Saying goodbye to my… house

Dear house,

We have lived in you for 8 and 1/2 years, and now it’s time to say goodbye. I know you are an inanimate object, but if you could think and feel, I would imagine that you know us better than most.

You are the house we came home to when we got married. You are the house that I studied in for countless hours to get a PhD. You were the house our family came home to from Colombia. You are where I learned how to fix things. You are where Beth and I sweated and froze for six months saving up for a new HVAC system when your’s broke. You are where I came at the end of a bad day. You are where I came at the end of a good day. You have heard laughing. You have heard crying. You have been flooded, clogged, or broken in some way… most of the time, because of something dumb that we did.

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When we bought you in April of 2007, you were massive, and we had no idea how we would fill you. Now, you are busting at the seams, and we’ve enclosed your breezeway, put up tons of shelves, decked an attic, and made bunk beds all in an effort to gain more space.

In 2013, we thought about getting rid of you, but God definitely told us no. He didn’t tell us no by closing doors on financing or finding a new place. He told us no with an uneasiness in our heart. Back then, I didn’t like you much. All I could see was how we were stuck inside of you, and you weren’t very exciting. I hated not having any privacy with seven other people. I hated having to pee by the tree in the backyard when both the bathrooms you had were occupied. I hated not having any space to put something fun like a ping-pong table inside of you.

But, you kept our family close, and, by that, you kept our family close. When I went on mission trips, I was reminded that you are still a castle by the world’s standards. You reminded us to live simply, because, aside from God, none of the stuff we wanted to accumulate but couldn’t would matter. I am glad that even though you were small, we used you. There weren’t many weeks that went by when there wasn’t one or two parties scheduled with friends or Sunday School classes.

Now, it is 2015, and I know now, with the way that things unfolded, why God wanted us to stay in you a few more years. He knew the plans He had for us. If I had left you two years ago when I wanted to, it would have been super hard financially to move now that I have to.

Now, in 2015, you will move on to your fourth owners, a couple with a 4-year-old little boy. They will write their lives inside your rooms. They will make you their home. Be as good to them as you were to us. Take care of them… even if they grow tired of you like I sometimes did. I pray that you stay a Christian home where the devil has no business. I pray that you stay a safe place for everyone that comes in.

When we come back to Texas, I’ll be sure to drive past you and check up. I’ll try not to cry too much, but I’m a big baby so I don’t make any promises. Even though you were small, you’ve set a high mark for the next house to live up to!

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We love you, and we will miss you house…

Tyler, Beth, and the kids

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Sweet Home Alabama…

We put the cart before the horse on this one…

We started saying goodbye to things before we really explained what’s going on. The dinnermesa is moving out of Texas and headed toward Alabama. There’s a lot of different reasons why, but I’ll just say, it’s something that we felt was best for our family and something that God was calling us to do. It sure makes this decision make a lot more sense now that we see how it was going to pan out.

It’s been almost 3 years since we came home as a family from Colombia. I talked to my oldest daughter tonight, and she told me that this would be the fourth time she’s moved in her 9-year-old life. I told her it was my fourth time to move in my 35-year-old life. Unlike her, I was much more the captain of my destiny than she was (even with my parents at the helm). She was put in a car a couple of times, and everything she knew changed… with no parents at the helm.

When we told the kids it might happen, we told them that no matter if they wanted to stay in Texas (two of them) or move to Alabama (two of them) (one undecided), we needed to pray for God’s will. If it was His will, we prayed for open doors. If it was not His will, we prayed that He shut those doors clearly. We also prayed that our kids who still have a little of South America in them would learn to stop calling it “Halabama.”

After about two months of slowly developing situations, the decision was made, and announced. It was a mixed bag. Some tears and some fist pumps (a new Americanism we’ve picked up this past year).

Then ramifications of the move started coming in like waves with highs and lows.

“So, we will get a new house?” “Yay!”

“So, we’ll loose our teachers, school, and friends?” “Awe!”

“So, we’ll get new teachers, school, and friends?” “Yay!”

“So, we are moving away from grandparents, aunts and uncles?” “Awe!”

“Since Alabama has a lot more trees, hide and seek will be a lot more fun.” “Yay!”

I was a little worried that for some of them, this would look like another crazy, life-changing transition in a long line of transitions in their lives, so we talked through the things that wouldn’t change.

  1. Mom and Dad are Mom and Dad forever. That’s not going to stop, and we will be going with you.
  2. The dogs are coming with us too. (I didn’t think this was a big deal, but that was one of their biggest concerns when we discussed the move)
  3. Our cars are coming with us too.
  4. We will have the same clothes, toys, and furniture. It is also coming with us.
  5. No matter what we face, we face it as a family.
  6. Mom and Dad will still be taking care of the family like we have always done. You don’t have to be an adult. You can be a kid and just be along for the ride.

I don’t know if it hasn’t hit some of them yet, but they are taking it like champs. Our kids’ greatest strength/problem is they transition really fast (all of them). If it happened 15 minutes ago, it is ancient history, and we are on to something else (maybe that’s why they relate so well to the dogs – they are the same way). So we have sober moments in 15-minute bursts, and then we start thinking about all the fun stuff or whatever we were doing before the moment struck.

Aside from packing up stuff to stage our house for selling (which was under contract after 20 hours of being on the market), our lives have been minimally disrupted by the transition. I’m sure when we are hugging family goodbye at the airport, it will get a lot more real, for kids and adults alike. We are about two weeks out from that.

I’m hoping that this can be one of the last transients I personally throw at them, but if they learn that in this world, the things that are constant are God and, to a lesser extent, family, then I guess that’s a hard but good lesson.

I just hope I’m OK at this new job! To quote the movie “Braveheart”, “We didn’t get all dressed up for nothin’.” I’ll let you know in a month or so!

At the dinnermesa,

Ty

Saying goodbye to my…Church

Dear Church,

We are moving soon, and this will be our last Sunday in your building.  This is the last Sunday that I get to run into my friends, pick up a “Disco bro”, and usher the kids to their classes.  And I already miss you.

I wish I could say every person by name who had a profound influence on my life, but the blog would go on for lines. So here are 5 specific good byes that need to be said:

  1. To the students: who are now becoming young adults: you are life changers.  I have loved seeing you grow in your faith, seeing you struggle in your faith, and seeing you coming back to your faith.  You are a talented group that can change the world for Christ. We pray for you constantly.  We celebrate your victories, we cry when you are hurt, and we ache when you are lost.  Being able to work with the youth in our church was the best thing to happen to our marriage and our family.
  2. To the teachers: thank you for your consistency and for being willing to sacrifice your time to teach us.  My kids loved all of you. You were a constant discussion at our dinner table.  You are someone we looked up to and wanted to do our best for you.  You helped build a foundation of faith in my children.  Years later we will still tell tales of Mr. Neil, Ms. Susan, Ms Pam, Ms. Pat, and many more of you.
  3. To our life group: I finally get the name change from “Sunday school class.”  We did life with you.  You came into our family, and we came into yours.  We did dinners together, double dates, babysitting kids, volunteering, bible studies, and everything in between. Knowing that in a matter of an email I can have 15 couples lifting our family up in prayer together is the best feeling.
  4. To the ministers: thank you for investing in our family and for getting to know our names and our story.  Thank you for asking us to serve and for expecting us to be involved.  You taught us truth in love.  Thank you for making missions a priority. Because of your influence it is now a line in our budget and will always be.
  5. To my friends: we were never in class together. Maybe we sat together once or twice at a church function. You aren’t in my specified age group, you don’t have kids the same age as mine, but you still made time to be my friend.  You poured kindness and wisdom on me.  You were a friendly face in the hallway.  You saved us seats at Dinner Theater.  You asked me how my week was going.  You invited my crazy family over for a swim.  We sat together if we ran into your family at a restaurant.  I am going to miss you the most. You were the people that weren’t planned friends for me. You were the ones that I care about simply because you go to my church and you are fighting for Christianity in this world with me.  You were the ones that we had to go out of our way to schedule time for in this busy life because if we didn’t I’d wouldn’t see you for months.  It was time well spent.

FBC Mansfield

I hope I see you tomorrow, and get to give you a hug, I’ll try not to cry (but no promises),

Beth