Life lately: Home land

I’m already seeing back-to-school displays, and it feels like the summer just started. Hard to believe August here.

We spent May and June selling our south Seattle house and buying one in Renton, a suburb south of the city. Selling was no trouble as the buyers we worked with were eager and excited to buy our house, and they were genuinely nice people and easy to work with throughout the process.

The buying process, on the other hand, was just short of a nightmare. The sellers of our new house were unpleasant and difficult. After a few unforeseen complications, we finally closed on July 3rd and have been unpacking and getting settled ever since.

All that being said, we absolutely love this house. And more than just the house, we love the neighborhood, the neighbors and having a private backyard. Even the small annoying things, like the one toilet we can’t get to work in the very outdated bathroom, doesn’t bother me. I couldn’t say that about our Seattle house. No matter how updated the rooms became, there were so many things that just didn’t feel right: the flow from room to room, the layout of various rooms, that it was taking forever to fix up and update…the lack of neighborhood, community and yard privacy, among other issues.

But THIS house feels like–no, IS, HOME. The moment I walked in, I knew it. We were touring the master bedroom when I said to our broker: This is it. This is the house. He asked what about the house made me feel that way. “Everything,” I said. “The smell, the energy, the layout of rooms, the clean design, the mid-century bones updated timelessly. The yard.”

The yard was important because Maxine has so much extra energy to burn off, it provides her fresh air to do that. It provides her with a garden to meet fairies, to plant trees or fruits, to pick berries and apples and figs. It provides her a safe space to explore and pretend. And it allows us as a family a space to be outside more, to eat outside, to host outside. We absolutely treasure the backyard.

I’m sitting outside on the covered patio under cafe lights, listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. In the back of the garden, I can see the fairy house Maxie put out last week, with (LED) tea lights, to attract our flighty friends. Our neighbors are social but respectfully quiet. It’s truly a magical experience to live here, and I am grateful every day for the opportunity.

 

Continue Reading

Flourish

In my women’s Bible study group last Friday, our lead spoke to us about her word of the year – something she chooses each year and prays on before deciding what the word will be for her. It had never occurred to me to have a word for the year – a word to focus on, to be intentional about growing with for 2017. I had another word picked out, but this word came up and it fit perfectly. In group on Friday, I shared three of my top 10 goals for the year:

  • To be more optimistic;
  • To be intentional daily about gratitude; and,
  • To hike 100 miles in 2017.

To flourish is to act intentionally to increase your well-being in a profound way. Its definition reads: “to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way.” Its origin is Middle English: “from Old French floriss-, lengthened stem of florir, based on Latin florere, from flos, flor- a flower. The noun senses ‘ornamental curve’ and ‘florid expression’ come from an obsolete sense of the verb, ‘adorn’ (originally with flowers).” And how appropriate is it that we welcome a new family member into 2017, named Flora?

To me, the word flourish brings to mind beautiful, colorful petal-ly blooms, like peonies (my FAVORITE!), roses, carnations, ranunculus, and dahlias. These flowers tend to have full petals. Each flower tends to have thick, full blooms, representing the many blessings in one’s life. Each February when I start to see tulips and daffodils pop up, my hope for new life is renewed. I start to clean and prepare my house for fresh air and sunshine, for room to grow, for new adventures and exploring, for longer days that allow for more opportunities for goals to be reached.

In my research on the word flourish, I came across a 52-week devotional by Margaret Feinberg titled, Flourish: Live Free, Live Loved (just published this past September!). She asks, “What would a flourishing life look like for you?” I think that is an excellent question, and especially relevant as one of my over-arching goals for 2017 is to be happier, content, and calm. To flourish as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, sister, daughter, and in my relationship with God. I have been praying for His guidance in every area of my life as every area of my life lately has felt like a great challenge and uphill battle. And I feel completely emotionally ill-equipped and frozen with anxiety to move forward at times. I feel scared about having a new baby, which makes two kids under three!

I will be following up in my blog here on “flourishing” and how my journey is going this year. I am starting the Flourish devotional this weekend, and while I can’t guarantee how much I will do once the baby arrives, I do plan on keeping up as much as possible.

Continue Reading