I just wanted to post the picture that I chose for the picture of the year that represents us as a family. There have been many changes to our family this year---what with moving to a new home after renting for 9 years, a set of twins turning one and becoming very mobile and busy, putting in a huge garden at my mother's house. But when it all came down to it, I realized that God fulfilled Anna's dream of having a sister all over again this year. When she began to pray for a sister I think she was two years old. Maybe three. And she prayed. And prayed. And prayed.
Then, when she was 10 years old, God not only brought her a sister, He brought her two.
This year, however, that all changed. The littles are old enough to come and hug her, chase her around, include her in their favorite game of "choo-choo" (where they run through the house holding onto one another and giggling to beat the band).
But the best part is they love their big sister and love to suddenly kiss her on the cheeks when they can do it and surprise her. I caught this while we were doing Christmas pics, and am posting it as the picture of the year for all it represents for the heart of our oldest daughter.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
I can say it now.
We are FINALLY HOME.
As I walk down the stairs, my hand running down the banister that countless other generations of men of women have touched.....as I see the brightly lit Christmas tree glowing in the corner of the room that has housed too many Christmases to count, I just have to shake my head and smile.
This house is perfect for us in every way. More room to add to our family. All of the "old house" wood and attributes that we had been looking for..........beautiful floors, picture windows, all the neat and quirky things that go along with owning a house that is over 100 years old.
Oh we looked at houses.
House after house after house.
Farm after farm.
Property after property.
One of the houses we had looked at was really in need of a lot of work, and while walking through it a second time with a friend, she pointed out something written on the walls: "redrum". Of course in capital letters, and written in red spray paint, I had just assumed it was graffiti from some kids. Little did I know it was the word MURDER written backwards, and in the kitchen nonetheless! I had been uneasy before that, but with that knowledge, we just couldn't get out of there fast enough, to the pain of the realtor.
And the only other one we got serious about it just seemed like things kept happening. Things such as the realtor never calling us back, being reluctant to walk us through the home, the owners coming home in the middle of the showing....a serious storm that tore down almost all of the grove of trees, making things impassable for those who might be looking to purchase the land and home. But we persevered , telling ourselves it was just a setback, and that THIS was the property we wanted. We wouldn't take NO for an answer, never realizing that perhaps what we thought was best was not what the Lord intended from the beginning.
The Lord must have realized that the stiff-necked Esteys were not going to be strong-armed away from that place, so instead, he chose to woo us. Isn't that the way things always work?
Here we were, looking out in the country, miles away, and the house he had for us was literally 3 blocks from the house we were renting at the time. God brought us here.
3 blocks from my partially handicapped mother who needs someone to drive her to places she needs to go, and who loves to spoil my kids rotten.
3 blocks from the huge gardens we had set up last year to provide fresh and canned food for the family that God is growing by leaps and bounds.
3 blocks from the library and all our daughter's friends......two VERY IMPORTANT things in the life of an almost 12 year old girl. :)
He brought us here. Sweet talked us. Introduced us to some new friends who were believers that had begun attending our church. Walked us through their house.
And I fell in love.
It didn't have 5 acres to it, such as we were originally looking for, actually a rather normal backyard with lots of trees (which wont last long with all I want to do around here incidentally). Instead it had four large bedrooms, and was huge and old, and full of character and promise. We negotiated a deal and only a few weeks later, found ourselves confronted with a HUGE project.......how to get this house into the condition we wanted it before we moved the three rambunctious children in our family in. I knew with the two toddlers there was no way I was going to be able to finish BIG projects once we were all moved in. So six weeks of intense work and then........
While we were in the very long drawn out process of scraping all the wallpaper off the walls upstairs to get things finished, Kurt and I were stunned to uncover handwriting BENEATH the last layer of wallpaper in our bedroom. After research we realized the last layer of wallpaper was pre-1930, and we are not sure when it was put on there.
We began to uncover history of a house that for more than ONE family, had had believers living in it.
Written, in simple handwriting, on a wall of a room that once was intended for parents with small children in the adjoining room, was a mother's admonition to her children:
"say your prayers."
I'll admit it. After the wonder passed, I cried. What a beautiful thing to find when you have looked and prayed and longed to be HOME for almost 9 years. To know that God chose THIS house and told us to sink our roots deep, because this is where He planted us, and our children.
So this Christmas, as I walk down the stairs with the original staircase from 1911, and think of raising my children in this home, in having my grandchildren come and visit here...maybe, if God chooses, to be able to pass this home on to one of my children when we move on to our heavenly home...I feel such an overwhelming peace and strength as I have never known.
By the way, we followed this amazing example recorded for us. Beneath different things that we replaced we wrote scriptures that were important to our family. Just in case someone, somehow in the future decides that they need to change things around and God has moved us on somewhere........
As we gather around the Christmas tree in a couple weeks and I watch my children open their presents, I will be praising and thanking God for keeping me from anxiety and hearing all the years of heartfelt prayers as we settle into the home He planned for us.