Lack of Blogging
I haven't done this in months. I want to. I'm just not sure I have the time anymore. I put whatever thoughts or funny moments that occur in daily life on Facebook, so I feel it's redundant to gather them in two places. Yet there should always be time set aside to reflect on what God is doing in one's life... so maybe if I focus on that, this will happen a bit more.
Anyways... what's happened in our lives since June.
June - moving in, finding things, Brian had a week long trip to Seattle, finishing up school
July - Preparation and writing curriculum for our church's VBS pretty much occupied the entire month. In addition to Grace's 5th birthday.
August - VBS and then left shortly thereafter for our vacation in Estes Park, CO. We were able to convince both sets of parents that their vacation weeks should line up back to back, so we could enjoy both family's hospitality and spend 2 weeks out there. (especially after the 22 hours of driving) I believe I posted sufficient photos of that trip on Facebook. We love it out there. The kids do as well. It was a good trip.
September - We returned with a few days to get the house in order, organize the school books and schedules and start school. This year was the first time I've tried teaching three kids at once. It's been quite the challenge. Overwhelming at many moments, enjoyable at some, and just drudgery in others. Realizing that these moments aren't here for very long, and the "journey" is the destination, I'm trying to enjoy ALL of it. (yes, even the... 10 minutes to find a new pencil, papers with more wrong answers than right, the baby who needs a diaper change at the exact moment we start something, the student who forgets EVERYTHING the first 10 times he hears it, & so on...)
So what is God teaching me?
The extent of my selfish heart. I took a walk the other morning to discover that Moms congregate in our neighborhood in their pajamas and coffee cups and visit after putting their children on the school bus. Then I observed their light-hearted steps inside as they began their tasks for the day in peace and quiet. This phenomenon greatly intrigued me. What would it be like?
I decided, "I want to drink coffee outside in my pajamas and talk to friends in the morning!!!" What am I missing???
I am lucky if I can find time to get my hair fixed before supper... the laundry put away before the NEXT laundry day... and the dusting done before you can draw pictures in it, and fix a dinner that has at least one fresh vegetable in it besides carrot sticks. This school thing takes ALL your time. I thought it was a sacrifice before... but now with older grades and 3 kids it's even greater.
I remember the Basic Seminar with Mr. Gothard talking about the Holy Spirit knocking on the door to the house, then on the door to our bedroom, then on the door to our closets. "NO! Not that part of me... that's MY time!" :)
But what did I want my time for? umm.... just selfish stuff... being able to pick what things I do when, I guess. Nothing essential, or important. :) I was just surprised how much I fought for MY closet full of time. What could God do with us if we were willing to give up ALL of it? I can't say that I don't still hold on to a purse-full! And really, is sitting in an air-conditioned, beautiful home, surrounded by healthy children, drinking my coffee and teaching them about God so very hard? Some days I'll admit, it is... but in proper perspective, perhaps it shouldn't be.
|The Whirlwind Month|
Too much going on for words... I feel like we've lived in a whirlwind ever since February when we decided to put our house on the market... through 3 months of living with my parents... through the house selling miracle and the whole mad house search. Then many anxious moments of details, meetings, financial paperwork, loans, closings, postponed closings, no electricity, phone, internet for days.
And now, finally, here we are... It's been emotionally and physically exhausting. We've now been in our new home for one week. God took care of all the little details... like He always does. (So why do we get so hung up on them?)
Andrew said... "this was so crazy and so much work... I hope I just die in this house." Whereas Grace says, "We will just stay in this house until we want a new one!!" I sure don't plan on ever wanting a new one... :) But then again... I don't make the plans... but we'll hope!
So it's been nice to rediscover life with dresser drawers again... (once we emptied out the winter clothes) To have more kitchen space than I know what to do with... and the kids have been thoroughly enjoying the new playset! We're daily grateful to the Lord for His blessings and mercy on us!
Not so nice to remember we still have a few weeks of school to do... but it will happen... though ever so slowly at this rate. :)
Here are some photos from the past month... and perhaps now things will settle down so I can update before another month expires. :)
The kids last visit to the old house... ('twas a sad goodbye)
First Sunday morning at the new house...
Memorial Day Parade
AWANA Awards Night
Andrew finished 3 books this year, Stephen, 2 and Grace, 1. Faith's just dressed up for the occasion.
Someone dropped a harmonica into Faith's "house" and it was hysterical to hear random music every so often whenever she would oh-so seriously figure out how to make noise.
Enjoying the new playset
Faith visiting Daddy in his new office
First time to be allowed to use her fork
|Lest We Forget|
Early this year I was browsing through homes on the internet and was asking Brian if he was serious about leaving our neighborhood for a place with more yard and better surroundings.
The state of our neighborhood was deteriorating, drug deals were going on, the surroundings weren't ideal for children.
Brian said he'd like to but we just didn't have the money for it. So... death of vision and I stopped "internet shopping."
Less than two weeks later, Brian comes back and says maybe we really should look into moving out.
We decided to meet with our realtor just to get advice on the market and timing. By the end of it, we felt a peace to go ahead with it since the tax incentives had the market hopping and it would benefit us as well. (We would qualify for the $6,500 tax credit as we'd been in our home more than 5 years.)
I figured it was a clear cut "fleece." If God wanted our home to sell, then He had a better place for us. If not, then we could have a confidence to stay put. :)
So, thus began the CRAZY work of cleaning out every inch of the home, painting Brian's office, doing repairs and moving out.
Keeping a spotless home with 4 children would be near impossible, my parents were kind enough to allow us to move in with them. So in the beginning of March we listed our home on the real estate market and moved in with my parents.
When we bought our home 7 years ago, we knew we were buying the nicest home in the neighborhood as the previous owners added a second story, huge attic and very large bedrooms. This was the perfect set up for us, and just what we needed, but were warned that this would make it very hard to sell or get our money's worth from it.
However, God is up for such challenges, right?
So, we waited... waited through about 7 weeks... 20 showings... and nothing. Just constant negative feedback about the neighborhood. There were evictions down the street while we were gone... more drug stuff... made us less favorable to moving back in.
Yet, our deadline was about up... 8 days until the tax incentives ended. So we began mentally preparing ourselves to go back home and figured this was God's answer.
Yet one afternoon, as I sat here doing school with the kids, I thought how God called us here... how God led us to do this... so, somewhat tongue in cheek, I typed my facebook status, "Will the hesitating person God wants to buy our home please step forward?"
Five minutes later, I checked my e-mail and there was an e-mail requesting a home showing that afternoon... by 10pm we had an offer!!! But... it was really low... $17,000 lower than our original asking price.
Longer story shorter... by the next day they came up to $1,000 short of what we originally paid for it. We couldn't believe it! The kids were thrilled!!
Now to where to live.... I had been looking on the internet every night now for months. So finally we went to look at the favorites I'd chosen. One by one they were checked off the list... pictures are deceiving... :( I was very disappointed.
So we tried a second day... a third day... nothing at all. Meanwhile we're just 3 days from the end of the month... Surely God didn't bring us this close to the end of the deadline to leave us with no house?
Finally the 4th day... after 34 homes... we found some that would work. By then I had seen so many, I couldn't remember which was which. Our realtor said we needed to write up a contract right away to give us enough time to meet the deadline.
I hate rushed decisions... especially these kind!! I just told Brian to just choose what he thought was best. Don't you love having an authority to force those types of things on? :)
So we made an offer that night. Then the doubts hit... Did we make a mistake? I couldn't even remember everything about it... what if the yard wasn't any bigger than our other one... the bedrooms weren't big enough... I didn't like the location... I wanted to live in the same city with all the shopping/stores I was familiar with.
Poor Brian... "What?!? You don't like the house we just signed a contract on????" :) No, it's more like it wasn't in my plans... I didn't like this last minute stuff... Maybe we picked the wrong one. I wanted it to be according to my guidelines, more organized and in the place that I chose.
He kindly prayed with me and reminded me that this was still in the Lord's hands. If God wants us to have this house, we'd pray that they'd accept our first offer. This would be a miracle seeing as we offered $22,000 less than their original asking price, asked for their playset, refrigerator, & for them to cover $3,000 in closing costs.
If not, we'd know this wasn't the one. So, more waiting... more waiting. Then guess what? They said yes. Our realtor was surprised. No counter offers... just "yes!" Just 30 hours before the tax deadline expires as well!
So I have no doubts now that this is where God wants us... it's a beautiful home. (and it's really only 20-25 min. from our old home)
What a lesson in faith for us and the kids to see how the Lord works. Even down to the little details.
If our house had sold right away like I wanted... this home would not have been available... they wouldn't have lowered their price... they may not have accepted our first offer in time to go for a home of their own.
So, this is our story... obviously it's not over yet as we haven't closed on either one... but we wanted to tell you the exciting happenings of how God sold the Biddle's home and bought them a new one. Lest we forget! :)
|Our Holding Pattern|
I keep sitting down to update this, but then so much has happened that I figure it will take too long. Yet, I should try. I feel like we've been in a holding pattern while living here at Mom and Dad's house. However, if I look at life that way I miss so much. So I'm working to appreciate each moment... :)
So, now for each moment. Where did I leave off.... the giant flood?
Week 1 - Spring Break/Move In - finding places for everyone to sleep... finding routine amidst my brothers being home from school for spring break.
Week 2 - Adjustments - Multiple trips back to home for forgotten things... finding school books/the "Great Flood" (see prior post about water leak) :)
Week 3 - Roaring Fans - living amidst six industrial LOUD fans and 2 giant humidifiers while attempting to think, breathe, and communicate. Ugh...
Grace and cousin, Jamie.... fishing, I think. :)
Week 4 - House Divided - Sleeping in all corners of the house, belongings everywhere, waiting for insurance adjustors and carpet cleaners so we can move back downstairs. Trying to keep up school, etc.
Faith decides to cut teeth and conquer things with vertical complexity.
Week 5 - Easter/Divide & Conquer - Brian goes on business trip to Seattle first half of the week - second half of the week I attend the Midwest Homeschool Convention. (very awesome... more on that another time perhaps)
Video chat with Daddy in Seattle. Faith trying to crawl to him... saying "please." So sad...
Coloring Eggs for the first time ever with Grandma
Week 6 - Waiting - 20 total house showings... no offers. Found out there was an eviction down the street from our home... belongings strewn all over the yard... folks driving around clothes in the street. No wonder no one wants to buy our house. Went out to see our favorite 5 homes with a realtor, just so we'd be ready to go in case an offer came in. None of the 5 were "it" or even close. :(
Kids and I have awful allergies... turned into colds/coughs. My kids sound like incessantly barking seals. :)
And Faith meets grass...
Week 7 - Now... down to 12 days before the end of the tax incentives. It's a bit harder to have faith, etc. when it comes to a time deadline. Andrew asks, "Mom, is God really going to sell our house?" I have to tell him that I don't know. He said, "Well, I just like to know all the details."
Yes, I would like to know the details... a clue... and I admit, I'd like to have my hand in what it would be... but I would mess it all up. I don't have the big picture. Yet, I know that we can pray according to God's will and ask in confidence that He provide for us the best possible place in which we can raise our kids to love and serve Him, wherever that may be.
And if it's in the same house that He provided for us long ago, then I guess that will quickly become very obvious. :)
In the meanwhile, we have a lot of school to do before the end of the year. I'm glad the kids have a nice neighborhood and yard to play in, and God is good to us.
I haven't done to well at writing down the kid's odd things, but here's a few..
"Yep, my Daddy told me that." He knows a lot, doesn't he? "Yes, but not everything. He can't talk Chinese or anything." :)
Stephen found out today that he wouldn't be stoned or thrown in jail should he decide not to get married. What a smile of relief spread across his face when he discovered he wouldn't have to kiss anyone ever! He has great plans to live with his brother forever.
Grace wants to know if birds have tongues. Stephen said, "Definitely not... if they did, they'd realize that worms taste bad."
I finally think I communicate an important school truth to a child, only to be asked, "Why are there red cracks in your eye?"
|Never a dull moment...|
We've been here at my parents now for 2 weeks. In that time we've had about 8 home showings. So I'm so glad we haven't been trying to live around that.
One person said it was his favorite house so far, but was concerned about the neighborhood. Two others said something about the house being nice but didn't care for the "trashy neighborhood." Oh well, we knew that would be our greatest obstacle.
So... we keep praying... and I will say that my parents have been very patient and accommodating. :) Four kids kinda get into a lot!
In the meantime we're trying to catch up on homeschooling. Days full of corrections are just only "so" fun. And there are just so many rooms for Stephen to go and hide in... and when there's a music lesson going on, he knows I can't yell for him. Devious child... :)
Grace follows Grandpa around with her ENDLESS supply of questions, bag of "stuff" papers, notebooks, and types at an old computer keyboard beside him. But now that he's out of town this week, she's back saying she doesn't know WHAT to do and she misses Grandpa.
Only, it was raining inside as well. I came downstairs (our temporary living quarters) this afternoon to find water pouring through the ceiling... literally. So after searching, I found there was water streaming from somewhere under the kitchen sink. There are so many "normal" water sounds that come from the dishwasher and water filtering system that I didn't think anything was out of order when I'd heard a spraying sound the past hours.
Then after moving EVERYTHING... a bookshelf that was holding too many books and was too waterlogged fell over... I managed to pull Grace out of the way JUST in time and it in turn splintered all over and knocked a large tv onto the floor right where Stephen had just been playing a few moments ago. So glad for God's protection.
If we hadn't been staying here I shudder to think when it might have been discovered. And Faith usually sleeps down there as well, if it had been nap time, and allowed to leak for a while longer, she could have gotten soaked...
Thankfully not too many things were ruined besides very wet carpet, ceiling panels, floor & a few bookshelves, etc. Though it's now a maze to even find where we were sleeping... :) Interesting day... :) We'll see how the rest of the week goes...