Inspection Done

Super happy to have this day behind us. I haven't been sleeping as many hours as I need lately because of all the excitement - nor working out as much, or eating as well...

Today we had the Partridge inspection. I knew Mary Jo was coming for it, so I wanted to make sure everything looked nice. Again. So school, making a big pot of soup for my mom, laundry, cleaning, and working out, followed by all the dogs and cat in the car for two hours during dinner... 

I'm grateful now. The house is nice and clean, I washed Frank today too, we all ate (at Moe's and Cold Stone) in the car, and the inspection is done. Check! 

We waved the inspection on the Blueberry house, having had Glen with us for the showing and knowing there was nothing that could have been uncovered that would make us not buy the house. So I'm glad we're that much closer to closing. 

We learned from Kimmer today that closing will probably be sooner than May 31st. She said once all work is ready for the closing they will push it through to a nearer date. That was kind of exciting since we'd heard that it wasn't an option because of all the time the preparation work would take. 

I'm feeling like I'm ready to really relax and sink into the joy in this journey with Greg and Zeek. Greg is getting really excited and can't wait to move to Blueberry. Zeek too. We all are. It's so amazing to me all the ways that God has worked in all of this. 

He is so good. 


From the Pear Tree to the Blueberry

I can't believe I haven't written when so much has happened. It's been a whirlwind! 
We saw the Blueberry house for the first time, PUT IN AN OFFER ON IT within hours, had my mom and dad arrive for their visit, GOT THE ACCEPTED OFFER sooner than expected! Then we saw the Blueberry house with my parents, brother and Peggy for the second time the next morning, 

had Easter, exhausted every possible vision, idea and angle in choosing a design pallet for the Blueberry renovation (to begin in June). We have been mad rushing around to get checks and documentation dropped off to the right places on time, warranties, and rental details squared away, and now that we know the space we will be in, selling and ridding of things that we will not be taking with us on our move. 

We just fell in love on the first showing. We were so surprised how nice it was. In our experience so far we haven't seen any houses who didn't look worse than their pictures eluded to. This house was the opposite. We couldn't believe how nice everything was. The floors, tiled showers, bathroom cabinets and countertops, even the paint on the walls and ceilings has been well done and looks great. 

The yard is so awesome. And the tree is a willow. And I did cry. And so did my realtor. It even has an adorable picturesque wooden swing hanging from a branch. 

My mom knew to tell me every plant on the property - and while I was a little sad to leave my new hydrangea plant behind at the Partridge home, SURPRISE, there are quite a few mature hydrangea plants at my new Blueberry house waiting for me!! 

Glen Schlice was SO kind to join us for the showing, and he did a full hour walk through with Greg, inspecting every single thing, giving us the scoop on just what we were in for. It was all very positive, and we couldn't have been happier with all he shared. 

Zeek was a little scared and bummed at first. He was hoping we would either give him the master bedroom, or let him use the lower level living room as his bedroom. It took him a little time, but he has since come around and is very excited to live in his new house. 

He and I visited the backyard today so I could get a look at the size of the patio (all the concrete there is like new!) We enjoyed the neighbor's bonfire next to us while Zeek read his History lesson to me on the picnic table. It was so nice. I love our new place. And I love how the few people we've shared the news with have seen God so clearly in the start of this journey, and many of them have celebrated in praising His name with us in gratitude and excitement. 

God, You are amazing that You would do all the work to be able to call me someone. The way that you love me, surpassing all the limits and rules of this world just to let me know it's You. Thank you for being here with us. For allowing us to stretch and grow. And most of all for letting us see, feel, hear and know you in each step. Waiting for Your timing yields such a worthy result. Thank You, thank You, thank You. 


Second Showing Surprise

The day after we accepted the offer from Mary Jo, she requested that she be allowed to come back and show the house to her kids. 
We accommodated and left her a card welcoming her. 

Two days later we ran across this on the white board in the school room downstairs...

a little message from her and the family. 

We loved it!


Blueberry Lane

When we sold our house two days ago, we didn't have a house to move to. I wasn't too worried. God is good. 

Yesterday morning, as Greg was thinking about and looking for a house in a bit of a rush to get his family a place to live by the end of May, God gave me a great peace. I knew then that the house was there, and that we would know it without a doubt when we saw it. 

I did NOT expect to see it the very same day. I was prepared to wait, patiently and sure. 

Today, I'm overwhelmed.  

I am writing my address again. Writing it down and loving my life there before we've even seen it in person inside. Writing it and crying tears of awe and joy. I am seriously amazed. 

I wondered what the little things would be. 
In this Partridge house there were little things. Things that revealed to me the depth of how God knew my heart, even in the secret places, in things that hadn't ever been fleshed out. Hopes and dreams, ideas and visions, desires and connections to things that were here. 
And the same is happening with Blueberry. 

I will try to keep them in order:

First, the price (134,900), size of home (1,862) and lot (.29 acres), and the rooms (4) drew me to even look. 

Then we saw that is it in our old neighborhood, which we loved. Such a nice area to live. And I know that Greg finds comfort in that. 

Then we found out that every room feels like home, even just in pictures. 

I can see every room refinished, to our hopes and dreams. 

Greg loves it. Which is a hurtle in itself, not to mention that he has a harder time seeing past the surface and envisioning what it will be when we're done with it. He feels that thing he feels when it's right. 

Then we learned that it's on a fairly wooded lot - which I didn't dare want for, knowing we were moving into the city. But with all that is in me I have asked God to consider letting me live in the woods a little bit still. 

We were sad to learn that it is only a one stall garage (which could have been a deal breaker) but relieved to see that there is an extended driveway allowing for another car to park to the right of the garage space. Praise God! 

We learned that the home has water heat like we have at Partridge. This is another thing I did not expect but hoped for, if at all possible. 

Also, most homes with water heat don't have A/C, especially in this price range. So we were surprised and delighted to discover that this home does. 

Although Greg is not a fan of the old refinished hardwood floors, I LOVE them. And while we may change them if he is unhappy with them, I am pleased that they are a great start that will hold up well with our dogs. 

The screened room. The screen room. I don't know what to say. Except that my God loves me so much. 

And if that is a willow tree, which I have ALWAYS wanted, God help me. I might just "weep" in that backyard today.

The partially privacy fenced in large wooded property.

My dream is to not have a basement that we use. We actually saw a house listed last fall that was just on a cement slab, and that idea excited me. When we talked about building I hoped to not have a basement done. I don't want a second or third set of stairs anymore. I don't want the humidifiers, the bugs, the worry of leaking, and the whole business of a basement. Greg has been so hurt by basements and the drama they bring.

Ezekiel was telling me on the way to see this house from the outside that he really wants a basement in the next house. He wants to inhabit it for his own hang out space. I joked that I hoped we could have NO basement and give him his own space somewhere else in the house, even if we had to make a bedroom bigger by combining it with another. 

Last night, after that conversation, Greg and I learned that Blueberry HAS NO BASEMENT.
BUT, it is a bi-level home and has a room on the lower level in front across from the main living area, that would be perfect for Ezekiel to "inhabit". He also hopes to have complete creative control in the decorating and remodeling of this space. Thank You God. 

Greg doesn't mind this detail one bit knowing that I love not having a basement, the laundry is on the main level for me, and there are FOUR bedrooms! 

About those bedrooms... Greg and I will have one, Zeek will have another, Greg will make one his office, and we will have Greg's dream: a spare bedroom for my Mom when she visits! All within the square footage I wanted. WOW. God is good. 

Now for some personal touches...

The number of the address is my Mom and Dad Rick's birth year. And I was just telling someone how many things correlate with my parents and our stuff. How my Mom's dog and husband have the same birthday as my son, specifically... 

And if Blueberry Lane isn't cute enough, or that you have to turn on Mulberry and then Strawberry to get to Blueberry... blueberries happen to be my favorite! I have two blue plastic cups that I fill with blueberries and take in my car to "drink" whenever I buy them. 
Last summer I visited my Dad while I was in NC. He drove up from Georgia to stay with Zeek and I in the city for a few days. It is one of my fondest memories in time. When I climbed into my my Dad's truck I saw that he had his own stash of blueberries right where I carry mine in my truck. I had no idea. He had no idea. It was "our" thing. 

Also, while Zeek and I were driving away from the Blueberry house, we were talking about and checking out the surrounding homes for signs of kids his age. I have been talking to him about praying for God to put him in a place where there are nice kids for him to befriend. Just as we were talking, an adorable young man about Zeek's age comes onto the street walking his two dogs. Glasses, Harry Potter hair... he SMILES AND WAVES at us! I cried a little. 

And this is kind of silly, but I have been saying all the while, that my next house address will be something I don't have to spell out for everyone. I'm tired of that, and I want to be able to just say, "123 Main Street" and get on with it! lol
My new address will be just that. Thank You again. 

All of this that I can recall, and we haven't even been in this house yet! Today at 11:30. I can not wait! 

Dear Amazing God, 
THANK YOU. Only You know how grateful I am, how many ways, and for what. Thank You. 
Have Your way and protect the hearts of anyone else who might want Blueberry. Give them their home too. In Jesus name.

A Letter to Mary Jo

Eight years ago we came to this lot just to see this house. It was well out of our price range ($264,900), and more than we surely needed, with just the three of us. Me, my husband Greg, and our then 3 year old son, Ezekiel.

While we were here we not only fell in love with the whole thing, but we felt like it was ours. We thought that was strange, given the obvious above facts about our needs and finances.

The gut truth is, I stood right here (this is what it looked like then) -

And for the first and only time in my life, the whole world spun around me once, and God told me this was for me. Like some kind of pre-planned gift or something.

I laughed at the idea. Because it was not possible. And I walked away, knowing something special in my heart, but laughing in my head. Surely, this house would sell quickly and someone else would have the pleasure of living in such an awesome place.

We went home from that showing and we could not shake the feeling that we would live in this house we had seen. More and more so, as the time went by, our own house of 7 years started to feel less and less like we belonged there.

By December we were amazed that this Partridge home was still an active listing. We prayed and waited, wondering what was going to happen. At the end of December, my husband’s long time employer hired someone who would fill a position under him. But because my husband's salary was lower than what the company had to offer this new employee, they unexpectedly, uncharacteristically, raised my husband's salary. A lot. On top of that, one month later he was given an unexpected and unusually large bonus.

We were floored and in awe!

We knew that this Partridge home was still available and that the price had since dropped by $20,000, as the previous owners handed it off to the company who moved them out of state. We also found out that because of this change we would not be able to put an offer on it with any contingencies. So we had to sell our house! This wouldn't have been such a big deal, but the market was of the worst it had been since I was born, and we knew this would be a long shot.

We got all our ducks in a row, purged, packed, and put tons of our belongings in PODs. Then we cleaned and staged the house. We put it on the market, and again, prayed...

That home sold in 7 days for above asking price! We were amazed again. Everyone was amazed.

We immediately put an offer on the Partridge home, and with some countering and drama, it was finally accepted. 16 days later, we moved in!

Living here has been like a dream.

We wake up to all of this and wonder how we got so blessed.

The home itself, the little luxuries and beauties.

The space, and peace and quiet. The views and wildlife… it’s all so amazing.

For the first four years we filled the home with friends and family. For a long time we had Open Fridays, where everyone we knew was welcome to come out for a bonfire and food, bring their friends, and stay as long as the wanted.

All our holidays were filled with friends and family who would bring their suitcases, pick a room, and live here as long as they could be away from work and school. Sometimes our friends would even call into work and take their kids out of school just to stay an extra day. It was the perfect home for gatherings.

During those first four years we hosted a foster son and a foreign exchange student here as well.

About four years ago, something changed in our hearts. We felt our time here would be coming to an end. We didn't understand it. It didn't feel heavy or certain. It felt like preparation work.

As we began to consider things more logically we realized that we always figured we’d have more kids who would fill this space one way or another. But we were unable to conceive biologically after Ezekiel, and we never ended up taking the adoption route. Our season of hosting had changed and gatherings dwindled. We knew now that our son is not an outdoorsman by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I am the only one who really likes the woods and bonfires after all.

We prayed for God to make things clearer for us. We even tried the house on the market. Several months of many showings and there was zero interest. Our realtor at that time told us that we needed to reconsider the sale because it was clear to him that were not supposed to be moving. He said this house should have sold quickly, and instead it was being ignored past 70+ first showings. He released us from our contract early. We were grateful and relieved to be staying.

Years passed and we felt a little out of place. Not in a bad way. Just more as if we were occupying a space than really living here. We prayed and stayed open to the chance of moving.

We decided to do some maintenance and makeover the basement so we could use it more often. We replaced the four sets of sliding glass doors that directly exposed to the elements.

I planted more, cut down a ton of trees that were sucking from the older ones, had a lot more bonfires...

It still felt like we were getting it ready for someone else, and we wouldn't be staying here.

In the fall of 2016 we started to wonder if we were seeing some direction. As homeschoolers, this school year we started to spend more and more time in the city for day classes and lessons. We fell in love with a church in DePere, began to form bonds and friendships with the people, and started to serve and gather, weekdays and weekends. We again wondered if it might now be the time to consider listing the house and looking for something smaller in town.

We prayed in hopes that if it was God’s will He would open the doors and usher us through them. Some very obvious and unlikely things took place, and by November we were certain it was time. We took the winter to prepare slowly, and by January we were in full swing.

Here’s where you come into the story.

As I was spending time with God while I purged and packed, cleaned and painted, fixed and hired people to come and install more new windows, to repair and replace things, I prayed for who would be here. I asked that God would make their path clear and in His perfect timing.

Shortly, I began to realize there really was someone. I could feel God’s heart for them.

I felt like He knew that they needed a place of peace and rest. Like a gift of some kind. And it reminded me SO much of how I felt when He told me I would be here.

I began to do the things I was doing to the house specifically with love and consideration for this person who was coming to live here. I added things to my list as I went along, knowing what would be appreciated and what I wanted to pass on to this dear person. I was so moved, daydreaming about all the ways you would be blessed, as we have been, living in this amazing place.

We set everything up to sell, and then we waited. We didn't know when or how God would make it clear that we should list the house, but we knew we were NOT making a move until we knew it was the right time.

This timing became clear to us, both Greg and me, individually, on Friday, April 7th. And that's the day we "pushed the button" as we called it.

We put the house on the market on March 10, and we learned within the first 30 minutes we would have to leave for the day because there were so many showings already being scheduled. As you know, this market is far better for sellers than it has been in many years.

Our realtor called to ask if we wanted her to set it up so there would be a little more time for people to see the house. We prayed and agreed to wait until Wednesday, April 12th at 3:00pm to take all offers placed. We felt good about this decision and commenced to letting any and everyone see it between 9am and 9pm until then. And did they ever!

Over 30 families toured this property and home in 22 hours during those three days. You viewed it at 11:00 on Wednesday, just hours before the cut off time. Thank God!

By 3:30 on April 12th, we were surely leaning towards your offer out of the three presented to us. It was the highest one, clean and solid, and we could tell by the choices you made that you felt the way we did when we made our offer on this house. Like, "please just give me my house".

At that point we had to wait for a fourth offer to come in as it was being finalized. When we received it, we were surprised to find that it was very similar to yours, only with a higher price offered. That’s when we knew that it was you, for sure.

Mary, we didn’t know your name. We didn't know if you had a family, or where you would be relocating from, or what your intentions were. We had none of the facts that can sway or dissuade a couple to or from connecting with a buyer. But after we had gone through the last offer, though it looked “better” on paper, we did not care. We had chosen your offer, we felt good about it, and we realized that nothing was going change that.

We were glad to share with our realtor that she could write up the acceptance and inform you and your realtor that the house was yours. I recalled what it felt like when we got that same call eight years ago. SO much joy!

I thought I would be sad accepting that we had released this home. I’ve said it so many times, “how do we walk away from a place we don’t want to leave?” Our last move brought us from a small house in the city - so we could not wait to say good-bye and get here. But knowing that this move would be back to a smaller home in the city, I wondered how we could ever feel good about this good-bye.

That night I got my answer, and it was because of you. Knowing that it’s your turn. That God planted the seed and had us wait four years for you. That you are the one He wanted to bring here, to bless every morning with these views, to pour out all this peace and refuge to you and your kids. We are so happy for you, and trust God's plan for us in such a way that there is little sadness over this exchange. Just peace and happiness.

This place is more than a home. I won’t try to explain that to you myself. But we will be thinking of you, knowing that you are discovering exactly what can’t be put into words as you unfold your new life in this new place. This time is for you, and we will continue to pray that God pours His love on you in ways you never knew before.

Thank you for being here. And God bless you and your family.

Love, The LeBreck