In my last post I hit some of the highlights of our move. I didn’t really want to bore people with the nuts and bolts of some of it but as I replayed those months in my mind I realized that there was more to write- much more. As I’ve read some of what I’ve written over the last 12 years I noticed that my early writings were very rambly which was fine by me because I wasn’t trying to be a writer. I just wanted to tell our friends and family that were far-off about our life and to share pictures of our adorable kiddos. I’ve noticed more recently though as I’ve tried to tighten things up and convey thoughts more clearly that I’ve become much more succinct. That can be a good thing but in this case it isn’t. So, I’ve decided to share more even if that means that I break this post into parts. My goal is to show that we weren’t just navigating the tough waters of uprooting our whole life by ourselves. God led us in every decision we had to make- and there were so many.
Last fall was beautiful in Tennessee. The weather was perfect and the leaves on the trees were changing. For the first time since we’d moved there though I was completely unable to enjoy it. It’s hard to have your heart stuck between two places. We are a homeschooling family and have been for many years. Usually we start school around September which gave the girls and I some uninterrupted time at the community pool since the schools in our county started at the beginning of August. That year was different though, I felt very strongly that we needed to start school when the public schools did which was August 2nd. So, after prayer and talking to Travis I found an online program that the girls could do for a relatively inexpensive fee (a nice bonus) and we could do school anywhere that we had an internet connection without having to lug around and keep track of books. I didn’t know then how important that would be.
Fall is hands-down the busiest time in our lives because that’s when our family from Florida wanted to visit most years. And we were doing school. And we were still hosting life group. And I had already started to feel like I was going to have a breakdown. So I really, really didn’t want to put the house on the market until after the first of the year. But we prayed and felt strongly that we were supposed to put our house on the market then. When we talked to our Realtor she said the same thing, that if we were going to do it we needed to do it right away.
Putting our house on the market right away meant that we were going to have to disappoint some people though and I hate disappointing people. But we knew we couldn’t host Life Group anymore. I tried to rationalize keeping it, after all it’s only two Wednesday nights a month, surely I could keep going. But do you know what happens when you continue to hold onto something that you’re supposed to let go of? It starts to get really, really heavy. It started to feel like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I was crying easily and a lot. I felt frustrated and irritable. It was time to let go and to trust that God would provide what that group needed.
After we put the house on the market and had shown the house many, many times we finally had an offer that we accepted. It had been our plan all along to head to Florida to look for a house to buy the second we accepted a contract. But as we were planning to leave I felt uneasy, like maybe we shouldn’t take off so quickly. I talked to our Realtor and mentioned that we were planning on leaving and she really wanted us to wait to leave until after our house had been inspected. The problem was that there was a house that I’d seen online that Travis and I both really liked and they had just dropped the price significantly. I was sure that the house would sell before we got there. It was definitely a moment that we had to trust that God knew more than we did and that he was leading us. So we decided that we’d leave the following weekend. I kept my eye on that house all week but I’d determined that I would keep my distance emotionally and if it sold before we got there then that was God’s will.
Once we got to Florida I was a little nervous about house hunting. I had been looking at houses for a couple of months online and I knew that there just wasn’t much available at that time in the area we wanted to live that was also in our price rang. And as it turned out our first day of house hunting was very disappointing. The first house we saw was a rental property that was occupied. It was awkward to say the least. The tenant and his family were very, very nice but everything smelled like curry since we’d arrived around lunch time and even though the house might have worked for us it there were plenty of things to knock it off our list. The second house we saw was the house that Travis and I were very excited about that I mentioned earlier. It looked nice from the outside and the neighborhood was really nice but as soon as we stepped onto the front entry area I noticed that the foundation was cracked. And a few more looks around showed shoddy workmanship. We’d dealt with foundation issues in our first house and weren’t anxious to deal with it again so we passed on that house too. In fact, we passed on every single house that day.
That night I noticed that a new house had come on the market while we were on our way down to Florida. It was a really vibrant shade of green that I wasn’t crazy about. The inside though had been updated in a super cute cottage style that I really liked and it had a *pool*! My oldest daughter, Amanda had been sending me house listings for a couple of months with houses that had pools. They were mostly unsuitable and I joked that she sent me pictures of pools with shacks attached to them. I didn’t think too much of the house because though it was in our price range it was at the top and we didn’t really want to go that high.
The next morning I woke up at 6am-again- because our Realtor is an early bird and we set out to house hunt. I don’t remember much about what we saw that day except for the green house. As soon as we set foot inside I knew it was our house. It was much older than our current home and less upgraded but it just felt like home. We’d be losing about 450 square feet but each of the girl’s rooms were big enough for a queen size bed, it was something we really wanted since each girl has a queen size bed and there are very few homes with guest rooms big enough. They were already giving up their friends and life in Tennessee so we really didn’t want them to have to give up their beds too. The kitchen was not as spacious as the one I had and I was going to lose my big island and we were also losing a laundry room and a bedroom but there was a separate living area that we could use as Trav’s office which was another must since he would be working from home full time. What we lost in interior space though we got in spades outside. With a lot that was over a third of an acre (more than double our current lot) and a 600 sq. ft. screened in patio with a pool it was definitely worth the trade off. After all, we’d be doing a lot more outside living since we wouldn’t be trapped inside the house for 5 months of winter.
So after seeing another house and taking our Realtor’s advice to sleep on it before we made an offer we prayed about it and decided that we definitely wanted to move forward with the green house. We made an offer and to our surprise they accepted it….with one small exception- they couldn’t close when we wanted to. They actually couldn’t close anywhere near where we wanted to since the wife was having a C-section two days before our closing date in Tennessee. That left us with a giant dilemma- which I will talk about in my next post.
Until next time…