Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dreaming of a Farmhouse (Part 2)

If you missed yesterday's post, Dreaming of a Farmhouse (part 1), read it before going on so you aren't confused! 

Hubby and I were driving around town one afternoon, and we began discussing the HOA regulations of the neighborhood where we were planning to build...We'd already had some disappointments from their restrictions during our design process, so we were chatting about them again to make sure we didn't miss anything.  I pulled the HOA guidelines up on their website, and we began reading through some of them...which lead to this:

"What!? I can't have chickens? What if I want to have chickens.  
If I am moving to the country then I want to have chickens. 
I guess it's not worth scratching everything we have done so far just because we can't have chickens."
Our conversation went on a little longer, and then we just decided we would deal with the regulations...

So really, it kinda came down to the chickens. 
They really got the wheels in our minds turning, making us wonder if that lot was really where we wanted to be.  We didn't want any guidelines telling us what we could or couldn't do on our acreage. 
We wanted to move to the country, for goodness sakes. You're not supposed to have rules in the country.

But, it would take a lot more convincing for us to change all the plans we had been working on for months and months and months...God knew that.

Less than a week later we received a letter in the mail from a realtor. 
She mentioned that she had some clients looking for a lot in our neighborhood and asked if ours was for sale.  I can still remember this moment so perfectly... Hubby and I looked at each, rather in shock, and laughing, and we both said, "Well, that would be crazy." And 30 minutes later Hubs was online looking to see if there was anywhere else we might want to live. Seriously. 

God sure knew how to get our attention!

We kept saying how crazy it was and I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that we had just designed our dream house, spent hours and hours, and lots of dollars on those plans. It didn't really make sense to me. At all.

The next morning, I opened an e-mail from the Hubs - He had sent me three listings in the area we'd been looking, and asked if any of them appealed to me.  I immediately nixed 2 of the 3 - but said I would be willing to look at the remaining option,"but we better look quick so we can make a decision."

That Sunday we called and called and called their realtor who never responded, (come to find out he was at a conference out of state) so we just drove on over to take a looksie, & hoped the sellers would be home so we could have a tour.They were. And as we walked through the house, we began to see the amazing similarities between the layout of this Farmhouse with the house we had just designed. All of the rooms on the main floor were in the same places we had drawn them in our plans. Crazy.

And even though it had been built a long time ago, it still had a huge pantry, a wet bar, a mudroom, and a place for each of us to have an office, which were important elements in the other design. The rooms needed lots of updating, but the bones of the house were excellent.

We walked around the property and the trees were amazing. Trees were high on our priority list-The property specifically had huge Pecans - They're my fav. Also, Hubby had been planning on building a barn and he'd nailed down the exact amount of square footage that he needed. The barn on this property was the exact. same. size. What?!?! And it had an additional horse barn -- That would absolutely be perfect for a chicken coop. Yippee! We could have chickens here! And it isn't in a neighborhood, so we don't have HOA restrictions. Awesome. Both of us could totally see our family living here... but after we left, I still had some doubts and fears about scrapping Plan 1, selling our lot and scrapping our dream house plans, to move on to Plan 2.

I woke up the next morning with so much peace, and heard God speaking to my heart, asking me if I was willing to give up my plans for His plans.  I cried a lot that day.
It was a spiritual struggle of wanting what I thought what was best verses what God was calling us to.
I have seen over and over throughout my life how God's plan is always better than anything I could dream or imagine, and I knew that, and I trust Him, but that was still a hard day. One of Hubby's most wonderful traits is that he doesn't struggle with fears. If God calls him to it, he goes. So while I was doubting, God used him to continue to speak truths to me.  I handed over my plans and dreams to the Lord, and knew that He would carry us to where we needed to be. I drove to the Farmhouse the next day with one of my dearest friends, who had been a prayer warrior for us during this time.  We left a note on the porch telling the sellers we were ready to make an offer.

God continued to work out all of the details, as He always does.
Our lot sold just in time for us to close on the Farmhouse, and renovations began soon after. It's been a crazy few months, and Phase 1 of the renovations ended on Saturday. I have lots and lots of before and after pics to share with you, which I will be doing soon! I would've loved to share them throughout Phase 1, but life was too crazy.  Stick around to see what else we have in store because once Phase 2 begins, pics will be added weekly.

Throughout the last few months God has graciously revealed to me that this house had everything and more than we had designed, and it was the house He had intended to give us from the beginning.  Had we not walked through the design process, we wouldn't have realized what a perfect fit this house was for our family.  He even lead us to a lot that would be easily sold, just in time for us to purchase the Farmhouse.  He was giving us what we had prayed for all along, and He has big plans for this place. Our prayer from the very, very beginning was that He would be glorified in our new home and that everyone who walks through the front door will leave knowing the love of Christ. 

That He would use this house for His plans and for His glory. 
This isn't really our Farmhouse, it's His. 
An amazing gift from God, that we are blessed to call our home.

Somewhere during the craziness of selling and buying, our precious son walked up to me and said:
"So we sold the brown house (1st house), then moved to the small house (rental),
and then we are buying the white house, and Daddy is going to build me
treehouse, and sissie a playhouse, and a long time after that we
will all go to God's house."

Just one more confirmation that this was all a part of God's plan!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Dreaming of a Farmhouse (part 1)

Well I am sure that after my last post most of you were wondering what in the world was going on around here...And even if you weren't, you're about to find out!
You might want to sit down for this... We've had some major, awesome, exciting, life changing happenings going on around here.  So grab a seat, and read on for the story of how our family of 4 ended up buying a farmhouse!

Let's go back to the very beginning of this crazy chapter of our lives, about 18 months ago... 

We were mid-remodel on our first house. When we began the remodel, we were planning on living in that home for 3-5 more years. By the time it was complete, we were glad we had updated everything because we planned to list it as soon as we found a lot and were ready to build a house.  

Sometime in the middle of the remodel, God started speaking to Hubby's heart, and calling him to move our family to the country. I was a little hesitant, as change isn't on my list of favorite things, but the more we talked and prayed about it the more excited I became

As a little girl, our family had a weekend ranch on 100+ acres in Columbus, TX.  When it wasn't the middle of the blazing TX summer, we would go just about every weekend.  Some of my favorite memories were made fishing, hiking, riding in my Poppy's old jeep, picking wild flowers, catching bugs, rescuing baby bunnies, and the list goes on. I owe our family ranch, in large part, for the fact that the country is where my soul rests.  Just simply driving around and looking at property would cause the memories to come flooding back.  I couldn't wait to get there.

So when we began the search, we were looking for 1-2 acres...we drove around and found an area that we absolutely fell in love with.

lot #2 

We initially settled on one neighborhood that we thought was the right spot, but one lot we wanted got an offer before we placed ours, and the other one just wasn't the right fit.  The lot owners were a little cookoo, and lived right next door.  So that definitely worked out for the best.

 (Fast forward about 6 months since we began looking and praying for the right lot to purchase)

We kept praying and seeking God's direction, and the night before Hubby and I left for Boston, MA, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, we found IT.

                                    the trees weren't all dead - these pics were taken mid-winter ha


It met and exceeded all of our criteria. It was a true gem and we couldn't wait to purchase it!  Hubs finally got in touch with the owner the day after we arrived in Boston, and they made a verbal agreement on July 4th. 
If you know us, this date will probably make you chuckle because when something significant has happened in our relationship, it's typically on the same date as a major US holiday!
We returned home a few days later, set the closing date, and signed on that dotted line the next month. Both of us had so much peace, and knew we were stepping forward in God's will.

We immediately began the design process, with our builder and architect - they were ready to go and got started designing. We. Had. A. Blast. Hubs and I both had so much fun dreaming and seeing those dreams come to life on paper.  Our architect was truly amazing and his vision and our dreams perfectly aligned.  We did have a few disappointments along the way, due in part to the HOA restrictions of the acreage neighborhood.  I had always wanted a traditional farmhouse style home with white siding and large porches, but in the HOA bi-laws the only exterior you could use was brick or stone.  I sloughed it off, but was still disappointed that my full vision wouldn't be coming to fruition...or so I thought. The design process did take longer than we had expected, but we knew that God's timing is always perfect. Always. So we kept trusting, even though at some points it was really, really hard.

(To expand on that comment a bit, we faced some frustration when we placed our house on the market based on the original timeline we had been given by the architect.  We covered the sale of that house in prayer, and trusted that if it was supposed to sell, that God would take care of those details. And WOW, did he ever! We had 7 showings in 3 days and received 2 competitive offers on Sunday afternoon.  The house sold for above asking price and they set the closing date for October 31.  Notice the correlation with the major holiday? ;)  Our family moved to the rent house, and that is where our frustration began because we weren't where we wanted to be.  Not in our newly remodeled house (that we'd just sold) or the house we had designed... But God taught us a lot about patience and trusting Him in all the details, and that any place can feel like home when you are surrounded by your family.  And we did make a lot of fun memories there! The best part of all of this, is that now, looking back, it all makes sense!)

We wrapped up the design phase mid January, and all that we had left to do was to sign our final contract with the builder and then close on our construction loan at the bank.  How easy is that?  The timeline up until now had been determined by everyone else, and now it was more in our control than it had been thus far.  Which is when we had the most unexpected turn of events...

Dreaming of a Farmhouse (part 2) post will be here tomorrow! 
Check back to see what happens next.

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