oh, to create home

 Imagine a green-eyed blonde with baby doll in arm fully engaged in her own world playing ‘house’.

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Born to nurture and nest, she’s been creating home since before she could walk. Whether in the backseat of her family’s Suburban on a road trip, inside her desk at school or beneath the bunk bed at home, she has always found unique ways to create room for comfort and rest.

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Still, to this day, she comes alive flipping an empty space into a warm and welcoming place to belong. But even in this, she wrestles with tension. Is the home she creates ever going to be enough to satisfy?

Home, it is a place to belong, and a place we long to create.

Oh, to create home.

In the beginning, God created…. He spoke the heavens and the earth into being. He separated light from darkness and the sea from the sky. He gathered the waters together and brought up land from beneath. He ushered forth trees and plants and fruit bearing seeds. He positioned lights in the sky to distinguish day from night. He filled the ocean with all kinds of creatures, and the air with birds that fly and the land with animals that walk, run, creep and crawl. He did all of this by the utterance of his voice, and He saw that it was good… Then, at last, He made man. Forming man to bear His own image, God breathed life into him. God blessed man and gave him the responsibility to rule over and care for the earth He had fashioned… He saw all this, and saw that it was good. It was very good.

[Genesis 1]

In the beginning, God created… He created home, a perfect place for his people to belong. She wonders how much time it took for God to dream up a home like this. He created a universe of magical mysteries out of NOTHING. From the deepest part of the ocean to infinity and beyond the furthest star in the night sky, His handiwork stretches all throughout and in every detail. There is not an atom out of place, or an inch unattended. He spoke into being a space and an order where His people would thrive…

God had her in mind when He created this place for her to belong. He thought through what would appeal to her eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin. He knew how He would use creation to captivate her attention and draw her closer to Him.

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God anticipated that as she experienced what He created for her, that she would be inspired to re-create it alongside of him.

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Perhaps, God created her to be a little home-maker. When she creates home, it honors God and it cares for His people. Her creating is not futile, as she sometimes ponders, but at the end of the day, she’s still incomplete, longing to create something bigger and better.

As mentioned in ‘oh, to be home’, her and her man rent an almost 600 sq. ft. garage apartment.

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It’s a quarky little guy, but they love it. 

Their home sits in an ideal location between the river and the historic square of New Braunfels, TX, the small town where they live, work and play. They’ve managed to make it home, and she grieves the day that life season shifts and they have to move. But even still, she longs for what’s next. She gets sucked into Fixer Upper marathons dreaming of her ‘perfect’ home and stalks the housing market so that she’s up to date on local listings. If God created this perfect home and His people to recreate alongside of Him, then why is she restless?

…Well, one day, the perfect home God created fell apart. His people didn’t believe the home He had created was enough, and they decided to go their own way. The place God created as ‘home’ became corrupt and began to crumble. His people immediately felt the separation and longed to return to their perfect place of belonging once more, but there was nothing they could do to restore it. They sought to fill this hole with everything outside of God, but it never satisfied. Home was set in their hearts, the place they once belonged, and all they could do was hope for the Day that God would make it new.

Home, it is a place we long for, a place we belong. But this world, it is no longer our home, and nothing that we create or hope in will satisfy our longing to be home. No amount of money, creativity, or hours spent on Pinterest will satisfy our longing to be home. These created things are not sufficient to uphold our souls.

So where do we rest until we are finally home?

“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens… We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body, and home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.“- 2 Corinthians 5: 1, 6-9

So whether we are at home, or away, we make it our aim to please Him. In re-creating home as a reflection of who God is, we make it our aim to please Him, in all that we do, we do it unto His name.

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And we hope for the Day, that we’re ‘home, at last’.

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oh, to be home

Home, a word that evokes a wealth of memories, memories that stir a spread of emotion, and emotion that cultivates a passion to create. This one word, how does it have the power to captivate us like this? What is it about ‘home’ that ignites some of our greatest longings for comfort, security and rest? But, what is ‘home’? Or, better yet, where is ‘home’? Home is a place to belong. It is safe. It is comfortable. It is rest. Home is what we long for.

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Oh, to be home.

This summer, they set out on a journey. They left their place called, ‘home’, and with a circus of thirty-one college students, they traveled the state of Texas for ten weeks, presenting Jesus, and teaching His ways through a fun, crazy and enthusiastic environment… an environment that they best describe as camp

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The trailblazer within her eagerly anticipated the start of something brand new, but at the core of her bones, she shuttered with fear to imagine what this venture might encompass. They were just babies at being married and now responsible for a college staff and the start of a brand new camp… She anticipated living out of a duffle, alongside of her newlywed husband and moving into a new stranger’s home each week. How would they do it without a place of reprieve, to let go, to unwind and simply be what they needed to be? She stood, here, feet planted at the base of Mt. Everest, her lungs already gasping for air. “There is just no way…” She thought, “Surely, we will crumble.”

With no turning back, the only way out was to forge ahead. So, they loaded up into their diesel rental truck and lead a caravan of three, fifteen passenger vans, hauling two trailers and a rock wall, out of the parking lot, away from everything familiar and into the unknown of what became the first ever T Bar M Camps, Discover252.

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From June through July, they moved from city to city without a space of their own, relying on residents to take them in, and care for their needs. Yet, every week, in each new city, they were welcomed warmly, housed luxuriously, fed heartily, fueled by families and slept ever so snuggly. She could not yet see that ‘home’ was being provided above and beyond what she had ever experienced it. Dreamy spaces, quiet places, comfort abounding, and the people, the sweet, funny, quarky, vulnerable, wise, generous and hospitable people…. What she failed to recognize was that within the entrance of each doorway, her ideal of home was evolving. With warm greetings, gifts of laughter, caring questions, relieving responses, morning coffee, hot showers and many face-plants into bed, she felt safe, at rest and comforted. But even in all this, her heart was sick for their 600 sq. ft. garage apartment rental. She set her eyes on the end of the summer, longing desperately for home, and at the end of ten weeks, it was oh so good to get there.

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Reflecting on the summer, the lessons they learned are too many to count. The fights they fought were humbling and hilarious. The laughter they shared was pain to the abdominals, and the stories they witnessed unleashed ugly tears of awe. In a million different ways, the summer swiped the rug right out from under their feet. But what floored her the most, was how ‘at home’ she felt each week she was away. These families ushered them into their lives and made the two of them, their own. Each week, for ten weeks, strangers became kindred, and she had a place to belong.

But even, here, in the sitting room of her tiny garage apartment, she still longs for a place to belong… These homes and families inspired her to dream of a home and family of her own. She watched interactions and observed traditions. Her photos are filled with shots of décor, style and novel furnishings. She took note of details in hospitality that warmed her soul. She wanted to create a home and family like these. Oh, but if they only had the finances to buy a home of their own… to build, furnish, decorate and keep… Then, she would really be home…

Home, a place to belong. How do these people create it? What makes her heart sick for it? Why does she still long for more? Where is it that she ultimately belongs?

‘Oh, to  create home’.

Over the next couple of weeks, she hopes to bring you alongside as she explores these questions that continue to challenge her ideal of ‘home’ in her blog series…

 Oh, to be home.

Thank You notes to:

Patrick and Sondra Appel for greeting us with La Croix, wowing us with your home elevator and showing us the value of a big ole backyard breakfast. Your excitement to host us made us feel the most special. 

The Horton Family for bringing to reality the house of my dreams and opening it to complete strangers while you were out of the country. This week, in your home, was the greatest ministry to our marriage.

The Burns Family for nurturing our hearts with your care, our smiles with laughter and our bellies with the best meal of the summer. There is no other place we’d rather have been to welcome Hurricane Bill.

The Zoboroski Family for spontaneously bringing us into your home and family. Your enthusiasm made us feel like superstars and your authenticity is something we hope to emulate one day. 

Rick & Kerry Kruger for meeting our desperate need of rest and soul care by way of sleep, healthy eats, real conversation, and a chance for Jacob to pick up a golf club… Oh, and the most heavenly bed we’ve EVER slept in.

The Waller Family- for greeting us enthusiastically last minute and inspiring us to abandon our excuses and to live life adventurously. We cherish the few days we got to learn from your family, and hope for many more. 

Alan and Carrie Catalani- for assuring us that vulnerability is powerful, and grace abounds only because of Jesus.Your home and presence is one of warmth and comfort, we left spurred on to seek the face of Jesus.

The Minter Family- for making us two of your own. We observed your home as a place of refuge and security for many as you embrace each visitor with honor. Thanks for investing in us. We want to be a home like yours one day. 

Dan, Chels and Haley Pup- for being the best first married friends we could ask for. Your friendship is one we cherish, and your home, this summer, was an exhale of familiarity. Getting to watch the US Open was a game changer.

The Ha Family- for showing us lavish hospitality in the lack of your presence. Welcome signs, goodie baskets and pour over coffee ministered to our weary souls. Thanks to you, we are excited to implement an ‘Overby Family Fall Checklist’.

The McNeil Family- for showing us what ‘Don’t Waste Fun’ looks like as parents of three. Your story trusting the Lord encouraged us to look to His plan outside of our own. We also now aspire to be coffee connoisseurs and fly fishermen. 

Thank you, families, for a summer we’ll never forget. 

oh, to be whole

Wholeness. To be restored to fullness. To be altogether complete. To be healed.

Our culture longs for wholeness. We seek to fill in the gaps. We strive to lack nothing. We search for supernatural strength. What do we fill? How do we strive? Where do we search?

Oh, to be whole.

Over the past month, they have been on a journey together. A journey that she geeks out about, he groans over, and a journey that brought to the surface more than they bargained for a New Year’s eating plan.

She set out on the journey to seek wholeness, to be restored from unhealthy patterns and habits, to reset her body to a way of eating it was intended for, and to see if this plan would prove a diagnosis for her man’s migraines. He, the supportive husband of a strong willed woman, complied, and together they submitted themselves to what is commonly known as, the Whole30.

30 days: real food, whole food: meat, seafood, eggs, lots of veggies, some fruit, good fats all while avoiding gluten, grains, dairy, legumes and sugars.

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To be restored to fullness. The first week of their Whole30 adventure sounded a lot like the Rolling Stones hit, “No Satisfaction”. When deprived of what they normally sought to satisfy, their bodies proved captive to their addictions. Her generous squeeze of honey per morning coffee, his popcorn and Shiner beer, her cheese, crackers and Chardonnay, their quick Chick lunch, peanut butter ‘n chocolate chips before bed and pizza Friday, OH pizza Friday…

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They were not satisfied without. He left most meals she prepared feeling hungry, grumpy and craving. She packed up leftovers each night discouraged, depressed and thirsty for his approval. He spent most days enduring a chronic headache. Poorly motivated, she hunted for work to make up for the extra money she had spent at the grocery store. He wanted to be filled. She wanted to be enough. They were needy, fatigued and cranky. They had trained their bodies to find fullness by way of filling in the gaps with what they thought would satisfy. Deprived of these fleshly desires, they felt empty and depleted. So, she doubled his portions and added carb dense veggies, and he made an effort to affirm her time planning, work preparing and creativity in presenting each meal. He chased after memories his taste buds delighted in that left him lacking. She craved his accolades and appreciation. They longed to be satisfied, to be filled. To be restored to fullness.

To be altogether, complete. About two weeks in, their bodies adjusted, energy increased and benefits became obvious. She no longer waited until the last minute to force herself to the gym for the last work out of the day, but took every opportunity to be outside, active and in relationship with those around her. He could sit in front of and resist a basket of tortilla chips, and crave a burrito bowl. She became motivated and inspired in ways to bring in extra money. His headaches subsided. She experienced a new found confidence, and he rarely grumbled about not feeling full. They had both noticed a difference and sang praises about the plan.

Even so, they still longed for completion of the 30 days. Him, for the freedom of choice, to satiate his cravings with the morsels they’d been without. Her, to see results so dramatic that she would repel gluten and dairy like she did the stomach virus. He wanted to be finished. She wanted to be whole.

IMG_0646.JPGTheir hope was in the last day; him, to no longer resist, her, to experience revelation. So, they remained faithful to the plan through dinners out with family, celebrating with friends, life on the road and yes, even watching the SuperBowl. They fixed their eyes on the finish line. To be lacking nothing, altogether complete.

To be wholly healed. The end came fast, Day30, it. is. finished! He lost 15 pounds, dropped more inches than he needed to and proved to his competitive self that he could do almost anything he sets his mind to, even if it means no bread for 30 days. She comfortably fit into most of her clothes, had blemish free skin for the first time without prescription meds, and felt as if every minute was pumped with adrenaline. He no longer had to resist, and the results surpassed her expectations. They were feelin’ good.

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Their first lunch out on Day31 uncovered opposing expectations of life after the Whole30. In one single sandwich he reintroduced all food groups he had eliminated without regard to the work he had done to clean them out of his system. She deliberated with great tension over informing his decisions or giving him full freedom to make his own choice. He became frustrated with the ambiguity of the program rules of life after the Whole30. She abandoned the rigid reintroduction plan so as not to further inconvenience or trouble him or those around her. And by Day 35 he had lost all form of Whole30, slopping up potato salad and BBQ sauce by piece of bread. And that girl, after a handful of popcorn, a pinch of cotton candy and half a chocolate chip cookie, she also had reincorporated all of the ‘never again’ food groups. The car ride home Sunday night was tension filled and tainted by his headache, her tummy pains and a facial breakout that pointed to the obvious, their bodies were not tolerating the foods they had so carelessly indulged in once more. In bed by 8:45, they lay there, her, doubled over in stomach pain, him, seeking to sleep off the split in his head.  They had obeyed the desires of their flesh and were broken, longing to be healed. He wanted to buy in, to discover the trigger of his headaches, and while the evidence was promising, he wasn’t willing to commit his lifestyle to heal by way of Whole30. She too, wanted to sell out on the gluten-dairy-sugar free way. It was evident her body flourished under these restrictions. However, her fear of being misunderstood, or offending others with her way of eating held her back from confidence walking forward. They long to be healed, of ailments like headaches, acne, and a sensitive gut, but even more so of their sinfulness, of their obedience to the flesh and insecurity. They long to be unbroken, wholly healed.

They long. They long to be fulfilled. They long to be complete. They long to be wholly restored. They fill up on social media, sports statistics and fantasizing about the future. They set their hope in the way they influence and are adored. They are weary from running, from fighting, from suffering in this world. They want to be finished, to be free, to be victorious. They medicate with happy hour, a shopping spree and half priced baked goods on Saturday night. Oh, to be full. Oh, to be complete. Oh, to be healed.

They long for wholeness. They were created for it. The Jesus Storybook Bible describes it this way, “… And Adam and Eve joined in the song of the stars and the streams and wind in the trees, the wonderful song of love to the one who made them. Their hearts were filled with happiness. And nothing ever made them sad or lonely or sick or afraid. God looked at everything he had made. ‘Perfect!’ he said. And it was.” Perfection. Completion. Wholeness. It was what they were created for, and then things went wrong. They doubted God’s love for them, and they ran far away from him. They separated themselves from His perfection, from a life that was whole. They broke down, fell apart, and had no way of attaining wholeness on their own. They needed a rescuer, a Savior. And God so loved them, that He sent Jesus. Jesus brought healing to those who were broken. He brought hope to those in despair. He lived perfectly with God. And though He was perfect, He was put to death unjustly to bear the separation from wholeness that they deserve. Yet, death had no hold on Him, and rose from the grave to restore a way back to wholeness. And whoever shall believe in Him, will not perish in separation, but will walk in newness, in completion, in healing, in wholeness.

He has fulfilled. He has finished. He has healed.

They are whole.

One Whole30 down, and a long joy filled journey to go, ‘They fix their eyes on their creator, and seek Him who began a good work in them promising to bring it to completion. They submit unto the author and perfecter of their faith, the one who proves them faithful, perfect and complete, lacking nothing. They trust he will supply their every need, restore their health and heal their wounds. In him, their strength is sufficient. They hope in The Day, in the revelation of Christ Jesus when they meet his face in freedom, and He is pleased. In him, they are whole.’ [Phil 1:6, 4:19, 1 Peter 1:7, James 1:4, Jeremiah 30:7, 2 Cor. 12:9]

And from that reality, they will continue to gracefully strive towards practically living out of their wholeness in this broken world, putting the One who makes them whole on display in all the decisions they make, even in simple, everyday practices like eating and drinking.

in their longing // oh, to be…

Looking back on 2014, they’re overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness. Abundantly and exceedingly more than they could have asked or imagined, He has provided down to the detail beyond their wildest dreams. And grateful, they are. Yet, still, somehow, in their longing, they want more.

She longs to make a home their own. He longs to be financially secure. She longs to nurture. He longs to be great at what he does. She longs to create something original. He longs to have answers. She longs to go back to school. He longs to be free from temptation. She longs to be fit and healthy. He longs for control. She longs to connect with others. He longs to testify what is true. She longs to be funny. He longs to be right. She longs to be valued. He longs to be without fault.

O, to be home.
O, to be nurturer.
O, to be unique.
O, to be smart.
O, to be whole.
O, to be known.
O, to be enjoyed.
O, to be cherished.
Then, then… she would be loved.
She longs to be loved.

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O, to be secure.
O, to be great.
O, to be wise.
O, to be free.
O, to be mighty.
O, to be heard.
O, to be strong.
O, to be right.
Then, then…. he would be enough.
He longs to be enough.

O, to be loved
O, to be enough.
O, to be.

O, but, you are.

God created them and said, ‘This is my beloved daughter and my beloved son, in whom I’m well pleased, they are very good.’ Created by love, to love and for love, they are beloved, and their Father is pleased, they are enough. Their desire to know and be known and to love and be loved flows from the very heart of God. We were made to and for love.

If she’s beloved, why does she long for love? And him, he is good. His father is pleased. Why does he long to be more?

Something is not right. The reality of who God is, and who they are as His, has fallen far from what is believed to be true. In this abandonment of faith, even by the ounce, a chase after counterfeit gods of this world begins. And, year, after year, they are left longing. Security. Success. Fame. Acceptance. Riches. Perfection. Image… and the list goes on.

Longing to be loved, longing to be enough. They long to return to the undistracted reality of their belovedness, to be wholly known and utterly loved.

Paul’s letter to Rome reminds them that they are not alone, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God… For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees. But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (8:20-25)

Created to and for love, but fallen from it, they wait. With eager longing, they wait. And as they wait, they hold on to the hope of their salvation. Though they have fallen from love, there is One who saves them by, to and for love. He will bring them to glory. He has redeemed their belovedness. He has satisfied their longings. In him, she is loved. In him, he is enough.

O, to be. O, but, you are.

And longings combined, they have created a shop. 02Bloved, an expression, reminder, inspirer, teacher and revealer that in our longing, we have hope secure in Jesus Christ.

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Stay tuned to catch more of their heart and vision for 02B!