Last week I broke my social media silence and let you in on how 2020 has been going and what I’ve been up to this year. If you missed that post, you can catch up here! 😉 This week I wanted to take you along our journey of house hunting and what happens when God’s plans are bigger than the ones we have for ourselves.
Chapter 5: The Living-Quarters Predicament
We’d been living with my parents for about 4 months at this point, and it was GREAT. Well, for the most part. The only issue we had was that our two huskies, plus my parents’ two dogs were all in the same house. And it wouldn’t have been that big of an issue, except for the fact that they didn’t all get along. (Like, major fights would break out if the crossed paths.) So we were constantly playing dog-tango. And due to the fact that my dogs couldn’t just be “let outside” since we didn’t have a fence, they had to be taken out on leashes every single time they needed to use the bathroom, (which is a lot.)
I was struggling with getting any work done, because I was constantly being asked to take my dogs out, (because Keira, my female husky, ) is such a territorial thing that she wants to pee on anything that smells like another dog. 🙄 She would take it upon herself to mark my mom and dad’s border collie, Shasta’s, bed. So annoying.
Aaaaanyways, I was getting really tired of not being able to have uninterrupted work days. I started thinking, “what could we do to have our own space?”
Clay and I had decided that we’d wait to relocate to the area, to see if he liked his new job first. By staying with my parents, it would help us to accumulate cash much faster, and really be able to save for building our first house. We were so excited to be able to plant roots. I really wanted to stay and build in Texarkana, so we began thinking,
“What if I stayed, and we worked on building the house we’d always wanted, here?”
It was only two hours, so he could commute back and forth weekly. With this job, he was able to make his own hours, so he could leave on a Monday morning, and be at work by 9am, and then come home on Thursday night and spend the weekend with me there. My dad did that for 8 years with my mom, (quite literally the same thing, he commuted to Little Rock for his job,) so I knew it was doable.
So we decided, Clay would commute back and forth and I would stay here and hold down the fort with the dogs. We’d be able to save money and get started on building our house. My dad had a travel trailer Clay could use and live out of while he was on the road, so we wouldn’t have to spend any money on it. Clay was fine with it, and honestly he can live in any scenario. (He’s had to sleep under trucks overseas for crying out loud, so this was livin’ high on the hog.) 🤣
So that solved the issue for him. But I was still having such a hard time working or getting anything done while at my parents, so I started to brainstorm options for an office space that wouldn’t require me driving all the way into town and renting a building. I really needed to be focusing on what God was calling me to do in my business, and it became increasingly hard to make any progress on the project He had me working on.
So I had an idea. I could get one of those portable buildings that look like a tiny farmhouse, and could use it as an office space while I was there. This would give me a space separate from the house to be able to get into a workflow in, and would also allow the dogs to be able to be with me there, so there wasn’t as much chaos. I could also have a fence built alongside it, to be able to let them in and out throughout the day. Bingo. FINALLY.
I began researching, and found some that I loved. (They were the same company that built the shed that now lays on the grounds of Magnolia in Waco )It would be around $20k to do, so that became my first goal to save up for. A plan. YAS.
But the more I thought about it, the less peace I had about it. I had convinced everyone around me that it was a good idea, and honestly they all agreed; because it was. I measured the grounds and came up with numbers to have the dirt laid to level it. I figured out what the electricity would cost to do, and came up with solutions for the internet. All of it.
But there was no ignoring it, I didn’t have complete peace. My heart longed to be with Clayton, all the time. I mean, we’d done long distance for 7 years, and a bunch more while married in Japan. I was tired, and I couldn’t ignore it.
I was driving home one day, and I heard God say in my spirit, “Just because your parents did it… doesn’t mean you have to.”
He was right. Just because my dad did the commute from Little Rock, and my mom and him did long distance for years, doesn’t mean we had to.
So my next question was, “Okay God, but how can I be with him?”
We didn’t want to plant roots in Little Rock by any means, so we started thinking… “what about a portable home?” We had friends who bought travel trailers/fifth wheels that were super nice, and lived out of them to save money while they were being stationed all over the U.S. It didn’t seem like a bad idea.
We could do that, get a really nice one, and be able to take it to and from Little Rock, and everywhere else for that matter, when we wanted to. That way, the dogs could be with us and we could all be united.
This became the new plan, and I scoured the internet for days at a time to find the perfect one. (Can’t you tell I am a go-getter and love making plans!?) 😂 #icrackmyselfup
I found one I loved, and wanted it super bad. The only problem? We’d need to get a loan, (it was super pricey,) and Clayton’s paychecks from his previous job were cutting off in a couple of weeks. In order to get a loan, you need 30 days of pay stubs and a history of two years being employed. So if we didn’t do it now, it wasn’t going to happen. I was trying SO hard to make it happen. I began to get desperate and cry out to the Lord, “why is this SO HARD!?” I remember trying to get Clayton to hurry up and fill out the application to get a loan, and none of it working the way we wanted.
There was no peace.
But I was ignoring it because I wanted a solution to all of our problems, and I wanted it NOW.
After Clayton had talked me down and calmed me, I began to realize something. God doesn’t rush, and He doesn’t pressure. He doesn’t add stress to your life. He is stilling, reassuring, and calming. His path is always the path of peace, and I didn’t have even an ounce of it with this.
I knew it wasn’t God’s plan trying to get us to buy that fifth wheel, it was the enemy.
As I started coming to my senses, I realized… fifth-wheels depreciate the moment you drive them off the lot. You can’t ever get your money’s worth out of them, kind of like cars. So although we thought we would be getting out ahead financially and be making a smart move, we really wouldn’t.
Back to square one.
Chapter 6: God’s plans are greater.
I surrendered. I said “Lord, what do YOU want? … Because obviously what I want is totally not working out, so I give up.”
It took me a solid year to get there, but I did. Thank God for His patience and for dealing with me. 😂
It was memorial day weekend, and we had just spent the weekend visiting with family that came in from out of town. I remember crawling in the bed with Clay that night, and asking “What if instead of getting a fifth-wheel, we just bought a house there? You have to be in Little Rock anyways, and if we had a fifth-wheel, we’d be there anyways. What are we fighting? We have a VA loan we can use because of your service, we really could do this.”
In case you didn’t know, it’s way easier to use a VA loan to buy a house, than to build one. VA construction loans are hard to come by, so this was just an easier process to go through, all around. Plus, building a house is a whole thing, and would take up to 2 years to do. (The opposite of easy.)
Clayton told me that he wasn’t opposed to it. That he hadn’t been feeling peace about us getting a fifth-wheel either.
It was me. It was me fighting planting roots. Little did I know, that by me fighting what God wanted for me, I was making my life harder.
I wasn’t pursuing God’s best for me. I was pursuing what I thought the “best for me” was.
Only GOD knows my best, and His plans are bigger than any I could have on my own.
I mentioned it to my mom, and at first; she seemed a bit upset. (Rightfully so, considering we had planned to finally get to be together again. My mom is my best friend, and Okinawa was HARD for us.
But after just a few minutes, we both knew. She started to come to, and mentioned, “Two hours really isn’t that bad. We can do this.”
I knew it. This was what God intended, and I had to go. Again. At least this time, it wasn’t as far. It was only a two hour drive, and I’ve lived a nine hour drive away in Florida, and a three-plane trip in Japan. Two hours, I knew I could do.
So I started looking for houses online. Zillow became my best friend. (Don’t act surprised. 😂)
Before too long, I found a few I loved. I could really start to see myself living there. They were in the Benton/Bryant area, which was on the closer side to Texarkana, and about 25 minutes from Little Rock. I started to get my hopes up, and showed them to Clayton. He ultimately just wanted me to be happy, so he was honestly fine with whatever at this point. God love him. 🤣
We reached out to a realtor, and set up a showing for both of the homes we were interested in. They were exactly the same price, so we’d just have to see what we thought when we got there.
I remember telling Clayton about a week before we went to see the houses, “I don’t want this to be an “up-and-down” roller-coaster kinda thing. I don’t want to constantly get my hopes up, and then get let down because a house sold out from under us, or we didn’t qualify for it, or whatever.”
We decided the best route was to get in touch with a mortgage broker, and find out how much house we could even qualify for, so we weren’t wasting anybody’s time. Long story short, every house I was interested in, we did in fact qualify for. YAY. Crisis averted.
I kept searching, (because buying a house is a huge thing, and I didn’t want to miss out on anything. There were SO many options.) But I also didn’t want to spend forever doing this, because I wanted to get into a home asap.
I ended up finding another house before our showing date, and when I saw it— it felt different. This one really felt like I could live in it, for a long time. I just felt something in my spirit when I stumbled upon it. It quickly became my favorite, but I didn’t want to say anything to sway Clayton. I wanted to wait until we saw them in person and could really make a decision and weigh the options. It was about a 40 minute drive from Little Rock, so I wasn’t sure if it was too far out or not, (but I sure was hoping he’d be okay with it.)
I showed it to my mom, and she said, “Oh yeah. This one’s just different. I love it. It’s SO beautiful.”
I emailed our realtor and asked if there was any way we could add this house to our showing date also. It was about 35 minutes from the other two houses, but we were starting our day early; so I figured it could work. She said she’d be able to show us this house as well. Yay!
My mom and I continued talking that night, and she mentioned a few things that she was looking for when her and my dad were house-hunting, years ago. She said she wanted a house with character, a house that had a story to it.
That really stuck with me, and I realized that was something I wanted, too.
Chapter 7: House Hunting
Clay, my mom, my aunt, and I all headed out for Bryant early on the morning of May, 30th. Our first stop: a cute, new-construction home in Benton.
When we first pulled up, I realized the house was much closer to other homes than the pictures made it seem. Once we made it through the door, everyone split up and started to check things out. Eventually I made my way back around to Clayton, and I noticed him inspecting things in much more detail than I had been. (Totally understandable, because he’s a super detail oriented guy.)
He pointed to a door-frame and said “This is crooked.”
He found so many issues with the house, it was pretty much a no-brainer. It wasn’t going to work. Remember that part I said about Clayton being super thorough and doing everything to the best of his ability? Yeah, he expects that out of others too. (And especially for houses at the price range we were looking at.)
So, we were on to the next one, and I was okay with it. I knew my favorite house was last, but it was still disheartening to see the issues with the first new-construction home. I hoped the next, and the last, wouldn’t be the same.
We arrived at the second house, another new construction, and thankfully; it wasn’t as bad as the first. The kitchen was stunning, and it overlooked a shared lake. However, it had carpet all upstairs, which I wasn’t a huge fan of. (I have two huskies, remember?) It was also in a neighborhood that had an HOA, which I also wasn’t crazy about. (Again, huskies. They tend to let out a “call of the wild” in the morning and in the evening, as well as when we leave the house… really thinking about starting the Kona Chronicles.) We also noticed an unfinished basement-situation, that was collecting a ton of water underneath the house. We definitely didn’t feel so comfortable with that.
Unfortunately, this house was also super close to the ones next to it. Having grown up in the country, both of us realized we didn’t want to do the whole “neighborhood” thing. We love to sit out on our front porch in the mornings, drinking coffee and reading our bibles, and it would be really hard to do that with cars buzzing and lawn-mowers running and all the things that come with neighborhood life. (Seriously, once you live in the country you’re spoiled. There’s a reason people don’t retire and move to the city.) 😂
We liked the second house, and definitely were more drawn to it over the first. But I knew the last one was still going to be my favorite, I just hoped it would be Clay’s too. He primarily just didn’t want to see the issues with this next house that he saw in the first two.
The One: God’s Bigger Plan
We pulled into the driveway, and it felt like pulling into a little slice of heaven. There was a peaceful presence in and around the whole house — it was just different. As we were walking through and touring it, I couldn’t help but see how much character, intentionality, and personality this house had. It was designed immaculately, paying very close attention to detail. This house was a custom build, and the first two were new-construction. Let me tell you, there’s a big difference. I realized the first two houses felt so “cookie-cutter” in comparison to this one. Like model homes… with no life in them. They were gorgeous, don’t get me wrong. But nothing could compare to this one; again, God’s plans are bigger.
After we’d looked all throughout the house, we’d fallen in love with every corner and crevice. Clayton could tell a big difference in the quality and build, and was much more pleased all-around. As him, my mom, my aunt and I were all standing in the kitchen, my aunt made the statement,
“Now see, this house is a home.”
She was right, the others weren’t designed by a mother who wanted to raise a family in them, they were just builder-grade, cookie-cutter designs. I was so glad my mom had mentioned that she searched for a house with personality and character, because that very concept was at the forefront of my mind now during the house-hunt.
As we were leaving the house and heading back to Texarkana, Clayton and I kept talking about how much we liked this last house. It was a cottage-style house in the country, on 5 acres. With the other houses, you could basically touch your neighbors house from your yard, but this one had space and room to breath around it. It was in the woods, outside of city limits, (so, no HOA.) The house lay on the outside of a small, quiet town in Grant County. There truly wasn’t anything about this house I didn’t love, not one thing.
We didn’t get but maybe 15 minutes down the road, and we’d decided. We wanted to make an offer. Was it crazy? Maybe. We just couldn’t deny the peace and the “easiness” of it. So we called our agent and told her what we were thinking, and what we wanted put in the offer. She helped us decide on what we could ask for, and we had an offer placed that night. The next day, they gave us a counter-offer, which was extremely close to our original offer, so it was just about perfect.
We’d reached an agreement, and the “buying a house” festivities began. (Ecstatic was an understatement.) However, we had to do an extended closing, because we had to have 30 days of pay-stubs from Clayton’s new job in order to officially “close,” and he’d just started. So from the day we placed an offer, to the day we moved in — it was a total of 70 days.
I spent 69 of those 70 days at Kirkland’s, Target, and HomeGoods. Kidding. (Or am I?) My mom and I had a BLAST visiting all the flea markets around, (that’s kind of our thing,) and picking up things here and there. We shopped non-stop the entire time we had to wait to move in, and it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. My mom is so good at decorating, and I enjoyed every minute of that time spent with her. We even went as far as driving to Shreveport to pick up a MASSIVE highland cattle cow portrait one day, it was definitely one of my favorite shopping trips. 😂
The day finally arrived for us to move in after what felt like centuries, and as we pulled up to the house I couldn’t even believe it was going to be ours. (Spoiler alert: I’m lying in bed right now writing this, and I still can’t believe it’s ours.) My mom still feels that way after 20+ years about her house, so I think we’re onto something good. 😉
Oh, and just in case you wondered…
It’s a modern farmhouse, with tons of windows and the most beautiful natural light. It has a U-shaped floor plan, and a breezeway that connects the house to the garage. It has both a front, and back porch made out of concrete. It’s exterior is white vinyl, with a black roof and black industrial accents. The porch ceilings are painted a light, haint blue. The master bedroom is on the first floor, and it has a clawfoot tub and a large rainfall shower. The kitchen has marble countertops, a large rectangular island, tons of storage, a gas range and a big farmhouse sink. It has an open floor plan between the kitchen and living room, with a double-sided fireplace, that is connected to a dining room. It has three bedrooms, a bonus room, and a three car garage. It’s on some land in the country (5 acres to be exact,) and I regularly see deer out my window while I cook and clean. God’s plans are truly bigger.
He truly cares about the desires of our hearts.
If there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that God knows my best. And if he says “No” at the time, it’s because He’s got something way, way better in store. He’s a really good Dad.
We’ve got one last update for you coming next week! I’m catching you up on all things business, and let me tell you- I am so excited and cannot wait to share it with you!
IF YOU’RE REALLY STRUGGLING IN YOUR BUSINESS, BOOK A FREE CLARITY CALL WITH ME, (NO STRINGS ATTACHED,) FOR ME TO HELP YOU PINPOINT YOUR BIGGEST ROADBLOCKS.
Then, if you decide it’s a fit and you NEED us to work together stat, we can totally proceed with mentorship and get this education party started!
I wholeheartedly believe that if you’re here and reading this page, it’s not by accident, girl. I’ve been praying for this years mentoring clients, and for God to truly equip me with the knowledge and resources, tailored just for you, to project you into your next season and help you to be more confident – because THIS is your year.
It’s time. No more excuses. Let’s do this, and rise up to who God has called us to be in both our lives and businesses.
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