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The Grey Matters

Dirt, Laughter, Love, Music, and Chickens (aka how to make a house a home)

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As I look at this next question in my 20 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Herself series…..

12. What is beautiful to me and do I have some of that in my life right now?

I am grinning ear to ear because FINALLY…. I am seeing all the beauty around me.

Not that much has changed, guys. But I have had a change in heart.

This change is largely due to a whole ton of heartache. My heart ached for the dog my parents lost. For one of my best friends battling brain cancer. For my brother in law and his battle with Cystic Fibrosis. For my dear husband and the challenges that go along with the life we have. For my step-kids who have had to grow up faster than others in certain ways.

I cried so many tears, it almost became ridiculous. I prayed and prayed and then asked, “What do I pray for NOW??” But sure as others are being quietly comforted by the Holy Spirit, I was, too.

My heart ached, broke, and then was filled with light. Because you see, God is creating love in the midst of every one of these sad things. My parents adopted two new puppies and joy abounds. My friend Carmen has been filled with God’s love and calm, and she is thriving in the midst of pain and uncertainty. My brother in law was just outside at his son’s baseball game (a miracle!!!) AND he is continuing to change lives and bring people to the Lord. My husband and I are closer than ever, with trust, love and companionship flourishing. And my step-kids? They are having fun, being creative, laughing, smiling and being kids… in the midst of a life that could have stripped that from them completely.

But these aren’t the only aspects of my heart that have shifted.

I had sort of a “woe is me” mentality when it came to where I currently am physically. I didn’t want to stay in this house. I never would have picked it. Not in a million years.

 “I should be thankful I have a roof over my head…” I told myself over and over. “Focus on the bathtub. There is an amazing bathtub…” I would whisper when I found another landmine. And so, when the decision to stay in this house was finally, officially, made, I decided I had better leave my pity party and start making a house a home.

And that’s exactly what I did. (With the help of my amazing, project oriented husband.)

To make a house a home, I needed:

Dirt, Laughter, Love, Music and Chickens.

Dirt literally makes me happy. The more I’m surrounded by it, the way it smells, and little specs of it all over the house… I don’t think messy or “dirty” when I see it. I think fresh, clean, energy, life, magic and growth.

I DO sweep it up when it gets all over the floor inside. But not always right away. ;)


Laughter is the gift that keeps on giving. If a family can find moments to laugh together, well… I think everything will be okay. Laughter happens when people develop humor only they understand because they’ve known each other long enough (aka the “inside joke”) and it happens when people are comfortable and joyful in that moment. I thought laughter was something my life had lost, but now I see laughter everywhere. In brushing teeth via piggy back ride, in making homemade pizzas, “tricks’ before bedtime, wondering how a picture can look so wonky, laughing at the mistake you made or wrong turn you took in the car (my specialty) and so so so much more.


LOVE is something my husband is teaching me about. I thought I knew love. I thought I understood it. But with him by my side, I see a gentle, calm, loving, patient and forgiving man. It’s as though 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 flows through his very being. I now see that I had no idea how big love here on Earth could become.

I am a feisty, messy and sometimes impatient person. I’m not a planner. I love how organized and structured Israel truly is. He will plan an entire week’s worth of activity and all I have to do is hop in the car when it’s time to go. I AM SO THANKFUL!!! He’s a spreadsheet and I’m a spin-the-globe-and-see-where-I-land. The difference is that now I know I’ll always land safely.


My eyes are being opened to how good that is and how perfect we are for one another. And that word: love. Not every woman gets to see a man love her this way. I am all too aware of this, and believe me, I’ve (of course) cried over this. “How did I get so blessed?”

Together, we’re making our little world thrive. He painted our gorgeous new chicken coop (and is currently, as I type, outside building the run for it). He expanded our garden and brought more DIRT into my life. He built a patio and created a beautiful space for eating and talking around a campfire. He knows me well enough to know that it’s my outdoor life that makes me feel comfort… not so much the inside of a home.

I am forgiven when I need to be. I am shown patience when I don’t deserve it. I am reminded of who I am when I need to hear it most. I am learning to give back that sort of love and I can feel my heart softening each day. I’m less defensive. But believe me, I still have a heck of a long way to go.

Music is a safe place and there’s almost nothing I love more to experience in life than live music. The kids are now familiar with Gregory Alan Isakov, Tom Waits, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Shovels & Rope and many more artists I adore. I have now seen a bunch of my favorite artists live, and the last few times it was with Israel. Welp, this past week I saw my NUMBER ONE FAVORITE MUSICIAN OF ALL TIME!!!! We were both dead tired, it was a Tuesday night, but we made it happen and I had a night I’ll never forget.

Behold: Justin Townes Earle. (And the silly couple who watched him from the very front of the room.)


Chickens are my favorite animal. They are so cute, I love how they walk and how they feel when you hold them. I love the little puff balls they start out as, and I love the awkward “teenager/dinosaur” phase. I love when they grow big and strong and start laying delicious eggs. There’s just something about chickens that brings peace to my soul. Now that we have them out back, I feel that this truly is a home.


So the question was: What is beautiful to me and do I have some of that in my life right now?

The answer is an astounding and loud and vibrant DIRT, LAUGHTER, LOVE, MUSIC, CHICKENS and YES!!!!!!

What do you love? Go out and get it. OR find a way to make it a reality, even if you have to start outside the walls of your own home.

so much love,


Lou (who ALSO LOVES gluten free eclaires from the co-op in Albuquerque)

Author: Melinda Haas

Melinda is a writer, blogger, artist and teacher. She lives in Wisconsin with her family.

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