When my parents left their home of Hilton Head and moved to the country outside of Yemassee, SC a lot of new activities appeared on the horizon. Animal auctions, for one. Dad would take us to buy goats, Emu, the occasional pony, chickens, peacocks, you name it. And then there were the “stuff” auctions. These were mostly junk, occasional antiques, and some new “stuff.” Both types of auctions were mostly entertainment. It was fun to sit and bid with Dad, or just cut up in the stands. We laughed and ate some greasy food and had a ball. Our youngest brother was born the year that Mom and Dad left the Island, so this country life, and auction fun was the only life he knew. But it was a fun activity for all of us, and occasionally remains so.
So, about 8 or 9 years ago I went to an “estate auction” in a nearby town. It was held at the home of the estate being auctioned. I purchased several antique furniture pieces, and then they began to auction a well-built little shed, that desperately needed paint, that was on the property. Bidding began at $1000 and quickly began to go down as no one showed any interest. As it went all the way down to the $100 mark I stood up and began to take notice. I imagine the shed had been used for gardening tools, etc., but it was darling and definitely had a “playhouse,” feel to it. Our son was 22 at the time – so we didn’t really need a playhouse, but $100? How could I pass that up?
I raised my hand. Others began to show mild interest. $150, $175: I raised my hand. $200? $250, I raised my hand. SOLD! And just like that, I had bought a little shed. How I was going to get this home was another story altogether. What had I just purchased? Was I crazy? Caught up in the moment? I have no idea. My siblings, and father, who were with me just shook their heads and laughed. This was not the first time I had bought something outlandish, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. (My Dad had purchased Emus at one point; this seemed tame in comparison!)
With the help of my brother, Paul, we eventually moved it to our home. I situated it at an angle near the garden. It was darling, and as I said, was in need of paint. It also needed children to play in it. But for now, it could be used as storage.
Cue 2012. In January we had finally received our license to become Foster Parents. (The paperwork and training had taken most of 2011, so it was a relief when the license was finally given to us.) Almost one month to the day later, I received a call that the Social Worker would be at my home in 45 minutes with two small children.
The story of that day and subsequent months is a much longer blog post for another day. But let me just say that those same two children spent last night (their 3rd night this year) in a little playhouse in our yard, being brave and giggling in the dark, and having the time of their lives. $250 was a drop in the bucket for the fun it has brought to them, and the joy we have in watching them decorate and furnish that little house. They are learning to be creative and brave and independent, right here in the shelter of our homes. And it is glorious to behold.
We have many goals and dreams for our children – the 32 year-old and the 9 and 11 year old, alike. We want them to know and walk with the Lord. We want them to have manners and love their neighbor. We want them to love learning and be educated. We want them to be industrious, hard-working individuals that are a blessing to their community. But one of the things I want most for them is the confidence and courage to be who God created them to be, and to not be ashamed of the Gospel or the calling that God has in their lives. I want them to be brave: to be unafraid as they walk in this world. Knowing that as they “Trust the Lord,” He will take care of them in every step. And sometimes that begins with spending the night in a little playhouse in the yard. It is still in need of paint, but God be praised, it now has little children to play within it’s walls.