FAITH / family / Woodlawn

The long way home

01.01.13

There's a road the girls and I travel pretty often around here. We call it "taking the long way home".

In the humid, unbearable days of summer, I've been known to pack the girls in the car for a chance to sit in the cool of the air conditioning for a few minutes. Cooling our bodies, renewing my sanity, we'd take the long way home. 

In the fall, we'd take the long way home–an excuse to escape through the woods and note the changes in the colors of the trees. After a storm, we'd take the long way home–to see how high the stream got. 

The road is mostly unpaved, winds along the creek and is tented in trees. It passes by the farm where Emma rides each week. And takes a sharp turn at the edge of a hill that I've heard my grandfather refer to as the best view in the county. 

After so many trips down this road, the girls and I have each sort of chosen a house along the way that's our favorite. Elizabeth loves one that "needs some work." Because she likes to work. Emma's picked one with plenty of room for horses. And secretly, I have this little favorite one, too. 

the long way home

A white house with green shutters that sits way back off the road. You can't see much of it from the road, but I've always felt like it looks like something set in a dfferent time, a different place. It's been my favorite all along. 

8158848127_c17625ca32_b

At the beginning of this summer that house became empty. The husband and wife that lived there for years, passed away. The rest of the family was ready to let it go. And through connections and family and God's good grace, that little house, that favorite of mine, found it's way into our little family. 

The process has been a long one. Since the beginning of summer we've been talking and waiting, planning, then waiting. There were long conversations leaning against fence posts. And in parking lots of the convenience store at the corner. Things to arrange. Ideas to throw around. Hurdles to overcome. And lots and lots of waiting.

the long way home

And then that same week that we were dealing with the stress and sorrow of the rabies incident, it all fell through. We had to walk away. And honestly, I was pretty devastated. It had been such a long road. I thought we were so close. And then everything fell apart. But I had to trust that there must be something else. And that this was the right thing to do. 

But something about the walking away turned everything around. And within weeks there were a few more conversations and a handshake and here we are…we're leaving Thomas Run and moving a stone's throw away, to that house I've always loved.

the long way home

The local history books tell us it's name is Woodlawn. It smells like my grandmother's house and reminds me of the home I grew up in. In its day it was immaculate. Turns out my grandfather played tennis on the courts there (now buried under grass) with Monroe, whose silver tennis trophies covered almost every bookcase in the house. And family friends used to go there to play bridge. And Emma went there with our neighbor once to collect a load of hay. Today, Woodlawn needs some love and attention. But her bones are beautiful.

the long way home

I've been waiting a long time to share this news. I suppose after such a long, emotional journey to get to this place it's still hard to let myself believe this is really happening. But with paint colors picked and a gutted kitchen and boxes being packed, it seems as though it's really happening. And my heart, that I've been holding close despite it's thumping in my chest with excitement, can finally be let go.

We've found the long way home, indeed. 

There's a road the girls and I travel pretty often around here. We call it "taking the long way home".

In the humid, unbearable days of summer, I've been known to pack the girls in the car for a chance to sit in the cool of the air conditioning for a few minutes. Cooling our bodies, renewing my sanity, we'd take the long way home. 

In the fall, we'd take the long way home–an excuse to escape through the woods and note the changes in the colors of the trees. After a storm, we'd take the long way home–to see how high the stream got. 

The road is mostly unpaved, winds along the creek and is tented in trees. It passes by the farm where Emma rides each week. And takes a sharp turn at the edge of a hill that I've heard my grandfather refer to as the best view in the county. 

After so many trips down this road, the girls and I have each sort of chosen a house along the way that's our favorite. Elizabeth loves one that "needs some work." Because she likes to work. Emma's picked one with plenty of room for horses. And secretly, I have this little favorite one, too. 

the long way home

A white house with green shutters that sits way back off the road. You can't see much of it from the road, but I've always felt like it looks like something set in a dfferent time, a different place. It's been my favorite all along. 

8158848127_c17625ca32_b

At the beginning of this summer that house became empty. The husband and wife that lived there for years, passed away. The rest of the family was ready to let it go. And through connections and family and God's good grace, that little house, that favorite of mine, found it's way into our little family. 

The process has been a long one. Since the beginning of summer we've been talking and waiting, planning, then waiting. There were long conversations leaning against fence posts. And in parking lots of the convenience store at the corner. Things to arrange. Ideas to throw around. Hurdles to overcome. And lots and lots of waiting.

the long way home

And then that same week that we were dealing with the stress and sorrow of the rabies incident, it all fell through. We had to walk away. And honestly, I was pretty devastated. It had been such a long road. I thought we were so close. And then everything fell apart. But I had to trust that there must be something else. And that this was the right thing to do. 

But something about the walking away turned everything around. And within weeks there were a few more conversations and a handshake and here we are…we're leaving Thomas Run and moving a stone's throw away, to that house I've always loved.

the long way home

The local history books tell us it's name is Woodlawn. It smells like my grandmother's house and reminds me of the home I grew up in. In its day it was immaculate. Turns out my grandfather played tennis on the courts there (now buried under grass) with Monroe, whose silver tennis trophies covered almost every bookcase in the house. And family friends used to go there to play bridge. And Emma went there with our neighbor once to collect a load of hay. Today, Woodlawn needs some love and attention. But her bones are beautiful.

the long way home

I've been waiting a long time to share this news. I suppose after such a long, emotional journey to get to this place it's still hard to let myself believe this is really happening. But with paint colors picked and a gutted kitchen and boxes being packed, it seems as though it's really happening. And my heart, that I've been holding close despite it's thumping in my chest with excitement, can finally be let go.

We've found the long way home, indeed. 

58 comments on “The long way home”

  1. Oh, Molly, how fabulously exciting!!!! As one who longs for old houses to be loved and restored, and who has done that twice…. I am so thrilled for you and your family…. And the history makes it even better…. I can’t wait to see more. It looks like such a special place!

  2. Oh Molly!!! What a boatload of adjectives (insert here)!! The house is absolutely magnificent, full of stories, just waiting for more. How perfectly wonderful that you and your family will add the next chapters to its gorgeous worn covers.

    Best to you as you work through these long, hard days of moving, body, mind, soul, and stuff.

    Happy New Year, indeed,

    Cheers,Molly

  3. I am so so happy for you all. I truly know what it means to ache for a place, have it fall through and be taught that lesson of patience and trust in god, and it is so nice to see dreams come true, even if they aren’t my own. What a wonderful story of hope and renewable. I hope you are all so wonderfully happy he.Xx

  4. I knew it! And I couldn’t be happier for your, dear friend. What a glory of a house. And the story of how it became yours – it was meant to be. Just think of all the wonderful memories you’ll be making. Happy New Year!

  5. What a beautiful gem of a house! I grew up in a house like that and OH what I would give to go back. I still remember the smells and the creaking of the planked floors. Congratulations. What a wonderful way to begin the new year.

  6. What a way to give me goosebumps this cold winter morning. I love following your lovely family and this is just so wonderful. I am sure you will bring honor to this grand old lady who needs your help and will be loved for years to come. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

  7. Oh my, how exciting! I will live vicariously through you 🙂 So happy for all of you, and for that home to have such love entering it’s walls once again.

  8. My mother made your journey (in Maryland) 43 years ago and restored a house much like yours with her own two hands. Hung the wall paper herself, did all the painting. Even with 40 years it wasn’t enough time to complete her dreams for the house without help. Three years ago fate handed the family a way to finish and except for the kitchen the house is restored. It is a long hard journey but so worth the work — just remember to take time from all the projects to have fun (that’s why she wasn’t able to finish) and smell the flowers. You will never regret your decision to that this path.

  9. Congratulations to you! We came upon our house much in the same fashion. I can’t wait to read how you make this wonderful house into your home!

  10. What a beautiful house — and in such a pretty setting. I’m glad it worked out for you! Does this one have air conditioning? I kind of doubt it with its age, but for your sake I hope so. 🙂

  11. Looks amazing. How exciting to be on a new journey. Wish we could move into the house of our dreams here in Cali…who knows what the future holds! Congrats

  12. Hi Molly. Pat and I are so happy for you – the house looks amazing and from the way you write, it is definitely something that you wanted for a long time. Our wish for you is that you will be happy in this home and wish you blessings for 2013.

  13. What a beautiful home! And so wonderful that it will be yours – God certainly has plans we least expect! Congrats – and have a blessed 2013 making this house your home!

  14. It just seems meant to be, like the house has been waiting for you all. Congratulations.

    Oh I just dream of a house like that! I can’t wait to see what you do to it, especially having seen the beautiful room pictures you’ve been pinning on pinterest! It was so soothing to read your post about this and enjoy your happy, gentle writing. A joy to read as always.

  15. I’ve said it before, but this seals it: we are living parallel lives. Switch out the beautiful sheep for longhorn cattle and we could be neighbors. Well, we could be neighbors anyway.

    We are currently in the middle of JUST SUCH a negotiation with an old property, siblings who own the property, dreaming, trying not to dream too much, but smiling at random times just thinking about the possibilities. We’ll see.

    I’m so very happy your dream worked out. That property is AMAZING… and such a story. Such a history. Love it. Can’t wait to “move” with you in the blog.

  16. No way!!! Hooray. As I read this post my jaw was dropping and i kept saying things like,”no way” and “oh my gosh.” It is simply stunning and i am so happy for you and your family! Let the journey begin! xo

  17. Congrats to the Balint’s! It looks so beautiful! I will live vicariously through you as you make it “yours.” I have secretly wanted to do as you are for a long time but lack the skills (and patience!). I know Dan will be in his element with this new house. Love to you all.

  18. We too have been searching for years for our *home* – I can so relate to the sense of loss you must have felt – but I am so happy to hear that it worked out because it gives me hope that it will for us one day too.

  19. This place is so so beautiful. I could easily fall for it too. It makes me heart happy to know that someone lives there that loves it.

  20. Oh Molly! I am JUST catching up on all your news! Woodlawn is beautiful — those bones! I know you’ve got so much work ahead of you — but as we prepare for our own move (to a tiny new house without such lovely bones — but its smallness will be its own kind of gift to us, I think), I feel a special kinship with some of what you’re going through.

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