Home.  for the last year, this is the thing I have longed for most.

On March 9th, 2016, devastating flood waters swept across our town and left many without their homes, businesses, and churches.  I was eight months pregnant with our first baby when water began seeping into our home underneath the baseboards.  within thirty minutes, there was a foot of water in our home.  we stood there hopelessly as we watched the life we had built in our tiny white house nearly fall apart.  I have never felt such despair.  it was a moment I will never forget.

We left our home that day with only what we could carry.  from the street, I wept as I watched our house fill with water, covering all of our belongings + our most treasured possessions.  that day, we said goodbye forever to our tiny white house.  this was the home I found driving around one day, signed the lease the next day, and sat empty for five months until our wedding.  this was the home my husband carried me across the threshold the night of our wedding.  this was the home we learned so much about love and loss and marriage and forgiveness and life.  this is the home we planned to bring our baby home to the very next month.  but in a moment, everything changed.

The weeks that followed were a blur, marked with tears, disbelief, fear, exhaustion.  we moved in with my parents indefinitely.  I was so grateful they took us in, but still heartbroken about the loss of our home.  people told me how nice it would be to have all the help once the baby arrived, but truthfully, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about stepping into parenthood with an audience.  I remember crying most of the month of March and a lot of the month of April.  in addition to the flood uprooting us and the pregnancy hormones and preparing for a baby and all the changes that would take place upon the baby’s arrival, the job I had loved and held for five years was changing.  for the first time in four summers, I wouldn’t spend my days with the children I nannied.  and in the fall, Andy would begin kindergarten so they wouldn’t need me at all. it was just a lot at once.  I know I was an absolute pleasure to be around during those weeks.

"it's just stuff."  I heard this more than once.  and it's true, it is just stuff.  it's only temporary.  in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter.  but let me tell you this: I love my stuff.  probably a little too much.  days after the flood, I was going through what had been salvaged and I came across a damp index card.  it read: "if you're identified by what you have, who are you when you lose it all?"  my Sunday school teachers in middle school had asked that question and I held onto it all these years.  I wept as I read it, never having understood the gravity of it and that I would be in a place where I'd have to ask myself this.

Some mentioned that the flood was a "blessing," or would turn out to be.  this was laughable to me in those first few days, even months.  however, I was overwhelmed by how we were blessed through this trial.  men in boats and trucks helped my family and others to salvage what we could.  people helped with the flood relief.  people gave to us.  I saw with my own eyes the church being the church.  I saw people we knew + loved and some who barely knew us before the flood love us in a way that only the Father can. 

and because of the flood, I was given one of the sweetest seasons in time with my family.  I learned so much about home this year, and how it doesn't matter so much where you are, but who you're with. and people were right—all that help with the baby was nice.

the next month, we welcomed our son into the world.  the days following that were filled with joy, tears, and hope.  in a time of darkness, the Lord so sweetly showed me how much He loves me, through His constant + timely provision and in the way He trades beauty for our ashes.  every time I held our baby or saw him smile, I felt as if the Lord was saying to me, "I know a lot has happened, but here's this really great thing I made just for you."  His goodness is overwhelming.

life got a lot sweeter after the baby arrived.  we adjusted to a new normal.  we began saving as much as we could in hopes of buying a home.  and then we waited.  and waited.  and waited.  we waited for a credit score.  we waited for a house. but not just any house.  the right house.  our house.  we found a few we liked.  I could have seen us living in any of them.  they all had potential and would have been fun to fix up and call home, but the timing just wasn’t right.

in October, seven months after the flood, we found it.  I had driven past it hundreds of times and always thought it was beautiful.  in fact, the afternoon we went to look at it with our incredible realtor, I passed by it earlier that day not knowing it was for sale and thought, “wow.  now that’s my dream house.” I never imagined it would be mine.  two months later, we signed the papers.  and now it’s ours.

I have seen firsthand how the Lord provides.  I’ve seen this throughout my entire life, from childhood to adulthood.  He was always faithful to provide great friends in all the places we lived growing up and He has been our joy + provision in the unknown.  I know He will provide, though I struggle at times with unbelief.  but one of my favorite parts of this story is not just what He provided, but how He provided.  not just a house, but a home.  a home that was better than I ever could have dreamed of.  a home that was immeasurably more

we've spent the last three months renovating this home.  it has been an adventure, to say the least.  I'm sure my husband would say that's putting it nicely.  it wasn't a major fixer upper, it just needed a little love... and some fresh paint, new flooring, bathroom updates, de-popcorned ceilings, a revamped staircase, and all new light fixtures + hardware throughout. but that's it really.

it was certainly a challenge.  that needs to be said.  but it was fun, too.  of course, fixing up a house has always been a dream of mine.  so while it's not for everyone, this kind of thing is right up my alley.

we are so grateful and humbled and I can't wait to share more about this adventure and our renovation story on the blog!

"now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! amen."
Ephesians 3:20-21

"and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though He is not far from any one of us."
Acts 17:26-27

"for every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God."
Hebrews 3:4

the nursery.

On August 29th, 2015, my husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby. we were stunned and so unbelievably excited. it didn't seem real for the first few months [still doesn't sometimes], but eventually it began to sink in as we began to prepare for this sweet baby and all the changes that would take place.

One of the things I was most excited about was creating a nursery. I had a vision in mind of what I would like for a boy or a girl. it wasn't a one-size-fits-all, gender neutral nursery; but it would have been very similar, regardless of the gender. I wanted simple, classic, quiet.

The day before thanksgiving, we found out we were having a boy! I was ecstatic. I've always wanted an older brother, so I always dreamed of having a boy first. this was literally a dream come true.

As excited as I was about decorating a nursery, I didn't really get started on it until March. I'm sure this surprised some; it surprised me a little. but I didn't want to jump the gun; plus, we had lots of furniture and things to shift around to make room for baby.

The day before my first baby shower, I finished the nursery. mostly, anyhow. several of my precious friends came in town for the shower and that gave me the motivation I needed to really wrap things up in the baby's room. I'd been dreaming about what I wanted our nursery to look like for months, maybe even years, and slowly gathering + collecting these items the previous eight months.

so one Friday morning, my parents came over to help bring all my dreams to life. my dad hung the curtains my mom had sewn for the room, on the curtain rod he painted the perfect shade of gold that I had searched months for. a beautiful, antique garden gate hung on the wall over the buffet [now a changing table] and a boxwood wreath hung over that, like a bow on top of a gift. my artist little sister created priceless artwork that decorated the walls, sweet watercolor paintings of baby animals. the buffet and armoire I spent hours, even weeks, restoring and refinishing looked just like they belonged, just like I envisioned. the crib that my husband so lovingly assembled sat in front of the one window in the bedroom, framing it perfectly. the crib skirt our baby's great grandmother made rested around it, gently flowing onto the carpet.

it. was. perfect. it was my new favorite room in the house. I loved walking in there. I found any excuse I could to do it. it was everything I dreamed it would be and more. 

and then on March 9th, less than a week later, our home flooded. this crazy, unexpected rain rolled into town and flooded homes, streets, businesses, churches, everything. it was devastating. and the tiny white house was no more.

So, here we were, eight months pregnant and temporarily displaced. my gracious parents have taken us in for the time being. and we had to set up a nursery. again. this time wasn't quite as fun or exciting. it was marked with tears and sadness and bitterness and even a little anger. it actually took me a little while to get around to doing anything because I had already done it all and set up this perfect [to me] nursery and then it was washed all away, along with the rest of our home.

but my family was so kind and gentle and patient and helped me to slowly pull myself together and recreate this nursery for our baby. and you know what? it's even better than I dreamed it'd be.

it is now complete, minus the little boy who will one day make his home here.

The beloved buffet-turned-changing-table that has been in the family for years did not make it through the flood. talk about heartbreaking. I cried many tears over this. then we decided to improvise with our potting bench, which used to serve as our entertainment center. this was the first piece of furniture I ever bought for our home. before we were married, I snagged it at a garage sale for forty bucks. it's one of my favorite pieces. I'm sad that the buffet couldn't weather the storm, but I love that this piece is getting use again for yet another unconventional purpose.

My sister + I created this little mobile to hang over the crib. I wanted something sweet and serene and, frankly, not stupid to use as our crib mobile. so I came up with this idea of little floating clouds made from book pages. I cut out some of my favorite excerpts from Robin Hood and used them for my clouds. you can find a diy crib mobile tutorial here.

thanks for taking a look! hope you enjoyed.

"even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty."
Psalm 84:3

times are changing! read about the nursery pt. ii here and the nursery pt. iii here.