3.5 years later

**Note:  We are going to revamp SimplyOneLife.org soon because we feel the desire to start blogging again.  We want to change it to wordpress for ease of use so in the meantime I am writing on this wordpress blog to make it easier to transfer content:)

You may want to reference this blog post that we wrote in December of 2008, two months before the house became a reality.

We’ve dropped off the face of the earth when it comes to blogging how we are doing spiritually as well as what are doing physically in the house.  I know that a part of me felt like a failure because we weren’t doing any of things we had imagined we would once we got this house.

Only in the past 8 months or so do I feel like I’ve come to terms with a purpose for living here in this neighborhood. We are here to pray. To pray for the evil to be expelled in this neighborhood. To pray for the darkness to be turned into light.

“Prayer is not getting man’s will done in heaven, but getting God’s will done on earth. It is not overcoming God’s reluctance but laying hold of God’s willingness.”
Richard C. Trench

I do believe that we’ve had a physical impact on the neighborhood. We may not have set up tutoring and haven’t had a community of believers living under our roof but we have hung out with a dozen kids on our porch and had two friends live long term in our extra bedroom.

We have always desired to find a community of like-minded people to share this life with. Eventually, we found that among our friends. We don’t live together but we do spend time together in prayer and mutual encouragement.

Something that has always amazed me about this house is how comfortable people feel in it. I always feel as though I’m making excuses for it’s constant state of half-doneness…”Oh, I’m sorry, we’re working on this….” or “Oh, I’m sorry we still need to do this….” but nobody seems to care. On several occasions friends have told us how cozy and at home they feel here.  The peace of the Lord rests on this house and we are blessed to live in it!

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We’ve never tutored in our home but we have developed relationships with many of the neighborhood kids. We know most of them by name and there are afternoons in the summer spent sitting on the porch and talking with a group of them. Until it was stolen, we even had a basketball hoop that many of the boys played on.

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We’ve never taken on any large community enrichment projects but we’ve had friends help us clean up alleys and we’re trying our hardest to make the outside of our house look better. We’ve been so busy trying to fix up the inside of our house that we’ve neglected the outside although we are realizing how important it is to remove the blight from our own property in order to influence the rest of the neighborhood.  We hope to finally get to many of the outside projects next summer.

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We have had no community garden and have pretty much failed at even keeping our own garden tended. Oops. Maybe someday!

SPIRITUAL GROWTH! YES YES, YES! Oh how we’ve grown in patience, in love, and in kindness since we’ve lived here. A lot of crazy and crappy things have happened to us in this neighborhood and each time we see the perseverance of God overcome it! There’s nothing like physically seeing evil extinguished in the houses around you to lead you to believe that a difference can be made. PRAISE THE LORD!

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At times this house has seemed like a curse. I have spent hours crying and telling Brad that we can’t raise our kids here, that it’s not safe for them. I have cried over the worry that the dust in the air from our renovations is harming their tiny lungs. I have cried over the house that caught fire across the street, or the gunfire that rang out directly outside our bedroom window late one night. I have cried that this is just too hard. I have cried because the swat team raided the house across the street while I was pushing Theo in the swing. I have cried because our house is ugly and the rooms are falling apart despite the fact that we just fixed them up. I have cried because we have to call the police for the millionth time to report gunshots fired. I have cried because raising kids and renovating a house and living among such blatant evil seems like too much. But every time, every single time, God picks me up. He comforts me and plants my feet firmly on the ground. He tells me that he’s got my back and that if I just keep running in the path of his commands he will make my life perfect here on earth even if it means living a life full of hardship.

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