Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Where is Home?

Where is HOME to you?

Where are your roots?


These are questions often asked.

Makes me think and wonder...Where is my home?

Do we have a home? or a hometown?

After a great deal of thought and a lot of questions asking God where our home is, I sense the response being, a home is where we are together, where He plants us.

Growing up in a military, consistently-moving family and then marrying a man-on-the-move, Home is a frame of mind and is not necessarily a location, but a connectedness to each other and those around us.

Before we moved to southern California someone asked us if we'd miss our home. Our family response was, "When we're together, we are home."

This is so true, but I can't help thinking about where our location home is or will be.

Over the years, I've consistently tried to put down roots...literally.

I love to plant trees.

When I think of trees I think of history, memories, life experiences.  I think of kids swinging from branches and climbing into tree forts; applesauce, fruit leather and canning; laying beneath the vast expanse enjoying a picnic in the summer shade.  I think of fall raking and the scent of burning leaves.

Bounty from the garden

Greeting me on a summer's day

I’ve planted so many trees over the years.  Deciduous, evergreens and fruit trees.  Each tree planted was a spindly young dream that hoped to grow into a productive member of the family offering what gifts it could possess whether it be fruit, shade, comfort, or entertainment.

A friend email this photo to me this week.  See the trees.
They were saplings I bought at an FFA sale.  Look at them now!

Sadly, before I could enjoy the bounty of the trees, we moved on.
Our first home was a 1910 classic constructed on a large city lot.  It had a great yard which was somewhat of a blank slate when we moved in. I searched for a perfect magnolia to add to the front landscape.  It was so unique.  I planted it in hopes it would bring some sort of Steel Magnolias experience; growing old with neighbor ladies chatting over kids and life’s events while having our hair styled.  That home also had wonderful fruit trees.  We had just gotten to the point of enjoying a bountiful crop of apples and plums when we decided we had outgrown the quaintness and charm of the aged beauty. Our first son was born and we opted to sell our first home to build the dream home.  
We poured our hearts, time and energy into building and completing the landscape.  
For this house we hired a landscape designer to offer a vision for our vast 10,000 sq. ft. space.  Following his drawings, my hub installed sprinkler systems and I began planting, and planting, and planting. 
I would drive through established neighborhoods envisioning what our trees, shrubs and flowers would one day look like.  I was so excited!  One day my lace leaf maples would be the focus of our front yard.  The Burkwood Vibernum close to our front door welcomed visitors with its fresh spring scent.  Like our landscape, we were putting down roots. 
Our next two children were born.  We knew the neighbors, it felt like home.  For our kids it was all they knew.  Life was good.
Then we got the bug to build again and expand...again.  
I had planted up the 10,000 square feet and had dreams of leaving suburbia for the country.
I was having a Dixie Chicks experience.  I would play, “Cowboy take me away...” over and over again.
I wanted to lay in a field of bluebonnets staring up at the sky.  
I wanted to watch our kids frolicking through the grasses chasing dragonflies and catching tadpoles.  I wanted freedom, fresh air and beauty!  And I wanted lots of it!
We left our small Metropolis and moved to 2.5 acres of flat open land.  I could wake up in the mornings and be greeted by the sun rising over the mountains, or see the first snowfall settling on the peaks.

Couldn't get enough of this!

God saying, "Good morning Sunshine!"

Life was good.
I started planting.

The blank slate
Trees.  Many trees.
Fruit trees- plum trees, apple trees, pear trees, fig trees.
Deciduous- dogwoods, maples, ornamental maples, flowering cherries, weeping cherries, fringe trees, sumac, magnolias and more.
Evergreens- cedars, cypress, pines.
I lined our front drive with five maples.  I dreamed they would grow and provide amazing fall color lining the entrance to our spacious home in the country.  
Along with the trees I dedicated most of my extra time caring for the property and encouraging every little plant to grow and grow well.
We enjoyed beauty and growth for five wonderful years.
Goodbye Wide Open Spaces
Life changed.
We left the wide open spaces for the concrete jungle of Orange County.

I've loved EVERY MINUTE living in Orange County.  I'm sure this was a big surprise to many who knew me as country-garden girl donning a baseball cap, wool socks and green garden clogs most of the time.

There hasn't been a day I woke up wishing I was somewhere else.  Although I have loved it, I haven't planted any trees.

Does this mean we have no roots in Orange County?

No, I sense we have more roots that continue to spread.

I've come to realize while I was literally putting down roots in planting trees, I was also figuratively putting down roots with friends and relationships.

Many months ago, the phrase "Cedars of Lebanon" kept coming up.  When God brings a phrase into my everyday life, I wonder.  When He brings it time and time again, I know there's something I'm supposed to learn.

Strangely enough, even this morning as I'm in process of writing this blog, God brought the phrase "Cedars of Lebanon" to me yet AGAIN!  This time it was while reading Homeschooling All The Way Through High School by Renee Mason.

The Bible mentions Cedars of Lebanon over 70 times.  Must have some significance.

I want to be planted like a Cedar of Lebanon.  God planted them as He has planted me.  I will stretch high, and spread the fragrance of Christ where He sends us.

From a quick study on the words Cedar, as in Cedars of Lebanon I came up with many verses to support the following characteristics of these majestic trees.  They are:

  • Planted by God
  • Made to Glorify God
  • Celebrated For
  • Planted by the Waters
  • Described as High, Spreading, Fragrant, Graceful and Beautiful, Strong and Durable
  • Considered the First of Trees
  • Used in Business/Commerce
  • Also Used For: Temples, Palaces, Masts of Ships, Making Wardrobes, Chariots
  • Purified the Leper
  • Nest for the Eagles
  • Illustrated the majesty, strength and glory of Christ
  • The Beauty and Glory of Israel
  • Growth
  • Powerful
  • Destruction of...humbling.  God will humble the arrogant

As I continue to reflect on where our home is or will be, I will think on the great cedars, the many trees, and the relationships planted over the years. We have roots in each and every one.  It is my prayer that God would continue to use our lives to Glorify Him, that we would be a reflection of His beauty, majesty and strength.

Lastly, I'll finish with the verse God brought us this morning.  I've realized our roots are more than a location.  They are established in our kids and in their lives.  We will grow as a family like a mighty oak or cedar.

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.  Psalm 92:12-13
I also like the version of these verses from The Message:
My ears are filled with the sounds of promise: "Good people will prosper like palm trees, Grow tall like Lebanon cedars; transplanted to God's courtyard, They'll grow tall in the presence of God, lithe and green, virile still in old age."
I don't think there's a day that goes by that I don't wonder where we will put down roots next.  I wish I could say that I was completely trusting and not at all concerned.  There are days I want to cling to the established roots and do life my way; the easy, comfortable way.  But that's not the life we're called to live. We're called to trust in the Promise.  God has a plan and a purpose.  

He is the Master Gardener after all!

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