Archive for February, 2021


Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2021 by amylawrencepxp

“Where’s home for you?”

It doesn’t seem like a tough question, does it? Most people can offer an answer without hesitating. I don’t fall into that category. In fact, I’ve wrestled with the question more and more over the last 15 years. Sure, I grew up in New Hampshire and consider myself a Granite Stater; but I haven’t lived there since I graduated from from college and our family home was sold years ago. We’re all spread out now–New Jersey, Houston, northern Virginia. My winding career path includes stints in Vermont, upstate NH, western Oklahoma and Oklahoma City, northeast Ohio, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Each of those places (and the people) will always own a piece of my heart; but none of them is home.

In 2020, the word “home” took on a whole new meaning, a completely different connotation. As we were forced to stay home for weeks, even months at a time, for work and school and leisure, it was easy to feel cooped up and stir crazy. Home didn’t feel as much like a haven; it seemed more like a prison for millions of Americans.

As we gradually emerge on the other side of the pandemic and return to the familiar rhythms of our daily lives, I will be content to keep most of 2020 (and the start of ’21) in the rearview mirror. But there is one milestone from the last year that I will always cherish. I bought my first little house on a small plot of land. After years of saving and praying and planning and saving some more, after all the bids and paperwork and timelines, I found a place to call my own.

Valentine’s Day was exactly eight months since the first morning I woke up in my little slice of heaven. That’s fitting since it’s been a labor of love from the beginning. As we turn the calendar to March and mark one year since our lives changed so drastically, I can’t help but recall how my offer was accepted on March 6th. Or that I was going through my home inspection a week later when March Madness was officially canceled. Sometimes I feel like the days have passed in a flash; at other times, I feel like I’ve lived in this house forever.

Moving in the middle of a pandemic is as much fun as it sounds, blah. My family opted to wait until AFTER I moved to arrive like the cavalry, so I was on my own for most of the purging and packing, not to mention the transfer. From the time I signed the mortgage and got the keys, it was literally one carload at a time for three weeks. I couldn’t go anywhere without cable and internet because I was still hosting my radio show from the super-secret home base. Install appointments were hard to come by, so I had to wait. As painstakingly slow as the process seemed, I know now the time was a blessing. The strain was spread out over more than a month, ha. And the yardwork. Not sure when I decided I was superwoman who could lift a lawnmower in and out of my car (not kidding), but caring for two yards over six weeks convinced me my higher calling in life is not landscaping!

The friends who showed up (don’t we all need those??) decided to help by hiring a crew to shuttle the furniture to the new house. It was quick and easy, done in under three hours since I’d already moved the boxes, clothes, closets and kitchen myself. But that Saturday morning and those few hours were a great reminder of the person I want to be: the kind who shows up even when it’s inconvenient and “risky.” They say the best friends in life are the ones who help you move. I say the best friends in life are the ones who help you move in a pandemic while the New York City metro is considered ground zero in the US. An unforgettable lesson that was hammered into my soul last spring: prayers are powerful and they move mountains; sometimes prayer is the only help we can offer. But when it’s not, showing up can make a world of difference. For that and everything else the last eight years, THANK YOU, Gretchen and Scott!

I’ll be honest. Multiple times during my first week in the house, I cried my eyes out and wondered if I made a huge mistake. The place was filthy. I should’ve paid more attention during the final inspection, but I didn’t. So I spent the first week scrubbing, screaming and stressing. I was disgusted, exhausted and overwhelmed. Mom kept telling me the family would be there soon. She was right–they pitched in with the cleaning immediately–but those first seven days turned into a bonding experience for me and my new abode. That first week riding an emotional roller coaster transformed my little house into a home (and gave me hysterical stories to share on the radio). All the effort–the blood, sweat and tears–changed the way I look at this house, with all its flaws and quirks and challenges. Just like a cherished relationship, the effort is an investment and worth all the trouble.

There are so many sweet and precious moments I’ll remember: making up the bed for the first time; watching my family pull weeds, clean out the shed and trim bushes on a blazing hot Sunday; following Penny on a walk three days in when she already knew which yard was ours; the neighbors introducing themselves; seeing all the flowers bloom–peonies, roses, hydrangeas, orange lilies and some crazy butterfly bush; tearing up when my Grammy Helen’s face appeared on Skype; playing my piano the first time; putting up the Christmas tree!! One of my ultimate memories from the first nine months will always be gazing out the window during a blizzard that dropped 20 inches of beautiful snow and listening to the quiet all around me. Blissful.

You can find plenty of greeting card cliches to define “home.” It’s where the heart is, where the pets (and dog hair) are, where we hang our hats and dreams. All of these can be true. Home can also be where we grew up or simply where we reside. I’ve come to understand that my journey was always meant to be more complicated.

Of course, I will ALWAYS be at home wherever I’m with family, even if it’s not my primary address. But over the last year, HOME means so much more. My new home is how I survived the pandemic. Pouring my time and energy into this project reminded me that 2020 wasn’t a total loss. I am blessed beyond measure. My new home keeps me thankful and offers perspective from a God who’s always in control.

For me, home is a sigh of a relief. Home is comfort. Home is letting my guard down. Home is safety and solace. Home is where the people I love are always welcome, day or night. Home isn’t always calm; but my home is peace, the kind that’s priceless.