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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Home(s)



Maple at her townhouse home


We are living in a townhouse with my husband’s parents. My in-laws. A year, maybe more, until our own house is finished. Listening to a podcast, earlier this week, the pastor jokes about “you who live in your parents’ basements”—likely meaning the twenty-somethings—and it takes me awhile to make application. Middle-aged, empy-ish nesters, might fit the bill, too.


They have welcomed us with open arms. Even the dog. They’ve never had one—the Andersons being cat people, themselves. We wondered how this would go down. Our almost-four-year-old Golden Doodle, mostly mellow, but insanely high-strung when an intruder-visitor arrives at the door. And—miracle of grace—they love her. Saying out loud, “She’s the perfect dog.” Sneaking her bits of forbidden foods when they think we’re not looking. Which is okay, mostly—except for those grapes and chocolate chip cookies, which we’ve explained to Pop, are actually poisonous for canines.


Once or twice a week, Kyle and I drive fifteen minutes to our lake lot outside of town. Just to see it. We watch the untamed jungle of summer green, mellowing to artist’s pallet of autumn. Aspen yellow, maple orange, late red of towering oaks. I tend to be somewhat melancholic in fall, knowing what comes after. But this year I have to admit, here at the lake, this just might end up being my favorite season.


Last weekend Nils drove up from Iowa with his UNI girlfriend. It was the first we’d met her, and I’d suggested a Saturday morning out at the lake. Which was perfect. Kara’s an Iowa native, and we figured it wouldn’t hurt to show her the best of our Minnesota. Kyle and I sent the youngsters off for a close-to-shore kayak, while we built a fire up on the hill, breakfast ready just as the sun was doing its magic with all that color.


This weekend we’ll hitch up the boat for winterization and storage. I’m hoping to sneak in one last kayak before hauling them up the hill to an already crowded shed. The little shed Kyle built last summer, now filled to the rafters with far more than the life jackets and fishing gear it was meant to house. Overflow of power tools and snowboards and miscellany of this-and-that we thought we just might need before getting back into our moving pod.


We have house plans nearly finished, exciting balance of dreams and budget. Every morning, it seems, my Bible reading keeps me tempered with warnings of greed, and visions of hospitality. I join my husband and dog on the green-plaid basement couch, wrapped in a bright blue tattered quilt. We pray for wisdom, heart posture toward receiving with grace. We talk about a future home with doors wide open to great-grands and grandkids and future neighbors. And Kyle says he’s eager to have his own place again, but I say, and I mean it, I’m more than grateful to live for now, here with his parents. Here with all this generous provision.


My husband begins his work day, the desk he built for himself nestled into his new home office, parents’ basement. We help ourselves to a fridge always full of Grammy’s leftovers, try not to be tempted by too many baked-goods left out on the counter. It’s Friday, the one day I don’t have to commute, and I crack open a downstairs window, letting in birdsong and morning sun, just like I used to on Orchid Street. And I’m overwhelmed by God’s goodness, and theirs, too, and it feels like home.


See the one who would not take refuge in God, but trusted in abundant riches, and sought refuge in wealth.


But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.

I will thank you forever, because of what you have done. In the presence of the faithful I will proclaim your name, for it is good.


(My morning reading. Psalm 52:7-9)

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