Whole Parenting Family

New Adventure: Moving

What an odd thing, to sit and write the story of our summer, on the brink of closing on our home and opening a new home. What a place to sit. It is a little droopy. It is a little tired. But it’s also filled with a spark of joy.

I began this summer thinking it would be a summer of violin lessons, tennis playing, swimsplashing, and lots of blogging. My list of semi-drafted blog posts is ongoing in my mind. I write while I’m nursing the baby down, sometimes when I’m cleaning the dishes, or doing my physical therapy exercises. I think how I would phrase this or that. I write it all in my head.

I did not think the summer would entail purging, packing, waiting, wondering, and then rejoicing. I thought it be normal.

I’ve sat to write this story several times, interrupted by life, feelings, and uncertainty. I can sit to write it now because our old house has new owners waiting to sign on the dotted line, and we have a new house where we will sign on the dotted line, all inside the next two weeks.

My ancestral home! The home I thought I’d be waked out of. The home we wondered which of our children would want to take over from us. The home that, despite its grand size, couldn’t actually accommodate our intergenerational living.

And that was the crux of it. As my my mom’s arthritis in her hip grew worse and worse, the three flights of stairs to go up & down became more difficult. More of an effort. Nearly impossible to do carrying a baby or helping a toddler.

So we brainstormed all the ways we could modify the house to fit our needs: access to a living area for my parents that didn’t require multiple flights of stairs. We looked into this and priced out that; I was sure there was a solution, refusing to face the idea of selling.

This house had become my life blood and I couldn’t–wouldn’t–detach from it.

Many hours of talking, looking, thinking, mourning, and accepting later, my sweet husband and I arrived at the same conclusion as my parents: sell the house, trust that God would provide the right house, and camp at my sister’s down the street while the house went on the market.

Too many friends had shared their horror stories of driving around all day with their many kids in the car while realtors and potential buyers looked and inspected. I was grateful that my sister offered her home to us without blinking (SORRY FOR THE COLORING ON THE FURNITURE AND BOOGERS ON THE WALL!). Eternally grateful.

Quietly, quickly, very quickly, I poured over our accumulated junk and precious paraphernalia in the attic, closets, basement, cupboards. How did we amass so much . . . stuff?? About six weeks later, the house was wiped down, wiped clean, and out we went.

The bitter sweetest part for me was learning to detach, completely surrendering to God’s plan for our family, and trusting, living out that trust, and letting go of the house. Okay, so that’s lots of parts. I packed boxes for storage at our country home, boxes for goodwill, and boxes for living at my sister’s for an indefinite period of time. Each time I sealed one shut, I thought where will I open this box? 

I would walk through the house before we moved out, speaking to each wall, each nook and cranny I knew from years of wiping them down, and say be good to your new owners, be good to your next family. That shows you how weirdly attached I was to the house! True conversations with the walls!

In a sweep of grace & lots of God shining down on us, we spotted a house “coming soon” across the street and a few houses down from my sister’s house. Our realtor friend got us in to see it around 3:30 in the afternoon, we made an offer by 5:30, and went to sleep having heard it was accepted. Whirl. Wind.

We couldn’t believe it when we walked through: everything we had hankered after, hoped for, and dreamed about, including room for modifications for my parents if/when they want, a laundry shoot, not too much space, not too little, raised bed gardens in back, and a wrap-around porch in front.

The blog has been neglected, but I have been sewing. My creative outlet provided a grounding sanity for me in all this turmoil and transition. I’ll be releasing limited linen dress & jumpsuit lines in the next month. I’ll be finishing some fun bibs soon, and wrapping up the summer with a sale on bonnets. Keep an eye on the shop for updates! My newsletter is the best way to find out when things are coming out and getting a little deal on them. Sign up for that here.

My old faithful sewing machine has chugged through while I’ve processed. It’s a real blessing to create.

I’ll keep you posted as we transition. The kids have had their moments, their sadness, their joy. We’ve had ours. The family overall has been joyful that we faced the reality of the house no longer serving its purpose for full-scaled living and that a wonderful new family will enjoy it. God works in mysterious ways and how all this has flowed together has assured me He is there, listening to our prayers, answering them in ways we cannot even imagine.

New hashtag for the new house: #wholeparentinghome on insta!




  1. Sarah on September 7, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Aw. I love how you finish with the idea that the house has served its purpose for your family and all others who passed through it as your guests, and now it’s time for another phase of life, bittersweet as it may be for you because of the great love that lived there.
    Our family were the lucky beneficiaries of a home being sold by owners who were moving on after THEIR home served its purpose. We were very grateful to them. To see all the moving parts work out so we could move in– true ‘God signs’. All good things in the circle of life, in their appointed order and time! I love witnessing how you are being obedient to the peace of the Holy Spirit in your decision and that peace and blessing can pass on to the next family. Thanks be to God!

    • Ashley on September 8, 2017 at 9:18 am

      I got goosebumps with that part too! We had a whirlwind house selling/moving experience this past spring. The previous owners built this home, raised their children here and now that they were grown, were moving on to the next phase in their life. We are SO thankful that we get to now be the second generation to raise our kids here. It’s so beautiful to me to think that these walls have held AND will hold so many memories and so much love.

      • Natural Mama Nell on September 8, 2017 at 7:51 pm

        That is incredible!!!

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 8, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      Something so powerful about the purpose being served in many capacities.

  2. Katie Bogner on September 7, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Nell, this is so sad AND so exciting! What a sacrifice it is (and a good lesson for all of us) that sometimes we have to let go of something beautiful to receive the next perfect blessing God has in mind. I’m sentimental and traditional and grew up in a multi-generations-owned farm house, and I’ve often wondered many of the things you mused here. I’m so excited for you and your family! Prayers as you continue to transition to your new home!

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 8, 2017 at 7:58 pm

      Letting go and truly waiting has been the hardest lesson here. I hope I will reap the benefits of the good character habits I’ve learned from it!! Thank you for the kind thoughts and prayers, sister.

  3. Bernadette on September 7, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Nell, this hit so close to home. We are moving across the country to go be near my family again…we’ve been living for 5.5 years in the lower level of a duplex. It’s tiny and dated. But two of my three babies were born in this house and letting go and moving on is so hard! I seriously feel sick at heart some days over it, which seems silly because it’s just a rental! Please pray for us in our next adventure.

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 8, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Sounds really similar. I get it. Sending you all the love and hugs and courage!!

  4. Melissa on September 8, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Wow! That must have been so hard. We recently sold our first home that we had only lived in for 10 years and it was hard. We definitely were talking to the walls. I in fact hugged a door frame at one point. I’m so excited for your family. I hope your new home is everything you dream it will be.

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 8, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      You are so kind. Hugging the doors & walls too, sister!!!

  5. Jenny on September 8, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Oh I am SOOOOOOO happy that’s how quickly you found a home, and nothing on earth beats living near sisters <3

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 8, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      God is good. All the time!!!

  6. Kayla on September 8, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Nell, wow. What a beautiful reflection on a unique and unexpected summer. So many prayers for this transition. Enjoy the parts you can! Having done the same thing but from a place (left Denver), I feel your grief but love your joyful anticipation. How the two can live together so nonchalantly (and for such a long time) is the paradox of a lifetime. Mourning and gratitude are friends. They have to be! What else could Mother Mary possibly have felt when she left her homeland, but with the beautiful God-child in hand?!

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 8, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      You phrase it so beautifully. Mourning and gratitude, they ARE friends!!

  7. Francine on September 8, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I know moving can feel bittersweet, and it’s always such a process, but what a blessing to find a home near your sister so quickly! I’m excited for your family! Your new house will start feeling like a home soon 🙂

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 8, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      I can’t wait for that part: to feel like we are grounded again!!

  8. Mary Virginia on September 8, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    So glad for you! Moving is such bittersweetness. Praying for your transition!

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 8, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      You just went through a big move yourself! Thank you so much. Prayers mean everything.

  9. Megan on September 8, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    I think it’s far from weird when I’m attached that house and have only stepped foot inside it once! I’m glad you got those personal moments to say goodbye. And thank you God (and St. Joseph!) for providing for true needs and while checking off some wants, too. Can’t wait to see what new memories are waiting to be made and praying you through the final push

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 8, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      It’s been so intense but letting go and seeing where we would end up was better than trying hard to control the outcome.

  10. Julia Harrell on September 8, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Oh, Nell. I know it must be heartbreaking to say goodbye to your beloved home. I’m so thankful that things have worked out as smoothly as they have and that you’ll still be living with and near family. <3

    • Natural Mama Nell on September 8, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Thank you, friend. We feel really blessed.

  11. Patty on September 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    So glad it came together for you guys! Cannot wait to see it in a few weeks 🙂

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 20, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      LOVE you!

  12. Gail Hatch on November 3, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    All of this reminds me of Jimmy Webb’s song: “If these Old Walls could Speak”. I like Nanci Griffith singing it best, but Amy Grant does it well, too. The words each one sings vary slightly but the meaning is there: walls, halls and windows have held and seen and carried those within!
    Wiping my tears for God’s faithfulness in all things–surely he understands talking to walls and halls…treating sacred spaces as his gifts to you. Blessings and so glad I have found your blog from your Blessed Is She post this morning.

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 20, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      I’m touched–thank you, friend.