Kickball in the circle
Frisbee golf through the neighborhood
4th of July "parades" down the street
Touch football in the front yard
Bumper-pool and ping pong in the basement
Watching Grandmom "put on her face" in the pink bathroom
Playing along with Jeopardy and Wheel-of-Fortune in the den
Making graham cracker cookies in the kitchen
Eating Thanksgiving dinner on TV trays
Playing Spoons at the dining room table
Throwing watermelon rinds off the back deck
Walking the to school playground
Taking stairs two at a time, up and down, while grown-ups talk in the den
Watching Disney channel in Grandmom's bedroom
Reading Richie Rich comics in a twin bed before falling asleep
Rocking on the front porch and yelling across the lawn to the neighbors in the twilight
Watching the fireworks from behind an umbrella (for protection)
Turning the pages of People magazine in the Grandmom's easy chair
Eating pancakes and reading cartoons out of the paper in the mornings
Having whatever you were wearing stripped off you and ironed
Exploring the closet in the basement for family treasures
Listening to Grandmom laugh with (and at) her boys
Screaming at the TV during UT games
Trying on her old hats
Looking through her jewelry drawer
Spinning around in the old yellow chair
Having a $20 bill slipped into your hand as you left
Hearing, "don't leave me" and "don't slam the door" almost simultaneously
Waving goodbye as she leaned against the porch column

The house that built me. My family moved around quite a bit growing up, but Grandmom didn't. She was there over 50 years. As of tomorrow, it will belong to another family. But I can smell it. I can hear her laughing. Did she ever not laugh? Wasn't she ALWAYS laughing? Even when she was scolding, she was laughing.

I hope the folks that bought the house inherit her laughter. Gosh, I hope they inherit her heart, her generosity, her zeal for life, her love for family, and passion for that house. She designed it, she picked out all the unique features, she filled it with furniture and love, she cared for it for over 50 years. 

I've been back just once after she moved. When she isn't there, it doesn't feel the same. I wasn't really sad to see it emptied out, because she was the only thing that made it what it was in the first place. I guess that's always true of houses. It's never the house itself, but the people and the memories it contained. 

What a gift Grandmom is. What a gift she made her home. This life transition, of her slowly forgetting and us slowly grieving, isn't easy. But there are gifts still. The gift of all these "extra" years with her after the heart episode she really shouldn't have lived through. The gift of a wonderful new home for her. The gift of loving and caring for her well like she loved and cared for all of us. And this new gift...

You'll never guess what He did for us. In the hard job of handing her house over to people that are oblivious to the stories and the memories that shaped her family, He gave us a wonderful gift...

Another Annie. Another Annie is moving in. It makes this bitter process sweet. It feels a little like letting long lost family move in. Like Annie and Jane will keep making memories there. 

Some people believe that God exists, but that He does so aloof to what's really happening on earth. I've never believed that. I have always known that He cares for each one of us on a very personal level and He's graciously shown me that so many times, but none quite as sweet as this

Since I started writing this post, He has reminded me too, that home, my real home, will feel even better than her's did. And that His home will remain mine forever! Never to be emptied out or sold. A home where the bitter and the sweet of life will be forgotten. A home where our hearts will find contentment in every corner. A home where Grandmom will laugh and scold and remember all the things that have slipped away from her. Our real home. Our very best home.

When we all, get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout for victory!

Thanks for the memories 4320! I am turning my gaze towards home. 

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