The kids and I set our hoard of library books on the counter when all of a sudden I hear “Esther! How are you doing?” There she was, that sweet familiar face and smile I’ve seen for years. We first met through our old Farmer’s Market days in town. She always bought my big fluffy rolls, a jar of jelly and a pie.

Later that afternoon, as the thunder was crashing I sat with my kids in our 12 passenger van. Our park plans were rearranged by the pouring rain, and we had one more hour to kill before the home inspection would be complete, and we could step back inside the house of memories.

My mind began spinning as I thought of all the people I have met and connected with, in this small little Mayberry-like town.

I remember loading up my babies to deliver dozens and dozens of cookies to one of the local banks in town. For several years they were loyal customers to my small home bakery.

My thoughts quickly jumped to the time I delivered one of my wedding cakes to the Bed and Breakfast down the road. Upon arrival, my husband and I found that the cake table wasn’t even set up yet, nor were the actual chairs for the wedding! Apparently, the bride and groom forgot to delegate that specific job. My husband and I got to work and helped the BB owners get furniture set up so we could begin setting up the cake! Once the cake was finally in place, I discovered the fresh flowers that were supposed to be there for the cake, were also forgotten! I sent my husband down the road to fetch some blooms from our flower gardens, while the BB’s owner’s wife and I walked her property to gather blooms and greenery. We made connections with the neighbors down the road that day. And the cake? Well, it turned out BEAUTIFULLY, and the bride was very pleased.

Now, I sit here to rest my worn and tired feet. There are boxes laying along these floorboards of memories. What was once hidden, is now being brought out into the open, and under strict but rational moving guidelines I’ve set for myself. Is it worth packing, should it be donated or tossed?

Among the random unorganized clutter of earthly treasures, I feel a broad range of emotions welling up inside my soul. With great intention, I have avoided this writing space because I didn’t know if this moment would really be worth reading about. I’ve decided it was best to pour my thoughts out on “paper”, with the very purpose of looking back and never forgetting what I have learned within these walls and small community.

Just a few short months after my husband and I were married, we began building this house. It took a full year to complete our home, from the digging of the basement to the handmade trim. We poured much of our young abled bodies into this place for YEARS. Our first baby was even born during this exciting time in our lives. We were planting our roots, and we were planting them deeply. With blood, sweat, tears, hard-aches and many joyful memories, we built up these walls we called HOME.

I knew the strong cord that held us to this place was fraying thin when the kids started saying “the house” instead of “our house.” When the winds change and you’re certain God is doing the tugging, you move onward and GO.

The walls are becoming bare and our voices are beginning to echo as we pack each box. We’ve lived in this house for almost seventeen years. We have repainted and tried to conceal the very fact that we’ve had 9 people living here.

My eyes have welled with tears upon covering up some of our memory markers of a life well lived with paint and polish. The scratches and worn imperfections are part of the story, but it’s not all of the story. We’ve made memories here.

Bringing babies home for the first time, the friendships that were made at our table, the quiet corners where the deepest prayers were spoken. The long days of bed rest due to high-risk pregnancy, the tears that we’ve wept when hearts were filled with sorrow. It’s right here we’ve had some of the biggest life-altering moments of our lives. Some of the biggest faith stepping hurdles I’ve ever experienced were made here.  Moments of remarkable joy and so many mountain top victories were won in this very house. Even some of the deepest dark valleys of fear were fought within these walls.

As I move from room to room with packing tape and a sharpie in hand, I walk the hall that my toddlers learned to toddle, where the toads have been found, brought in by wide-eyed wondered little boys just trying to share their outside treasures. I pass the gorgeous built-ins my husband made that housed our school books, and I remember so many days of homeschooling in this place. All but one of my babies has learned to read within these walls.

I pass the room where all 3 of my girls have rested their heads at one point in time. It’s where I sat many nights holding a little girls hand so she could feel safe and fall asleep because this house was once a scary new place for her after bringing her home, from halfway around the world.

Walking through the kitchen, I am reminded these well-used countertops have seen dozens and dozens of decorated cakes for every bit of life’s occasions over the years. And probably thousands of canning jars! From jellies to jams, green beans and tomatoes, old fashioned applesauce and our very first drips of raw honey, these counters have seen it all! Oh, and that corner counter over there? That’s where all that sticky grape juice ran ALL OVER the place after a hot jar broke.  Oh my, I was cleaning that out of the crevices and cracks for months!

We have put in a lot of miles in this house over the years. It’s a beautiful house and one that has been loved and lived in well.

I hope the new owners will appreciate the work and love that has been poured into this place. I hope they understand and know the wear and tear here is from living a wonderful life, and I hope that they will have many years of adding their own scratches dings, dents and memories to it as well.

One of my little guys told me the other day, that he hopes the people who bought the house have kids to play on the trails and in the woods. I hope so, too! I hope the wife will enjoy the years of hard work and enjoyable labor we’ve poured into my gorgeous flower beds. I pray the flowers will make her smile, and give her much joy when she goes outside to pick a fresh bouquet for her table. I hope the family enjoys the fruits of our labor, because it certainly came with trial and error. I hope they will be tickled with delight when they discover a bountiful harvest of fresh organic fruits from the 17 fruit trees and grape vines and berry bushes that fill the beautiful 2 acres we planted over the years. Oh, and I certainly hope the plums will be especially appreciated! This fall was going to be the first year of harvest for these delectable fruits. 

I sure hope they’ll be good stewards, cleaning up, and touching up. I hope they will love our neighbors as much as we have. I hope they can make even better memories with them, as we regret not having enough time with them. I do hope they enjoy the lovely little community we’ve been a part of for so long, I hope they take great delight and pride in their new home and are able to make incredible memories here.

With only a few short weeks left here. The thought of not living in these walls makes me a little emotional (okay, I’m kind of a leaky soul most of the time anyway.) After two months of waiting for the house to sell (actually when you add it all up, the house sold exactly one year to the day, when we first put it on the market) all this waiting and handfuls of showings, has suddenly come to an abrupt end.

I feel like this move is a pretty stinkin’ big deal. If you know me in person, you’ve probably already heard me explain how much I have come to realize how easily we have become so attached to such earthly possessions that have no real value. Seriously, it’s just walls, floors, and fresh lake air I’m talking about! I’m not a totally sentimental person. But it’s mainly the memories, and more than that – it’s all the milestones!

This was the place we’ve poured our hearts out to God, the place we discovered brokenness, the place we got our war wounds, where we learned about mutiny and friendly fire. It’s where we made connections and relationships that have turned into life long friendships, this is the place we’ve laughed till we’ve cried, where we thought we would be for the rest of our lives.

This was our battleground. This was our haven. This was our HOME. God has been the steady anchor here, and I know with confidence even though we have many unknowns ahead of us, God is continually faithful, and I am ever so certain that God is more than enough in this house, just as much as he will be in the next.

Our roots have gone deep here, it’s time to divide and transplant new roots. A new chapter of our lives is beginning. Brand new adventures are just ahead, new memories, new connections, and milestones are just right over the horizon. And guess what?

God is already there, too!

So wherever you are right now, dig your roots deep. When he moves you, transplant your new roots and move onward!

Trust Him. He’s faithful.