I’m writing this on a Monday morning, a day when, around the globe, people are starting their week with a cup of tea or coffee or water, and—for many of us—a peek at social media. We’ll check our emails and we will check Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Buzzfeed. We will catch up on the latest news and information and life events by scrolling through blog posts on our smartphones and we will like the images we see on Pinterest.
Last Friday, H and I closed on a house here in Lincoln. We are moving from our tiny rental into an old colonial just a few blocks away. We are calling this new house our homestead. We don’t plan to move again until it’s absolutely necessary. We are putting down roots, right here in the Good Life state, which—for those of you who know me—is a pretty big deal. First of all, I haven’t really ever put down roots anywhere and, secondly, Nebraska is the last place I thought I’d ever voluntarily call home.
So, on Friday, H and I signed a bunch of papers and we went from being renters back to being buyers and, as the sun was shining its last light of the day, I sat on a bench in our new living room and snapped a picture which I then posted to Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. It was a low-key way to let people know we are moving, and people liked and commented and oohed and ahhed about the wood floors and the doors and the light and, I have to admit, it’s a pretty good picture. But, it doesn’t tell the whole truth about this situation.
What you can’t hear while looking at this picture is the sounds above me of H demo-ing a bunch of wooden structures the previous owner had built and bolted into the plaster walls and the hardwood floors (and H’s running commentary on that). You can’t see the fact that these gleaming wood floors actually curve toward the corners of the rooms and, while everything passed inspection, at some point, we might want to have a structural engineer take a look and give us an estimate on getting that fixed. You can’t see the layer of grossness left behind in the refrigerator and microwave, and you can’t smell what (the guy who came out from the gas company to take a look believes) may have been a gas leak that happened just before we took possession of this house. Looking at this picture, you may never know our beautiful windows have no screens in them and so this house hadn’t been opened to fresh air in nearly five years and, on top of the smell of gas from the leak, it also smells musty in here.
That picture up there is simply a snapshot of a beautiful moment in time. Now, don’t get me wrong. With all the potential problems this house has in store for us, it is also a house we are going to love for years, and in which we will make many memories. I stood under the unfortunate dining room chandelier yesterday and wondered what this house will see us through in the decades that will unfold before us. Along the way, there will, undoubtedly, be heartbreak and sadness and unexpected expenses and other things I don’t even want to type out right here because that’s like speaking them out loud, and we all know what that means (knock on wood).
One picture on Instagram does not an entire story tell. I needed to be reminded of that. On social media, most people are sharing the best parts of life in one single snapshot or status update or share. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s just not the entire story. So we celebrate together the high points of life and we thank God for them and for each other. And we click and share and like and read, knowing we’re all on a journey and that sometimes our floors creak and slope towards the corners, and sometimes we need a demolition session, and other times the light shines through the window at just the right angles and always God is good and life is a gift and tears may come and rain may fall and flood our basements and breezes blow gently through the windows and we are all in this together.
“Bless this house, oh Lord we pray…” Expecting that you and H will make endless happy memories here. Hugs, Chelle
I’ve always been interested in the idea of living in an old house but definitely not interested in taking on the maintenance of one. This is a great reminder that so often the images people choose to post are carefully posed, framed and edited for our viewing. I totally get putting your best foot forward but it’s hard to relate to someone when they are hiding behind a perfectly Instagrammed facade and I have twelve pairs of shoes scattered on the floor and dirty dishes on my kitchen table. But on the other hand, if it’s done properly and more realistically, you could look at it as trying to find the good in everything. I vote for being real while we continue to look for the good (and God) in our every day lives.
Beautiful, am excited to see and hear the ways God teaches you through this process!!
This is such a good point! Thank you! I look forward to hearing and seeing what this house has in store for you!
Patricia W Hunter
Amen!!!! It’s much like the photos I post from here on Pollywog Creek – it’s not the bigger picture – but it’s a glimpse of the beauty that is here. It’s a way of counting gifts, eh? Looking deeper and past the ugliness to see and be thankful for the beauty.
This parallels something I recently read in Framing Faith by Matt Knisely:
“The further you dig and the deeper you go–as you find your way beneath the surface level of their visual depiction–you find the hidden meaning, a deeper meaning, a more extensive message often buried far below the outward appearance.
We only share what we see rather than what we have learned through listening.” (p.56)
Congrats on your home purchase. God bless you as you fling love all about the rooms.
“and always God is good and life is a gift” Yep. That.
Could not agree more. In fact, a dear friend of mine who knows what my life *really* looks like once said to me (as we sat on the stained carpet with children and toys and crumbs scattered all around us), “People who only know you on the internet would never guess what your life REALLY is.”
This is such a great reminder, Deidra. Thank you for taking the time to pull back the curtain. Enjoy settling in, even amidst gas leaks, renovations, and cleaning.
Great reminder, Deidra!
this is so tru I battle this constantly, how to handle my lack when someone else seems to gain. knowing God will only entrust me which what I can handle, maybe its suffering and knowing that someone else entrusted with the same suffering as me would leave God, so I battle with God’s little and someone else’s much. Not trying to despise the small, little He has given me. Knowing that He loves me. Trying to burn that in my brain. that if he knew I could handle it and it was right for me id have it.
so true. we don’t often show the parts of ourselves or our homes that need cleaning or reorganizing or re-aligned spiritually. congratulations… looking forward to hearing more about your new adventure with you
“and always God is good and life is a gift ”
Congratulations on your house, and blessings for much joy and creativity and happiness and togetherness in it!
I appreciate your perspective on this. Reminds me of that recent article about the Dutch student who faked a trip to Asia to prove exactly this point. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ravishly/dutch-woman-fakes-trip-to_b_5807572.html
ooh … the place has got bones. character. history. it’s awaiting your touch to bring it back to life.
feel free to share shots of what it REALLY looks like along the way. most all of us are going to say ‘yes, yes, I’ve been there, too.’
hugs & blessings, Deidra.
That does look like a beautiful home – even with its flaws. Sometimes, the true beauty of a home can only come through demolition of the old, faulty parts – and a complete renovation. Sorta like our own lives, huh?!
May God bless you guys as you restore this lovely colonial, and as He continues to work in your journey.
This post needs a trigger warning for those of us who grew up in old, fixer-upper homes. *shudders* 😉
Great reminder for me on this Monday! I try to make my social media posts about beauty, rather than perfection. It’s good to remember that everyone has a story beyond their IG feed. Congratulations on your new home!
Well said. Well said!
This is just perfect, Deidra. I often worry I give a rather false picture of my real self on the internet try as I might to be authentic. Blessings on your new home. You have already brought something vital and precious into those old rooms. I am looking forward to the stories that unfold inside those walls.
OH congratulations, Deidra! I’m so happy for you and H. I love older homes. OUr first was a little Arts-and-Craft bungalow, and I wept when we had to leave it. I named it Linden Cottage. It was a darling place, even though it was falling down around our ears and even though we needed a bit more space after Sheridan was born, it was so hard to leave. I see that your new abode has lots of character. All it is missing is you and H to really move in, make yourselves comfy, and to call it home. All it is missing is your heart and your art and your zest for life. But I suspect that it will oveflow with those things mighty soon!
All the best and all my love,
PS What are you naming it? It must have a name! =]
Yes! We are naming our house! We are going to call it Devon Place. When H’s dad purchased property and built a house on it in Michigan, he named it Devon Acres. We don’t have acres, but we wanted to honor the memory.
Yes, and amen! You *get* it!!! People think I am a bit crazy for doing this, but they do it in England all the time. Devon Place it is. I love it! CONGRATS!!!!
Oh Deidra…I am over-the-moon for you! I hear what you’re saying about your new/old place…this coming from a woman who has lived 36 years in the same house-with-sloping-floors. It looked good from the outside, when we bought it. Now it looks good on the inside and the exterior is crumbling. Desperately needs new siding and roof. BUT…It’s HOME.
AND…Absolutely LOVE, LOVE the name. Adding to all my friend Lynni has said…My Grandmother came to Canada from Devon, England when she was a mere 17 years old. And I was blessed to receive this name when I was born, some 50+ years ago!
I pray for all the very best for you and H in your glorious new Home.
Sincerely, Jillie Devon H.
Jillie! So wonderful to see you here, and yes, yes! I remember now that your middle name is Devon. It’s so pretty. And then I learned that Devon and Devonshire are considered the same; and then I think of our visits to Chattsworth in Devonshire (owned by the Duke of Devonshire) and when we had cream teas there (mind you in the lowly kitchen with the peons… .but it was grand nonetheless! Deidra and H are in for grand times too.
Love you, Jillie Devon!
So good to see you here too, my Friend! Bet you do not know that I also live in the County of Oxford (here in Sleepy Gulch)…my home town of Woodstock also having many English names, like Devonshire Ave., Norwich Ave., Dundas, Victoria, Oxford, Kipling, Canterbury,York, and many others I cannot currently recall. But it’s pretty cool, eh? I am now seriously contemplating naming this old house of mine, “Devonshire Cottage-on-the-Glenne.” What do you think?
So exciting!!! 🙂 I posted a collage of my moving mess after I posted the one of my finished bedroom-for reality’s sake. Because we ‘look like that’. 🙂
Okay, so Deidra, this gets cool. Devon in English means of or from Devon, which is a place in England, of course. I think, too, of Devonshire, another name for Devon. Do you like tea? Well, then you must have Devonshire Cream Tea at Devon Place for you and your friends. (Am I a friend? I love tea!!! ) 🙂 The Irish meaning of Devon is poet. I can’t recall if you write poetry, per se, but you do have a poet’s heart, so Devon is a perfect name for a house for an author and “creative”! Voila!
Thank you, Lynni, for this interesting insight into the name of ‘Devon’. I like that Irish meaning too, although I am no poet, believe me. I am extremely proud of my name…can you tell?…and my English heritage.
I can tell!!! I think you are more of a poet than you know! =]
Ah, shucks. 🙂
Ya know, several months ago I signed on for LW’s new find, “Roll-Up.” But somehow it failed to ROLL THIS UP and I missed it. A brilliant way to remind us all that life for any of us is not what we choose to show in this online space. It is way more complex and beautiful and terrible than a single snapshot, blog post, status update or tweet. Congrats to you both for the purchase, for the rootedness it signifies and for the joy (and pain) of making the old new again. Love and luck to you both.
I just love reading your post. And congratulations on your new home.
Oh how I love this post. You are so right. Sometimes I get irritated at the fake feel of social media. You suggested we look at it as a way to celebrate God’s blessings with people. That speaks to me. Thank you. I just found you today, and I’m so glad to read you are putting down roots in Nebraska. It’s where I was born and raised. It’s where I live now. I miss it when I travel. It is my heartland.
I really like this, Deidra. I’m a big fan of using one thing to tell the story of another. And while I so appreciate knowing that your beautiful photo doesn’t tell the story, I think it’s okay not to divulge everything (for example, you did not provide us exact quotations of H’s commentary). Sometimes if a house, shall we say, is in need of some serious repair and barely escaped killing its inhabitants, it’s good to focus on that shaft of light on the blue walls.
Deidra! Love this- settling into roots. Your homestead. What fun. Your words soothe and remind us, that, as you say, “floors creak and slope towards the corners, and sometimes we need a
demolition session, and other times the light shines through the window
at just the right angles and always God is good and life is a gift and
tears may com…”- Cornelia
You know I totally want to be tucked in in that house, even if it does have its imperfections. May God bless and keep you, there!