House Hunting Adventures Abound in St. Louis

Jeremy and I had the privilege of being pre-approved last week to buy a house! I was surprised that it happened as quick as it did. I had this idea in my head that it would take us a few weeks to get settled and gather everything that we needed to get the paperwork started. But nope! Just a couple of phone calls did the job!  I felt a rush of feelings when Jeremy told me the news. In typical Jeremy fashion, he delivered it as if it were bad. So when the news was great, I jumped up and down and screamed! We do still have a lot of paperwork to gather, but in the mean time, we also have a pre-approval letter in hand!

Now, we aren’t financially wealthy people.  We are a one-income family trying to work our way back into civillian life. Jeremy hasn’t finished college (YET!) and the last few years in the military we weren’t exactly rolling in the dough. (Try more like on WICK.) It’s a rough journey to go DOWN in income. When Jeremy joined the Army, we gave up more than $40,000.00 a year in income. (and that includes the income he AND I were contributing when I was working) Yeah…

God has made us wealthy in lots of other ways though and we are happy and blessed people. So anyway, we are looking for a house with a tiny price tag. But I would like it to be almost perfectly in line with my list of priorities. This means that most of the houses we are looking at are foreclosures or short sales. Seriously, we looked at 9 houses yesterday and not a single one of them was owned by a family. They were all owned by investors or banks. It makes me sad to walk through some of those houses. My heart breaks knowing that there is a story behind the life of a human being who is probably hurting as I walk through their home as a potential buyer.

We keep asking ourselves lots of questions about these houses and there are some tough ones in there. Like the idea of can we imagine having teenagers in this house? Would it work for them? Could we have one more child and still make this house work? Where will we put our “stuff” (i.e. junk!)? Is this a good location? What’s the crime in this area? Will this neighborhood bounce back from the housing recession?

It took us 4+ hours to drive and go through those 9 houses yesterday. We froze our toes and our bums off too. Most of the houses were “winterized” because all the utilities were turned off. We had tons of snow last week too, and an unoccupied house means no one is there to clean off the driveway. We were walking in 6+inches of snow then standing in houses with no heat or lights! It was good times. Actually, it was really fun. We found 2 houses (maybe 3) that we really like. But we don’t feel like any of them are “the one”. They don’t fit our questions very well. So we are looking at more houses. After we got home I sent our realtor 15 more houses I want to look at. WHEW!

I don’t think I realized how many houses were out there. And with our tiny price tag and my picky list, I think this might take some time. It’s hard not to rush it, but I don’t want to make a wrong decision about something as big as a house! Who knows if we’ll be able to move again in 5-7 years? Only the Lord knows!

If we come to your mind, please pray for God to lead us to the house that will work for our budget and for our family. We are excited and now just trying to find the time to go check out these houses!

My Attempt to Sort Out My Post-Move Brain

Tomorrow is Friday. I can hardly believe that we have been here for 6 whole days. It’s just crazy. I haven’t asked Jeremy how he feels in the last few days, but I know I still feel like I am on vacation. Only I feel like I am on vacation but have work to do. Maybe I feel like I am on a work trip? That makes no sense.

I am having such a hard time sorting out my brain since we arrived into St. Louis, so not much makes sense.  I’m going to work backwards with what we did today. That sounds like a good place to start.

First off, for all my WA friends, we received a decent snow storm here in the mid-west last night. It started snowing around 7 pm and stopped around 9 am today. Yup, 24+ hours of straight snow! Here where my parents live, we got at least 8 inches, maybe a bit more. The news is saying we could get more snow on Saturday and maybe Monday too! I’m trying really hard to adjust my brain to “winter in the mid-west” mode. When I get dressed in the morning or even go outside, my brain is still in “winter in the PacNW” mode. I.e. I’m freaking freezing! (And Crystal, you be quiet, I can gripe about the weather no matter where I live!)

I am adjusting though. I wore a sweater AND a t-shirt underneath AND a coat today. This would be an unheardof combo for me in WA. It’d be one or the other there. This may not seem noteworthy to you, but one day I know I will look back at this post and crack up laughing. But still, it was sooooo beautiful when the sun came out today. My heart filled with joy when I saw the glistening white snow sparkling on the barren tree branches. Ahhh….so pretty! Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, how I’ve missed you! Thank you for shining down on me!

We were however, totally unprepared as parents for all this snow. I mean, what child in existence doesn’t want to go romp in 8 inches of snow? The problem is that we did not have the proper equipment or attire for the boys to do this. Therefore, we went to Target! We bought snow boots, snow pants and a new and warmer coat for Cooper. We looked for a sled and guess where we found one? (Not Target, WalMart, Home Depot or anywhere else like that.) At Dierburgs! HA! (That’s a local grocery store non-MO peeps) Jeremy said there were 3 left. And boy, is this a crazy cool sled! I know I keep promising pictures…it’s really terrible of me not to have them. I need to find that dang cord for the camera…..

Then, once we acquired all our items, we went and ate a fatty, fatty lunch at Culver’s. Oh. My. Gosh. People, I’ve been trying NOT to be fat. This trip has drastically thwarted my efforts. As my BF says, my body has this problem where it WANTS to be fat. He he he he he he. There are so many bad-for-us food temptations all around us. We’ve gotta stop! We have no excuse really. Hold us to it ok? It’s getting bad! I’m glad I signed up for a big race in April.  More on that another time. I’m veering heavily off subject.

So back to sorting out my brain. Today, while the boys napped, I had a great chance to be quiet and pray. (Funny, we never actually went sledding today….there is always tomorrow.) It was so calming and peaceful. I certainly realize how much I need that in this time that feels stressful to me. I sense all sorts of fears bubbling up to the surface again. Will people still like me? Have we changed? Where will we live? Will our house be what I hope for? Can we make it? Will we be ok? Where will we Worship? Will we get re-situated in a new spiritual community?

I think the more I think about those fears and questions, the more stressed out I become. So instead, I am taking a big mental Shepherd’s hook and pulling those things off the stage of my heart and just telling God that I trust Him, I believe Him (Jer. 29:11-13) and I will wait for Him and seek Him. This has helped a lot!

This weekend we have a lot going on. It’s so funny to me how quickly our schedule got so busy. Truly I think that the schedule is going to stay at a quick pace and I am going to have to be the one to adjust. I’m used to a much slower pace. I have all these goals and things I want to accomplish as a Mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter and a grandaughter. There doesn’t seem to be enough of  me or the clock. So I’m praying for the Lord to help me pace myself.

Oh yes, and a praise must go up after my last blog. I was shocked to learn on Wednesday that we were preapproved for a home loan. I seriously thought that with Jeremy’s pay at Sprint being as far from what we hoped as it is going to be, that we wouldn’t get approved or be able to swing it financially. In my mind, we were apartment bound! But God knew. We were approved! And for more than I thought. It’s a good and workable amount. We are actually trying to go much less than we were approved for even. We know things will be really tight this first year. I may still have to go back to work part time. I’m praying that even that would be something that God would bless and make fun for me if that is the case. Maybe I can find a writing gig :D.

However, we’ve learned a lot about doing without. I seriously remember times when I didn’t think our pantry could support us until pay day. But God made a way and provided every time. He is faithful.

Wow..that went way downward. Sorry! I am still full of hope and eager expectation for the days ahead. Our lender told us that the earliest we would be able to close is the end of February. I’m praying that we find a house in the next couple of weeks so that March sees us moving again!

In the mean time, Mr. Chase turns 2 in just a couple of weeks. Superbowl weekend we’ll be having a party somewhere…I dunno where. I’ve gotta get it all worked out. I have a theme, I’ve thought up a guest list….now I need to find a location that fits. Fun times huh?

For now, life is up and down but fun. So much is still before us. I don’t imagine God to be revealing the big plan to us anytime soon and I’m pretty happy with that. I’d probably throw up if He did that. Thanks for helping me sort out my brain tonight peeps. Writing is such good medicine.