Monday, July 7, 2014

The Stump House In The City

Sixteen years ago, as part of a missions training program, my brother Jason moved to the city. Some of the program participants decided to begin a church there, so after two years of mission work he moved back to the city.  They began to buy or rent houses in amongst the community.  There he met wife Krystal.  And although many of their friends have moved on, and the training house no longer exists, there Jason and Krystal are raising their family.  They own two neighboring row houses, combining them for more living space.  
When traveling up north for Siri's medical treatments, we anticipate our visits with them.  I make an intentional effort to arrive before dark.  That's the kind of neighborhood they live in.  This weekend we walked to see the city fireworks, and brother Jason said, "Why would you bring your wallet?  Do you not know where we live?"  Then I was like, "Why are we bringing our kids out if we need to worry about our wallets?" and besides...why would I worry when you are brave and strong and look like this?
They live in the kind of neighborhood where strangers walk up to you and say things like, "Do you have some money?"...but they're not robbing you.  Well they could be, but so far in my experience they are not.  They may even preface it with "Are you Jason's sister?"...and then ask for money...or a cigarette...which I don't have.  They live in the kind of neighborhood where I learn new and colorful word combinations while carrying our suitcases in and out of the house...where the older kids practice writing their signatures on houses and fences.
They live in the kind of neighborhood where they post this in the front window.
But Jason is the kind of creative who finds a winding slide on craigslist and installs it in his house, so kids can slide from the main floor, ending in a large ball pit in their basement.  He is the kind of creative who takes the back of a row house junky place, overgrown with ivy and poison, and turns it into this magical wonderland of beauty and life...
In the middle is their stump house.  He designed it as a way to take care of this overgrown tree.
It's brilliant. 
The mirror makes it easy to see around to the other side.

Here are sister-in-law Krystal's gardens.  They brought in dirt and replaced lots of ivy with sod.  There are tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, basil, apple mint, oregano, black raspberry and blueberry bushes.
 Here the ivy grows on an old, partially existing fence.
Hidden in the ivy is a monk statue, a gift from us for their garden years ago.  Jason painted it to look weathered. There's also a hiding ivy dragon.  Now they really are weathered.
These are hardy hibiscus.  This photo was taken when they were planted.  Now some are as tall as me.  They'll bloom soon, (flash forward...check them out in full bloom here) and
are perfect for a storybook garden.
Jason cuts back the neighbor's overgrown shrubs, as they begin to make a natural arbor and shady spot.
He was able to get this vintage seahorse free from a former preschool.
a few elements of whimsy...
and a robot.
My niece especially enjoys her wonderland...when we're relaxing and playing in the backyard, it's fairly easy to forget what's just outside the gate...well, almost. Sometimes the music is difficult to ignore.  Except when we're hula hooping.  Then, if we're lucky enough to get soul funk, it's pretty much perfect.
Beauty potential is found in unlikely places, unlikely communities.  Jason and Krystal use their imagination to then create their reality.  Using the resources around them, they work with consistent dedication.  They make their world beautiful.  While drug transactions are happening a house or two down, their home is filled with goodness.  The community they live in is impoverished, but Jason, Krystal, and Tessa remain wealthy in kindness and in love.

Love knows no limit. It welcomes light in seemingly dark places.

Tessa's artwork...
Tessa's parking garage
 Tessa's worm digging hole
(She's sitting in the hole.)

How are you making your today world beautiful?

Pinterest "pin me" images:

1 comment:

  1. "But be doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving yourselves"......James 1:22. This is faith personified. Your brother shares your heart Linnet. How perfectly beautiful!!


Any nice reader may comment, either as "anonymous" or with an id.

Click on "comment as" and scroll for choices. A successful comment is published immediately.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...