what makes a house a home?

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations… And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. – Revelation 22:1-2, 5-6

1-IMG_3372Regular readers may have noticed an excessive number of photos recently featuring Maul-Hall. Maul-Hall, if you didn’t already know, is our home, and this North Carolina iteration (example, prototype) is Maul-Hall.3. We’ve actually owned four houses over the years, but the name didn’t become a fixture until our epic Piedmont Road sojourn in Pensacola, 1987-1996.

The reason for the extra photos is the spectacular fall we’re enjoying here in Wake Forest. I keep looking for the best autumn-esque rendition of our home, and I believe this – at least for 2017 – may be it.


Rebekah and I love our home, but it’s not for any particular architectural features so much as the fact that it is our home, together, something that – unlike this current address – has been almost four decades in the making.

Sure, we have poured work and ideas and money into elements such as design, painting, the kitchen, the master bath, the roof, and the new HVAC system – but they have very little to do with the awesome fact that we have invested more than thirty-eight years of ourselves, our lives together, abiding faith, raising children, relationships with people we love, and so much more into what it means to be Maul-Hall.

As a house, this is simply a two-story brick colonial, featuring 1,800 square feet, three bedrooms, a tiny garage, and a deck that we’d dearly love to turn into an epic screened porch.

As a home, well, our Wake Forest address is 100% Maul-Hall. I think what that means was best summed up by our dear friend Margie (Trott) Binder. We were getting ready to move to Brandon, Florida, and she was looking at house listings. “This place,” she said, referring to the in-need-of-love home we did eventually buy, “definitely has Maul-Hall potential.

No, this is not an anniversary of any kind for us, and we’re not celebrating the completion of any particular in-home renovation. But I have a real sense of peace this morning, sitting here in the living room with the cool, fresh, fall air pouring in. I know how deeply and how richly Rebekah and I have lived over these years; and how much love, faith, struggle, prayer, and raw life has been experienced in this space; and I can feel the weight of it all, the gravitas, the power of the story.

now the grandchildren are adding to what it means to be “Maul-Hall”

Yes, that’s it, Maul-Hall is a wonderful story. It’s our story. It’s a part of The Greatest Story Ever Told.

In love, and because of love – DEREK

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