Tuesday, April 30, 2013


There is no mistaking our house is for sale.

Two front yard signs, two showings tomorrow, an open house on Sunday and 18 realtors did a walk-through today.  No wonder I'm having stress dreams.

It's starting to feel like our house is no longer our own, which I guess it really isn't.  We prayed blessing over and dedicated our home to the Lord three years ago, and ever since, we've hosted dinner parties, movie nights, out-of-town guests, music jams, sleepovers, Bible Studies, cry sessions, lunch dates, church meetings, added a roommate, and blessed others while being blessed.  My husband and I have done well here, and we are eager to see who continues the "legacy of love" that I felt when I first stepped foot in the unfinished living room.  See our official listing here: MLS #3402404.

These are what the cabinets look like now, after Chris painted them all the same color (the listing will have a before photo):

We had our friend Jim fix the chimney in the sunroom, replace the kitchen baseboards, and do some finish work in the basement.  Our house looks better than ever!  It's a gardener's dream, really, and that gazebo?  Who wouldn't want one of their very own?

Our across the street neighbor, Irl, shuffled over to visit us yesterday. With his pants pulled up high, shirt buttoned up tight, and tears in his eyes, he gave me a hug and told me he was going to miss us.  We mostly wave to him when he sits in his driveway lawn chair or drives past our house in his black Cadillac, but we also have the occasional visit, request for help or landscaping tutorial, and one time we helped his wife when she had fallen.  He prides himself in knowing "all of the neighbors," and told me he was going to walk down the street and check in on a widow after he left our house (love that midwest hospitality!).  And don't get me started on our neighbors next door, Josh and Kelly.  I'll start crying all over again.  Kelly texted me the other day saying, "I'm not ready for you guys to move."  *sigh*  I'm so happy Chris gets to marry them before we go.

Loretta (our real estate agent) e-mailed me after the mass realtor walk-through with glowing reviews.  I was so relieved and pleased. I swear I almost had a panic attack this morning when I forgot to hide away the purple sponge that sits on the edge of our kitchen sink.  

God is faithful and our chiropractor's office is up the street.  They'll both be working out my kinks this week.

Monday, April 22, 2013

it's official

The announcement was made at our church services a week ago Sunday, and last Wednesday I made a tear-filled (snot on the microphone) announcement to our youth kids.  I posted it on Facebook last Saturday and today I told my business clients.

Now, to the blog.  

Hubby and I are moving back to Seattle!  It's a bittersweet reality, to be sure, and one grounded in faith.  We are leaving Ohio with nothing but love and are eager to see what the next season of life holds for us.  I will get to be closer to my mom who is living with terminal cancer, and Chris will be attending graduate school (pursuing a master's degree in counseling).

Saying goodbye sucks, but thankfully I am crazy about social media and take delight in sending Snapchats and making Vine videos.  I also plan on creating a new blog that I hope you will grab a seat for.  

I am really taken by this form of writing and have found it to be one of my fondest creative outlets.  I'm not sure how the new blog will look yet, but if it's anything like this one, it will shape itself.  I will also be sure to include links to posts from this blog, as the new things I write remind me of the midwest.

So today, we staged the house, signed paperwork, our realtor took pictures and plans to post our listing tomorrow.  Lockbox is on the front door.  This just got real.

P.S.  Our doorbell doesn't work, do we need to disclose that?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

healing & hope

© photo credit: http://bostonherald.com

Today I counted 32 cars in a funeral procession, plus the hearse and a limousine.  They passed by our house just as the steeple chimes of St. Francis Church rang out a familiar hymn.  

The sound of the bells make sad things feel less sad.

Last week, Chris and I sang at a memorial service for the father of two of our youth kids.  He died suddenly, leaving an adoring wife, nine children, three grandchildren, his sweet mother and an extended community of family and friends.  It was a packed house with barely a dry eye in the room.  His life was honored well through stories and photographs, but the shock lingers and the grief is deep.

Then yesterday, the bombing in Boston happened.

It took me all afternoon to understand the event, it just didn't make sense to me.  There were runners from Medina there, and relatives of friends we know.  Our friend, Kathy, posted this sentiment on her Facebook wall last night:

"If there is a prayer bowl in heaven that when it's so heavy and gets tipped over, showers of mercy, grace, and healing are poured out from above, then I will do my part to add to that prayer bowl.  "Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.  From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee.  When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.  I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings." - Psalm 61.  "Father, please, release healing to those who are suffering near and far because of what happened in Boston.  Bring hope.  Have mercy, O Lord."

Another dear friend, Michelle, posted this morning:

"Evil makes more noise and does significant damage, but there is more good in this world than evil.  We need to change the voice of media, highlight what is good and true and noble, give voice to what is lovely pure and beautiful.  Give attention to what is worthy.  Push back the darkness, do not be overcome by it."

Well said, ladies.  I am holding on tightly to your words.

Friday, April 12, 2013

old stone church

© photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Stone_Church_(Cleveland,_Ohio).

He identifies himself as a gravedigger first.  

His name is Jim and he was the kind maintenance-man-turned-tour-guide who walked us through the Old Stone Church in downtown Cleveland on Monday.  

It's a Victorian Romanesque building by design that sits sandwiched between modern high rises.  Established in the 1820s, it planted roots as a Presbyterian church, and housed the city's first pipe organ.  After a colorful history of fires, restoration, building additions, identity changes and celebrity, the Old Stone Church remains the oldest building on Public Square, added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1973.  

For us, it was a place of mystery.  We've walked by this church many times and always wondered what it was like on the inside.  Being that we were never there in time for a worship service or support group, we simply admired the exterior.

On Monday, something wonderful happened.  We had some time to burn before the film festival, so we walked over to the side door of the building and tried to enter.  The door was locked.  We started to walk away when Jim opened the door and asked if we needed help. When we requested a tour, he gladly obliged.  I was surprised by the building addition attached to the original structure - so modern compared to what we saw from the street.  It instantly reminded me of our day in Rome (almost a decade ago), and how I marveled then at the marriage of contemporary and ancient architecture.

The original church is beautiful.  

For all of the dark wood that shrouded the light in the room, there was also floor-to-ceiling Tiffany windows and color that made itself known.  A main floor lined with old numbered pews and an equally as old (creeeaky!) balcony made up most of the interior, with a staging area and gorgeous pipe organ in the front.  

When I sat on one of the red cushioned seats, my first thought was to smell the back of the one in front of me.  I was tempted to taste it, too.  See, the old brick church I grew up in (also Presbyterian) is a much smaller version of this one, but it too has a magnificent pipe organ, stained glass windows, and wooden pews.  I have a distinct memory of the pews smelling like Old English furniture polish and tasting like hardwood and lemon.  If you grew up in a traditional church, I feel like you're with me on this.  Well, maybe minus the wood sampling part.  What?  I was a curious kid.     

Behind the back entrance of the parish is an attached little chapel where they have contemporary services.  The design and decor were straight out of the 70s, with an Allen organ in the balcony that gets played using a mirror, so the organist can see cues from the pastor and music leaders on the floor.  Off to the side of the chapel is a door marked "Columbarium."  Inside is a small room lined with silver boxes containing ashes of the deceased.  There were some pre-marked stalls with the names of those still living, and one that belonged to a former Cleveland mayor.  It was an unexpected find, which leads me to believe this church must have secret passageways.

Jim was very knowledgable about the church's history.  He told us interesting stories and mentioned that his family has ties to the First Presbyterian Society.  When I asked him if he ever gets spooked at night, being in the building alone, he said no.. because he used to be a gravedigger (!).  As he showed us the art gallery in one of the adjacent buildings, featuring a Tom Denny retrospective, he also casually mentioned that he has two of his own songs copyrighted and filed in the ASCAP library.  Seriously?  Maintenance man, tour guide, songwriter, gravedigger.  I listed these labels off out loud (in genuine wonder), and Jim finished my sentence by claiming "gravedigger" as the profession he identifies with most.  

Hubby and I walked away from the visit elated, and hungry.  We capped off our experience with a shared polish dog from the food vendor on the corner, convincing me that some of the best moments in life are the ones that catch us by surprise.

Monday, April 8, 2013

that's entertainment

I love being entertained.

With so many things in this life that weigh heavy on my heart, it's nice to have a balance.

Some days it's physical activity, other days it's frozen yogurt in the townsquare.  Most often it's entertainment.  We have TV shows on our DVR and documentaries in our Netflix queue.  We adore the movie theatre, live stage shows, and having shared experiences with friends: new restaurants, music, road trips, art, coffeeshops, and character-driven films.  We're not picky.  We do have lazy moments and I love my sleep.  But more often than not, hubby and I jump at the chance to be absorbed in a soiree.

Today we're attending our first day of the Cleveland International Film Festival.  This is our third year in attendance, and one we've eagerly anticipated.  I wrote about our first year here.  Last year, we watched four films, this week we'll watch three.  Here is a list of the pieces we've seen and will see, in order of appearance:

The Finger (Argentina)
Nana (France)
Found Memories (Brazil)
Survival Prayer (USA, Canada)
Girl Rising (USA)
Still Mine (Canada)

A few weeks ago, I attended a preview reception for this year's festival, which featured a highlight reel of trailers and a film short from Australia that I'll not soon forget: The Interviewer.  The packed room of film enthusiasts, room-length spread of hors d'oeuvres, the wine bar, and collective energy made the event electric.  Dan and Rachel and my client/friend, Regina, joined me for an evening that got us even more excited for what's to come.  When our tickets arrived in the mail, I opened them with the same kind of elation that others probably had when they got their tickets for tonight's Cleveland Indians season opener.

Ants in my pants.

Last night, we watched the season premiere of our favorite AMC show, Mad Men.  As with the two seasons before it, we shared the premiere with our dear friends, Mike and Melanie.  Mel created a delightful spread of meat and cheeses, preserves, crackers, curried hummus, chocolate-dipped strawberries and homemade coconut ice cream (we brought some fancy libations).  Mel and I dressed the part, while our men wore pajamas.  Melanie even did a costume change from fancy dress and pearls to casual chic, ala character Megan.

I like to think that God is amused by the way we amuse ourselves on earth.  I'm also grateful that He grafted us in to a creative world with brilliant minds who keep our senses firing and our glasses full.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

color pop

"Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes." 
- Carl Friedrich Gauss