Monday, October 27, 2014

Good things come to those who wait.

Yes, yes they do! Really. But the saying should really go, "Good things come to those who trust the Lord and wait."

After 17 months of searching, 2 weeks ago tomorrow, we finally bought a house. Closed, signed, official as official can be. {Insert all the happiest dances, cheers and tears here!} Tuesday, October 14th, 2014, I will always remember you fondly.

Rewind 2 months:

We had just returned from our lovely, relaxing 10 day California vacation. Right before our trip, we had seen a listing for a house that really interested us. Unfortunately, our realtor was on vacation the entire week before we left and unable to show it. My husband was also traveling the 3 days before our trip. We called the realtor's office to see if any other realtor could show it before Lee left out of town. No, no one was available because it was the weekend. We tried every way we could think of to see this house before we left for nearly 2 weeks, but to no avail. Frustrated, we gave it to the Lord. If this wasn't the house, so be it. If it was, he could save it for us 2 weeks, right? Well you have to understand something here. Spring and summer are not good times to buy in Charleston, or so we learned. We would literally send our realtor 5-10 listings at a time, and by the time we scheduled to see them, half or more would be sold. Literally. Houses were selling like hot cakes, and if you didn't jump the second one came on the market (like within a day), you were slap out of luck. That's a hard situation to find yourself in when you don't yet live in the city. So, the thought of this house being available 2 weeks later seemed slim to none.

We decided to go on vacation and leave all our house hunting worries behind. We didn't think about, talk about, or look at ANY house listings the whole vacation. Nearly miraculous, as it had been our sole focus all the months prior. We arrive back home Sunday night, and received an email from our realtor Monday morning. Good news! The house we were interested was not only still available, but the sellers had dropped the price $20k! What the what?!? We couldn't believe our eyes. We set up an appointment to go see it that day, and knew immediately upon walking in that this was the one. After looking a dozens and dozens and dozens of houses over the past year, we were beginning to wonder if we'd ever feel, say or know that. But we finally knew that we had found our house. It was everything on our checklist. A 1950's ranch style house that hadn't been renovated since it was built. And it was exactly that, down to the last detail: the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a studio space, a fireplace, open living room + dining room floor plan, hard wood floors throughout, and an untouched kitchen and bathrooms we could renovate to our liking. It was a miracle! We seriously kept saying, we need to find a 50's grandma house that hasn't been updated yet so we can put our own touches on it. And guess what. . . the previous owners are the sweetest 91 and 93 year old couple that have no children and finally moved into assisted living. Our house was there all that time, it just wasn't ready for us yet. Sometimes God's promises just take a little time. 

We put an offer in the next day, and after a little negotiating, had an accepted offer a few days later. We got the house quite a bit under our budget which allowed us to get a home renovation loan to finance all the work that needed to be done. Now we were just praying we could get enough money to do all the things that needed done: new roof, new HVAC, total electrical rewire, update plumbing, gut and renovate kitchen and both bathrooms, paint entire house, and refinish hardwood floors. Closing was scheduled the last day of September. At this point it felt like we breathed a huge sigh of relief, all the while taking another deep breath for a whole lot more waiting. But. . . we would most definitely be bringing this baby home to a house. Our house. Our very first house. That was about the best news we could imagine.

Then life got a bit more crazy. The following 8 weeks were a hilarious combination of house guests every weekend, meetings with contractors, gathering an ungodly amount of paperwork (buying a house is SO. MUCH. WORK.), interviewing doulas, choosing appliances, cabinets, countertops, tile, sinks, faucets, shower doors, wood floor finishes, paint colors and roof shingle colors all within our budget, birthing classes, regular work, life and travel, AND trying to figure out a place to live while all the renovations are under way. Whew, I'm tired just typing that. 

That brings us to two Tuesdays ago. The blessed day we finally closed on our first home. Yes, our closing was delayed twice. Yes, the Lord miraculously provided through an early inheritance gift from my grandparents most the money we needed for our downpayment. Yes, it was a lot of waiting, praying, crying and trusting. Yes, the closing costs ended up being $1500 more than we thought. Yes, the whole process has been bigger than us, more expensive that we could afford, and stretched us to the breaking point. But the good news is we serve a big God. He has big plans for me, for you. He likes to be involved in our lives, and I've realized that sadly, the only way that usually happens is when things are too big or too hard for us to do on our own. It allows Him the chance to step in and be who He is. The big, all powerful, all knowing, all providing God!

Our tentative move in date is mid-December. At least we're crossing our fingers for that. We'd love to spend Christmas in our new house, and have a couple weeks to get unpacked and set up for baby girl's arrival the end of January. But, we shall see. If this whole process has taught me anything (and it has, a whole lot actually), it's this: Our ways are not God's ways. Our timing is not His timing. This life of being a follower of Jesus requires radical faith and radical trust. And a lot of times, it's waiting and trusting without knowing the outcome. That's scary, exciting, and nerve wracking all rolled into one, depending on the day.

The next 2 months don't look a whole lot slower than the last few. In 10 days, we're packing up (again) and moving back to NC to live with our gracious in-laws until the house is finished. My husband leaves for his second 2 week Asia work trip the day after. I have 2 baby showers to look forward to while he's gone. Yay! We leave 5 days after he gets back to spend a week in WA with my family for Thanksgiving. Another big yay! And then hopefully, a couple weeks later, we'll be heading back to Charleston to get moved into our brand new home just in time for Christmas. 

In other news, I'm 26w4d pregnant and baby girl is healthy, growing and quite the kicking machine. I'm feeling great and sleeping great too, thankfully. We're just soaking up every last drop of life as we know it, craziness and all. But we're getting more and more excited to meet and hold our girl. 95 days and counting;)

25 weeks
26 weeks

Thursday, October 9, 2014

It's OK to be needy.

It's OK to be needy. Yes...yes, you. I'm talking to you too. This is something I've had to tell myself every day the past 6 months. When all I want is to have it all together, to feel good at this busy, crazy, day-to-day life. . . I remind myself of what I don't really want to hear but what I so need to hear. It's OK to be needy. To not have it together ALL the time. To mess up or simply be messy. Because I know someone, and you might too. . . who loves to meet us in our messes, and needy-ness, and all those times we fail at having it 'all together'. 


A blur. That's what life feels like right now. An overwhelming, exciting, exhausting blur. Every time I blink, I feel like another week's gone by. Literally. Some days go more slowly, and I feel like I'm able to stop, breath it in, and enjoy it. Others fly by, filled with meetings, and longer to-do lists than I know how to do. One day at a time. . . or so they say (whoever they are).

I'm 23wks and 6 days pregnant (but who's counting) and completely amazed we're just a few short weeks away from the 3rd trimester. It makes me a little nervous about the amount of stuff that needs to be done and purchased (everything!) in just 16 short weeks. I have faith that somehow, by January 30th, we'll be settled in a more permanent housing situation, unpacked, with the basic baby essentials purchased and set up. How this is going to happen I'm not sure, but I remain hopeful.

It's been 15 weeks since we moved to this beautiful new city of ours. I'm falling in love with it a little bit more every day. The past weeks have been filled with traveling and visits from family and friends, along with a million other normal life things. I think we had an 8 week stretch of playing the hostess every single weekend. As fun as it was, we were so thankful for the past 2 weekends of just us. We're trying to soak up as much of that as we can these last few months. Just us. It's weird to think they'll be a third little family member soon. I partly feel like she's already with us, especially with her constant kicks to remind me she's there. She's growing bigger and stronger every day. We both are. . . at least the bigger part;)

In August, we enjoyed a lovely 10 day vacation, baby-moon, anniversary trip celebrating our 5 years together. We have never taken a vacation that long, ever, since being married. We usually spend our vacation days visiting my family in WA, and don't have many days left for us to do anything. This year, especially with baby's soon arrival, we wanted to change that.

We've dreamed about driving California's Hwy 1 coast for some time and decided why not now?! We flew into LA, stayed the night with dear friends, and picked up our Mustang convertible the following morning. We spent 3 days driving up the coast, stopping in the most quaint, cute beach towns imaginable. Driving those twisting, curving roads, with the top down, hair flipping in the wind beside my best friend was truly priceless. Our favorite part of the trip by far. And those views! We had to stop every 5 minutes for a better look. Literally!

After that, we were off to Napa and Sonoma Valley for 3 days of wine tasting. We stayed in the sweetest little modern B&B in the middle of no-where Sonoma Valley, complete with a breakfast chef, couples massages, and the coziest little fire pit. It was so peaceful that we never wanted to leave. Julie, the front desk employee, like us so much she gifted us a bottle of champagne for our anniversary. We're saving it for the next special occasion I'm allowed to taste it;)

We finished off our trip in San Francisco. We had gorgeous blue skies and sunshine for our final weekend. We visited the old island prison Alcatraz, and it was one of our favorite parts of being there. We boy did we walk. We saw the Painted Ladies, Haight Ashbury, The Coit Tower, Golden Gate Bridge, of course, and ate our way through the charming and hill-y city.


If there's one thing I've learned in this major transition season, it's this: My great need for Him every single day; and His great faithfulness to meet me, every single day.

"Relying on God has to begin again every day, as if nothing has yet been done." C. S. Lewis

I can't get this quote out of my head. It's how He made life. How He made us. To need Him every day. To come eat of the bread of life and to come drink the living water every single day. Not just once a week at church. But daily. He's our daily bread. It's His name, it's who He is.

I've never been more away of my needy-ness. It's painful and beautiful. And the amazing thing is He'll meet you exactly where you are, in that needy, messy, desperate place. He's there waiting, if we'll just come.

The next few months are full of a lot more crazy exciting things, so I'll try write again soon to keep you up-to-date.

Thanks for stopping by!