The story of how my family came to the point of leaving our farm in the Midwest for an old house in midwest Florida is somewhat lengthy, and yet it seemed to happen so quickly!

My father was suddenly unemployed for the first time in a very long time, and God began changing our hearts when it came to why we're even on this Earth, and what we are supposed to be doing with our short time here.

It seemed like He was calling us to something new, but we couldn't imagine what.

My brother and I, saying goodbye to our childhood home.

In October 2013, while visiting my sister in her new home, it slowly became clear that we were supposed to be in Florida. I had resisted the thought of such a move. I love hot weather, but had no attraction whatsoever for my sterotypical mental image of what Florida life and culture would be like. I think I pictured Spring Break beach craziness 24/7.

Instead, we found ourselves falling in love with a small town that felt so much like home. 

During that week long visit, we were searching online for houses to look at. Our criteria was a little out of the ordinary - we were looking for something big. We wanted a home that was large enough to welcome lots and lots of people. A place for hospitality and ministry.

And I came across a really big old blue house.

The Big Blue House

 It was in foreclosure, and looked just a little intimidating from the photos online,
but it was only 8 minutes away - and it was huge. 
So we drove over to take a look at it.

I'll admit that it was kind of love at first sight for me, even though it was so frightening to look at the outside and imagine all of the things that could be wrong. We decided to at least look at the inside, just for fun. We called the realtor, only to discover that it had just sold.

We sort of took that as an answer, and yet, for some unexplicable reason, I couldn't shake the feeling that the house would be back. Sure enough, a few weeks after returning home - the house reappeared for sale. Evidently, it had been picked up by an investment company. The price had been hiked way up beyond our price range, but the house was still for sale.

Around that time, my family spent a day of fasting and prayer, asking the Lord for specific answers and direction. At first it didn't seem like we got any, but the next day I was reminded of numerous scriptures that had encouraged me over the years - and I realized - they all shared a common theme of restoration. 

I was overwhelmed with the beauty of God's heart to take things, people, and places that are worn out, worn down, and destroyed - and make them new. I began to marvel at His promises to rebuild the ruined places, and make the desolate ground like the Garden of Eden - all for the purpose of bringing glory to His name, and drawing people to Himself.

One night after that, I was overwhelmed with a picture of that big blue house - restored, and made ready and available to be a place of healing and restoration for people. I was determined that if this was an idea from the Lord, He would communicate the same thing to the rest of my family - so instead of saying anything about it, I just began to pray that He would make it clear to all of us. Meanwhile, I felt so sure about it, I started a secret Pinterest account and began saving ideas. :)

The infamous pink bathroom

Like I said, it's a long story, but by this past April, the Lord had made things very clear.
Our farm sold and closed in about three weeks, and the price on the house had dipped well below what we were able to pay - God provided each and every detail of what we needed in a way that could only be explained as miraculous. 

So we took a step of faith!

We moved around the middle of May, and it has been non-stop adventure ever since.
Life in our house has been a bit like camping as we work through getting the plumbing fixed,
but there is such joy and peace in waking up each morning to the adventure that God is leading us on. Whether we are interacting with our wonderful new neighbors, scraping wall paper, or slapping mosquitos, we are overwhelmed with God's goodness in all that He is bringing us through, and are learning so much about the beauty of restoration.

We'll see how often I get around to updating here - it's a busy time! But I would love to share little bits and pieces of what God is doing as I'm able! 

"Simply begin every morning by making the statement: 'Lord, I'm available' and your life will never lack adventure - you'll be amazed at what He will do!" 
(A wise elderly friend of mine.) 

The Guest Bungalow (before the roof.)