It's just a house...




It's just a house on a street in a town,
It may not look special to you,
But this is the house where we lived and we loved,
Where we slept and we ate and we grew.

~Claire Cloninger/Nancy Gordon

When bright sunlight illuminates the rich, dark foliage dotting our Pollywog Creek landscape and warm, moist air greets us at the break of day, there's no denying that summer's arrived. It's when my leisurely moments on the backyard swing sipping fresh-brewed coffee and delighting in the gifts that surround me give way to enjoying the view from the sliding glass doors and mason jars of sweet ice tea.

It's no secret - I don't like summer.

It's when gratitude can sometimes be an act of my will - a determination to be grateful for all things - even the hot, oppressive summers on Pollywog Creek. For it's when life is more tolerable for me to stay indoors that I focus my attention on the life, the gifts, the simple and humble beauty inside these walls.

You've seen my living room. It's a conglomerate of styles and colors - of mismatched and make-do furnishing, a sagging entertainment center, old carpeting, and rickety dining room chairs. And I really don't care.

Not too long ago, an out-of-town friend who'd never visited our home stopped by for coffee. "I love this," he exclaimed to my surprise. "It reminds me so much of home."

I love it, too. Our house here on Pollywog Creek is as ordinary as they come, but it's where our family slept, ate and grew - where just outside little boys climbed trees, fished in the pond and built forts by the creek, and where they welcomed a baby sister long after we thought we had all the little ones the LORD had planned for us.

It's in this simple house that we've read thousands of pages of board books, picture books, chapter books and textbooks - where we've finger painted, made salt-dough maps, created costumes and memorized scripts. It's where we have cried over algebra, laughed at Shakespeare, conquered a multitude of academic mountains and rejoiced in the victories.

It's in this house that we've dressed for hundreds of Little League games, Pee Wee football, golf tournaments, and track meets, as well as band concerts, piano and dance recitals and high school graduations - and where we watched with pride and lumps in our throats as our young men dressed for their weddings and their beautiful sister as a bridesmaid.

We have gathered around this same dining room table for twenty-three years of dad-cooked Sunday morning pancake breakfasts and Monday evening dinners with the grown boys and their young families.

It's in this house that we prayed for guidance and embraced the full-time care of my bedridden mother - together learning what it meant to live sacrificially - to wash the feet of the saints. It's also the sacred ground where my dear mother passed from this world into eternal glory with the Father one clear spring day two years later.

Together we have celebrated twenty-three years of babies, birthdays, anniversaries, Easters, Thanksgivings, Christmases, vacations, graduations, and weddings, as well as crop freezes, citrus canker, hurricanes, drought, sickness, and unemployment. 

And it's within these walls that we have huddled together over sacred writ, prayed and acknowledged God's favor and abundance, wrestled with doubt, and testified to the unmistakable hand of God at work in our lives. 

They are but tiny snippets of life here on Pollywog Creek - events and memories far too numerous to recount after all these years.

Quite often I find myself thinking, I love this house, yet I'm quite certain that many would question my sentimental attachment to such a simple, ordinary place. There is nothing special about this house, except that some of the people I have loved the most will always call it "home".

{Photos - some of the rich, dark summer foliage on Pollywog Creek}