Sometimes our scarred imperfections are super visible. Sometimes our scarred imperfections define all of us and our whole story. But, sometimes our scarred imperfections are only visible upon a closer look. And, it is only with this closer look that we truly see and embrace the whole.

After surviving infertility and accepting our childfree lives Chad and I made the biggest, and best, decision we have made of our almost ten year relationship. We put our suburban, good school district house on the market and we found a house who only people who have lost their everything would take a chance on.

We bought a home owned by someone who struggled with hoarding. Upon the closing on this house, we also came to be the owners all of the previous owner’s belongings; an entire house filled floor to ceiling and wall to wall of her “treasures” .

For the first time in our marriage, and our long and frequent history of buying and selling homes, I had never had vision before. But after losing our three babies, my eyes had no choice but to see life through a new lens. I was able to see the future, our childfree future, in this amazing house we now refer to as Mason House.

Our great room, full, then emptied and now ours.

Our great room, full, then emptied and now ours.

We emptied the house of terrible memories and more stuff than anyone could imagine, filling dumpster after dumpster of the previous owner’s pain and things. Along with her pain and stuff, we also filled every dumpster full of our grief and losses. We worked together, better than we ever have, to combine the mid-century history of the house with our modern and clean style from the studs out. We rebuilt the painful history of the house to create the future of all the love and laughter of our new family home; complete with a pool and toy room for our childfree yet childfull lives.

Mason House, inside and out, looks nothing like it did last year.

Our marriage, inside and out, looks nothing like it did before or during IVF and my recovery.

I, inside and out, look nothing like I did either.

If you look closely in our beautiful great room you will see the old nail nailholes from the carpet we pulled up when we saved the original wood floors. If we point it out and you look even more closely you will see a perfectly sanded nail on it’s side embedded into the floor. Reminding us of the history of the home, of where it has been and how far it has come. You will see and feel the scarred imperfections that make Mason House exactly what it is meant to be today.

This perfectly placed nail is just a piece of the whole story.

If you look closely at our marriage you will see our history between us; some years better than others. As we interact, and you look more closely, you will see the growth, the fight and the connection that we have only been able to truly find through surviving infertility and losing our three never to be’s. You will see our scarred imperfections in our laughter, in our touches and in our ownership of the times of true joy and sorrow of our journey.

The perfectly placed parts of our story of IVF are just a piece of our whole story.

If you look closely at me you will see someone who on the outside looks very different not only in body but also in presence than who she was before the fight of recovery. As you hear me own my story and you look more closely, you will feel my power, you will feel my passion and you will feel my ever upward. You will see, you will feel and you will be changed by my scarred imperfections.

The perfectly placed struggles of my life are just a piece of my whole story.

There is always a story of struggle and hope embedded within us.

A perfectly placed scarred imperfection that is just a piece of our whole story.

And, without them we simply cannot be whole.

We will suffer losses, traumas and tragedies in this life. When we lose one dream we must pick up the pieces and redefine. To wallow in the lost only defines us. To stay stuck on the never to be’s only keeps us stagnant in life. To make our scarred imperfections our entire story misplaces them completely.

Where we find our purpose, where we find ourselves again is in embracing these parts as perfectly placed scarred imperfections and in making them part of our breathtaking story. We must fight, work and practice to own all of our scarred imperfections as perfectly placed parts of our story.

Just like the nail in the floor.

*To read the entire epic adventure of the Mason House journey make sure to pick up a copy of the soon to be published Ever Upward: Owning My Childfree Life in Our Child Obsessed.*


If you found this post enjoyable, inspiring, helpful, hopeful, interesting or even infuriating 😉, please take the time and the chance to share it through your social media! More shares means more eyes, means more people helped and the message heard on a wider scale. Thank you! Justine

26 thoughts on “The Nail in the Floor

  1. What a beautiful homage. Thank you for sharing your journey and that of Mason House.


    1. Thank you so much! It was one hell of a journey, and an amazing one at that! ❤


  2. How interesting that both of our posts today touched on hoarding. Fantastic job with your home! We have slowly been renovating our place as well, as it is something we can control, when the fertility aspect of our life is not.


    1. I know right? Thank you so much, it was an incredible journey with crazy stories! And was so worth it! Good luck on your home! Would love to hear more about it!


  3. You have a beautiful home! Funny enough, my husband and I have discussed doing something very similar if we eventually choose childfree – we love reno projects and we of course currently have the family friendly house in family friendly neighbourhood with great schools and this is likely to be one of our first changes if we do not have children.


    1. It was an amazing journey and something that was only possible because of our survival through infertility and our recovery. Thanks for the read and comment as always!


  4. busynothing says:

    This is amazing, beautiful and I totally get it.


    1. Thank you, thank you! ❤


    1. Thank you so much for the read and comment!


  5. Sabrina says:

    Another inspired and inspiring post, Justine. Let me just say that I would love to visit you and Chad in that house one day. There. It’s out in the universe now 🙂


    1. Sabrina, Thank you so much! You are welcome any time!!! Miss you! Justine


  6. lkgaddis says:

    Lovely post!


    1. Thank you for the read and, as always, your kind words! Justine


  7. Catherine says:

    You’ve done something amazing with that home. It’s absolutely beautiful. Congratulations 🙂 I am inspired by your vision, your project and these little signifiers of much deeper meaning.


    1. Catherine, Thank you for the read and this heartfelt amazing comment! ❤ Justine


  8. sarah says:

    HI Justine –
    Thanks for reading my Gardening post. I was tempted to comment on this post because, as the owner of a fixer upper house (purchased a year before we knew we’d be dealing with infertility) with no hoarding involved, I can only imagine what you went through to achieve beauty and comfort in your new home! Congratulations. It seems the process, among other things, was beyond cathartic?
    Although as of now it would be a bit premature, we may be considering a move at some point too, away from our very fertile rabbit lair (I mean neighborhood).


    1. Sarah, Thank you so much for the read and comment! I have found this might actually be a common theme in our world… The process was amazingly cathartic! And I totally understand the moving away from the family neighborhood! J


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