Tag Archives: Moving


I have not blogged in over a week.  I feel like a failure but I can’t find my laptop nor do I have internet access at home yet.   I also do not know where an entire box of my daughter’s clothes are but on the upside I know where my daughter is so in the big picture everything is good.

The entire moving process is such a bizarre experience.   To put it simply, you beg everyone you know to give you large cardboard boxes.  You then put every single thing you own into these boxes.   Then you beg everyone you know into helping you carry around the pile of boxes.   You stay up into the wee hours of the morning unpacking these boxes.  Lastly you beg everyone you know to take away the large pile of boxes.

Last night, I was looking at my pile of cardboard boxes.  When we were in Rwanda, I met a woman who had lost her home in a mudslide.  She had a whole pile of children and basically nothing else.  She had no boxes.  I stood staring at my boxes wondering how now to help the people we met in Rwanda.  The needs are overwhelming and its hard to find the energy to mount a fresh attack on fundraising and organizing.   But the disparity between my pile of empty boxes and her lack of boxes is continuing to haunt me.

I’m grateful for our new house.  I’m grateful for clean water.  I’m grateful I know where my family is sleeping tonight.   I’m grateful for the freedom in this country to talk or blog about what I’m thinking.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to go to Rwanda.   It’s painful. But  I’m grateful.


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The House that Jim Built

My cat has been acting very strangely.    He is suspicious of moving furniture and belongings in boxes.   He’s taken to shadowing me when I go from room to room.    This cat is eleven years old.  He’s been through one move with us before when we remodeled this house.

I remember when Jim, our good friend who owns a contracting company, first came to look at our house.    It was then an 850 square foot A Frame.    It had a sparkly gold sink and gilded golden frame in the bathroom.   The shower was tucked into the corner of the A-Frame.  This sounds harmless but it meant that if you took a shower you had to lean sideways the entire time.    I showed Jim this shower and told him I really wanted a claw foot tub and could he somehow make that happen.   Jim had the good grace not to laugh at me. He took our rudimentary “plans” and crafted them into a house plan that the county approved and the remodel commenced.

One day early in the project, Jim was at our house talking about the next few steps.  He ripped out a pen and started writing a list and diagram on one of our walls.   He must have noticed our surprised face because he laughed and said “That wall’s not going to be there anymore, you know that right?”

We moved out of the house when Jim ripped a hole in the side of it (purposefully) and we spent the next two months camping out at my parents.  My old bedroom housed me, my husband, our dog, cat and chinchilla.   It was cozy.   The cat did fine.

My father graciously agreed to wire the house for us.  Actually, I think what he said was, “I’ll wire your house if one of the rooms is a nursery”  Subtle.    My husband and I helped pull wire, and we both learned how to wire electric switches.   I wrote Bible verses on the beams and studs while we wired.

We moved back in right before Christmas.   What a great Christmas.   Jim came in on time and on budget.   Jim is a craftsman.   My father in law paid him the best compliment I’ve heard when he stated that Jim somehow added 800 square feet to an A Frame and made it look like it was original.    One of the things I love best about this house is something Jim did as an afterthought.   When our concrete steps were poured, he pressed three leaves into the corner of one step, one for each of our family.

Right now, I’m sitting on the couch of this beautiful house listening to the Washougal River.  Sitting on the deck, drinking coffee, are the new buyers.   They told me that if I’m ever back in the neighborhood to feel free and come sit on the deck and they’ll make me a cup of coffee.  I appreciated the offer.   I love this house.

My husband and my daughter are, by nature, both forward thinking people.  They both love to plan adventures and get excited about things to come.   I’m more like the cat.  A little wary about change.

We move in six days.   The most important parts of this home are coming with us.   My great grandmother’s piano, a few quilts, my husband’s computer full of all of our family photos.   I’m thrilled to be moving.  The sale was a miracle.   Our new house is close to everyone and has room for tons of family and friends. It’s gorgeous and has amazing potential.  It has a garage and a flat driveway!  It has a backyard for my kiddo to run.    You know what it’s missing?   Some leaves pressed into the front concrete.  It needs some bible verses written on studs.   It needs some personal touches and some history.  I love history.   There are a few things that the house needs practically speaking as well.   We’re going to call Jim.   Maybe he can press some new leaves in concrete for me.   Maybe then the cat will quit following me constantly and can curl up and purr.

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My aunt and uncle and cousin moved into town today.   What a joy to have more family in town!  We spent most of the day hauling their belongings up and down stairs and trying not to put nicks in their brand new walls.   I say trying because I personally helped take a chunk out of one of their ceilings with what I swear is the tallest bookcase I’ve ever seen.  Sorry.  I’ll come help paint it.  At one point in the day when we were surrounded by cardboard and wrapping I asked my husband if we did in fact really want to personally move.  I hate moving.  The entire process is unsettling, exhausting and overwhelming.  I remember when we moved last time, eleven years ago, that I swore I’d never do it again.  Foolish thing to swear something like that.   Our house has been on the market for five weeks now.  We’ve had two people look at it.    Today my uncle looked around at the mess and said “This is a very good day”.   How right he is.

When we were in Rwanda most of the team went and visited a new settlement of people just down the road from where we were working.  Several months earlier their homes had been destroyed in a mud slide.   They were relocated to a new field and the government provided each family with a tarp.  That’s right.  A tarp.  Since then, these families had scrounged up some sheet metal and random wood pieces to form house like structures.   Some of them are working on building new one room mud floor houses. When they move into their new house, they will take their tarp with them.

In light of that comparison I promise that when we do get a buyer that I will cheer.   I will try to remember to be more grateful than grumbling when I’m packing the boxes.   I want to smile as I carry them upstairs.    If I don’t, please remind me that it is a very good day.

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