What an odd thing, to sit and write the story of our summer, on the brink of closing on our home and opening a new home. What a place to sit. It is a little droopy. It is a little tired. But it’s also filled with a spark of joy.

I began this summer thinking it would be a summer of violin lessons, tennis playing, swimsplashing, and lots of blogging. My list of semi-drafted blog posts is ongoing in my mind. I write while I’m nursing the baby down, sometimes when I’m cleaning the dishes, or doing my physical therapy exercises. I think how I would phrase this or that. I write it all in my head.

I did not think the summer would entail purging, packing, waiting, wondering, and then rejoicing. I thought it be normal.

I’ve sat to write this story several times, interrupted by life, feelings, and uncertainty. I can sit to write it now because our old house has new owners waiting to sign on the dotted line, and we have a new house where we will sign on the dotted line, all inside the next two weeks.

My ancestral home! The home I thought I’d be waked out of. The home we wondered which of our children would want to take over from us. The home that, despite its grand size, couldn’t actually accommodate our intergenerational living.

And that was the crux of it. As my my mom’s arthritis in her hip grew worse and worse, the three flights of stairs to go up & down became more difficult. More of an effort. Nearly impossible to do carrying a baby or helping a toddler.

So we brainstormed all the ways we could modify the house to fit our needs: access to a living area for my parents that didn’t require multiple flights of stairs. We looked into this and priced out that; I was sure there was a solution, refusing to face the idea of selling.

This house had become my life blood and I couldn’t–wouldn’t–detach from it.

Many hours of talking, looking, thinking, mourning, and accepting later, my sweet husband and I arrived at the same conclusion as my parents: sell the house, trust that God would provide the right house, and camp at my sister’s down the street while the house went on the market.

Too many friends had shared their horror stories of driving around all day with their many kids in the car while realtors and potential buyers looked and inspected. I was grateful that my sister offered her home to us without blinking (SORRY FOR THE COLORING ON THE FURNITURE AND BOOGERS ON THE WALL!). Eternally grateful.

Quietly, quickly, very quickly, I poured over our accumulated junk and precious paraphernalia in the attic, closets, basement, cupboards. How did we amass so much . . . stuff?? About six weeks later, the house was wiped down, wiped clean, and out we went.

The bitter sweetest part for me was learning to detach, completely surrendering to God’s plan for our family, and trusting, living out that trust, and letting go of the house. Okay, so that’s lots of parts. I packed boxes for storage at our country home, boxes for goodwill, and boxes for living at my sister’s for an indefinite period of time. Each time I sealed one shut, I thought where will I open this box? 

I would walk through the house before we moved out, speaking to each wall, each nook and cranny I knew from years of wiping them down, and say be good to your new owners, be good to your next family. That shows you how weirdly attached I was to the house! True conversations with the walls!

In a sweep of grace & lots of God shining down on us, we spotted a house “coming soon” across the street and a few houses down from my sister’s house. Our realtor friend got us in to see it around 3:30 in the afternoon, we made an offer by 5:30, and went to sleep having heard it was accepted. Whirl. Wind.

We couldn’t believe it when we walked through: everything we had hankered after, hoped for, and dreamed about, including room for modifications for my parents if/when they want, a laundry shoot, not too much space, not too little, raised bed gardens in back, and a wrap-around porch in front.

The blog has been neglected, but I have been sewing. My creative outlet provided a grounding sanity for me in all this turmoil and transition. I’ll be releasing limited linen dress & jumpsuit lines in the next month. I’ll be finishing some fun bibs soon, and wrapping up the summer with a sale on bonnets. Keep an eye on the shop for updates! My newsletter is the best way to find out when things are coming out and getting a little deal on them. Sign up for that here.

My old faithful sewing machine has chugged through while I’ve processed. It’s a real blessing to create.

I’ll keep you posted as we transition. The kids have had their moments, their sadness, their joy. We’ve had ours. The family overall has been joyful that we faced the reality of the house no longer serving its purpose for full-scaled living and that a wonderful new family will enjoy it. God works in mysterious ways and how all this has flowed together has assured me He is there, listening to our prayers, answering them in ways we cannot even imagine.

New hashtag for the new house: #wholeparentinghome on insta!

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

Dear Sisters,

I can call you that, right? We who walk this world together, between our hormones, lost babies, lost loves, arms full, arms by our sides, hands slipped into one another’s?

Are you looking left and right and seeing what I’m seeing?

A postmodern home, beautifully spartan and utterly minimalistic with lavender crown wreaths at the back door alongside a leather tote that looks ne’er tarnished? Tarnished. All my stuff is tarnished. I’m constantly reminded of the meme you see floating that ends “. . . and this is why we can’t have nice things.”

A slender figure with lipstick and that one hat everyone wears on a whirlwind adventure, drinking cafe au something by herself but still has a love interest. I’m gaping at the by-her-self part of that.

A woman who has an entire collection of scripture studies wherein she actually did all the pages, all of them. Her prayer life is embarrassing for the rest of us because clearly we spend more time on Netflix than Jesus.

The friend who eschews social media and effortlessly harvests the wild mushrooms in her back 40, crafting and creating alongside her handsome bearded flannelled husband and well-mannered, self-motivated, unschooled children. I need social media for the bonds forged deep into the Facebook messaging evening.

These sound like hyperbole. Maybe parts of them are. But maybe it’s true. Maybe you look around and you simply don’t have what your sisters are having and you want a big serving of it. Maybe it’s not just Oh, no, your life is great, honey and more like yeah, you aren’t there or there and your “here” kinda sucks.

You know how this letter will end. I’m gonna wrap it up with something inspirational and reaching beyond ourselves and our feelings and tie it all up in a sweet bow so that you, too, feel affirmed.

But before I get to that part, I’d like to just acknowledge that we don’t have it all. None of us has it all. I thought this as I sat, ALONE, at my oldest’s violin lesson today. I pulled out my Blessed is She planner and took notes from his teacher’s instructions to him. No, I didn’t have my own pen but I did scrounge up a pencil from the recesses of the studio corner desk. It occurred to me: I’m not nursing someone this very second and I can leave the baby for an hour and I’m not pregnant and I’m actually taking notes at a lesson. From the outside, I looked pretty put together, like I had it all. Aside from my unkempt hair.

But that’s just not true.

My healing is slow from our daughter’s shoulder dystocia. I can’t drive far or long. I can’t sit without too much padding. I also can’t bounce around or walk too much, especially while carrying our 21 pound 7 monther. I lay in bed and feel my pelvic floor tell me I did too much today. I shift to my other side only to feel my SI joints talk the same talk and then fumble around for that special-between-the-knees pillow. I remember that I only did part of my physical therapy exercise regiment because life interrupted me. I mourn that I had to cancel my trip to Austin for the Edel Gathering even though all the parts were in place! because travel simply isn’t possible at this stage of my recovery.

I look around me at my sisters and brim up with so many unsaid longings, so many unspoken comparisons that will only end in me feeling resigned to my life instead of appreciative of it.

I don’t want to feel resigned, sisters.

I do want to feel my heart pulse out joy in its lub-dub. I do want to be happy for you, the woman in great shape, and you, the woman with a lovely home, and you, the woman who can homeschool her brood of little sweeties.

Here comes the big bow to wrap this all up, sisters. I get to choose. I get to choose to be appreciative that despite my failings and struggles, my life is one ignited by the deep flame of God’s love for me. No matter what, that will never leave me. I choose joy and I choose gritty real life. They’re not incompatible. They’re my best choices that lead me to be a bigger vessel for love for those around me.

How’s your story going, sister?

Love,

Nell

SaveSave

I wanted to share with you all my faves I’ve purchased over the last year. With four kids and a postpartum healing that just won’t let up, going the actual store during the day is a nightmare. Amazon has been my saving grace on that front. Going with the best two behaved kids to Target still resulted in crying//spittingup//frantic nursing//dragging toddler body on the ground, so online #foreverandever

Linen Romper: I’m wearing this right now. I kinda live in it. Yes, I look like a polygamous sect wife gone wild, but hey, it’s awesome.

Stretchable shorts: It’s called having four kids. Yes, I’m not embarrassed that my shorts are stretchable. Okay, maybe. But I LOVE these. I ordered a tad larger to be forgiving and they fit like a glove. So either my estimation of my own size is off (likely) or they run close to the bum.

Epsom Salts: I soak in this salt almost every day. It’s really good for our aching bones, people.

Naty: These diapers are the very very best. They never leak and they’re 100% compostable and the pull-ups work like a charm for potty trainers and little fat babies alike!

Electric Kids Toothbrush: it plays a mash up of American kid songs and one we don’t recognize. BUT THEY BRUSH THEIR TEETH WITH THEM SO PRAISE!

Lunchbox for the fall: After a whole school year of putting my son’s lunch in this velcro contraption that was half fabric, half wipeable, I had it. This one looks promising and it’s in my kitchen waiting to be used this fall!

Washi tape: call me a convert. Can’t live without this.

Mobile: I forgot about that sweet age when a baby will awaken from a nap in her crib and want to eat her toes and stare at the (boring, blank, white) ceiling. This one is so beautiful and handmade!

Truffles: I bought them for a friend. I ate all of them. Not going to lie.

A few of my favorite things. Thanks for clicking on through and shopping your lil hearts out. I get a small sliver kickback!

Share →