What Oklahoma Gave me: A Beginning


Hello from a laundry basket in the middle of our mostly empty living room floor.

I have a grapefruit sized lump in my throat that makes basic function tricky.

I can see the sun coming up through the oval leaded glass window on our front door and it rises on my last moments in this home.  (and it’s all soundtracked by Jamey Johnson’s “In Color“)  

(If it looks like we were scared to death like a couple of kids just trying to save each other… you should have seen it in color)

And suddenly I’m watching a music montage of my own life happening all around me

House Collage2That night before our closing when Kel and I snuck into the house to have our first meal in our new home… gyros and hummus on the carpet in the corner.

That first Christmas when our “real trees” kept dying and we had to un-decorate and re-do them 3 times… during that brief time when it was just the two of us here.

Bringing a tiny pink Noelle through the door direct from the hospital a mile away… exchanging a mutual “now what” look of terror and pure unadulterated joy… Spooning up her first bite of butternut squash in the dining room…. watching her pull up on the window ledge behind me.

House Collage 3

Arguing over cookies to the point where spatulas were thrown at the wall and I stormed out in my socks…. then falling asleep in Kel’s arms on our frumpy green couch like I do.

That night we received the news of my mom’s suicide… when it all fell apart… Walking into the door and collapsing, empty beyond empty after our 2,000 mile round trip to bury my mother.

Sitting in the tub as our friends and college students Christmas Caroled me while I was in the bathtub.

Bringing Caedmon home with another “now what” then snuggling together all cooped up in an ice storm just days later…. our sweet friend Jake bringing our first signs of life for days in the form of a box of daylight donuts.

Watching Kel walk up the path in a blur of silhouette through refracted glass over and over and over again.

Opening the door to loved ones as my two precious children bounced around waiting for hugs to be thrown and caught.

This house saw SO. MUCH. LIFE.

House Collage 4

Have you ever looked through photo albums at your grandparents house?  You know the ones where your grandma has a beehive and she’s holding your uncle on her polyester,  marigold-colored lap?

Those pictures ring of their start and as you turn the pages you see her go from ethereal bride to real-life mother. Your see the brave strong woman you call for advice on everything from marriage to stain removal happening right before your eyes.

House Collage 5

This is our old school black and white beginning place where the pictures of brand new babies were taken.  The place where with God’s grace we made something out of nothing.

This is where it came together, fell apart and came together again… over and over again.

This is the place we learned the basic, graceful steps of marriage and parenthood.

Where Kel became a baby pastor and I became a baby mom and writer.

We wrote the beginning here, our black and white, memory-laden beginning is laying all around me in boxes and the weight of this is heavy (nearly) beyond words.

House Collage 6

Dear ones, I’m so thankful for these walls, this start, and I can’t help but grieve the end of this chapter. It was grace beyond grace in these walls and right now I’m finding it hard to walk out that leaded glass door for the last time.

But hope is on the journey. This is one beginning giving life to another, I know this full well.

But still I claim my right to love and grieve my last hours in these blessed walls that saw a thousand first things because right now they’re witnessing last ones…. last coffee… last blog post.

God bless the house on Homer Road, may it be a place of real lovely life for a new family’s black and white chapter of firsts.  Amen. Selah. Yes Please God.

signing off from the house guys. much love.


  • Mark Allman

    That’s a great song. I wish I could remember it in color. :)

    Moments and Memories…. they massage the soul. :)

  • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

    OK. This made me weepy and it’s not even my house. Blessings on the move friend.

    • leannepenny

      Thanks Addie. It’s coming right on along. See you in Chicago one of these days, eh?

  • Katie Byrd

    Beautiful, Leanne. God bless your new chapter! Praying he brings you peace as you go through the goodbye and that the new and exciting part comes very quickly!! Sending lots and lots of love from the Byrd house!

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com/ Ed_Cyzewski

    Safe travels! The leap to a new thing is always most difficult when you’re about to jump!