Sunday, October 8, 2017

Changes and New Chapters

I began a new chapter journey in my life without Glenn this month... I moved into a new home, one that I was able to purchase through God's grace. It is something I wouldn't have thought possible 4 years ago.

Let me take you back to the end of the 'last chapter' and start of this one... it began late last year when my elderly neighbor had decided to sell his house. I owned a manufactured home in a park, it was the last home that Glenn and I had bought together, and subsequently our last home before he passed.

Our previous home went into foreclosure when the economy tanked, and it was in that process when Glenn was diagnosed with cancer. It was because of the combination of events that we found the manufactured home in a wonderful park, a place that would give me a safe home to spend the last months of Glenn's life with, then say good-bye to him, and begin to move forward without him.

I was happy there, and thankful to be there since we had no life insurance on Glenn, at least knew I 'owned something,' even if I didn't own the land it was on. I enjoyed the security of living there, I felt safe.

Over the last nearly 4½ years the Lord has been stretching me, and growing me in financial disciplines that were getting me ready to make this change in my life.

This major change began late last year. My elderly neighbor listed and sold his home, not so much because he wanted to, but because his wife had gone into an assisted living home and he couldn't afford his home anymore with the annual park rent increases. This got me thinking about my life, and where I might be in 10-15 years when I was to old to work like I do now. What would I do, if I was priced out of my home?  So I went online, and found out what he had sold for... and I was shocked, we didn't have insurance but the Lord had worked it out so that I had SOLID equity. We had purchased at the bottom of the market and it is now on a upswing.

It was not easy, but I had wonderful realtors (including a very good friend) that were amazing through the process from the fiscal side, and even prayed for me as I worked through the emotional side. When I listed I didn't think about the fact that when I started into the paperwork, there was Glenn's name... that was a moment that caught me off guard. The reality of closing that chapter of my life was suddenly very real, but I still felt it was the right thing. 

It was the end of January when I made the decision, and early February that I listed. Selling a home is always hard, but doing it alone brought challenges that I wasn't prepared for, however with God's grace and strength I made it through getting things ready to list. Then came the waiting process, showing, waiting, showing, hoping, waiting, showing, lol... Time passed and it was April and coming up on my vacation. I was getting exhausted with the showing circle and impact on the household. So I decided that if it wasn't sold by the time of my vacation that I would remove it from the market... and then boom, 3 days before, I got an offer and we came to an agreement. -- little did I realize that would be the easy part.

Finding a home in the budget I was given was the big hurdle, it was a modest budget and one that flippers hunt in... and with the requirements of FHA on top, I had no idea how hard and emotional it would become, but in spite of the ups and downs I was trusting that the Lord would take me to the right home. I put offers in on:
  • One that I liked okay, wasn't 'in love' with it, but liked it and it would work well for me.  -- lost it to an offer that I found out $1000 less but conventional financing.... this one frustrated me.
  • The next one, again, I liked and it would work, but I had moved into a 'settling for' mode. Again I was beat out by a similar offer that had conventional financing.
  • The 3rd one, I liked the situation but didn't really like the house- I was beginning to panic as my buyer had now been put on hold. -- This one fell apart due to a variety of circumstances-- PRAISE GOD! It was so not the right house... God had better things in mind.
 Well, I had finally decided that I was done and was going to try and unwind my sale... that was a Friday night. Saturday I was at an anniversary party and a friend told me that as she had been praying for me, she kept hearing the Lord say for me not to settle. Monday I was at a baby shower and I got a call just before it started, my buyer was willing to wait until I found something (mind you this was August.) Then it happened, the right house! I got home from the shower, I was looking on line and I found a house that I wanted to see, it was the right price and it didn't need work so that meant I wouldn't be competing with flippers. When I stepped up to the door I saw a small plaque something from one of my favorite verses: Joshua 24:15 But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  That was a great start and then the moment I stepped inside I found peace. This house, I really wanted, it was the one!

Then the real fun began, lol, the buying process... talk about stretching!! I don't remember praying for patience but it was an experience in gaining it. The offer negotiations were the easy part, then came the fun; inspection, good! Waiting for FHA appraisal to be done, ugh, waiting for it to come back, ugh. Then another inspection for FHA, waiting for results... finally all in, all good, then more waiting for the paperwork, early, yeah, oh, nope, on time, okay, nope, delay, boo, finally done, just in time, lol. Got out of the old place, got in the new... Thanks to so many friends and family that helped with loading and moving!!

I am now in my new home, no, I am not all unpacked yet, but that's okay, I love it and I am happy... tired, yes, but content. I now have a glimpse forward - I have a home where I own my dirt... may sound silly but it's important to me. I now have something that I can afford in the future, and something that in the future I can leave to my children or if my life changes, it may become an investment. To top it all off my payment is now $75 less than the house and space rent that I had, and the park rent would have gone up each year.

I can say this as I look back, the Lord gave me a scripture that I mentioned in my first blog, just over 5 years ago, and I know it's still true today. Mark 10:27 But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."

I have said it before, my life is not necessarily perfect but I am so blessed in life. The Lord is my provider and my everything. He is my best friend at all times.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Created By the Past, Not Ruled By It

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

In doing some reflecting lately I began to think about a saying I have heard, and have repeated at times. That saying: We are the sum total of our life experiences.  This is a true statement, however, we need to look beyond this statement to the future.

Some people continue forward in life and want to shift all responsibility for their decisions and actions to everything that took place in their past... I don't accept this.  Sadly society has accepted this, and even encouraged it, unintentionally I would hope. When people refuse to accept that they are responsible for their actions, and not all the events of the past, then they can move forward.

We all have those defining moments, or even series of events that we can allow to dictate everything that we do in life. Almost 4 years ago I lost the man that I loved since high school, he was part of my life for over 30 years. At that moment I had 2 choices, I could let his death put me into a "why me" cycle or I could make the choice to move forward and continue to live. That's what I did, I chose to move forward from the depth of a broken heart and walk forward into the future.

What that future is, I still don't know, but that's okay. What I do know, is that just like in years past, when something hurt me or angered me, as I chose to release it I would then able to move on to something good. Rom 8:28 tells me: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." And that's what I have chosen to trust in. 

There is nothing positive to be found by blaming things on events, people or situations in the past or allowing them to birth bitterness in our hearts.

Pro 15:13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Pro 17:22 A merry heart does good, like medicine,But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Luke 6:45 says “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."

I want to have a joyful heart, so I chose to release the past and let the Lord fill my heart with His goodness. I want to speak life!! 

Be Blessed!!
                           Mary... a.k.a Prairiemouse

Monday, January 2, 2017

Life's Moments and Snow Storm Reflections.

Right at this moment I am sitting in a hotel room, instead of at home where I really want to be. But things like this happen at times... the trick is learning to respond rather than react to them... If I am honest, today was a bit of both. I was calm and practical in my response, but I then found out that if I had done, what Glenn and I would have done when it was the two of us, that I would actually probably be there right now.... and that moment evoked a short term attitude reaction.

Now I am sitting somewhere where I am forced to be alone with myself, and my thoughts... no friends, or family to distract me, yes, there is Facebook, but that's not the same as being close enough to others that you know that you can physically get together if you need or want to.

The reason I am here? Snow storms... they have been hitting off and on all up and down I-5, and due to a closure of the freeway, that the troopers said would be 3-6 hours, I made the decision to stay in a hotel rather than wait and chance driving a potentially icy mountain pass. This was the practical response... then I found out that the closure only ended up being about an hour and a half long. Of course by then I had already checked in, and I was frustrated with myself for not having waited longer and trying to press through, that's what would have been what Glenn and I together would have done... but then again, he's not here, it's just me.

This adventure started a couple days ago when I made a decision to take a short unplanned trip to see my dad and stepmom. They are in their 90's and she is in the hospital, it was important to me to go and see them. The: "love them while they are still here," theory completely dominates me at times... probably more so since Glenn's passing, and when you are talking parents... you need to cherish them when you have them. I still can't believe that it's been nearly 23 years since my mother passed. Life is short, value those you love.

Because of this love, I took the chance and made a trip knowing the weather forecast for the weekend, I had great roads north and of course that put me in a good mood, in spite of the circumstances for the trip. Admittedly it's still weird to check into a hotel by myself, and I knew that there was the chance of an extra night by myself, but I didn't think it would happen. Yes, I was alone up there, but it was just the evening when I got there and the next day in the evening when I left the hospital... kind of like the time frame when you get home from work... but this, sitting in a hotel room, in a little town with no reason to be here and a lot of hours... not what I like.  I didn't really want to sit and watch TV, I also didn't just want to lurk on Facebook for endless hours.

So getting past my whining, some of which did end up on my Facebook page, I have taken a part of this time to look at myself, I realize that I need to learn better how to be by myself when I am far from my 'world,' I am taking part of this time to be transparent about the newest discovery that I have made since becoming the single me again. I honestly never had to face 'alone stuff,' until Glenn passed, because I went directly from my parents home, to my husbands and my home... No living alone, not even living in a college dorm. So it's all been a learning curve, and I feel I've done pretty good, but this... the silence, I really don't like it.

I have always been a verbal processer, when I am stressed, upset, worried, or happy I have always processed my feelings by talking... I was blessed with a husband that would talk with me, we always had the ability to have conversation... I remember once we missed a turn on the way home from Reno and ended up going 30 miles before we realized because we were just chatting. I still process out loud, I talk to myself and the Lord while I am in my car... A LOT! But it's not the same, this is the area I have had the most difficulty in adjusting to, and today I got smacked hard in the face with it.

I am really trying to enjoy my true alone time, really enjoy it, not just look for stuff to do to keep myself occupied until it's time to sleep... it's a process, but the realization is there, I learned some today about myself, and if I take the time, I will learn more and be able to rest more in the Lord during those moments.

Happy 2017 Everyone!!

Be Blessed!
PrairieMouse (a.k.a. Mary)