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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

leaving something behind...



You often hear stories of people finding all sorts of things in the walls of antique homes during renovations.... things like: coins, children's shoes, newspapers, bottles- artifacts from another time. When we renovated the farmhouse we had hoped we would find items that had been placed in the walls 150 years ago when the house was built. We did not.

Today I wrote down this house blessing that we have used to bless our home since we first purchased the property. We will place this blessing inside of a wall in the barn room in hopes that in another 150 years, when someone finds it that they will know how much the house was loved.

I signed a second piece of paper with our names, and the year. I contemplated including photographs, but with close to 10,000 photos (literally) of the renovation where would I start and where would I end??
Instead, I wrote something else on the piece of paper that felt surreal, strange and exciting all at the same time.... I wrote the address for this blog,

for the love of a house

We often talk and wonder about the people who originally built the farmhouse- what were they like, why did they make certain design choices, how long did they live here, were they happy, what did the interiors look like the day they moved in, did they die in this house, did their children own it after them, and on and on... . What I wouldn't give to know these answers.
So, imagine through the power of magic, or in this case the Internet, in 150 years from now when we are all gone from this world that the new owner would be able to type in an old Internet address and see and read about the renovation of this farmhouse a century and a half before. It seems so silly on one hand, but...
what if?!

That then makes you, dear friend, part of the history of this house too!  I truly can not thank each and every one of you enough for being along on this journey with us,  and for all the house-love and encouragement you give to us along the way.
Thank you so much for your role in the renovation of this farmhouse.



The House Blessing

God, bless this house and all who live here. Fill this dwelling with an ambiance of peace, prosperity, health, happiness, harmony and love. Let this space shine with divine light and beauty and provide a warm, comfortable haven from the world. May only beings that are kind-hearted and well-intentioned enter here. May nature's spirits feel welcome and live with us as friends. May all who enter here receive what they need, and feel richly blessed with their heart's desires.


67 comments:

  1. that is so beautiful, joan. and so perfect. and, yes, it is awesome to think what a rich record you have of your home through your blog.

    but we have to thank YOU for making us richer, too, by taking us along with you.

    love to you...donna

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  2. this is WONDERFUL! We completely remodeled my fiance's grandparents' house almost 2 years ago. I kept one old dresser that I am now refinishing but the rest of the house was completely torn apart. The only things we found were lots of old glass bottles, an old stamp and...an old flour milling ticket from 1911. We're not sure who it was or anything but it was cool to find. Love that you left a note in your wall and that someday someone might come to this wonderful place on the internet and know all about the people who made their house a home!

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  3. Very sweet. When we remodeled our former home, a farmhouse which was passed down through the family, we found written on some of the wall boards the name of my husband's great grandfather - put there by the mill from which he had his planks cut. We also ripped through 17 layers of wallpaper in one room, 9 in another, and we found a huge Coke advertisment in between layers of paper in yet another room. Old houses have such character! You have a lovely home.

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  4. What a great idea! I can't even fathom what will have become of the internet in 150 years, but I hope that somewhere the story of your renovation will be archived for future generations to read :)

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  5. Hi Joan,
    We've found wonderful treasures hidden all around our house and yard but I so wanted to find something written. Can you imagine the joy the future owners will have when they find your notes...and how thoughtful for it to be a blessing.

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  6. YOU are certainly Kind-Hearted & Well-Intentioned. I can't imagine anything that would make someone happier than to find that note and the (hopefully still working) blog address. Your Farmhouse is truly blessed. What a grand idea!!

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  7. Lovely sentiments and beautiful handwriting!

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  8. ...and all God's children said...amen...

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  9. It would be thrilling to find a blessing like yours in the walls of a home so dearly loved.

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  10. You just gave me goosebumps. I may have to steal your idea. What an amazing find, in any era. Putting a little something extra in a home that's already so loved.

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  11. What a lovely and sentimental idea to leave a note for future owners! When we were renovating my house and had to rip down walls to open it up ..inbetween the walls apart from a mummified rat we found one sheet from a torn calendar.. the freaky thing was that it was the month and year of my birthday!!! take care, Maryann

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  12. The letter is beautiful! We have been working on our turn of century home for many years. We always sign the walls and date them. We haven't found any great treasures but on a funny note..we did found a 1960 something playboy magazine stuffed in a bathroom plumbing access..lol. We are still hoping to find treasure someday :) I often wonder about the people that lived in our home before us..it would be nice to pass a bit of history on to the next owner.

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  13. What a beatiful detail!

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  14. What a great post and a wonderful idea, I want to do something like this soon, my house is only 13 years old ,but who knows it may be still here in another 130 years:)

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  15. Beautifully said, beautifully written. Whomever comes across your words is richly blessed, be it in the walls of a loved farmhouse or here.
    Thank you for including us on your journey.
    Heidi @ Show Some Decor xoxo

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  16. I love this! I thought about doing this when we were building the home with a picture of the entire family - but never did.....so glad you did. xoox
    ~tracie

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  17. I absolutely LOVE this idea. I purposefully left behind a photo of us in an old home that we renovated and loved. I wish I had done something like this in our VA home that we lovingly built. GREAT blessing.

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  18. What an incredible blessing!! So few words to express such wonderful feelings. Your time capsule is such a fabulously thought out idea!

    Whenever I finish a remodeling project in any house we have lived, I put pennies from the current year into it ... under a built-in bookcase or bathroom vanity, inside a wall cavity or behind some molding ... you get the idea.

    Here at our old house, we found newspaper of varying ages in a number places as we deconstructed things ... 1971 as caulk backing in a void beside the stairs, 1943 in the wall of the basement bathroom, and 1920-something (I don't remember off the top of my head) glued to the beams behind beaverboard on the underside of the stairs. We discovered an 1838 half-cent coin (10 years older than the house) behind the living room mantel ... that's the best find we have so far.

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  19. What a beautiful house blessing. May I write this down and frame it for all to see? I love this idea especially with an old farm house. How lovely ;-)

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  20. I always wonder those same things about the people who built our house (1876). we found an old gold ring in one of the walls, and i've created several stories about how that ring ended up in the wall. :)

    your blessing is beautiful; i saved it and hope to use it one day.

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  21. Vintage Gal- of course you may! I found the blessing on-line when first researching the concept. If you click the "house blessing" link in the above post you can read more about it!

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  22. We found a number of things behind the walls and our electrican found the date of our home with initials on a beam up in our attic, it still amazes us. We placed a long letter as well in a wall in hopes of being discovered one day. It really is incredible isn't it?

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  23. I love that your attention to detail even includes thinking of those that will come after! I love the blessing and I love how every post you write oozes your love for your home! I come back often to read and reread everything you write. I have never known anyone who loves their home as much as I love mine. (Did I use the word "love" enough?) Sorry, I can't hep myself!
    LLinKS

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  24. I love that you did this. I love that you didn't type it but used your own handwriting. Someday, someone will connect to you through your note in the wall.

    From me to you: God bless your home and your family.

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  25. hi joan,

    well that is just brilliant wrapped in sweetness. you are so clever and wise to do this. a modern day message in the bottle.

    xo

    janet

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  26. When we renovated a house years ago, we pulled the drawers out of a chest of drawers that was built into a closet. Behind the wall we found dozens of bottles of liquor from the prohibition era - scotch and bourbon. Untouched and unopened. Not quite a house blessing, but certainly interesting!

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  27. So cool, I thought about leaving our picture in the hall closet at our old house.

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  28. What a beautiful blessing. It is amazing to think about someone finding that letter and if they can find this blog. Our home is not as old as yours but I would still love to know the history of the people who lived here

    Londen

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  29. Dear Joan, Dan, and Ella: This is so special, because you hand wrote the blessing. Cindy

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  30. What a lovely gesture that surely will be treasured by the new homeowner!

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  31. Joan,
    So inspirational... may have to do that when we start our renovation in a couple of months. We know the history of our old home... I think I will put that in our "blessing" as well.

    Thank you!

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  32. That is a BEAUTIFUL blessing and expresses how special you are. In our last house we put some barn board on one kitchen wall and before we did I let our children draw and sign their names and the date for the next owners to find. It was FUN for all of us! This is a wonderful journey that you are sharing with all of us! Thank you. XO, Pinky

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  33. Hi Joan, I can only imagine how excited the new owners will be to find this hidden in their wall. I love your house blessing.
    xo,
    Sherry

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  34. Oh, wow, what a great idea that I may have to steal as well. We are redoing an old house that has been in my husband's family forever. I wonder what will become of the house when we depart, so I love the idea that I can leave something behind. Another commenter mentioned finding coins which I thought was another great idea.

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  35. Hi Joan - Your wonderful post brought back memories. When I was 11 or so, my parents remodeled their kitchen and we found an old milk bottle wedged into a wall that was opened for work, but would not be removed. Before the wall was closed up, I wrote a note about my family and sealed it in the bottle. The house is still there, as is, and I hope no one discovers it for a very long time.
    Deborah

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  36. thank you all for your comments! I love reading all the things that you have found in your own homes, and I love knowing that some of you might do this too!
    fyi- there are all types of blessings to be found on-line in case the one that I chose isn't exactly what you would like yours to say. or, you could even write your own!

    joan

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  37. I so look forward to seeing the progress on your home and thank you so much for sharing it. This is a lovely idea and one I will use when we remodel our kitchen this Spring. I like the penny idea up ^ above, too. :)

    Our house is 87 years old. The only thing we found during renovations is old porn tapes. Not even kidding. :)

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  38. Hello Joan...what a wonderful idea and you have such a special home in which to place that message. We are working on our bathroom right now and I think I will place a message in the wall. Thank you for the inspiration! I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Maura :)

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  39. Hi Joan,

    I live a 1919 house and although we haven't found any handwritten notes, we have put two notes in the walls; one with the carpenter's invoice and signature when he completely rebuilt my daughters room and one behind the new fireplace mantle we had built (the original was missing when we bought the house), also with the cabinetmakers invoice. Last year, we got a note from the woman who grew up in our house. She is now in her 70's and we invited her to come over. It was pure magic! She then invited our family to her home. She lives on a small farm in CT. where Mary O'Hara, author of "My Friend Flicka" once lived. Another magical day! See where houses will unexpectantly take us!!

    New to your blog and loving it!

    Mary

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  40. Very original idea, and a beautiful letter!

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  41. Totally wonderful. It's going to make someones heart sing. You are such a beautiful soul Joan. A-M xx

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  42. What a great post. We found, among other things... 1940's postcards from japan, 1800's coins in the stone walls, many many old horseshoes, an old bottle dump at the back of the property, very old wallpaper covered in layers of newer stuff.. quite the journey - undoing and re-doing an old house.

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  43. hello joan...tucked within the walls of a new home that we had designed and built, we placed a similar letter... if the walls were ever opened, we wanted the owners to know we were happy with creating the home, and that we wished blessings upon each resident... thank you for your kind sharing. -k.

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  44. sweet, sweet, sweet... thanks for sharing...-Ann

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  45. we discovered a really old beer can, and some magazines from the early 50's i believe. I don't think this is our forever home, so I plan on leaving something one day too. So cool!

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  46. What a great idea! I love the house blessing. It is perfect.

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  47. so beautiful.... every house should have this blessing.... what a lovely thought

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  48. I love this post...especially reading everyone's comments about what they have found/left in their home. Gives me chills!

    Cali

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  49. I don't know why but this made me cry :)
    I would love to find something left behind in the walls.. here there were only rusty pipes.
    Your Blessing would have been wonderful.
    I love the idea that you are doing this, I love the sort of person you are that would have this idea and do this ~
    besitos. C

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  50. That's a lovely idea. I put a similar 'time-capsule' in one of our walls. Our names, photo of the family, that day's front page of the newspaper and also got the builders to put their buisness cards in. I hope the future owners of our house and yours will have a similar thrill on finding our capsules. xx

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  51. 1. that's almost unbelieveable that y'all didn't find a thing!
    2. so neat what you've done, but no surprise.
    3. everytime we renovate I "leave" a note or coin or trinket...just in case!

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  52. Your house blessing brought tears to my eyes as did today's text. It was a happy day for me when I stumbled upon your blog and I always look forward to reading each entry. Your home is inspiring and I thank you for sharing your journey and your love of your home!

    Best regards,
    Donna

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  53. Just lovely Joanie. Still haven't seen or felt any ghosts around?

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  54. We recently closed up a funny little closet in the living room to give us a solid wall and enclosed a newspaper, my 5 year old put in an extra copy of WALL-E and we all signed the back wall with the date. Who knows if it will ever be found...we just thought it would be fun!

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  55. This is such a wonderful way to leave your "love for this house" in the care of those to come after you. They will always know that their home, your home, was very much so a part of the family....and having the blog to view will be an amazing gift and blessing in itself.
    Thank you for sharing this with us...
    xo J~

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  56. I love thinking about the "what ifs"!!

    Hugs-
    Carolyn

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  57. Hi Joan,

    What a beautiful idea....love it.

    If only the walls could talk huh ???

    All the best,
    Kathy

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  58. What a wonderful blessing! May it be true for you. Thanks for sharing your home. I'm amazed at how much energy y'all must have! I read a novel recently where something was found in the walls (Kim Edwards' "The Lake of Dreams"), and it makes a great story.

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  59. I love this so much I can't even say. It's like marking your own little spot in history.

    I'm afraid all future owners of our house will find are my math calculations on the walls behind the kitchen cabinets!

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  60. I'm struck by your connectedness, which is exactly what makes your blog such a delight to follow! You don't impose your will on your house and surroundings- it is truly (struggling with finding the right words again)a process in tune with all its components. Reading of how you found your house, and all your other stories, tells an amazing story of things falling into place at exactly the right moment. Hence the connectedness:-)
    Thank you again- always a delight!
    Love from Susanne, Norway

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  61. Found your blog today (through 3 Peanuts), and just spent a lovely time visiting. Your home is gorgeous, and the love shows through. New Hampshire is lucky to have you! We lived in Francestown for a few years, and will always love NH.
    Your house blessing is beautiful!

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  62. We live in an old house that is the second house on the stacked stone foundation, current one is 100 years old, first one was burned down in the civil war. So most of the interesting things I have found, have all been outside as I am gardening. I have found some of the most loved and used items that have survived the fire, only to be shovelled out into a pile of burnt debrie, that 150 years later, after all organic items have decomposed, are unearthed by my shovel. Silver plated spoons, corners of marble tables, composition bodies from antique dolls, glass that has melted into blobs (fire must have been something), dishware, some fancy flowblue teacup handles, rimlock from the barn (no longer there), old horseshoes, nails, bottles, all treasures to me. The oldest thing I have found is a clay marble (this comes from the homestead period of our house), I love to think of the children that played here, the women of the house in their daily chores. I'm sure the house spirits are very pleased with what we have done, making the place shine again. I totally get how you can get emotionally attached to a house. Have a wonderful day, Donna

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