Broken windows & love letters from God

Around the corner sits a little Cape Cod. It’s almost perfectly symmetrical and situated on a street where the neighbors keep up their yards. There’s a big tree in the backyard.

But today the Cape is painted cobalt blue—actually, two mismatched shades of cobalt. The garage and its breezeway are tack-ons waiting to collapse on a windy day. And until last week, the windows—the original wood windows—were checkered with shattered panes.

Still, I tell family and friends that someday I’ll save that house. All those close to me know the blue house because I bring it up so much. I have already chosen the color scheme inside and out.

So it was no surprise that last Tuesday, when I drove the twins to kindergarten, my heart started racing when I saw the house’s original windows had been replaced—cheap vinyl sliders on the sides and fixed picture windows in the front. The crew was loading up the old windows as I passed.

I tossed the twins out of the van at school and raced back to the house. I said a prayer—“please let me get those windows.” It’s funny. For as long as I’ve been eyeing the house, I’ve known it was only a matter of time before the landlord tore out the windows with all their broken panes. I had visualized it before. When it finally happened, I just happened to drive by. And I was ready.

I pulled up and asked about the old windows. Could I call the owner and ask to take them home? The crew’s foreman waved a dismissive hand and said I could just take them. I never collapsed the seats of my van so fast, and in three minutes, all the old windows were loaded and on their way to my place.

Someday I’m going to buy that old house, fix it up, and put all those old windows back where they belong. They’ll need some work, but I’m ready.

I told my family that getting those windows was a sign, a love letter from God that I’ll be able to do the things I’m dreaming about. Someday. And it’s okay to wait. He’s helping tide me over with little things like a stack of broken windows.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my infatuation with old houses. What is that all about, and why do I have this impulse to fix old things? Aren’t there more important things to which I should devote my time? People are important; are houses?

Maybe or maybe not. But what is important is the impulse to create something beautiful, even if we’re starting from zero. I think we all have a little bit of that creative drive inside. That’s why we have babies and want houses to feel like homes. That’s why we choose favorite colors and bake birthday cakes. Life might not ever be perfect, but we’ve all got the ability to make it lovelier. If you look around, it won’t be hard to find the opportunity. And that, my friends, will be your own wonderful love letter from God. •

20 thoughts

  1. That blue house was my next door neighbor and I thought many time how lovely it would be with a nice entry and price and some gable windows. That home deserves to be fixed up one day and you are the gal to do it. Keep making the world beautiful!

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  2. Everyone has different things that are important to them and give them joy and something to look forward to. What a fun post and a happy day to get those windows. Someday it will happen! 🤗

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  3. I Love this post! What a wondrous gift from above. I have wondered why I spend ridiculous amounts of time and money and thought on my vegetable and flower garden every year, but this is exactly why. I love creating beauty. And thank goodness we all create in different ways, it makes the world go round .

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    1. You’re right! It’s pretty fun that I have a sister who loves to bake and one who loves arranging flowers and one who loves art and one who loves planning fun activities—–I benefit from all the wonderful things they bring into my life.

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  4. Hi Rebecca,

    My name is Whitney Morris. I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now (I left a comment once too!) and I went to the historic home tour this past December. I just wanted to let you know that I love what you’re doing.
    I have loved old houses for a long, long time. There’s something about their character and charm that fills my soul. My mom built 6 houses growing up, so houses, building and design have been a part of my life ever since I was very young. I’ve grown to have a serious passion for houses and design, I turn to it with every moment of free time I get. I’m always studying old homes, what it is about them that makes them better and somewhat elusive to someone building a new home.
    We’re building a new home ourselves, over in Lazy 8 Estates. I wanted Devan Thompson to be our builder, who I know you’re quite familiar with! He has a good eye for design and knows what I’m talking about when I say I want a new old house.
    I’m always looking for fresh but discerning eyes for my house plans. I feel pretty good about the interior. We have some very charming architectural features, but also a more modern, open concept for hosting and entertaining family and friends. It was important to me to have some of the charm of the old with a more open floor plan.
    I do have some hang ups with the exterior. Something about it doesn’t feel quite right to me and I was wondering if you would give me your opinion and thoughts, including the overall shape and materials. I have a pretty discerning eye, but I’ve looked at these plans so much that it would be nice to get a fresh perspective from someone I respect. It’s so important to me to get everything just right. I think we’re close, but I would be so grateful for any additional insight.
    Let me know and thanks so much for your time and for blessing all of your readers with your passion for old homes ❤️

    Best,
    Whitney Morris

    Sent from my iPhone

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  5. Love, love when I see a new post Becca. This just made my heart sooo happy for you- and for the rest of us who benefit from the love and talent you have for seeing the potential in things that just need someone to bring them to life. What a fun story we get to follow 🙂

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  6. My name is Coleen Bean and I started reading your blog in the fall when my daughter discovered your home tour. I went on the tour with my granddaughter and loved every bit of it. Something about old homes touches my soul as well. I loved your post and was so happy that you were able to salvage those windows. Wishing you luck with saving the home as well.

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  7. Hmmmmm… I don’t know about the blue house. What does that say about me?
    Beautiful post, your writing always amazes me, I love watching what you do with your life! It’s amazing! Love you

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