What I'm leaving behind

In a little over 3 weeks I'll be leaving this house that has been my home for more than 12 years. 
 It has seen the very, very best of me and the very, very worst of me.  
tears and laughter; 
fights and making up; 
ups and downs; hot and cold; 
babies, toddlers, preschoolers, grade schoolers, middle schoolers and teens; 
times of great faith and times of great doubt; 
fears and failures; joy and triumphs; 
marriage and divorce; 
hard work and silly play; 

In the last few years there have been a lot of changes around here with regards to the house.  
Physically, the house has gone through a complete overhaul.  The unnecessary was discarded, donated or sold. The necessary was acquired and put to good use, including a new stove, hot water tank, flooring, roof, paint, etc. etc.  I've worked hard to maintain a house that I never thought I'd have to care for on my own. 
 Emotionally, the house has seen it's share of ups and downs too.  My prayer several years ago was that this house would be a place of peace and safety.  For me.  For my kids.  For anyone who would step over the threshold.  And I have to say, God answers prayer!  No amount of renovating by me could have done this miracle and made this house the home it's been in the past few years.  

So....am I sad to leave it?  A little, yes.  But I know that the God who carried us this far is leading us into a new adventure and the home he built with us here....can be built again, even better, at the new house.  And any ties I have to this house, are dwarfed by the much stronger ties to my God who has never, ever left us on our own. I'm sorry....I just can't say it any better than this:

A few photos and memories of the house we're leaving behind.  (Note:  these photos were taken professionally to sell the house - something that happened, literally, overnight - so if you're thinking my house ever really looked this good, the joke's on you)

 My "spa" bathroom:  I loved this room.  We initially renovated this room because one of our children dropped something in the toilet that was irretrievable.  Even the plumber told us to take it out to the backyard and smash it and let him know what was in there (the cap to a spray can, incidentally). My favourite part, aside from the colours.....a deep soaker tub which, yes, I will miss dearly!
 My craft room:  I love how neat and organized it looks here.  If you know anything about me at all, you know it only ever looks like this just before I start creating.  I was very excited a few years ago when my two oldest wanted basement bedrooms and all that was left for me to scrapbook in was this Upstairs room, with a window :)
 Laundry room: yes, I'll miss this space. It's not finished but it reminds me of how God provides....2 freezers with food to spare and a washer and dryer that have lasted and lasted and lasted.
 Teen room #1:  Style maybe defined as Vintage meets IKEA meets Grandma's afghan.
 Basement bathroom:  Again, my favourite "waterfall" colour.
 Shed:  (obviously these pictures are in no particular order)  This shed has been snowed in all winter so honestly, it'll be a surprise to me what's all in there when we get around to digging it out to move :)
 Pre-teen room: Go Bombers! 
 Pantry: So much lovely storage space.  THIS, I will miss!! 
 Dining room: This room has seen many meals, many games, many family discussions, and much love!
 The front yard;  This yard reminds me of football games and toboggan slides; sprinkler wars and basketball games; furniture painting and yard sales; somersaults and bocce ball; late night coffee and early morning....well, coffee too :)

 Rec room:  otherwise known as the Xbox room.  Many a sleepover has happened in this room - exactly my intention in finishing out this room and stocking it with piles and piles of blankets and pillows.
 Master bedroom:  I will miss this room. This room has definitely been touched by God and it has become a place of peace and laughter and lots of silliness.  You can't see it in this picture but above the white dresser in the far right corner, there's a TV mounted on the wall.  We've had so many family movie nights with the 4 of us snuggled into this bed.  Funnier still is that recently most of us are close to 6' tall and we also have 3 cats joining us.  It's a big pile of fun :)  The kids are trying to convince me that I need a King size in the new house so we can still all fit in there :)

 Kitchen:  I painted these cabinets just this last Christmas and the flooring was done last August.  I adore these colours and I'm really sad to leave them.  I'm copying a bit of this in my new house but it won't be quite the same.  Lots of cooking and lots of eating happened here!
 Playhouse:  Rockwall, slide, rope ladder, secret trap door, and monkey bars.....this was a unique design that we made ourselves.  I have no idea how many kids have played on this but I pray that the kids who will be playing on here this coming summer will be as safe, happy and silly as mine were. 
 Teen bedroom #2:  Snowcone green.  It's even brighter in real life.  
Living room:  Another room that's probably never been so clean and neat before....and maybe never will be again as long as we're around.....but a room that's been full of family movies, wrestling matches, deep heart-to-heart talks, coffee with friends, a party or two, Christmas gatherings, meals, devotions, music and drama. 

There you have it.  What I'm leaving behind.   A house that was my home....but in the end, to me, just a house.  Our home will be where we end up (wait for the next blog post)and this house will go on to be home to another family who will love it and find love in it.

The house story....and walking on the water

This has been a crazy season here at our home.  Crazy-crazy.  
Like nothing I ever thought would be happening.
This song keeps running through my head the whole time: 

It's long, I know, but well worth the listen....trust me.  

If you don't have time to listen just now - here are the lyrics.

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Lyrics


You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand

 And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

 Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed, and You won't start now

 So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

 Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior x 3

We're moving.  I think that's the craziest of all. 
Coming out of the divorce with my kids all living primarily with me in our family home has been a HUGE blessing.  They needed the stability and the assurance that both their dad and I had their best interests at heart.  And for the most part, it's been a fairly smooth transition.  But I've known all along that with only my single income, keeping this house wasn't an option indefinitely so I've been keeping my eyes open for something to downsize into that would both a.) fit my current family and also b.) be a viable option for me when they all move away from home (which, sadly, kids tend to do).  

I've looked at several houses and I've been scouring the local real estate sites for a long time now.  The house that piqued my interest the most was a house I went to see last Fall.  It had almost everything we needed except for 2 things.  1.) The price point between what I could get for mine, and what they were asking for that one wasn't a wide enough gap to make it worthwhile.  And 2.) It was weird. 
By weird, I mean it was ROUND. 

 I couldn't quite wrap my head around such a weird house and whether we could pull it off.  So, despite seeing it in person twice last October, I let it go and decided to wait.  

The months went on through this viciously cold winter and I kept looking at real estate websites, flyers, and even private sales.  Nothing seemed to jump out at me and the more I looked, the more I kept coming back to this house I'd looked at in Fall.  This January/February, I had a month or two of stress over it.  If you know me at all....I'm not a worrier.  I don't worry.  I don't stress.  But this house issue was causing me stress.  Finally one day in March, I was sitting and doing my devotions in the morning (house on the brain) and I came across this verse:

James 4:2
You do not have because you do not ask God.

Sometimes you just KNOW that you're being spoken to....am I right?

So, I wrote down the verse.  And then I took out a clean piece of paper and started writing down the list of have-to-have's in a house.  Not any house in particular, just a house.   And I asked.

About 2-3 days later, I received an email from my real estate agent.  It said (in part) this:

Do you still think about the round house? It still has not sold. I would be willing to write a lower offer and give them the opportunity to respond to it. They can say no. 
Sometimes we have not because we ask not."

And again.....sometimes you just KNOW.
I knew.  I knew that at the very least, I had to explore the option one more time.

Long story short:  I went to see it again; completely reconciled the "weird" factor in my head and knew it would come down to finances.   I offered really low; they counter-offered middle of the road (well within my window). I listed mine a few days later (after a few long, hard days of purging and cleaning it up); asked high and got a really nice counter-offer (also within my window) the day after I listed it.  
Signs like that are hard to ignore.  

Not at all where I thought I'd be. 
In the past few years:  Working full time? In a middle school? No more grade 1's?  Divorced?  For the most part single-parenting?  Teenagers?  Owning a house, on my own? Selling and buying another house, on my own? 
 I feel like I'm walking on water....deeper than I ever thought my feet would wander....into the great unknown where feet may fail.  My feet.  May fail.  
BUT I am totally seeing  that I'm finding God in the mystery of this adventure.  He's calling me out.  His sovereign hand is my guide.  He hasn't failed and I expect he won't start now.  And in the middle of this my faith is being made stronger in the presence of my Saviour.