Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My tiny little red-headed Christmas present

Here, in her Christmas finery, is my tiny, red-headed Christmas present, Kaelynn Mae Moseley, my newborn niece that I had the unspeakable pleasure of spending the past weekend with.

Since she is exclusively nursing and my SIL is feeding on demand and co-sleeping, there wasn't a lot of time for others to hold Kaelynn, but I did get to hold her a couple times and yesterday got to hold her while she slept for more than an hour. The faces she made in her sleep made me wonder what that pretty little head was dreaming about. Sometimes she almost smiled, sometimes it looked like she was almost going to cry.

Kaelynn's lungs are strong. She detests her diaper being changed and is not a fan of being in her car seat. It broke my heart to be in the back seat of the car with her on the way to church, having her cry her eyes out and not being able to soothe her. It gave me a fraction of what a parent must feel when they are unable to soothe their child's pain. I would have done anything in those moments to make her tears go away.

My bro and SIL are doing great as first time sleep-deprived parents and even hosted Christmas dinner for the extended family. I enjoyed seeing my brother be a baby-wearing Daddy yesterday as we walked to Starbucks with Kaelynn strapped to his chest.

Most of the pictures are on my Mom's camera, that's why there are only 2 here, but you can see what a beauty she is, and hopefully you can get a sense of how perfectly happy I was holding her in the second picture.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas - I did. For beyond a newborn niece, the ultimate Christmas gift was a newborn King of Kings that came in human form to be Emmanuel, God With Us, to one day grow up to die in our place in order to take our sins away. All praise to Him!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What I can't wait to do...

...is to hold this precious one. Granny texted me this pic of Daddy holding K this morning. Love that her little cheeks are getting chubby just like they should be!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Countdown to Kaelynn

Excel has calculated I have 2.99 days remaining until I can see (in person) and hold my newborn niece Kaelynn. I admit I am jealous of Granny and Granddad (aka my Mom & Dad) - they are on their way right now and I don't leave until Saturday morning...but I'm thankful for the time I do get.

I can't wait to feel the lightweightedness of her little warm body and gaze into her eyes, or, since she'll probably be sleeping, gaze at her tiny eyelids and likely (since they're light-colored) invisible eyelashes. I can't wait to feel her tiny fingers and hold her hands in mine. I can't wait to kiss her super soft head. I can't wait to stare at her over and over, memorizing her little features.

Most of all, I can't wait to tell her how much I love her!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Baby girl's cultures were negative for bacteria yesterday (praise the Lord and thanks for your prayers) so her Daddy (my brother) thought they would be able to go home. My SIL had a headache still from the epidural so they were to talk to the anesthesiologist about that, but her fever was gone and she was feeling better overall.

Kaelynn has beautiful red hair. Since I'm not sure how private they want to be with pictures, I need to ask them before I post any of her--but believe me when I tell you it's a pretty shade of red, just like Mommy's. Granny, aka Kaelynn's paternal grandmother (aka my Mom) has always wanted a red-headed baby and now she has one. She had red hair before hers turned white. Kaelynn's other grandma had red hair before hers went gray/white. Daddy's beard even grows a little red sometimes too, though his hair on his head and arms, etc. is dark brown. So the "odds" were favorable she would have red hair and we're thrilled she does.

Obviously far more important than red hair is that even after such a long delivery process and the risk of severe infection or worse, she is healthy and so is Mommy and we're praising the Lord for that. Kaelynn's Daddy isn't exactly the world's best communicator (I say that in love) so I don't know for sure, but we think they are home from the hospital now. I can't wait to see them in 23 days! :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Brand new prayer request

It is with great Auntie pride and much thankfulness to God that I announce the arrival of my niece, Kaelynn Mae Moseley, born earlier today in San Jose, CA.

Because Kaelynn's Mommy's (Marni) water broke at midnight Saturday/Sunday, there was risk of infection from labor lasting this long and indeed Marni has a reasonably high fever. They were starting baby Kaelynn on antibiotics as a precaution when my brother called my Mom to tell her the news.

Please praise the Lord with me for the arrival of this new life and join with us in praying that Mommy and baby will recover from the trauma of the delivery and get some rest (along with Daddy) and that tomorrow everyone will be feeling much better.

Thank you! Oh, and here are her stats! 7 pounds, 9 ounces; 20.5 inches long and RED HAIR!! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations." --Psalm 100:4-5 NIV

This Thanksgiving (like all) I have much to be thankful for. Just yesterday the Lord answered a long-term prayer request in a way I never would have dreamed, in such a creative manner like only He could. Sometime in the next week (I should think!) my second niece should arrive - she's at 41 weeks+ gestation right now and I'm certain my SIL especially would like to see her make her debut! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stationery card

Blessings Of Christ Religious Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

They Deserve More Than One Day Anyway

I know tomorrow is the actual day, but they deserve more than one day anyway. I try to be thankful for our veterans everyday!

Not only those who HAVE served but those who ARE serving, especially my dear sweet friends the Yellow Hats! Thank you for your daily sacrifice for us and our country!!

While there is plenty wrong and dysfunctional about the USA (Lord, help us!) this is still - by far - the best nation in the world, and that did not come - nor does it not continue to be - without the daily sacrifices of those that wear the uniform and those that love them.

We are forever in your debt and will never be able to thank you enough.

You deserve much more than one day anyway!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Komen Race 2011

[Forgive my lack of ability to get Blogger to allow me to re-arrange my photos in order....ARGH.]

On Saturday, I and around 29,999 other folks participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Dallas. It's one of the larger Komen Races in the country. I was finally able to organize a team at work this year and I think that the group enjoyed themselves and were moved by the amount of people joining together for such a great cause.

You see some many creative shirts and costumes at the Race. One of my favorites was a little girl dressed up like a fairy with a ballerina skirt and wings and a shirt that said "we need to find a cure before I get boobs" (she looked to be about 6). There are always the somber "in memory of" ones and the pink-shirted survivors, some still in chemo or not far-removed that have little or no hair under their pink caps. Komen has advanced the fight against this awful disease and we have made great strides - but we must continue until we find the cure!

Last year I was unable to participate due to migraines and I missed another year due to bronchitis, so I was thankful to be able to participate this year. I'm "paying for it" in a manner of speaking, but it's something that it important to me and I'm thankful the Lord provided me the strength to do it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just as I am

For awhile now, each week, we sing "Just as I am" as our invitation song at church. I love that hymn. But what's made it come even more alive to me is the new additional phrases/bridge we sing - I know now that these lyrics (and the occupying music)were written by Travis Cottrell:

I come broken to be mended
I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued
I come empty to be filled
I come guilty to be pardoned
By the blood of the Christ the Lamb
And I'm welcomed with open arms -Praise God!
Just as I am.

I grew up in church and have sung "Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me..." more times that I can count...but these new lyrics from Travis mixed in with the timeless ones I grew up with just have brought the powerful truth of this hymn to life for me.

Through Christ's blood, God welcomes me just as I am.

I can come wounded, desperate, broken, empty, guilty and in every other way that I am deficient, and the God of the universe welcomes me.

In a world that screams to us you have to be skinny and pretty and powerful and rich and successful to be worthwhile, it's nice to know that when I'm none of those things, God not only LETS me come, He WELCOMES me with open arms.

That, my friends, is definitely praiseworthy.

He is praiseworthy.

He loves me (and you) just as I am.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fair-Feathered Shoppers

Last night after work, I went by my CVS to pick up a couple RX's when outside the door, I saw these guys (or girls, I didn't check!). They got even closer to the door but never went in. They are not at all skittish of people - the first picture is not zoomed!

After a rather "downer" day at work, it was just a funny sight and several other customers and I had a good laugh at these feathered-fellows' expense. I swear (except I don't) that one of them was wagging its tail feathers while we were talking to it!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

To befriend or beware....???

So on Friday, when I opened the mailbox (which is so pleasantly attached to my house and not a walk away as it's been these previous 10 years of apartment-dwelling)...there was a letter handwritten in pencil on white notebook paper that read:


Which immediately got me to wondering...was I to watch out in the sense of be careful not to run over them with my car? Or was I to watch out in the sense that they not break into my house and attack me at night?

I'm generally not a fan of squirrels. They are too rodent-looking to me. I have nothing especially against them and will not intentially harm them, but, well, just not my favorite out of all the creatures God made.

It just struck me as a very odd message. Maybe it will give you a chuckle like it did me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Think Pink

If you or someone you know likes yogurt, please consider eating Yoplait for the next couple months. Once again this year, they have their "Save Lids to Save Lives" Pink Lids campaign. For every lid collected, or for the first time this year, entered online, they donate 10 cents to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.

I think most of us know someone (or knows someone who knows someone) whose life has been touched by this awful disease. I love being able to help donate a tiny bit to the race to the cure by doing something I do everyday anyway - eating yogurt! :)

And, if you can, be sure to participate in your local Race for the Cure - it's a wonderful experience...and very moving, especially to see all the pink shirts (survivors) - but even more to see the "I'm walking in memory of...my Mom" (and the girl is a teenager who's wearing the card/shirt).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


...is not for the weak!

I have NO IDEA how my miliary friends do this so often. I haven't moved in 5 years and I only have my stuff, not a houseful with 3 children and yet it wears me out!

PRAISE THE LORD, though, it is done. I am out of my apartment. I am in my new home. My bedroom, thanks to my Dad, is my favorite shade of my favorite color (Sherwin Williams calls it "brave purple"). There are a TON of boxes to unpack, but they aren't going anywhere, so I will get to them as my body allows. Thankfully there is a spare room and large spare closet to hide them from sight so they don't stress me out!

Now if I could just get AT&T to install the internet they were supposed to last week...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's Mine (or will be in 30 years...)

Me = homeowner!!!

(though not in Canada; keychain came from owners)

Praise the Lord! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

There are at least 2 honest people...

...left in this world. Remember this? Well, last night I received my computer bag WITH SEEMINGLY UNTOUCHED COMPUTER INSIDE back from the people that rescued it!!!!!

Yes, you read that right! They were moving in 2 doors done and thought they better take it before someone stole it. They reported it to the office and waited. I didn't report the theft to the office because 1) didn't see the need; my apartment complex is not the kind where people turn stuff in, ya know? and 2) I haven't had the best of experiences with the management of office over past 5 years.

Well, somehow (only God), the guy found my work e-mail address in the bag and e-mailed me Sunday. I e-mailed him back and called his number and yesterday picked up the bag. I never even expected the computer would still be there but the bag itself is worth $65-75 so it was worth walking 2 doors over in 105* heat. But I could tell when they handed me the bag from the weight...and indeed when I got home and opened it...computer was there. Turned it on, worked beautifully.

Praise the Lord, and thank you to the 2 honest people (at least 2) that are left in this world. Never guessed they would live in my apartment complex, let me tell you that! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stupid act of the century...

...is leaving your work laptop rolling bag out in clear daylight for anyone and everyone to see and steal...and not realizing it until 12 hours later...


I blame the migraine pills that make me seriously foggy-headed.

But praise the Lord I still have a job and while I had to close my checking account due to having copies of checks (new house docs) in the same bag, I don't think I lost anything else.

Except maybe my sanity...but that was certainty in question before this.

Hope you are smiling because it is stupid and worth a chuckle, even to me. Really?! No matter how brain-dead you are, no matter how full your hands are, no matter how many trips you have to make inside, no matter how trashed and de-arranged the apartment is due to moving (so you don't notice it's not in its usual spot until 12 hours later)...you don't do this...except...


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Celebrating the "second to the last..."

...time to do laundry going in and outside in the heat! Setting timers so people won't steal my stuff, worrying about whether I'll be able to find machines not being used to get my laundry done when I want to or rearrange my plans to do it later, etc. are only things I'll have to worry about 1 more time after this weekend. Because one of the best things about owning my own home is that it comes with 2 wonderful appliances - a washer and a dryer. Laundry will no longer be such an event--hooray!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting more real...

So...Shutterfly does more than just pictures...who knew??? Got these fun moving announcements just now for good price! Get $10 off for showing you them, too! :) I made a book from my Ukraine trip on Shutterfly and was soooo happy with how it turned out - was very easy and sooooo much quicker than making a scrapbook by hand! I have also ordered lots of prints from them over the years and have been very happy! Highly recommend them!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Clear "Yes"

So the house...well, after the first appraisal came back for x, my realtor filed a rebuttal showing why it should come back for x+$2500 (sales price). Earlier this week, we got revised appraisal for just that - great news! BUT, underwriting at lender had to agree...more waiting...won't know till this next week...except...I just got a call...

Revised appraisal approved for sales price = Sarah shells out less of her savings for this house = a clear "yes" from the Lord = answers to many prayers!

How gracious the Father is!

So, barring anything else sprouting up, the closing is set for August 30. I'm allowing myself to be officially excited now...praise the Lord!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

House Update

The appraisal came back yesterday. If it came back at x or x+2500, then I knew it was going to be the one the Lord wanted for me. It can back for x...which is not the best news since it means I have to take the other $2500 out of savings to pay the difference between sales price and appraisal...but it's also not the worst news. It could have appraised for x-2500 or something. My realtor disagrees with some of the adjustments the appraiser made and I guess there is a rebuttal process. She was also going to go back to the sellers because clearly we don't want the sellers to know that I am still planning on buying the house even though it didn't quite appraise for the selling price.

So, it would be great if the sellers would lower their price some more, but based on the fact that they wouldn't even give me $200 credit for A/C maintenance, I'm not holding my breath! Speaking of A/C, I'm secretly hoping maybe it will poop out this week that it's supposed to be 105+ everyday (including some days 109) and then they would HAVE to replace it for me...we'll see. The Lord is in control and not surprised by any of these details.

I'm continuing to have daily migraines and am just trying to make it through the days at work until hopefully the preventative meds we've started get to a therapeutic level in my system and kick in...the Lord is faithful. :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Update on Dad

Dad does NOT have cancer! The sarcoidosis is benign, praise the Lord! He has to find a doctor to treat him - I guess it will be a rheumatologist or a pulmonologist because it's around his trachea...hopefully he can finally get some treatment for his pain. We're just so relieved it's not cancer. Thank you to anyone who prayed!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Update on House

Even though there were several little things from the inspection Monday that I could have asked the sellers for credit for, I only asked for $200 for an A/C service call because it is not working well (and for any of you reading this that aren't in Dallas, it's 100+ here for the past month with no foreseeable break in sight). They wouldn't agree to it! Basically, they say they can't afford anything else. They have come down $10K from their original asking price, but it's because they put more money and owe more $$ on the house than what it's worth. So now the big issue is the the appraisal, which has been officially ordered and will come back next week. If it comes back favorably, then I think this will be my house. If it doen't come back favorably, I'll know this isn't the one for me. If it is my house, then be assured the A/C is going to be fixed or replaced soon!

The sellers do have a home warranty and supposedly they had it serviced, even though the inspector said it hasn't been - so my realtor is personally paying for the warranty call for them to come out and see about the "you say you serviced it and it's working fine, we have an independent inspection to prove otherwise" discrepancy - we're not horribly hopeful because typically the warranty companies wiggle their way out of responsibility but it's worth a shot. I'm praying that if this is the Lord's house for me He'll make it abundantly clear with how the appraisal comes back - either at or close to the sales price so I can afford it or way under so I can't...so I'll know for sure whether He wants me to have this house or not.

In other news, Dad is doing OK, recovering from the biopsy, and has an appt. with the doctor on Friday to learn pathology results. He will need to figure out what kind of doctor to see for the sarcoidoisis.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

House Update

Yesterday was the house inspection. I wasn't too overly worried about it because the inspector had, at his suggestion, done a "drive-by" to check the major issues like roof and foundation prior to me entering into a contract. He told me this house is a castle compared to the other 2 I've had contracts on. The only major issue is the A/C. It's old and hasn't been serviced so it's not cooling efficiently and that means, in our 100*+ heat, is running non-stop. So I'm going to ask for $200 credit from sellers for a service call on it. I know they cannot afford to credit me $5000 for new A/C and I'm hoping the cleaning will help me get through September and October and then I can buy new A/C next year.

There are some minor plumbing issues but mostly just old fixtures that have been there from the beginning (70's) which I would want to replace, so I will probably just get a handy-man out there and have him replace them for me at some point.

It was nice to get a good report but the biggest relief of the day was Dad's biopsy going well and getting the likely prognosis of no cancer.

The next steps on the house were getting the closing costs amounts from the lender and then moving forward with ordering the appraisal, which I just did. That's where things could get tricky. There are no comparables in the immediate neighborhood other than foreclosures and you can't use foreclosures to base appraisals off of. We had a spot appraisal done and the counter offer from the sellers came in Friday at $2500 over that so my realtor felt that was close enough to go for it. I'm hoping the real appraisal will come in at purchase price. If it doesn't, I have the opportunity to pay the other $2500 without penalty. I'll just have to see how all the numbers work out.

I like the house and would really like this to be the one and be done with this process on so many levels and move Labor Day weekend and be done, but I want to be sensitive to the Lord's voice and not just plow ahead because I'm impatient and ready to be done! Another reason I have for wanting to have this be all finalized is that dear friends are going to the mission field and I need to pledge my montly support to them in the next couple weeks. I can do that much more accurately if this house is "the one"...but God is in control and He is not surprised by any of this...or that I continue to have daily migraines...I praise Him for providing the grace to get through the days and for the medication to make some better than others. He is good!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Update on Dad

Thanks for praying. Dad's biopsy went well. The doctor called it sarcoidoisis and said it is usually not melignant. It generally responds well to steriods. They should have the pathology results later this week or the beginning of next. He said Dad should be able to go home today, which was also good news.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Please pray for my Dad

My Dad has suffered from undiagnosed throat and head pain for the past 18 months. He has seen 11 different specialists and no one has been able to diagnosis his condition or give him relief. He recently has been having asthma issues and as a part of that had some breathing tests which led to a PET scan of inflammation around his trachea. There is a possibility that he has lymphoma as the lymph nodes around the trachea are imflamed. The biopsy is 11:30 a.m. CST this morning. We are thankful the biospy was able to be scheduled so soon. They might have an initial idea but ultimately results will take 5-7 days. The good news is that the doctors does think this is causing Dad's throat and head pain. We are thrilled at the idea of having an answer to his constant pain after all this time but of course would prefer the answer not be lymphoma. He will probably be in the hospital overnight as there is a risk of bleeding due to where the "snipping" has to be done. Thanks for your prayers for him and my Mom. I wish I could go down there to be with them but can't miss any work right now.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Under contract...again

...this time on house #3....and hopefully, since we've done a lot of the leg work ahead of time, this one will be "it"...if so, I'll be moving Labor Day weekend! Set to close August 30 because the people are still living there, but essentially it should be a "done deal" after the financing comes through in 3 weeks or so...thanks for praying and keep it up - just that the Lord's will be done and I be patient!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

House update

This house business is such a roller coaster (I know I keep saying that but I can't think of a better description). So when it looked like a definite "no" yesterday, we got word late in the day that the sellers are going to order their own appraisal of their property. This is good news because it will help everyone establish the appropriate sales price. The issue for me has not been the price they're asking but rather whether my lender would loan me all the money for the property as it's likely not worth the asking price...so more waiting, but it's a positve turn...I'll take it! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

House #3

***updated 7/20/11 11:30 a.m. CST*** It seems that the house is not going to appraise for what the sellers want/need for the house. So the sellers either have to take $6000 less than what they said their lowest possible offer was, or I have to move on...will update again when I find out more, but at this point, I'm thinking #3 is not going to be the 1. And yesterday, it was the opposite. What a roller coaster, and what a blessing that none of this takes the Lord by surprise and He NEVER changes! :)

This is house #3 that I've placed an offer on. I liked it the day we saw house #2, but house #2 was being sold at a much better value (I now know why!) so I went with that one at the time. Since #2 was a no-go, I put an offer in on #3 on Friday.

The issue with this house is that it is listed at around $82/sq ft compared to the others in the neigborhood that have sold for $70-75/sq ft - a couple by the same listing agent as this one. So my agent suggested I go in at that price (which amounts, in this case, to $14,900 under list!) and ask the sellers to provide substantiation of value of a higher counter offer.

I'm glad my realtor is thinking ahead because she told me that this issue is the appraisal. If the house doesn't appraise for the price we agree on, even if it is under list, then the lending company wouldn't be able to give me the money. So before we go through with a full inspection and everything, we are trying to cover all our bases first.

The nicest inspector in the world offered last week at house inspection #2 to do a "drive-by" the next time I found one I liked. He said he could tell in 15-20 minutes from the outside whether a house was worth pursuing. I was thrilled when he came back and said that house #3 was the best of the 3 so far, becaue house #1 was in great shape. That was very encouraging.

So the next step was that my realtor asked the listing agent for some proof that the house was worth what they were asking for it. She did that Thursday and we heard nothing back until this morning. The couple that owned this house is only able to go down $3000 from list but there is no appraisal anywhere that justifies that price. They admitted they may have to take it off the market. So not sure whether this will work out or not. I can't move forward, even if I am willing to pay the higher price, unless there is an appraisal somewhere to justify the amount I need to borrow.

This house is in the same neighborhood as house #2 so I was pleasantly surprised that the foundation nightmares of that house weren't an issue this time. It is still close to work and in a safe neighborhood. It has things that need updating, like hideously faux-finished kitchen cabinets and shower doors on the tubs, but that's something I can do over time.

I would love if this was the one, but I know the Lord has a plan. I really would like to have this be the one so I know just how much I can pledge to my friends that are going to be missionaries and are raising their support. Without knowing my monthly housing expenses, it's hard to know what to tell them. If you're reading this, please pray that I will have wisdom. If house #3 falls through, I may wait awhile to look further. I don't HAVE to move. I can go month-to-month on my apartment for awhile. The most important thing to me is that I will do what the Lord wants me to...to listen to His voice and not the voice of my selfish desires of wanting a place of my own and wanting this house-hunting to be over with.

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Aunt Sarah is on her way...

Super excited that I just booked my tickets to go to San Jose for the baby shower of my new niece in September...now to find the perfect cross-stitch pattern that will fit the nursery theme of a meadow with butterflies and flowers...

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Weekend

It was great to have my Mom here this past weekend.

We went to the Dallas Dog Show and saw some of these, among others:

I'm so glad God made dogs. Just what I needed to make me happy (well that and my Mom and her brownies...!) after bad news on the house... so glad she could drive up for a visit.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

House Roller-Coaster

So, the results of the inspection Friday were not good, to make the understatement of the century. You name it and it was wrong with the house - roof, foundation, wiring, water damage/leaks, bad A/C, bad furnace, bad windows. I'm thankful for a good inspector and that I could walk away before it was too late.

I was also disappointed to learn that the other houses on the same street/cul-de-sac that were possibilities for me are likely in similiar situations as far as foundations that are so bad they let water in as well.

What an emotional roller coaster house-hunting is! I'm thankful my Mom was in town over the weekend to help me take my mind off things by going to the Dallas Dog Show. Nothing like some wagging tails to help a saddened heart!

I know the Lord has a house for me. I plan on looking at a few more this coming Saturday.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Unbelievable FNMA response time...

...FNMA (Fannie Mae) actually responded today--woo-hoo! :)

There is more than 1 offer, so the procedure is for me to (did last night) submit my "final and best" offer and then the seller (Fannie) will consider and counter/accept the best offer. It's really a "crapshoot" because I have no idea what the other offer(s) is/are...but my realtor has been doing this awhile and gave me a good suggestion so I'm going with it...and I now have peace about it, which is another answer to prayer.

Don't know what to expect as far as response time but I'm so thankful I heard yesterday and didn't have to wait a week or more like we thought I might! :)

Hopefully I'll have an update tonight or tomorrow...if not, I'll keep asking Him for patience! :)


Saturday morning my realtor and I headed out to house-hunt and found this cute one above. I put an offer in on it and am very excited. The problem is that it's owned by the government (Fannie Mae), so they take their sweet time getting back to you...could be a week or two or more before I hear back...and there could be multiple offers. I'm not a patient person and waiting 24 hours for the seller of the other house to get back with me was hard - waiting a week+ is definitely not going to be easy! I know if it's the Lord's house for me, then it will happen, but in the meantime, I need patience and I need it NOW!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

...you can hang up now.

The contract on the house is terminated. In the end, it was a difference of $4000 between the seller's lowest and my highest. Not a lot of money to some, but it is for me. I have perfect peace (thank you Lord) and am going out Saturday to look at more places.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hold the phones...

...the house contract has not been terminated. Apparently the seller really wants to sell and so my realtor told her realtor what it would take...and if the seller agrees, then I get this home and am not stretched financially. It would be a miracle (because it includes brokers reducing their commissions in order to make it work!) but God can still work miracles...

However, I have perspective that THIS IS JUST A HOUSE. A girl at work's stepson (19) died over the weekend suddenly; a guy at work's son (12) is going through cancer treatments and is horriby sick - this is NOTHING in comparison to those things of eternal significance.

But, I won't complain if the Lord should choose to give this house to me! :) I'll keep you posted...

Not the house for me

Lots of number-crunching, realtor & lender bartering and thinking outside all the boxes in the world, I have determined this "perfect" house is not for me. As my SS teacher said yesterday, it's not the perfect house if it's not God's house for me. It's just out of my price range/budget...period.

Thank you if you prayed. I am obviously disappointed but know at some point, God has a house for me. He has a plan, and His timing is perfect!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Location, location, location...

I realized I never published this. This will make more sense if you read this one before the next post I'll put up!

So since I returned from Kyiv, I have been busy looking at condos/townhomes to buy. I am ready to stop pouring my money down a hole each month by renting. Through the Lord's lavish provision, owning a home, a "pipe dream", has become a real possibility. My current lease is up 7/31, so I planned on moving 8/1.

I found a realtor based on the recommendation of a good friend and Annamari has been fabulous. We looked at 5 places last Saturday. I thought about what I had seen and decided I had fallen in love with my dream home. It was in a neighborhood literally across the street from my apartment that I have been driving by twice or more a day for the past 5 years...and thought each time, "ah...I so wish I could afford to live there..." The neighborhood is established with large trees and nice homes built in the 70's. It's on the edge of a very desirable area of Dallas and (not that this matters but it's a fun fact!) former President GWB lives on the other side of the neighborhood!

The townhome I fell in love with is one-story and is detached on the left side, so I would only ever have neighbors on my right. This is key for my physical issues - with Fibro I can't do 2nd floor place, but if you're on 1st floor almost always you have someone living on top of you - and of course you're at the mercy of whether this person is a "heavy walker" or not! That would not be an issue in this townhome as it's one story. It has a little patio with my own tree and flowers that my future Pugs, Petunia & Violet, will be able to enjoy since there's ground to potty on when needed.

This townhome has been on the market for a year and the owner has already moved out of state. The price we settled and executed a contract on Thursday is about $50,000 less than the price of the homes in the neighborhood - so once I fix it up and over the years, I could build a lot of equity in it. The major issue is that the owner was a very heavy smoker and so I will need to rip up and reinstall the floors, use special paint through the entire 1200 sq ft. of the house and have the vents and ducts cleaned (and replace the blinds as they're also stained with nicotine).

Last Friday, the day before Annamari took me looking at condos/townhomes for the first time, I had my lender Meghan run some numbers for me to see what the monthly payments would be. I'm not good with money so converting the sales price to a monthly mortgage payment is not something I can do. The numbers she ran, based on my down payment, were surprisingly very doable for this dreamhouse of mine.

So while it needed a lot of work, this past Monday I decided to put an offer on it. We countered a couple times and executed the contract on Thursday morning. I had the lender run the "real numbers" and what she came back with was MUCH higher than the original numbers that led me to the conclusion maybe I couldn't afford this place after all. I called the lender and had some questions and then a bomb dropped yesterday morning- she had assumed a different down payment than what I had. Several very stressful hours later, she did some more figuring and determined what the "final number" would be. That number is a LOT more per month than what I pay in rent now.

Last night I had a feeling (as did my very godly prayer-warrior mother) that this house was no longer in my reach. I cried and cried and cried. I knew I needed to call the realtor Monday morning and break the contract I had 10 days to get out of without penalty. I texted the realtor and let her know as much. Then I drowned my sorrows in a bowl of cereal (how's that for honesty?!?) and watched TV and went to bed early because I just wanted to sleep and forget how I was going to have to give up this dream house.

I got up today (notice I didn't say "this morning", ahem...) and had a voicemail from the realtor, saying she got my text and had some ideas about maybe making things work. I also had a text from my Mom that they were so sorry about the house and God had another one for me (true to her ever encouraging nature).

Now I'm conflicted. While the monthly mortgage payment for this house is much more than my rent payment now, I also am taking home more $$ this year in my paycheck (thank you Lord!) So hypothetically, it would be doable. Through no one's fault but my own, I have never lived on a budget, but have lived paycheck to paycheck. I'm not proud of that at all. So the idea that not only will I have to start living on a very strict budget, there is NO wiggle room at all. And if any unexpected house, car, medical expenses come up, it would be a problem.

Unfortunately, I have fallen in love with this house and so now the big decision as to continue in the buying process or terminate the contract is a VERY emotional one for me.

So if anyone happens to read this this weekend, please pray that I will hear the Lord's will clearly and separate my emotions and think logically about this biggest (financially anyway) decision in my 30-something years.

Because more than I want this house, I do want to know what God wants for me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kyiv Trip re-cap part 13 (the end)

This is the last of my re-cap posts of my wonderful Kyiv, Ukraine adventure to visit my dear, sweet friend Tara and her family.

As I mentioned in prior posts, I am losing the battle with Blogger about where my pictures are placed. So you may want to read this post from the bottom up since I put "the end" at the beginning...

Tara is truly the ultimate hostess: gracious, thoughtful, classy and just makes her home a relaxing and inviting place.

Here is a perfect example. She went out and got (not nearly as easy as that phrase would indicate) fresh, purple-on-purpose flowers to put next to my bed.

The Lord has been so gracious to provide Tara to me as a friend. We met in college an undisclosed number of years ago, and were friends then, though not super close. After several years of falling out of touch, thanks to the technology of e-mail, we reconnected many years ago. Now I consider her and thank God that she is one of my very closest friends. I cannot tell you what a blessing this godly woman is to me. She is a wonderful encourager and true friend - one that speaks truth in love, listens endlessly and accepts me for who I am. I pray that the Lord will bless her and her sweet family abundantly. Thank you, Tara, for the adventure of a lifetime!

This was the last gate screen in my Ukrainian adventure - in the Atlanta airport before the last of 3 sections of my trip back to Dallas.

While it would have been lovely to have a long enough layover in Paris to sight-see, it makes me happy that I passed through there and got some authentic French chocolate! I was glad to arrive in Paris as the flight from Kyiv had felt much longer than the flight from Dallas to Amsterdam 10 days prior, even though they were about the same length of time...I guess you can chalk that up to the anticipation of seeing a long-time friend in a new country vs. coming back "home" with no one to greet me at the gate (not feeling sorry for myself there, just statement of truth).

Here is the sign in the Kyiv airport for the 1st of my 3 legs back to TX:

Here is the gate from which my flight left Kyiv. Alas, my Ukrainian adventure had come to an end and it was time to head back to Dallas. I'm so thankful to have had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

I hope you have enjoyed my little re-caps. It's so hard to capture in words what those eleven days of my life were like. I've been back a full week already, and yet I feel like I haven't totally digested it all. Adjectives like wonderful, eye-opening, life-changing, refreshing, relaxing yet exciting don't come close to an accurate description of this adventure. It was the first time I'd been out of the US, it was the longest time I'd ever been off work, it was a long, long ways away...but worth every blister, headache and cent to see wonderful friends in a foreign land! It was certainly a blessing I will NEVER forget!

THE END (of my re-caps, but not the memories!)

Kyiv Trip re-cap part 12

On the first Sunday I was in Kyiv, I was recovering from the plane ride over and slept through church. On the second Sunday (day before I left), I was able to join the Yellow Hat family at their church for worship.

It is an informal, casual, relaxed atmosphere where they have beverages and goodies before the service that you can take to your seat with you. Here are Big Girl and Baby Girl and their friends in the row ahead of Tara, The Boy, Mr Yellow Hat & I:

Picture of stage below. The music was pretty good and very contemporary. I didn't know any of the songs, not because they were in Ukrainian (this is an all-English-speaking church), but because they were just new to me. Even though my personal preference is more traditional worship style with hymns, choir & orchestra (like my church now), I liked the theology behind the songs at the international church. The Pastor spoke about God being the Lord over our thought life, and it was an especially timely message for me, as I was struggling with that very issue at the time. Isn't it amazing how God, in His sovereignty, arranges things like that? I assure you it was not a coincidence that the only Sunday I was (or likely ever will be) at this church, the Pastor spoke on a topic that spoke to the point of my need. The Lord's timing never ceases to amaze me.

I think I've about re-capped most of the trip. There will be one more wrap-up post and I guess that will make a very odd-numbered (I don't believe in lucky or unlucky) 13 posts about my Ukrainian adventure!

Kyiv Trip re-cap part 11

On Thursday during my Kyiv trip, Tara and I visited the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavre. It was beautiful as you can see. What I can't give you an idea of is the scope. I don't know how many buildings there were, but they just seemed to keep coming, one as pretty as the next.

Here is a view heading back up the hill:

There was a sculpture made of Ukrainian Pysanky eggs - the eggs were so beautiful and varied in colors and patterns, as you can see:

Here is the sculpture:

Your head had to be covered to go inside. Tara rocked the scarf look much better than I:

Some of the buildings of the Lavre:

Much like St. Sofia's, you can see where they built new (white) over old (brick) above.

Baptism of Christ:

The Lavre is an active monestary, but we were not able to observe prayers or a service. I do believe we saw a couple monks pass by, but they walked so quickly and quietly that they were basically gone before you realized whom you were looking at. Yes, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavre is definitely another beautiful part of Kyiv and I'm very thankful I was able to see it in person.

Kyiv Trip re-cap part 10

These are pictures from Thursday, the 2nd day of the week that Tara and I were able to get out and spend some 1 on 1 time.

This first pic is horrible quality but I want you to focus on the little dog in the center of the pic on the steps. Tara says that dogs run wild around the city and that in some cases poison is being put out for them (since Kyiv does not have shelters for the strays). This makes me sad as a dog-lover, but what infuriates me as a lover of children is that the Ukrainians have been known to put the poison intended for the dogs in parks where children would be playing! As if parents don't have enough to worry about with their children in a public area. YIKES!

I digress. Back to our little furry subject.

See him between the two people going up the steps? I think he was a terrier/Chihuahua mix. Very cute fellow, but quick! I tried to get his pic up close but by the time I fumbled with getting my camera out of my bag and turning it on, the little guy (or gal, I didn't check!) had run away.

After lunch we went to a very nice mall. I saw some familiar signs:

Tara and I ate our lunch in Independence Square, in which is a statue of St. Michael, the patron saint of Kyiv:

Here is a view from where we ate our lunch in the square:

St. Michael from afar

And where did we eat lunch that day, you ask? Again Blogger is working against me with the placement of my pics, so I'll say about the next one, some things are best said in English, no matter where you are!

Yes, we were at Mickey D's! They had traditional McD food there as well as some regional fare. Tara and I had yummy cheese lavashes, which I think are middle-eastern. It was kinda of like a cheese quesadilla with a thicker bread...very good! We also had McFlurries. :)

Building that held the McD's from afar. I will say at this point this was a very welcome view for me, not because I was hungry (I was), but because my feet were killing me and I wanted to get to our destination to rest. I packed one good pair of walking shoes, which I THOUGHT I had broken in before my trip. I was wrong. I lost count of the number of blisters I had and even with band-aids (of which Tara's stash I nearly exhausted during my visit!) it hurt to walk. Next time I think I'll bring 2 pairs of walking shoes. It became quite the entertainment for the little Yellow Hats to watch me doctor my blisters every morning. I'm not sure why, but I guess they weren't nearly as grossed out by my uglier-than-usual-feet as I was! They called me the Blister Doctor at one point--gotta love kids' imaginations!

It was wonderful for Tara and I to have some time just the 2 of us on Monday and Thursday the week I was there, when the housekeeper/babysitter came. I enjoyed being around her family but sometimes it's nice to have adult time, and girlfriend time at that! We even watched a couple "chick flicks" when the kids were resting...one of which was very bizarre (Ladies in Lavender) and another which was good (Falling for Grace)...gotta love Netflix!

Stay tuned for what we did that Thursday morning before our McD's lunch!