I love hearing the stories our customers share about their home projects. It’s fun to see the passion and excitement that goes into a new build or home remodel. Sometimes it’s a giant project on a giant of a house but recently it was a story about a little house that reminded me of our early beginning back in the 80’s.
I was filled with anxiety the day Brent took me home to meet his mother. I knew we were nearly there when we left the main road. As the gravel crunched under the tires I took in the exquisite spring time in southern Oregon sight of a pear orchard in bloom. I was suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of home sickness and began to panic when I felt tears brimming. I tend to be a crier, always at the most inopportune times, and I didn’t want him to think I was an emotional freak who randomly cried at the sight of trees in bloom. I pulled myself together as well as I could and as we rounded the corner I saw this amazing little farmhouse with an old-fashioned Privet hedge. Vibrant yellow heirloom forsythia and the happy coral faces of flowering Quince distracted me from my wonky emotions. When I saw the water tower over grown with ivy I knew I would live here in this little house in the orchard one day. My feeling of home sickness wasn’t random. I connected on some unexplainable level with this place and with this man and his family.
We were married a short time later and moved in to this magical little house. It didn’t matter that the previous tenant had made one bedroom into a greenhouse for his not yet legal cannabis grow, lining the walls and ceiling with stapled up light-reflecting foil. I lovingly removed a gadillion (more than a million) staples.
It didn’t matter that there was only one bathroom and the ivy was growing in between the walls. It was like a natural sconce above the cast iron claw foot tub.
It didn’t matter that when marbles were dropped, or juice spilled it all ran into the sloping south east corner of the kitchen. It didn’t even matter when the kitchen cabinets would literally dissolve before my eyes from the decay of dry rot. I LOVED this snug little bungalow where our kids ran and played. They were safe to wander this hill where a loving grandmother lived in one house and great grand parents lived in another.
As we settled in to our new marriage and blended family routine I ventured into new social environments and found myself a guest in the homes of others. I looked around and began the inevitable comparisons of my worldly goods against the assets of others. Suddenly my cozy cottage began to lose its luster. I couldn’t imagine how we would survive with one bathroom. Other people had playrooms, great rooms or family rooms. They had dishwashers and laundry rooms and the wind didn’t rustle their curtains when the storms blew. They had garages and furniture that was trendy and all matchy. I knew we had to move when it was my turn to host bunco.
Move we did, to a nice three-bedroom, two bath with an all-important family room and a double car garage at the end of a cul-de-sac. I don’t think I had even unpacked the last box before the remorse set in. We had moved the kids away from two generations of grand-parents and away from the house where four generations of my husband’s family had lived. I love houses of all shapes and sizes. Big, old houses with lots of nooks and crannies. New houses with every modern convenience and every kind of home décor style. Love can grow well in any home. But I want that sign back in the store that reads: “Love grows best in little houses just like this.” Because it reminds me of our very special beginning in our little house in the orchard, before I allowed comparisons to rob my joy.
Our sweet farm cottage and tower has housed 6 generations of our family. After a bit of love and a much needed remodel, it’s been incredible to see my children love it and choose to live here on the family farm because it’s called to them the way it called to me driving up the hill so many years ago.
“To compare is a dangerous way to judge the quality of our lives.”
-Life Application Study Bible NLT