Well, we emptied some more boxes this afternoon, and so I took a picture of our new (used) bedroom furniture since I now have bedding on it (before today we just had a sheet and a blanket)! We also had our own dining experience where the kids actually all ate SOUP! They have all usually turned their noses up at the concoction, but tonight, bribed with Club Crackers I had purchased with coupons and a BOGO sale, they actually all had soup. I had to have the momentous occasion photographed and have provided the picture below:
Tomorrow we’ll be heading to Port Charlotte for the weekend and my High School reunion. Tomorrow afternoon is a get together at a local restaurant, and then tomorrow night my beloved and almost undefeated Tarpons (the fighting fish – that will strike the fear of God in ya, eh?!) have their Homecoming football game that we’ll be attending. Then Saturday morning we’ll all be taking a tour of my alma mater, followed by a picnic. Since last week found my Dad falling down on the job of reporting the weather to me, he was very conscientious about calling me today to let me know it is supposed to rain pretty much most of the weekend – argh! Well, I looked at the hourly forecast and pretty much every single hour shows a 40% chance of rain – so that means a 60% chance that it won’t rain, right? Well, we’ll see – I’ll keep you posted. Blessings to all!
I still can't believe sometimes that we are finally in a house! Here are the top 10 reasons I'm thankful that we are:
Number 10: a place we can all sit down together for meals (the camper table only seated 4)
Number 9: a neighborhood the boys can ride their bikes and ripstiks and scooters in
Number 8: file cabinets to put my paperwork in
Number 7: I don't have to check the toilet seat every time I need to go because the boys have their own!
Number 6: refrigerator and freezer space
Number 5: closet space
Number 4: a garage to park my car in - no more grass all over the floor of my car
Number 3: counter space when I'm cooking
Number 2: doors that lock
And the Number 1 reason I'm thankful to be in a house: I can take a shower whenever I want!!!!!
We went to garage sales on Saturday, and we were able to find a bedroom set for us – really nice and solid bed with a tempurpedic mattress, and a couch. Someone gave us a dining room table and 6 solid wood chairs, so we just need to sand all the pieces and stain them (we still have the Perrella’s table while awaiting that process to be completed). Speaking of the Perrellas, they came over Sunday night for a dining experience at our place, and it really is an experience sharing a meal with them – they’re so much fun! We then sent the kids to their rooms to play games and we sat and talked and then prayed together on our new/used couch! It was a blessed time.
BTW – thank you for your prayers for Tim’s back. He was sore but not in a ton of pain the next day, which to me was a miracle! He has, however, been fighting some type of bug, so still prayers for his health would be much appreciated!
Now we go through the process of unpacking and still finding furnishings/necessities. We still need things like a vacuum cleaner (ours broke like 2 weeks before we went on the road), a TV (the boys including Tim are vying for a 60” – haha!), an entertainment center for the TV, a big bookshelf or 2 (we have lots of books), and, as Nathan calls it, a nice comfy chair to go next to the couch. Oh, and a bedroom set for Nicole (she’s sleeping on the mattress she had in the camper). All in all, we’re VERY thankful to be here for now, and are still looking forward to where God wants us to land (if He does). Oh, and I was offered another part-time job basically doing what I’m doing at the other job, so I’m just trying to figure out how to fit it all in (not a bad problem to have!).
Well, I hope everyone is having a nice week and enjoying this gorgeous weather! Blessings to all!!
I can’t believe we have this much stuff. I thought we had gotten rid of almost everything! It took us all day, until about 8pm tonight to get everything moved in. Our storage units completely filled up a 14 foot truck we rented plus both of our cars. Once we emptied all that, we went and got the rest of our stuff that we had in the attic of our friends’ garage along with the rest of our stuff that was stored in the outside compartments in our camper and also the Perrella’s dining room table and 4 chairs. That pretty much filled it up again! Our 2 car garage is now a ‘boxes and stuff’ garage. We were all estimating how long it will take us to unpack all that stuff. I’m setting a goal of 1 month from now – around Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know how that goes! The saddest part of the day came about ½ way through getting our stuff out of storage after they cut the locks when I realized I had the keys to the locks on my key ring all along!!!!! Argh!!!!!!!!!!!! For about an hour after that every once in awhile I would let out an ‘Argh!!!’ and whoever was near me would say, “Let it go!” It just reminds me that sometimes the answer to our question is right in front of us and we can’t see it! All in all, it was a great day for a move. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect! The only problem was that Tim hurt his back. When he was back on the Fire Department this kind of strain would put him flat on his back for 3 weeks. But the last time he hurt his back earlier this year he was feeling much better in about a week. So we’re praying for that kind of recovery! Thank you for your prayers – hope everyone has a great weekend!! Blessings!
Today is our 2nd moving day – time to get everything out of storage. The only problem is that we can’t find the keys to our locks (we have 2 storage units). If worse comes to worse we’ll cut the locks off, but one of the locks is a round one and evidently very difficult to cut off. If you’re reading this before 8am please pray we find those keys! Yesterday I organized my kitchen – it didn’t take very long! Check out the picture:
Mother Hubbard’s cupboards are bare! :') We have 3 pots and pans under the stove and then everything else you see in the picture. However, the food situation is quite different. I have not added anything to the items in these pictures since we moved – this was all stuff in the camper (along with a few items we had in the Perrella’s garage refrigerator):
I can’t believe we fit all that into our camper! It really does have great storage! I was going to upload some more pictures but our MiFi upload speeds are SO SLOW! It takes about 5 minutes per picture! So I'm going to sign off for now. I'll try to update tonight if I'm not too tired! If anyone is local and wants to help us move today and you know our phone numbers, give us a call! The weather is going to be absolutely GORGEOUS today - high of 75 degrees!! Love it! Blessings to all!
I am EXHAUSTED, so this won't be long, but I just had to give thanks to God for our new digs. We took lots of pictures that I planned on uploading to this blog but, like I said, I'm just too tired right now. We moved pretty much everything from the inside of the camper today - just a few things under our bed are left. We still have everything on the outside, plus everything in storage. We had lunch sitting on the kitchen floor. By dinner we had a card table! We are all sleeping on mattresses tonight. Life is good! God is great! I'm going to sleep. Nite- nite!
We've got a delay of game due to RAIN! Argh! Normally, when a storm is moving in, the weather people still only put an 80% chance of rain on the forecast. Not today - it's 100% chance. Go to weather.com and check out the radar for Florida - it's a massive storm. Since we normally don't have time to watch TV I rely on my Dad to let me know what's going on in the world. So note to Dad - why didn't you tell me it was going to rain today when we talked yesterday? :-) This is all your fault, you know (since my husband is a counselor I know that blaming your father on things is very healthy - haha). Well, the listing lady never emailed me the lease agreement anyway, so we'll need to track that down today. Plus, when I talked to her yesterday she said they were going to replace the carpet in one of the bedrooms because of all the stains on it. I asked her when they were going to do that and she exclaimed, "Oh!! I need to call my carpet man to get him in there first thing tomorrow!" So we'll do what we planned today (Lord willing, and the creek don't rise and another storm blow in!) tomorrow. Hope everyone has a lovely day - I know the ducks will! :-)
I called our realtor around noon and asked her what's next. I haven't rented anything since the first year I got out of college! How do these things work? She said we should be hearing from the listing agent by this afternoon, and if not, to feel free to give her a call. By 3pm I hadn't heard anything so I called her up. She said, "So when do you want to move in?" So we're in? That's it?! I told her, "How about today?!" But seriously, she said we could move in tomorrow if we wanted to. I asked her what else we needed to do, and the first thing she said was that we needed to send her 10 more people like us! When I asked her what she meant by that she said it was because of our good credit scores and back-ground checks. I guess she doesn't see too much of that. Wow. She never even called Mr. Perrella to see what kind of tennants we are! Anyway, we just have to bring her a money order for the security deposit and the pro-rated October payment along with a signed lease agreement and we're in! We're scheduled to do all that at 10am tomorrow (well, Tim will be doing it since I'm working). So I'm spending this evening figuring out what all we need to move to be able to sleep there tomorrow night! Like I said, I have to work in the morning, and Tim and I have an appointment at 3pm tomorrow, and then he works the rest of the evening, so we only have a short window to be able to move stuff. I'm thinking sleeping bags and pillows, our clothes, towels, toiletries, and food and kitchen stuff. That should be enough, shouldn't it? I'm planning on taking a shower tomorrow night and another in the morning just because I can! :-)
Today was Mr. Perrella's birthday, so we brought him an ice cream cake after dinner and the kids' hand-made cards to celebrate. Both he and his wife were so cute because they were saying they were having withdrawals and abandonment issues because we're leaving! ahaha! We said they are going to be SOOO happy to not have us pesty Gregory's around anymore! They have really been fantastic landlords, and more than that, they are great friends. We're already planning a 'dining experience' with them at 'our place' on Sunday. They said they really only use their dining room table when we all get together, and since they have another table in the kitchen, they offered the dining room table to us until we find one of our own - wow! Like I said, they're amazing.
BTW - update on our ministry to the local church - it is really going well. We have been so confirmed over and over we are right where God wants us. It doesn't get any better than that! Thank you all again for your prayers! Well, I must get going - lots of planning to do!! Blessings to all.
So, Thursday evening we noticed ants gathering around the left side of our kitchen sink. So I wiped them off and sprayed near the door and within a short period of time I turned around and saw a whole new army of ants again. So I did the same thing with them, and a little while later, another army appeared. So it's getting close to bedtime and we started realizing they were in the food cabinets above the sink and the stove. So Nicole and I started emptying out the food cabinets and it just turned my stomach to see so many ants. Here's a picture we shot of one of the cabinets:
It was so disgusting - I so wanted to just pack up everyone and go to a hotel, but by the time we got everything out of the cabinets it was 10:30pm and the thought of spending another 30 minutes or so getting everyone and everything together for something like was too exhausting to think about. And thankfully, the ants weren't going anywhere near our beds. So needless to say, when we went to go look at houses Saturday I was HIGHLY motivated. In fact, the first house we went to I said, "We'll take it!" It was an amazing 5 bedroom 4 bath house in a very nice neighborhood in Riverview. We all loved it, but we went ahead and went to the next several houses just to complete our planned day. The last house we looked at was a brand new house that Tim absolutely fell in love with and the rest of us liked a whole lot and only $5000 more than the 1st house. So it became a battle of both houses. Our realtor sent us a market analysis of properties in the area of the 1st house, and it turns out they were asking $27,000 more than it is worth due to what they owe on it. It would be hard to get a mortgage for what they are asking, but they can't ask for less if they want to avoid the whole short sale problem. So that was disappointing. And the builder who showed us the last new house sent us the tax information for that house, and it was almost $4000 with another $1400 CDD! Ouch! I still wasn't giving up on the whole thing even after I had those pieces of information (as I said, I was HIGHLY motivated!), so I sat down last night and listed pros and cons for both properties. When I got to the end I realized I could not have a peace about either of them. So this morning when I woke up, I mentioned this to Tim, and he said he was feeling the same way, too. But we also didn't have a peace about living any longer in our camper. Do we rent? Really? After all this? I was feeling pretty emotional during Little Church this morning. My verse I shared with everyone was from my quiet time earlier this week - it was about God providing the Israelites with 'homes with good things', and I had sensed the Lord speaking to me that that was what He was going to do for us. So when our realtor called this afternoon, I just poured my heart out to her. I told her we were thinking maybe we should go ahead and rent but I felt stupid even saying that! I remember 15 years ago some friends of ours were looking for a house and they took like 9 months to find one. I just thought they were being too picky and that certainly they could have found something before 9 whole months! And here I am, something like 6 months into the process of looking for a house, and no closer to getting one! I totally repented of that judgementalism today! Anyway, our realtor sent us a list of 13 rental properties, and Tim and I sat down and narrowed it down to 3, and she met us at the 3 properties late this afternoon. The last one we added as an afterthought, but when we got there we knew it was perfect, and it was the least expensive one, too. The paperwork said they required a 12 month lease, but we asked if we could get a 6 or 7 month lease, so she called and the listing agent said a 7 month lease would be acceptable. So our realtor drove with us to Amscot where we bought a money order for the application fee per instructions, and then she came back to the Perrella's with us where we printed and filled out the application and then she drove it to the office of the listing agent and put it in the night deposit box. She said they typically do rentals on a first come, first served basis and so she wanted our application to be the first one they got in case more applications came in tomorrow. Wow - like I said, she is amazing. I begged her to let us take her out to dinner, but she wouldn't hear of it. She kept saying she was just doing her job. Anyway, I have limited pictures from the listing, but here are a few of them:
We so appreciate your prayers, and of course are asking for them again! Our friends have been so amazing and 'with us' on this journey. I talked to 2 of my girlfriends today, and they were just incredibly encouraging and supportive, because I honestly was feeling like I must be crazy that we haven't found a house to buy yet, and that I am feeling so peaceful about renting instead of buying (for now), even though it seems like throwing money away. They were in total in agreement of this, though, so it really helped me to not feel so loony! :-) Anyway, we'll keep you posted with this next saga of our journey! Blessings to all!
Actually, his birthday was Monday, but I'm just now getting around to updating our blog! We went down to Port Charlotte on Sunday to celebrate, and this picture is of him getting ready to dig into his favorite dessert that I made for his big day - banana pudding with Vanilla Wafers! Yummy! We had such a nice time down there, as always. Even though the weather was rainy off and on, it cleared up enough for us to have a lovely cook out. Then Monday I did my civic duty and reported for jury duty in downtown Tampa. After waiting around an hour, they called 30 of us (I was the last one to be called) and ushered us into the hallway with a "good news and bad news" story. The good news was that we were free to go home because the judge wasn't ready to try the case. The bad news was that we had to come back the next day at 8:30am. So yesterday I went back and they ended up picking 7 people out of the first 15 people. I never had a chance (which was fine with me!) since I was so far down the line (#30). It was going to be a civil suit where one guy was suing another guy for an accident - nothing juicy like a criminal case. :-) I sat on a jury once, and I think the whole process is fascinating, but this was not good timing for this one since I'm working, so that's why I was fine with being sent home! :-) Tonight I got some pizzas from Hungry Howies, and they have changed their pizza boxes for the month of October to pink to promote breast cancer awareness. So while we're eating dinner, Nicholas says, "Hey, they didn't spell 'mozzarella' right on this pizza box". Sure enough - they only spelled it with one z! Check it out:
I uploaded these photo's to Fox 13's website, but I'm not sure if they'll do anything with them. We just thought it was pretty funny that a 12 year old caught the mistake - maybe they ought to hire a 12 year old to do their proof reading! :-) The boys went out in the back to play some baseball after dinner, and I happened to glance out at them and caught sight one of the most gorgeous sunsets - the sky was on fire! But the time I grabbed Nicole's camera and ran out to the dock it was already fading, so this photo doesn't do it justice. But I'll post it anyway. I just love sunsets on the water!
Last but not least, the latest on the home search. We have about 5 or 6 places we will be looking at this Saturday. Please be praying!! Nothing stands out on paper (some have high taxes, some are older, some are bank owned), but hopefully one will stand out when we see it! I was really struggling thinking there must be something wrong with us since this is supposed to be a buyers' market right now. But then my realtor explained to me that it really isn't a buyers' market because there are SO few 'normal' sales. And then my friend who is a realtor sent me an email saying the same thing. She's been looking for a home for a client for over 5 months, and this is someone she was able to find something for immediately the last time they bought. So it all boils down to God's timing. NACA still hasn't approved our loan - they're back at 3.75% and now that is where a lot of conventional loans are at. So I don't think it really matters whether we go with them or not at this point. Anyway, like I said, please continue praying for us, that God will lead us to the place He has for us! Hope everyone is having a great week! Blessings!
Yesterday was AMAZING! We got our camping chairs out and circled them around and had an incredible Little Church! Then we had a nice relaxing day which included some healthy family competition playing softball and Jarts (yes, JARTS!). Anyone remember that game? My parents let us steal it from them and since the little target circles ended up disintegrating we got a couple of small hoola-hoops awhile back to be the targets and they work perfectly! We even had a flyover (I mean - right over us!) of the Goodyear blimp! I snapped some pictures of the day, including Nicholas' way of bringing his laundry back to the camper via a pogo stick. Never a dull moment with him! Here are some of the pictures:
Today I remembered to go get the money out of our CD and deposit it into our savings account. The lady at the credit union was SOOO nice - she remembered me from the newspaper article about us going on the trip last year! So that was fun talking with her about that. Then at 5pm today our mortgage counselor was scheduled to work on our file. I was hoping to hear something from him, but nothing yet. NACA just dropped the interest rate again today to 3.5% on a 30 year fixed - can you believe it? Maybe by the time we actually find a house and put an offer in and it is accepted it will be down in the 2% range! :-) Anyway - please keep praying. I know the Lord's timing is perfect but sometimes it can feel slightly delayed - anyone know what I'm talking about? :-) Hope everyone had a great weekend! Thanks again for your prayers!
Tim & Jodie