This little house sits next door to the house that has been our family home since the summer I was 16.  My parents still live there.  Over the years there were many neighbors in the little house.  For a few years a wonderful couple lived there after they retired from the military. When they passed away, the house went on the market and eventually a young teacher ended up with the house.  She painted it Puppy Paws, which I believe is an Olympic paint from Lowe’s.  It has a rather pinkish cast.  Anyway, she lived here for a year or so and then got married and they lived here another year, then they accepted teaching jobs elsewhere and put the house on the market.  We almost bought it then, in 2007.  But we didn’t.

Three years and three renters later, my Dad was tired of not knowing who his neighbors would be, he was tired of his steep driveway and wanted back access to his property and I was hankering for a little house to call my own even if it was only on weekends.  So, we made a deal.  He’d buy the property, We (meaning my brother, his assistant and my dad) would fix up the house and then when Mr. Piano graduates we’d purchase the house from him.  In the meantime we’d have a little weekend get away and a little cottage to come home to on school breaks etc.  I’d always thought it would be fun to have a second home like those people you read about who can actually afford a vacation home.

The only hitch in having my second home?  I didn’t really have my first home since I was living in a campus apartment and had sold my dream home in Tennessee when we moved to Louisville for my husband to attend school.  See picture below:


I’ve always done things backwards and there is a rather satisfying sense of irony in having my second home before I have my first home.  So to speak.  And just so we are clear, I do not have the means to own two homes in any real sense of the phrase ‘two homes’.  It’s not all that.  We got a really good deal on the little house because….brace yourself….this is a sampling of the condition it was in when we found it:

100_0554The kitchen looks totally different now, thanks to my brother.  We were fortunate that the fall of 2010 his business slowed down enough for him to spend the fall and winter doing updates and he was reasonably priced.  And he is talented.  And we did the bare minimum to make it work as a little get away house.  Nothing fancy, just clean and simple.  I will do some before and after posts soon.

To be fair to previous owners, the young teacher had the house very clean and did some painting and updates, but unfortunately the renters after she moved out weren’t so kind to the house.  We gathered several, like at least 13, large, yard, garbage bags full of junk that the last renter had left behind.  It looked like she had left in a hurry as there was something in a pan on the stove that looked like chili and my Dad found out the hard way that we shouldn’t open the refrigerator door.  It had to be thrown away which is a shame as it looked fairly new.  We let our appliance guy recycle the stove when we purchased a new one as I wasn’t too thrilled with keeping it either after seeing the “leftovers” in the pan (we’re talking several weeks).  I have a picture of the garbage we threw out, when I find it I’ll scan it and let you see that I’m not making this up!

So, here we are two and a half years later and our “second” home has become our only home.  For awhile at least.  Mr. Piano, is getting ready to defend his dissertation on January 15th.  After that he will do some final editing and then it will be off to be bound and printed, then we wait for graduation in May.  He was supposed to graduate in December, but, well, that is a long story, and a stressful one, and really couldn’t be helped. He is essentially done and after next week, he will be done, but since graduation only happens twice a year, it won’t be official until May.  Then, God willing, he will have a teaching job in the fall.  He has been applying like crazy to colleges.  Frankly, we don’t know where we’ll end up, or when we’ll be there.

In the meantime we remain here in the Little House, in a small Kentucky ‘burg, living in our second home, waiting on a job that will presumably take us to our first home, unless, something would pop up close by and then our second home could be our first home.  We are open to God’s plans.  We wait on him because we know he is faithful.  We are learning to rest, trust, and listen.  In Him we Remain, because he is our true home.


Remaining in Grace,


Dwelling Places


Psalm 84 begins with “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord God Almighty”.  For someone like me who loves beautiful homes and decorating, that phrase conjures up a myriad of images – it inspires dreams.  Just saying “dwelling places” resonates deep within me.  I can get excited about almost any home, no matter how humble or how palatial, simply because I have never seen a house that I couldn’t imagine beautiful.

When the Psalmist is talking about God’s dwelling place he is not talking about dwelling places in the sense of brick and mortar mansions or cottages, rather he is talking about being with God and looking ahead to eternity which is our permanent home.   In verse two he says “My Soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord;”  One version says that his soul languishes for the courts of the Lord.  In Victorian times, to languish usually meant to be almost consumed by your desire for someone or something.  In Illness, to languish puts you near death.

The psalmist so languishes after the Lord and dwelling with him that he is ready to turn his back on any hint of earthly roots.   He has realized that he is just a pilgrim traveling through life to get to his real destination.  To be on a pilgrimage is more than just traveling.  Pilgrimage has a purpose; you are traveling to a holy place.  Warren Wiersbe in his BE Worshipful commentary, says that “a pilgrim is heading home.”

Too many times we think the pilgrimage is finding the perfect dwelling place be it actual dwelling, or possibly the right location.  We then proceed to put down roots as if we are going to be established forever.  Instead, as Christians, we should be holding the things of this world loosely and looking to the final destination as our root source.  Corrie ten Boom says, “I’ve learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me.”

Giving up our earthly dreams does indeed hurt sometimes, but the hurt can be for our good if we allow God to teach us the greater truths about what it really means to dwell with him.  My “Tennessee Home” as I called it, was a dream I had to give up and I grieved over the loss.  For me, it was my dream home and it was the most peaceful place I had ever lived on this earth.  I called it my God house. It was our Grace House.  I truly do believe it was a gift from God and I believe it was ok to love my home.  When the time came to move on I was willing, or so I thought, to give up my house.  The delayed reaction, once the dust had settled on our new adventure, was that I went through actual grief at giving up my dream home.  God used this grief to teach me lessons and give me perspective.

What I have come to realize is that home is a place in the heart that you take with you wherever you go; home on earth is not a permanent destination, it is just part of the pilgrimage to where we’re going to dwell eternally. If we are willing to give up our dreams and plans, that leaves room for God to plant his desires in our heart.

I want the “cry of my heart” to be as the Psalmist says in verse 10 of this same chapter: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”

So where are you on this pilgrimage? Are you languishing to dwell with God or are you busy holding on tightly to things that will have to be pried from your grip?

Prayer:  ” …O Lord Almighty, my king and my God.  Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.  Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.”  Psalm 84:3b-5 (NIV)

Go in Grace,