Sweet New Life

With spring rain has come new life for us--newness of place and time and season.  We very unceremoniously moved in to the house last month.  We're here and "it's going," as I like to say.  My birthday gift of a washer and dryer (thank you Mom & Dad!!) still dons the foyer, along with the main bathroom toilet, oh and there's my stove too.  But hey, we're in.

We are adapting in funny ways: figuring out just how to live with everything in the family room, and no kitchen to speak of any day soon.  Luke is a rock star though.  He comes home each night and tackles a project like a boss.  It is constant, as you can imagine.  Like last night, he totally sealed up the chimneys because we heard bats chirping!!  The wildlife here is incredible.  I'm not complaining, but bats.

I remember standing out back with Luke hand-in-hand that evening before we submitted an offer on this property. We prayed over this place.  We asked God for it.  We knew it would be a challenge, a life's work likely, but we had NO idea how it would bring us quite literally to our knees. It has been the hardest thing yet.

Gratitude oozes out of us daily, but so does complaining.  And I am still very sheepish about inviting anyone into our chaos. With more order to our home coming here and there though, we've started to open the front door to guests.  

Our first dinner guests were our parents, M & R, for Mother's Day.  Such a sweet way to break in our table!  And said table turned up last Sunday on the Marketplace for FREE!  I still can't believe I was able to snag a broken-in farm table for the back porch.  Since Sunday, the children and I have enjoyed almost full days outside around that table! Our "morning meeting" just stepped up its game!  And dinners at dusk overlooking the orchard (and watching the bats!) with Daddy are precious.  It's in these little things I feel the Lord's loving-care.

We planted 12 fruit trees and a few berry bushes on the property this spring.  Lord willing, we'll have cherries, peaches, pears, apples, nectarines, plums, and figs.  I am inspired by my father-in-law, who has been growing his own orchard for about 5 years now.  He encourages and influences me in this project greatly, for which I am grateful.  "Now, don't be discouraged if you loose a tree.  Just keep at it," were his most recent words of wisdom to us as we all walked the path together last week.  

I am intrigued by trees, I suppose.  A world above, visible, and an invisible world below the surface.  I am reading a great book by Michael Phillips, The Holistic Orchard.  He confirms our suspicions about wood chips and speaks to the importance of the soil microbiome.  It's all new to me, but it's so interesting and fun.  The children and I dug all twelve holes, we added compost to our rich, black dirt (I'm thinking now we may have been fine without adding anything; it is such beautiful soil out there!), and we used mycorrhizal fungi as a starter fertilizer, then topped each mounded tree with wood chips.  I'm sharing all this because we're learning so much and it's all so cool!!  The physical and mental work is satisfying and the dirt under my finger nails is totally worth all the early signs of life in our nursery.  It's glorious.

The romance of the planting has passed a bit, however.  We knew they were coming or were already here, but deer are a big problem for fruit trees and berries.  I noticed deer rubbing on our Winesap apple tree and few broken little baby limbs on the pears and peaches.  A fence had to go up pronto!

We scored 100 fencing T-posts at a farm auction in Paola at bottom dollar (that was fun!).  The deer fence is unique with four rows of 30lb fishing line between the posts.  It confuses the deer because they can't really see it to tell exactly what it is, nor can they tell how high it is so they don't jump it either.  We have to check for broken line, but so far so good.

Other than a sore middle section from driving those posts, I'm feeling good about my fence!  But deer are smart and I'm not sure they'll fall for it.  I find myself up before the sun "checking for deer" -- I really want to see how they react to the lines.

Right now the major project inside the house is the plumbing (bathrooms and washer and dryer install) and water-proofing the basement.  All the spring rain brought water in.  Luke's sump pump installation was on time---the week after he put it in the basement flooded.  We had clogged drains (70+ years of roots!), but the sump saved us in the end.  All that fall
grading worked up until now.  The water table here is super high, we suspect water is seeping up from below.  We are planning to waterproof the basement with an interior French drain.  Did I mention this is hard?

You know, I was about to say, "I wouldn't have it any other way," but that wouldn't be the truth.  I would surely have it many other ways, but goodness, that's not life.  Despite these Hills of Difficulty, we are growing and learning and leaning on each other so it's going to be okay.  You know, I've never been a patient woman.  I can be sort of careless and accident-prone.  So this house, this process, oh, it's spot on.  I know the Lord is doing a sanctifying work.  I may be digging holes, but He is uprooting years of habits and ways that cannot go on.  For this I am grateful.

So we found this vintage measuring stick in the crawl space under the back corner of our house. It's really tall, like fifteen feet, to measure a former wellspring near (or under?) the house that must have been very deep. As the kids play with it, the visual is made plain to me--to remember that no situation is too broken to be brought up and restored. Nothing is "too much" to forgive or fix.  God's love reached deep to save. 

I think I was literally standing in a 2-foot tree hole out in the field when I remembered the grace of God.  It took the water down there in the basement and this woman out here in a hole to realize that I have to stop thinking of all this stress leaving my head and heart "once the basement is dry" or "once the washer and dryer goes in" or "once I have a kitchen to cook in" or whatever.  I should know this by now! This has been the thorn in my side for years! My "one day" was yesterday.  By God's grace we are here, in this, together.

 My anxiety is waning a bit, now that I'm intentionally not "camping" here but truly living in every bit of it.  I really want the memory of this project to be joy, healing, and renewal.  Lean in, remember? 

More leaning in, loving hard, and joy in the struggle. It is not possible without the mighty wind of God's Spirit, rushing in to were I am weak.  He must increase, I must decrease.

Soli Deo Gloria!


  1. So beautiful, my sweet friend. You have blessed me to the core with your God-given, convicting words... My "one day was yesterday"... YES! I SO needed this reminder today. Your Orchard is beautiful, as is your heart for the Lord. I miss you. I love hearing these updates on your new life there and am inspired by your spiritual journey and transparency. Love you, Friend.


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