Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today my sweet mother would have been 50 years old. I'm sure, if she had ever attained such advanced age, no one would have ever believed she was that old. People look at my wedding pictures and ask where my mother is--and then say they thought Mom was my sister. Hopefully she passed on some of those good genes...

I know that time is supposed to heal all wounds, but I can't imagine that I will ever miss her less. I know it was a privelige to live in her home and be called her daughter, and I'm grateful for all the happy memories I have of her. One day, Lord willing, we'll make more together.

For now, I just roll over and over in my mind the little conversations and pictures I have in my mind. Like hearing the sound of her heels in the kitchen after church when I was little, and wanting so much to be beautiful and elegant and grown up, just like her. Seeing her come into the kitchen and reach into the cabinet for her favorite snack--a spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips on top (try it!). Coming home from school and seeing her talking with Tinea and Penelope every Tuesday. Watching her in the kitchen--always in the kitchen--making whatever her guests liked best. She kept a list of everyone's favorites and dislikes on the back of the address cards of her friends (No onions, etc. :). Seeing her little doodles of grapes and curlicues when she'd been in another long phone conversation with someone who needed counsel. Coming downstairs on Valentine's Day to a plate of cookies, just for me. Seeing her standing on the step to kiss Dad. Painting the dining room with her, watching her agonize over paint colors, and laughing at her thwarted perfectionist tendencies as she struggled to cut in such a dark red. Admiring her when she succeeded :). Hearing her laugh until the tears came when all her family was in town for the holidays. Standing next to her as we prayed for friends. Seeing her Bible, covered with notes. Changing sheets for back-to-back guests. Never complaining. Always serving above and beyond. Always giving wise counsel based on Scripture, not just her opinion.

If God grants me another 19 years, I hope I may be a little more like her; as faithful a friend, as constant in prayer, as loving a wife and mother. And I pray that her granddaughters, who will not know her this side of heaven, will grow to be like her just the same. I can't wait to see you again, Mom.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Isaac's Honey Hole

Like Papa, like father, like son...
Isaac caught 4 good-sized brim all by himself last Saturday! (well, Daddy did help him cast, but that was it).
Claire was too skittish to touch the fish, but she wasn't afraid of the worms (like mama, like daughter :)
We're loving the cooler weather, and having Daddy back from out of town!
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Strike Two (or, A Bizarre Tale)

another photo of a house we won't be living in...

All right, everyone, I have a funny story to tell you (if I can keep it from being confusing). On Thursday the above house went on the market (while Vance was in Colorado for the week). I saw it on Friday with the kids. I liked it--didn't love it like the other one--but it was a good house that met our list. Big yard, great climbing trees, open layout, new kitchen with granite countertops. It showed great, and I knew it wasn't likely to make it to the weekend without an offer. Vance was supposed to fly in Saturday, so we planned to look at it on Sunday before lunch. His flight was delayed, so we didn't see it until Sunday evening. He really liked the house.

But, as I suspected, there was another offer on the table. The sellers were waiting, however, for our offer, since we had told them we were serious. Our realtor said, "you need to give them your highest and best offer." We had learned our lesson from last time, so we agreed. It was hard to come up with a number, because I was still uneasy about the comps. It's pretty much one of the nicest houses in the neighborhood, and I was concerned about pricing ourselves out of the neighborhood. Ultimately, however, we gave them an offer slightly above their asking price. Deadline: today at noon.

So when my realtor calls me today, she gives me the crazy scoop. There were 3 showings on the house, and 3 offers. The first offer was about $12,000 lower than ours, and they wanted their closing costs covered as well. They were apparently concerned about the appraisal as well, so they put a big paragraph about being able to get out if it didn't appraise. The second offer had a similar clause. So did ours.

Apparently, this freaked out the owners so much that, afraid of the house not appraising at the list value, they took the lower offer. How crazy is that?!

I had to laugh. The first time we had an accepted offer which was unethically dumped. This second time we offered a bid too high for the seller's taste. Third time's the charm, right?

This time has been a lot easier than the first...I wasn't as attatched to the house, and it was so ludicrous that I couldn't really take it hard. Obviously, God has something else in mind. And I think it has something to do with us not worshipping the house we'd like to live in :)

Monday, October 05, 2009

back to the drawing board...

Sorry I've left everyone hanging about the housing stuff...Vance and I went out of town for a conference for a couple of days, so we're just now getting back into the swing of things.

We didn't get the house. It's a long story, as you can imagine, but the very unethical realtor we were dealing with, after refusing to sign our paperwork, considered two identical offers, and chose the other one.

It's been really disappointing. That was the only house that we saw that we had liked, and we really liked it. It had so many of the little details that I had wanted but hadn't even put on our "wish list" that we'd given to the realtor. It seemed so perfect for us. But it's not going to be ours. In a way, it almost makes me feel better that the door was slammed so hard in our face--it makes me realize so clearly that God is saying no. If we had just put an offer in and had been outbid, I could have agonized over whether we should have offered more, etc. But we had done everything "right", and our offer was accepted...until it wasn't.

In the midst of my disappointment, though, God has really been so merciful. We went to a small group leaders conference with our church (no, we're not small group leaders at our new church, but like one of our fnew riends here said, they sometimes open up the conference to people who are really, well...troubled :). It was exactly what we both needed: to get away from the stress of new work/new city/new schedule/epic house fail and just focus on Christ, and the joy that it is to live for him alone. In that frame of reference, I was able to remember again that it is a joy to experience little disappointments like this because it means that God is after my heart, teaching and shaping me to be more like him. In this case, I think he's working on my patience, perserverance, and chronic whinyness (hmm, sounds like what I'm teaching my kids too! Go figure :)

So anyway, we're bummed. Especially when we have to slog through more listings of houses that aren't very appealing. And at the same time, we're happy to experience a little disappointment if it means we can become a little more like Christ.

Now if I can only remember that when I walk through the 23,490,824th house that I don't like :)