Our Journey to Our Dream House PART 2

Closing day was approaching and we were all anxious. Packing up, moving, and all the last minute details were really at the height of stress. Just one more week to go, I kept reminding myself. It will all be over soon.

Just a few days before the closing, there was a problem with the sale of our house. Apparently someone forgot to record a mortgage we had closed on the property when we refinanced 12 years ago, so it could not close now without proof of that mortgage being cancelled. We spent hours upon hours going through all of our paperwork from the last 12 years and this paper was nowhere to be found. The bank was out of business, the lender, etc. NO one had any idea where it was. Our attorney became a detective trying to track it down. It was an intense two days. Here our moving truck was ready to be rented and we weren’t even sure if we were closing. Friends were on standby to help us pack the truck. The stress level was high to say the least.

Finally, the attorney was successful in finding what we needed, and that problem was taken care of. SO it would be smooth sailing now…right? 

The stress level was about to go even higher than I imagined…

We were supposed to close on both houses on Friday. Thursday all of our very best friends came and helped us pack the truck. Which can I just say how incredibly blessed we are? People literally took off of work to help us move. People just showed up that we didn’t know were coming. God’s servants are truly special people. I was in awe of how they served us.

The whole while the truck was being packed, it was still unsettling though because we still didn't have confirmation we would close the next day. And if we didn’t close, the truck would be packed and would need to be returned on Sunday. What we would do if we didn’t close and our whole life was packed into 26 feet of truck?  Needless to say, I was stressed. I had trouble sleeping and eating. I just felt so anxious.

Yet, amidst the anxiety I knew many truths. That God had a plan for all of this. That this isn’t suffering compared to what many people go through. That He would work it all for good. And that I needed to surrender to Him.

Well, Friday came and it was CLOSING day. Yet, I still didn’t have confirmation that we would actually close. In fact, our attorney told us it would be impossible to close on our new home if we didn’t close on the home we were selling by 2 pm. There wouldn't be enough time for the funds to transfer and we needed the funds from the house we were selling to purchase the new home.

As the clock ticked, my anxiety levels peaked. What would we do if we closed on our house that we were selling, but not on the purchase? We had a truck filled with all of our earthly belongings that needed to be returned Sunday, and we may not have a home until Monday.

Well, 2:00 came and went. I knew that the attorney said it would not be possible to close now. So we resigned ourselves to the fact that at least for the weekend, we would not have a home. We asked the truck rental to extend the truck another two days, and they said it was probably not possible, but then they said, by a miracle it was! Ok, so one problem solved. We would keep our belongings on the truck for the weekend, but where would we go?

At 3 pm we were told the buyers of our home were coming to walk through the house and then they would be closing. I told my husband I needed to get out of the house and take a ride in my car.

I got in my car and prayed...prayed out loud…really, really loud. I cried out literally to God. I knew that we couldn’t close on our new home until Monday, and I just had to surrender to His plan, no matter how much it scared me.

I was screaming out loud (yes, that was me...the crazy lady in the car yelling and crying...;) 
Psalm 20:7:
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

As I was driving, crying, praying, the phone rang. It was my realtor and she said:
“Honey, we are going to close tonight.” 


I kept believing I would not trust man for the outcome but God.  And I HAD surrendered to the plan not working out the way I wanted. 

And then, GOD made the impossible, possible.

At the last hour- actually it was PAST the last hour. 
And He stepped in.

The people buying our home said they would sign the check directly over to the account needed to purchase our new home, so we didn’t have to wait for money to transfer. 
Oh.my. crazy. 

I never in million years thought of this, and here God was making a way.

The next several hours were a whirlwind. I was beyond exhausted, physically and mentally. In a very surreal way, I showed up at our attorneys office at 6:30 pm on a Friday night to sign the papers to close on our new home. He said the deal was done but since the attorney on the purchase had left the office, we just needed to wait until Saturday for him to come and approve everything. He said he would call me Saturday, and then we could officially enter our home.

And He did. 

And we rejoiced. 

After one last sleepless night with high anxiety, I have never rejoiced so much out loud in my car as I drove up to my new home...

There were many more small miracles taking place throughout this whole process. Too many to list. The story is already long enough, but I must say this:

God always, always knows best. His plans are always better than ours. All of the things that happened over the last 18 months, were linked together in perfect order to fulfill His plan. They were all linked together to teach ME, to helps us grow as a family, and to further my dependence on Him alone.

After all, He is sovereign. How could I dare think I have any control. Even in suffering, He wants us to have faith. He wants us to hold on when we think we can’t anymore.

He has blessed us beyond measure in our new home. I keep thinking I will wake up and it is all a dream! The home we purchased is large enough for all the entertaining and guests we have dreamed of. The property is more than I ever hoped for. It is just too much to comprehend that after all this time, God answered our prayers abundantly more than we ever hoped for.

Had we bought the first house (the white house), we would have been doing lots of work. This house is brand new. The farmhouse was great, but smaller than this house, and much more expensive. Here's the kicker...we are paying about $40 more on our mortgage a month for this house, than our old house. For that little bit, we have SO much more! Tons of living space, brand new home, a garage, basement, a barn, acres of property...It is crazy. God has blessed us abundantly, and this truly was the house meant for us. It IS better, far better, than all of the others!

This morning in our Bible time, we read all of Psalm 20. We also talked about how we will use this home for His glory and to honor Him. May we praise Him daily, in all things...and continue to Simply Live for HIM!

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and grant you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices
    and accept your burnt offerings.[b]
4 May he give you the desire of your heart
    and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory
    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
6 Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
    but we rise up and stand firm.
9 Lord, give victory to the king!
    Answer us when we call!


Our Journey To Our Dream House PART 1

I can’t believe as I am typing this, that I am really sitting in this amazing house. I can’t yet wrap my head around all that has happened to get us to this point, but I will try to share the story as best as I can, because I want to give God the glory for all that HE has done.

I’ve always been a Little House on the Prairie girl a heart. I love simple and have always dreamed of having large property where the kids could explore, we could garden, maybe even have chickens. The house we lived in was lovely, but I always hoped for that country setting.

About 18 months ago, we were casually looking at homes for sale online and we found an old house on great property. We named it “The white house” because it was white! It was really old though- built in 1888 and would need significant work. Yet, I dreamed of living there and the lifestyle it would provide. 

One of the major reasons we even looked was because my husband had recently begun his own business and desperately needed office space for his work. This would provide more room, plus that ideal property. Another main reason to move was more living space- not for us necessarily, because I don’t crave a big house to take care of (after all, I am the “simple” girl.) But we love having people over and using our home for ministry and relationships. We host family Bible studies and teens and we wanted space to do all that.

I was in love with the white house and we made an offer. It was declined. We made two more subsequent offers, and both were declined. No negotiations, just declined. It was heartbreaking. We couldn’t understand WHY God wouldn’t allow us to have this house.

“Something better is out there,” my realtor always told us.

No way. I wanted THIS house, but trusted God. We moved on.

We stopped looking for awhile and then came across "the farmhouse." We fell in love with this small farm in a beautiful small country town. We made an offer and it was accepted! I couldn’t believe it. We put our home on the market, and it sold in 13 days! Finally, our dreams were coming true. This must be the house God wanted us to have.

Yet, after getting so close, that dream came crashing down when the buyer of our home lost his job, and the deal fell through. I was somewhat relieved to be rid of the stress, because towards the end that house didn’t feel “right.” Yet, I couldn’t understand why God would have us go through all that, only to have it fall through. 

Everyone said that God had something better for us, but I decided we weren’t meant to move, and we would make do with what he had. After all, we had a house and were blessed with all we had been given already. I felt like God wanted us to stay, and we did. And there we were, unpacking our boxes, right there in the same house we were living in.

The summer was lovely in our home, and we continued to have a house full of guests when we wanted (although quite crowded) and my husband figured out ways to work at home given the space we had. And then came the fall…and this beautiful house came through on an email list, that looked just perfect…

“Lets go drive by it, “ I said to my husband. And we did. And we were in love. The property was a dream come true. The next step was seeing the inside, which we were equally in love with, and then, making an offer. At this point I was NOT ready to go through trying to sell our house again- but we had to in order to purchase the new house.

Within one hour of our house being on the market, we had an inquiry, and a contract in two days! I knew this was God’s plan, because I said I would only move if it was easy, and it couldn’t get any easier than that!

The whole process of selling our home and buying one at the same time was stressful, but was also relatively smooth…up until the last week before closing…then it all almost fell apart…


Trust Jesus...

This is quite a surreal post to write. I've been writing it in my head for days. 
Trying to wrap my head around 13 years. 

We are moving. We are leaving our first home, that we moved into just short of 13 years ago. Actually next month, it will be 13 years since we owned this home. My daughter, was not even a year old yet. We were newly married, new to parenthood, and just beginning our walk with the Lord. SO much has happened here in this home. These walls know the beginnings of our life together. They saw three baby boys join our family. They saw first steps, new beginnings, smiles, and joy. They also witnessed heartache, pain, and tears.

The memories spiral in my mind.

Backyard fun,
Family Bible Studies,
Bike riding,

What really strikes me though is how our journey with the Lord took place here in this town. I clearly remember when we were getting ready to move here...I had never even heard of this town before, and then suddenly we had an offer in and a closing date set. I was nervous...our first house...what were we getting into it? Could we afford it? We knew no one in the area. What were we thinking? I would panic and wonder if it was the right decision.

Some days, prior to our moving, I would put my baby girl in the car for nap time and drive up to the neighborhood...I'd drive around and wonder what life was going to be like. As I drove up one time, full of fear...there it was...in the trees...

Now, stick with me here...this is the point of the story where it gets so strange, that if I were reading this as a reader, I'd raise my brow. Really, though. This is the truth. I was driving one day, and there in the trees lining the highway...were these little wooden signs. They read, "Trust Jesus."

Now, I am not one for believing that God sends us "signs"...sure He does things for confirmation, but this? (just recently I told a friend this story, and guess what? She remembered the signs! They really were there!)

Anyway, those signs brought much comfort to me. You see, I was just beginning my journey  of a relationship with Jesus. So those signs really meant something. And deep down,  I knew it would be all right.

And it was. It sure was. What a journey He put us on.

You know the funny part? The town we live in...it's name...Mount Olive. As I sit here today and ponder that, it really does not seem to be a coincidence. The Mount of Olives in the Bible is the very place where Jesus taught many people. They came to hear Him speak at the Mount of Olives.

And so did we.

That is exactly what happened here in our Mount Olive.  I spent time with Jesus. I sat at His feet and learned so much. We found our church, our church family, and we found Him. We learned more than I ever could have imagined 13 years ago. We are now in a place in our life that I never dreamed of.

Isn't God amazing?

And guess, what...the town we are moving to? Its name is Hope. I am exuberant with anticipation of what God has in store for us in such a place. Who we will meet...who we will touch, and who will touch us. Life is a beautiful thing. I am so grateful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And for Hope. The true and only Hope found in Him.

To God Be the Glory for what He has done and what He will do!

So, as we prepare to leave our beginnings, we are excited for new things. New chapters. Friday, Lord willing, we will walk out the front door for the very last time, and into Hope. A future. And a new chapter.


Is It "Just" Stuff...

Moving can really test you. Here I am amidst a sea of boxes, many I didn't even know existed up there in the attic these past twelve years...they've been home to cobwebs and little stinkbugs...out of sight, out of mind.

As each one came slowly down from the attic, I couldn't believe how much was up there. It like one of those clown cars where they keep coming out...over and over...box after box.

I peered inside...some were really just junk. Easy decision. Toss it. Simplify, simplify, simplify. After all, I'm the lady who writes about simplifying. Purge. Only take what's necessary. I keep repeating these things.

And then, I slowly peel back the fraying cardboard box, the somewhat musty and dusty smell hits me, and it's like I am swirling back in time...years and years, way back. Way before the days of mommy hood, even before adulthood. Boxes of memories. Pictures, letters, trinkets, things of the past (lots of times I'd rather forget...the high school box...the difficult years) start flooding my eyes. I don't even know where to begin. I find my baby book, my 8th grade year book, pictures of loved ones long passed, notes, cards...it's almost too much. I save that box for another time.

Then there's the big Rubbermaid bin of my daughters elementary years. The time she learned to write her name, her first books, her first phonics lessons, her math, her Cubbies vest, her scribbles and scrabbles.

"Do we really need to take all of that stuff?" my husband asks. "No," I think. "We do not need to hold onto these things. After all, I haven't looked at them in years, and didn't even know they were up there. "

But, as I unfold that tattered and worn paper, with her very first sentence written on it...the memories...the scared mom who didn't want to homeschool...the little bucked tooth girl who I taught to read...and write...and do math...all the while, not knowing what the future would hold...and here I am in the future...knowing how it turned out. My past collides with my present. Memories flood my mind.

I start to dump the whole box into the garbage. Until, suddenly, I can't. I just can't. I start piling it all back into the Rubbermaid bin.

So, where do we draw the line on this simplicity stuff?
I know some of it is just stuff...but it is also a living testimony that shows where we have been and what we have become.

It really is just "stuff." Yet, it is very hard to part with. So, I make the decisions on what to keep and what to part with. Part of the past I don't want to remember, but it is what made up this life God has given me. The memories of my high school years, the years I dated my husband, our wedding, early parenthood. It is all such a part of this wonderful life He has given.

So, I sit here torn. I know it is just "stuff" and just one more thing to move. It will probably end up back in an attic for many more years, home to more little stinkbugs and cobwebs...but it is part of the legacy I leave. I think about my future adult kids...is that the next time these boxes will even get opened...when they clean out my things...someday...will they look through these things and see the legacy someday? I decide to keep much of it. Yes, I know I am simplifying, but there are some things that I just can't let go.

Then I smile, I see what my eighth grade English teacher wrote in my yearbook..."Keep Writing..." Hmmm, isn't it funny how life turns out. I never expected to be still writing...and here I am. Then I laugh, as I read a story I wrote and in red it reads, "Watch your tenses." Something I still struggle with today. Oh, the past has a funny way of showing up...I am thankful for these reminders of who I am and where I was.


Lessons from Ezra

I just love when God teaches us lessons. Yesterday, we were talking about honoring God and how we should stop each day and ask ourselves, "Are my actions honoring God? Are my thoughts honoring God? Am I honoring God in how I behave?" I asked the kids to look up verses about honor and we would discuss them today.

I myself,  also looked up verses in the Bible, and God brought me to Ezra. My concordance brought me to Ezra 7:27-28.

Praise be to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way 28 and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.
Ezra 7:27-28

This caused me to look further into Ezra, and it made me smile how God really used this lesson. We have also been talking so much lately about knowing God's Word and about really living what we learn. Well, Ezra's life teaches us these very things. God tied in the verse to exactly what we were discussing.

"For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel." Ezra 7:10

That's it. In a nutshell. Pure and simple. Those are the three things I want my children to do above all. If they can do those three things, then I have done my job.

  • Know God's Word
  • Live God's Word
  • Teach it to Others
Sure they need to know math, and reading, and writing. But God's Word above all else equips for life. It equips for eternity. I truly believe if we know God's word and live it, He will equip us for everything else we need. He will bless us for honoring Him. The closer we are to Him in His Word, the more we will be equipped for whatever life hands us.

It's really plain and simple. Sure we can focus on providing the fanciest of curriculum, or the elaborate studies...but it really all comes down to knowing God's Word first and foremost. That is where true wisdom is found. Then living it and then passing it on to others. A simple truth that once we grasp, will allow us to do far more than we ask or imagine. God will use us to honor Him, when we know Him and make Him known.

Thank you Lord for this lesson today. You knew exactly what we all needed to hear. I  thank you for your Word and for the privilege to teach it. Now may I live it...


The Pilgrims Didn't Have a Pinterest Board

this is a repost from 2013

My mind is swimming after scanning Pinterest today. There are so many resources out there for having the "perfect" Thanksgiving. While it is all so beautiful and creative, may we not lose focus on those special days, because we live in a super charged world filled with so many distractions.

A few years back we studied the Pilgrims, and even took a trip to Plymouth, MA. What stood out to me most about that time was that those people truly lived their faith. They truly risked it all.  Imagine leaving your country  with your family, small children maybe even, and sailing across the ocean to an unknown land. Imagine getting to that land and losing most of your friends that winter to disease and death. Imagine doing this all for your faith. Imagine doing it all for the outcome you would never see in your lifetime.

That's faith. Faith isn't talking about it, making cute crafts about it, writing about it even. Faith is LIVING IT.

Truer faith I do not know...

So this Thanksgiving, remember what it is truly about. Read about the Pilgrims. Discuss them with your children...their struggle, their perseverance, their faith. Then live it. We don't need the best dressed table, the best decorations, or the best "stuff."

Our children will learn more from us in action. Seeing our own faith in action. Living it. They don't care what the crafts were or the table looked like, but they will care that they were loved. They will learn more from a faith that is in action, than from a faith that is talked about.

So remember the Pilgrims. That first Thanksgiving had nothing to do with cute and beautiful stuff. What was celebrated was their God and His provision. They didn't need a Pinterest board. They had enough. And because of them we are here today.

(note- I DO love Pinterest and it is surely fun and helpful at times, but may it not consume us...)

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.


Take Time for Retreat

This past weekend I was able to spend time away at a ladies retreat. It was wonderful! It was time to step away from the craziness of life that has been swirling around and to just be still.

I am so glad God led me to go on that retreat. It was sort of a last minute decision, but I know His hand was in it.

I learned so much from my time away...Do you take time to get away and be still before the Lord?

I was able to sit, unplugged, with no agenda and just be. Alone with my thoughts and with God. In fact, the only picture I snapped was this one from the lake. 

The rest are in my mind, between me, myself, and the Lord ;) We don't always have to document it all...

I was able to spend sweet fellowship with sisters. Many I hadn't been with for a while and this was a gift. We picked up where we left off, as if time hadn't passed, and as if it had been forever, all at the same time...

I listened to stories that I would never have normally been able to hear...stories of hardship and God's miracles. Testimonies of things our great God can do in others' lives.

I cried through worship time, because when you are in a room with hundreds of ladies voices lifted, it is like a tiny glimpse of heaven. Never ceases to bring me to tears.

When I came home, I was beyond exhausted. I can't really explain why I was so exhausted except that maybe my body and soul had a chance to finally be still...and they needed it so.

I also took two days to get my computer turned back on...and once there, I wanted to turn it off! I enjoyed being with my old "un-technological" self, without the distractions of today.

I encourage you if you can get away with a group or alone...to grab the opportunity. It is a blessing and necessity. Be with yourself. Before the Lord. Be with other sisters. In fellowship. Get rid of the daily distractions, and just simply be.