Warming Up

We have been living with my in-laws since January, when we sold our previous home. It’s been a really hard 6 months. Absolutely nothing has seemed to go our way in these few months. So when we went under contract on this house, I had a very hard time believing something wouldn’t go wrong. The seller is a bit odd- he’s very unpredictable, a little unethical, he lies and I think he has a touch of dementia as well. Not a great combo. Each week that went by, I held my breath for The Big Let-Down. News that he decided to keep the house or that he wants to renegotiate to a higher price. News that there were structural issues or that the house didn’t appraise and the deal would fall through.

I realize how impossibly pessimistic that sounds. I’m quite aware of how far I’ve fallen from my previously endlessly-hopeful self. But I think that is starting to change.

We are now 2 days away from closing and the seller has officially moved out. I went over to the house yesterday to try and match flooring samples. I had a key and I let myself in (with his permission of course). And there it was. This beautiful, empty home sitting before me. A home we have prayed for. A home that made me cry when I first walked in. A home we have agonized over. A home we almost lost to a higher bid. It’s lovely really. And in 48 hours it will be ours, Lord willing. I stood in the doorway and let it sink in a little bit. This house, this wonderful, quirky house is about to be ours.

For the first time in a long time, I allowed myself to warm up to the idea that maybe the winds are shifting. Maybe a stream of good luck and God’s favor is coming our way. Maybe things are going to be less hard. Or maybe not, but at least we’ll have a cute house to weather the storms in haha! 🙂

I would love for this house to represent a new chapter in our life. I don’t want to walk into it with armfuls of baggage. I’d like to carefully store those bags in the garage and walk into the house with a fresh sense of hope and a renewed perspective on life. If our old house represented the ICU ward of a hospital where we recovered (sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively) from the wounds of life, then I want this home to represent a retreat center.  A place of restoration, refreshment, relaxation, healing, inspiration, peace and wholeness.

And as I stood in the empty spaces of what will hopefully soon be ours, I was overwhelmed by the possibility of what could be as I picture us enjoying summer evenings on the patio and snuggling around the fireplace at Christmas. I finally let down my guard and allowed myself to indulge in the possibility that this house will be a place of comfort for us. It is evidence that perhaps the seas of life are getting a bit calmer.

Picture time! This was the first time I have ever been in the house alone. The first time where the seller wasn’t sitting around in his pajamas eating food and brushing crumbs everywhere (this was a For Sale By Owner situation, so he didn’t play by any of the traditional real estate rules like leaving the home for a showing or not getting in a fight with the inspector etc). The first time where I haven’t been distracted by his incessant talking to actually have a solid look around. The first time I’ve seen it empty.

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Looking down from the loft onto the main great room. Yes, that is shiplap you spy above the fireplace 🙂
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The master bathroom and closet have these gorgeous tiles with radiant heating underneath. That is going to feel so good in the winter!
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Our seller ripped out brand new white carpet and installed  navy carpet (with polka dots!) in the lower level of the home.  We want to replace that (obviously) and do hardwood. The wood in the rest of the entire house is solid strand bamboo and it is in fabulous shape. My attempts to match hardwood have been fun. In the 3 years since the initial wood was laid, the stains have changed ever so slightly and now nothing is a perfect match. I stalked  was able to get in touch with the prior owners and she graciously told me where they purchased the wood from so I think I’m getting closer to a good match. And if it’s not perfect, that’s ok too!

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Our precious patio. This spot sealed the deal on my love for this house!

Photo Jul 06, 5 28 42 PMI’ve been staring at various shades of white paint for a long time. I’d like to find one with just a subtle undertone of grey which would contrast well with bright white trim/fireplace/doors/kitchen cabinets. There’s not a ton of natural light in the house so anything we can do to brighten things up will help, like skylights and solar tubes (getting an estimate on those next week!).

We have our closing set at 11am on Friday, then we’ll grab lunch to celebrate before a few contractors come by for bids on flooring install and random jobs to be done. Our POD is scheduled to be delivered on Saturday. Can we just talk about what a huge surprise opening that thing is going to be?! David and I were in the hospital when the movers packed it and it was carried away, so I never supervised any of the moving process. To be honest, I still don’t know where our POD is being stored. All I know is that we will see it soon. It should be fun to rediscover our stuff after almost 7 months! Thank you Jesus that the end of our nomadic basement-dwelling life is near and that we are about to have a space of our own again. This is going to be a good good good weekend!

 

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House Goals

Can we talk about the housing market real quick?  It’s insane. I’ve never seen anything like it, honestly.

It’s a seller’s market in our area, there is virtually no inventory of homes so when a house goes on the market…. approximately 18,000 people all fight to buy it at the same time. It’s nuts. In fact, it’s the 2nd tightest housing market in the entire country (San Jose, CA is #1. Now you’re up on your current real estate trivia!).

I’ve been to open houses where there were no less than 30 other people in the house at the same time. Most of the houses we have seen get multiple offers (many are cash offers) within 24 hours. Almost every time we are scheduled to see a house, there are 4 other families scheduled at the same time. There are often investors lurking around, I even saw one guy who brought his general contractor with him. Half of the houses have gone under contract before we even have a chance to see it. At any given house I go to, there are typically at least 10 people in the street talking with their realtors and half of them are writing up offers on the hoods of their BMWs (ok, I might be exaggerating on that piece haha!). I feel like I should be a reality show on HGTV or something.

I’m doing my best to stay hopeful despite a difficult market and I’m trying my hardest to have a discerning eye without being a brat and demanding I have a perfect house that checks off every item on our “must have” list. It’s a fine line to walk and hopefully we will be rewarded for our persistence and hope that we can find a house suited perfectly for us.

At leat through the house-hunting process I am learning more and more about the things I like and the things I don’t like….


I’m finding myself drawn to smaller homes with larger yards. East/west facing windows that provide beautiful natural light always makes my heart happy. I like large trees, interesting floorplans, quiet streets and a little bit of character woven throughout. 

As we have looked at several houses in the area, I am learning that I feel a particular attraction towards a certain style of home…often they were built in the 1970s-1990s and have multi-levels (but not necessarily a traditional tri-level), uniquely-shaped windows, little nooks and crannies and weird kitchens that need updating. They usually have vaulted ceilings, mature landscaping and give off a vibe that the architect and builder were “experimenting” with a new concept. Sometimes the concepts fail miserably and sometimes…they’re pretty awesome.

I saw a house last week that was really cool. It needed a lot of work done so we passed on it. It went under contract 12 hours later. I’m still wondering if we should have put an offer in on it…

David and I saw another one a few days later that we both were intrigued by. It literally had 5 levels on the interior, but the exterior looked like your standard 2-story, the inside was like a maze where you kept discovering new rooms. It had 2 amazing porches on the backside of the house and a cute little tree swing. Sadly, the house had extensive structural problems from poor drainage issues which were causing the entire house to slope south 6 inches. The stairs were crooked and the walls were having upheaval problems. It was a bit too intimidating for us to undertake the kind of restoration it truly needed. Go figure, 1 day later it too went under contract.

There is a temptation to just buy the first house that we see that looks halfway decent. To just throw caution to the wind and overlook bad neighborhoods, no natural light, poor layouts, unfortunate lot placement and problematic structural issues just so we can get a foot in the door and have a place to live.

There’s a lot of temptation to just settle for good enough. And there’s a good chance we might do just that. Maybe God is preparing our hearts to live in a place we do not like. We may have more lessons to learn on being content no matter what our situation or surroundings are (Phil 4:11).

But. I think that I can hear God whispering that we should hang tight and trust Him. I hear subtle words that He may just have the perfect place picked out for us. And if we will just continue to trust His timing and direction, it will be ours. Yes, I am saying that I believe God has a home already picked out for us. Yes, I believe it is a specific place. I believe it will be a “I’ll know it when I see it” sort of thing. And I believe if we get impatient and settle, the opportunity might pass us by.

Maybe my house-hunting theology is whack. But maybe…just maybe I’m discerning those whispers of God correctly. Maybe He really will fulfill that desire in our hearts. Maybe He really does have the perfect little home picked out for us with beautiful natural light and a brick fireplace or maybe even a porch in the backyard where we can watch the sunset. Maybe there is a house out there that is perfect for us. A place that we don’t just like, but love. A place we are excited to call our home.

Faith Over Fear

I officially have a surgery date! April 2nd. Part of me wishes it was sooner, so I could just get it over with. And part of me wishes it was further away (like, never). It would be nice to have more time to prepare. But really, can one ever have enough time to prepare for brain surgery? Probably not.

The past 2 weeks have been a mental tug-of-war. I’ve spent half of my time fearfully and obsessively thinking about and researching surgery outcomes/complications/recovery times (helpful hint: don’t look at Google images for the search term: middle fossa craniotomy). The other half of the time I’ve been trying to make myself not obsessively think about or research surgery outcomes/complications/ recovery times. I’ve had entire days go by where the only thing I’ve thought about was surgery. Just being real.

I’m part of a SCDS support group for people with this diagnosis and while it’s comforting to know I am not alone and that there are plenty of people who have been through the surgery successfully…it’s also scary. Because you see the struggles. You see what it’s really like for some of them on the road to recovery. You see the tears, the frustration, the complications. You see the ones who stay dizzy for 6 months and the ones who never seem to get better. And that makes it all much more real. Fear sinks in a bit deeper. Anxiety creeps up a little more frequently. Uncertainty begins to surface every hour. Doubt of whether I can really do this settles in and makes itself right at home in my daily thoughts.

I think these past 2 weeks needed to happen. I needed to obsess over it all. I needed to lose sleep over it. I needed to pour all of my energy into basically freeeeaaaaaaking out over this surgery. I needed to get it all out of my system now. Because I don’t want to be in this place 2 months from now. I refuse to sink into an ocean of anxiety. I refuse to enter into that hospital with more fear than faith.

Thankfully, God helped me out of my tailspin and has pointed my feet in a different direction. I have exactly 60 days ahead of me to focus on what really matters (yep, that would be Jesus).

I can’t focus on my own journey if I keep looking at everyone else’s. I can’t focus on my own healing if I’m constantly thinking about the problems other people have encountered. How can I expect to experience peace and miraculous healing if I’m always worried about what can go wrong?  I have to retrain my eyes to focus on the Lord through this. I can’t keep looking down, wondering if and when I’m going to fall.

I want to be light as air going into this surgery and recovery. I want to be strong, brave, confident. I want to be so hopeful that walk through this with a smile on my face because I am so sure of God’s faithfulness in my healing.  It’s 100% not natural to walk into brain surgery and have no fear. But that’s what I want. I want that irrational hope that laughs in the face of dread.

But in order to get to that place, I have to focus and rely completely on the Lord. Because like I said, it’s not natural to walk into this with no fear. It’s wildly illogical. It’s going to take a supernatural leap of faith in my heart to get to that place. But I’m praying and trusting God to help me make that leap.

I think it’s going to take a lot of prayer. Probably a lot of focus and resolve too. It’s going to require me to reject the fear and doubt that tries to creep in. While I’m at it, I should probably rid myself of self-pity, distraction, comparison, unbelief and my tendency to waver. All to make room for the Holy Spirit to minister to my heart and begin building my trust and confidence. Come April 2nd, I want to believe God for miraculous healing so confidently that I don’t even remember what it was like to doubt.

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt…you can say to this mountain, ‘go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” ~Matthew 21:21

Rescue

Not even 2 hours after I got the call yesterday from Dr. B’s office that IUI#6 had officially failed, I got another call that rocked my world. It was David on the other end of the line. He had lost his job. Talk about being kicked when you’re down.

Now I was not entirely surprised by this, as this is the “bad thing” I’ve been referencing to in my past few posts. We knew it would happen, they gave him fair warning that it was a very likely possibility. We just didn’t know it was going to happen now.

When I hung up the phone, my heart broke into a million little pieces. I wasn’t grieving out of fear of lost income or health insurance. I was grieving for my sweet husband. He doesn’t deserve this. He has worked so hard for so long. He has endured for 8 years in an industry that has been slowly marching to its death. He has persevered through one lay-off already and rose above it to find this job. He has been a model of staying the course when things get tough. And then this happens. It just didn’t seem fair.

For a moment, the deep waters we’ve been in felt infinitely deeper. I literally cried out to the Lord, “Where is our rescue God?!”

And then David walked in the room with a smile on his face. I could literally see the relief in his eyes. Gone were the days of worrying about your newspaper shutting down. Gone were the worries about long hours and little pay. Gone was the stress about meeting tight deadlines and dealing with difficult sources. All that stress had been washed away. And then it hit me. Maybe this was our rescue.

Thankfully, David had an job interview on Tuesday that went incredibly well (the “good thing!”). It’s for a position that he’s well qualified for and it would be a perfect fit. We should hear by Tuesday if he got it. Maybe that’s our spacious place, our time of blessing, that we’re being brought into. And maybe not. Maybe we’ll have to endure months of unemployment before something works out. But I know that either way, God’s plan is perfect and we are hopeful that something good will come out of all this.

If you’re the praying type, would you please pray that David might get this job he interviewed for? We would be over the moon thankful if you sent a little prayer up on our behalf!

We decided not to go out of town for the full 5 days we were planning on. It’s probably not prudent to climb 14,000 foot mountains without health insurance haha! 😉 So we’re hanging around here for the 4th and then we’ll probably go backpacking for a night or two this weekend, either way we have to get outta here and clear our minds a bit. Hope y’all have a great 4th of July! 🙂

Deep Water and Spacious Places

I know I was rather vague in my last post about the “bad thing” that happened to us. I hate being vague and I promise I’m not doing for the sake of being dramatic, drama isn’t in my nature. Like I said before, hopefully soon enough I can share more. I just can’t quite talk about it openly on the great world wide internet at the moment for fear of someone finding out, who shouldn’t find out.  Rest assured, our close friends and family know and are praying for us. And thank you to those of you who are praying, even though you don’t know specifics, we appreciate it!

I can say that it has nothing to do with our health or with fertility stuff. It has nothing to do with our family or friends. No one died and there were no tragic accidents. And for that, I am very very grateful! It’s something that very unexpectedly happened to David and I and to make along story short, it feels like we’re in deep water.

You know that feeling…the one where you just can’t quite seem to keep your head above the surface, except for a quick breath of air before the current drags you back under. You feel like you’re floundering in rough water and choppy seas. There’s no land in sight, no life boat, you don’t know which direction to go and you’re too tired to even attempt swimming. There’s nothing concrete that you can cling to. That’s where we are.

Although we don’t have much in the way of concrete things to cling to right now, we do have one thing we can cling to, which is better than any life boat or beach. We have the Lord Almighty. He has taken ahold of us and I know He will lift us out of these rough seas.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me our of deep waters.” Psalm 18:16

Though we might not be out of the deep water yet, I know He has us. God is in the business of redeeming ugly situations, of rescuing those in need of help. Does it always look the way we want it to? Nope. Does it sometimes get worse before it gets better? Yep. Our rescue hasn’t happened quite yet, but I am confident that our Rescuer is on his way.

Despite the floundering and feeling a bit beaten by crashing waves, I can feel Him moving right now. I don’t know what He’s doing, but He’s working. And that gives me peace and hope for things to come.

Just a couple verses after Psalm 18:16  in verse 19 it says, “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” I love that picture of being rescued and brought into a spacious place. I picture being lifted out of the depths and into a big open field of wildflowers. I just think it’s beautiful imagery. Not only does He rescue us, but He brings us into a better place. Amen to that!

Thankfully, we’re getting tiny glimpses of what that spacious place might looks like. I also mentioned in my last post that there was a good thing that happened as well and that we were hoping good would overcome bad and that good would win in the end. I like happy endings and silver linings. 🙂 Only time will tell, thanks a bunch for your prayers!

Around the Corner

I got smacked in the forehead by God this weekend and it went a little something like this….. 

“I have some questions for you, and I want some straight answers.Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much! Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that! Who came up with the blueprints and measurements? How was its foundation poured…..Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things, explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean? Do you know the first thing about death? Do you have one clue regarding death’s dark mysteries? And do you have any idea how large this earth is? Speak up if you have even the beginning of an answer…..Have you ever traveled to where snow is made, seen the vault where hail is stockpiled? The arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness for times of trouble and battle and war? Can you find your way to where lightning is launched, or to the place from which the wind blows?…….Was it through your know-how that the hawk learned to fly, soaring effortlessly on thermal updrafts? Did you command the eagle’s flight, and teach her to build her nest in the heights, Perfectly at home on the high cliff face, invulnerable on pinnacle and crag?…….Now what do you have to say for yourself? Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?……….I’m in charge of all this—I run this universe!” (Excepts from Job 38-40, The Message)

Lately, I’ve been of the mindset that I know what’s best for me more than God does. I’ve been questioning Him and upset at Him over the events that have transpired in our life this year. Now I know that part of grief includes being confused and angry, often times at God. It’s ok for us to not understand what He’s up to and to be frustrated with Him. That’s just part of it. He gets it. But there comes a point where you just have to get over yourself. 

It’s been a slow work in progress, but I feel like I am finally coming to the end of myself. Enough questioning God, enough “woe is me” thinking, enough believing that I know better than He does, enough thinking that God is holding out on me. Enough! Who am I to question what the Creator of the universe is doing? Who am I to think that I know better than the One who is in charge of it all? 

Just because this prayer for a family of our own right now hasn’t been answered the way I had hoped, does not mean that something better isn’t waiting for us around the corner. I’m glad I got to this realization because I have a suspicion that the moment when I finally reach the end of myself is the moment when God finally has room to really move in my life. 

The Reason

It’s hard for me to believe that a week ago, almost exactly to the hour, all of this craziness happened and my whole world was flipped upside down. I was talking with David last night before bed and I told him that I felt like the Holy Spirit saved my life. There were so many chances and moments for things to go differently last Wednesday. But they didn’t. They happened the way they did, and they happened for a reason (I’m just not quite sure what that reason is at the moment) and because of it, I’m alive right now.

Right as the horrible pain had just started last Wednesday, I went to the bathroom. I was washing my hands and I looked in the mirror and I had this horrible thought flash through my mind. “You’re losing your baby.” I don’t know where it came from and I don’t know why I had that thought because I was 150% sure that I was not pregnant. But that thought is what prompted me to call David and tell him the pain had gotten worse. I could have ignored the thought, ignored the pain like I had done on Tuesday and most of that day already, and just gone back to work. But I didn’t.

When David answered, and I told him about how the pain had gotten worse since lunch, and I heard such an urgency in his voice as he said “Stay put, I will be there in 2 minutes and we are going to the doctor.” I’ve never heard him speak with such urgency before. He could have said “Oh honey, I’m sure you’re ok. You probably ate something weird. Why don’t I take you home and you can take some Tums and lie down for a while? If you’re not feeling better by tomorrow, we can always go to the doctor.” But he didn’t say that.

When I got to Dr. B’s, the nurses took me right back to an exam room. They did a comprehensive ultrasound, not wanting to miss a single thing. They were patient and listened to me as I told them where the pain was. They were caring and concerned. They could have easily told me that it was indigestion and that I just needed to rest at home. In fact, today at my post-op exam the same nurse told me that 9 out of 10 times, if a woman who just had a negative pregnancy test and her period comes in and complains of pain and bleeding, she would not be super high on their triage scale. She said typically, they would send that woman home without an emergency ultrasound and would schedule her for a time that fit the clinic schedule. But this time, they didn’t do that.

After the exam with the nurses, they decided to page Dr. B and had him come directly over to his office to check me out. He came straight over without hesitation or delay. And once he arrived, he knew immediately what was going on and what needed to be done. He could have easily told his nurses after he got the page, “Look, it’s 4pm. My eyes are dilated, I’m ready to go home. Have Becky come back first things in the morning and I’ll be happy to check her out.” But he didn’t say that.

See? All these things had to align for me to be alive right now. If even one of them had been different, I would not be here right now. That’s not even a question.

I don’t know why Dr. B decided to still come in to the office even though his work day was over. I don’t know why I decided to call David and tell him about the pain. Heck, I don’t even know why I had to go through this in the first place! Why wasn’t this an ectopic pregnancy that was caught early and didn’t require surgery and the loss of both baby and my left tube? I have absolutely no idea.

I firmly believe now that the sole reason behind me taking my 2nd job was so that I wouldn’t be home alone when this happened. If I had been, I know I would have just laid down to take a nap and I probably would have never woken up. Just another thing that had to be lined up so that my life was spared.

But I do know that the Holy Spirit works in incredible and mysterious ways. I do know that the Lord wanted to see me come out on the other side of this. And I really do believe the Holy Spirit saved my life. I know He is good to His core and I know this experience fits into His plan, hard as it may be. There is a reason for all of this and I plan to spend a lot of time seeking Him out in hopes of learning that reason one day.