Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mystery Neighbor

I will eventually get back to the house story, but tonight I have something else on my mind. That something else is actually a some"one" else. It is my neighbor.

He lives right next door. Our yards join. I have lived in this home for just over 4 months and I have never even laid eyes on the man. The winter was rough and long and to tell you the truth spring has been a little less than appealing. The weather just hasn't been all that conducive to being neighborly. I understand.

I finally met the gal across the street and the family whose yard joins "mystery neighbor" on the other side. Apparently they saw him once, but not again and expressed that if they passed him on the street, they would have no idea who he was.

So today, while working in the yard on the side of the house closest to his, I hear his car pull in and the garage door raise. Hoping this might be the chance to meet him, I take a quick peek his way just as he pulls into the garage. I wait expectantly for that moment when I might call out a cheery hello. Disappointment replaces expectation as he begins to drop the door the second the tail of his car is clear. I don't even think he had turned off the ignition quite yet.

My heart began to ache for him. What causes a person to desire such aloneness? He lives alone in a relatively large home. Obviously he wants nothing to do with his neighbors, but who does he want something to do with?

Maybe his life is great and full outside the confines of this subdivision. Perhaps he has a great circle of friends and coworkers. It is possible that the rest of his world is busy and hectic and he wants his time at home to be quiet place of refuge away from the craziness of life. Perhaps.

Something tells me, though, that his "hiding" goes much deeper. I wonder how his thinking might change if he knew his neighbor cared.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A New Home? (Part 2)

The end of my last blog left us pondering and praying. What would our dream home look like? What was important to each of us in a home? Dare we begin to dream about it at all? Did the Lord have something in mind for us?

Our dreams included: Space for all our kids to come home with their growing families, a main level master bedroom, another room on the main level for aging parents and grandchildren to visit. Dan, being a lover of movies and enjoyer of game playing wanted guy space, maybe even a "man cave". I longed for a place for my piano, my music and my other creative outlets, scrap-booking, paper-crafting, sewing, etc. Outdoor space was also a high priority. We both love being outside and hoped for space to play and garden.

Our dreams were big. They were after all just hopes, ideas, and possibilities. Musings at this point in the game have no boundaries.

Just for fun we contacted a realtor friend, gave her our price parameters and possible areas we might like to live. She lined up a realtor search engine for us and we began to receive emails detailing homes for sale that fit our parameters. Over the course of the next 2 and a half years we viewed a few hundred houses. Most of these we rejected online , but occasionally we would schedule an appointment to see a house or two. We did not have to move, so we were in no hurry. We also decided the home/property needed to be at least a 9.5 for us or we wouldn't even consider it. We were content, but still curious as to what God might be doing. Still, it was a wee bit scary at the same time. Moving is a huge decision and we were not considering it lightly.

In the middle of my prayers regarding the buying and selling of homes, God reminded me of a scripture in Luke 11 which says, "Which of you Fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" This scripture reminded me that I could trust the Lord to give me what I needed, but it also inspired me to pray a little differently. We did not know what was best for us in this situation. We knew what we liked, but we didn't fully know what to ask for or if we should move. Sometimes I believe that our prayers are not answered in the way that we desire because it is not what is best. Perhaps we are asking for a scorpion, or, that is, something that could be harmful to us and we don't even realize it. So with that in mind, I asked the Lord to protect us from what we were possibly seeking. Were we asking for a snake? a scorpion? Would moving be detrimental to us? Was a move okay, but certain homes were not the best choice for us?

We needed and wanted His protection.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A New Home? (Part 1)

I can't believe I left us standing in the kitchen for almost 4 months. We can all surmise that moving is all-consuming and writing time has been squeezed out of my life.

Before I move farther into the nitty gritty of life in the new home, preparing and selling the old home, I want to share how we came to own this new residence.

We were contentedly living in the world of "someday we might like to move and get more of what we would consider our dream home and most likely our final home." Then one day my husband takes a bike ride out in the flat land of the river bottoms. He stops at the end of his route to grab a drink of water, and begins a conversation with a woman pulling out of her drive-way. He tells her that he loves it out there and that her property is really nice. She casually tosses out the invitation, "Do you want to buy it?" As it turns out her daily commute was an hour both ways and she was weary of living where she did.

So my husband comes home, tells me about the conversation and the next thing you know we have made an appointment with the family to see the home. We absolutely fell in love with the property, which was three acres of flat land, including a grove of trees with a creek running through deep in the back yard. The home would need some work, but the property itself was so enticing. My husband loved the thought of living in a place that he could jump on his bike and ride. It seemed a bit isolated for me, but I too loved the property and thought I could adjust. For me the thought of what I could do with a garden there encouraged me to press forward.

The housing market had taken a hit and we would be able to get it for a great price if they were willing. We made an offer. They decided, though, that perhaps they were not quite ready to sell. No worries for us. We didn't have to move. We let it go easily enough.

Well, almost...What happened that we had not anticipated were the questions that begin to rise about a possible move. Was it time to start thinking about it? Did God want to stir that thought in our hearts and minds and did He use this house to push us toward opening the door to a new home sooner than we anticipated. Those questions led to the big question of what do we even want in a home? We had lived in our present home for over 20 years at this point. We were settled and not musing about the next home much. It was time to do some soul-searching, thinking, talking and of course, praying.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Moving Saga, Part 2

The house is ours! We have a closing date! Excitement abounds, but panic lurks at the door. Suddenly we are thrown into rush mode, right as we are headed into the holidays. When you are thrown into rush mode, but there is absolutely no time to physically do what needs to be done, then the head rushes along without the body. For me, that equals no sleep. There were so many nights I lay awake thinking that I should just get up and let my body join what my head was already doing. Still, I thought it was probably best for me to at least allow my body down time, even if the mind was not in agreement. I have learned that it is possible to go many nights with little sleep and survive. Grumpiness is a side-effect, however.

Finally we arrive to Dec 27, and I am able to draw a breath and begin to pack. Fortunately, the office is closed giving me extra hours to concentrate on the home stuff. Closing day is two days away and we have scheduled the following Friday and Saturday as move days. It will land on a holiday, but we have some very gracious friends and family who agree to help. (Bless you all!) The Tazmanian Devil had nothing on me as I whirled around packing in a fury. We had decided to leave most of the major furniture to stage the old house, but everything that could fit in a box and all the extra furniture was headed to the new house.

I gave the shout out for boxes and friends were kind enough to oblige. Every box that arrived was filled, taped shut and stacked in the dining room and living room.

Closing day arrived cold and rainy, but it couldn't damper our spirits. We headed off to sign the papers. Once every line was signed or initialed and dated we made our way to the our new home. We grabbed lunch to go on the way, so we could celebrate with a first meal in our new, yet empty kitchen. It wasn't until I stood in the kitchen that I was overwhelmed with emotion. The house was really ours...a gift from God's hand alone. "It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever." (Ps 44: 3, 8)

Perhaps I will blog later about how we came to purchase this home, but for now I will leave us in the kitchen, amazed and filled with gratitude! It wasn't the Extreme Makeover Ty Pennington's voice I heard that day, but a whisper of the Spirit saying "Welcome home, Drissell family, welcome home!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Moving Saga, Part 1

Hello, Blog! I've moved, but you are still easy to find, unlike almost everything else I own. It has been nearly 24 years since my last move and perhaps I had forgotten how tough moving can be, even across town and even when you choose to do it. Here are some things I am learning anew with this move.

It is stressful and there is no way around it. I feel so blessed to have this house and feel God's hand was in the whole thing, so somewhere in the back of my head full of denial, I must have thought it would be a wholly blissful occasion. Wrong. Let's set the scene a bit.

The circumstances surrounding the purchase of this home left us in the world of possibility, maybe an inkling of probability and absolutely no promise. We had no idea if we would actually acquire it or when until about 10 days before we signed the papers and even then were not 100% certain until those documents were autographed. We did not want to sell the home we presently owned until we knew for sure either as we did not have to move and did not want to be without a place to live.

Second point of stress: It is December. That statement alone probably says enough, but let me expound. I work for a church. The busiest days of the year are in December. One aspect of my job is that I help plan services, so I had an integral role for putting together a Christmas Eve service as well as the Sunday that followed two short days later. The weekend prior to Christmas, our sons graduated from college and needed to be moved out of their apartment and to their new residences. This was the week we got word the house indeed would be ours and we would close on Dec. 29th. Let me remind you that in the midst of all this there is still shopping to be done, meals to prepare, gifts to wrap, etc. and the family and other holiday celebrations.

Packing was delayed on two counts. I didn't know for sure if I was moving AND there was absolutely no time. So, following Dec. 26th service, the frantic move preparations began.

I am feeling a bit stressed just relaying all this and am up to my eyeballs in boxes, so stayed tuned for Part 2.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Carry on...

This evening I was posting an update on facebook. I meant to write the word carrying, but wrote the word caring instead. I found my mistake and corrected it, but it got me to thinking about the words and their relationship to one another. You could say they sound very similar. In a verbal conversation you might have to rely on content to understand what the speaker meant.

The spelling of the two words are of course different and they have quite different meanings really, but tonight I saw them in a whole new light for some reason. Could it be that when we care about another person, that is, caring for them, that we are carrying them somehow. When we care for another we help them carry their burdens, we help lighten their load.

Carry on...

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Introvert in Me

I once told a friend that I am complete extrovert and complete introvert. It is so true. I am all about relationships and have been told that I know how to do friendship. I love being with people and sharing life, laughing, crying, being quiet together, shouting "Hallelujah!", whatever the moment calls for. Sometimes it is all those in quick succession. The me that is the extrovert loves this stuff. It energizes her!

What of that other side, though? Who is she? What does she need? I ran into her again this weekend. I was attending a songwriter's conference. At the heart of the conference are the words, build relationships. I understand the necessity of those relationships and I don't totally withdraw, but I also don't throw the door open wide and say, "Ya'll come on in!" I chat with those around me even if they are strangers to me, but when everyone is taking pictures of each other and passing their contact info back and forth, I stand back and watch.

I offered hospitality as I hosted two ladies for the event. One I knew, mostly via the internet and a few phone conversations, the other I would meet for the first time when I picked her up at the airport. I think the introvert reached back and grabbed the extrovert pushing her in front momentarily for these situations. The extrovert was happy to do it!

What does this introvert side of me need, as I stand back and observe? Just as I can be strengthened by being in the company of others, the other side of me needs quiet and space to be renewed and refreshed. She also wants to know that those relationships are honest, real and trustworthy. So knock on the door and please don't be offended if it opens slow and cautiously from time to time. The next time you knock, I could very well throw it open wide and say "Ya'll, come on in!"