An integrated life

I'm Back

Long story, but my previous host lost my data and, unfortunately, it was a WordPress site which I didn’t have a local copy of. I never do that with my client’s code. What was(n’t) I thinking?

I’m slowly recovering old blog posts and will hopefully add a few new ones soon.

This time, I’m using Octopress created by a talented friend, Brandon Mathis.

But instead of just saying, “I’m back” and “I’m using Octopress” (as if most readers of this care), I wanted to keep with the theme of this blog and share a pretty cool story about Brandon and his family and what it has to do with our search for an integrated life.

You see, I don’t buy the lie of “separate work and friends”. That is the kind of junk that keeps people connecting at a deeper level and allows “cold, hard business decisions”. (Some business decisions are hard, but that doesn’t mean they have to be cold… but that’s another post for another day).

We built our home with the integratrion of life, and work, and a multi-generational vision. It is 3 buildings in one… with potential expansion for a 4th “building” and grounds to expand for further integration. Our “workspace” is downstairs, “living space” upstairs, and “handicapped accessible in-law-suite” attached to that.

Carol’s mom lives with us in the in-law-suite 6 months of the year (typically November through April) and then lives with Carol’s sister in PA for the other six months. We look at all we have as the Lord’s and look for him to send someone else to live in it when Carol’s mom is not there.

So, a few years ago, I get a call from Brandon, who was a mild acquaintance at the time.

“I hear that you have an apartment attached to your house that you rent out when your mother-in-law is not there. Would you be open to Bekah and I renting it?”

“Sure, Brandon, are you moving back to the Raleigh area?”

“Well, we had a home birth for our first child, Caleb, and we really loved our midwife. We can’t find a midwife in Alabama that we’re comfortable with. We were wondering if you would mind us coming there for a few months and having a baby there.”

“Uh… sure!”

“And would you mind if I worked from your office?”

“Uh… sure. Maybe we’ll get to work on a project or two together.”

So, a few months later, Brandon and Bekah and Caleb move in. We didn’t get to do as much work together as I’d hoped, but we did a little.

But some of the coolest things were celebrating life together.

When Brandon and Bekah were here previously, they worked with a few ex-RoleModel guys… particularly Nathaniel Talbott, Adam Williams (who told Brandon about our in-law-suite), Duff O’Melia, and John Long. Since we had moved into our new place, I hadn’t had the opportunity to have most of them visit the new place.

So, one day Bekah is talking to Carol about throwing a party for Brandon’s 30th birthday. She asks if she can use our deck for the party, she’d do all the work, and invite us, too. How considerate that they didn’t want to put us out… but Carol is thinking, “This woman is almost 8 months pregnant and wants to have a birthday party outside, during the day, in July in North Carolina… she’s going to die.” So, we told her that she could do it in our house, in the air conditioning and we’d help configure the place for all the guests. (The house is designed to accomodate large groups… more on that in another post).

So, a few weeks later, we move a few tables and have a whole bunch of our old friends come visit our house… completely catered by Bekah. How great is that? She was thankful for the facilities. We were thankful she invited our friends. We never offered hospitality so simply. Our home is not our own and God expands the blessings. “Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30, NASB)

But the best part was when the baby came.

As Bekah’s labor started, she dreamed that Caleb would go to sleep and wake up with a new baby sister. Bekah’s first labor had been very long and Caleb wasn’t known for being a sound sleeper. Though we didn’t say it to her, Carol and Brandon and I all agreed she was being, shall we say, “optimistic”.

Carol & I went to bed with Bekah thinking this would happen, and us thinking that this was going to be a long night in which not only Caleb would be woken up, but we would also.

But, we slept like logs. Carol woke up in the morning and looked out the front door to see if the midwife’s car was there. No car. Poor girl.

When our daughter, Hope, woke up a few minutes later, Carol asked her if she heard anything. Hope is a light sleeper, whose room is adjacent to the in-law-suite, and was sometimes woken by Caleb Mathis – the light sleeper. “No, I didn’t hear a thing all night.” Poor girl.

As we were eating breakfast, we heard a small cry coming from the in-law-suite. “That doesn’t sound like Caleb.” “Do we go over and check?” “What if they are exhausted and trying to sleep?” “What do we do?”

“Check Twitter.”

Yes. Bekah’s optimism was realism – faith in and grace from God.

The midwife and assistants had come and gone. The Mathis family and midwives had been in and out of our place, getting ice and other useful things. God had granted us all a deep sleep (well, except Brandon and Bekah) as he brought a new life into the world.

If you are ever going to have a baby born in your house, this is the way to do it. Sleep through it, and check twitter in the morning. Your mileage may vary.

About a year later, we are having breakfast at the NCHE homeschool conference. We see some old friends and sit down to eat with them. They introduce us to a young lady sitting with them and ask if we have ever met her. I say, “I’m not sure”. She says, “I was in your house, but you probably didn’t know that.”

She was the midwife’s assistant.