He leads me beside peaceful streams. (Psalm 23:2b)
After living for 7 years of living in an apartment next door to where I grew up, my wife and I decided that we wanted a home of our own. Up until that time, we had been managing the apartment for my grandmother rent-free. We originally had no hot water and no shower or tub in the bathroom. We heated from a kerosene kitchen. So we updated the bathroom and put in a hot water heater. Unfortunately, we discovered that we were terrible landlords. While the expenses kept mounting, we didn’t feel comfortable raising the rent for or long-time tenants. Instead, we decided to sell it. We didn’t get a huge sum from the sale, but eventually, it would provide a decent down payment on a house loan. We began looking for houses that we liked , but that would be in an affordable price range. We visited several homes in the area, but eventually gave our most serious consideration to one that was only a half mile from our old apartment-still in the thriving metropolis of Otter River (pop. less than 1,000). The previous owners were quite elderly and could no longer take care of themselves. Nor could they take care of their cats who used the indoor carpet as a litter box. The house had a terrible smell of ammonia. The price was right at $33,000, but the final selling point was that the backyard had the Otter River flowing thought it. I can’t begin to explain how calming and peaceful that tiny river has been for us over the years. Even when it nearly dries out during the summer, it still helps to make our backyard magical.