We all realized tonight that it was 1 year ago today that we set off on our great adventure. I wouldn't trade it for the world! What an amazing experience we've had this past year. I was telling someone recently that the last house we were house sitting at was so big I was actually missing the kids by the time we moved back into the camper! (My friend said I was sick). :-) It's just that it is so easy for all of us to get wrapped up in our own little worlds that we miss each other, literally and figuratively. We all frequently talk about the fun times we've had over this past years' adventure, and while we didn't get to all the places we had planned, we still were able to do and see a ton of stuff! Nathan and I were just talking today about how amazing it was to see Niagara Falls! Yes, I feel very blessed and full to be able to experience all we have. And while I feel that way, there is a part of me that still feels a tad cheated, because we never were able to finish the trip. We're talking about maybe being able to take the 'rest of the trip' next summer, Lord willing. We'll see. For now, we're where the Lord wants us. We've been working with a local church frequently over the summer, and starting tomorrow it will be more official and consistent. Please pray that we will be truly God's provision for hurting individuals and families in this church. This past week I've been working systematically at gathering all the paperwork our mortgage consultant wanted from us - I feel like I've been working on a term paper! So today I dropped everything they asked for by their office in Tampa. We believe we gave her everything she asked for, so I know I have the expectation that we'll be approved like tomorrow! But Tim is cautioning me that we may still need to provide more, and I need to prepare myself to not be incredibly disappointed if that is the case. So, that's where we stand. I believe the Lord's timing will be perfect, since we put the proceeds from the sale of our house last year into a 1 year CD that matures towards the end of September, which will probably be just about the time we'll need it! Thanks again for everyone's prayers and encouragement over this past year - they have meant SO much to us! Blessings to all! :-)
After some last minute haggling with the doctor's office and the insurance company who showed us as inactive even though they take our premium out automatically every month (a 'system error' they deemed it as to why we were showing as inactive), we saw Tim's cardiologist this morning. This guy is really great - he spent a lot of time with us and answered all our questions. He went over Tim's cholesterol levels, and, while they weren't terrible, they were borderline in a few places that caused the doctor to recommend putting Tim on a low dose stantin drug. He also recommended Tim take aspirin every day. He ordered a nuclear stress test next month just to make sure his blood flow is good and there is no damage to his heart muscle. The doctor said most likely Tim's 'episode' was due to unstable plaque in his artery, but he said there is really no way of knowing for certain what it was. So, we left there feeling very cared for and understanding a lot more about heart issues.
Last week a house came on the market that I absolutely loved on paper (except it only had 2 bathrooms). It wasn't a short sale (it was bank owned), it was in a great location for us, it had a pool, it was on a pond westward facing (sunsets!!), and it had 4 bedrooms. So we went and looked at it yesterday, and I walked in immediately loving and hating it - Nicole and I had splitting headaches inside 5 minutes because the smoke smell was so thick (and this is after the bank had all the carpet replaced and all the walls painted in the whole house). Tim didn't like it very much at all because he felt like it wasn't kept up well and needed a lot of work. It is SO close to what we are looking for, and the price is fantastic. Our realtor kind of sided with Tim, though, and even went as far to say we should really probably be looking for something 2004 or newer because the building codes changed and the insurance rates on those homes are much better. So please continue praying! And thanks for the prayers, inquiries, and well-wishes we have received regarding Tim's health! Blessings to all!
Well, we had a nice weekend this past weekend. Saturday was a little stressful as I spent a lot of time putting all the information together for our mortgage counselor meeting on Tuesday. But Sunday was nice with a fun time for Little Church. Then the friends who own the first house in Tampa that we house sat for in July invited us over for a Sunday afternoon cookout. We had such a nice time with them - they're a great family, and all the kids got along wonderfully. We kept thanking them for the opportunity to hang out at their place while they were gone, and they kept thanking us for taking care of the place. As my mom would say - it was definitely a mutual admiration society :-) Monday was the final flurry to get all the information we needed for our meeting with our mortgage counselor, and then Tuesday was the big day. It was a 2 1/2 hour meeting, but our counselor was great! We provided all the information they requested, but it turned out it still wasn't enough. Argh! So we need to get on the stick and provide all the extra information she requested. She was very positive, and felt like once we provided this extra information we should be able to get approved asap. The interest rate had been down at 3.75% 30-year fixed, but it crawled back up to 3.875%. But that's still great, so I want to get that paperwork in as soon as possible in case it is going to go up again! One thing she said is that we need to NOT make any offers on any houses until we are approved. So, we're glad we never did 'slap an offer' on that other house. Thanks to all who are praying for us. We are trusting the Lord to lead us to the right house at the right time. Blessings to all!
5 hours and 7 houses later, I don't feel any closer to being in a home than before we went out yesterday. Pretty much every house we went to had things that we loved and things that were show stoppers. For example, the first place we went to, had a great floor plan, a nice pool, a fantastic yard, a lovely front porch, but it had 2 pretty big strikes against it. 1 is that it smelled like smoke which gave me a headache within the first 5 minutes of being there. 2 is that is was right next to a trailer park that Tim remembered a couple of his policeman friends had told him before was notorious for drugs and crime. As we were leaving, we noticed a county water employee shutting off the water to the house across the street. Bummer. So, we left to go to the 2nd house on the schedule, and as we pulled up next to it we noticed the neighbor had a sign in their yard that said, "Join me at the Crossing Church" which is our church! When we were in the backyard, we saw who the neighbor was - a great guy who worked with the kids in the kids' ministry at our church for years!! So all the kids were like, "We want to live here!" It was on a beautiful lake - all great things! But then we went inside, and there was just so much work that needed to be done it was depressing. And on and on it went for 7 houses. Things we LOVED and things that were show stoppers. Last example - the last house we went to was really nice. The kitchen was to die for - Kraft Maid cabinets, all new top of the line appliances, a great floor plan, 4 bedroom 3 way split, 3 baths, but the taxes were sky high due to a CDD (which I still don't know exactly what it means except a lot of money out of our pocket!). That one was my fault - I knew the taxes going in, but I really wanted to see the house and it was empty so we didn't have to schedule around anyone and we were already near that neighborhood. But also, as we were leaving, we noticed a big gash in the roof! What was that about? No trees near it - I don't know. But, the Lord knows, so we are trusting Him to reveal His will. There is this one house that Tim absolutely loves and I like a lot, but we felt it was out of our price range. But now that our interest rate is down to 3.75 it actually could possibly work out. I showed the pictures of the place to my dad when we were down there for my mom's birthday and he called us the next day saying, "You need to slap an offer on that thing first thing in the morning!". So we're praying about that. I'll leave you with some pictures of the place:
So yesterday Tim and the kids went to the storage unit and got our 'homeschool cabinet' out. We thought we may need to put it in the Perrella's house, but we found the perfect spot right here in the camper!! It gave me this amazing feeling of this being more like a home - not that I want to live here forever but it made living here while we wait that much better. That's the good part. The bad part is that when we need to move the camper for any reason we'll have to take the heavy stuff out of the cabinet and then move the cabinet in order to put the slide in. :-) The kids also took our radio/cd player out of storage to put on top of the cabinet and were playing the radio yesterday. One of my favorite songs of all time, Shackles (take the shackles off my feet so I can dance, I just want to praise You, I just want to praise You!) came on the radio and the kids were like, "Hey, Mom - there's your song". So they all got out of the way knowing I would start dancing, and sure enough, I had enough room to do a dance that I had made up for that song (although I was doing this kick move when Tim came in the door and I almost nailed him!). One of the big challenges I've had since we've been back from house sitting is scheduling my shower! I had gotten used to being able to take it whenever I wanted to. So around dinner time yesterday Tim and I realized we both needed showers and we didn't have time to go to the Y, so since we've been using our shower in the camper as a quasi-storage closet, he took everything out and got a shower while I made dinner. Then I got a shower. Then Nicholas and Nathan played some softball after dinner and came in all sweaty so I ordered them one by one to the shower! The water pressure is terrible, but other than that, it worked out pretty nicely! But back to the real home front, we meet with our realtor this Friday to look at 5 more places, and then Tuesday we meet with our mortgage counselor, so things are moving along (although they feel like they are crawling along!). The kids attended their first Physical Science class yesterday and loved it! The teacher was great and made it a lot of fun, and even had them do an experiment their first day. We will start the rest of our homeschool classes next week, so we've been gearing up for that. Well, I need to get going to work, so take care and God bless!
Well, we made the transition back to the camper pretty smoothly. We were only here for 1 full day (Friday) and then we went down to Port Charlotte yesterday (Saturday) to celebrate my mom's birthday a little early (it's not until Wednesday). But before we left, I thought I'd whip up a quick pancake breakfast using Batter Blaster that I got on sale. We've decided it should be called Batter Plopper because it doesn't exactly blast and the pancakes are really difficult to turn over no matter how much oil you spray on the pan. After slaving away for like an hour the kids got tired of waiting so they all had cereal instead, and Nicole snapped a picture of me 'slaving away'. We're a little afraid to eat them - they're still in the fridge. Maybe they'll brave the Batter Plopper pancakes tomorrow. But back to our visit to Port Charlotte - we had such a nice day - my cheeks hurt from smiling so much! When we first arrived my sister wanted to snap some photos of the 6 of us Gregory's, so I've included them in the photo collage below. Can you believe how tall Nathan is getting? Then the boys went and played in the pool for awhile, mixed in with a little lunch on the porch, so there are a few pictures of that. My cousin Diane came over to visit and she is such a hoot - like I said, my cheeks are still hurting! :-) The next picture is of an awesome mango salad that my sister made, and we had a lovely Lasagna dinner which, despite my husband's shirt to the contrary (see photo), was compliments of Stouffers! Then of course we had to have birthday cake, and a present Noah insisted we get my mom which was a cute little 'laugh a day' book along with some birthday cards. We have a tradition in our family that whenever we get a gift we put it over our head and say, "heavy, heavy, hang over your head, what are you going to do with it?" Now that I'm typing it out, it sounds kind of nonsensical but at the time it feels perfectly normal because we've been doing it as long as I can remember! So of course my mom did it, and my sister snapped the cutest picture of her which I have included. My dad had taken my mom to get her hair done - he did such a great job finding the perfect lady to do exactly what she wanted - doesn't she look great?! All too soon the day ended and we drove home in our new-used-almost-100,000-miles-on-it van thankful for the comfy ride all the way back (what a difference from the tiny Mazda5 we've been in for the past year!) A great day to be had by all! One update to our mortgage pursuit - the NACA group we are trying to go with just lowered their 30 year fixed rate a couple of days ago from 4.125% to 3.875%!! Woo hoo! OK, now for the pictures:
As my mom used to always say, all good things must come to an end, and that is what is happening today. This is our last day of a string of house sitting that we've been doing for a whole month, and it's all a little bittersweet. There are definitely things I'm going to miss about being in a house, yet I'm also looking forward to the simplicity of being in the camper again. We had the carpets cleaned in the camper earlier this week, so that will be nice to come home to. Yesterday was the day we could call NACA to try to move our appointment up from Sept 20, so we were able to do that and we currently have an Aug 23rd appointment. That will get the ball rolling on our mortgage. In the meantime, our realtor is steadily sending us houses, but I've only seen 1 or 2 more that we would be interested in. I want to get at least 4 or 5 in the running before we go out looking again. Our work with a local church continues, as well as continued confirmation that we are where we are supposed to be for now. My part time job is going great, and I love working for and with believers who have incredible integrity. If any of you own businesses out there that need any type of computer services, you should call TR Network Consulting (shameless plug). :-) The website is http://www.trnetworkconsulting.com. I know I try to have pictures to post at the end of my blog, but I don't have any at the moment. However, Nicole took a bunch of snapshots yesterday that I'll try to get my hands on soon. Hope everyone is doing well!
Tim & Jodie