You got braces bro.

And I felt like I took a little Jim Carey (a hilarious actor with a larger-than-life character) to the orthodontist.
I know you better than anyone else, but honestly, this new part of you is a complete mystery to me.

You were the life of the party. There was so much to it that I don't even know what to write. You made everyone's day. Even the head Orthodontist thanked you and told you that you were the funnest and most entertaining person they've ever put braces on. All the hygienists in the room were nodding their heads and smiling.


The event was as unusual and new as anything else has been this summer with you. You're so different than you used to be. I've said it 100 times - no one knows what did it.

Was it the move? Nothing changed socially for you here. It's not like we moved and then a new friend or friends were introduced into your life that changed you over.

Was it skating? Because I know that changes people. But you started to change when we moved, which was the very point we stopped skating for the summer.

Was it puberty? Hormones? Testosterone? Could that change your personality, character, and ways this drastically, this quickly? Maybe.

I honestly don't know what happened except that you are completely different.

Before this summer and since you were 3.5 years old, it's was if your whole self was wrapped up, bound behind your arms, hands over your face clamping your lips closed. You were loathsome and brooding. Self deprecating and opposed. When you spoke your words came from a broken, downtrodden heart. Your perspectives were pessimistic at best. You seemed scared and wounded, skeptical and leery, bossy and set in your ways. You expressly hated yourself and often wondered and asked what was your purpose.
We'll call them your "dark days".

Don't get me wrong Ezekiel, you also have amazing qualities. We have always enjoyed who you are and adored watching it all unfold before our eyes. You are wise beyond your years. Solid. No one and nothing can budge you an inch unless you say so. You are safe and sound. Honest and true. I have never worried about you jumping off of things, getting yourself into a spot you'd rather not be in, being taken advantage of, or doing stupid things. I have always known exactly who you are and what you are about. You are a unique and special blend, for sure.

But since we've moved to Blueberry Lane you have made a huge transformation away from your dark days and into the light.

You are open. You haven't abandoned the good head on your shoulders. But your arms are wide spread out in front of you and you are ready for life. You are fun and funny - cuddlier than ever. Your self esteem has balanced and you are uninhibited, unapologetic, and unburdened. It's like you woke up one day and realized there is a blank canvas before you, along with every color imaginable, and all the tools to make it into whatever you want, and you are finally painting. Wild and free.

Best of all, you love and appreciate yourself. And this has given me a joy I can't describe. After years of watching my sweet boy bite and hit himself, pull his own hair, and say terrible untrue things in attempts to devalued how precious and valuable God made you... after going down "into the well" with you time and time again, seeing first hand how much of you was being stollen and jailed by the lie that you were not enough... I can't express how it lifts my soul to see you free from all of that.

You look everyone in the eyes now. You smile and entertain. You talk. Oh how you talk! You are definitely your mother's child. You will talk anyone's ear off. It's like you've been bottled up inside for 11 years and someone just took the lid off. And fed you a thousand quarters.

I delight in the fact that I will now have to teach you proper conversation etiquette. Something I've NEVER even considered in the past because it was not relevant.

My Mom warned me to be sure I don't stifle this new part of you by teaching you how. But my sweet Mom lives too far away to have had the privilege of loosing an ear to your lips quite yet.

I remember how many years I spent and am still spending, unlearning old bad conversational habits.

Just as a parent should teach their child how to eat at the table, open doors for others, wait their turn in line, dress appropriately for the occasion, and all other manners of socially acceptable behavior, we will teach you how to have conversation.

Until now you have not had the platform for the experience of the lessons to come. And as awesome and encouraging as it is to watch, at times, your conversations roll as if you are brushing your hair with your dinner fork or butting past everyone in line at the Walmart check out!

It won't be long and you'll be using all this new found interest in others, charm and entertainment value to love on all of God's people in a way I have only dreamed of for you. And there is not anything in this life more wonderful or more fulfilling than that!

Like I say, I don't know what happened that this change has come about, but I'm so happy for you, love.

No matter the "likes", subscribers, friendships and popularity this world offers you, no matter how sparkly, enticing, or sought after you become, your value comes only from God - the One who created you, made a Way for you, and loves you unconditionally for always. That is exactly who allowed this change in you, and that is exactly who will see you through it for His perfect purpose.

I can't wait to watch!

Seventh Grade

The summer is coming to an end. No leaves have turned yet, but the entire atmosphere is working hard towards it. I can feel it. 

We're about to roll into full fledged school mode again. After three months of moving and renovating, this is a welcomed norm. 

It's certainly the first year I've ever been so cool and collected about our start. I'm usually planned beyond reality (and well beyond what is being feasible for any human schedule) with every piece of curriculum purchased, in house, and well absorbed by mid-August. I usually have each day scheduled, a list of hours, supplemental material all picked out, and Pinterest boards overflowing. Some years I've even written my own full syllabus for each class and then some! 

But since this move I've become less... me. 

There's this general go with the flow approach. Less planned and scheduled for - more taking it all in stride. One day at a time. I feel like I spent the last 30 years proving that there is no benefit to taking charge, stumping down or running ahead. This is like my "New Testament". And I'm loving it. 

So your school is unplanned. NOT unschooled. Unschooling is not for our family. But we will walk forward without urgency, not pretending we're super human and are going to be able to cram ourselves into unrealistic boxes of my own expectations. In fact, I my only expectation is progression and a more well rounded love and enjoyment for learning. That is it. 

So to Seventh Grade, here we come. Minds willing, eyes open, hearts forward. Let the games begin!    


A "Normal" Family House

Hello my little love.

We're in the new house, three days. It's amazing.

Of all the fun you have been my favorite part - you're so happy here.

You love the house. You're brimming with excitement over it. You tell me every time we're together how cute and nice and good it is.

The first day you talked about how you like that it makes us like a "normal" family - "like the the ones on TV shows".

I never really thought about it before, but you have grown up so far in an unusual, beautiful, gigantic house of glass, with incredible views, so much privacy, all about architecture and a specific style of decor that isn't super common around here... while your new Blueberry Home is very "normal" to what you've seen in other people's houses and on TV - the Goldbergs, the Cosbys, Liv and Maddie, Good Luck Charlie...

I was in the garage (looking for something in the sea of our belongings piled high) when it dawned on me that we have always given you so much (just because we like to) and yet you are still like we were as kids, enjoying something less. This house is the complete opposite of tidy, organized, or even ready to live in. Yet it's all an adventure to you. It's as if you don't even see the crazy. And trust me, it's crazy right now! Like, boxes full and empty, blocking hallways and entire rooms, furniture strewn, freshly ripped out walls and floors with MANY electrical wires hanging from the ceiling. We don't know where any of our stuff is. We barely have any food. I honestly don't even know how to get to certain places in the house without really thinking it through first. HA!

I remember going to my neighbors house and loving how simple it was there. Stepping back from technology and up-to-date luxuries. They were grandparents, and they had an old piano in their dining room, a "sitting room" like a parlor, and one of those wash basin bowls with a pitcher. I thought the stark difference from my parent's home was SO cool.

You really appreciate and love this new house. For you the value comes in something entirely different than the things most grownups believe holds value. It's nice to see that innocent joy and contentment in you.

You told me that you really like what we've all planned to do to make changes to this house, but at the same time you are a little sad to see this go. Us too! We unexpectedly feel the same exact way.

Yesterday, you and your Dad were out in the screen room at the dining room table (which is where it is because of all of yesterday's demolition). I could hear the two of you just talking and laughing - looking out at the beautiful back yard together. It made me so happy and proud to be here. I can't wait to see what our "normal" life is like when things come together here. In the meanwhile, I am sure enjoying the ride! :)

Love you, baby.



It's crazy to me that we are just a few days away from moving. I feel like I've been packing our house for for a month - because I have been, really. "Slow and steady wins the race". 

I'm sorry to say we finished 6th grade rather uneventfully. If you can call giving away and selling half of our belongings while we crammed 7 extra days worth of classes into the past three weeks, uneventful. We did reach our goal to be done early so we can focus on the season at hand... saying good-bye to Partridge Lane. And we did go for our traditional last-day-of-school ice cream.  

Now that our agreements have been scheduled for the moving and cleaning, our orders are placed for a new kitchen, flooring and your new bed and bedding, our existing stuff is mostly boxed, the dogs and cat are all riled up, and we are ready to go, it's time to slow down even a bit more. 
It's time to take this all in and thank God. It's time to look around a last time or two and get ready to let go.

I read this beautiful post about the Moment of Detachment this morning:

"The hour of this new day is clearly defined to the dandelion globe; it is marked by detachment. There is no sense of wrenching; it stands ready, holding up its little life, not knowing when or where or how the wind that blows where it will may carry it away. It holds itself no longer for its own keeping, only as something to be given; a breath does the rest..."

I'm letting go - detaching - from the owl's and the morning birds' melody on the silence I've learned to rest in. Detaching from the sights and smells I've come to understand and thrive in these past years. From the woods. From the space. From being left alone. From forgetting about all the people and imagining we're it. 

I'm letting go and letting God guide us to whatever He desires for us. I'm looking forward to detaching from this place, these years, this story, what lay ahead here for us, and what didn't. 

I'm not quite to the readiness of grabbing on to anything else. I'm not sure if or when that will be my position at all. But I am sure we are setting sail on the wind. Making a journey to be planted again, someplace now and different - someplace away. 

I can. not. wait.   


Blueberry Bups

Son, I'm back to writing to you. With Blueberry Willow dot com in place now, all my personal house blogging can be done separately, as it should be. And here, I'll only store the little parts of this journey that belong to you.

You and your Dad and I have been doing some planning about what we'd like our Blueberry home to look like when we are in it. We've also been dreaming and planning about all the things we'd like to do outside of it once we are there and able to afford the time and cost of traveling together. 

You have very strong and specific interests in both areas. There are places you would not like to travel to, and many places you absolutely light up at the mention of. England, California, and Australia being of your top picks. 

Where design is concerned, you love minimalism and the rich and famous look. Silver, gold, crystal. You want white couches and walls, and rugs, and blankets, and tables... 

Do you remember this blue bowl?

One day you and I were in the store, and I was looking for some small bowls...

you picked this one up and were admiring it in awe. 
I was surprised you liked it and asked if it was what you thought I should get. 
You told me that it would not fit with the style of our home, 
but that it would fit with the style of your own home one day.

That was when you started to share with me that you love the look of lavish.

When we started talking about how your bedroom and living space in the Blueberry home should look, you wanted nothing else. 

One day, when I peeked on craigslist to see about getting a chandelier for your downstairs space at Blueberry, I found the exact one we liked, locally, for $25! We bought it the next morning and it's packed up and ready to go.

While we aren't planning to go all "MC Hammer" (who was a rapper who went broke spending all his money on expensive things including a gold plated toilet), we are going to incorporate some of your fitting style preferences into our new house design.

Having prefaced with all of that, I'm not a huge rummage sale goer. I do appreciate the nature of it all. But I'm a purger, so shopping peoples' discarded doesn't usually add up for me.

This particular day was our village rummage sale, and I was avoiding it like the plague. On my way home from somewhere I was scoping things out, recognizing that more now than ever I'd have no business at a rummage sale. I'm trying to sell and give away over half of what we own before we finish packing!

But there was one sign I kept seeing. Not all that distinct from the others, and nothing about it was familiar. But I could not stop the feeling that there must be something there for the new house that God really wanted me to have. Eventually, I obliged. 

As much as I imagined it was for me, whatever God had in store that would be so dear to my heart, I was even more pleased to discover that it was actually something for you. Something specific and just right... 

Beautiful, old crystal and silver platters. Real, and amazing! I paid just a few dollars each for these things, and there were SO many options it was hard for me to choose. I even found a HUGE set of Oneida silverware that fits this style so much better than the heavy, thick, contemporary stuff we had. 

I'm so grateful to God for you, Ezekiel. Your interest in these details at such a young age might surprise other people, but not those who know you well. It falls right inline with how intricately involved you are in everything you do. Nothing passes by you without your valuable consideration. Not the words you speak to your friends, or the way your friends chose to behave. Not your plans for the day or for your future. What you put in your body, where you put your energy and efforts, how you invest in the people around you... it's amazing to watch you process and chose so intentionally. You are amazing to me.  

I hope these shiny, rich little accents we get to have with us at our Blueberry house make you feel half as special as you are. I'm enjoying these exciting (and a little scary) days of planning and dreaming of Blueberry along side of you. 


The Space In-between

We've just been waiting - while the inspections, appraisals, and legal work in preparation of moving happens around us. We're calm and enjoying our last month in our Partridge Home. Trying to keep things as normal as possible. Dreaming and planning...

Zeek and I are on target to finish school a week early so we can be done with 6th grade the day before we move. 

We're still plugging away at purging and selling the things we aren't going to be taking with us. 

We hired a moving company to do a lot of the heavy work on the big day. Also, I hired a cleaning crew to do the move out here so we can focus on our new home. 

The dogs will be going to the center for a couple of days so they don't have to be in the mix of all the change until the initial move is over. We are praying they transition well to the city. Here, they struggle to keep calm if a person is taking a walk on our quiet street! We still haven't decided exactly what we will do for their outdoor space at Blueberry yet. It will best be determined once we are living there. 

We are setting things up with our builders to get moving on remodeling as soon as we get in. 

I have a nice long list of things that need to be done, most of which I have put on hold to savor the season and not rush past it. I think today is a good day to start slowly plucking away at it again. I'm amazed how ready I am in my heart. It's an interesting time in this space between leaving here and going there. I'm doing my best to process and enjoy all the uniqueness. 

But mostly I'm spending my time daydreaming.
Oh Blueberry Lane...


Inspection Done

Super happy to have this day behind us. I haven't been sleeping as many hours as I need lately because of all the excitement - nor working out as much, or eating as well...

Today we had the Partridge inspection. I knew Mary Jo was coming for it, so I wanted to make sure everything looked nice. Again. So school, making a big pot of soup for my mom, laundry, cleaning, and working out, followed by all the dogs and cat in the car for two hours during dinner... 

I'm grateful now. The house is nice and clean, I washed Frank today too, we all ate (at Moe's and Cold Stone) in the car, and the inspection is done. Check! 

We waved the inspection on the Blueberry house, having had Glen with us for the showing and knowing there was nothing that could have been uncovered that would make us not buy the house. So I'm glad we're that much closer to closing. 

We learned from Kimmer today that closing will probably be sooner than May 31st. She said once all work is ready for the closing they will push it through to a nearer date. That was kind of exciting since we'd heard that it wasn't an option because of all the time the preparation work would take. 

I'm feeling like I'm ready to really relax and sink into the joy in this journey with Greg and Zeek. Greg is getting really excited and can't wait to move to Blueberry. Zeek too. We all are. It's so amazing to me all the ways that God has worked in all of this. 

He is so good. 


From the Pear Tree to the Blueberry

I can't believe I haven't written when so much has happened. It's been a whirlwind! 
We saw the Blueberry house for the first time, PUT IN AN OFFER ON IT within hours, had my mom and dad arrive for their visit, GOT THE ACCEPTED OFFER sooner than expected! Then we saw the Blueberry house with my parents, brother and Peggy for the second time the next morning, 

had Easter, exhausted every possible vision, idea and angle in choosing a design pallet for the Blueberry renovation (to begin in June). We have been mad rushing around to get checks and documentation dropped off to the right places on time, warranties, and rental details squared away, and now that we know the space we will be in, selling and ridding of things that we will not be taking with us on our move. 

We just fell in love on the first showing. We were so surprised how nice it was. In our experience so far we haven't seen any houses who didn't look worse than their pictures eluded to. This house was the opposite. We couldn't believe how nice everything was. The floors, tiled showers, bathroom cabinets and countertops, even the paint on the walls and ceilings has been well done and looks great. 

The yard is so awesome. And the tree is a willow. And I did cry. And so did my realtor. It even has an adorable picturesque wooden swing hanging from a branch. 

My mom knew to tell me every plant on the property - and while I was a little sad to leave my new hydrangea plant behind at the Partridge home, SURPRISE, there are quite a few mature hydrangea plants at my new Blueberry house waiting for me!! 

Glen Schlice was SO kind to join us for the showing, and he did a full hour walk through with Greg, inspecting every single thing, giving us the scoop on just what we were in for. It was all very positive, and we couldn't have been happier with all he shared. 

Zeek was a little scared and bummed at first. He was hoping we would either give him the master bedroom, or let him use the lower level living room as his bedroom. It took him a little time, but he has since come around and is very excited to live in his new house. 

He and I visited the backyard today so I could get a look at the size of the patio (all the concrete there is like new!) We enjoyed the neighbor's bonfire next to us while Zeek read his History lesson to me on the picnic table. It was so nice. I love our new place. And I love how the few people we've shared the news with have seen God so clearly in the start of this journey, and many of them have celebrated in praising His name with us in gratitude and excitement. 

God, You are amazing that You would do all the work to be able to call me someone. The way that you love me, surpassing all the limits and rules of this world just to let me know it's You. Thank you for being here with us. For allowing us to stretch and grow. And most of all for letting us see, feel, hear and know you in each step. Waiting for Your timing yields such a worthy result. Thank You, thank You, thank You. 


Second Showing Surprise

The day after we accepted the offer from Mary Jo, she requested that she be allowed to come back and show the house to her kids. 
We accommodated and left her a card welcoming her. 

Two days later we ran across this on the white board in the school room downstairs...

a little message from her and the family. 

We loved it!