Thursday, October 28, 2021

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday, friends! I'm joining in with Rebecca Jo and Leslie once again for this weekly blog linkup. 

In lieu of our upcoming eighteenth anniversary of living in our current home, I thought I'd share (I think for the first time) about how we came to live in this house. This was all inspired by a memory that popped up on my Facebook memories this week, so I've already shared it on social media. I am so thankful for memories like this, for the gift that family always is, for spaces like this where I can come to share. I'm also grateful for readers like you, who read faithfully and are so kind to always encourage. Often when I pray, I include you in my prayers! 

This was a sign that hung in our garage for years. Todd finally took it down because he wanted us to have it forever. It's rolled up in a tube somewhere out of these days I would love to have it framed! So, here is our story.

The year was 2003 and our life was crazy! Graham was 4, Drew was 3, Jonah and Noah were seven months old. We had been living in the cutest little house on a cove here in town, but we were bursting at the seams. Both babies could not sit in their high chairs at the same time in our kitchen, and both "sets" were sharing bedrooms. We had two bathrooms and three bedrooms in that house, which was a good size, but we had no backyard, we had no garage, we lived on a busy corner on the street and we flat just needed more room. We began the search for a home to buy (our first!) in or around August-September of that year. 

We found the perfect home for us, one that was never even put on the market! My sister Lisa was a Realtor at that time and a friend in her office was selling her home, so we came to look at it, fell in love, and the rest is history. They had three daughters, we have four sons, so some changes needed to be made, things needed to be cleaned and spruced up, but otherwise, it was perfect. In the midst of all that, my stepdad was selling the home that we were living in at that time and renting from him and Lisa would call me and tell me I had to be out of the house in an hour, that she had clients coming to look at it that day. I don't remember much from that time, can see why parts of it are blocked in my mind. It was busy and a whirlwind—and keeping the house picked up and getting all four kids out the door in a little amount of time was beginning to wear on my nerves. And packing? Who had the time for that? It was all I could to keep our heads floating above water! Also, you need to know it was during this time that I almost drove off and forgot a baby in his carrier...poor Noah! I got to the end of our driveway and Graham started yelling, "Mommy! You forgot a baby!". It's a wonder that's the only time that I did that.

Also in the midst of this time, we had planned a family vacation to  Gatlinburg with my in-love's and my husband's brother, wife and son. (Eleven people in less than 1,000 square feet is never a good idea, by the way. That was the first and last time we ever did that.) We closed on our new home and the next day we left for Gatlinburg. Fast forward a couple of days and Todd gets a phone call from our next door neighbor. He asked Todd why there was a moving truck in our driveway if we were in Gatlinburg. Todd immediately called my sister Lisa, because he knew her name was written all over this. He was right! 

While all of this had gone on, she had been planning to get us packed, for the house we would be moving into cleaned/repainted, moved in, unpacked and new furniture purchased. This wears me out even typing that! I cannot imagine how in the world she was able to accomplish this, except for with the strength of the Lord. She enlisted all of her kids to help, plus my parents and step parents, my sister Trish and her son Devin. 

So, even though our neighbor ruined the surprise for Todd, nobody wanted to ruin it for me or the boys. For the rest of that week while we were gone, he made it his goal to torment me over all the things he knew we had to do when we got home, and by the time we started the drive home, I was a wreck. Add to that hours of travel with four kids ages four and under, confined in a minivan and having to stop and use the restroom quite often, well you get the picture I'm trying to paint. We had stop after stop to make...there was a reason for this, but I had no idea. The reason for all the extra stops is because someone in my family kept telling him to delay a bit longer, they weren't ready! 

When we finally got in later that night, we pulled into our old house and I immediately noticed that it was empty. We had a carport that attached to the back of the house and our doors into the house were sliding glass doors that went into our living room. Everything was gone. There was a garage door opener on our mantel, though and Todd got it and turned to me and said, "Let's go home."

We pulled into our new home and opened the garage to see all of our family in there and this sign there to welcome us. (I made myself cry when I wrote that.) I honestly don't remember much after that...I do remember walking in the door from the garage that leads into the kitchen and that being as far as he got before Todd just started crying. I think I was in shock and cried after the fact, but I had to process it all first, which has always taken me a good amount of time. I don't remember what I said, I just remember walking around and looking on in astonishment. Lisa had hired painters to paint in the rooms that she knew we wanted to change, so in Graham's and Drew's (shared) room and in our bedroom and bathroom. Everything had been cleaned, even the carpet, and she bought us new furniture! We had new living room furniture and she'd given us stuff that she no longer used, so we had tons of lamps and pictures hanging that were like new to me. I'm sure she bought some of that stuff, I honestly can't remember a lot of the details, but I remember loving how our family filled our house that night. 

Also, someone ordered a bunch of pizzas and I remember the pizza guy busting it on the sidewalk in front of the house...for some reason, when that concrete was poured, they created a step that didn't need to be there. Sixteen years later we got that fixed, after countless falls and near face plants. (I'm shaking my head and cringing at all the people who tripped over that thing.) The pizza guy was unforgettable...he had those warming containers in his hands, and he went one way and they all went another way. 

It was an unforgettable time in our life that I always want to remember and relive. It's biblical to remember all the things the Lord has done in one's life and perhaps that's why I will always share this story with anyone who wants to hear, and also every few years on social media. It's a blessing to be able to remember it and think about it again, but the biggest blessing was for my own little family. How selfless and loving was it of my sister to think up this grand plan? They have shows for this now on HGTV, but Lisa was a trend setter. Of course we said thank you over and over to all of them who helped, but really, how do you adequately thank someone for that kind of a gift? 

One way I can do that is by being willing to talk about this story over and over again. Another way we can honor her is to always be looking for ways to give back to others. We do this as best we're able and there have been years that we've been able to do above and beyond what we do during other years. We love to give during the holiday season and try to find families in need. Sometimes we do this in small ways, other times we do it in bigger, grander ways. The Lord had blessed my sister with the ability to be able to pull something like this off, and He has blessed us to be able to continue in that example. The scale of the giving is not what's important, it's the condition of your heart in which you give. What an honor to be able to think back on this, to remember the joyous moment that night was and all the memories we've created here in our home, to share it with you and to be challenged to ask the Lord for more opportunities to love others like He loves us.

I pray this has brought a smile to your face today. Thanks for reading, friends. Love to all. 


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  1. What a wonderful story! You were blessed indeed. And you are so right. It is not the amount of giving- it is the condition of the heart.

  2. Thank you, Maria! I love to share this story, and we're coming up on our eighteenth anniversary of being here. I hope you have a wonderful day!

  3. This gave me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing! You can't out give the Lord but it sure is fun trying.

  4. I saw this on social media. What a wonderful sister you have. Thank you for sharing. It encourages me to be more observant and willing to help others more than I do.

  5. Cathy- Yes! That is such a good reminder for all of us!


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