Rebuilding {Home}

2020 is the year that our family is focusing on rebuilding {Home}.
It is difficult to even explain the depths of despair, distraction and destruction that comes with the loss of a home, a lifetime of building and gathering of things, and the community in which you have grown and invested in.  Yes, the loss involved mostly "just" things, but those things were a record of our lives, the place where we would go after the hardest moments, a place of respite and security. In a matter of hours, that was all gone, our support system (community) were all reeling from the loss and shock, and it has taken herculean efforts by many people to get us (and the community) where we are today. 
By Grace, we are now working towards healing. 
Being in a new house doesn't mean we are "healed", it just means we now have the stability beneath us to work towards this. 
Please, take a moment right now and pray for those who are still waiting for this foundation, waiting for permits and power, waiting for the housing market to even out and waiting for direction and wisdom. 
The first year was more survival, doing the next thing each moment to get to the next thing and then the next. 
And so, we are attempting to rebuild our family culture after being ripped from it and then spending a year away from our normal routines. We are trying to discern what we need to hold on to, what we need to let go of(we live in a different place, with children that have grown up much in the past year), and what we need to discover as new pieces of our family culture. 
The first small step in this process was to declare January to be the 
Family Game Night month (every night!).

February was Read Aloud every night! month. We read The Call of the Wild (in anticipation of the movie that will be released this month) and some of Aesop's Fables. We only missed one night this month! We were all so tired after a long and busy day that we came home, ate dinner, finished homework and went to bed. We didn't even realize we that we missed our reading until the next morning!

March was ART month! Each night we planned to  be doing some kind of art together! We mostly hit our goal for the first ten or so days in March, and then our attention was diverted to many other things. The pandemic was one of them. We continued seeking times to connect as a family, but we had to let go of the "pressure" of meeting this goal and just focus on connecting where we could. I was happy to see that our previous month's family culture activities had affected us in such a way that their momentum gave us something to fall into when our new idea didn't work. I am also happy to find that my dining table now has the slightest indentions in various artistic forms caused by all the art that we did accomplish. Evidently, shading and line drawing will make a lasting mark on a table such as ours. Having lost all previous "lasting marks", I welcome these with a big smile. 

April was scheduled to be "Outdoor" Month. We have revised this to mostly be "walk around our neighborhood together and with social distancing measures." So far, we have been pretty faithful with our family walks. We missed a few days because of the weather, and a few days because it seemed everyone else was walking and we wanted to be sure to give the distance needed. 

I want to insert a series of emoji faces that include both tears and laughter with tears. What an incredibly memorable year. COVID has done many things, has been a negative force in the world on many levels, BUT from a slowing-us-down-and-giving-us-more-time-together perspective, it has been very generous. We have not needed a "theme" to focus us on together time this year, as pretty much everything was "together time". 
Our house is slowly becoming home, although it is not, yet, home. I think, perhaps, we will not feel that same level of comfort and security for many years to come. Maybe, even, this side of heaven. But, when we recently left town for a few days, and came back to our own beds, we did experience that sigh of relief that comes with snuggling down under your own blankets.
That is a gift.
There are still so many in our local community that are living in RVs, who are trying to find more permanent housing, who are still trying to pick up the pieces of their burned lives and put them back together into something recognizable. Please continue praying for them.
And, if you know a family that has been affected by fire (or flood, or hurricane or some other disaster) in which they lost their home, reach out. Check in. Remember that a tragedy such as this isn't something that goes away once a person has a new roof over their heads. Often, the ripple affects are far reaching and last many years, if not a life time. 
Ann Voskamp in her book The Broken Way, talks about "love as a roof." She beautifully explains how our love for one another can act as a shelter. I love thinking about how this relates to helping those who are either without a roof, or who have lost theirs.  

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