Home . . .

“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”—2 Corinthians 5:1 (NIV)

My husband and I have lived in our home here on Brookville Lake for about 15 years now. I did not want to move here—I was all settled into our “retirement” house—1-level, attached garage, a nice deck, and I had a beautiful shade garden in the back of it. There was a small lawn to mow—well you get the idea! Then my husband spotted this log home for sale on the lake—and here we are—and now I don’t want to leave it! But our loft bedroom is 13 steps up from our main level, and our laundry area and our guest bedroom/living room suite are about the same number of stairs down from that main level.

We have made so many WONDERFUL memories here. Our five grandkids used to come nearly every weekend and school vacation they could. Days at the beach soon turned to days on the lake when we bought our pontoon boat. We not only cruised the lake but stayed overnight on it since we had customized zip up sides! There were times when all 5 grandies, two miniature dachshunds, my hubby and I all camped on that boat! We made lots of fun memories together here—then they all grew up! Our oldest is married with a son of his own and lives in the city; our second is an amazing pre-school teacher; our third is working and attending college in the nursing program; our fourth is in college and works as a counselor to autistic children; and our “baby grand” just graduated high school, is working this summer, and will be off to college soon to become a nurse. This is the home we came back to after our daughter Dede passed away more than two years ago. Whenever we talked about downsizing, she said, “I don’t think you guys are ready yet. You will know when it’s time.”

We decided this spring it probably is time to sell our large home here on the lake and move to a one-level home again. It has been one of the most difficult choices we have made for a while—but we are preparing for a new chapter of our lives. And so—we have a wonderful realtor and a for-sale sign in our yard now!

We started our life together on a small farm we purchased from my father-in-law. There was no indoor plumbing and an outhouse that seemed a mile away—especially in the wintertime! We mowed acres of grass and my husband worked the night shift an hour away. But it was our first home and I adjusted. When our daughter came along, it was difficult with pumping and heating water, etc. for our daily needs. The man who prepared our garden in the spring brought his plow and a team of horses to perform that task the “pioneer way.” Eventually, we sold that farm and moved to Connersville before our baby girl started school. Our son was born there and then we bought a home about 3 miles west of town where our children grew up in a wonderful family-oriented neighborhood. When they left the nest, we bought a small house in town—the aforementioned “retirement home!”

The following was written in 1985 as my beloved mother had recently retired and had finally made the difficult decision to sell her country home near Laurel and move closer to us. It turned out to be a blessing for her and for my family as well, since she moved across the street from us in a cozy 2-bedroom apartment and had the opportunity to live an easier life. Ironically, I came across what I’d written to her as I was sorting out things to pitch or move with us when we leave this place. It reminded me of what is truly important about our homes and helped prepare me for this new season of our lives. As usual, anything related to my momma was the right thing at just the right time.

“Home”

Momma, as you contemplate leaving “home”

I know you are remembering all the times

We’ve laughed and cried

And grown up and gone our ways in life from here.

Echoes of voices, past and present, still live in this house.

Ghosts still wander.

Memories still ease us and hurt us.

But please remember, a home is much like a church:

A building does not make a church; a house does not make a home.

It is the people inside who

remember the good times and bad times,

Hopes and dreams

Smiles and tears

Love and pain

Joy and sorrow

Life and death.

We shall NOT EVER forget.

Home is where you are Mom.

Home is all the treasured memories,

Both dear and painful, locked in our hearts.

The FAMILY is HOME—

Where people love

And remember the past

Savor the present

And dream of the future.

HOME is not a PLACE—

But a kindred spirit within our hearts

That lives and never dies—

And always remembers the LOVE that made this house a home.

Love, Jennifer (August 1985)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”John 14:1-2 (NIV)