Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I think I've known it all along...

Well, here we are in June and still have not found a home. If you happened to read this post, you'll recall that we put an offer on that home and promptly withdrew it due to a crazy owner, um, I mean, crazy complications. Fast forward about 3 months and that owner came back to us and offered for us to buy the home at his previous lower listing price. Maybe it was meant to be after all!

There was just one catch...the owner was not willing to budge on price if anything negative happened to come back on the inspection. So, we trudged forward assuming the seller was being completely honest with his disclosures and signed to purchase the home 'as is'. 

During the inspection, the owner commandeered my husband the ENTIRE time...telling stories, giving advice, suggestions, or "recommendations" as he called them, how we were to run things in order for them to work properly, etc... Did I mention he was a little over the top?!? My husband was not able to walk around with the inspectors despite the many times I tried to pull him away.  

My husband turned to me at one point and said, "I'm overwhelmed, I just want to leave".

I'm stubborn, so we trudged on. 

At the end of the inspection, there were several small things and one somewhat large thing that caught our attention. Still, it was a decent price, so we pushed our hesitations aside and decided to move forward. 

That night, things were finally quiet and calm enough and my husband and I started going over the events of the day. We went through the inspection report line by line and talked about all the little repairs we had to make, all the oddities of the home and the way certain things were "rigged" up by the owner, little things that worked during our last visit 3 months ago that didn't work this time around, and the big issue - LOTS of rotting areas under the eaves that had previously been painted over. So many questions and hesitations came to the forefront. We both got the impression the owner was struggling to keep his home afloat and we did not want to walk into the mess we were sure he'd leave behind another 2 months from now. Neither of us got a good nights sleep. 

By the next morning, we both wanted out. We spoke with the loan officer and our realtor and put a hold on everything to really give us time to pray about buying this home. Thank God for those option days!

So, with 3 days left before we lost any earnest money, we signed off to end the deal. Neither of us felt complete peace because there was just so much uncertainty, but we BOTH felt like a huge weight had been lifted. 

Not only did we say no to this house, we said no to looking to buy another home all-together...and for good this time.

We are done. 

After tallying up all the repairs we'd have to make at that house, the few things we had to do on ours didn't seem so bad anymore. I have a new appreciation for my home and a new thankfulness for what I have. 

God wanted us to stay right here...and I think I've known it all along...it just took me a little while to get there ;)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Gold Stars for...Everyone?

Let's face it...we are living in a time where every parent thinks their kid deserves to win a trophy or make the team regardless of if they ever put in the time and effort.

As a parent who has a child who works her tail off to better herself and pushes herself to advance and improve, parents the like above mentioned make me angry.

Oh sure, there are "supposed" to be skill requirements, but in reality, the enforcement of those requirements are purely up to the people in charge. When you require only certain people to meet those requirements and not others, you "cheapen" the efforts of those kids who practice their tails off at home or elsewhere. 

And don't think for a second these kids don't see what is going on! 

Those kids whose efforts are cheapened end up disappointed, let down, and wary of the integrity of the people in charge. Those kids who get what they want regardless of the effort they put in end up growing up thinking everything is owed to them and they deserve it simply for being on the earth.

There is an entire generation of twenty-something loafers out there who think they deserve exactly what the hard-working people get and its only getting worse with each new generation. 

*Enter the younger version of Bernie Sanders*

I get it...I get that we want our kids to have fun and be included. Sure, every child needs to be acknowledged for trying out and for whatever effort they put in with a participation award or participation ribbon, but to give every child a gold star or a trophy or a spot on the team simply for showing up? That's just sad...

So, go ahead, keep your gold stars, just don't ask me where I'd like you to stick them.

Monday, March 21, 2016

3rd time is NOT the charm...

So, we put an offer on yet another home. This made the 3rd offer since last October.

It was one we had seen several months ago...pretty, needed some updating here and there, but had everything we wanted, including waaay more room than we ever set out to ever look for....but it was waaay out of our price range. Well, fast forward a few months and the home has been on the market almost a year and the sellers lowered the price by quite a substantial amount which put the home IN our price range.

So, we went out to look at it. Prayed about it for a few weeks, then went to see it again. We decided to make an offer. We offered $10,000 less than the asking price. We figured that was reasonable considering it had been on the market almost a year and it would leave some bargaining ground.

So, what was the outcome, you might ask? The seller wanted $20,000 MORE than the asking price. Is that insane or what?!?! 

Sad part is, I think the seller actually EXPECTS people to come in and offer waaay more than the asking price as if it's a normal thing and WE are the crazy one's for not doing it. 

Um....no thanks. We'll pass.

Now, we are back where we started...again.

I know God has called us to foster. I know we need a 4th bedroom if we want to foster sibling groups. I just need to trust that things will work out. I don't need to get bogged down in the details of it all. We still have time an our timing may not always be God's timing. So, we are continuing to move forward with foster classes. If we don't have a home with an extra bedroom by the time we are finished, God will show us what we need to do.

Who knows...maybe our future home will pop on the market in the nick of time or maybe God will change our thinking about something...all we can do is trust....

Friday, March 18, 2016

More Uncertainty...

I feel like I have been on a roller coaster...physically and emotionally.

After missing out on buying the house we really liked last month, we considered just staying where we are. We made appointments to have contractors come out to look at doing a few remodels as well as adding in a storage building. Um...not happening!

Unless you want to do it yourself, construction costs are crazy expensive. We just can't see putting more money into a home where we would NEVER be able to recoup that cost. I mean, we love our home and the 2 acres it sits on. We've worked hard over the last 15 years to update our home and the land. It is so peaceful and quiet and flood-zone free which is a HUGE asset where we live. 

If we are going to foster though (and I'd like to foster younger sibling groups), we need another bedroom.

So, we are back to the grind looking for another house. We've found plenty of homes, but something is always lacking with the land part. I think that's what we like best about where we live now. We have cut walking and go cart/4-wheeler trails all through the back acre. We've built a solid 2-story fort/cabin in the woods for the kids that we can have actual campouts in. We have fruit trees galore with some of the best tasting satsumas on the planet. We put in an above ground pool 2 years ago and slaved endless hours building the  beautiful deck. Updated every room in the house. And more...

I know we can do all that at another home with another piece of land, but I get overwhelmed at the process of all that. I realize it took 15 years to get our current house and land to where it is today and we can do the same at the next place we call home. 

It's a process...life is a process...and with that comes much uncertainty along the way...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Eat Your Words...

So, yesterday was insane.

If you have been following my recent posts, then you know we made up our minds and were content to stay right where we are. We really were...at least I thought we were. Then we get an email about the perfect house for us...and it was.

The house had EVERYTHING we were planning to do to this house as far as construction and remodeling and then some...perfect size - not too big or too small, acreage, quiet little town, number of bedrooms, space for a school room, pool, AND a killer price. We could basically move from here to there with very little added cost!!!!

An older home, well built. Nothing fancy, but nice, clean and a good use of every square foot of space. The doors I want to put on this house, the other house had. The 2 bay storage building with lean-to we want to put here, it had. The bathroom we want to add here for pool access, it had. The desks the kids each wanted put in their rooms, it already had them built in. Plus, BOTH of the kids were onboard with moving there and usually one has been not so sure :/ There's more, but I'll stop there.

I thought, "Why, God, why? Why are we seeing this now that our minds are finally made up to stay here? We are trying hard to trust you...Is THIS what you had planned all along? Was that a test? Is THIS the step you want us to take?

So, we make an appointment to see it the next day (which was last night). LOVED IT! Put an offer on it an hour later only to find out that the owners had accepted another offer earlier in the day. Our realtor was understandably upset.

Seriously?!? WHY did we have to go through that? Why didn't that realtor let our realtor know and save us ALL the time and effort if an offer had already been accepted well before our viewing? What do you want us to learn, God? What are you trying to teach us? I want to trust, I am trying to trust, but I'm so confused. It feels like the perfect bait was dangled in front of me and when I went to reach for it, it was snatched away. I hate that feeling.

I'm not really mad...I'm confused and disappointed. Well, I am upset with that other realtor. I don't like to waste other people's time and I certainly don't appreciate others wasting mine :/ 

So, that puts us right back to where we started...here

You know, it's funny.... Right before I got the call from our realtor, I was telling my sister all about the house and how perfect it was. They are also in the process of buying a home and she told me their financing fell through (due to NO fault of their own - issues with the loan company itself) and they didn't know if the sellers would be willing to wait and start the entire process over again with them. I told her to "trust in God; he may have something better for you". 

Little did I know, I would be eating my own words no less than 5 minutes later when our realtor called back to give us the bad news...

I've decided, telling someone else to trust is much easier....when you have to swallow your own words? Not so much...

I know in my heart that His ways are always higher and His plans are always good, so why does my mind still have trouble accepting that when a kink is thrown in?

Obviously, I still have a long way to go with the whole trust thing :( 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Needs vs Wants...

So, my husband and I sat down and really tried hard to separate our TRUE needs from things that were really just wants. Funny how easy it is to get the two confused ;)

We came up with a few things...we really did need another bedroom for fostering. We did need some additional storage space. In a house with no attic space, no storage closets inside the house, and tiny bedrooms and clothing closets...we had reached a point where some of the things we needed to keep around were taking over and cluttering up the entire house. Then there's what to do with all my school things I needed to keep if that room was going to be converted into another bedroom :/

Fast forward to the month of February and we have decided we are going to put up a wall between our school room and dining room in order to create that additional bedroom. This one has been very hard for me, but I know it's the right thing to do. We are going to put in a storage building next to our house to store all the school and other household things we need to keep, but may not necessarily use on a day to day basis. We are also going to convert the existing and unused tiny front porch into a hallway to keep the flow of traffic from going through the dining room and to help with the air conditioning circulation to our living room (which has always been an issue in our L-shaped house). 

We do have a small list of wants too...depending on the cost, they may come at the same time the needs do, they may come later, or perhaps not at all.

We'd love to add a half bath in the laundry room. The water and sewer lines run right past that room, the backdoor to the laundry room is right by the pool, and it's located off the living room so people who visit don't have to go through our entire home to use the bathroom. We put in an above ground pool and deck 2 summers ago, but we (and guests) have to walk through the entire house to get to the bathroom. I sop up lots of water during the warm months...which, in Texas, is pretty much 75% of the year. And it ain't easy trying to keep those wood laminate floors from getting water in the cracks and bubbling up :( 

I'd love to update my kitchen by adding in a few cabinets along the side wall (which would give me some much needed kitchen storage) and painting the existing cabinets. I'm fond of the antiqued/distressed look. Hey, what's not to like there? If you bump or scratch the cabinet doors, it looks like it's supposed to be there ;)

And finally, we'd love to add on a usable front porch that we can actually sit under on a porch swing, watch the rain, the birds and squirrels, and anything else that might be going on outside. We love the outdoors...

When we finally had our minds made up as to what we really needed to do, we both have felt at peace since then. I don't know if God will have us move in the future, but for now, we feel He wants us to stay right here :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Burning Bush via a Rolling Cart ;)

The Christian school where my nephews attend was cleaning out and getting rid of a lot of things. My sis asked me if I wanted to have a nice rolling cart with marker board because no one else wanted it. Really?! Those things are super nice and expensive. I'm sure I knew someone in my circle who wanted it. Eventually, it made its way to my house where it sits in the back of my school room in front of the fireplace we never use...because we live in South Texas and a fireplace is nothing more than a decorative area ;)

All the while, remember, we are still searching for a new home. My husband and I had tossed around the idea of adding a bedroom on to our current home, but with an L-shaped house, that is not always easy to do and there's the headache of living in a home that is being renovated and that was just not something we wanted to do. 

We did decide to start doing a few updates to our home tho, you know, to get it ready to sell... clean out clutter, paint a few walls, update the master bathroom, clean up the yard, etc...   While doing this, a thought kept occurring to me.... look at what you have now...it's more than enough...and it's already paid off.

I kept pushing that thought back. What was I thinking! It was NOT enough room...sure, if I closed in my school room we'd get that extra bedroom, but that was NOT happening. I NEEDED my school room!

Over the Christmas holidays, my sis borrowed my school table for a family get together. I kept forgetting to get it back...and you know what, we did ok for those few weeks of school. I found that the dining room table doubles quite nicely as a school table ;)  Without that school table, the kids did their school work all over the house (their bedrooms, the couch, the floor) rather than just staying mostly in the school room at the school room table. 

Little by little, the things I thought I NEEDED, I found were really just wants and I could do without. But God, if I got rid of my school room, where would I put my wall marker board...in my dining room?!? I love my marker board. I know, it's kind of a weird obsession. It's one of my staples. I use it every single day. I need it, but I'm not sure I want that thing hanging up in my dining room :( 

Then I glance over and see that rolling cart...complete with marker board. 

Seriously, God, did you send my burning bush via a rolling cart?

Home Sweet Home?

I don't remember when we started looking to move to a new home, but it happened around the same time we felt we were being led to foster...I'm thinking August or September of 2015.

I decided, if I was going to do this, I "needed" a larger home. Of course, this new home "needed" to be completely updated, have high ceilings, AND a pool. Eventually, we found one that fit the bill and we put in an offer. It was accepted and we began the process of inspections. 

This home was absolutely beautiful and had everything (and more) we thought we "needed" in a new home. Long story short, from that point on, neither myself or my husband could sleep at night. We tossed and turned and were not at peace about anything. We were literally making ourselves sick over it all. We were praying hard for God to lead us in the right direction and to make the right decisions and He was...Problem was, we were not listening :/  

We had our minds made up as to what WE needed and what direction WE needed to move in. We were trying hard to make OUR will God's will instead of the other way around. 

The entire time, I kept hearing God say, but you already HAVE what you NEED. Yes, we could have gone through with the home purchase and eventually become comfortable with it all, and yes, God would still have been with us...but in the end, that's not the best He had for us. We were settling for something other than His best for us. 

We convinced ourselves that it was just that house...that there must be something better God has for us...so we continued to look. "God, please guide us to the right home", I prayed over and over. "Seriously, God, send me some sort of sign or burning bush guiding us in the right direction." 

Problem was, he had, but I refused to see it. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

The "F" Word...

The "F" word....It's something I have been praying about, thinking about, and occasionally conversing about with my husband...


If adding my brother into the homeschooling mix wasn't enough, my husband and I feel God had laid it on our heart to begin fostering. So, in September, we started taking classes. Fast forward to January and we are only about half way through the process. We could have been done by now, but there have been several distractions getting in the way...major layoffs at my husband job, contentment issues, and just the regular ol' chaos of everyday life. 

I see now how God has been helping me work through my issues with control and change and flexibility...things I will definitely need when fostering. I look at what we have going on currently and I get overwhelmed thinking about how we are going to do all that AND foster :/

I need to trust, that if God has told us to do something, He will supply us with whatever we need when the time comes in order to do that something. I let the worry of future things get in the way of my present things all too often.

I also "think" I "need" too many things before we start fostering, problem is, I'm getting my NEEDS and WANTS all mixed up. 

One of those being our home. Ok God, if you want me to do this, then I'm going to NEED a bigger house.

I have issues...

Wow! Has it really been almost a year since my last post? Hard to imagine time flying by so quickly. I used to be better at documenting what has been going on with the kids schooling. I use this as a year book of sorts. The kids like to look through the pictures and recall memories of fun activities and other things from the past.

LOTS of changes will be taking place in our little family very soon. We are excited about it, but very nervous at the same time. Before I get to that, let me catch you all up on what HAS BEEN going on before I get to what WILL BE going on (just in case anyone except for me actually reads this and feels lost...lol).

My brother is homeschooling with us again :) I had a matter of days (yes, literally days) to prepare for him at the start of the school year. Luckily, my son and brother are in the same grade, so we were able to make copies of needed worksheets until his books arrived. I am a HUGE planner so it's a wonder I survived the first few weeks and months given that everything was thrown into a tail spin and the months of planning I had done over the summer was thrown out in a matter of minutes :(  Have I mentioned I don't like last minutes changes? I have issues with change.

Looking back, I realize God was teaching me to be flexible and to allow Him to be in control instead of me. Have I mentioned that I like to have control too? And I DON'T like to give it up... Yes, I have major control issues as well.

Why is He teaching me these things tho? It all had to do with the "F" word...