“Exile, diaspora and pilgrimage.”

The words were not much more than a whisper, but the the Voice doing the whispering commanded my reverent attention. The words have been a recurring theme for me during the last few years, but I hadn’t paid them much mind recently. Right before we left for Israel at the beginning of May, they came to the foreground again. When that Voice speaks, I pray I listen.

Of course, since the words were little more than a string of nouns, I decided to fill in the blanks with some of my own words. I figured that I’d have some remarkable revelation while driving through the lunar landscape of the Israeli desert or hear a sad story from a recent immigrant to the country that needed to be told. You’d think I’d have learned by now that my “figuring” is rarely on target. This was no exception.

About halfway through the trip, we learned that the short sale of our townhome had been approved. We’d been prayerfully considering how to sell this woefully underwater property for several years, while the value of the property continued to plummet. We listed the house as a short sale in December, received an offer in February, and launched a small forest of faxes to support our case with the bank. We were very relieved to hear that the bank approved the deal, but were kind of freaked to hear that we’d need to be out of the property by early June. We had approximately two weeks to find a new place to live, pack and move. Bill and I arrived in the U.S. with a nasty case of “I wonder kind of food poisoning we have?” and jet lag. Our impending homelessness directed our full attention to the bottom row of Dr. Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs. We fired off some urgent prayer requests to our church and faithful friends, bought some packing boxes (no time to scrounge at liquor stores), called a Realtor and hit up Craigslist. We’d long hoped to live in a walkable town, and I felt sad and a little sick about having to lay aside that hope once again in the name of expediency. Of course, the sick feeling could have also been the food poisoning.

It was a raggedy couple of weeks, a move that felt like a Code Orange emergency, as well as the sad reality of what the short sale process means for us: loss of a lot of money and a sizeable measure of our once-sterling credit for at least 3 years. We’re scheduled to sign the papers on Monday afternoon, and I hope to offer a summary of the numbers on this blog after the ink is applied to those papers.

But there is a sunny side. The very first listing I saw on Craiglist is where we are now living, in a walkable town along a commuter rail line, 7 miles from Bill’s job. We’re mostly unpacked, and this morning we walked to a diner for breakfast and then hit up the grocery store for a couple of items on our way home.


That word brings me back to the words the Spirit spoke to me a few weeks ago. There is enough in those words to become a book – and they may, at some point – but for now, as I settle into this newest waystation (a very nice one, and I’m so grateful to God for it!), I can celebrate the sweetness of a wonderful resting spot, but it is not home. Nowhere on earth really is, is it?

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,  whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. – Ps. 84:5

Since so many of you prayed for us, I’d like to show you around our new resting spot:

Mr. Lion is waiting to greet visitors at the end of our front entrance.


Hello, mansard roof and huge windows.


My Princess Grace self really has to think before I go up or down these open stairs.


The living areas have wood floors, beams and brick walls, so it has a little bit of a loft vibe to it.


Ahoy, Disco Mateys! It's a 1970's galley kitchen!


The shelf above the sink is now lined with my Penzey's spices.


Boxes, always, boxes.


It may not look like much now, but after the desk and chair arrive, I will have office space for the first time in my professional life. SUPER EXCITED ABOUT THIS.

We’re ready for visitors!





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7 thoughts on “#11”

  1. So glad you are in. We knew it was tight. I am reading a book about heaven since two friends may be there soon. It is by Ron Rhodes. A good reminder that we are spirits with a human body not just human beings with a spirit. wE are all on pilgrimage. Abraham seemed to get it right! Love, Gigi

  2. Thanks for your kind words and prayers, Gigi!

    By the way, what’s the name of the book?

  3. It looks beautiful. Sometimes we are surprised by grace. I see you have been–walking distance–short sale approved–code orange answered.

    I pray you will be surprised by grace in this space–even as you use your office to write.

    You are precious in his sight and in mine, too!

  4. That’s exactly how I feel, Marlena: surprised by grace. Ambushed, even. I’m grateful for it all – the endurance built in the wait, the pursuit of the wisest possible course of action for the sale of our town home, and the provision of what we needed most – a buyer for the property.

    Thanks, friend.

  5. I like that idea of a waystation, Michelle. God’s waystations can be surprising, but they are always good in him. I am so glad you found such a lovely place, and that it is already a place that you call home.


  6. Thank you, Tim! We’re so grateful for the gift of this “nest”.

  7. Love the photos, Michelle. Your new nest really is beautiful. Lots of room for Princess Grace and Disco Mateys, too, though I wouldn’t dance to “I Will Survive” or “Stayin’ Alive” in the kitchen if I were you. You’d knock down all those Penzey’s spice bottles. 🙂

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