Saturday, August 25, 2007

We Stand in Awe of You.

Warning: Long Post. But necessarily long to show you how God worked through every detail in the latest chapter of our lives: buying a new home.

We've found a wonderful, beautiful, more-than-we-could-hope-for house. Yes, we had planned on building on the old home site but many issues came up w/that. There was the concern that another relative who lives close by would be developing property close to where we would build, the problem of the house we built being our permanent residence for at least 20 years. We couldn't sell the house in 5 years if Will got another job somewhere else. How can you invite strangers to live on Mom and Dad's/Mama's land? Then there was the issue of Ella. She'd of course always want to be running up to see her Grandma. And her Grandma is so overwhelmed right now with taking care of her mom; it just wouldn't be fair to them right now. Also, it's not so private anymore. With the subdivision close by, there is more noise and even go-carts going right in front of MaMa's house.

I had been looking for hours online, in real estate books, and could come up with nothing. If I wanted even a 1/2 acre lot, we'd have to pay close to $180,000 for it, and had a hard time finding anything on this side of town which is closer to his work. I had even checked out FSBO websites, since we've had such success w/that route. So, late Tuesday night (actually it was 12:30am, so early Wed. morning), I just felt like I should check the website one more time. I saw only a few homes in our city way out of our price range and then one in a nearby town. I had seen that one the week before but passed it up b/c Will had mentioned that would be a further drive to his work. But again, something told me to at least open it and look at it. This "something," I have no doubt now, was the Holy Spirit's leading.

As soon as I saw it, I knew; "This is our new home."

Seriously, that fast. I read that it had 4 acres and that sealed the deal. But then, just because our God loves to grant the desires of our heart, I continued to read in the description that is has an inground pool. I've always wanted one. I was in the process of convincing Will that if we did ever build somewhere, we had to build that as well. I consider it the best exercise ever and much preferred over 3 miles on the treadmill!

So....the next step was to plug in the address in Google Maps and see how far it was from Will's work. I just knew it would be too far and actually closed my eyes while waiting for the results. I was too scared to look. I wanted this house so badly. Well, it said 56 minutes away and he is driving 55 min. now. WOW! I couldn't believe it. This really was it. As I climbed into bed that night, I said, "Honey, I found our house." Will's response. "Huh?" Back to sleep. He was out of it. The next morning, I asked him to look at it online. He admitted it was a good deal for the money but wasn't that impressed w/the pictures. Especially the first one. He said it looked too plain, etc. But he agreed we should call and set up an appointment. I got in touch with Donna (homeowner) and asked when we could come see it. She said we could it that night (which was Wed.) or we could Thursday. I chose Wed. And that, as you will see, was another God thing.

As soon as we pulled up, Will said, "Wow-this is so much better than what I thought. It's beautiful." After walking the property w/Donna and Mike, we both knew we wanted it and we hadn't even seen the inside. We had been introduced to their 3 dogs, 3 kittens, and 2 chickens and seen her blueberry and blackberry bushes and muscadine vines, the unbelievable country front porch which extends the length of the house, their beautiful land, and didn't need to see the interior. And we found out that Mike's a pastor at a Presbyterian church and that he knows Will's dad very well. Yet another God thing. After touring the inside, we talked w/them a little about specifics. They had mentioned that a man from Texas wanted the house and had made a verbal offer, so we wanted to find out more about that. Turns out, his realtor had called them that afternoon and told them he couldn't fax over the information to them b/c he was on his way to a meeting, so nothing was official yet. They told him, "Well, just so you know, we have 2 couples coming to look at the house tonight and one of them could make an offer too." The realtor said okay and took the chance. I'm sure he's kicking himself now.

After we'd been there for an hour, the next couple showed up. I was so antsy and worried the whole time even thought Donna promised us that we'd be able to offer first since we came first. Will and I talked out on the front porch and decided we weren't going to risk losing this house over a few thousand dollars. So we agreed we'd offer them full price. Thankfully the family that was looking at the house after us said they'd call them the next day re: an offer (and they did), so we were able to sit w/Mike and Donna and present our offer. (Just so you know, they'd only had it FSBO for 2 weeks and got 4 offers in that time period, including ours. So, should we ever decide to sell years down the road, I don't think we'll have any problems.)

They wanted to make sure we were sure and we told them the circumstances that God had worked out so far and how after seeing it on the computer, I just knew this was it. That hit home w/them b/c that was similar to Donna's story when she first saw the house (without Mike). She knew right away and Mike had just been praying that God would please let them find a home out in the country b/c Donna had always wanted to live on some land. They've been in the home now for 8 years and hate to leave it, but Mike is taking a church at Wrightsville Beach. I told Donna, "Well, if you have to leave your "paradise on earth" (her words), at least you'll get to live at the beach." But she's not really a beach person, so that's not much consolation. They will have houses all around them, no privacy like they do now. She has no doubt though, that this is the next move God has for them.

Anyway, back to the offer. After offering full price, they said they wanted to go outside and talk about it. We were worried; did the Texas guy offer as much or more than we did. Then I couldn't help but thinking, maybe we should have offered less (specifically I was thinking, "I wish we could get it for about $4,000 less"-though I knew we were still getting a great deal at full price). So we prayed while they were outside praying as well. They came in and asked us again if we were sure and then said they felt like God wanted us to have the house but they wanted to give it to us for $4,000 less if that was okay w/us...are you kidding? Of course that's okay. Amazing. We found out the Texas guy did offer full price and since he was using a realtor, maybe they would've had to pay 3% to him, but still, they didn't have to let us have it for any cheaper. That just goes to show you their great character.

Donna said that specific prayers of hers had been answered. One was that a Christian family would buy the property and love and care for it as much as they had and another was that God would take care of her animals. She hated to give them away-this was the only home they'd ever known. They can't take all those to the beach, so we're inheriting 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 chickens, one of which lays eggs. Perfect! Now surely I won't get lonely during the day. :-) We had said as soon as we got some land, we wanted to get Ella a lab. One of their dogs, Mandy, is a beautiful, gentle yellow lab.

Also, another neat tid-bit. One of their cats is called "Scaredy" b/c she's so afraid of anyone who comes to the property. Whenever they go away, the boy who feeds the animals never sees Scaredy the whole time. She'll only come out when Donna and Mike return. Well, guess what? While we were walking the property, Scaredy stayed close by. Donna said that was surely a sign; she never does that when any other people come by.

After signing the contract at their dining room table, Mike led us in prayer. I felt God's presence there in the midst of us-so real, so strong. So neat. And how awesome to know that you're buying a home which has been bathed in prayer.

Well, by the time we left it was close to 11:30pm; thankfully Ella was w/Will's parents and already in bed. We go outside to discover that Will's keys have been locked inside the truck. We could've called AAA but who knows when they would've showed up. They told us we could use 1 of their 2 vehicles and bring it back tomorrow, since we had an extra set of Will's keys at home. What a blessing. Then we arrive home and can't get inside (house keys in his truck too) but God worked again and we were able to get a bedroom window opened and Will boosted me inside. Oh wait, I forgot to mention the most important part. This only happened after we stopped and prayed about it. Will was considering busting the panes out of the front or side door. Glad we stopped to pray. :-) The next day, Dad came up w/us and got to talk w/Mike and Donna. He loved the property but of course said, "Y'all must be having to pay a fortune for that place!" Will assured him we got a good deal. :-)

I can't wait for y'all to see it in person-the beautiful country setting can only be experienced, not explained. So quiet, no sirens going by at 2am, no planes flying directly over our house. Donna and Mike said in the fall and spring they love rocking on their front porch and sometimes even see 2 cars pass by-that's really heavy traffic for them. What a nice change that will be. And guess what-there is even 2 trees spaced just right for a hammock. Another desire answered. And for the best part. Will drove to his work Thursday after we brought Donna's car back and w/her short cut directions, he got there in 45 minutes! That's 10 minutes closer than now. What a blessing! And it's only 25 minutes from Will's parents, so we can still see them once or twice a week and visit w/Laurance & Kimberly.(20 min. away). That way no one will get sick of us! :-)

And one of the greatest things is that there's 500 acres of land behind us which the owner never plans on developing. Possibly he'll let Will hunt it w/his bow? Donna and Mike also see turkey and deer from their deck all the time. They graze right on their property. Won't that be nice. Hopefully, I can convince Will to just look at those. :-) There's 12 acres a widow owns across the dirt road from us. We can't even see her house from our front porch. Another widow lives next to us (and by "next to us", I mean about a 1/2 mile away). So, now I can go outside in my PJ's if I so desire. :-)

And I haven't mentioned the difference in weather there-amazing. It's on a hill, nice breeze all the time, AND I didn't get bit once while I was outside by stinking mosquitoes. And they always find me. Especially at Mama's house.

The house also include a nice 2-car carport w/attached 10x20 office (read: workout/reloading room). There's also a small work shed w/loft space for storage.
More granted desires: cathedral ceilings in the large great room, fireplace in great room (gas or could be wood burning-we prefer wood-burning), beautiful pine flooring in Great Room and Dining Room, walk-in closets in the bedrooms, sliding glass door off MBR leading to its own private deck, and...did I mention the land? :-)

So, I echo what Will said as we were standing on the beautiful country porch and gazing out across the property, "This is more than I could have ever hoped for or imagined."

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
(Eph. 3:20-21)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saying Good-bye

Thank you all for your prayers, encouragement and birthday wishes-it really means a lot to have y'all as my blogger family! I'm feeling somewhat better today...packed our last trailer full of stuff from our old house (yes, another trailer!!!) and Ella said "Bye-Bye" to the house for the last time. Sniff, sniff, boo hoo. But of course, she said it happily, without a care in the world. I got our neighbor to take some pics of us in front of our house. God has graciously allowed me to realize that even though I will miss it dearly, it is time to let go. And by His grace, no looking back and no more questioning. We'll go back one more night next Sunday (closing Monday morning) but Ella won't go w/us. Somehow I don't think a 2 year old will sit quietly in a lawyer's office while we sign a million papers.

So, she swam in her pool for one last time, swung in her swing one last time...but she has many firsts to start here, so all is well.

I am indeed blessed and as always, God is good.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Back On!

Well, we finally got the internet connected in the rental house, and now I feel human again. I was feeling so disconnected from the world, especially since we had no TV to even watch the news. I've so missed my blogging family and friends.

A little has happened since I last wrote. I'm now a year older (31!) and had a wonderful time at Red Bone Alley w/Will (sans Ella-thank God for grandparents!). We both had shrimp and cheese grits (yummy!!!) and a free birthday sundae for dessert. (And yes, Sarah, I got to enjoy my cup of coffee!) There was a musician playing the guitar there-blues and some 80's classics-it was lovely. I really wanted to dance but neither Will nor I had the nerve as no one else was....maybe I can talk him into a dance class and we'll show off next year. :-)

And more news...we close on the 20th! So, we'll be closing 35 days after we put the house up for sale. Crazy how fast this all came together. I'm now trying to remind myself that I should be thankful and grateful. Right now, I'm going through an emotional time. We're losing our first home, the only home Ella has known. And we've gotten about 6 calls since the house was under contract which makes me think, "Did we have it priced too low?" "Could we have gotten more?" "Should we have held out?" Based on our interview w/the real estate agent we considered going with (but decided against), we made $1000 more than she would have even listed the house for, yet still, that was only one realtor's opinion and again I wonder....You know, Satan loves to get me w/those "What If's."

So, I've just been a wreck this week. Questioning, crying, missing our home, and to top it all off, I was 5 days late. That actually got me hoping, wondering....but after 2 tests, I resigned myself to the fact that I was not pregnant. Nope, just very late and I'm never late. Of course now I realize stress and Ella nursing at night during those weeks she slept w/us at Mama's probably led to the delay. But I was hoping...

I know God's timing is best, and I know that I need to make this home our home for now, as best I can. I know all these things in my head, but if my heart could ever get on board, I'd be doing much better.

Thank you all for your prayers.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


We have a contract on our house!!!! We had a couple look at our house yesterday (our wonderful neighbors had a key and gave them the tour) and we got a call last night with their offer. That's 16 days on the market! Amazing! Praise the Lord, we will be making about $7500 more since we're not having to pay any realtor's commission. God is indeed good. Thank you all so much for your prayers; please continue to pray that closing will all go well. Lord willing, that will all be done by the end of this month.