Day One- Our Cozy Nest

So here we are, day one of this writing adventure and I'm actually on time, even a little bit early!  I'm excited to get started, it's always hard to get this up and running, so forgive me if it takes a few posts to find my groove and figure out what to share.  I sort of have a loose schedule of posts, but I want to make some room for inspiration to strike too.  If I know myself, I know that I'll start strong and then at some point I'll be whining to Travis about why I ever committed to this publicly??  Here's hoping I make some progress in the follow-through department, right??  

Today I thought I'd give you the 411 on on this place we call home and a little bit about how we got here.  Since I'll be referring to it so often and sharing some of the highs and lows of our journey here, I thought you should have some context...

In the 10 years we've been married, our current home is our 4th.  When we first got married we had a classic, newlywed apartment.  We were in NC and Trav was in Seminary.  We left good jobs and everything we knew for a new life together and no money, ha!  The only pics I have from those days are not digital, but rather hard copies from my scrapbooks.  Thought you might want to see...
Our little love nest was perfect for that new season of life and we loved it.  We could barely turn around in it, but it was where we learned to live together and where we spent our first Christmas.  We didn't have a couch for the first 3 months, which was a hard pill to swallow for an interior designer, but we had everything we needed to make that place our home and I think back on those days with such fondness.  Also, some laughter!  I clearly remember getting in some kind of argument for one of the first times and in a protest to prove my point, I slammed the door to the bedroom and then quickly realized that I had just sealed my fate toward boredom.  The TV, food, and front door were in Trav's territory, all I had was the bed and the toilet and in those days we were employing tactics like "the great mexican standoff" in order to "win" the argument!  Oh the memories...we've come a long way in our disagreeing and now we have a TV in the bedroom too :)

After a few months in our apartment we took a giant leap of faith and started a brand new adventure on an acreage outside of Wake Forest.  We moved into a little 1940's cottage there and onto the property of a sweet family who welcomed us with open arms.
The scenario was charming, but the actual house was rustic to say the least, and by rustic I mean it was rough.  No one had lived in it for several years, it had no heat or a/c, and there was a dead snake in the back room on the day we moved in.  We invested lots of sweat equity into that home and I spent many nights in tears there for the first month we lived in it.  I was certain we had made a giant mistake and I did not remember signing up to "rough it" after we got married!
But with time and the freedom to make all kinds of creative decisions, that little cottage was transformed into a charming home.  I cut my teeth painting and decorating and season-ing in that little house and we hosted so many people we loved there.  It was seriously so adorable by the time we left and I mourned leaving that house like none other.  We also added to our family in that house when we brought Ryley home with us, the world's sweetest golden retriever puppy.
After two years of getting settled in, Travis withdrew from Seminary and accepted a job offer that took us out of beautiful NC and back to the midwest,  MN to be specific.  It was a bold move, it always is when you pack up all of your things and move halfway across the country.  But we were confident that the Lord had called us there and we moved into our first townhouse there, a welcome upgrade seeing as how it had both heat and a/c!
Really it was almost the only townhouse we could find that would take us and our giant Golden Retriever.  It was a good move and we quickly knew Minnesota was a place where we wanted to put our roots down. We adjusted to the major climate shock that first year and determined that we were ready to move out of the townhouse, in search of something quieter and closer to the Church.  Also, we didn't want to pay rent anymore and so we began the search for our first big purchase, our first home...

...Which leads us to today and the little nest we've lived in for the last six and a half years.  When we came here we had no kids (except our dog) and our plan was to stay for a few years and then look for somewhere bigger when we were ready to start a family.  But we bought at the peak of a very inflated market and like many, many others the crash that followed has not been good to us.  For years we've said that our plan must have been flawed and clearly we couldn't have predicted the future, but over time those refrains have grown stale. We struggled in different seasons with feeling like we must have made a bad decision or that the Lord was punishing us for some reason...and later realized that both of those conclusions are just flat-out untrue.  But as we've wrestled with our lot and accepted the place we're in, the Lord has done an amazing work in us (in me for sure) and I can honestly say today that I wouldn't have traded this struggle for the easy road.  It's been a struggle, and I've had to fight for contentment over and over but that's some of what I hope to share with you in these 31 days.
God is and has been faithful to us.  We love our home and we are grateful for a place to lay our heads and the provision to pay our bills.  Those are two things we shouldn't and don't take for granted.  Our nest is crowded these days and yet, it's a cozy sort of crowded that we love!  I'm learning to accept and believe that this life we have and all the details in it, aren't just an oversight that the Lord slipped up on or a mess that we've made, but actually part of his ordained plan for us.  We haven't missed out on his grace or his plan, it just looks a lot different than what we would have written.

So welcome to this journey I'm on, this intentional search for the evidences of God's grace through our home.  I'm so glad you stopped by for day one and I hope to see you again for more of this story on day two!

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