The story begins with a 2004 family sabbatical. Brian took six weeks from his job with Schwab to spend time with the family. We traveled to
In the meantime, I had gone to
So, Brian sends off a couple dozen resumes and we plan a trip to visit
Along the way, we thought we'd replace the old kitchen table. We wanted a round table---not fancy, but not Amish. Right--not under $1000-- without chairs. There is a store near us that I kept meaning to check out, but never had the time. Once Brian was home full time, he enjoyed taking Carrie to school. One morning I went with him, just for fun. On the way home we thought we'd dash into the shop and see. Not a round table in sight. The owner asked what we were looking for and as we talked, the warehouse manager came around the corner and offered to take us to the warehouse. The owner was surprised; customers don't get to visit the warehouse very often. So off we went. We walked into the warehouse and immediately spotted the perfect table. Rosewood, round, simple, but not plain. Add five chairs and we were off---and all for under the $1000 tables alone were going for everywhere else.
As we left the store, we debated what to do with the farm table. Knowing we wanted a basement in any Southern home we may purchase, we opted to keep the old table. But where? There is a storage unit facility near us, so we stopped in on the way home. One unit left. Just for us.
The school auction was Oct 16. Among other things, there were three cork oak trees that were valued at $60 each. I wrote down my bid of $60 for all three fully expected to be out-bid...but no. Three lovely trees fill a big home in the backyard landscape--at a bargain price. There was also a stunning armoire---solid cherry, 8 feet tall, 7 feet wide, and all dovetailed construction...heirloom quality furniture. Well, that was a live auction item--worth well over $3000, but the bidding was rather slow. I loved the piece, so I bid on it--and won it for $1400. Unreal--the steal of the night. It looks lovely in the living room here, but.......
Oct 20 we headed to
We spent Saturday with Byron and Melissa. Byron took Brian out on the pontoon boat and out hiking in the pastures. Byron is also a computer guy, so they got along great. Melissa and I made card samples of her new line of stamps--drawn by one of my students (www.thestampingstudio.com look at the SOS stamps). The end of the day took us to Byron's parents’ house, where we were served a wonderful meal with delightful conversation. Then we headed back to
On Sunday we went to church at
Then we went to look at more houses. We looked at several that did not appeal at all. The last house of the day was a stunner--.74 acres of wooded property, newly remodeled kitchen, and full finished basement....lots of light and windows. The only thing we didn't love about it was the wallpaper in all four bathrooms. We headed back to the hotel with lots to consider.
Monday was a travel day, but we went to re-visit the lake house and the wooded property houses. That sealed it---the wooded property house (
We came home and decided that God would close doors and open them as He desired. We went praying for confirmation of direction, and the doors appeared open to the move. We put an offer in on the house, and after some back and forth, agreed on a price. Another step of faith.....
Back home we continued the work on the house and tried to figure out when to sell the
God, however, had another plan. In November, my boss (Tor Benestad) started asking about the house. He and his wife had been looking to move from their condo to a house. Our home was more than their budget really allowed, but our realtor was also theirs. She's from our church, and she's been watching out whole story unfold. She offered to reduce her commission to 1% if Tor and Erin wanted the house. Then we could reduce the price by what her commission would have been. Of course, they first had to see the house and like it! Tor was like a little boy all week--he was so excited about the idea. He and Erin had been looking at houses and hadn't found anything they liked. Friday night they came over--the house is still in process and so is not exactly in show condition, but they really liked it---the swing set was a hit with their two-year old, and Tor liked the hot tub, DSL, DISH, et al.
Along with all that, I’ve been teaching and writing curriculum, and I am stage managing a play with the community theatre--and I got Assistant Director credit, too. Carrie sang the National Anthem at Windsor HS's last home football game and did a magnificent job. A new restaurant is opening in
Life continued to roll along busily with school and church and packing and signing papers every week. Escrow closed on the
Blessings followed us all along the way. The usual Tule fog in the
We arrived in
Church was another blessing. Carrie was giddy with enthusiasm at the youth groups and the missions opportunities and the 120 voice youth choir. Corinne made a friend right away, and Caty liked her teacher very much. There were friendly people at every corner who made us feel very welcome.
By the first Monday of January we had unpacked as much as we could before the carpets were dealt with, so we made it a day on the town. Again, God’s grace abounded toward us. Carrie’s meeting with the counselor at
School meetings done for the day; Brian and I went shopping for furniture. We stopped at AAA for a map (after getting lost twice on our way Walton and Dickerson) and made our way to a group of furniture stores in north
As January progressed, we began to settle in. Carrie managed to spend the night with friends multiple times and Corinne made two good friends. Caty made friends everywhere she went. Brian went on multiple job interviews and worked on painting and repair work around the house. The basement carpet came and my allergies cleared up. I joined two neighborhood book clubs and a Bible Study. Even Velvet (our Greyhound) blossomed in her huge backyard.
By February, Brian was interviewing almost daily and receiving multiple query calls every day. On February 9, he accepted a 6th month contract working for Nasco Inc. He’ll have some options at the end of that time, but in the meantime, he’s excited about being back to work! Every step along the way has been prepared by the Lord.
Over the next weeks, Caty (who now calls herself Caty MAE) adapted to school so well that her teacher kept forgetting she was a mid-year transfer. Corinne quickly became a favorite of teachers and peers and earned all A’s---in spite of changing from a 6th grade classroom to a middle school. Carrie’s eating disorder continued to plague her, however, and by late March, she began having anxiety attacks. The eating and body image issues had been reality for several years, although it was difficult to find counsel in
After months of therapy, Carrie is doing better, although she is a long way from fully healed. How could we have known in October of 04 that Carrie would find the help she needed 2600 miles away from home? God knew...and He provided.
It's exciting and overwhelming all at once---and it's a whirlwind of activity. In it all, we see God's sovereignty and blessing over it all.
One last note to complete the story: Brian’s contract job turned permanent on Oct 10, 2005. What a year!!! What a great and awesome GOD!!!