Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October 4-Moving Inland

"Our ugliness is rawboned, useful, natural and honest. Our beauty is accidental, untampered with, often breathtaking."
Betty MacDonald, "Onions In The Stew"

I was disappointed. Rental properties were limited and this was the only home with four bedrooms. My view of the water was gone. Instead I was nestled into the wildness of trees and bushes. Behind me were five acres of untamed woods. We prayed to stay on the island. The answer came through a very kind and humble landlord who felt he wanted children in his home. But, I was disappointed. I needed two bathrooms. I needed a dishwasher. I needed a family room. I needed a white-picket fence. 

Colored pencils by Gabriele 

Needs and wants get confused. Intermarried in these feelings are ego and pride. 

“A Native American wisdom story tells of an old Cherokee who is teaching his grandson about life. 'A fight is going on inside me,' he said to the boy. 'It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too.' The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, 'Which wolf will win?' The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.
Kristen Neff

What did I receive from this house? I received location. Location, location,location is what real estate and developers value. I didn't fully appreciate my prime location. 
The benefits of living inland became more apparent as time went on. My business benefited from being accessible to town. When lacking a car, walking was possible. Schools were within walking distance. When electricity was lost we went back on the grid much sooner than out of town areas. I learned to be grateful. I still had to make fires, but they were cozy and we gathered around together talking. My dishwashers were plural, often unwilling. My white picket fence became a ginormous rhododendron tree, blood red, like the driveway to Manderley in the book "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier.
We stayed. In fact we are still here today, twenty-nine years later. And that kind landlord is still our landlord. As I type this, I feel the warm wash of shame. Let me explain what I mean. I use the definition of shame by BrenĂ© Brown. Shame and guilt are different. Guilt involves wrong doing while shame is the wash of "not good enough" that swirls over us when we catch a glimpse of how others view us in a certain situation. I am a renter. We have never owned a home. Yes, we could have purchased a home and perhaps almost had it paid for by now. Yet, the opportunity was never right. That kind landlord kept our rent below the cost of a mortgage. I have not achieved the "American Dream". Instead we have poured our money, time and energy into our children. 

I don't intend to sound like we made a more noble choice than others. I honestly don't know if all our choices were ideal or easy for our family. But, I do know I consulted a loving Heavenly Father on each fork in the road. I would have followed another road had he prompted us. As I look around at my surroundings I feel we have been good stewards. We cared for this home because we loved here. We loved each other and we loved our island life. 

I am writing for 31 days this October about Island Life. Click here to see the other days of writing.


  1. Isn't it interesting when our "perfect" is not God's perfect? And yet, it always turns out to be.... When we bought our house, it was not the location we were originally looking for. But now, we can walk to preschool (and, next year, kindergarten) and our neighbors are the most amazing. I look back and realize God knew exactly where he was leading us, even if it's not where we were thinking!

    1. I feel very comforted by that truth.

  2. I love how God led you to the place that was right for you and where you have been happy, even if it wasn't what you hoped for at the time. I also like how you describe seeking God about decisions and going where he leads. That's the best thing we can do, even if our path is not the same as others'.

    1. Following others is so magnetic. I struggle every day to hear his word.

  3. Good for you for staying true to what was right for you and your family. You must have felt like geniuses during the 2008 housing bust. My husband and I have also made decisions that looked strange compared to what others do but our priorities were important to us. I'm loving your series!

  4. Wow, you have been in your house 29 years! That is awesome! Kind of a throwback to previous generations, who didn't feel the need to constantly move around! One set of my grandparents lived in their house for 45 years! As for me, we are coming up on 11 years in this house...the longest we have lived in any house has been 11 1/2. Oh, the money we have lost by moving around and selling houses for less than we paid for them! I think you are wise to stay in a place where you happy and content and not living above your means!

    My husband and I are considering whether we want to sell this house (it's too big now that the kids are gone) and just rent. Home ownership isn't everything.


  5. So often we don't get our ideals. Or are given them partially. Yet in their absence different gifts or blessings are Given to us instead.
    This was a wonderful post !


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