Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Fire season and gratitude

It is 99 degrees and Santa Ana conditions forecasted for the next two days here in San Diego…longer fire seasons in California than ever due to climate change. Sixteen years ago THIS week we had moved all our things into our newly built home and were living in the local hotel while the boys went to school and we pulled the final permits….when the Witch Creek fire of 2003 swept through, threatening our new home and our entire neighborhood. Many of our friends lost their homes in this fire and in the 2007 fire, so this week always brings a bit of anxiety, yet a lot of praise and celebration for the provision our Lord has given us in this home and community. We are surrounded by hills and trees and brush, with a creek in our backyard, and yet it is a dangerous place to live during this fire season.

I have written previously about our home and community, so I won’t repeat myself too much I hope. This week is also my ON chemo week with my pump attached for the next 48 hours, and I have been reflecting much on life and gratitude for the material blessings and provision we have been given, as well as the family and friends who surround me, our home, and this family. 

Much prayer and time went into buying this land, setting the infrastructure of the street and utilities, and building the house. If you are a home owner, you know that the work is never done. There is always a project or a repair, but it is still home. I love gardening and changing the flowers and shrubs with the seasons and I love decorating with the new seasons, especially fall and Easter time. Greg has been working on a new living space in addition to the deck and cabana—a pergola, a bar, and a pizza oven (which I have written about before). Setting the stone and the countertop for the bar has been quite an ordeal, and it is still unfinished, but that doesn’t stop us from having friends over, cooking, grilling, and sitting outside and taking in the amazing fall sunsets. The “old me”—the pre cancer me, would have been set on perfection—that everything would be finished before we could have guests. The new me, the new priorities me, the consider it all joy me, is fine with imperfection, unfinished work, and paper plates! This is freedom to me. I still love to make a nice meal, to decorate, to add little flairs of color and pop—but it is okay if it’s not perfect. What is okay is having a space to fellowship in community with those who we love sharing life with. There is not one day I take for granted for this home and this neighborhood and these people who surround us.

“Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.” 1 Peter 4:9

This has been our mission and purpose since we built our home—to make it a place for love and fellowship and community. We built a detached casita/guest room since our family lives out of town, but with the exception of about six months in 16 years, it has not been a guest room, but a safe place and a haven for those who are in need of a place to stay. Our longest tenant was three years, but most have stayed 15 months to two years—using the space to live, save money, and spend time in our yard and with us. It hasn’t been perfect and there have been rough patches, but we are so thankful that we have the opportunity to open our home to those who need a place to stay. Currently we are so excited to have Ashley and Jose Ovalle living here with their dog Buddy (who as a rescue dog acclimated well with our three rescue dogs). They are newlyweds—I have known Ashley since she was in fifth grade and I was her Youth Director. They have the sweetest hearts and are so loving to each other and to us. They love studying in our library and having time on the cabana with their Bibles and all the dogs in the mornings.

So this week I celebrate our home. I celebrate my husband who had the vision and the brawn to build it. I celebrate our neighbors, our community, our tenants. We have been given much, and much we want to give back. Thank you to the King of Glory, Jehovah Jirah—the God who provides, for all our abundant blessings.

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