I sat at the end of the lane… studying the view, I was imagining the location of the road. It hadn’t actually hit me until that moment that the road would run through our land. Through all these months, I knew there was the possibility of the road running through our land but somehow I’ve been insulated from the reality of it. That, or perhaps I’ve just remained in some form of denial.
Hot tears streamed down my face as I slowly made my way down the lane and pulled into our driveway. Parking the car in my very familiar space, I sat for a moment contemplating what I’d just imagined and let the reality of it all sink in for a bit before I gathered up my groceries and made my way up the back porch stairs and into the old farmhouse kitchen. I could do this blindfolded and not miss a step.
From the first day I saw it to this day, I’ve loved this house. For nearly two decades, this house has been home to me — not just a home to me, but home to me. With all its memories, all its quirky aspects, all its charm, all its flaws and beauty, it’s home to me. It’s home to us all.
A little slice of heaven… the garden of Eden… the welcome home. These are all descriptions friends and strangers alike have used to describe this hundred year old farmhouse that sits down the lane under the canopy of the magnificent old weeping willow tree — this little slice of heaven with its flowering plants and fruit trees, gardens and birds, hydrangeas, lavender and hummingbirds sipping the nectar from one of the several feeders strategically hanging in different window locations all around the house. These are but a few of the things that make this home the incredibly wonderful place it is.
Perhaps it’s also the many, many imperfections that make this home so endearing. Maybe it’s all the history wrapped up in this home. I don’t know. But whatever it is, this home’s got something that can’t quite be described. Sometimes it’s just a feeling. Maybe that’s what I love about this home so much: the way it feels. Maybe that’s what it was, the first time I saw this home, maybe I loved it because of how it felt. All I knew at that moment was: it felt like home to me.
That summer evening was warm and bright as we drove down the lane in our old family van. I don’t know what the children must’ve been thinking, but I imagine it was getting tiresome day after day to hop in the van to drive around searching for a home for our family.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I was taking in all I was seeing. I was utterly amazed by the beautiful weeping willow tree beside the house. And land! Land all around the house! Imagine that, we’d prayed for land and here was this old farmhouse surrounded by so much land. At the time I didn’t know that the property itself was just an acre – a little slice of land under the big sky in the Snohomish valley.
Wide eyed, we all eagerly walked up the steep front steps, across the porch and through the heavy old front doorway. I remember being overcome with love for this house. Making our way through the sun room, living room, dining room and into the kitchen, I felt like I was stepping through time — imagining the decades of memories within its walls — the joys and sorrows this home’s surely known. All the blessings and benefits a home could provide seemed to be some sort of fragrance in the air: that indescribable old-home smell. I was mesmerized — our little children were so as well. I’ll never forget our oldest daughter, as she walked through this home that day, holding the hand of a younger sister and with the delightful innocence and joy only a child possesses, she exclaimed that it was the most beautiful home she’d ever seen.
We stepped out on the back porch, probably wishing we could sit on the porch swing. Having made our way all through the home, the children walking hand in hand and I, five months pregnant and carrying a one year old, attempting to convey our gratitude to the owners at having been given the opportunity to walk through their home. I smile at the thought of what a sight we must’ve been that evening.
The sun was low in the sky by that time and cast the most beautiful, warm glow through the windows of the old farmhouse. Windows on all four sides of the house. My mind began to flood with gratitude to the Lord for the answers to my prayers, for the desires I’d written on my list were right before my eyes. In my notebook, I’d written out a list — a list of all the things I longed for in a home. Making that list wasn’t an original thought with me — it was a suggestion my sister-in-law had given me when we began looking for our home. We looked at house after house and kept running into dead ends and higher prices than we could afford. So, I finally took her suggestion and began writing a list of all the things I wished for in a house the Lord would provide for our family. All the while, I prayed He’d provide and show us the home He had for us. That list was written in faith and with sincere hope for what I thought we needed for our growing family. First on the list was a willow tree. Bedrooms for the children. Windows on all four sides of the house. A porch. Space for the children to run and play. Space for a garden. A claw foot bathtub. I believe there were a few more things on the list, but at the moment, I can’t recall what they were. I hope one day to find the list, surely it must be tucked away in one of the many boxes of old papers and journals I’ve saved through the years. I’d love to see whatever else I’d written — but one thing I know, the Lord has surely answered beyond what I could have asked or imagined.
I remember thinking in the moment that it would surely be the most difficult news to convey to the children that we simply could not afford this home. By most standards, it wasn’t expensive as homes go, but for us, financially, it was enough out of our reach that it may as well have been simply a dream. Heavy disappointment weighed on my heart at the thought that we’d not be able to meet the financial criteria. It was such a strange feeling to remain compelled to continue hoping for the home to be ours — though it appeared we couldn’t meet the terms, the house seemed to fit all of our dreams.