Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Adventures in Homelessness Part 4

It has been a week again... let's see if I can remember all that took place.

Tuesday night we decided to stay at Luke and Christina's because we knew that we weren't going to be invading anyone's space there because they were still on vacation. Staying there was such a blessing, like a vacation home, it was so nice! On Wednesday morning we headed back to Syracuse for Glenn to do some orientation stuff and to check out a house on Vine St. We decided to make an offer on the house because we liked it but someone else did too and on Thursday, during Parents/Family Day stuff and orientation, we found out that the owners decided to take the other offer. Thursday afternoon was Glenn's White Coat Ceremony. His Grandma and Grandpa Nicodemus from Wyoming were able to be there as well as my Grandma and Grandpa Nelson from Waterloo. It was a neat ceremony and the kids were pretty good during it. I was glad when Abigail and Lydia fell asleep though :). Glenn was busy with orientation stuff all weekend. They really kept all the new med students busy and tired them out just in time for school to start Monday morning. We spent Wednesday through Saturday nights back at our friends Matt and Christina's house. We scoured the available houses and rentals but weren't really able to find anything.

On Sunday morning at church our friends Joel and Michelle offered to let us stay at their home so we went there after Glenn's dinner with a doctor on Sunday night. They told us on Sunday night that they were planning on having us stay at least a week or two. That was a huge blessing because Glenn was getting stressed out about not knowing where we were going to sleep and starting medical school all at the same time. It has given us a little breathing room.

We expanded our house search to a broader area and decided on 4 houses to go and look at Tuesday morning when Glenn didn't have class because he took anatomy this summer. 1 and 3 were definite "no"s and 2 and 4 were "maybe"s. The more we thought about it and looked at numbers we decided to go with #2 and put an offer on it today, Hannah's birthday, after her birthday cinnamon rolls and going to the free movies to see Madagascar 2. Glenn had all day off today because of summer anatomy. I am glad he took it :). Tonight for Hannah's birthday dinner we had Hawaiian Haystacks and Wacky Cake with Peanut Butter frosting (probably the most requested birthday meal) with Joel and Michelle and Logan (Curtis is too little to get any) and at at 9:30 tonight we got a call from our realtor that, though our earlier low ball offer was not accepted, our later offer that was more in the amount that we were originally thinking was and so we are buying a house! Here is a link to some pictures of it as long as it stays up. It is cute. There are 4 bedrooms so we'll be using the one downstairs as a school room/ office. I am excited not to have to use the dining room table as our school table! There is pretty tile in the entryway, good sized bedrooms, a mud room out back, a big deck and a decent sized yard. We like it. Hopefully we'll be able to get an inspection on Friday afternoon or on Saturday and get the process started. Yeah! We are not going to be homeless forever!! I am very excited about that!

I am so thankful for all the people who have been praying for us and sending me encouraging notes. It has been a long 7 months looking for a place to live in Syracuse but it is really looking like we are finally going to have one soon! Praise the Lord! To God be the glory, great things He hath done. As I was looking at the words to that song I came to the last verse and that is my heart "Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done, and great our rejoicing in Jesus the Son; but purer and higher and greater will be, our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see!" I am very much looking forward to having a home here on earth but even more so I am looking forward to being at Home with my Savior. I look forward to looking on His face. "That will be glory, be glory for me!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Adventures in Homelessness Part 3

After I blogged last Sunday we heard from our realtor that the owners of the house that we had put an offer on had to talk to the bank on Monday morning to find out how much they owed on the house and that we would hear then so we decided to stay one more night at Matt and Christina's apartment with them.

On Monday we heard that the home owners still owe over $7000 more than we offered on a mortgage that they had taken out on the house after it had been given to them. We would have to offer about $10,000 more than our original offer for them to come close to clearing their debt which we can't do because shortly after moving in we would have to put $12,000 into a new roof not to mention other repairs and updates that the house really needs so we decided that it was not financially smart to increase our offer. We went to look at one other house that was available on Monday but it did not have a dining room which we would really like to have so we decided that it was not the one for us. After more consideration we decided that we wanted to check out the first house that we had gone to see with our realtor again but he was not available until Tuesday morning so Matt and Christina were gracious enough to let us stay one more night.

On Tuesday we went to see Strong again and because I was in panic mode thinking, "We really need a place to live and this might work" we made an offer on it. Glenn really wasn't fond of the house, especially the really wet basement and stone foundation that looked bulgy in some areas. After making the offer we went back to Rochester where our friends Luke and Christina had offered to let us house sit for them while they were on vacation.

On Wednesday morning we went to the movies (we love Regal's free movies in the summer!) and during the movie we got a call telling us that our offer was accepted but that the owner didn't want any nit picking afterwards so we scheduled an inspection for Thursday morning.

Up early on Thursday to go back to Syracuse for our inspection dropping our kids off at AmyJo's on the way. During the inspection we discovered that we disliked even more the house that we weren't really sure how it was going to work and didn't love in the first place. I think that the kicker for me was when the inspector poked between the stones in the foundation lots of dirt and sand came trickling out. He said that we would have to have it completely cleaned out and re-mortered inside and out which sounded like an expensive ordeal on a house we didn't like so we decided after the inspection to call our realtor and say no. I really shouldn't have forced Glenn into making an offer on the house in the first place but we did learn quite a bit about what to look for in houses in our $350 walk through with the house inspector. The inspector was really great and if we decide to buy a different house we will definitely use him again. After the inspection we went to the library to look for houses again online but didn't really see anything so we headed back and picked up our kids and ran back to Rochester to make dinner to take to our friends Zach and Maryellen's house. After dinner and visiting we went back to Luke and Christina's and Glenn suprised me by packing up clothes and PJs for the kids and taking them to our friends Dave and Hannah's house for the night because Friday was our 10th anniversary.

It was so nice to be able to sleep in on our anniversary. We haven't had a kid free night in several years so it was nice to spend about 16 hours kid free. (thanks so much Hannah!!) After sleeping in we went out for lunch at an Indian restaurant and then wandered the shops in Pittsford Plaza.

On Saturday we had a picnic with my friend Anita and her kids in Highland Park and ran into our friend Miss Betty. In the evening we dropped Caleb off to play with his friend Gabe and took the girls to the Museum of Play to play in air conditioning!

Sunday morning we went home to North and then had a relaxing afternoon and I worked some on lesson plans for the Caleb for the fall. My friend Sarah came over to visit in the late afternoon and we visited and played Toss Your Cookies with us.

On Monday we to Sea Breeze. Some friends from North had 5 extra tickets they weren't going to be able to use so they gave them to us and we only had to buy one for Abigail which was so nice! We had a fun day in the sun and got sun burns despite the SPF 50 we put on everyone. We had never been there before and we really liked the water rides. We stayed a little longer than we planned because on our last waterslide Glenn's glasses bounced off when Abigail's head hit his so the two waterslides that dumped into that pool were shut down while 3 lifeguards scoured the pool for them. Thankfully after about 15 minutes they were found and we were able to go home with Glenn able to see and the rides were able to be opened again. :) After leaving Sea Breeze we went to a BBQ with our small group at Eric and Racheal's house which was fun even though it was really hot!

Today we are heading to the Museum of Play for the day to meet up with some friends and then who knows. We have tickets for the Syracuse Cheifs game back in Syracuse tonight but we can stay here tonight because we don't have to be in Syracuse super early tomorrow so we may skip the game and not go back yet. We don't know. Tomorrow hopefully we'll be looking at more houses and driving around to look for rentals. Maybe we'll find a place tomorrow. Who knows? Well, I know God does.

It has been such a blessing to use Luke and Christina's house as our vacation home this week. It has made being homeless a lot easier! Starting tonight or tomorrow we'll be homeless again. Our friend Brad from our small group asks us every time he sees us "Have you started living in your van down by the river yet?" and I tell him that Syracuse doesn't have a river (at least I don't think so) but maybe we can live by the lake. We have yet to sleep in our van (besides the kids falling asleep while driving) during our homelessness but if we have to sleep in our van it will be OK. I'm excited to see what this week will bring... Glenn starts orientation, his White Coat Ceremony, etc. Still trusting our God to take care of us!

"There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well" "

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Adventures in Homelessness Part 2

When out and about with our kids we often hear the words, "Can we go home?" "When can we go home?" "Do we have to go home?" Now when we hear those questions a discussion ensues: "What do you mean home?" "We don't have a home." "Do you mean our van?" "Do you mean Moby's house? (or Levi's? or Puccio's?)" "But it is home because my stickers are at that house." (meaning our sublet) This week we spent Monday and Tuesday night at Chris & Miranda's (Levi's) house then we visited Russ and Camy on our way back to Syracuse to house sit for Matt & Christina (Moby) from Wednesday until today. We looked at some houses on Thursday and put an offer on our favorite one that we have seen so far on Friday. There has been no response as of right now on our offer so I am assuming that it is being ignored. If that is the case we should probably go and look at more houses tomorrow and put in another offer.

I must admit, I am tired of not having a place to call home. As I was thinking of that this week though I thought of my Savior. He said "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." (Matt.8:20) Jesus did not have a home but I think that He was OK with it because it gave Him the best opportunity to be used and I wonder - how can God use me during this time? I long to be available to Him.

On our way to church this morning we passed a lady at the intersection by the offramp with a sign "Two kids. Need food. Need essentials." andI thought to myself I couldn't imagine! I wished that I would have put the food that we had left over from staying here in the car already and I was reminded again of how blessed I am. We are not lacking any of the essentials or food and we are not homeless because we do not have the resources to be in a home. Part of the reason we are homeless is because we don't want to sign a years lease when there is a possibility that we might buy a home. (and not have to move for almost 4 years!!) Another part of the reason is because we are on vacation, Glenn has a break from school for over 2 weeks so we don't necessarily have to be here in Syracuse. Another part of the reason is because I am picky. We have lived so many places there are definitely things that I do and don't like in a house. Also, Glenn has been able to walk to work the last two years and I would love to not be dependent on two vehicles for at least the first two years here with Glenn walking or riding his bike to school.

We are not sure what this week holds. We have been offered the opportunity to house sit for our friends Luke and Christina in Rochester starting today until Glenn starts orientation on the 18th which sounds like so much fun but we aren't sure how much of that time we should be in Rochester and how much of that time we should camp out or sleep in our van here in Syracuse and look for a place to live. I guess I will let you know in Adventures in Homelessness Part 3 what we decide.

One thing that I do know is that I am thankful that my real home is Heaven and I "eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Phil 3:20) Come quickly Lord Jesus. I also know that God is at work in my life and is using this time for my good and His glory. Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Adventures in Homelessness Part 1

Well, I woke up Saturday morning knowing that we needed to be out of our sublet and not knowing where we were going to be sleeping that night. As the girls were sitting around the table eating breakfast they were chatting about how exciting it was and they were very excited about the prospect of sleeping in "Winnie" (our minivan). I was trusting God that He knew our needs and that He would take care of us. We set about moving more stuff to the attic and cleaning up. One of Glenn's classmates came over to lend a hand which was nice and a fun distraction for our kids. They seem to be more helpful when there is someone exciting there helping too. :) We took a break to go and check out a couple of houses up in Eastwood with a realtor but neither of them really seemed to be "the one" so we went back to the apartment to finish up. Sometime during the day my friend Bethany who I met at the Museum of Play last April and convinced me to change my life with my great home based business called and asked how I was doing and where we were staying that night. I told her I didn't know and she said that we should come and spend the night at her house in North Chili so we did. On Sunday morning we went back to North and it felt like a family reunion. How I love that church! I was so encouraged by the sermon too about Elijah in 1 Kings 17 and how God took care of him even though it wasn't safe or easy. "God often sustains us in ways that we would not anticipate" and I was challenged to pay attention to where and how He is doing it. I was also challenged by Obediah and how he was faithful where he was even though working for Ahab I am sure wasn't the easiest job in the land or exactly where he wanted to be but God used him there and I need to be faithful where God has placed me and look for opportunities to serve God where I am. In that my desire to live in the neighborhood that we just moved out grew even more because I can see lots of opportunities to share God's love with the families that we have already met there and many others that are in the area.

Monday we had fun just hanging out with Bethany's family (they have 4 kids about our kids ages) and relaxing for the day then we got to go to our small group! It was so great to get back together with them. We have missed our Monday night discussion and prayer time. It felt great to be home! Then we spent the night at our friends Chris & Miranda's new house that they hadn't closed on until after we left for Syracuse. It is beautiful! Today we are hanging out with Levi (their little boy that is Abigail's age) and meeting up with my cousins at the Museum of Play to play for the day. It should be fun.