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Archive for October, 2010

Happy Reformation Day!

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October 31st is a “Family Day” for us…in the past, we have gone out to eat at a restaurant or headed to a theater to see a movie together. This year we were a little chilled and tired after a fun “Harvest Festival” day at church, so we popped some popcorn and made hot chocolate (“hot vanilla” for my Feingold diet munchkins!) and headed down to the basement to watch “Hook”, which was a favorite in my family growing up. We pulled the blinds down and turned out all the lights in the house so that nobody would come to the door.

Why do we not “celebrate Halloween”?? Various reasons, none necessarily the same as why others choose to bow out of activities on “All Hallows Eve”. Though we do miss the opportunity to be missional in our neighborhood, greeting each person who comes to the door seeking treats, what we gain is the chance to make this day stand out as something different…something apart from what can easily become a day to glorify darkness and evil, death and fear. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” 1 John 1:5.

October 31st is Reformation Day. So we speak to the children (some years in more detail than others) about the gospel and those who gave their lives to proclaim it. About how precious the church is to Christ, who gave his life for it. About God’s Word, and how privileged we are to have a copy (or several!) in our own language that we can read without fear of punishment. We set this day aside to spend together as a family, doing something fun. Though the expectation would be there for our children to respect our decision to be different from other families regarding this day, we still want it to be fun for them, a special experience.

So…there we are. Happy Reformation Day!!

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The kitchen and dining area, ready for a showing.

I know that I left off in the middle of Thursday night’s unfolding drama, but allow me to back up a little for some “big picture reflection” on this whole crazy experience…it will shed light on Thursday Night and it’s Ensuing Events, I promise. (Yes…sometimes I like to capitalize Pooh-style).

From the moment I saw those very first pictures of the house, I could feel the pulling at my heart…that old, familiar feeling, as if the pursuit of a lovely home with all it’s trappings were a drug and I was tempted to chase after another high, doing whatever I had to do to get my “fix”. Houses are my “thing”…maybe partly because I’m a designer, or maybe I’m a designer because of my natural affinity for beautiful surroundings? Whichever is true, the plain and honest truth is that it can become an idol for me. In no time flat.

I began to pray very specifically about the whole situation, from the first showing right up through the offer process and the preparation to place our own home on the market. And as we went through it all, I could feel a peace in the midst of the chaos. A presence…a quiet whispering in my heart…even regarding such simple matters as “clean this thoroughly”…”place that here”…ideas came to mind, details that could easily have been forgotten were brought to memory. Midst the helter-skelter whirlwind of those days there was a clarity and focus that seemed other-worldly and not of my own mustering. God made it clear to me that he had his hand on every aspect of this sudden and surprising adventure. I was unwaveringly sure of this…until Thursday night.

I believe I already mentioned that it was getting late. It was after 9 pm, that much I do recall. I was finishing off some painting in the hall, applying a fresh coat of Liveable Green over smudges and dirty handprints. I was so very tired. In the kitchen I poured another pool of paint into the tray and, balancing it in my hand while walking through the living room, I walked up three steps and picked up the roller to begin. I suddenly realized something was wrong…my stretch pants were wet with something. Looking down, I saw a thick layer of paint covering the front of my clothes…I followed the trail of paint, eyes widening as I took in the carpeted stairs, now a saturated pale green, and continued following the trail over the wood floor of the entry hall and into the carpeted living room. Without even realizing it, I had tipped the tray sideways as I walked across the house.

I lost it. I was so exhausted, so pregnant. It was late and we had a showing scheduled for 12:30 the following afternoon. My husband quickly took control and ordered me to calm down, assuring me that everything was going to be just fine.

We sopped up, dapped, mopped, scrubbed. My husband made a late-night dash to the grocery store and rented a Rug Doctor steam cleaner. An hour of steam cleaning later, I still had green carpet. Liveable Green.

A call to a friend turned up the number of a local carpet cleaning business that offered 24 hour emergency service. I made the call and left a message. My call was returned within the hour. No problem, he said, he could be there at 8 am the next morning. Still, I was left a wet and soapy, deliriously tired mess, questioning whether God really had His hand on all of this or not.

Long story short. The carpets were thoroughly cleaned. Though the two couples who saw the house the next day (one of whom were, in the end, the buyers!) had to put footies over their shoes and walk through a wet living room, what they saw was a very clean and attractive berber carpet from the living room on up the stairs, to the edge of the bedroom doors. The carpeting on the stairs that had been near to blackened from seven years of children coming and going were clean and of a color that I barely recognized from when we first moved in. God knew!

We sold our house in 21 days to the second couple that looked at it on the first day it was on the market. Those days are a blur of cleaning, setting the table with the most beautiful table settings I could pull together, lighting candles, grabbing bags of trash on the way out the door, herding children into the van and driving off in the nick of time for yet another showing. Once the offer was placed and accepted, the rest of the process went so smoothly and so quickly that it shocked all parties involved, from the realtor to the mortgage broker. Though it was a nightmare of paperwork and phone calls and inspections and all manner of little details, once again we felt that peace as it all came together.

I packed a few boxes a day up until the last few, which are a blur of cardboard, tape, and packing paper. Our movers didn’t show up on moving day, and even when we did get a crew out to the house we had to do a last-minute filing for occupancy to get into the new house because of mistakes made on the part of the moving company. My husband worked with the crew until 9 pm to load the last of the boxes into the garage, and then he came back to the old house and helped me clean until 11 pm. The next day he hopped on a plane for a business trip, leaving me and the children at his parents’ house, a little shell-shocked.

It was a Wednesday morning. The children and I woke up in the lovely, light-filled yellow house for the first time. As we were eating breakfast, a flock of wild turkeys ran through the backyard…one straggler peeked in at us through a window. We gazed out at the wild cherry trees with their beautiful waving branches of soft pink and at the crabtrees in their riot of blossoms. The tall pines on the crest of the hill, the stone walls and the expanse of green lawn. I watched as little noses pressed against the glass, necks craning for just one more glimpse of the turkeys.

And I knew that we were home.

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