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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Our house story... aka the path to a dream

My new back yard!
Now that I'm catching up on my blog, people are probably wondering, okay, so what happened with the house? You found a house, lost it, and now you mention living in a new house. Well, I am here with answers! :)

Though part of my desire is to satisfy random curiosity, there's also the piece that wants you to know this house thing isn't just about me. It's about having faith, trusting God, and fully believing that whatever crazy season you're in, God will see you through.

And, because this is extremely important to the story, I'm taking you back to the very beginning...

In the beginning, there was this guy and this girl. They were dating and would go for drives in the mountains. On their drives, they would talk about how they dreamed of having a home in the mountains someday. In case you're wondering, that couple was me and my hubby. We got married, and as sometimes happens when two people get married, the practicalities of life kept us from having our dream home in the mountains. But we never let go of the dream. And, every now and again, we'd go for a drive in the mountains, and say... "wouldn't it be awesome to live here?"

Fast forward a few years, more like 15, and something super cool happened in my life. I achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a published author (yay me!). Unfortunately, the thing people don't tell you about your dreams coming true is that it's dangerous business. Because, as I found out, achieving your dreams is kind of addictive. Once you get one thing you've always wanted, you start wondering about all the other things you've always wanted, and you think that it's actually possible to get those things too.

And so, in the time since I sold my first book, I started doing a lot of things I always said I wanted to do, but never did. I went to England. I started taking dance lessons. If it was ever a dream, I started pursuing it. Which leads me to the dream house. Being the practical sort of person I am, I decided to make a plan. Last October, I said to hubby, "I think we should look at our plan of moving to the mountains someday. Let's start making it happen. I think it'll take us a couple of years, but we can make it work." Hubby said, "I agree. But I think we should do it at the end of the school year." I thought he was off his rocker, but figured if he was going to get to work on the goal, I'd support him.


Let's just put that out there again. HA!

Because I am a planner, and I like researching things TO DEATH, I began looking at mountain homes. I wanted to see what we could afford, what was out there, what met our requirements, etc. Basically, I learned exactly what I had figured. It would take a couple of years for us to afford what we wanted. And then, I found THE HOUSE. The price was right, the location was good, and most importantly, the house had everything we wanted in a house. I am not kidding when I say we were not ready to sell our house or buy a new house. But I could not stop thinking about it.

Finally, one night, I couldn't sleep, so I woke hubby up, and I told him that we had to look into the house. He said okay. I'm pretty sure he just said that to get me to shut up so he could go back to sleep, but we're going to pretend that he thought it was the best idea ever. Over the next few days, I convinced him we should look into it, and we did. Now, remember back to my saying it would take a couple of years to get what we wanted? Part of that was because our house was not ready to sell. We had tons of projects that we needed to get done. Things that would make or break our sale. But once we saw the other house, we were in love, and we were going to do whatever it took to get it done. We worked hard, and we really found our faith stretched as we trusted God and moved boldly forward.

One of these days, I'll go back and count all the small miracles that happened along the way. It seemed like something would come up daily to help us in an unexpectedly beautiful way. We were days from our house hitting the market, and then it happened... we lost the bid on the new house. The agony and heartbreak in those days... Wow! For us, part of why it was so hard is that I wasn't kidding on the money issue, either. There were literally no houses on the market in our price range. To get what we wanted, we needed way more money.

But we had this belief, deep down, that this was what we were meant to do. Why would we set on this path and have doors open so wide and so many crazy miracles happen for it to all blow up like that? One of the things we hadn't been comfortable with was that our realtor initially was going to price our house low so it would sell fast. We decided to sell our house, but at a higher price, because we didn't need it to sell right away. Maybe then, another house would show up on the market. So we listed our house.

Our house sold in five days, had multiple offers, and we got above asking price. The crazy thing is, before we even made the decision to sell our house, I'd written down a goal of how much I'd like to sell our house for, and this number was above that number!

The only trouble was, we had nowhere to go. I scoured house listings, and nothing new was popping up. Our realtor suggested we change our requirements, and we were like, um, no. Finally, we decided that since we weren't finding our dream home, we'd build our dream home. Which meant buying land, building, all that stuff. Which meant renting something in the meantime. The rental market here is insane. No one would do less than a one year lease, and anything even semi-comparable to what we'd had cost twice what we paid in mortgage. Worse, every place we called on was already rented within hours of the listing popping up. Finally, we found a place. It wasn't perfect, but we could at least live with it. The day after we signed the lease, we got a phone call that would change everything.

A couple had called our realtor to see if she would list their house for sale. Our realtor walked in the door and knew immediately she'd found our house. We looked at the house, and yup, we wanted it. Fortunately we were within the time frame to break our lease, so we got out of the lease with no penalty. Unfortunately, we were two weeks away from closing on the sale of our old house. We talked to our lender and the sellers, and worked out that we could close in three weeks. Which meant we'd be homeless for a week. The sellers were super nice and let us store our pod unit on the property and let us store things in the barn as well. We also rented a storage unit.

The first load of junk we took out of the house
Now, you'd think things would go smoothly from there... um, no. Our hotel was not as promised, but it was good enough, so we stayed there. Our hotel caught on fire one day, but was fortunately still liveable. And then, the day of closing on the new house, our mortgage broker called us up and asked for documentation on some random thing that if he'd asked for at the beginning of the process, we could have given him. But since we were living in a hotel, it was a little more difficult. And so, we did not close on time. We closed late the next day, but it was enough to throw our entire plan into a tailspin.

Someday, I will find pictures that show how bad it actually was. Although I think we may have been too stressed to take pictures. The previous owners left so much junk and trash in our house that we couldn't move in as planned. Of course, we had movers scheduled and couldn't change that, so as people were moving stuff into our house, I was shoveling crap out, and my friend was vacuuming behind me. The poor moving guys were just baffled, and it took everything I had not to just break down and cry. Except I couldn't because we had too much to do.

And so here we are... in our new mountain home. I would like to say that moving in is the end of the story. But I would be a total liar. Because the new house, while it is wonderful in many ways, is not so wonderful in a lot of other ways. The new house, glorious as it is, is about 1,000 square feet smaller than our old house. We have five fewer rooms and two fewer bathrooms. That may not sound terrible, but to a woman who is homicidal if she does not have her space, it's basically a few levels short of hell. At least until I look out the window and remind myself of what an incredible place I get to live in.

Construction of the addition
The plan from the beginning was to build on immediately. We began that project, and like all things related to this house, it hasn't been as easy as you'd think. Pretty much everything in this place is in a state of disrepair. It seems like a million other things keep popping up to interfere with the actual building process. The money is not how we thought it would be, and I'm not going to lie- it's been a challenge. You would not believe how easy it is to spend ten thousand dollars! I'm not saying these things to complain. In fact, as I look at the challenges we face, and I see how far we've come despite all of the other challenges, I know it's going to be okay.

Seriously... every day, I find a new challenge or find one of the challenges we've been living with to be SO. FREAKING. HARD. and I take a deep breath, look out at our gorgeous land, and I think, this is it!! I live in the mountains. Even though I still lay awake some nights because of creepy crawlies in the house keeping me up, or because I have all the crazy stuff we still have to do running in my head, I'll be honest... I am living my dream and I couldn't be happier.

One of our ponds. I am SO happy we have ponds!
Okay, fine, I would totally be happier if our construction was done, or even if I could take a bath in my own house! But really, I am so happy. I am so grateful.

Which leads us to the question... was not getting the other house a good thing for us? As much as I really would love to live in less of a project, this house is a much better situation for us. It's closer to town, has more land, and the land is much prettier and has more cool features. Also, we've met some of our neighbors, and they're great people! My daughter says that this place feels more like home, and she wakes up every morning feeling happy that we live in such a wonderful place.

We achieved our dream of living in the mountains, but we have not arrived. I was joking with my father in law the other day that it will take us a lifetime to finish all of the projects we have to do at this house. The longer we live here, the more ideas I have, and the more things I want to do. And of course, when I talk about projects I want to do, what I really mean is projects I want my husband to do.

But seriously, I need you to know how happy I am. Not because our life is perfect. Because trust me, it's not. I have been stretched and grown past what I thought was my breaking point, and then back again. I am exhausted beyond belief, and I sometimes joke that I have moving PTSD. Except we're still living it. Which doesn't sound like a very happy life, except that in the midst of everything, I know that I am where I belong. I look out my window and I see a million things to be happy about. I close my eyes and I know that I can do all things because God is there, strengthening me. I learned a lot about who my real friends are. The ones who spent time helping me, supporting me, and encouraging me. I also know the ones who say they'll be there, then come up with excuses that are just thinly veiled lies, and I would have respected them a lot more had they just said they had more important things to do. I'm learning a lot about myself. I'm learning a lot about God. I'm watching my children take on responsibilities that they never would have done otherwise. I see them living a renewed childhood. I could probably write an entire book on how amazing this journey has been for us, and maybe I will.

For now though, I want you to know this. Whatever your dream is, go for it. I won't lie to you and say it will be easy. Everything will not go your way. You will have crazy miracles enabling your dream, and you will have wild unexpected setbacks that make you think you were crazy to have thought you could do it at all. But keep at it. Keep moving forward. You see, there was nothing wrong with my life when I embarked on this journey. I remember sitting in my old house, sobbing, because I truly loved that house, and at one point in my life, that was my dream house. I just knew that I was meant for something bigger. And I trusted that. I trusted my dream, and I trusted God.

If you're thinking of following your dream, I'll be there, cheering you on. And when you fall down, I'll be there to help you up. Because your dream is worth it. You are worth it.


Diane Marie Shaw said...

What a great story. I was wondering what happened with the other house.
So glad you are living your dream and encouraging others to go for theirs.
I'll get back on track and start tackling my dreams. At this point I will settle for making a list.

Jacqueline said...
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