Saturday, May 29, 2010

Taking A Step Away From The Third Rail.

As the shock of the warp speed sale of our condo begins to couple itself with the rapidly approaching closing and potential move out date, I finally raise my head from a half packed box. It just may be time to consider a question many are posing, namely, WHERE are we going?

Organizationally comforting and familiar to me, I had eagerly launched into the packing,cleaning,packing ploy....the perfect distraction from that nagging, persistent query...where ARE we going?
Although God has moved the majority of our homes in this manner; that being, receiving generous offers to often the first people to walk through, we have personally always had an idea of WHERE we were going. This time is SO different!...and this mountain of packed boxes has to ultimately go SOMEWHERE!
Our initial plan is to store our things and move out to Sandy Pines for the summer. When you think that we don't have to move anywhere until they turn the water off on October 15th, you can be lulled into sense of there being no real rush. But I tend to forget that in the middle of the night when I have trouble sleeping. When I WILLFULLY forget the miracles God has already done in this housing situation.

We've picked up the "Old People" habit of going for drives. We drive and drive looking for FSBO's and Realty signs in the areas we think we are interested in. I really wish God would just put an address on a slip of paper inserted in our mailbox. THAT would be sweet. I scour the Internet for house listings, old and new. We check out new leads which so far have been eliminated for one reason or another.

A surprise in the running, a REAL paradigm shift for us, my eye kept falling on a "short sale" listing of a low, brick, "Mid Century" home in a nice Southside neighborhood. The more I looked at it, the more I thought of creative ways to transform the sow's ear to a fantastically appealing "silk purse". We gathered with our realtor in the backyard to discuss the in ground pool. This be COULD be fun, not to mention a terrific Grandchild magnet. We could do this!...then we stepped inside. The new roof and aluminum fascia work belied the disaster within. Too suddenly I understood why the owners had "walked away" from this "beauty". I had had such sweet plans and they were dashed, I tell you! You would have had to rip the entire house down to the studs and you'd never ever get the investment out of the property.
(A note about those "studs". After we left and I glanced at the disclosure page of the listing just handed to us I found TERMITES and STANDING WATER in the basement "disclosed". Really sad...I had such hopes to score on this 115K "beauty".)

Then there is the idyllic, 8 acres overlooking rolling farmland. Unfortunately the house is perched at the edge of the rolling part and has no..."front", just a double garage door with a service entrance. Nope

And what ABOUT living in the country for the first time, speaking of "paradigm shifts"? We are truly "city folk" and not "handy" at that. (Insert Butterfly McQueen from "Gone With The Wind" here) "We don no nothin'bout propane tanks...or septic fields or wells..." Steve came home with a great idea the other day, one with the potential to make the re-entry shock of going from a condo where we have enjoyed landscape care as a SPECTATOR sport to something less painful. "Let's plant dune grass!" I actually kind of like dune grass but have heard stories of vermin setting up occupancy, not to mention I doubt a neighbor would accept the alternative. But I digress...

Yesterday, though we felt we were "beginning to follow the light" to center our thoughts on a house plan and finding an appropriate lot, we arranged for a showing of a home that sounded interesting. (You KNOW it had to have some positive attributes to make a proud MSU fan even consider setting foot on Wolverine Street!)
Well, it DID. And let me tell you, a lovely garden turned this girl's head big time! It was not our style in almost ANY way EXCEPT for those gardens and the fact that it was immaculate. I was ready to sign on the dotted mind running ahead to ways to "make it ours" (...just how DO you soften a contemporary into "cottage" and might this be,afterall, a matter for an Interior Design Board of Ethics???)
It was a potent brew seeping into my mind: The challenge of recreating this home to make it ours, the irresistible temptation to NOT have to double move and pay storage fees and live in limbo for months. We were getting excited, creative juices gushing into replacing "medium oak" with glass fronted creamy cabinets, bead board here there and everywhere...punching MORE skylights into the roof.
Suddenly I saw Jimmy Stewart enjoying the cigar, sitting across the desk from Old Man Potter when that smallest shaft of light, that "too good to be true" hits his consciousness.
The longer I stood in the house, the longer the liability side of the ledger got. Not for my husband who has always and often proclaimed that he could live happily in a double wide. But for me, who NEEDS light and lots of cross ventilation, for me my decades of doing this for other people refused to allow me to ignore the pool of dread beginning to spread in my gut. Listen to the dread...listen to the dread.
the small windows and lack of A/C...the realization that sunlight doesn't flow into this house save through a few skylights. Can't do it. Sad Sad Sad but good bye to rising hope, again.

So here I am. A wise and dear friend reminded me this week of how easily we shake our heads at the thankless Hebrews of the Exodus, so quickly forgetting the miracles of God's repeated and dramatic provisions for their deliverance and sustenance. Yet in a few days they were shaking their fist at Him and asking why they ever left Egypt.

Time to take a break from the frenetic scramble to "find" the place and "find it NOW"...and also from the distraction of mindless packing and cleaning, to spend some quiet time focusing on gratitude and faith that in HIS perfect timing He WILL reveal our new home. Having one and two year old sister's for their first overnight away from Mom and Dad should also prove an adequate diversion from my misplaced frettings.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"She said,YES!"

I was jolted by my cell phone ringing later than usual Sunday night. After locating and retrieving the black covered phone from the "Black Hole of Calcutta" which is my purse I rushed to make contact with whoever was calling before it went to voicemail. The response to my "Hello?" was an exuberant voice..."SHE SAID,YES!"

On Sunday afternoon, at Joshua Tree National Park in Twenty Nine Palms, California, my baby boy, Christian John got down on one knee, pulled out the beautiful ring and asked his sweet Emily Kay to marry him. WOO WOO!!!

It was so fun to listen to them both bubble over with such delight. Emily said she was so excited that she was now going to become a "real" member of our family. Truth is she's been one of us from the start. When I mentioned that she was going to become Emily Kay Fredericks, she exclaimed that she hadn't even thought about that!

Emily and Katie were the girls' names in the running for our last two babies, which ended up Adam and Christian. The furthest thing from my mind in those days of managing four little ones five years and under was that these baby boys would bring an Emily Fredericks and a Caity Fredericks into our family. I am getting my Emily and Caity afterall! God is SO good, all the time He is good. These sweet young women are such blessings to our whole family. They and Becky's Derek and Megan's Avery are wonderful "gifts" to our family we could never have imagined back then.

Oh, oh, the planning begins...even for the beige-clad Mother of the Groom.

Congratulations to Christian and his Emily Kay!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On the Road ...again.

I love analogies. For me,analogies have always seemed the most effective way to more accurately convey a thought. Not unusual to have had one pop into my noggin to provide a starting off point for this posting....Not that it will make our newest adventure seem any less crazy to all those in our lives who are, once again, shaking their heads at our latest "adventure".
Do you know what it's like when your radio is on the outer edge of reception for a station? You carefully turn the knob ( OK, I am old!) to the right and left trying to get a clearer signal. THAT is how a nagging "nudge" has seemed in our lives for the past couple of years. The spiritual "poking" seemed to tell us that we should leave our beautiful, comfortable home. We resisted the continuing nudges.( is a beautiful home that "works" well for us. It is very comfortable...did I tell you about our sunporch? The Tempurpedic bed? right..)But the taps on the shoulder kept getting more persistent.

We had been drinking in eight weeks of teaching by Ray Vanderlaan on Sunday nights at Central Wesleyan Church. His topic, "Let My People Go", a deep and fascinating preaching /teaching on Moses and the Exodus, of God leading the Hebrews out of Egypt. One Sunday night Ray taught on Exodus 14:15. The Hebrews of the Exodus were at the shores of the Red Sea with Pharoah's Army of chariots pursuing them at full speed.TRAPPED.

"Then the Lord said to Moses, "Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward march!" Exodus 14:15 (Life Application Bible)
RVL taught that God was saying," Show me YOU are IN the water"..and then watch for my mighty works.

This is what I wrote in my journal ( Do YOU should!!!) just below in my notes on that Sunday night:
? Are we waiting for God to act when WE haven't stepped into the water?
We talked about that.
We called our Realtor.
We listed the house late on a Tuesday afternoon
....and it was sold on Friday of that week.

We We We. Another thing RVL taught about was the habit we have of talking in terms of what WE are going to do or have done, completely neglecting the reality that GOD is totally and absolutely sovereign in all aspects of our lives. NOTHING happens that HE does not allow or ordain. The circumstances of this sale are certainly validations of those concepts. The market has plummeted. Several condos have been for sale in our small development, some for over a year, with no actions other than price reductions. How else can we account for an immediate sale for more than we were told to expect with terms that would not require a bank appraisal. It is GOD'S work. "We" sold nothing.
Then, just like Peter stepping out of his boat to walk on water, I looked down and began to "sink". We have no plan where are we going to go where are we going to live have I already forgotten what a pain moving is and how I was going to try to never do this again and by the way where are we going to go? one month why do I continue to be in bondage to all this stuff I surround myself with?pant pant gasp gasp...(Please insert picture of chicken running in frenetic circles squawking here.)

Yesterday the new buyers came to visit with us. They are wonderful people and before we knew it, four hours had passed. Here is their story:
They'd been looking for the right place since last fall, finding several places that "worked"...but just didn't seem to be "THE" one. The wife said as she walked into our foyer she told her husband, "this is a happy home" and knew it was "the one." That's right, Blog readers. Throwing all "Flip this house" rules to the curb, God brought someone who loves my "American Cheese" front room, my "Red Pepper half bath/laundry room and my softly chartreuse "Pale Avocado" sunroom with the pretty Swedish blues running between them all! She said she was surprised after her first visit that she couldn't recall any specific things she was going to check out about the home, but simply knew this was it.
But the most incredible thing these people shared with us was this: As they prayed and discussed whether to put an offer in on our home, whether to commit themselves to relocating here from another state and the comfortable home they built for themselves over three decades ago...the scripture that came to them was this same passage in Exodus and they determined that they were to "step into the water" and purchase this condo.
The squawking chicken is sitting quietly in a corner now. People still are shaking their heads, think we're crazy. We still have no clue as to where we will be living long term, but we are ABSOLUTELY certain, as we stand in the water, that GOD knows exactly when and where we will be moving.
Don't you just love Him?