Maybe it’s time I finally let the cat out of the bag: Mayi and I are no longer residents of the North Fort Worth area.
If you’re wondering what happened to our plans with the tiny house, I understand your confusion. The purpose of the tiny house was only to allow us to sell our previous house and have time to wait for the right house to come along for us. We gave ourselves six months to a year. Turns out we didn’t need quite so long. The “tiny house” apartment we were helping to build in the backyard workshop of some friends isn’t even finished yet, actually. (The family had plans to build it before we ever entered the picture, by the way.) Construction progress was much slower than any of us anticipated, and so we had moved out of our previous house and were staying in the front bedroom of the main house with our friends when Mayi stumbled across this house on Zillow the same day it hit the market. When we set up the showing, neither of us thought we’d be living in it a month later.
We knew we wanted to move somewhere around South Fort Worth, preferably to an older home. And the more we drove around the area, the more comfortable we felt with a neighborhood called Rosemont. It’s a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood nestled between Berry and Seminary, just east of TCU. Built in 1924, the house Mayi found was part of the first wave of homes built in the area, and with its Tudor cottage style, we instantly saw the potential. Even though it’s not in terrible shape (by our standards, at least), we definitely have a lot of hard work, budgeting, learning, and patience ahead of us in order to get it to where we want it. To capture the excitement, Mayi is setting up an Instagram account just to keep track of all the projects we get ourselves into. If you’re curious to see some before-and-afters, historical finds, and salvaging DIY tips, find us @thegordoncottage (The Cottage on Gordon Ave).
Just in the three days since we moved in, I think I’ve done more housework than my previous 29 years combined. The place needed a severe deep cleaning, which included the formation of a massive trash pile of “stuff” the seller left behind for the next bulk trash pickup day. I think I’ll be on a first name basis with most of the employees at our local Home Depot before the end of Summer, and my fascination with hand-powered tools earned me a nice (and rather sketchy) workout this morning when I decided to climb onto the garage and cut down the overhanging tree limbs. Hence the enormous brush pile in the photo looking down the driveway below. That’s actually the smaller of two piles, and those won’t be the last. Another time, though. I don’t think I’ll be able to raise my arms tomorrow.
Anyway, we’re starting to get settled in and regain some control of our environment. That’s been an interesting lesson in itself for me: that it mattered to God for Adam (man) to bring order to the complexity of Creation. Made in His image, it makes sense that we would crave dominion over chaos, since God Himself is not a God of chaos. I’m very thankful God made us to have a certain level of control over our environment, but I’m learning just how much sweat, teamwork, and determination that demands sometimes.
Living on this side of town is almost like living in a completely different country. Obviously, that was a draw for Mayi and me. It’s a bit more like home for Mayi and, well I’m just weird like that, I guess. This morning, I did my coffee and devo to the tune of roosters crowing and dozens of wild birds chirping outside. Evenings bring a mix of bass rumblings and loud Spanish music from passing cars, along with lots of train horns. There’s a carniceria, a park, and an antique mall all within a mile from us.
One of the things I’m really looking forward to is seeing how living as Christ followers will be down here. Mayi and I are big believers in the idea that the location of your main ministry is wherever your feet are standing at the moment. So if you’re wondering if we moved here to do ministry, the answer is “yes.” Because every house becomes a ministry house when a Christian takes up residence, right? Obviously, being a witness and seeking to make disciples in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Fort Worth will look a bit different than in Keller, but the goal and foundation to our lives remains the same wherever we live.
In asking God to prepare us specifically for this next stage of our lives, I feel like He is giving us a vision of “breaking down barriers to opportunity and community,” which we are eager to be obedient to. I wish I had a bomb vision statement like that for our old neighborhood, and am kicking myself now because I never thought to ask the Lord to give us direction like that while we lived up there. Even if it was something vague and simple like “loving sacrificially and with purpose.”
Mayi and I were planning on spending the next year in a 340-sqft apartment and so we’re obviously looking at this five-bedroom, 1,950-sqft house in partial shock. With our simplistic lifestyle, I think God intends this house to be much more for the community than for us. Exactly how remains to be fully understood. All that to essentially say this: it’s going to be an awesome adventure. If you know us from North Fort Worth, I hope you won’t let the distance disconnect us. Besides, with my job, I’ll have the pleasure of being back in the Keller area pretty often.
Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, @thegordoncottage!