July 31, 2015

a choice of the heart

My Facebook feed is a CONSTANT stream of abortion videos and blog posts these last few weeks. The horrors that have been exposed are truly jaw dropping, but they are also not surprising. What is surprising is that so many are acting as though this is some outrageous oversight of our government that if we just elected the right people then all this would be "stopped". But all of this abortion talk has reminded of me of what I wrote in my book draft and I'm breaking my "silence rule" on sharing any piece of my book before it is finished to share this excerpt here today:



.....The other important thing about my surgery, happened in Pre-OP as well.  While Dr. R was going to be performing the surgery, his boss, Dr. B-who is the head of the Fetal Medicine Department was going to be assisting him in surgery. Dr. B came in and went over all the options that we’d been given the night before one more time before the surgery, just to make sure we fully understood our choices. After going through the list, he said, “Oh, or you could get an abortion, which I’m assuming you don’t want to do because you’re here...”

Now I’ve thought about this a lot more since then, because at the time I just rushed on past it assuring him that we wanted this surgery and off we went to the next battle that needed to be fought. But I’ve since had time to think and  I learned something really interesting that day. In fact, I learned it pretty distinctly over the next few days actually. While I did not get an abortion, obviously, I did lose a baby in the next 36 hours. I saw a baby go from being incredibly active, to very very still, to completely still. I saw that happen with my two eyes. She was 20 weeks to the day.
Did you know that you can have a late term abortion up to 24 weeks in the state of Texas? I did not. Or if I did, I hadn’t thought about it.
Now, I’m not a political person. I’m a staunch Libertarian and libertarian candidates never make it very far. I hate talking about politics because they make people MAD. Whether a person is right or whether they are wrong. Whether they are arguing or agreeing with the person they are talking to- no one EVER seems to leave the conversation uplifted and hopeful and happy. Well, maybe not ever, but it’s rare. So rare, that my rule is that I do not talk about politics. But luckily, I've realized that by talking about Abortion I'm not breaking my rule at all, because what I learned was that abortion is not a matter of politics. And if we try and find the answer there we will keep on searching forever. 

Because, you see, I watched my daughter die in utero. And just because she was a “fetus” and just because she had not breathed air in the same way that we do, does not mean that she was not a human little girl fighting for life. Every single child deserves a chance at life. And let me tell you, I know what a heavy statement that is! This world can be cruel and it can be unfair and it can definitely deal really harsh hands, even to babies- but thinking of all that negative leaves out Hope. The hope of all the good that can come from a Life. Even a very tiny life. I believe that my daughter, Priscilla will impact this world even though she did not ever see it. Any baby who someone has dared to love has already changed the world just a little bit, they have impacted a Life and therefore they have altered the course of that other Life from that point on.  Isn’t that amazing? If you have loved a tiny baby that has miscarried, or has died after only living for a few hours or days-that baby has had a very full life indeed, it will ever afterwards, have changed your course and the course of anyone else that baby's life touched!! And I think of all those babies who have been aborted, and, like never before I see them as I saw my own daughter. A person.  A life. A chance. But I also see the other person in the room: The Mama ( and sometimes the Daddy is there too). The ones who made the awful choice. They too are a person and a life and a chance. And oh, how my heart breaks for them too. Because abortion is a matter of the heart.

And so I don’t think politics is the solution to the Abortion problem in our world. It has become such a political hotbed that I think I had just pushed it into the “governmental pile” of my brain, but in actuality it should be front and center of my human rights pile. Friends, our society needs help if we are going to save babies lives. We need to help families and children, women and mothers, men and fathers. I, as a believer in Jesus, need to spread His Love. Because I truly believe that that is going to be the only thing that can truly stop the terrible Lie of Abortion to end. If we look to our government to put a stop to abortion in our communities then we are only pointing a finger at someone else to stop a problem that at its very root is sitting in the heart of Man. When it comes down to it, men and women are sitting at home, in hospital rooms, in clinics, in their cars, in classrooms, in offices making a Decision to choose Life or choose Death. It is a decision we are all making ( though often much more subtle) each and every day. Friends, the choice of Life is personal, and we serve a PERSONAL God. If we do not make it our priority to share HIM and the glorious choice He gives us then we are not doing our part. And in the same way if we do not share Love in a very tangible way with the lost of this world then once again, we are not doing our part. What sends men and women into abortion clinics and what allows others to take part in abortions is a strong and very real example of the lack of Life and Hope and Love we as a people are dealing with here in this World, but then that's also pretty much the definition of a sinful world. So instead of acting surprised or shocked that it is happening we should be fighting with every fiber of our being to spread the Good news of Jesus Christ who came to die for all sinners ( abortion clinics and all) before it is truly too late.


July 21, 2015

HabitAT living room!


                              




 

Heeeeeey, we're back with those lovely wonky "pictures of my computer screen" BEFORE shots of our house!!! I know you've missed them!
                              

But today, for the purposes of context you must subject yourselves once more to what our house looked like before we moved in...white carpet, wood paneling, it's all there on my computer screen pictures for your enjoyment....



                       

And just in case you aren't getting the FULL EFFECT of those built in bookshelves: 
                   

And now you REALLY see why I had to get those awful awful bookshelves painted before we moved in! So, now, that you've let that wash over you like some warm Gulf of Mexico dirty water ( only those of you from Texas will truly understand that analogy).... let's take a little look-see into the current state of our living room today. With new flooring and painted built-in, I think the room changed considerably. As for the "moving in" process; there are two pieces of art work that have yet to be hung ( actually, I've yet to get them really...they have been commissioned and I'm pretty sure once I get my little hands on them they will deserve their own post) but other than that I think the room is pretty much complete: 


Here we are looking into the room from the entry way: 
                                        

                                 

                                              

And from the kitchen looking back:  



                  


And now let's take a good close up of those built in glorious shelves now that they are much, MUCH, MUCH better looking....




There are really so many things I love about having such a large and useful living area- I think it reflects our current season of life well, particularly with the open shelves of toys ready to be played with and then happily returned to their spot ( ha!). I LOOOOOVE those closed off cabinets at the bottom of the built-ins, perfect for all my newly acquired school supplies plus our always growing collection of board games and art supplies. I always struggled with how to store these in a place that was accessible but also didn't look junky. HOORAY for cabinet doors! 




I must say, that on an almost nightly basis when I walk through this room to turn off lights and get things tidy for the next day, I find my self thanking the Lord again for this huge blessing.  I am just continually grateful for the gift of this house! I really DO love it and am finding what a gift it has been so far. 

If you've missed other HabitAT posts you can check out my tours of the  Kitchen, Entry way artwork, and guest room  here for your amusement. 


July 16, 2015

There is a season


                  

My entry way is not even remotely close to completion ( and it probably won't be for quite some time because I'm waiting to find the perfect bench that is also the perfect price and looks just like the one in my head...so yeah. Don't feel like you need to hold your breath on that one. That being said, yesterday I was thinking about this lovely little piece of "art" that I decided to hang in our entryway when we moved into the HabitAT house. It use to hang in Tabitha's room and I first wrote about it here.  When I created it, it was meant to be a little something to hang up in Tabitha's room to help tell her story. The idea being to combine the once-a-day-pictures that I took from the day we arrived in Houston during our ordeal with Tabitha's birth all the way until the day we left. 

                  
The cool thing though, was that I started the project while I was in Houston. I did my formatting and layout long before I actually knew how many days we were going to actually have to be there. At the time I figured I'd have to edit it, or fudge and add a few more pictures on to the end.  And yet, it is is worth repeating over and over again, that I filled up my little collage exactly TO. THE. DAY.

The first and last pictures being almost identical pictures of Ransom looking out a plane window as we arrived and departed Houston. 108 days exactly.
                   
All of a sudden this cool piece of picture art turned into a full on lesson on God's Perfect Timing and I felt like it might be timely ( pun intended) to share it here again today. 

Sometimes we find ourselves in horribly hard times: Dark days that seem to spill endlessly into more dark days. And yet, we must know that all our wall collage seasons have a Last Day. Sure we don't know when it will be, but rest assured the Lord has a day in mind and its already been formatted into place. So hold on. In the same way that He has planned out how many days, He's also going to be there for each and every one of them. 

In the same way, our lifelong wall collage-with its good and bad days posing next to each other, showing victories and struggles and life in all its little and big milestones, also has an Airport Picture. Right there at the end, already set and ready to go. We're filling in collages every day and if you're stuck in a hard one, like the one pictured above, than I hope it is encouraging to you to know that it has an end. I also hope that whatever season you are in: that you see those little picture squares as a challenge, that we fill up our pictures with things that are worthy. Sure, the collage above has a picture of my iPad showing that I watched the ENTIRE series of 30Rock while on bed rest ( so clearly I'm one to talk), but it also shows people and the relationships that got us through and that changed us and challenged us. It shows pictures of ultrasounds and miracles, of hard days and bible verses and no two days are the same. So if you are stuck on a repeat picture or you are having trouble imagining another picture square then don't worry, we've got a wonderful God who is ready and willing to help us fill in those pictures and to create the perfect wall art for our lives! 

I'm so thankful I get to look at this particular challenging season every day and remember that even in its salty-tearstained way it made us better. And also that it ended. 

July 08, 2015

Be our guest....

                      

So, today I figured it was high time to continue our little tour into the HabitAT House! And since I'm currently procrastinating from mopping floors in the preparation of my Sister's family's arrival this weekend it seemed only appropriate for me to give you a little look-see into the guest room.

This is really very much a "before" look because I had hoped to wait to show you this room once I had DIYed myself some totally awesome side-tables...but that hasn't quite happened yet! OOPS! Turns out my whole "Take some of the leftover counter tops and drill some table legs onto those puppies." is easy in theory but I have yet to find a cheap table leg that I can live with...thoughts?! Am I going to have to go visit a junk yard?!?!

Annnnyway here is a quick look see:
                    

And one of my favorite prints on the opposite wall. ( not pictured: a very empty bookcase) 

                        

So, yes, there is a lot yet to be done to this room to make it the perfect Guest Room. Things like ear-plugs, bottled water, reading material, a lamp, and obviously a good bedside table....But, we are getting there. And really, since this room will more than likely be lived in by a more long-term guest in the relatively near future ( details are still in the making). I trust that no matter how many amenities I have yet to pull together, this room will hopefully serve its intended purpose well. 


And before I go....I would be remiss not to show a shot of the the totally awesome Avocado Green guest bathroom....Yeah, this bathroom is BEGGING for a redo...but until then we'll just tell ourselves that it keeps us grounded in the house's 1970s roots ;-) 

                     

And did you miss the tour of the HabitAT Kitchen?

June 24, 2015

The naming of a son.

Naming another baby was way harder this go around. Not because we didn't have some really good leads on names, but more that when the name was finally decided upon all I could really think was, "Whoa, who is this kid gonna be?!"

It took a solid week of me doing an intensive Bible Study for me to fully come to grips with the name and even as I write this I feel like I still don't fully understand the depths of what his name will mean for him.  But  in a lot of ways I am now even MORE excited to meet our little fellow. Who, from now on, will be referred to by his name: Justice Tirian Wilson

Tirian I got behind a lot faster so I'll start there. Not long after the beginning of 2015 I started to feel the great need to re-read C. S. Lewis' The Last Battle which is the last book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. I'm usually not one to pick up the last book of a series, but in this instance Brett and I have read them all so many times it was easy to grab the last book and devour it in two evenings after the kids had gone to bed by reading it out loud to each other. BOY IS IT GOOD!!! Not to get to end-timesy on you, but I'm one to believe that C.S. Lewis may have gotten a little prophetic in writing this book and the first few chapters are beyond sobering ( if you've never read it, push through, I promise it gets easier and its ALL worth it). That said, we were reading along and it became pretty clear that Tirian, the last king of Narnia, was a great name for our son...it probably started ( SPOILER ALERT) when we saw the character pushing through his doubts and his discouragement and calling on Aslan for help, but it was by far solidified when we got to the glorious ending when the King finally meets Aslan...oh, come on, I better just quote it for you:
"Then (Aslan) fixed his eyes upon Tirian, and Tirian came near, trembling, and flung himself at the Lion's feet, and the Lion kissed him and said "Well done, last King of Narnia who stood firm at the darkest hour." 

Oh MAN, that's super good, right?! And I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that those were the words I want spoken over our son's life, it is my most fervent prayer-that he would stand firm in Jesus' name even in the darkest of times.

And while I may have had trouble at the beginning about Justice's first name, it really does fit so perfectly with his middle name I should have known it was right from the beginning... but I'll back up and say that the origin of the name Justice is similar to that of Ransom. We wanted the name to point to Jesus. However, while Ransom has a very nice and encouraging message about Jesus-on first glance the Justice of Jesus does not seem as cheery. However, can I just tell you that it IS?! We see in the Bible that the Justice of the Lord is very much wrapped up in mercy.

"( The Lord) loves righteousness and justice the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord." -Ps 33:5

"Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of Justice blessed are those who wait for Him." Is 30:18

In a similar way that Tirian points to the end of all things, we must remember that every day that the Lord tarries He is showing us mercy by giving us chance after chance to come to Him. Yet ultimately we can expect the Lord's perfect Justice. And yes, HIS Justice is perfect. I personally have a strong sense of justice and I tend to be very black and white. My own Abigail-sense-of-Justice gets me into trouble all the time and I worried that I was putting that onto my future child. But what I'm coming to see more and more is that Abigail's worldly justice is not what we are naming our son after. The Justice of Jesus is FULL of mercy and grace, it is a gift and it is both mysterious and wonderful. 
And I am woefully unqualified to write about it.
Of course, there is another cool aspect to Justice's name that I really love- the call to mirror even just a little bit of that Heavenly Justice here on earth. Time after time when man is called to bring forth Jusice it is for those who no one stands up for: The orphan, the widow, the poor, the destitute- we are called to remember them and to give them Justice where none has been found before.

"Learn to do good;
 seek Justice, 
correct oppression; 
bring Justice to the fatherless,
 plead the widows cause."  Isaiah 1:17

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of Thee but to do Justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

And so we will pray that Justice Tirian will grow up to be a man after God's heart-who fights for the cause of the oppressed, who stands even in the darkest of times and who points to the great coming of Our Lord.

We can not wait to meet you Justice Tirian Wilson.  We love you already. 


June 18, 2015

It's another....baby!!!

A few weeks ago in the midst of moving chaos -Brett and I threw our kids in the car at the impossibly early hour of 7:30am ( none of us are particularly fast moving in the mornings) and drove to an Ultrasound appointment. The highlights for my kids were the following:

-The fish tank. Oh man, who doesn't love a good fish tank in a doctors office waiting room? SCORE.

-Cinderella downloaded onto my phone. Sure, its tiny but it is still a movie and who doesn't love watching some unplanned screen time?

-And for Ransom, the confirmation that he was indeed going to have a baby brother.  Tabitha did not care about this at all. She was just concerned that her Mommy might be sick, but when she found out I wasn't she was happy to return to watching fish in the fish tank.


So there you go!! The Wilson's are about to be a male dominated family unit. I honestly hadn't thought that I had any predictions when it came to what we were going to have-it seemed pretty 50/50. We already had one of each, and all my pregnancies had been different enough that I couldn't count on all those wives tales....  but as it turns out, I was so NOT surprised when I saw those itty bitty boy parts that I think I must have known deep down. Or maybe it just feels right.

I'm getting more and more excited our little brother mostly because I've got the time hop app on my phone and it reminds what adorable babies we make.
Tabitha, 2 months old 


Ransom, 2 months old








                                       
                                                       And for comparison: our newest edition yawning... 


As for his name, that will be revealed very soon! Get excited, I won't make you wait too long...

June 12, 2015

Welcome to the HabitAT Kitchen

   So, because I'm not even remotely one of these "professional" bloggers, who has the great foresight to take pictures of their house in all its fine detail before doing any changes ( duh!) you'll have to make do for this little "Kitchen introduction" with some incredibly awesome wobbly pictures off the internet. But I think it just makes the "before" and "after" even more exciting, right? right? hahaha! So here it is: Soak in all the white counter tops and all the dark wood cabinetry....

                        

Are you still soaking?!? Isn't it something to behold!?? Let's look at it from a different angle...
                           
Wow...sooooo....soooo....awful.....
                           

But let's remember that nuns lived there and not say anything too mean. Instead, lets eat some sherbet to cleanse our pallet and head into what is now our kitchen.....


AHHhhhhhHHHHHH!!!!! 


First of all, because we aren't made out of furniture we did not have both a dining room table AND a breakfast table. So since our table is more "dining room-esque" this room is now a very fun kid friendly room where, thanks to my shiny new bar stools people can also hang out and chat while I'm cooking or eat lunch or if you're a tiny person you can have a snack at the kid table or "make" something in the tiny kitchen. 




                              
                           

I'm particularly happy with my "coffee/tea nook" where my chalk board calendar fit PERFECTLY to cover up the bad wood panelling back there, score!! 

                             



And now lets take a closer look into the kitchen.  I'm happy to say one of my most satisfying moments is when my painting was all done and all the various workers we'd had in the house all admitted they had thought I was CRAZY for wanting TWO DIFFERENT colors for my cabinetry. Well, folks, I think it turned out awesome! And they all had to admit that I had been right all along ( or they just wanted to make sure I was going to pay them so they agreed with me...however you want to look at it.) 
                            

Also, lets talk about my wooden counter tops. Yes, they are a little high maintenance right now. For a week we couldn't have anything on them at all because EVERY DAY I would treat them with mineral oil ( Also, try going to Walgreens and buying a BUNCH of mineral oil without feeling weird.) But, after doing treatments every day for a week we are now down to just once a week ( and I've been using this amaaaaazing bees wax/mineral oil conditioner called Howards Butcher Block Conditioner  and it is great stuff) and then by the end of the month we'll just be to monthly treatments. I can already tell that my wood is pretty well saturated with oil and water beads up on it immediately. I feel like considering the cost and how the "pain" was minimal I would do it again in a heartbeat. I looooove how it looks, and how I can kneed pizza dough on it like a champ.  
                        
One thing I have done, just to keep the water around my sink at bay, was to give my soaps and sponges a little lift on a cake stand, and I kind of like the effect! 

                           


So there you go! My brand new kitchen! If you do come for a visit please don't look closely at the cabinets since the painting job was the furthest thing from stellar but, as I suspected, once I'd moved in and started living my every day life in it, I hardly notice the horrible mistakes and smudges any more....hardly. 

June 09, 2015

Teasing.




The month of May was entirely swallowed up by things I did not love. I mean, entirely. There are few things that I hate more than the following:
  • Disruption to routine. 
  • Clutter. 
  • Change. 
  • Things not going according to plan. 
That basically describes every thing there could possibly be said about both moving and renovating! 
So you can imagine that I was really a party in pregnancy pants for the whole month! And so there you have it. The reason I didn't blog. Because nobody needed to see that kinda mess. Well...actually, ONE good thing happened in May, my friend Miranda came to visit-and that was truly a good moment. However, as it with a true jewel of a friend....you really have NO time to do anything other than talk for days and days on end.  And then once she was gone I was immediately thrown back into the mountain of moving which was once again not pretty. 

                                      ( by far the best thing about May) 


 Even as it was happening I knew I was not being the best version of myself and really the only way through it was to put my head down and pray we'd come out on the other side soon. And wouldn't you know it, June did indeed come!! Hooray! 

So now we'll get on to some fun stuff that I really want to share with you! I've basically been saving up some SUPER de DUPER juicy posts, like what our new house looks like! And things that I am loving about it ( and I'll try to keep the painter-hatred rants to a minimum). And then also, I can't wait to tell you what the next Wilson Baby is going to be! Followed closely by the always anticipated "Name that Baby!" post. And let me tell you, you're gonna want to stick around for this because its actually INCREDIBLY HARD to name another baby after you've already named THREE OTHER BABIES. The pressure really starts to mount. But, basically as soon as we saw the little gender bits of this baby I was in full on baby-naming mode. And I'm really happy with the final result. 


So, stay tuned! This post was basically an advertisement/ teaser for future posts. It was the 30-second "teaser" Star Wars trailer equivalent of a blog post. HA! 

April 23, 2015

Renovations begin!!

Woo HOO! The renovation process on our house has BEGUN!!! I'm so excited. Today we took down two walls. One that had glass and wooden doors built into them as an entry into the "formal living room. ( and don't forget the glorious "alter" in the corner that also had to go..)



 and then the wall between the formal living room and the dining room.  It turns out the wall between the two rooms had been added in at some point which is CRAZINESS so we UNdid some work there. 

so out came the sledge hammers and drills and down came some walls....

It already looks a million trillion times bigger and more open!!

April 13, 2015

another little piece of my heart

Last week Tabitha had a anaphylaxis reaction to....something. We've narrowed it down to peanuts, tree nuts and strawberries because she embarrassingly had had ALL those things before the reaction started! In my defense ( though, is there really a defense in these cases?!?) she's had strawberries and peanuts on an almost weekly basis for a long time! But lets just say I've had a crash course in allergens and will hopefully make no more rookie mistakes.



Anyway, there is really nothing like sitting on a hospital gurney with your non responsive daughter in your arms as no less then six people swarm around her. Someone shoving an Epi-Pen into her thigh.  It is a nightmare. I will not forget it for a long time. Thankfully, this story ends happily-with a little girl running laps around a pediatric ward ( thanks steroids!) in her Minnie Mouse PJs happy as a lark. But it got me thinking...

Parenting is seriously the scariest most heart rending thing a person can do. Every day is allowing little pieces of your heart to just run around outside your body and it is an exercise in absolute faith ( and exhaustion) that we get any sleep at all! Tabitha has given me two major scares in her short life not counting the 9 month scare before she was even born, and with each one I just find myself spending a multitude of time in thanksgiving. We have truly been exceedingly blessed and I want to share one of the better blessings with you now.

I am at the very end of my first trimester with another little Wilson! Are you surprised? Or are you like my mom who was like, "Ok, yeah whatever...we knew this was coming. When should I mark my calendar?"
Well it doesn't matter because honestly I'm surprised. Not that I don't know how babies are made and we had stopped playing 'defensively" and basically since we've been very blessed in the past I did have an idea what might happen....but more that I didn't know if I was ever going to BE ready for the whole "getting pregnant, being pregnant" thing again.  To be perfectly honest the last three months have been down right rife with inward turmoil from guilt to grief to fear to joy to general nausea ( oh, that might have been just normal). I have felt it all.

I hope I don't need to go into why I felt all those different emotions. I hope I don't need to explain because I hope you know as well as I that children are a little piece of your heart-when you have trouble having them it is heartbreaking, when you lose one it is heartrending, when you have one it is heart exploding.

My own heart did not start beating normally until I'd had an ultra sound at 10 weeks and had the doctor check ALL AROUND IN THERE. I wanted every single nook and cranny searched before I gave a sign of relief. But luckily just one baby. And yet? A little part of me was sad...because I'll always miss having twins. It is ok to miss what we won't have. That is ok. But the overall emotion was relief. Relief that we saw a beating heart and that there was just one. Sure, sure, you're all saying, "But what are the ODDS you'd go through something like that again, Abigail?!" And I'm here to tell you, "What were the ODDS that it would happen the first time?!?" I'm a firm non-believer in odds.

So here we are friends! Mostly excited, still suffering a bit from PTSD when it comes to ultrasounds, will I ever EVER be able to look at one normally without hyperventilating a little bit about the status of my child?! The most fun part so far, hands down, was telling Ransom who can't WAIT to have a little brother a little sister is ok too, I guess. And while Tabitha could care LESS because when we told her there was no mention of cats whatsoever, I know she's going to love being a big sister.

And so there you have it! One more "new" thing to add to the pile of new things for the Wilsons in 2015....a new car ( which also proves the "if you build it they will come philosophy because I was NOT pregnant when we got that van!), a new house and now a new family member due to arrive in October....but don't worry...we've got at least one more "new" to surprise you with!! Stay tuned.....






April 07, 2015

The House: Part 3

This post is part of a three part series: The House Story. If you'd like to catch up, you should read Part 1 and Part 2
And now for our exciting conclusion....


So we walked into the house, and it was definitely not love at first sight, like many houses we had seen in our housing search, it was very dated in its decor. ( the area where we are moving was mostly built during the 60s.) In fact, come to find out, the house is the EXACT same floor plan is a house my mother grew up in. But, the difference between this not-updated house is that it was in incredibly pristine condition. Sure, it looked like an episode of I Dream of Jeannie, but I didn't feel the need to take a sledge hammer to the shower, which is what usually happened if we viewed a house that hadn't already been renovated. 

This was a new experience, a house that, yes, I would want to do some serious updating in, but that didn't give me the heebie-geebies. And so we walked through the house, and walked and walked because it JUST. KEPT. GOING. It was HUGE. One side had the typical Master bedroom and master bath along with two more good sized bedrooms with ANOTHER bathroom....and then clear on the other side of the house, through the kitchen, and past the laundry room I found....another bedroom AND another bathroom. All on its own. With its own laundry room exit. I knew immediately that we could make this house work. I was virtually tearing out walls and painting kitchen cabinets-I didn't even wait for my usual bedtime routine! I could definitely make this weird house work. The back yard was large and had a great climbing tree, the front yard was nice and had a nice flat driveway for bicycles and scooters and as I mentioned before it dead-ended into a park. 
But then there was the price to consider.
But isn't what you're thinking...

It was ridiculously low.( yup you read right) So low you would think that maybe there was something MAJORLY wrong with it, or that they hadn't done their homework on the area ( or they didn't really care too much). Whatever the case we made an offer knowing that it would be a battle to get noticed, since with that kind of price and that kind of house it was going to be like bees to honey. One thing we had learned was that this particular area was a sellers market, everyone was clamoring for these houses! In fact, the house we had seen earlier in the day with a veritable island in the back yard already had five offers and it was in its first day on the market. EEK. 
So we made our offer on this I Dream of Jeannie house and I COMPLETELY redid it that night as I laid in bed. I could definitely make this house great, and it was amazing how we had gone from "closet sized" office as an extra bedroom, to "normal sized" office as an extra bedroom to an ACTUAL bedroom plus a bathroom-and not just that, it seemed like it might even be cheaper?! It seemed too good to be true. 

On the second day we learned our suspicions were right on. Investors were coming out of the woodwork making offers on this house. We didn't think we'd be able to hang with the big boys but we waited some more. And then we found out why the house, though 1960s chic, was in such immaculate condition. It was OWNED BY NUNS. 

That's right. Two elderly Sisters had been living in it, and now it was being sold by the larger contingency of nuns ( an order?! They've got names for this sorta thing). The greatest part is that along with that vow of poverty, nuns apparently don't spill soft drinks on carpet or put nails in the walls. They also don't really like investors. They wanted REAL LIVE BUYERS. And that is where we came in. 

I quickly wrote up a "we are an awesome family" letter with a family picture attached in the hopes that while we may not be able to offer the big bucks we CAN promise to bake cookies for our neighbors and pepper the neighborhood with bicycles and sidewalk chalk. And so we somehow stayed in the game. And we waited and waited. 

Unlike the other houses we had made offers on, where we found out if our offer was accepted or not within 48 hours at the most, this took days and days.  Almost a full week went by and we had heard not a PEEP. In fact, exactly a week after we had made our offer I moaned to our babysitter about how long these nuns were making us suffer. And she helpfully gave me the perfect visual. She said these nuns were very much like the Nuns in The Sound of Music who slooooooowly showed the Nazis around their Abbey. From then on I envisioned the nuns slooooowwllly floating ( clearly they floated since they did not cause ANY wear and tear on carpeting) around praying about who to sell their house to. I figured it was perfect. If I had learned anything from our other house offers was that if this house wasn't for us then the door would shut. So all the better having BOTH parties praying over the deal, right? 

And then one afternoon I got a text message from our pastor who knew we were looking for a house and who use to do a lot of realtor work. He had promised to be on the lookout for the perfect house for us. In the months of looking he had yet to send us anything he thought was worth looking at but that day he sent me a link to a house... and of the 100 or so houses in that area that he could have seen and sent to us...he sent us the Nun house! I immediately laughed and messaged back that we had already made an offer on it! It now seemed TOO PERFECT. 
And so 10 WHOLE DAYS went by! They had to extend the option period. It was ridiculous! 
But FINALLY they accepted our offer and we officially were buying a nun house!! A huge nun house with a perfect place to allow people to stay with us and Be. 

Now, I know I'm not one who likes numbers very much but I think it is worth noting when we finally close in the next week ( seriously, they have floated along slowly at EVERY step! Nuns clearly have an ETERNITY to make decisions) we will have a house that is 400 square feet bigger than the previous house ( which was bigger than the first house by quite a bit) and it is....drum roll going to cost significantly less, like the cost of a brand new car less. It is truly unbelievable. 

So, now I'm changing my prayer card. I am now praying for all those who will get to be a part of our new home, who will, for whatever length of time, get to be blessed by our house ( I'll probably need a new name other than "nun house"). I can't wait to share our great blessing with as many as we can! I am also hoping that this story will be a reminder to my future self, and maybe to you too...that when we think something is perfect and it just doesn't work out, maybe just maaaaybe that is because God has something else in mind and maybe the waiting is to get that better thing ready to go. And maybe His timing is always perfect. And if He's given you a dream, like a house or a baby or a country or a mission or a person than I really really suggest you stick to that dream, because it won't just be you fighting for it. The Lord is faithful too and He always wins His battles.

And as for pictures....I promise those will be coming and coming in droves. You are going to get to LIVE this renovations with me people,  so get ready for more than you ever would have wanted.


April 06, 2015

The House: Part 2

If you missed it, you'll really need to go read the First Part  to this story, so that you can get the FULL EFFECT of what my story is trying to portray.  And once you have gotten yourself fully caught up and "in the zone" of our story, let us continue with....


I HATE HOUSE HUNTING!!! OMG IT IT AWFUL. For one thing, since the beginning of time I have had the unique "problem" of decorating and redesigning imaginary houses in my head. And now that I was faced with REAL houses that might POSSIBLY become my own, every new house that we went to see I would immediately go home and lay in bed and redo and decorate and position furniture in until Kingdom or Dawn came. ( It was always Dawn...). It. was. exhausting. 
BUT the real problem came when we would actually put an offer on a house. Oh boy. I thought it was bad before, but then things got REALLY serious in Abigail's Imagination World. 

The first house we found that we were interested in had fruit trees in the front yard, had been renovated fairly recently, had three good sized bedrooms and 2 and half bath ( the half bath being off of the kitchen in the laundry room, just in case you HAD TO GO while you were doing a load of Whites), and Dun Dun DUNNNNNNNN. A little office off of the kitchen/dining room. "It would be "perfect" for a little "guest room"!!"  I thought to myself! AND because it isn't technically a "bedroom" I bet the taxes are cheaper!! HOORAY! It is the PERFECT HOUSE! Except for the tiny detail in the back yard. What's that?!?! A POOL!?!?! IN THE BACK YARD? INCHES FROM THE BACK DOOR!?!?! 
*sigh* yes. And no matter what my realtor told me about how "awesome" pools where, my many years of lifeguarding could only see my children floating facedown. 

But. I couldn't get past the fruit trees, it being in our price range ( pretty important) and that teeny tiny "guest room" that, to me and my prayer card meant it MUST BE MEANT TO BE! 

So we put in our offer and we waited. And I repositioned furniture at night, and showed pictures of the house to my friends during the day. I could HARDLY WAIT to see if it would be ours! Sure, I kept having flashes of drowning children and the niggling feeling that I would never really be able to sleep well knowing I had a DEATH TRAP literally in the back yard, but I researched safety fences and waited. 
We did not get the house. 

I was devastated. Mostly because I was tired of moving furniture around in my head, because at the end of the day I was really quite relieved that a Pool was not in our future. At least for at least 5 to 10 more years. 

Weeks passed and we found another house. It was on a horse-shoe shaped street, where the two ends dead-ended into a park. The house was towards the "U" part of the street ( so definitely no thru traffic here!) and was gorgeously renovated, and it didn't have a pool. It had MORE CLOSETS THAN I CAN COUNT. ( seriously, I was giddy about the closets) AND AND AND!!!! It also had an "office" off the laundry room/kitchen that would make the perfect "guest room!" AND this one was BIGGER! HOORAY! This house was DEFINITELY for us!!! I loved, loved, loooooved it. Nevermind that the whole backyard was terraced and Brett was worried the kids might fall, or that the front yard was at a drastic 45 degree angle...IT WAS PERFECT.  We made an offer. And I started to mind-decorate every inch of the house in my head.  I was sure this was the one. I even had little "good moral there, God!" blog posts written up about how this house had an even bigger "guest bedroom" than that last house and how I had just needed to be patient! Good, one God, good one! The wait was longer this time, and there was even a little negotiating- they wanted a LOT for the house, and we ended up going up more on our offer than we ever thought we would before the floor finally fell out. 
We did not get the house. 

And so ALL OF FEBRUARY went by and NOT ONE new house, in our price range and in the area that we really felt like was where we were suppose to be, came on the market. NOT ONE. 

And then March happened. Two new houses came up and we went to look at them even though the pictures did not look promising. We had spent weeks now, widening our search and wondering what was going wrong, so we were feeling desperate. The first house was "Ok" but had the craziest back yard I've EVER seen. Imagine an "island" of dirt smack dab in the middle!...yeah. It was special. 
And so on we went to the next house. It was the COLDEST day we'd had all year and I really just wanted to go home and cuddle by the fire, but I felt committed to doing our due diligence....

The second house of the day just so happened to be on the other side of the horse-shoe street as the last house we had put an offer in.....in fact they literally backed up to each other and shared an alley! That was a curious coincidence....So I walked in the front door....

STAY TUNED to the exciting conclusion of The House.....Part 3!