It is bizarre but true, I've found with every move there is one last word- some word spoken or phrase left taped somewhere after all has been moved out. Without intending to, it would become the word I was moving into, the theme of our next home.
(The first: What will you do with your one wild and precious life?)
(Second: Every wise woman builds her house)
(Third: The Examen)
(Fourth: It is what it is?)
This time it was Pax et Bonum. Left after the house was cleared, on a yellow sticky note over the place where my desk used to be. I left it as a blessing for the next occupants.
I believe that Peace + Goodness is meant to dwell with us, that it is what we are meant to cultivate and pursue in all of our ambitions. I think it is what led us to buy this house.
The previous owners lived most of their lives here, and it seems they both passed away within the last year or so. From the way the house was cared for I imagine they found deep satisfaction here- contentment has settled into the bones of this house. Anytime I am tempted to think of our house as small I think of them- clearly small is a relative term, greatly influenced by generation.
We didn't set out to become minimalists, but we did want a fifteen year mortgage (Yay, Cleveland home prices). I admit I was nervous about moving into a smaller place, the main reason being that we love having friends in and the kids friends. I determined that I wouldn't let a smaller place deter me, and so far it is just fine. We naturally want to gather in small circles. Kids are oblivious to room size.
The only constriction we have encountered so far was the need to get rid of a lot of extra stuff- which feels good anyway and has been entirely positive. I was amazed by how much stuff we had which could be put to better use by donation rather than long forgotten in the basement. There is no extra storage here so I keep a donation box in the garage- anything that doesn't have a home is donated.
By the way, I don't necessarily think that being super organized or minimalist is the only or best virtue. I admire people who can live with a lot going on and prioritize the living over keeping things in order. I often wish I could be more like that. But I seem to need order or I can't think.
I haven't decorated yet. When I took these pictures at Christmas we still didn't have anything on the walls, we plan to update the kitchen and the bedrooms are still in the works. But for now, here is a little imperfect tour of our house . ..
The view from our front entry (in the early morning):
We love this added on den. The wood looks a little bright photos, but we don't plan to change anything. There are windows on three sides and lots of trees, perfect for bird watching.
Here is the front room in daylight. (I've since rearranged the furniture. Of course.)
From the entry . . .
This table never stops working . ..
We are hoping to knock out that wall on the left and open up the kitchen. Also move the bucket of curtain rods :-P.
The kitchen is the room I worried about, since I spend exactly 93% of my life in there. But then I read The Smitten Kitchen, and if so much inspiration can come from her 42 square foot kitchen, surely I can work with mine!
The basement is partially finished. We carpeted it and organized all of the toys, dress-up clothes, games, books for the coziest, greatest kids space ever- which the girls loved for two weeks, until they spotted six ants and now refuse to ever step foot down there again. (Oh I have the most nervous kids).
It isn't perfect and there is still a lot to do. Updating- especially the outside- will be an ongoing project for many years. But there is peace and goodness here. And I love it.