I’m Back, For One Night Only

I have good intentions to write a final post, commemorating my time in Kansas.  But, whew, it’s been a crazy few weeks.  We FINALLY move into our new home tomorrow, which means we’ve been homeless for 10 days.  Fortunately, our home closing went very smooth.  We met the new owners, and I realized I am overly invested in them loving their new home!  I keep thinking about them and wondering how life is in our old house.  They’re a darling family, and my neighbor texted to say they’ve already all hung out!

Our road trip is getting long, but it has been really fun visiting our friends and family.  We drove about 5 hours a day and received wonderful hospitality at each stop.  I am so thankful for people who open their homes to our family.

A few highlights along the way…..

– For about the last hour of our trip, Chloe and Caleb kept saying, “You’re the best Mommy.  You’re the best Daddy.  You’re the best Lukey….” (to the respective person).  It was DARLING, especially since Chloe was in the habit of telling me she did not like me.

– Chloe still refers to me as “Sarah” or “Sarah Lynn” (from Little People).  I laugh everytime she says it, even though I do not let her get away with it.  She is so precious when she says it that I just love it.

– While driving, neither of us noticed the gas light was on.  With about 7 miles left in our tank, we found a gas station.  A very disgusting one.  But better than the alternative!

– I think I am the worst traveler of all.  One day, we were deciding between driving 4 or 8 hours.  I pleaded, “The kids just will not last 8 hours.”  Brett replied, “You mean, you won’t last 8 hours?”  (Sad, but he’s right.  I do not like driving long distances.)

– A stop at Chick Fil A perks everyone up.  (And my kids can spot their logo from a mile away.)

– So does soda.

– Florida has all outdoor play places at fast food places.  It is 1803 degrees here.  Miserable for kids to play on.

– Caleb and I had a sweet conversation about Jesus.  He picks up more than I could have imagined.

– Every time we pass a lot of trees, Caleb YELLS, “MOM, LOOK!!!  It’s a rainforest!!!!”  It kind of scared me the first few times, when he shouted (since he is quiet, typically).

– Chloe and Caleb like to pretend.  They play the role of people they love.  They’re so precious.

– Driving through Tallahassee, Brett and I got to share with our kids of how we fell in love there.  Chloe said she wants to put on a pretty dress and get married with me.

– I loved reminiscing in Tallahassee.  Such a tender moment when I realized that I left there with so many hopes and dreams….all of which were fulfilled during my time in Kansas.  I now have new dreams and am looking forward to what the next 5 years hold.

– Living out of a suitcase and car for 10 days is not my thing.  But I have survived.  I feel like we’re on a trip, and the fact we’re relocating has not set in.

– Caleb and Chloe learned to jump off the side of the pool.  And even went underwater.  They loved the former, not so much the latter.

These memories are not road trip specific, but I want to remember them.

– Recently, I told Caleb, “Chloe and I are pretending.”  She replied, “No, we are for realing.”

– My kids call McDonald’s “Uncle Donald’s”.

–  Caleb uses “hers” instead of “she”.  And its really cute.  One of these days I suppose I will teach him the correct way.

– My kids can navigate an iPhone and ask me to download new apps.

I have so much more I want to say, but I need to get packed.  We are making our final drive this evening.  My older two kids are staying at their grandparents for 2 more days, so we can get somewhat settled before they arrive!!

I will not have internet for 2 weeks, so my memories post may have to wait!

If It’s Too Good To Be True, It Must Be God

This is long, but I wanted a detailed account of the amazing miracle our home in South Florida is.

In two weeks, Brett and I will drive out of the state of Kansas for the last time as residents.  This is an extremely bittersweet time for me, which I will get to in a later post.  For now, I want to record the miracle of God providing our future home.

Brett, Luke, and I flew down to Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday night.

Side note:  Caleb and Chloe stayed with my parents and had the best time.  My dad is an attorney, and he had a settlement that paid out in Toys R Us gift cards.  My parents took their grandchildren (minus my sister’s son, who lives out of state) and my little sister on a shopping spree.  Hardly anyone was in the store, so they had free reign on the toy store.  I am pretty sure that was my dream as a child, so it is so fun my kids were able to do that.  I really wish I could have been there, because Caleb loves toy stores, so I know he loved it.  They did a lot of other really fun things, and I so appreciate my parents who joyfully watch our children.  What a blessing to know they’re in good hands.

Back to my original point….

So, Friday, we began our house hunt and had about 48 hours to find our new place.  We decided to rent, but the options (in our price range) were quite dismal.  After looking at home after home (and tons of driving in between because the city is very large), we narrowed it down to 2 homes by Saturday night.  To put it nicely, we did not like either home, but we are closing on our house in 2 weeks, so this was not the time to be picky.  One home was conveniently located near Brett’s jobs, but it was in a not very safe neighborhood.  I would have to drive 25+ minutes to get to even a grocery store that I would have felt safe enough to take all three children to.  The second house was ok but in a nice neighborhood, but it was 45+ minutes to Brett’s job and our friends there.  (Luke rode around with us all day both days and barely made a peep.  He was definitely an amazing house shopping companion).

As we drove to our friends house on Saturday night, I was very discouraged.  Discouraged and very tired, I cried because this was not how I pictured my new life in Florida:  far away from friends and work or in a place so unsafe I could not go outside with my kids.  I was trying to fake like I liked the homes because I figured one had to be my future home.  (The homes were fine; the locations were not).  When we arrived at our friend’s house, Brett and I talked.  Neither of us liked either situation, but we agreed on the nicer house farther away if we did not find something the next morning.

Still sad, my friend, Ty, called.  She is a very dear friend of mine, who lives in Miami.  She encouraged me that God seems to often show up at the last minute.  She and her husband had been praying (along with many other friends) that we would find an awesome house.  The statement about God coming through really resonated with me.  I knew He had something prepared we had not seen yet, though I was totally unsure how we would find it….because we had searched the MLS listings extensively.

Brett randomly (or should I say “randomly”, since God is the master of coincidences!) found a potential home while Googling homes in the area (which had proved unsuccessful before).  Our realtor (who is also our friend) searched the MLS and found it.  The very same MLS that did not have that listing the night before.  We had actually been to the very same area before (and loved it), but that house did not suit our needs.  Namely, it was on an unfenced pond that had a 5′ drop-off from the backyard.  As Abraham in the Bible, I was “hoping against hope” this would be our home, but I was nervous it would not work for our family.

Sunday morning, Brett had a really powerful time with the Lord.  (I was sleeping.  Because I am holy like that.)  Based on his attitude, I just knew the home was going to work out.  Driving over, though, I was very nervous.  Mainly because if it did not work out, we’d be stuck for a year in a home that was just ok.  I prayed a lot of that drive.

We arrived at the home, and right when we walked in the door, we knew it was ours.  We looked around, of course, to be sure, but we knew this was the home God had hand picked for our family.

What I did not realize is that renting a home is way different than renting an apartment in college is.  Back then, if you wanted the rental, you just signed the papers.  With home rental, the owner gets to decide if they even want you in their home.  I found this out because I asked the owner when he decided to rent out the house rather than sell it.  His response was, “Two minutes ago when I decided I like you.  You seem like good people.”  He went on to say how he had actually turned away multiple inquiries on the home.   I thought to myself, “Thank you, Jesus, for keeping this open just for us.”  In my overwhelming joy, I told the homeowner he was an angel.  I’m sure he wondered at the moment if I was crazy.

We signed the lease, and as far as I know, the home is ours.  We have a home.  And, if we like it, we can buy it.

The funny part of the story is that I view it as the ultimate perfect home.  But, if we had seen it the first day, I am not sure we would have loved it with the same intensity.  I had been hoping for a 4 bedroom home, so we could easily accommodate our family and guests who come visit.  Our new home is 3 bedrooms, but after looking at the other possibilities in our price range, this was WAY nicer than anything we had seen (for the same price).  So we instantly fell in love with it.

Besides it only being 3 bedrooms, it fulfills so many desires of mine.  For months, I have been praying for some specific things I wanted in a house.  Since it’s a rental, we cannot change anything, so I have to like what’s there.  Here is the list of all the desires that God amazingly fulfilled:
– the kitchen is gorgeous! I’ve always wanted white cabinets with stainless appliances, and that is exactly what we have
– an ice maker (no other house we looked at had one, but I drink cold water a lot)
– an office for Brett
– for it to fit all of our furniture
– a dining room (I have a beautiful dining room set that I did not want to get rid of, so I am so happy we have a place for it)
– a 1/2 bath (easier to keep clean than guests having to use the kids’ bathroom)
– a garage (not as common in FL as in KS)
– Brett did not want stairs, but I actually like bedrooms upstairs (and it has stairs, which is really uncommon in FL)
– a yard (it’s not huge but its a good size for the area)
– separate air conditioner units for upstairs and main level
– a bathtub and a shower
– way less carpet (the bedrooms have it, but nothing else….yay!)
– a darker-colored shower (our white shower is impossible to clean)
– a door on the bathroom (our current house does not have a door, just a doorway, and I have always thought it was weird)
– great neighbors (our neighbors in KS are wonderful, and we love socializing.  Our new neighborhood has block parties, just like we’re used to.  And there are a lot of kids on our street)
– I was not praying for this, but I have always wanted a vanity (since I was a little girl)….the bathroom has one!  Chloe is going to LOVE it, sitting on the stool while I do her hair!
– we are close to Brett’s work, which is really important in ministry
– close to all of our friends who live there

Did I mention we are about 1 mile from the beach??
Moving to hot, humid Florida is definitely made much better knowing how close I am to the beautiful beach!!

As you can see, God completely came through for us.  My Saturday night sadness quickly turned to joy when I found a place that met all of our ideals.  We love the house, and I am really excited to get settled into our new home.  Still very sad to be leaving my life in Kansas, but I am ready for the transition time to be over.

As a final confirmation that we are exactly where God wants us, as I was driving to the airport at 5 am this morning, I took notice of the exit to our home from the interstate.  And, in the shopping center by the exit are many of my most favorite stores to shop at.  It is so insignificant in the grand scheme of life, but that little detail really blessed me this morning.

God is always good.  I know that.  At times during the weekend, I really wondered what the heck we had gotten ourselves into.  But once we found our home, it all changed. I really felt at peace about our new home.  I was embarrassed that I had doubted God’s perfect provision.  Psalms 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires on your heart.”  That has been one of my life verses….probably the verse that has ministered to my heart the most throughout my walk with Christ.  And, once again, God proved that to be true.  He provided the best house.  One I love that we can afford.  In a great part of town, close to everything.  Including the beach!!  YAY!  And its close to a couple of fabulous parks and nature trails!

Words cannot express how happy I am!!!!!   It all feels too good to be true.  Which is when you know you just experienced a miracle.