In May 2016, I was head over heels with my boyfriend Daniel and things were progressing beautifully. After an attempted break-in at my previous residence, we decided to move me into a townhome in a lively Midtown neighborhood. By a great recommendation from a friend, Daniel helped me move into the home. He along with Blade, our big, dopey pitbull and a few friends came to help me unpack. We stood inside the two-story home with tall ceilings and large bay windows looking toward the clear blue sky.
Blade sniffed upstairs and down trying to figure out where he would call home. He found a spot right in the middle of the living room where the sun would beat down on the tile. He would bask in the heat, only to move his eyes back and forth as we moved our things into the house.
While Daniel and I could barely keep our hands off one another, we were doing things the “Christian way” so it took two whole months until he surprisingly popped the question, and three months after that, I would walk down the grassy aisle of Centennial Gardens to call him my husband.
Over the next several months, I began hanging up portraits from our honeymoon, hand painting DIY projects and making cheap meals like picadillo and tostadas so Daniel felt welcome into our home. Months began to fly by, and we adjusted to our new marital routines, hitting a few bumps along the way.
In August 2017, we experienced our first catastrophe, Hurricane Harvey. One morning Daniel and I woke up to the shaking of our house. A large oak tree came crashing down onto our roof. Within an hour, our landlord came in the pouring rain, inspected the damage, and called tree cutters and roof repairmen. While we were extremely fortunate, this was not the case for many other Houstonians. Over the next couple of days, friends began gathering in our home for food, shelter, and safety. We collected items to donate and volunteered our time to those in need. At night we played cards and boardgames, joking and laughing to forget, even for a moment, that our community was underwater. It took years for Houston and its surrounding areas to get back on its feet, but we are grateful for our little dwelling place which kept us and our friends safe.
In February 2021, Houston had a historic winter snowstorm. One in which Texans were not accustomed to having. Extremely cold temperatures blew in and sheets of snow began to fall. Pipes all over the city began to burst, and firewood was impossible to find. The electricity and water were out for days, and we began putting our refrigerated items outside in the snow and filling the tub with water. We made peanut butter balls by flashlight and on day three, figured out our fireplace worked. It was a long, cold week for us all but once again our little piece of heaven kept us safe and warm.
Over the last five years, our home was filled with friends for Monday Miles, game nights, worship, and prayer. We had sleepovers with grown men the night before our cycling group, SlowSpokes’ first MS150. While curled up on the couch, the guys were woken up by Blade’s rumbling, hungry stomach and their toes being licked. Within thirty minutes, the house smelled of freshly scramble eggs and buttered toast as we prayed for supernatural endurance and stamina while we rode 180 miles over the next two days.
And this was only the beginning.
Over time, more people would come over, some inviting themselves, bringing lounge chairs, bean bags or coolers to sit on because our table could only seat four. Charcuterie boards filled with tasty meats and cheeses, plump Bing cherries and mouthwatering dark chocolates covered the table. Fresh vegetables and hummus lined the table and Daniel’s infamous guacamole always emptied first. Some nights we would dine on homemade tacos with pico de gallo and avocado falling out of each end of the corn tortillas, but the holiday season was my favorite. Dan and I would turn up the music and turn on the oven. We would empty the table, wipe, clean and dry just to cover it all back up with powdery flour. Because my family could not agree on one type of cookie, we baked chocolate chip, macadamia, peanut butter, and sugar cookies to be delightfully decorated while the sounds of White Christmas played over our TV.
Over the years we witnessed births and shed tears about death. In 2019, we buried our beloved dog Blade and my beautiful mom within two months of each other. We adopted a new dog named Moose and friends came over to pray for healing over my womb after numerous pregnancy tests came out negative. We learned how to create with our hands and surrender on our knees. We became coffee and tea connoisseurs and even earned a few green thumbs along the way.
There were good nights, and there were not so good nights just like you would find in every home. But within the confines of these four walls, we shared stories, tears, and memories; making new ones along the way. There are so many memories in this home and as bittersweet as it is, this season is coming to an end. Two weeks ago we announced we would be closing on our first home and that day is on Wednesday. While our current home is surrounded by amazing people, cute coffee shops and delicious local eateries, The Jackson's are excited for brand new adventures to Katy, Texas.
Cheers to new beginnings!