After visiting several houses last Saturday, I have spent the last week considering whether to move forward with one place I really loved. Many doors and signs have opened in that direction, and today I returned for a second visit. If I feel the same peace Monday I feel today, I may be ready to make a formal offer.
I am beginning to allow myself to be really and very excited about all of this, but today has been heavy: not stressful, exactly, but intense. Talk of bids and bonds, down payments and mortgage insurance, escrow and warranties and offers -- these are good things, for they shall bringeth unto me a house, but they whelm me. I have many good advisors, but in the end I must make all these decisions alone. While I thank God that I am happy enough in my job and secure enough in my finances to buy a house, the end-of-the-day solitude of this process only adds to my disorientation.
Consequently, I am ending this very long day by making a list of all the joyful things I wish to do once I buy a house. For many of these activities I will invite or require company, so let me know in the comments where you wish to join in!
Once all the books are on the shelves and the plates in their cupboards, I will throw open the doors and ask friends to come bless the house with their joy. I will serve homemade ginger ale by the gallon, and we will go from room to room, praying for each.
Several of my Texas homes became gathering places for Sunday rest and reflection. My dear Kt came over nearly every week to sew, talk, and sit, and I loved inviting others to come and share our rest. When my friend Audrey was exploring the idea of keeping a Sabbath, she once came over with a book and pajama pants, and spent the afternoon reading and napping while I sewed nearby. I want my house to be a place where we teach one another to rest.
In Waco, the local Mennonite church would host free or nearly-free seminars in skills such as cheese-making, knitting, baking, canning, and other traditions skills and crafts. They called these sessions "Foxfire Fridays" after the Appalachian Foxfire project (read more about that here). I've looked in vain for a similar gathering in Alabama, and I've finally decided I should just start one myself. We may begin with a few friends gathered for knitting lessons or jam-making, but eventually I would love to use my house as a meeting place for people interested in sustainable living.
Hopefully, my first project upon moving will be to establish gardens. In addition to vegetables and flowers, I have dreams of gardens that grow natural dyes, herbs, and other useful flora.
This is risky, considering I've only ever square danced once, and I have no idea how to teach anyone else to do it. Nevertheless, if I have a spacious yard, I would really enjoy finding some old records and gathering some people to laugh and swing and dosey do.
Special kinds of conversations happen in rocking chairs, just as supper tables, road trips, and Christmas trees all inspire their own precious forms of conversation. I hope to acquire a few rocking chairs and put them somewhere we can hear crickets in the summer. We'll rock and talk late into summer nights.
Mobile is nearly equidistant between my parents and my uncle's family, so there is a good chance my house will become the meeting point for that side of the family. I love hosting holidays--especially Thanksgiving and Easter, so I look forward to becoming the the host not only for my family, but for anyone in this city who finds themselves in need of a home on a holy day.
Making this list has been a happy exercise. I'm feeling far more cheerful about all the decisions I'll need to make in the coming weeks. Please keep me in your prayers as I move forward with this project.
What do you think I should do with a house once I have it? How can I be a good and creative steward of a house?