Cultivating a Life of Gratitude

I am committing myself, during 2010, to attempt to cultivate a greater awareness of how much I have to be thankful and grateful for by sharing my daily findings and musings with you. It is my hope that by blogging about gratitude, I will be more aware of what is going on around me in my life, my family, my friends' lives and our world.

March 9, 2010

421 Merion Drive

421 MERION DR, Newtown, PA

Yesterday our PA neighbors emailed my mom an update about my childhood home.  

During one of the major snow storms of this winter, the neighborhood was without power for 40 hours and the realtor currently listing the house had left the water on and after 40 hours of no heat and the water being left on, a pipe burst and the house is a total mess.  The neighbors said word on the street is that they will try to sell for whatever they can get because the house is so badly damaged.  The Jewish congregation that purchased our FBCN church location downtown, Newtown, are the kind of Jews that walk to synagogue, so being in walking distance of the church is key for them.  My childhood home is definitely within walking distance of that building, so our guess is that a Jewish family will probably purchase the home, knock it down and build a brand new, huge home on the lot.  

All that said, yesterday I had a little mourning moment but I'm trying to turn into a gratitude moment.  

421 Merion Drive is the house I lived in from the time we moved to Newtown when I was 3, until I officially moved to MN after college to marry my Minnesotan.  Ross and I went home often to visit until my parents moved to MN in 2007.  It is the house my little brother came home to after he was born.  The tooth fairy, easter bunny and Santa Claus visited me at this house.  It is the house we played in for hours and hours - barbies, legos and everything in between.  It is the house we played around the outside of night after beautiful summer night with our neighbor friends.  The tree on the left and our front porch were always 'jail' and 'home base'.  Our neighbors here are life long friends and still near and dear to our family.  Many adventures were had in the woods and creek of this backyard.  Hours were spent in a pool that probably killed the grass on hot summer days.  Cleaning and learning the value of doing chores happened in this house.  I learned to play the piano and french horn in this house.  The walls of this house have heard so many of my Dad's sermons preached while he was practicing his amazing gift of sharing God's word.  Journal keeping became a habit here and I fell in love with reading thanks to our nightly ritual of reading as a family before bed.  My Mom taught me much about the power of prayer during especially anxious times in my life, sitting on my bed with me, rubbing my back and praying for me.  I learned to ride my bike without training wheels on that driveway and I rollerbladed on the street in front of our house all of the time.  I learned how to get along with my brother and sister in this yard and home.  Softball coaching and practice happened in our big backyard.  Chloe - the best dog ever - was raised and well loved in our home.  I lived in THREE of the 4 bedrooms in the house.  I learned about email and the internet for the first time under this roof.  I had my first kiss in the driveway of this house and I learned to drive the car in this neighborhood.  Over the years, many sleepovers and hang outs happened in the basement of this house. I completed many homework assignments, papers and projects under this roof. I got ready for proms and other school dances here and the pictures are in the yard of this house.   Many tears were shed over heart breaks and hurt feelings under this roof.  My SAT and AP results arrived at this mailbox.  I taught piano in the living room during high school.  This is the house where my college acceptance letters were sent.  My high school graduation pictures were taken by the birch tree. I couldn't wait to go home to my family and this house for breaks and holidays during college.  I brought many college friends home to meet my parents and see the 'east coast' sites.  Wedding central was headquartered here and a wonderful reception was held in the backyard for our out of town family and friends.  Most importantly, I learned about the values of family, love, hospitality and putting Jesus at the center of it all under this roof.  

For these memories and countless others, I am thankful.  While I know it is just a structure, it is a structure in which my memories exist.  I am thankful for 421 Merion Drive and all it means to me, my family and my memories.  


  1. I'm in tears after reading your memories of your childhood home. A house is just a house, unless it is filled with love as yours was. You're a very good writer, Em.

  2. Wow, Emily! This is such a powerful testimony to the wonderful family you had. I feel the same way about my home in Newtown. It will be weird when my parents one day move and it's no longer "ours." Glad you can remember all of these wonderful memories and reflect on a beautiful childhood!

  3. Beautiful. What precious memories!!!