February 26, 2013

When God Sends Email

Friends and I have often joked that we wish that God would send email sometimes.  I've discovered that He does... but it doesn't come from an @heaven.com address. 
It comes from a lot of various addresses and from various persons at just as many various times.  That is a lot of variety - but anyone who knows God knows that He is the Creator of variety!
I received one of these loving emails last night.  It was disguised as a message from a realtor with an attachment about electrical work having been completed at our new home.
How did I know it was an email from God?  Because it was just what I needed at the exact time I needed it.  Plain and simple.
We've hit a lull in our frenzied dash to moving to our new home.  We are now between 2-3 weeks away from our closing date/move day.  Our regular realtor is away on a vacation for 9 days.  We are just packing, stacking and waiting for the next thing.  We have received the mortgage commitment letter from our buyers and our letter from our lender is due on Friday.  Lots of just waiting now for loose ends and final dates and numbers.  I am not one of those people who loves waiting... for anything!
I like to see movement, progress, boxes being checked and list items being crossed off.  Waiting is awful for me.
Thankfully God knows this about me and loves me anyway... enough to send an email so I have the sense of things moving forward and boxes being checked.  Isn't He just awesome?  Not that He has to do this...  He just does it because He loves me.
And I am continually going to praise Him - even if He stops sending email.  Because He won't ever stop loving me.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." ~Jeremiah 31:3b

February 20, 2013

A Random Scarf

Back before Christmas I won a blog give-away on this really great blog... I was SO excited as I don't normally win things.  Plus I love reading Eyvonne's posts and I felt more connected when she emailed me personally to find out my choice for my prize.

The prize was a scarf of my choice from this pretty amazing company FashionAble
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm pretty fashion-impaired.  I do not do 'styles' and pretty much stick to solid colors and basics for fear of embarrassing myself or my family by looking like a ... well... a 40+ year old woman who doesn't know fashion.  So the opportunity to have something stylish for free - plus knowing it was for a great cause was a definite win-win in my book.

My scarf arrived after the New Year and I was a bit baffled as to how to wear it, thankfully there is a spot on the FashionAble website that explains it! :-)  I love my scarf!  It's a basic black and goes with lots of the tops I own already.  I have even been brave and worn it to church... yes... I wore something style-y in public and no one looked at me strangely! Win!

So... that is my random post for today... now back to packing boxes.

Blessings on the journey~

February 18, 2013

Inspections, Negotiations and Contractors (Oh My!)

This is sort of like lions, tigers and bears... right? :-)

You can read the first part of this adventure here.

We have now completed the process of home inspections on both houses (in Merrimack and on our new house).  The inspection in Merrimack took about 2 hours on a Tuesday morning.  The kids and I managed to run a few errands and kill some time all the while I was trying not to think about someone going through our house looking for problems.
The inspection of our new house was a lengthy and expensive endeavor but absolutely necessary and we were glad to have found a marvelous home inspector who turned out to be a brother in Christ.  Fred of Harvest Inspection Services was very thorough and detailed.  He and Steve spent about 4 hours going over every inch of the house and by that evening we'd received a detailed 36 page report about the property.  We also had to have a septic inspection and testing for the well water in addition to a radon air test. 
After receiving the inspection reports and test results, the next step in this whole process is to negotiate any needed repairs or issues that the buyers want the sellers to address prior to moving forward with the sale.  For us this included a few issues, cleaning the chimney, some for electrical things that needed to be addressed and one potentially serious issue relating to the well water.  The water testing showed that the well contains arsenic above safe levels and we requested that the sellers install a point of use filtration system in the kitchen so all of our water for drinking and cooking would be safe.  After some back and forth, the sellers agreed to our requests and we felt we were making progress.
For our house in Merrimack, being that we are dealing with first-time home buyers, they had what we felt was a pretty lengthy list of things they wanted us to address. 

Some were reasonable and some we felt were just silly.  We agreed to address the things that were reasonable, such as having a radon system installed in the basement since the radon air test came back above safe levels.  This was the biggest expense and required a contractor to come in and drill holes in the foundation slab to draw the radon gas from underneath the cement floor by an exhaust fan mounted on the outside of the house.

We were uncertain when we wrote up our response to their requests how the negotiation process would go with the buyers.  It is very tough to know if someone is really serious about an issue on a list when you don't have any face-to-face discussion and everything is filtered through two other parties (realtors).  It becomes sort of like a grown-up version of the kids game of telephone and you are never quite certain how things are being relayed or translated.

In the end everything turned out fine.  God again did all that He does to handle things for us and there was not any hurdles that grew out of proportion.  We had a chimney inspection (Veteran Chimney) and our awesome roofer Darrin (Merrimack Roofing) came and checked out a potential problem that turned out to be very minor and he took care of it on the spot.  The last issue is for me to do a bit of touch up painting in my bedroom closet and we'll be on to the next adventure... bank appraisals for the mortgages.

February 3, 2013

Change still means Home

Or... the story of our crazy move that only God could orchestrate.  *S*  Don't you love alternate titles?

I'm writing this post in stages - Sorry it is long - but it is for me, to capture what is going on at the time so I will remember and so I am appropriately thankful for all God is doing, has done and will do.

Background:  For years and years we have loved driving out through the Monadnock region of NH.  Small towns, country roads with 'character' - stone walls, big ol trees, farm houses, etc.  We have loved it and longed to live out 'in the country'.  For years we have ridden summer afternoons on the motorcycle or other days in the car/truck with the kids in the backseat... always soaking up what we felt was our hearts desire but knowing it wasn't time for a myriad of reasons. 
Too hard to move, too expensive, too far for Steve to commute to work, how could we ever sell our house, where would we find what we want in a new home, what about church/friends/family, etc.  Questions swirling madly and doubts... oh so many doubts and what-ifs and 'we can't do this' thoughts. 
God knows the desires of our hearts... and sometimes... just sometimes... He makes a way in the most amazing way.

We had been praying over the summer last year about maybe moving... it began to feel like it was time.  We have been in Merrimack for 16+ years.  It was never our dream home, but we made it work for our family and bit by bit over the years we've changed the whole house.  From the roof to the basement and the whole yard.  Transformation is pretty amazing when you look back over more than a decade and a half of life lived.  For a home and a family.

All through the fall we prayed and scoured real estate listings and drove all around southern NH.  We made lists of what we wanted in a new home, considered old, new and in between homes, far away and close by.  All the while praying God would show us what we were supposed to do and where He wanted us to be.
During this time we were also struggling with the possibility of changing churches if/when we moved.  We were uncertain, conflicted and struggling.  We felt we were fighting with that transition that sometimes happens when you really start to get to know people and start seeing the human-ness that exists within the body of Christ and struggling with what we felt God was teaching us and calling us to do/be.  It's not comfortable to be stretched and changed/challenged sometimes.  So this whole process had been on-going for MONTHS when we finally arrive at Christmas.  We all took about 2 weeks off of 'real life' to enjoy the holiday, spend time together and of course... drive around looking at houses.  During this period, we had several deep family discussions and came to realize that we were NOT going to change churches.  God has called us to Riverside, we've got roots here, relationships here and as of the beginning of 2013, are really seeing some pretty amazing things happening in a short period of time.  We made a commitment to God, as a family, that we are staying put with our church until He gives us clear direction otherwise. 

After we made that decision, we started to see things happen FAST.  A house came on the market in our favorite town and we reluctantly went to see it... all of us thinking we wouldn't like it... none of us was really impressed with the photos online and we figured it was just another one to cross off our list... WRONG.  We all felt a sense of 'home' in this house.  How can that be?  And comparing the house to our wish list we discovered it had virtually everything we'd wanted and even several 'extra' things that were on our 'would be really nice to have but not essential' list.  No way!
So then came the mad scramble to get our house ready to list for sale.  In an absolutely insane week of work we cleaned, purged, packed/stored, painted and cleaned more.  Our house was ready and on the market available to the world on Jan. 15th.
That same morning the calls started for showing appointments.  I was shocked!  So fast?  Seriously?  We had showings booked every day from the first day into the following week and even multiple showings on a few days.  I was stunned and overwhelmed.  On Friday (yes, just 3 days after listing) - our realtor called us to tell us we had an offer!  So exciting!  She emailed it to us and we were discussing it over the phone with her when she interrupted our discussion to say we had just had a second offer come in!  NO WAY!  A multiple offer situation in a down market just 3 days listed?  God was really knocking our socks off with His amazing provision for us.
On Saturday we had 2 more showings and that afternoon we met with the realtor to discuss the two offers and were also mildly surprised that all calls for further showing appointments had stopped.  One of the offers was from a young couple with a brand new baby boy and they had included a lovely letter telling us how much they loved the house and wanted to begin their new family life here.  I was so touched. 
SOLD!  We accepted their offer and promptly finalized an offer on the house we'd found and liked.  After just a bit of negotiating, we had a contract on that house as well.  Only God could have done all this in just a matter of a few weeks time... it's crazy!

Next up... Inspections & more...