10 July 2014

Reimagining Home

In February, my car was in the shop.  (Ironically, it's in the shop today, as well.  Unrelated.)  James picked me up for lunch and as he was taking me back to the church, we saw a realtor putting up a "for sale" sign in the yard of one of our favorite houses in the neighborhood.  We were not in any position to buy a house, with the car bill, but seeing that sign go up lit a fire in us.  We'd been TALKING about buying a house for years...after we do this, after we pay off that, and most recently, after Disney...but this inspired us to get serious.

So we did.

And then, the next day, I came across the listing for a friend's house that was for sale--a home I absolutely loved.  And we looked at it, and we all loved it, but the simple fact remained:  we didn't have the money in the bank to buy the house.

So we didn't.

But we saved and we searched and we saved and we searched...and here we are, 5 months later.  I know God is moving in this because we thought we needed 6 months to save a down payment, and James got a ton of jobs out of the blue and basically had a down payment in 6 weeks.  Yes, that's right.
God is good.  All the time.

The problem we've had, and it's not a problem so much as a question, is, where do we want to live?  How much house is enough?  What about land?  In town, out of town?  Big or small?  New or old?  That's just the tip of the iceberg.  We told a homeowner yesterday, it's both a blessing and a curse to be so wide-open in this process...we believe that God will lead us to the right home for us.  So we're trying really hard not to picture how the home will LOOK, but instead focus on how we want the home to FEEL.

The irony?  We have made an offer on a home that's HALF the size of the last home we looked at seriously (to the point of bringing a contractor out for a remodel bid...I really, really wanted that house, even though it was waaaaaaaaay bigger than what we need).  The home we're considering right now is less than 100 square feet bigger than the little green house, it's still a 2/1, and the office isn't attached to the house.  But it feels GOOD, y'all.  It feels like a home, and we can totally see ourselves there.  If it's meant to be, it'll be.  And I might be able to tell you in a month or so that the payment totally evens out with the small amount of rent we're paying now--we met with a banker yesterday, and if the numbers we went over hold, our new house payment would be our rent here + the difference in utilities + what we pay for our storage unit.  God is good, y'all.  That's His math.  Now, we're budgeting to spend more, but the cool thing is we can use that surplus to save for the addition we know is coming just as soon as we can afford it.  Or just use it to put in savings for when the AC breaks or the roof leaks or anything else that comes with home ownership.  Those are the things I haven't missed.

The things I have missed, and probably have never really had?  Roots.  I've loved the little green house, but in the past few years I've felt like we've been poised to jump up and move out of here.  So I've quit decorating, changing, updating...it's been stagnant.  It feels stagnant.  And I'm so over that feeling.  I'm over the Texas stars everywhere, and the color scheme of wood & red.  I'm over the clutter, and the dust under stuff because I don't feel like deep cleaning if we're just going to move, anyway.  I'm broken, I know.  

I look forward to dreaming about our new home and seeing ourselves living our lives in a new space.  Will our lives change?  No, but the landscape will.  Here's the thing, and I couldn't have put this into words until this week:  we looked at a beautiful home on a beautiful lot that would have taken all of our money for years to come.  And all of our time bringing it up to code and then keeping it up.  It's not like we have lots of spare time and money, and I'm sure I'm crazy for considering it.  

A few days ago, a friend who bought and loves a fixer-upper put it into words for us:  they spend all of their free time and free money working on their house.  He said it out of love, because that's his thing.  And they have a beautiful life in their fixer-upper that's now a beautiful home that's well-loved and well-lived.  

But it's not our thing.  I'm not comparing our family to theirs and saying they don't do any of the things I'm about to say--I'm just saying our situations are different.  I work 2-3 jobs, James has a full-time job and an almost full-time side job...our time is finite.  Our resources are finite.  Our time with our kids at home?  Also finite.  Sigh.  

Oh, the rabbit trails.

Walk with me, here.  Yes, we want to live out in the country.  But we're thinking now that's a "someday" dream...because we would be on the road back and forth to town a LOT.  There would be no more lunches together on the days I work at home, or popping in to the kids' schools to work on PTO stuff or have lunch.    Living in the country would make us think about every single drive, every trip, every activity.  And if that's what's meant for us, I know God will help us work it all out.  

But truly?  We've released the dream of a dream home on a dream piece of land...for now.  

What we keep coming back to is this:  we are not looking for a new LIFE.  We are looking for a new PLACE to live this life that we love.

The thing that's most important to us:  living a good life, making every day count.

I do have certain things I'm looking for in our next home:  space to entertain, to be able to have more than one family over comfortably.  Space for the kids to have their own rooms (which may be an eventually thing if we get this house).  Space for James to work comfortably, and to have privacy and be able to play his music as loud as he wants while he creates.  Space for us to be together in the kitchen while we make healthy and not so healthy food.  A cabinet for Kayci to store her baking stuff.  A laundry room I can actually walk into (I know).  A garage or decent shed for clean storage.  A carport or garage where we can keep our cars (or at least mine!) a little cleaner, or walk out in the rain and not get soaked.  A yard for parties and gatherings, and places for the kids to just BE outside.  Maybe room for a decent garden, as our commando gardening efforts seem to fail here again and again.

Sure, I'd love transoms...but the homes we've looked at that come with transoms don't come with central air and heat.  Not a deal breaker, but also not where we want to put our limited $$ right now.  Sure, I'd love a fireplace.  I'd love a big ol' kitchen with enough room for my red couch.  I'd love a space to spread out my scrapbook stuff and my craft stuff and leave it out for more than a few minutes at a time.  It'd be nice if the current owners could be mind readers and have it all painted in my favorite colors, too.  :)  But these things aren't deal breakers.

Deal breakers?  

A house that's so big and spread out that our family can choose not to see or hear each other for hours--I don't want us to live separate lives.  And yes, we'll still only keep one TV.  (The horror!) 

A house that will eat up all of James' limited free time and limit what he's able to do with our family.  I love that we quit working at 5 and just spend the evenings together, whatever that looks like.  I love that we nap on Sunday after church.  I love that he doesn't *usually* have to work on Saturdays, unless he's got a job booked.

A house that will eat up all of our money, so we tell the kids no, we can't go, or do, or we don't have enough...not that we don't tell them those things now, but I want to CHOOSE where we spend our budget, not be FORCED to spend it.

A house that I am so proud of that I lose sight of what a blessing it is, and Who that blessing comes from.  

A house that we choose to impress people with what a great step up we're making.  

A house that's perfect, just as it is...is there such a thing?  

Oh, and a house without a garage/shed.  Or with a small, crappy yard.  Or that smells funny.  

I've been thinking and praying about STUFF a lot...and what I do and don't want to move with us.  I don't want to carry over the stuff that's been in storage for 10 years.  Surely if I haven't used in in 10 years, I don't NEED it.  The clothes we never wear aren't making the trip.  The toys nobody plays with will find new homes.  A lot of my work stuff can go to work--or go away.  It literally just. Sits. There.  We have a lot of stuff that we spend a lot of time managing and dusting and moving around to make room for new stuff, and I'm so over that.  

We were considering buying a house with enough rooms for a guest room JUST to have a place to put this extra bedroom set we have.  Seriously??  

So, all this to say:  I don't know what's next.  We may be right here a year from now, which would be okay because that'll give our down payment time to grow.  Who knows.  

But what I do know is this:  wherever we are, we'll still be US.  

And that's enough.  


Jana said...

Ok, I totally get not wanting to clean the house you know you might be moving from. And actually, I enjoy cleaning the new place more than I did!!

The right house will come. I am glad you have time to pick the one God has for you and meets your needs. We looked, revisited, picked and put a contract on one in about 12 hours total! And God still had the right one for us!!

Keep us posted!!

MommyGirl said...

Oh, Jana--I miss you and I never take the time to pick up the phone and tell you! I want to see pictures of your new home and your new life, friend!