What we can bring

Way back in 1992, we were living in a cute older house in town, were the happy parents of three tiny children, and were dreaming of homesteading in the country.  Big garden, orchard, chickens, all of it.  When we found a 3 acre piece of land for the princely sum of $13,ooo, we leaped on it.

The next summer, after looking at dozens of house plan books and finding just the right plan, we sold our first house (in 5 days, no less) and began building this one.  The plan was that we would serve as general contracters, subbing out all the parts of the build to various subcontracters.

Finding an affordable rental to live in during the build was made harder by the fact that we had a dog.  We ended up buying two old travel trailers which we paid for on payments– $112 a month. No way we could have found rent that cheap.  We rented an outhouse, drilled a well, and lived right there on that 3 acre stretch of land while we built us a house.

Yes.  Three kids, two parents, a dog, a couple of cats, and a couple of travel trailers.  Our full-size refrigerator, our house plants, and a whole variety of other household items were protected from the weather by nothing more than a cattle chute that we covered with a tarp.  We jokingly called our ramshackle campsite ‘Okietown’.

Now, looking back from the perspective of a parent, I wonder just how worried our parents were about us.  They probably thought we had taken leave of our senses.  Thankfully God watched over that home build.  Our maiden voyage as home contractors went smoothly, and just 3.5 months later, in October of 1993, our home was done and we were moving in.

Just in time.  The weather had already gotten cold enough that I made frosty footprints walking across outdoor carpet each morning from our travel trailer to the kids’ trailer to get them out of bed.  Wow, were ever glad to move into our new home.  It felt like a palace.

Since that happy move-in date in 1993, we’ve added 7 children to our family, had many huge gardens, many happy Christmases, and many years of homeschooling.  We’ve birthed children, adopted children, seen their first steps and their first words and their first Christmas programs and all the other firsts that come with watching children grow.

We’ve read story after story on that old green living room carpet.  We’ve built Lego masterpieces and gathered eggs and bottle-fed baby calves and gone for long lovely walks and even welcomed grandkids into the family who then proceeded to do all the things here that our own children have.

Oh, this has been a good home for us.

We are definitely feeling many pangs of nostalgia.  But we’ve done all we came here to do, and we’re ready for some different pursuits.  And it helps to remember that in leaving the house, we’re not leaving all those amazing memories.  They get to come right along with us, and continue to be a huge part of our children’s childhood.

So we’ll take pictures.  We’ll copy our wall-mounted growth chart to a piece of trim we can mount in our new house, and then use it to document the growth of the grandkids just as it did their parents. We’re breathing deep of the last days we have here in this house.  (Due to a paperwork snafu, we’re getting a few extra bonus days.  In fact, it looks like we get one more Christmas right here.) But we’re also confident that in looking forward to this next adventure, we’re not truly losing all the neat blessings we’ve gained while living here.  It will forever be a part of the memories of a really wonderful part of our lives.

I think also that our very human wish for a lovely home is a beautiful reminder of the only perfect home we will ever experience:  heaven.

I pray that as we all celebrate home and family and love and the miraculous birth of Jesus during this beautiful time of year, we’ll also be joyful thinking of the heavenly home where some day we will celebrate forever.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!



  1. So lovely to close the years at this house knowing we lived those old dreams thoroughly and new dreams are floating on the horizen! Also nice memories aren’t sold with the house 😉

  2. Kim Barton says:

    This blog post sure made me cry 🙂 best wishes on your new adventure and we will miss having you guys next door! I hope your new house brings you as many wonderful memories as this house has!

  3. Gary Coryer says:

    Mary and family,
    Have a wonderful and joyous Christmas. I loved the story about your Okie adventure. I’m sure your parents were shaking their heads but knowing you guys, knew you would get thru it. For the new house, wishes of much laughter, new memories and happy adventures. Thanks for the inspiration that you’ve provided our family. The boys now tower over us and Arena will too I think, she’s only seven but getting tall quickly.
    Merry Christmas and Christ’s peace to you all,
    Gary, Deb, Will, Kevin and Arena Marie