Monday, September 30, 2013

Be Thou My Shelter

When I last wrote, we had sold our house and were very much considering buying a house that we had found. That house needed about $20k worth of upfront work done. Ugh... So, that one wasn't the one for us.

Soon after we ended up looking at about five different houses in one day; I liked something about each one of them, but none of them felt like "the one". There was one that stood out though, and we pursued it a bit more. It was vacant because it was owned by a military family who were asked to move to Florida. It was beautiful. It was built in 1900, had wood beams in the living room ceiling, a beautiful big dining room, and a claw-foot bath tub. It had a lot of the things that I would be happy looking at each day in my home. There were things that I didn't care for, but honestly, I felt like I could get past them, and so we moved forward. 

We ended up having it inspected, putting an offer on it, accepting a counter offer from the sellers, getting it appraised and were set to close at the end of August. Because it was vacant, we went ahead and had the carpets cleaned before the closing date. The sellers were even okay with us moving stuff into the garage to help with the moving process... and so we did. We filled the two-car garage with things mostly from our basement, garage, and shed. It was packed.

And then the day before we were supposed to close I received a phone call from our Realtor. We were told that the listing agent had never let the title company know that the sellers were in another state and wouldn't be attending the closing. This was a problem as no paperwork had been sent to have them sign in order for us to then sign; so we knew the closing for sure wouldn't happen that day. 

And then the day of closing, we were told that this was essentially a "Short Sale". A short sale is basically when the owner owes more money than they are going to make on the sale of their home and the bank will allow this with approval. Banks don't move to quickly in these situations usually. Our lender told us she had never seen a short sale close in less than 4 months.

This was frustrating... for a lot of reasons. One, when we accepted the counteroffer, it was because the sellers told us that if they were to go any lower the house would BECOME a short sale. From the sound of it, it was a short sale from the very beginning. Apparently, because of the owner's status in the military, his commanding officer was actually interceding with the mortgage company to get this situation taken care of for the owner. Not even their agent knew exactly what was taking place, plus it was all happening long distance. Two, we had already put quite a bit of money into this home for the inspection, appraisal, and carpet cleaning PLUS our earnest money that we had put towards the home.

That morning we had to make the decision as to whether or not we wanted to wait the 6-8 weeks that the owners thought this would be taken care of in (and there was NO guarantee that it actually would be 6-8 weeks!) or to walk away. For us, the wisest decision was to walk away. With the baby coming in November, and no guarantees of how long this would actually last, and the fact that we had to be out of our home that weekend (because we DID close on the sale of our home and the person who bought it, bought it as a rental with a renter moving in that next week!), walking away was hard, but we had to.

This all happened at the end of August and a month later we are just now getting things completely settled with that home and those owners. It has been a long test of endurance, grace, and trust. And in that time (remember I said we had to be out of our home that last weekend of August??), we've been living in the basement of my father-in-law's home. It's in a suburb outside of the city where we live, so there's a bit more of a drive to all the places we end up needing to go and I'm eight months pregnant sleeping on a mattress on the floor. I'm INCREDIBLY THANKFUL that we had a home to be welcomed into. I can now even write that I'm also thankful for some of the insights my Creator has been revealing to me about myself (these have not taken place without A LOT of huffing and puffing and pulling and stretching... and maybe even some teeth clenching and hyperventilating crying in the middle of the night... maybe, I don't really remember.).

Since all this has taken place, we ended up putting an offer on another home that I seriously had to coax myself into even considering it. I finally came to a point of feeling like it was a place that we could make ours, and honestly, I had become completely hopeless of ever finding anything that would come close to being "the one" that I was really hoping for. We were given a counteroffer. And in the time that our offer and the counteroffer took place, we received an email with a brand new listing that I completely ignored (mainly because it had no pictures... hahaha) but my husband ended up looking it up and sending it to me. From the description it sounded amazing... too amazing. I Google Mapped it and was able to see the outside. Oh goodness... it actually WAS amazing. We made the call to see it that day. Our agents were never able to get a hold of the listing agent, so we saw it the next day.

We drove up and my husband immediately said he'd put a tire swing in the huge tree in the front yard. This was slightly out of character for my husband as he doesn't really look at stuff like that in houses; he looks at the age of the windows, the wood work around the house that will need work in a few years, you know, stuff like that. I was already in love before even entering. We walked around to the back of the house, and the yard made me fall even more in love. We went inside, where there are definite updates that need to be made, but I was gone. THIS was THE ONE, and we both felt it. I honestly could not believe it. It has everything we need in a home, but even better, all the little things that we want in home that weren't on our list of necessaries, but more like dreamy kind of things that you think would be nice to have in a home. We made an offer the next day. Weeks later, we have it all worked out and we have a contract pending with a closing date set!!!!

This home, the journey to finding this home, and everything in between have left me in complete awe of how The Maker works. His ways are NOT our ways. We can't fathom His works, His thoughts. And just when I'd almost fully given into the temptation to believe that His Faithfulness wasn't enough for me, He reached out and lead me to place that He had prepared for us the entire time. The place that I had asked for Him to prepare over and over... and then when push came to shove, I didn't really believe that He was going to. And He still did.

We close in a couple weeks, will get moved in, and then a couple weeks later will bring home a brand new baby to add to the mix! It's an exciting, overwhelming time... and I honestly can't wait to continue seeing how His works will be played out in our lives.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Add Just A Bit More Crazy...

What a season...

We've sold our house. Every little thing about selling our house has gone extremely smoothly. Basically, a family friend who's an investor is paying us cash and that's that. Paperwork signed... done.

Buying a house has gone slightly differently. It certainly hasn't been THAT rough of a road, by any means, but buying houses can get tricky. You see pictures online or drive by and get excited about what that house holds in store. I've had this happen several times so far. And for those who know me personally, and perhaps even if you don't you may be able to pick up on, I can get attached to things pretty quickly. I know this about myself which is why I honestly would just rather not even be the one looking for a house. We have found a house though that both my husband and I like a lot. It was built in 1910, has been completely gutted and updated (COMPLETELY gutted, no original anything left... I don't believe), and has a HUGE three car garage/shop out back. So, the inside is great... the outside is... okay. It's over 100 years old, so there's just wear and tear that hasn't been taken care of over the years that we will of course want taken care. We'd had a contractor go out and look it over and will be getting us an estimate of what it will take to care for these things. It's just kind of a waiting game.

And that's fine. I have plenty to keep up with. I'm a little over 21 weeks pregnant at this point and have been feeling pretty good. When pregnant, my babies have seemed to all been very comfortable nuzzling up in my back and hips; this time around it's caused me to have an extreme amount pain in my right hip (like I can be walking and all of sudden feel as though my leg is just going to give out and make me collapse). I'm extremely fortunate to have a sister who works for a Chiropractor and have been able to see him about once a week. This last week it became so tight though, even he couldn't get it to release. So, stretching and resting and trying to walk it out have been happening a lot this week.

And then this last Tuesday morning I awoke to a VERY itchy rash-looking thing on my upper left leg. It was itchy, but bearable and I got through the day. Wednesday, I woke up with it all over my FACE. That was a game changer. It got pretty bad. I finally took an antihistamine for the itching, but the rashes became more red and swollen and was spreading quickly. By Thursday, I was covered with what I can only guess is poison ivy or something of the sort. I think my dog may have been the culprit, as I have not been anywhere where I could have been in contact with the plant. I went to the doctor. Remember, I'm 21 weeks pregnant. If you've never had poison ivy, when it gets to this point where it's just out-of-control spreading like crazy, the only option to really take care of it is to get a steroid shot. Oh, but not if you're pregnant. If you're pregnant, you get some topical cream that MAY help with the itching, but you get the opportunity to just ride it out. So, that's where I'm at right now. I have some homeopathic remedies that seem to be helping, still on antihistamine, and taking hot, hot showers to help with the itch (When you're itchy, if you're able to submerge the itchy area in as hot-as-you-can-handle water, the same chemicals that are released to tell your body to itch are released when your body feels an extreme hot or cold temperature... thus giving your neurological system a chemical overload and basically shutting down for a bit in that area... pure relief, for a few hours at least.).

It really has been miserable, though. It's in the high 90's here right now; add being pregnant, being itchy, and never knowing when your leg is just going to give out on you, and that's my life. Oh yeah, and three kids who aren't pregnant, itchy, and have full use of their tiny bodies... add that to the mix, too. Oh, yes, and we're trying to find a house to live in. It's a wild season, for sure. It's really nothing in light of eternity, but my focus is certainly being tested.

A verse from one of my favorite hymns has been on replay in my mind throughout the week:

Be Thou my Battle Shield, My Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou My Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my High Tower;
Raise Thou me heavenward, oh, Power of my Power.

It's very early in the morning here, and I'm itchy and tired and hoping that it's everyone's plan to sleep in this morning. HAHA Oh, that's a good one!

I hope that your weekend is filled with loveliness and you're surrounded by wonderful people to share it with... and no itching.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Craziest Person On The Face Of The Earth.

That's me... right now. I mean, I admit that I definitely have a crazy side, but usually it's a bit more fun-loving and I wouldn't actually be considered criminally insane. Get me pregnant, put my house on the market, sell my house, put me on the hunt for a new house, all while maintaining the house and children that I'm currently blessed with... yeah, I am crazy... like out of control.

But this afternoon, I had a revelation. First, I have to say that I don't have many opportunities in this season of life to have moments where it's so quiet, I can hear. Today though, the little man is sleeping and the two little ladies are out with Grandma and Grandpa for a bit... and I remembered that quiet is so nice. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the noise of kids. Their feet running through the house drives me crazy, because they're running through the house, but that pitter-patter sound is such a great sound. The whines and cries of their physical beings are really just their little souls pleading for the same things my own soul is pleading for... Home. And sometimes my whines and cries are just as loud, if not louder. Especially lately.

Lately, I've been so caught up in this world. I don't how it happened, but I don't like it. I've been thinking of myself a lot, much more than I'd care to admit. It's because I'm tired, and worn out, and chaos and loudness surround me ALL THE TIME. And rather than let my Creator guide me through it, I've just been wading. Wading through a storm doesn't work. You drown. I've been drowning.

But this afternoon, the winds quieted and the waves were calm and I was able to hear again.

This pregnancy isn't about me. The Master Knitter is doing just that inside me. There's a tiny little soul being knit together and my heart is being trained and refined so that when that little round baby enters this world, I'm able to do the same with her. It's just as terrifying and exciting with every new little soul I'm blessed with.

Selling a house and finding a new earthly home to stay in isn't about me. Long ago my days were written; how and where I spend those days have already been prepared for me. Hundred year-old wooden trim and "character" are not as important as the souls that take rest there or the Love and Virtue that will be instilled there. This one is a hard one for me, as I think with a lot of women, our home is an outpouring of our souls. It's where we find rest and comfort and we have just a bit more control inside those walls. I'm finding my way back to my ultimate Rest and Comfort and again, am having to just let go of the control I long to have so much.

Loving the souls that surround me each day isn't about me... but it kind of is. Because when I'm loving them, I mean really truly loving them, it's because I'm not distracted or flooded with concern. I'm just loving them and unconsciously allowing the One who loves us all most to work in and through them and I together.

The straight and narrow path Home seems so much rockier and much more hilly when I let my eyes stray from the glory that awaits. I hope this afternoon of peace and rest will allow me to keep my head up for awhile, as in forever, but sadly I know myself and I'll be here again and so will He... because His faithfulness far outweighs my doubt... every time.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Whirlwinds and Stretching.

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind.
The Red Barn Outdoor Market grew by almost three times what it was last Spring and it took so much more to organize and keep things rolling smoothly. It happened though; it was muddy and cold, but it did happen and we did have a blast!
Seeing the pictures reminds me how much I love this opportunity. I just love it SO much and am so thankful for it.

Once the market stuff ended, we began focusing attention to getting our house listed on the market. We're STILL working on that. We're hoping to find a space that accommodates all of our needs... one of those needs being space for another family member! We'll be welcoming another little baby to our lives mid-November. 

This pregnancy has definitely made itself a priority in my daily life most days as I have been extremely nauseous and exhausted. I finally started feeling less exhausted and haven't been too nauseous at all since about last Thursday. I do still have three other children, though, and they also make themselves a priority in my daily life. The last few weeks have just been trying and exhausting all around.

And today it all came forth. Everything that I've been pushing off, holding back, just trying to survive the days, all came to a sobbing mess today. I am not one that cries too often, especially not when overwhelmed... until it just gets to that point when I am REALLY overwhelmed. I was sobbing and telling the girls over and over that I just could not handle it anymore... and my five year laughed at me. Hmm... wonder where she picked that up from? Mother, I do not regret ever laughing at you when you were crying over some of the silly things you cried over, however, I was in your shoes today. So know that payback is taking place. I honestly think that she just had no idea what to do, so she laughed. It's okay, it gave me an opportunity to question what on earth was going on.

I had no answer, but I knew that SOMETHING had to be going on besides just being exhausted and sick and tired of the daily motherly opportunities I've been given.

And then I lost it again tonight. My heart was just heavy... and then I realized that it's heavy from the grief that this week bears.

May 16th, tomorrow, will be the 9th anniversary of my Mother-in-law's and youngest brother-in-law's deaths. The day, the moments, the phone calls are still very clear in my mind. May 16th, 2004 changed the direction of our lives in so many, many ways... 

May 17th, 2006 brought more heartache as I experienced the physical and emotional loss of our first baby through miscarriage. It never gets to me until this week... every year.

And my heart gets heavy. I don't get it. I am thankful for it... as it's always a perfect reminder of the sovereign grace that is so generously given out when most needed. And it makes me feel something that is not a normal part of my everyday life. And it makes me long for Home, in different ways than exhaustion and toddlers throwing tantrums make me long for Home. 

There's just a lot of "stretching" taking place around these parts tonight and my whole being feels it.

Adding to the stretching, two of Jacob's brothers are moving away in the next week or so; one is taking his pregnant wife with him as well! I struggle to write the words that would give some sort of explanation as to how my heart feels about this. It makes me so sad. Life certainly doesn't afford me the time that I used to be able to spend with them, so the times that I do have with them are really meaningful to me, even when it's just dinner or them just stopping by. I feel like the little widow we visit down the street just longing for a little more time each time. Being married to their older brother and not having my mother-in-law around these last several years has given me such incredible opportunities to love them in a lot of different ways and I do love them so much.

So, we'll see what the rest of this night holds in store... certainly not finishing off the bag of Black Forest Caramels I have... actually it may in fact be those little caramels time to shine. Though a glass of pineapple juice also sounds really delicious... we'll see who shines brighter.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This Makes Me Laugh...

... EVERY time I see it. I almost fell out of my chair just now because this cracks me up so much.

It's a picture from our past that I found as I was browsing through old photos of my babies (when my niece turned five, I may or may not have had an emotional meltdown as I looked through a little book of pictures that I had of her through the years... you can imagine my emotional state looking through pictures of my own little tinies! And there's no need to ask my husband about the emotional meltdown I had about my niece... it didn't startle him in the least or make him question why he chose to spend his life with a girl).

Hoping this day brings a lot of laughter into your life... or at least a few hearty chuckles here and there.