“HOME is our “safe Harbor” filled with UNCONDITIONAL love, LAUGHTER, HOPES and DREAMS, NEW VENTURES as we GROW TOGETHER and THE ONE PLACE we can TRULY BE OURSELVES as we are NEVER JUDGED.”
There were no words to express the felicity within our hearts and spirits…the longing inside that Kit and I had for such a long time, God Himself had brought into fruition... He had given us His hand picked new home, all done by the work of His hands. (In His perfect timing.)
The scripture; “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12, had proven to be true for Kit, Graham and I … our spring season was filled with a deep joy…and as the season represents NEW LIFE, it was certainly a mirror to what we were experiencing. (On many levels.)
FINALLY…A place of our own… It had been almost 2 and 1/2 years of being apart of others households, a time of refinement, transformation, dying to self, a creation of deeper faith, a new intimacy with Jesus and a stronger dependency upon Him within our lives. It felt as if we had just arrived home from a VERY long vacation and all we wanted to do was throw our shoes off, get up on our bed and exhale…crying tears of jubilation, bliss and thankfulness to God for His promises fulfilled, unfailing mercy, grace and love.
We were now in the one place that would become our castle and our hearts snuggery. I am a firm believer that our homes are our safe harbor, warm cozy place of refreshment and a berth where beauty can surround us everyday, soothing our souls and spirits. As we create the dreams within our hearts and bring them to life in each room, they add joy and comfort to our lives and are a place of repose and tranquility to every guest who enters our doors. There is such a wealth of ways to bring forth an abundance of beauty within our ‘safe havens.’ My ideas about decorating our home, creating it to have a comfortable, charming and resplendent ambiance for not only Kit Graham and I, but for all who enter our doors was something God had taught me years ago. (Chapter 3, of Journey Pt. 1.) Now I had the opportunity to get busy and bedeck our new haven, bringing forth beauty, showcasing family heirlooms and the desires within our hearts to share with others a part of who Kit and I were. I love this saying; “Bathed in a golden palette of calming hues, our homes are an extension OF WHO WE ARE! ” (Author unknown.)
We have never had more exhilaration on a “Moving day” than we did that day in spring. Our hearts were overwhelmed , filled with a pure joy that God had provided a home for us, stability, a community in which we had already fallen in love with, a family that we had never expected to have on our journey, fellowship, and in – depth teachings on the grace of Jesus with Vito. It was if the Lord had opened a door to an entirely new venture of our life , as He told us to now “JUST ENJOY”.
After a few cups of freshly brewed French Roast coffee, and pastries, (what can I say, we were so excited to begin moving into our new abode and we had no time to cook and needed ‘quick energy.’) We began unloading the truck as soon as the sun had made its appearance. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect temps and the first person to show up to help unload our over sized Penske truck was Tina… As we began bringing in box by box, ( in between Kit bringing in all the heavy stuff ,) I could hardly wait to begin opening all the boxes…Kit had to keep reminding me that unpacking would come later…today was the day to unload as our truck was due back by 5:00 PM. After our drive to Dover to return the truck, we were both exhausted, but at the same time so excited we could have stayed up all night. After some homemade chili and cornbread, we watched a show, fell asleep and I don’t think we even moved an inch the entire night.
Our jobs had already been agreed upon…Kit would finish putting up his office and I was given a green light to decorate the rest of our new abode.
I did not know where to start or stop…It felt like Christmas day! Every box had something I had forgotten we even still had, that brought an abundance of memories and joy to my heart. At times, I was so overwhelmed that I decided to take what I had unpacked,( there were so many partially unpacked boxes, our floors were filled with only a small path to walk through,) and begin my adventurous task, festooning each room , one at a time …creating, hanging wreaths and photos, getting out my topiary trees and décor items to bring forth the perfect pantina and desired ambiance of each room. The first week, we had more visitors than we could have imagined… Everyone was wanting to come by and see our gift from the Lord…I think our friends were just as excited as we were.
Everyday was filled to overflowing with reverie, praises to God, tears of joy and before I knew it…we were done! I knew I always had the option to change things around at a later time, (as many of us women who love to rearrange our homes every few months, know what I am talking about.) Kit use to always tell me ; “It is a good thing that I am not blind or I would come home in the evening after one of your days of redecorating and moving the furniture around and trip over everything.” Within a few weeks, everything was in its place and we had turned an empty house, with its 14 grand windows into a cozy, enchanting cottage style home.
I set our antique dining table with the beautiful Haviland china I inherited from my mom…We had no dinner guests coming as of yet, but I appreciatively enjoyed seeing it out every day, as it gave me great comfort and wonderful memories of my mother. Little did I know that this table would hold many a luncheon, Ladies Tea’s , dinner guests and holiday parties. There would be the sharing of many a meal with friends and family from out of state , along with an abundance of laughter, sometimes tears and wondrous old memories, as there were a myriad of stories that my siblings and life long friends would recall, (and eagerly wanted to share,) with such heartwarming fervor as we all had such marvelous times growing up together. God knew that one day this house would be the place we would continue to flourish in HIM as well as in our overall lives.
Graham was like a new dog… He had finally stopped looking for Vito (It was hard to break it to our little guy that Vito was no longer living in the same house with us.) Grahammy had his bed set up, the biggest yard he had ever known and he got to see Tina and McPherson every single day…Whether I was over at Tina’s or she was here, everyday we were having more fun giving each other treasures for our houses…we both loved each other’s décor styles and she’d bring over things she wanted me to have and I in turn, gave her anything she loved from my home. I will never forget the day she helped me with my curtains…Our windows were so big in the living room and I did not have enough curtains to cover them… we ended up putting a few of her valance curtains mixed with mine and it worked out perfectly… That is just what God did every single day…we had just enough to complete our home without having to go out and buy.
I remember one morning waking up in the early hours with the moon brightly lit. Our home was perfectly still, Graham and kit fast asleep, and as I looked outside, there were at least 9 deer feeding off the grass. It was one of the most tranquil , beautiful moments I have ever had… I just watched in awe until something outside scared them and they ran back into the woods. Little did I know that Graham was going to discover them and not only look for them night and day, but chase them back into the woods when he encountered them. I always thought to myself, ” what on earth Graham would do if they ever turned around and chased him back.”
OUR SUMMER HOUSE WARMING PARTY!
Because entertaining and bringing people together is one of my favorite things in the world, I began preparing days before our summer gala… All the RSVP’s were in, and it looked like we would have a full house. We asked for everyone not to bring a gift, but instead, to bring their favorite appetizer or dessert. I knew that with so many people arriving , every room in the house would be occupied so I made sure we had an abundance of candle light, a beautiful buffet table set up, choice summer fragrances with our Yankee candles burning, and and we picked out the perfect music for our fete. We chose Josh Grobin’s live concert as even though most of our guest were our Christian family, there were also some of Kits clients as well as our new neighbors coming and I wanted everyone to be comfortable and to feel at home.
I still laugh to this day as most of our Christian friends were settled in the living room watching the concert and when Josh began to sing “You raise me up”, sure enough a few of them began praising God…lifting their hands in praise and worshiping the Lord. A few of our other guests didn’t know quite what to do, but God was there and it was a time of rejoicing. I think we only had two people leave right after that moment.
I read a sermon one day that has always stayed within my heart as Kit, Graham and I have continued on this journey. The Christian author said; “the Lord desires to MAKE KNOWN to His kids, (an intimate experience with Him ) in every title or name He has given Himself in His word. We all have an abundance of head knowledge of His word but until He makes it real to us and we have come to know him in His “names,” we do not have the complete or full KNOWING within our hearts of WHO HE IS WITHIN OUR LIVES. I think it is wonderful that He desires such intimacy with us . For example some of His titles are “Abba Father,” “All sufficient,” “Jehovah Jireh, our provider,” “A very present help in trouble,” and “Blessed hope.” These are just an infinitesimal amount , as His “Names” for Himself in the bible are prodigious.
Jehovah Jireh, Our provider. (One of Gods ‘names,’ we had come to know quite well in our walks with Jesus thus far,) but the Lord was making us know Him in an even more intimate way in this area. Has the Lord ever commanded you to DO SOMETHING that in your best calculations and logic just did not make any sense at all? (Especially when you write it all down on paper? In our particular case at this time, we were adding up what our monthly income was and what a move into a new home would cost. Well we were in a dilemma as we knew 100%, the Lord had told us, (after He led us to the home He had for us) to take the home even if it did not work out logically on paper. He told us to TRUST HIM with the gift He was giving us. Most financial advisers, or my father, ( would have advised us that you never take on anything bigger than your abilities financially. ) Though this is wisdom, it is not always Gods way, (especially if He is desiring to give you a new measure of faith in Him and is asking you to not rely on your mind and normal way of thinking. We had learned it before in many ways, but still it was a little scary…(butterflies in the stomach scary.)
For Kit and I, signing all the paperwork, making deposits on everything it takes to run a home and securing a moving van to go back to South Carolina to get all of our belongings was for us, “A leap of faith! But as As we chose to obey, God took care of everything, we were never lacking. HE MADE IT ALL WORK OUT. Whether it was God giving Kit a new client in his company, an unexpected check or a provision in a new way we did not even think about. After we moved in and began our new life with many more expenses than we had living at Lilian and Vito’s, we knew that one of the ways we could cut down our costs was lessening our grocery shopping expenditures. Because meat is costly, we made a lot of casseroles, omelettes, salads and homemade soups. Hey a big pot of homemade chili can last for 4 meals with some delicious cornbread. (For two people anyway!) Gosh did we miss our seafood, steak, roasts and just about every meat you could think of…. Without knowing anything about our “budget cut,” to make all of our payments and new bills on time, many a late afternoon, there was a knock on our door and it was Tina. She’d walk over with a delicious plate of shrimp scampi, London broil, telling us her family did not like to eat leftovers…One night she got some take out grilled chicken, (with all the sides,) from their favorite eatery , bought two extra and brought them to us that night. Mark and Tina invited us weekly for BBQ’s and home cooked meals or treated us to Chinese takeout or Pizza and hot wings. The path between our homes was quickly created. God is so good…He showed us not only would He met all our NEEDS, but our desires and wants as well. It was not a small thing to Kit , Graham and I …(Graham loved meat to , his favorite was salmon, right off the grill.)
“Summertime and the living is easy, Fish are jumping and the cotton is high.” Ella Fitzgerald
Our summer was different than when we lived on the water with Lilian and Vito. No longer were we living amidst the seagulls, sandy shores, Inlet marshland and delightful breezes from the Bay. In its place we welcomed the quaint street we lived on with such wonderful neighbors, acres of land nestled up to the sylvan woods and the romantic, fairy-tale like meadow, where all the ancient trees were entwined with rich green ivy. At the end of the meadow was a weathered old barn with vines of ivy running up and down its old rustic white exterior. We now had an abundance of bunnies, ground hogs, wild turkey’s , red foxes, whimsical winged creations of every kind with their unique song, arrayed in an amazingly stunning kaleidoscope of rich colors. We were also graced with docile and intriguing deer, (a few bucks as well,) and one of my new favorites, dancing magical fireflies lighting up our yard in the evenings all summer long. Grahams new favorite activity was chasing after everything he thought he could catch as well as the fact he lived right next door to his girlfriend McPherson. The three of us enjoyed trips to the beach walking Graham amidst many a shoe crab on the glistening, sandy shore and seeing him run freely and our beach which was only 10 minutes from our new home.
Towards the end of summer, Tina had an old fashioned revival with a huge tent set up in her Brobdingnagian gorgeous back yard , also nestled next to the woods and meadow. She invited a few of her friends who were also pastors, and their words and teachings for all of us were very encouraging. Her tent was filled with many familiar faces, but also, new people who had heard about the ‘Tent Meeting.’ The Lord blessed us all with anointed worship and praise, great fellowship and a memory that would last forever. I loved the stories my mom use to share with me growing up in the South. She was a little girl, but still went to every single ‘tent meeting and revival’ as her grandfather was a renowned preacher, whose ministry was eminently blessed with Gods favor and anointing. ( And he was a man who told it like it was, without any apologies.) .
October arrived in all of it’s welcomed and glorious presence. Our neighborhood and charming city was resplendent as well as alluring, looking as if God had covered every leaf with such exquisite and riveting colors… impressive golds, soft amber’s, crimson red’s , bright yellows and tawny browns. I absolutely adore the autumn season on the east coast. I can actually smell the first day of fall as the equinox changes. Every drive we took in our jeep was graced with pumpkin patches set up on the side of the country roads, bales of hay, scarecrows, and all shapes and sizes of pumpkins and gourds filling our neighbors yards as well as our front porch. With fall’s air so crisp accompanied by chilly breezes, we enjoyed our change of wardrobe with wool socks and our comfy, warm sweaters unpacked from our cedar chests. It was time to keep hot cider on the stove, baking pumpkin and apple pies, and our light summer menus turned to comfort foods with many a pot of chili, spaghetti with Italian sausage, Caribbean Roast in the Crock-pot along with homemade bread served hot with butter, (real butter not imitation.) I had more fun decorating our new home with all of our fall decor… pumpkins, a diversity of unique scarecrows, fall garlands and our annual Autumn tree. Every room except Kits office was adorned and exuding a magical ambiance of the new seasons arrival. ( Kit’s study is my only “off limits” room with decorating in the entire house .) Its not only his office, I think it also his “man-cave.”
We joined our community gym, discovered a few eateries that became our favorites, (they have the very best Italian restaurants here,) and the seafood is fresh, straight from the Atlantic ocean and it is out of this world. We spent many a evening siting upon Tina and Marks screened in back porch, sipping Starbucks coffee with delicious creamers together while snacking on some of Melissa’s homemade sweet confections. The season went by way to fast, but Christmas was coming and there was a lot going on. Kit , Graham and I enjoyed a festive and blessed Thanksgiving in our new home… Kit wanted a full on celebration with all the trimming this year. It made me so happy to fulfill his request. I baked our 15 lb. turkey, (filled with sage sausage stuffing,) sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, squash casserole , green bean casserole, a relish tray, hot bread and Kit made his renowned homemade pumpkin pie topped with real whipped cream for our dessert. Needless to say, we had leftovers for days…We all ate together in our dining room by candlelight with soft melodies, gently wafting through the air from our living room, (Victoria ‘s classical symphonies.) And though he THOUGHT one of the extra chairs at our table was meant for him, no… Grahammy did not sit at the table with us (just under our feet , desperately hoping we would occasionally sneak him some turkey.
“When we recall Christmas past we usually find the simplest things~not the great occasions ~ give off the greatest glow of happiness.” – Bob Hope
CHRISTMAS! There is no other time in our 12 month calendar as the magical month of December. It is a season of reverie, felicitous gatherings, tree trimming galas, the lilting sounds of carols whirling within our homes, carolers at our doors, their songs and bright smiles evoking such joy within us, as well as cherished memories of Christmas’s past. It is the season to bake our favorite holiday cakes, pies and cookies, giving gifts from our hearts, special Yuletide dinner parties with treasured friends, (getting all dressed up in our new holiday attire,) but mostly CELEBRATING the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus, (praising God for the most wondrous gift He has ever given us.) I can’t leave out the days and evenings of blissful creations, synchronized with beloved memories as we decorate our cozy havens with relished Christmas decorations.
Our Christmas season was beyond blessed with Gods presence, love and many a celebration with friends and family. Kit and I hosted a Christmas gathering in our new home.Just like our house warming party in the summer, our house was full of friends and family. It was so wonderful to see that a good time was had by all. Each room was festooned with our Christmas tree, Santa’s, snowmen, twinkling white light intertwined with garlands and roses, and of course glowing candle light. There was plenty of delicious dinner entrees accompanied by superb desserts, amazing fellowship, carols filling our home with warmth and joy. The crowning touch of the evening? Vito showed up as Santa Claus. It was a night Kit and I will hold dear with in our hearts forever.
We could not stop thanking God enough for His chosen detour to our beloved new home, however long it would be, to be apart of such a loving Christian family, having our own home, feeling a part of a wondrous community and for all He had done within our hearts, spirits and lives. We knew His promise of Kings Tavern still stood and He reminded us that He was not going to settle us in Delaware, but that we would be here for a time and season for His purposes. We had much to look forward to in our future and one of our goals for the New year was to seek God and listen to His words to us, ask Him to show us His plans and give us wisdom for what our time here was for and to keep us within His will. We were sure enjoying the special gift He was giving us in Delaware. Thank you Lord for another blessed year and for your unfailing love, mercy and grace
How blessed are we to have a father in heaven who not only adorns us with his love and grace, but places His desires within us, making them ours and then grants our hearts dreams to come true. His graciousness, love and faithfulness overwhelms us and all we can do is continually praise Him and say “Thank YOU” with all our hearts.
*** PHOTOGRAPHS: In scrolling upon each photo or graphic, it will display where each picture was originated from.