For several years, we have searched for a place to call home. In the beginning, it was hard to think of leaving the house we now call home. We live in a home that was built by my brother and sister-in-law. They began their married years there, my nephews called it their home, and when we were ready to be joined as one, Will and I made it ours. It has many memories that I feared we’d lose by moving; our first days as man and wife and our first dinners. It is where we brought our first puppy to live and then changed the office into the first nursery we would ever fill.
The early stages of searching led us to wishing for a simple life filled with the combined hopes and dreams of one another. Will wanted gardens and livestock. I hoped for trees like you see in the Disney movies; winding and big enough that two people couldn’t reach around. We looked at the modern style homes being erected around us and both wanted something else, maybe you’d call it “more.”
As we began to place ideas together it quickly became apparent that we have a taste for nature and beauty. We want it simple, yet with everything around us being a different style it wasn’t as “simple” as we thought. Rather than simple, I began to call it “the fairytale.” Inwardly, I hoped for things that ached to think about. The trees, sawed down by generations before, the land, developed and small. If not small, it would cost us our inheritance which we neither have nor want to have anytime soon (We love you, mom and dad, mama and daddy. Stay, keep the inheritance and live forever, please?) I began to lose hope. Bare with me, I still prayed, I still knew God was in control. Have you been there? Have you ached for, longed for something so impossible that you inwardly asked, “God, can it be done?” Now I know that God is God. All powerful, all knowing, and with him all things are possible, but don’t we always do that? We put that “but” in there so easily, don’t we? So I feared, “the fairlytale” would have to be modified.
We knew some things: building would be the best option and we wanted to be near our families. Will even found a cottagey looking house plan that was just as magical as the rest of our dreams. That, we could make happen! Years of looking for the “closest to perfect” piece of land got us nowhere. Every time we drove out to something it was too big, too small, too far, too expensive, too (close your ears) ugly. Yes. Land can be ugly. And even too difficult. I had started to think we’d just settle on a lot somewhere in a development and call it life. That’s “life”, right?
Looking at land actually made things worse, not only did we (mostly I) want the impossible to begin with, each plot of land created an addition to our checklist of preferences. Did you know that some people live so close to train tracks that they’re basically in the backyard? Yeah, well, maybe I don’t get out much. Still, some things were more important than others: where the children would attend school, how safe the yard was for playing, could Will grow a garden and were there restrictions on “farm animals”? He was ready to give that up. He figured it wasn’t a big deal. Oh but I’ve seen him. I love to watch him test out his new theories on straw bale gardens, to build a lean-to and then tear it down again, to make compost and to love it all the while. I love him, wholly. I could never, ever see him without room to grow and build and teach our children how to be the same way.
Then there were small things, ones I’d give up knowing that perfect just couldn’t be possible. Things like the amount of land. We learned pretty quickly that land is NOT cheap if it’s in a good area. Okay, so I should’ve known that, but hey I’m new at this. So, a smaller plot, check. Trees, I mentioned trees, it turns out those big beautiful ones I mentioned are worth quite a lot cut down and made into things… So as much as that was not one I was willing to part with, I pretty much gave up finding anything to put a tree house in. Then there were the power lines, you know, the ones that skirted all the way across the front yard? Yeah, not pretty to look at, but okay we’ll take those too. It went on like this for a while.
One day though, Will came home with news that a piece of property we had previously looked at had been reduced. We liked it. It had some things on our modified list, but it was the best thing we’d seen in a long time. We made a phone call to get more information, made several trips to look at it and walk on it and even had a good friend give us an estimate on some personal modifications that we planned to make. Inside, something ached again, in my heart “the fairytale” was being erased and I knew we’d never get it back. I told myself I was being silly, I needed to grow up. They’re just trees and you can make a play house on the ground. Will can grow things on that land and the kids can learn to ride bikes; the schools are fine. But still something was missing. The peace. I have learned that there is a time to let go. A time when God says, “I have better for you, something far more than you’ve imagined.” In those times He gave me the peace to let go, to move forward with what He had for me, for us. This time it just wasn’t there. That is all that I knew to tell Will when he asked me for my final thoughts. We’d been there so many times, brought Daniel out to give his advice and taken his afternoon away. We thought on it and were coming to a close on a decision and all I could say is, “I don’t have peace.” He never questioned me. He said okay. He showed me love in that moment when he understood my heart over our plans.
I don’t have an exact time frame for everything that I’m about to tell you, but I’ll try my best. Some days after we let go of the idea to buy the “modifiable land” Will found another plot. This wasn’t new of course, we had gotten to the point that we were looking at land about once a weekend and if we were going to be out we tried to find a few places to stop by and see. It was on his holiday off that he came across “something in Thomasville” and I listened (vaguely) to what he said about it. I’ll admit, when he said Thomasville I always felt that the “good” land was taken… I grew up in Thomasville and I know it like the back of my hand and similar to my hands, it’s kind of FULL, you know? If it’s available in Thomasville, I thought, it must be a bad area or a small lot in a subdivision. It just can’t be what we want. All of that aside, I still wanted to listen to Will in order to make sure he didn’t feel neglected in his searching. As he began to describe the area I told him something had to be listed wrong. I knew EXACTLY where the plot was. There wasn’t any land available where he was telling me. I knew because I lived there. In the exact neighborhood where we were looking at the little pin-point on the map, right where it said “ACERAGE FOR SALE.”
I agreed to go look at it, sure that there would be no sign, we’ve come across many of those along with land that’s “FOR SALE” that actually isn’t… We didn’t have any other plans so a nice drive through my old neighborhood would be a delight either way. Let me get a little off topic here, can I? I love my old neighborhood. I love the house where I grew up, where I learned to ride my bike just after flipping it and myself over my brother’s head. I love the memories of our basement and my brothers catapulting me through the air in order to land on the couch cushions they’d strategically strewn to the floor (super safe, I assure you!). I love the memories of walking along-side my dad and little sister, until my feet could take no more, trekking to each and every house to fill my jack-o-lantern with candy every Halloween and filling luminaries with sand and candles at Christmas. I love the memories of cooking in my easy bake oven, standing on a stool in the duck covered, baby blue wallpapered kitchen as my mom supervised. Then riding on the Electrolux vacuum cleaner as she drug me down the halls sucking up lint and dust that living creates. I love that I learned to swim in that backyard and that when I look back to summer beach pictures of me with a scraped up nose, I know exactly where I fell running down the driveway that caused it. So, sure a trip down memory lane couldn’t be a bad ride even if there wasn’t going to be any land.
We followed the directions to be sure that it did in fact take us exactly where I had thought it would. After passing my house, which seemed more foreign than I would have liked, we continued our drive to the back of the neighborhood where we rounded a corner and there it was. A sign. A real one, not just a feeling of maybe someone wants to sell or maybe it was listed at some point. A legitimate realtor’s listing. In a cul-de-sac, with more than enough space, secluded beyond anything you could ever imagine for a sub-division, in my old neighborhood, just beyond where the power lines STOPPED! I can’t remember if I cried that day, I may have still been in disbelief, but I can tell you I have cried many times since. Everything that I could have ever dreamed of sat right there. More than I had ever dreamed. Can you imagine? My babies get to sled down the SAME hill that I crashed to the bottom of after every snow as a kid! The land was for sale (it is NOT anymore ;-) ).
There are SO many details I am sure to leave some out. While the last month felt like a lifetime, I realize now how quickly everything fell into place. We had a call in to our realtor that day, an offer by the next and our offer was accepted within the week. Not to mention the land came in well below our budgeted price! Facing our land all you can see are trees; turn around and you are standing in a cul-de-sac perfect for learning to ride a bike, in a neighborhood that is safe and serene. Just through the trees to the right there is another cul-de-sac that belongs to the adjacent neighborhood so there is ample space for family fun and exercise, oh and I could note that Nana and PawPaw happen to live on that street! If ever you feel like you’ve really done good and found something yourself, take a look around, God can prove that He planned it for you before you were ever born. Nana and PawPaw’s house is how I know. Our neighborhood was created before my time, while I grew there the adjacent neighborhood laid as an undeveloped farm, we moved there when I was in middle school, and it is where they still reside, now I am going back to live just down the road. Amazed yet? I am.
The trips we made to the “modifiable land” are mere drops in a bucket to the countless times we’ve visited the site of our future home. Each time we have fallen more in love with its beauty and potential. I have dreams of what it will be like to watch my children grow there to take them by my house and share memories of my childhood as we build new ones as a family. Oh, the joys I have in store, watching my sweet husband build and dream! I have gone as far as to see us grow old there and, at my age, it seems hard to fathom growing old, but I can see it all when I stand right there. And peace. Sweet, perfect peace that only comes from God. He loves me, oh, how He loves me!