This just got real

There we sat three days before Thanksgiving, a huge sign in our front yard, announcing to the world the house we are living in is for sale and we’re looking to get out of dodge.

It’s a surreal feeling, sleeping in a house that one day soon may no longer be yours. You lay awake thinking of the memories made within those walls and how the building meant something to you but might not mean anything to anyone else and wondering if you will be okay with people scoffing at the way you didn’t keep up with maintaining your house the way you might should have.

You wish you’d painted the bathroom wall before the real estate agent came in, cellphone in hand to upload photos to the internet of where you lived for the past 16 years and where you still live, for the entire neighborhood to judge you by.

Someone we know recently put their house up for sale sale and because the person no longer speaks to us, an acquaintance thought it was okay to tell us “a friend went to the open house and said the house looks so bad inside. It’s sad.” The house doesn’t look bad inside. I’ve seen the photos and been in there, though not in a long time.

It’s amazing how lives get picked over based on the condition of a building and how judgments are made based on ripped wallpaper in a kitchen.

Money was something we had years ago so we added a new roof and a fence and new, laminate floors then. But since then we haven’t painted inside or scrubbed the heckola out of the tub like we should have. Now we are left with self-imposed guilt and maybe a little personal disgust at ourselves for not being on top of such things.

But . . . life happens.

Chronic illness sets in, stress happens, friendships are lost, family members pass away and eventually you don’t notice the flaws in the house because you stare at it every day and it’s just your house, so much less important than the gnawing worry in your gut that you’re somehow ruining your children or will never have real, meaningful friendships again.

So here we sit in this house, a sign in our front yard, photos live online and the soul of the house left open for others to judge and shake their heads at. It feels almost cruel, leaving what has sheltered us – our children and our pets for so long behind but yet we hope that when we do some other family will come and find within its walls the same comfort, the same shelter, the same memories to be made.

Maybe it will all come full circle – a young couple standing on the porch, like my husband and I did so long ago, unsure what the future would hold but hoping for the best. And maybe a baby will be added like it was for us and life will really begin and then one day, they’ll know that it’s time to move on — more space needed, a new job started — and step away like we did, only to start the cycle all over again when the house wraps its arms around another family.

Sunday Bookends: House selling, snowstorms and rediscovering art

Last week our house went up for sale and we prepared ourselves for a long wait before someone asked for a showing, even though we were hoping for a quick sale because we have a house we want to buy closer to my husband’s new job (and the purchase is contingent on the sale of the one we currently live in). Our house is a cozy, well-lived in house perfect for our little family, but it’s also a fixer-upper, so we didn’t expect people to rush to buy it. Imagine our surprise, and panic, when someone asked for a showing two days after the house went online. We were given seven days to repair a few, minor issues we thought we’d have at least a month, if not longer, to repair. As of now, we are down to four of those days with the majority of the repairs made, but a few still needed – including cleaning out my very full bedroom closet.

Of course, just because we’ve had a request for a showing doesn’t mean the people will be interested or buy it. This could be a long process and we know that. Our challenge next week will be getting the kids and the cat and dog out of the house at the same time. We don’t have friends or family near us so we’ve decided the kids will go to the library and I’ll wait in the parking lot with the animals in the van (since I have no plan to try to shove our cat into that little carrier again. The last time was for a trip to the vet a few months ago and my skin is still healing from some of the gashes she sliced across my skin.) I’m sort of hoping this process isn’t too drawn out since I don’t relish the idea of dragging the animals and all of us out of the house each time someone wants to look and see if our house can become their house.

The contents of that very full closet in my room have left me crying almost daily as I work through it, tossing scrapbooks into containers, photos of people who are now gone or no longer speak to us falling out of them. Then there are the journals, which I no longer look at because they contain too many cans of worms I prefer not to open. A couple interesting items I did find were old sketchbooks from college that contained images I took hours and hours to create but usually didn’t finish. Art was such a stress reliever back then but now I don’t seem to have the patience for it. Maybe I’ll get some patience back during the social media break I’m doing during December.


I remember working on this project, which is made up of thousands of tiny dots made with an ink pen (a process called stippling) as a stress reliever but also as a way to focus better during college lectures. I find I can focus on sermons and lectures better when I can doodle of have something to do with my hands. I know there is science behind that but I don’t really want to research it and explain it here, so we will address that in another blog post.

Anyhow, I was working on this piece of artwork during a sociology lecture when the professor, walking up and down the aisle, pontificating about something sociology related, stopped and suggested I should be taking notes, not working on art. But then he said “So, can you listen to me better while you’re doing that?” I said I could. He looked at it again and said “That’s quite good. Carry on.” and then continued to walk up the aisle, rambling away.


I need to finish that picture now that I’ve found it again. It would be a nice distraction, dotting away on a piece of paper, while the stresses of life (house selling, family and friend losses) swirl around me.

I should also finish this pen and ink sketch I started of The Beatles, I think.


Our first snowstorm of the winter looks like it may hit us today and tomorrow, complete with a couple layers of ice and then up to 12 inches of snow. It even has a name- Snowstorm Ezekiel. At this point, we are just waiting to see what it actually brings in terms of snow or ice versus what the forecasters are saying. The big blob of pink and purple has been moving toward us but I haven’t seen much outside yet.

The snow will keep us inside but that’s a good thing considering we still have quite a few repairs to make and cleaning up to do before the showing.

So, how about you? What are you all up to or what have you been up to? How is the weather where you are? Cold? Warm? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll leave you with a verse from the book of Ezekiel in honor of Storm Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 37: 9-14 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”