I’m thankful to have grown up in a GREAT home. I know that is not always a reality so I am especially grateful for it. Home was always very clear to me – it was where I lived. But that doesn’t have to be the case. For the last 10 years, I’ve had a little of both.
My journey over the past 10 years has taken me to 9 different addresses. 7 of those coming in a 4 year period! I had to sit down and count them in order to get all of them straight; 3 addresses in Florida – 2 in South Carolina – 2 in Asheville – 2 back in Wilmington (soon to be 3). I was blown away when I went back through all of the locations, remembering all of the details of each house. As I thought about it, I couldn’t help but think about one thing; Liz. She was with me in 8 of those 9 addresses; putting up with me along the way. I’m so thankful for her willingness to come alongside as we walked that road together. At one point, we lived in an extended stay hotel for a month – at another, we slept on blow-up mattresses for almost 2 weeks – and she lived on top of a mountain for goodness sakes! We have had a great time and a lot of great experiences. Were they all easy? No, certainly not. But, they were all part of our story.
Of the locations above, we’ve stayed the longest at our current home, 801 Royal Bonnet Drive in Wilmington, NC. This home was originally a rental when we moved back to town, but things took an interesting turn. We found out that the landlord was in foreclosure and in 2010, with MJ on the way, we were forced to buy or be evicted! Yep – the officer actually came to the door! To add insult to injury, a ‘scammer’ got ahold of the real estate listing and put it on Craigslist for half of what it would normally rent for! It was like a revolving door morning, noon and night. I came home to people in the drive way, peaking in the windows, you name it. Little did we know the joy that we would experience here. This is the house where we welcomed all three of our boys and I distinctly remember bringing each of them home. This home was built on the tears of struggling through infertility – the joy and excitement of a position pregnancy test – the cries of newborn babies – the wailing of heart monitor alarms – the cheers of proud parents and grandparents watching first steps – the fussing and fighting of 3 boys – the tears of losing a loved one – the sound of music and dancing – and the silence of a peaceful night’s rest. This house will be missed, but this home will carry on!
Last week, we sold this house as we prepare to move into, what will soon be, our new one. We’re back to being tenants again and we couldn’t be more excited. As I thought about my moves and our home, I thought about a couple of things to encourage YOU:
1. Where is your home? I don’t think your home has to be where you live. Honestly it saddens me to think that some people don’t want to or can’t go home because of a difficult situation. Actually, there was one place on the list above that I felt the least comfortable. I probably spent more time and Barnes and Noble because I didn’t want to be there (pre-Liz)! Where do you find peace? What place brings you joy? What place ignites your soul? Wherever that place is, recognize it and embrace it. Make sure you’re spending time there – your soul will thank you.
2. It’s ok to leave home – I loved my home, my family and my hometown. In hindsight, I had to leave because leaving helped me to live. Branching out beyond the comforts of home helped me learn. It helped me understand my foundation and build upon it. I am not suggesting that you can’t grow if you stay at home, but don’t fear the idea just because its different. Embrace new ideas, new adventures as you walk down your path to greatness. Look for opportunity and be willing to leave.
3. Don’t become attached to a house – This has been a hard one for me to do. A lot of it has to do with circumstances, but some of it has to do with bad decisions. Buying a house at 23 on an interest only, stated income, 95% loan is probably not wise. I’ve spent 8 years making that decision right! Truth be told, we let the emotion of owning a house override the reality of creating a home! At one time, I thought about trying to keep this home as a rental. I got great advice to sell it and I’m glad we did. I was holding on to the idea of our home – the house itself was just a structure. Essentially, don’t let an emotional attachment cause you to make a bad financial decision. And that doesn’t just go for houses!
What is home like for you? How can you go about building a home today?