Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The tale of a dream...

As a teen, I dreamed of a white house with a wrap-around porch and a white picket fence. I imagined I'd have five kids, and be married to a wonderful man. I'll have to type out my paper that I wrote when I was 16. You may come to think of me as a psychic. Really, I'm just determined...and lucky.

Over the years, my taste transformed from farm house and shabby chic, to bohemian and mid-century modern. Ever since Stephen and I lived in the little cabin on Lake Samish in Bellingham, we knew we wanted to live on waterfront. We were open to living on fresh water or salt water but the ever changing beauty and vastness of waterfront was a goal.

We purchased our duplex as a stepping stone; an investment to get us closer to the dream. We labored hard and have a bit of a hate-hate relationship with that one. But one step closer we became. And then we purchased our 61st Ct. house. It was cute and fit us so well for the season we were in. But far too quickly we outgrew the roomy 3 bedroom home with our 5 lively kids. And so we decided it was time to sell and look for property to build that mid-century modern, bohemian, waterfront home.

Let's rewind a few months. The summer prior to Hazel's birth, I found a waterfront piece of property. It was 3 acres on Cooper Pt. I thought I found IT. We toiled back and forth with offers and counter-offers. We spent months testing the soil, having a septic design written up and submitted to the county, driving out to this property, tromping around, estimating the costs to build, and thinking through what trees we'd have to remove to get a view. This property was nice, but the buildable plot was 150 feet or more from the water and had a very high bank at that. It was heavily forested. And the soil was muddy clay. We were within days of closing on this piece of property when Stephen and I both felt we were in over our heads. Hazel was only 3 weeks old. We just found out my dad had cancer. And we realized continuing on with our dream might just break us. We backed out.

Fast forward a year. We sold our house on 61st Ct. as a stepping stone to have equity for a substantial down payment on a construction loan/property. We decided to rent a home while we searched for the right piece of property. I found a beautiful big house in....Hawks Prairie. I was a little bummed. Why would I want to live there? I'd never thought I'd live in Lacey. But here we were, in a hot market with a couple of weeks to find a house as we were given a cash offer for our 61st Ct. home, and this was the only feasible option. We moved in.

The next year was spent searching. It's actually a little scary how much I can find about a person and their property. It's scary because I'm not the only one. But I would spend my nap time searching the satellite view of a map, (like what you see here to the left.) I had given up on the MLS. Property listed through the MLS seemed less than ideal. There was a problem with something or the other or it was beyond our budget. But remember, determined and a little lucky is my mantra.

This home we were renting was in a subdivision just a mile away from Tolmie State Park. One morning Stephen wanted to drive over and walk along the beach, so we all went. We turned the corner on Hill Rd. And my jaw dropped a little. "Wouldn't it be cool to live in one of those houses?" I thought. That first trip to Tolmie lead to many more. I found myself going there every other week just to toss rocks or see what sea creatures we'd find. And every time I'd drive to Tolmie, I'd look down at a heavily treed lot with a rundown cabin and multiple sheds of junk and a driveway full of beat up cars.

I cold called many different property owners, whom I found through assessors database and satellite views of a map that showed the lot was undeveloped. I was turned down over and over again with responses like, "sorry, we're holding that for our kids if they ever return home. Oh, and how did you get my number?" When I explained my story, they never seemed irritated and always wished me well. So I continued my search. One day, I decided to give this little cabin owner a call. We hadn't previously considered buying a home that needed remodeled because usually that meant it was over our budget or needed a lot of work which we'd rather just build new. But I thought I'd give it a go. I found out, through my research, that it was inherited by a brother and sister. They lived in Montana. I found their phone numbers. I left a voice mail.

Waiting. Dreaming. Wondering. I drove by the property, imagining what it would be like with our house sitting on it. I wondered if this gorgeous property, which was sandwiched on both sides with trees, would have a view like the houses next to it. I knew in my heart it was mine. I was so sure this was it.

Three weeks later, I got a return call. Jan (the sister) left a voicemail back. I squeeled with joy as I listened to her call. My heart raced. She WAS interested in selling. She wanted to have the soil testing done to determine the eligibility for a septic system before agreeing on a price. I recommended the man we'd previously worked with on our Cooper Pt. endeavor and when she agreed, I called him up and met him onsite. We hadn't signed any documents or sales agreements or even a contingent offer yet, but Stephen and I met the septic designer at the property, and when he said he thought it would be a 3 bedroom septic plan, we gave him our plans and asked if there was any way to make it work.

A few weeks later I received a call from Jan saying that, "the septic design has been approved. And for some reason the designer did a 4 bedroom plan." He designed it for our exact house plans. She didn't know that. A few more weeks went by with communication back and forth and we finally signed an agreement.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

It's been three years since I've written on my blog. I've found I resort to Instagram or Facebook to express the daily ups and downs of life more often than not. It's been an eventful three years. And I hope to remember and relay the important bits of it as well as some unimportant bits that might make me smile down the road. This blog is mostly for my own remembrance as well as that of my kids. I've found that as they are getting older, I will log onto here and let them read through the archives and they will read and laugh and laugh and read for hours. Here's to hoping I'm more consistent going forward than I have been in the past. Cheers!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hawaii 2015

Stephen and I went to Maui last month. It was a time of rest. I was able to think and read and eat and laugh and rest. I was reminded more than ever before how blessed I am, how much I love my husband, how much I love my kids and how thankful I am for this life I've been given and how grateful I am for His love and mercy. God's earth is vast, the ocean is huge, his creation is amazing, and we get to enjoy the beauty of it all. I don't want to squander this opportunity.

P.S. We took a boat ride along a pod of dolphins. They really are beautiful creatures. We also snorkeled with sharks. 4 ft white tip reef sharks to be exact. And I learned to surf...or at least tried to learn to surf. I really just learned how to fall. Actually, I didn't even learn how to properly fall. The bruises on my hips were proof that maybe I should take lessons on land.


touched by sadness.

When I worship my creator through song, it hits me to my core. I have always found it a great way to get lost in my king. I love words. I use words to praise my kids, my husband, my family. Words are important to me. They are a language that speaks to my heart. And I love song. I grew up singing throughout the day and belting out praise through music. So naturally I put those two together, along with using them to speak to a Savior who has extended massive amounts of grace, and yes, it hits me to my core.

Although it's always been a big part of me, and I do it with utmost sincerity, I have never been the emotional type, the type that cries on a whim or while in public. That all changed a year ago. Throughout the past year (beginning in October 2014,) I have sang out on my knees for God's faithfulness to shine through, for healing, for peace, for strength. And then it turned into continued cries for faithfulness to shine through amidst the sorrows we faced, for healing of our hearts, for more peace, for strength to continue on, for our hearts to be changed to touch the world through our experience. And then for the past few months, my hearts song has been out of the depths of me, to praise Christ even though I don't feel like it. For a while, I honestly just couldn't go there. It hurt too bad. I had a hard time speaking to God because I didn't understand and I didn't have any more words to pray.

Time has passed, it feels like eternity even though it's only been 9 months. On Sunday, while singing of God's faithfulness, the tears rolled down my face (as they do every time I worship Him since my dad's diagnosis,) and it struck me that what once was always a safe and joyful experience- singing praise to God- has now been touched by sadness. When I sing those words of how great his love is, how great his faithfulness is, how he has captured my heart, it reminds me of the sorrows, it brings back the fear and the doubt. It brings me back to the place I was in a year ago, trusting and hoping for a miracle, for God's faithfulness to shine through. It didn't shine through in the way I had hoped and trusted it would. And I still don't see how this is good. I don't see how this can make our family better. And so I cry. Tears roll down when my heart knows that He is faithful and my heart is choosing to trust Him while my flesh doesn't understand and my flesh doubts.

Have you seen Inside Out? It occurred to me that Sadness has touched my long term memories of worship and praise and of my faith in general. And although it's sad, I look at it with eager anticipation for the joy that follows suit. I KNOW my redeemer is faithful. I KNOW I am not, nor is my family, forgotten. And so, I push on, praising with tears rolling down my face.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pumpkin Time!

This year, we ventured to Schilter Family Farm for an evening full of fun! We went through the Star Wars themed corn maze, played on the giant jumping pillow, slid down the big tube slides, jumped in the hay, said hello to all of the animals and picked out the perfect pumpkins! These kids make life so much fun.