.  I enjoy any such story about adventures in Alaska, and this one was interesting because of the father/daughter aspect of the story.  It confirms to me my desire to raise our kids to love and treasure the wilderness and gave some inspiration toward that.

I’m almost done with Long Days of Small Things, also literally enjoying and marking up every page.  It will be one I will return to and treasure.  Such great encouragement for this busy season of motherhood.  I wish I could buy it for every young mom I know.

I’m also reading Is the Bible Good for Women, a timely read it seems with our cultural and political climate, though I think that’s probably always been true.  I’m only a couple of chapters in and curious how it will go.

Joining with Ginny’s weekly yarn along.
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carrying on

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Buds rise quiet and swell on the branch.  It’s the first week of March, everything and everyone is anxious for spring.  Some days it’s already been in the low 70s, sunny and warm, and the next day it’s back in the 30s.  It’s still technically winter, but spring presses in, trying to burst forth.

It seems like a fitting analogy for my own season.  For this wait.  Last weekend we packed our home into a large box, essentially, and closed it up, everything on hold for now until we close on our home at the end of this month.  We moved our bare necessities into my parent’s home nearby and have moved in with them for the interim.  Such wild grace to us, this welcome mat extended to our family, the carving out of space and sharing of everything so that we can walk through this transition with as much normalcy as possible.  Because we are here with them, my mom has been helping out even more than normal with my day-to-day tasks.  She watched the kids while I went for a run the other morning–such a gift to a momma who normally squeezes in my workouts in the house during the kid’s nap time (necessary but terribly boring sometimes).  It does my soul good to get out on a quiet trail and have the solitude of the woods.  As I was running, enjoying the movement of feet and legs, the filling and emptying of lungs, the way the wind sounds moving through winter limbs and pines, I was aware of a hush of waiting.  I don’t know really how else to describe it, only that I felt my own soul’s wait as I felt the natural world waiting in the dormancy of winter for spring.  Everything is still alive, though it has the appearance of death.  Everything is holding life though it has the appearance of barrenness.  But the life cycle demands that death and dormancy must happen so that new life can burst forth.

We resist our own winters.  We resist periods of death and dormancy and waiting.  We resist pain of any sort, of course.  Yet it is good to remember that it is necessary, this winter, so that spring can come.  And spring will come.

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19

We are in this beautiful and awkward season of in-between.  Our home packed up, waiting for the word that this home we have been working toward will in fact be our own.  We haven’t shown the home to the children yet.  They’ve ridden out this transition well, but not without some tears and questions and some “I wanna go home!”  Meanwhile we are in a period of waiting for answers on Phoebe’s health.  She is nearing the end of this three month elimination diet, and soon we will do more blood work and likely another endoscopy.  All around the same time as our closing on the home and moving in.

How appropriate it seems, that our own family story would coincide with the seasons, the melting of winter into spring.  I can’t help but also think of this lenten season, the time during the church calendar when we remember Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us so that we may that much more enjoy and celebrate the resurrection (Easter).

So we embrace this season of holy hush, the waiting, the discomfort of it, because we know that our own spring is coming.  All of the details of our story may not work out perfectly and our circumstances may continue to prove difficult, but we know that somehow God will be faithful to us and will provide all that we need.

And so we carry on.  We receive the gifts of this winter season as it comes to an end.  We enjoy this special time with my parents and sharing life together.  We keep on with school, with our piles of library books, with knitting and other little family rhythms.  The kids find new trees to climb and places to make a fort.  We look for the early signs of spring, the blooming forsythia, the green pressing up through soil.  We pay attention to the birds, noticing how gladly they sing.

yarn along

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My lila sweater is blocking, only needs some ribbing on the neck and then weaving in ends.  I cannot wait for it to dry so I can finish and wear it!  Meanwhile, I’ve been itching to knit a shawl for some time.  The Campside shawl by Alicia Plummer has been in my queue for quite some time and it’s a free pattern that seems simple and produces a nice large cozy shawl, perfect for spring evenings.  So I’m gauge swatching for that, knitting with Madelinetosh DK in color way Harvest.

Also, I’m still reading Long Days of Small Things but also checked out Braving It from the library and have a hard time putting either book down.  I highly recommend BOTH!  Not much time for reading this week, but I squeeze in a few pages before bed.

Joining with Ginny’s weekly yarn along link up.
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