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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A House is not a home, unless....

I have been thinking that I want to make a post about my home. A million different thoughts go through my head at any time, thoughts of gratitude, thoughts of contentment, thoughts of how my home makes me a better person. But I sit down here to start typing and I can't put anything into words.

One question I am asked in an interview that I don't really know how to adequately or accurately answer is this: "What makes you interested in (fill in the blank) district?"  Well,  here's the real deal.  Almost any district I look into has characteristics that make me say, "Oooo.... I would LOVE to teach here" but so many times I don't know the district well enough before the interview to know how to answer the question. Because the bottom line is this: I have a HOME and a community that I love and I am willing to commute up to an hour one way in order to live and love in my home.  I feel like it is inappropriate to tell that in an interview, and yet... Here I am telling you, a few dozen of my closest bloggy friends. Okay, in some realm I think it is important because it speaks to who I am. Here is the thing, or things, or a few important things about the thing, or something like that: without this house, which is absolutely our home, I would not have been able to become a teacher.  That is a pretty central to me being a teacher in any district. Five years ago we moved into this Habitat for Humanity house. We were involved in making this house a home from the day in March when the phone call came from a Habitat board member asking us if we would like a Habitat for Humanity house. Shortly after that I received a call from Mr. Wagoner asking me if I would have any interest in a spindle banister because he just got a really good deal on one (Yes, of course I was interested).  The houses I have seen with the half wall type of banister just don't feel as open as my home. One little "love" about my house. It is just one thing I love. I got to pick the flooring, the cabinets, lighting, fixtures. This is all cool. Right? Well, these are just things. But our house is spacious. It's small, but roomy.  Our local Habitat has a layout that is very efficient.  I noticed that the kitchen still gets small really quickly, but more than one person can be in the kitchen at one time. Even if it gets cozy at times. Our living room is roomy.  Our basement is not finished, but we have a tv area set up and my teenager has her own room and we put in a 3/4 bath, so she has her own bathroom. Now these things are pretty big deals when you are 16 turning 17. We've always had a place for my daughter and her friends to hang out, to have a birthday party, to celebrate New Year's, to have a movie night.  I am that "weird mom" and my kids don't have tv in their rooms. But she still has a place to go and her own hideout away from us.  Awesome for us. We like each other better when we each have our own space. And I have a better chance at being "the cool Mom" when her friends have a place to come and hang out. This is pretty important. Not that being a good Mom has anything to do with being cool really, but that she will remember the times with her friends in our home for the rest of her life.

I worked really hard to become a teacher, to overcome my past, my genetics, my circumstances, and I graduated and could not find a job. I just wanted to be a teacher SO BADLY! Then I got an email from a principal in Guymon, Oklahoma. We decided to go and interview. We talked about it and we decided that a house is just a house and I should go do what I love. We learned SO MUCH this year. But one thing we learned is that living a home isn't necessarily attached to a particular house, but the house we left, it is our HOME! We missed it, we grieved for it, we missed it, we struggled to live in cramped circumstances and a less than great home. It hurt our family. I have unspeakable gratitude that Habitat for Humanity of McPherson allowed me to let my friends care for my home for a year while I decided whether or not to sell or come back. I cannot express my appreciation for this little home enough.

When we got back, we laughed, we cried, we danced. We are home. Living in this home gave me the chance to change my life, not raise my girls in a) poverty, and b) sub-standard housing. It allowed me to discover that I AM A TEACHER!! It is not a profession, it is part of who I am.  My home let me discover this. I will be a better teacher because I live here and I can craft here, prepare lessons here, garden here, and cook here. I have cooked more in the two weeks we have been back than I did in months in the house we lived in in the panhandle. So, as much as I know that this place is mud and wood, I also know that this house is our home. From now on.


  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing your story. I've helped build a few houses through Habitat and understand what a bond the homeowner can feel with a home.
    Polka Dot Kinders

    1. God bless the volunteers that work on Habitat homes. :) The theme the year that I got my home was: Not just building homes, changing lives. Or something like that. And to that I say: Amen.