Saturday, January 7, 2017

Our Home in Sidney (Some Assembly Required)

I stood in the street looking at our new house. It was only four days since Christmas and reflections of that long awaited night in Bethlehem illuminated my heart as I gave thanks for my family inside. The day had been long, friends and family had shown us love, and finally we were home again.

I had to smile and chuckle a bit as I reflected that this night would be the first night I'd spend in a bed that I could call my own since the night of July 31. For the past five months I've slept in borrowed beds. Over the past one-hundred and thirty nights I'd slept in eleven different beds. There were nights when I wondered if I'd ever own my own bed again!

The joke was still a little on me though because I still didn't quite make it fully in bed... we just tossed the mattresses on the floor. Kellie and I lay in the quiet, listening to the absence of the sounds of Guatemala. There were no barking dogs, no crowing roosters, sirens, and no anxious discernment of fireworks verses gunshots. Odder still, our family of five was alone under the roof.

The last time we lived in a house entirely by ourselves was in 2014 when we lived in San Lucas, Sacatepequez, before Gloria and Chelsey joined us. Suddenly we missed Antony, who had later come to be part of our family there, and we wished that he could be included in our number now. 

Moving forward always involves leaving things behind. The cost of loss informs us of the value of the memories we share and the worth of the path we pursue. We've said goodbye only one time less than we've said hello, but while the parting is always bittersweet, there's no better path than walking in obedience to the One who calls our name.

And so now, one week into our new world, I have time to reflect back a little with that long day, December 28 that brought us to this place that already has become our home.

It all began with a rental truck 
and trip to IKEA.

Kellie had our shopping list and we began to pick our items from their warehouse, one thing at a time.

Caleb drove the carts while I loaded and Aleksandra collected them near the checkouts.
We soon had five carts loaded, attracting the attention of most of the crowd, after Christmas shoppers who were simply picking up an item or two. Since we were furnishing an entire house, we felt like we should have Trading Spaces or Extreme Makeover camera crew following us!

Caleb and I had a blast loading the truck (the boxed sleeper sofa weighed 260 lbs) and then celebrated when we were ready to roll towards Trenton to load stuff that had been stashed in myriad basements, attics, and spare spaces during our three year stay out of the country.

Kellie's family jumped in and helped load countless suitcases filled with clothes, books, and wares.

The old, the new, and the borrowed were loaded up tight, we closed the door and made the 70 mile trek up I-75.

Just put that stuff anywhere.
We were met at our new house by Pastors Alan & Kim, along with their full family who had gathered for the holidays. In an incredibly selfless gift of their time, they had us unloaded in under an hour.
After staying with the kids while Kellie and I drove to pick up donated furniture from families of the church, it was time to say goodbye for the night. After living under their roof for the past five months, it was a difficult parting,
especially for Sterling.

Let the assembly begin!

IKEA furniture is GREAT
when you have built in child labor.

I took the largest projects for myself.

Behold, a 6-drawer dresser
(some assembly required).

It was like Legos for adults. I had a blast!

We assembled every piece with traditional tools: flat and phillips screwdrivers, a hammer (for dowels), and manufacturer provided allen wrenches. We had power drivers, but we drove every screw by hand, taking time to appreciate our work, recognize the value of a job well done.

Caleb assembled his entire room: bunk bed,
night stand, and three drawer dresser. 

Aleksandra did most of hers and Sterling's, with me providing some assistance. She really didn't need my help, I just enjoyed spending the day with her while we worked.

Aleksandra loves her mirror from my Mom,
and her big Teddy Bear from Caleb.

Our new master bedroom,
with art by Carlos Lopez from Love Guatemala
in Magdalena, Guatemala.

Our sweat-shop workers relax under the
watch of treasures from Guatemala (Yes, that's a 7 foot wooden giraffe. No, Giraffe's aren't native to Guatemala).

Ready to receive visitors!

And ready to finally sleep in our own
(now fully assembled) bed!

And so we end as we began, back outside of the house in the darkness. With these northern wind-chills well below zero, all boxes and packing materials are on the curb. After three days of unpacking, sorting, and assembly, we were in!

We are one week into finding our new rhythm. I've been at the church a full week and assembled my office, we've joined the YMCA, the girls are settled in their new schools, and the dogs have been groomed! 

In a fast-paced week, this house has already become a home, and the people of Connection Point Church have become our family. We give thanks to God that He has led us here! 

Five months, 10k miles driven on the road, and a shopping spree at IKEA later... Honey, we're home!

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