We bought this fixer-upper the year I struggled with postpartum depression. When we first drove by it, I immediately imagined myself sitting on the back steps. Even though the renters kept the place a mess, I saw beyond it, and the place charmed me. Sean started the initial phase of fixing up the place but soon discovered that it was not his strong point. On the other hand, I discovered an ability and enjoyment in doing things around the house, from painting to landscaping. It took me nine hours to dig out all the large flagstones for the walkway and many more hours to lay them back down over a base of landscape fabric and sand. Eventually, I had the dying tree in front cut down then put flower beds around the perimeter of the house. Inside, I painted the living room sage green and the ugly brick fireplace a creamy white for a cottage chic feel. The dining room had a yellow and blue stained glass chandelier, so I painted the walls a cheerful yellow and hung vintage-looking curtains that were cream with yellow and blue flowers. It was so elegant! The kitchen had a French bistro feel, with chocolate brown walls, a dark green counter top, and curtains and a border to match. It was fabulous!
Fixing up the home and making it ours was therapeutic to me during that difficult time. It promoted my healing to be a big part of creating that loveliness when I felt broken and incapable so much of the time. Though there were painful times, there were so many more joyful moments in that home. My children were so happy! They had friends come over for birthday parties, play dates, and our annual gingerbread decorating party. I hosted tea parties and game nights with friends. We raked leaves in the Fall and jumped in them, and the house seemed made for Christmas decorations. Our neighbors were slowly coming out of their shells, and our house was becoming the gathering place to chat and play. Many of the happiest memories of my life took place at that house, and I will carry them in my heart forever.
I am okay with that season being over and recognize the growth that took place in our lives when we moved away. This journey we are on with God is ever-deepening, and I appreciate the understanding I have gained in the last two and a half years since we moved from there. What made that house special ultimately was more than the outward design of it - it was the presence of God and a happy little family. He's still with us wherever we go, and we're still that happy family!