Thoughts on Houses
We spent a lot of time this summer thinking about houses, getting ready to sell our house in Traverse Mountain (in Lehi, on the northern edge of Utah County), and brainstorming on what we'd need in a house in Texas.
On the way to Texas, we drove south through Colorado and spent the night at Mesa Verde. We found the Far View Lodge inside the park and stayed up high on the mesa. The night sky was pitch black away from the city lights, and the weather was at least ten degrees cooler up high. I loved it. The next morning we learned a lot about the Native Americans who lived there. A man gave a short lecture near one of the cooking areas, talking about how the women made food by heating stones and cooking meat near the fire. Once again, I was thinking about houses and what I need in a house, and then I'm reminded that a whole neighborhood of people lived in cliff dwellings like this:
(Look closely in the background on this one.)
Many years ago, when my parents moved away from Grand Junction, our Bishop shared this wise counsel: It doesn't matter where you live, but how. Maybe he was trying to encourage or console my parents, who were sad to leave such a beautiful place.
I think his message was profound, and relevant for me in my wanderings. I've lived in lots of places, and learned to love each place for different reasons:
- In Boulder and Grand Junction I loved the mountains.
- In San Diego I fell in love with the ocean.
- In Las Vegas I learned to love the desert and appreciate palm trees and desert tortoises.
- In Rexburg I met my future husband.
- In China and in Paraguay I developed a new appreciation for the USA. In both places I realized that learning English as a child was a gift, and having amenities like running water is too.
- In northern California, we lived in Sonoma County and I loved the smell of the citrus and vineyards and ocean.
- In Provo I learned how to be a mom and finish my degree.
- In Lehi I learned how much I need neighbors, and how much young moms need friends.
There have been plenty of challenges. Our home came with a broken fridge and I'm seriously happy to have cold food stay cold again. The AC worked during August and then the thermostat was wonky, so a repairman came and fixed it too. I'm really glad it wasn't broken when we first got here. Adjusting to the humid climate has thrown a wrench in the old rules for hair and makeup and clothes. Also, when I got my first electric bill I might have had a serious case of sticker shock: "It costs how much to keep this house cool?"
We're slowly unpacking all of our stuff, and we had a handyman build shelves in the garage for all the camping gear.
I'm really grateful for the maps tool on my phone. That's been a lifesaver, to have guidance getting everywhere I need to go. We're learning to navigate without the mountains.
I miss my old friends and my old neighborhood. But I appreciate ways to stay connected, like Facebook or email or by phone. I miss having my sister 7 minutes away from my house. She found a sweet way to send encouragement. One day when I was seriously lonely, there were flowers on my doorstep. Her two cockapoos look just like this carnation creation.
I've learned once again that there's beauty and grace everywhere, even in the middle of a really huge move. The day that our moving truck unloaded, it was super humid and hot. About 3pm that afternoon the heavens opened and it started pouring. Little did I realize that one of my new neighbors, a lady that I'd never even met, had been praying for me all day long. She later told me, when we met, that she had prayed that we'd get our stuff inside before the storm. Her prayers were answered, and as the movers finished with the last of the load they got drenched in the rain. I am so grateful for her prayers, and for God's mercy in the timing.
I'm making new friends and praying for my kids to do the same. I'm learning my way around, and I don't need my phone to tell me how to get to school or church anymore. Norm likes his job and the people he's working with. I can't tie this up in a perfect bow, and I can't quite predict all the things I'll learn here in Texas. But I can say with deep gratitude, that we're here and we're moving forward.