Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On Finding a Home

I have lived in several places, and I have owned a total of three homes. One we sold to move to Michigan, one we still own and rent out in Michigan, and then this one. The one with the misnomer of Dream House.

I had so many fanciful hopes and dreams tied to this house. We had been living in a dumpy apartment in the ghetto of Escondido, so this house, with all its space, on a cul de sac in the small town of Menifee seemed ideal. However, houses are only extensions of the families that live in them. And if the family is broken, whether all the members know it or not, the house is not truly a home. I wish I had known that 4 years ago.

Over the past 4 years, I though I had a dream home. We had holidays and birthdays. We had friends over, family dinners, and played games together. 4 years ago, I imagined this house is where we would retire. Where my children would come home from college to visit, where the grandkids would come for holiday dinners. I dreamed we would upgrade the kitchen and bathroom, design a beautiful backyard so we could barbecue together, and sit together in the evenings and enjoy out time together.

I now refer to my dream house as the place where dreams come to die. I didn't realize that my dream, my children's dream, was not the dream of everyone in the family, that our dreams of a family home was actually a nightmare for someone else. This house was never a home. I didn't know at the time that my dream house was nothing more than fog and ashes.

Houses aren't inherently evil, no matter what the Amityville movies show. However, they reflect the family within, and when the family is torn apart and destroyed, it cannot help but be reflected withing the house. This house, I realize, was never our home; it was a way-station until our family could be redefined, and now we are moving onto a new house.

My new house is not as big. It is not in the nice neighborhood tucked in a cul de sac. It will contain a smaller family, a broken family. But it will contain my family. My family now has a new set of hopes and dreams, and this new house will reflect our small family that will move within this Sunday. This house will be our home.

Friday, February 24, 2012


For the past 9 months, it would be very easy for me to say I really have to search to find any blessings in my life. When the core foundation of one's life is violently torn away, and left behind is only a broken, empty shell, seeing hope in God or counting anything as a blessing in life seems very, very far away.

However, when asked how I am doing, since December my response has remained constant: "God knew I would be traversing Hell, and he made sure I was well prepared and protected while I walked that path." The truth in this is majestic, in that I didn't roll over and want to disappear - I did enough of that in the fall. Instead, I picked up my broken, empty shell, dusted myself off, and with God's help, started putting that shell back together.

I was asked again, just a few weeks ago, how I was doing. I told my friend what my old response was, the one listed above, but then I told him, "I used to say that, but I can't say that anymore." He initially freaked a bit, thinking I had lost my faith in God. "No," I told him. "God is still there - He makes it plain to me every day. No, I can't say I'm in that bad place anymore."

Every day since things crashed down, I have seen God working in my life, making this transition as smooth as it could possibly be, and now that I am walking taller and stronger than ever before, I can see it even more, and it amazes me just as much now as it did when I was still the crumpled heap. I have a friend who just lost her mother, another who received a frightening medical diagnosis, and a third who is in sincere financial straits, and in this past week I have cried for them more than I have cried for myself.

That prompted me to sit down and list just some of these blessing that God shows me daily, to help me remember that we all are on a rough road, and God gives us faith, family, and friends to help us along the way. I think of these blessings every morning, then get out of bed, and take on the day.

My Blessings:
1. My Children - they are first because they are mine and a daily visual reminder of everything in this world that is good. I wake every day wondering what I can do to ensure they are happy, healthy, and can achieve all they want in life. They are my heart, and they deserve so much more than what they've had so far, and I want to help them reach for the stars. If everything else was taken away and all I had were my children, my blessings would still be immeasurable.

2. My God - He knows I am a visual learner, and He makes sure that, every day, I see more and more of his workings in my life. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. He is the blessing of all blessings.

3. My mom - she has walked a similar road and has always been my biggest supporter and cheerleader. I have just learned a friend of mine lost her mother to cancer, so today, this moment, I feel especially blessed to have my mother still in my life.

4. My sisters - they have been my backbone when I didn't have one, gave off anger when I couldn't, gave me guidance when I needed it,and make me smile when I think I can't. They never stop giving, giving, giving. If you don't have sisters, you don't know the power of sisterly love, and that is a blessing that never ends.

5. My friends - they have let me cry on their shoulders, text and email me every day for support, encouragement, or ranting moments, and they don't care if I call or text at midnight or 5 am. They came to me instantly, the moment everything fell apart, and I am blessed to have friends that I don't even need to talk to, but will be there the minute I need them. I am blessed to never feel alone because God made sure I had a friend at every turn.

6. My job(s) - I work contract. I have zero job security, and I had "quit" two of my jobs in anticipation of a different move. When I needed those jobs back, I got them - I was told they never took me off the roster. When I needed to max out classes at one of my schools, they did it that day. I am blessed to both be able to work, and to have work to do.

Those are just my top 6 - they are blessings that God gives me every day, every moment, so at no point in my life can I forget and think how bad things are. Because they are not bad, different, but not bad. Looking at that list of blessings, how could anyone say it's anything less than wonderful?