Monday, January 26, 2009

Ice and More Ice

It's been weeks (or at least several days) since my last post. A quick run down would entail Justin and I moving into our first home, and really, there's not much else that is more important than that. Other than, of course, the fact that Justin and I will be sitting on the beach in two weeks, enjoying Costa Rica.

And right now, Justin and I are sitting on the couch in our pajamas, with eyes glued to the television. There's a thick layer of ice over the city, and the roads are virtually ice skating rinks. Who knows if we'll both be off from work tomorrow or not. We're just glad to be safe at home, away from the ice and the "state of emergency" Oklahoma is currently in.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

And Stand In The Center Of It All

I'm a writer. It was my major in college, and it is the one thing I know will always be present in my life. I'm a writer.

I just haven't actually sat down in quite some time to write. There are a variety of excuses I could list. Not enough time, no secluded, private place to write; too tired; no inspiration. But they are all excuses. Lame excuses, at that.

The truth is I have a million ideas in my head. The truth is I write all the time. I just never put the words to paper.

And its going to change. Soon. I miss the life of a writer. I miss listening to certain songs on repeat as I pound out the ideas, thoughts, memories, dreams, hurts, and lives of characters.

Life has been so good to me lately. The Lord has been beyond faithful, to the point that it makes my heart hurt because I know I do not deserve His never-ending faithfulness. Nor do I deserve all the ways that He reveals Himself and His plan to me.

But He is giving it all to me freely, just as He gave me the gift of writing. I'm tired of wasting His gifts.

I'm tired of the excuses. I'm tired of not living my life the way He has intended. And I will stop living my life without Him as my first priority. Because He deserves all of me and more.

And I'm going to live with 100% trust and faith in Him and His plan. There are still unanswered questions and too many unknowns with the house we are planning to purchase. But I am not going to focus on those unanswered questions and unknowns. Instead, I am going to focus on Him and remembering that this house will happen only if He wills it to. And with all my heart, I believe He is willing it, so I will live with that thought in mind.

These are the lyrics inspiring me at the moment. The ones opening my eyes to all the possibilities. They make no sense in regards to my current position in life, but they have awakened my soul on this Sunday afternoon, just as church awakened my soul this Sunday morning. And just as God awakened my soul this Sunday morning by speaking to me through worship and through a beautiful young lady who asked me to mentor her. I feel so unequipped to mentor someone, but I know that if it is God's plan I will be able to do the mentoring she needs.

Leave unsaid, unspoken / Eyes wide shut, unopened / You and me / Always between the lines / Between the lines / I thought I, thought I was ready to bleed / That we'd move from the shadows on the wall / And stand in the center of it all / Too late, two choices to stay or to leave / Mine was so easy to uncover / He'd already left with the other / So I've learned to listen through silence sara bareilles - between the lines

Thursday, January 8, 2009

So Close And Yet...

We began looking for a home on a Sunday following church. Our stomachs full of Jason's Deli and me sitting behind the wheel of my SUV, I noticed a sign announcing an open house and asked if we should go. We decided to.

It was a two-story house in northwest Oklahoma City. It was also a house we could not afford. But we fell in like with it. We continued our journey to a second two-story house in northwest Oklahoma City. It was a house that was less expensive than the first house, but it was also a house we could not afford. But we fell even more in like with it.

Then we crossed the interstate and began driving through the historic neighborhoods of northwest Oklahoma city. We found a small, one story house. The house was staged with furniture. We almost fell in love with it, except that the kitchen was too small and the washer and dryer were located in the garage.

Justin announced that he had house fever. We returned home, and I began looking up houses online, as well as mortgage rates. We inquired about a few homes. A realtor called us, and we went to look at a home in the Paseo District of Oklahoma City. While the home was cute, it as also in need of quite a few repairs. We then looked at a house across the street that was listed for more money than we wanted to spend. Still, we fell in love with it, and we decided we wanted to make an offer. It was a spur of the moment decision.

We later found out the house was under contract. We did contact a few lenders. We became pre-approved, and we began to seriously consider purchasing a home. We looked at several other properties, and then we found a home that seemed to be a perfect fit, in the Paseo District and within our price range. We made an offer. The seller countered, and we accepted the counter offer, with a few contingencies, of course.

Through a long, frustrating, and anxiety ridden process, we have come to the point we are currently at. Which is that the house was appraised lower than what the accepted counter offer had been. The seller is disappointed, and we are now trying to come to terms that we can all agree on. And we are planning to and hoping to close on January 15th. This is the last day on which we can close in order to remain locked in our current loan.

We are praying it happens. We thought it was for sure last night. Now we're on edge, once more. From what I know this is normal. Or so the veterans of the real estate market tell me. And it might be. It probably is. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

It also doesn't mean that it makes this process any more comforting.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goodbye 2008 and hello 2009!

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
A lot. Justin and I both graduated from college and began working full-time jobs. We also had a beautiful wedding outside in Oklahoma City. And we put an offer on a house, which we will hopefully close on and move into before the end of January.

2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think Justin and I actually made legitimate New Years' resolutions. We might make some for 2009, but I'm not sure.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I know several people who gave birth. Justin's cousin, Celeste, had a baby girl, and one of my best friends, Jackie, also gave birth to a baby girl. A girl I work with also gave birth to a baby girl. There were lots of baby girls!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
We didn't visit any countries in 2008, but we will be heading to Costa Rica in February 2009.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
I think we would both like to have less debt, our very own house, and a little extra spending money.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
September 13th. That was the day Justin and I said "I do."

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I think the biggest achievement was that we got married and that we are truly starting our life together.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Biggest failure? I'm not sure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had surgery the weekend before Justin and I got married, so I think that was pretty significant.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Hmm... we made quite a few, large purchases. A flat screen TV was probably one of the best.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Several people. :)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Well, I don't think I am going to name any names here.

14. Where did most of your money go?
I think we spent the most money on bills and eating out at restaurants. We know we should eat at home and cook, but we both much prefer to to be out of our dumpy apartment.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I would have to say getting married and trying to purchase a house!

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Hmm... that is very difficult.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier, I would have to say, for both of us.
ii. thinner or fatter? Well, Justin is a bit fatter, and I think I might be close to the same as last year.
iii. richer or poorer? Right now, we are richer, but as soon as we finish all this house stuff, we will be poorer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish would have written more. There is so much I want to say, but as soon as I sit down to write, I feel like I can't write anything. I also wish I would've used the gym membership we both have a lot more. Hopefully in 2009!

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Probably, wasting time.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We spent Christmas together with my in-laws.

21. How will you spend New Year's Eve?
New Year's Eve was last night. We ate out with Justin's family at a remarkable Italian restaurant. Then we came home and relaxed. We went to bed early as we have both been sick and are doing our best to recover from being sick.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
I fell in love right before 2008 started with Justin, and I fell in love with the house we're trying to buy in 2008!

23. How many one-night stands?
No one-night stands for us! We're married!

24. What was your favorite TV program?
There are so many. For me, I would have to say "The Hills", "Gossip Girl", "One Tree Hill", "Grey's Anatomy", and "Jon & Kate Plus 8."

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I try very hard not to hate people, but no, I don't hate anyone new or now.

26. What was the best book you read?
Twlight was pretty good!

27. What was your best musical discovery?
Hmmm.. I think I would have to say Michelle Featherstone.

28. What did you want and get?
I got married!

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
For me, I would have to say "The Great Debaters."

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I spent my birthday with Justin, and I turned 23.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I'm not sure. 2008 was a very satisfying year!

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
I think I would have to say business casual as I spent so much time working.

34. What kept you sane?
Justin helped to keep me sane, as did my mom.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I am actually quite over celebrities and the world of Hollywood.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Almost everything. I paid attention to politics more than I ever have!

37. Who did you miss?
I missed quite a few people, to be honest. Its strange to be out of college and not see so many of my friends as frequently as I would like.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Oh man, that's difficult. While I didn't meet her in 2008, I would have to say my sister-in-law, Cynda. We got close in 2008, and I am so grateful for that!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
Learn how to let go of stress. Its very difficult, but its something I really am working on.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
It starts in my toes, and I crinkle my nose. Wherever it goes, I always know that you make me smile, please stay for a while now. Just take your time wherever I go.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

La la la la la la means "I love you"

Last year, Justin and I celebrated Christmas in my college apartment a few days before I made the 8-hour drive back to my parents home, knowing I would see Justin in a few days when he flew into Houston to meet my parents for the first time and to celebrate New Years Eve with me.

Spending the holidays in Oklahoma this year was wonderful, tiring, and sad all at the same time. It was the first Christmas I had truly spent without my family. I spent one Christmas in Brazil during my junior year of high school, but I pretend as though that Christmas away from my family didn't actually occur because, well, Christmas with my family didn't mean as much to me then as it does now. As hard as it was to be away from my family and my traditions, I had a wonderful, though exhausting, Christmas with Justin's family, my new family.

Many of Justin's relatives had asked his mother if I was there for Christmas 2007, and my sister in law remarked that it was hard to remember a Christmas without me there. In some ways, it is the same way for me. Since meeting Justin, my life has changed in a million exciting ways, and I struggle with how the heck I survived without him for so long.

Our big Christmas present of 2008 is the house we are working towards purchasing. There are so many things we have to coordinate and purchase and figure out with this house, and it's overwhelming. At least, it's overwhelming for me as I am the sort of person who wants to have everything lined out perfectly and planned early. Of course, after looking at the price tags of the items we need to purchase, I am beginning to understand that there is no way everything will be lined out perfectly and planned early.

Justin and I are still waiting to hear back from the realtor regarding the exact date we will be closing on. There's a large part of us that wants to close and then move as soon as possible, but there is another part of us that is willing to wait until January 16th to close, simply because then we will not have a mortgage payment until March 1st. Either way, I know the closing date will occur when it is meant to because I can't believe this opportunity to purchase the house is from anyone other than God.

Justin and I are well-aware of the fact that we would not be where we currently are without God and His plan for our lives.

It doesn't make any sense that less than four months after getting married we can purchase a house, especially with the debt we have and the fact that neither of us make a ton of money. It doesn't make sense that we've been blessed enough to find a house within our price range in the area of town we like. There are things wrong with the house, and its a house that will require love and work while we live in it. We are both well aware of this. Still, its a house that is opening huge doors for us. Its a house that will provide so much for us and in turn provide so much for others. And I can only think of that as the reason for our being able to purchase it right now.

The church Justin and I attend is one we want to serve in. But not only do we want to serve in the church, we want to serve the population that the church serves, the population of Oklahoma City. With this house, we'll be able to entertain people, to open our doors to people and invite them it, and we'll have the chance to truly plant roots in Oklahoma City, something that I don't think either of us ever truly expected to do.

We planned on moving to Fort Worth or possibly somewhere else. We never really planned to remain in Oklahoma City, and while it is still strange to think of remaining in Oklahoma City for quite some time, we're both certain that this is God's current plan for us. We just hope that we don't fully screw it up.

Watching: The Family Man

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Few Quick Thoughts

It's early on a Sunday morning, and I stayed beneath a mountain of blankets with my husband for as long as I could. Soon I'll have to brave the chilled, winter air to get ready for a busy Sunday, but for now, I'll remain comfortable in my sweatpants and Paris sweatshirt.

Justin and I are moving along with the process of purchasing a house. It's exciting and full of anxiety as we are not quite sure what will happen, when things will happen, or what we need to do. Still, it looks as though we will have the chance to move into our very own house in a matter of weeks.

We are so thankful for this, as we survived a fire in our apartment complex earlier this week and could not be more ready to get the heck out of here! We are also thankful for the move as we now have the opportunity to purchase our own washer and dryer, which is so exciting as we have spent over $10 each month on laundry in the apartment laundry facility. I am also thankful for all the furniture shopping I will get to do as I decorate and fill my very own house. And I get free reign on the decorating, which makes it even more exciting.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Make This Go On Forever

Over the past week, I pouted a lot. Mainly, I pouted about the house that was not. I told people about this perfect house and all the great amenities. Then, I sighed and stuck out my lower lip to explain that the house was under contact by other buyers and that I cried over this. I am positive Justin loved being around me while I did this.

Yesterday afternoon, I left work a bit early. I grabbed two hot drinks from Starbucks, and then I made my way to a house in the Central Park addition of Oklahoma City. Looking at the pictures, we knew that the house had a lot of potential, and that the house also had the possibility of requiring a lot of time and attention. I'm a fan of any show on TLC, which drives Justin crazy at times, so I know how big of an undertaking it can be to flip a house. Because of my love of all things TLC, I also know that right now Justin and I are not prepared financially or otherwise to flip a house.

After walking through the home and peeking into the backyard, we decided that the house had a lot of potential, a lot of great quirks, but that we just weren't ready to take it on.

Our next house to view was in the Jefferson Park area of Oklahoma City. The price was low for the home, but my women's intuition kicked in and I just didn't feel as though this house had the potential to be our home. I felt chaustrophobic in the kitchen, and the floor plan was a bit too cramped for my style.

Next, we headed to the heart of the Paseo District to look at a house that I had counted out from the pictures I'd viewed online. Walking up to the front door, however, I began to notice that the pictures online did not do this charming 1,761 square foot home any justice.

We walked through the home, and I felt like I was in the house that I wanted to call and consider my home for a long time to come. The wood floors were in great condition. There was no real settling to be seen. The kitchen was updated. A brand new central air conditioning unit as well as central heater had recently been installed.

The house was dilapidated not too long ago, and someone bought it for a steal and flipped it. We fell in love with it, and I had almost decided that this was the house. We had one more home to view, and while I was 95% sure it wouldn't be a great fit, I went in with an open mind. Very quickly, though, we realized that the house in the Paseo District was where we wanted to be.

We met with our realtor at her office and began the task of signing paperwork, making an offer, and ultimately decided that we truly wanted to pursue purchasing the house in the Paseo District, with the understanding that we could possibly close in the middle of January and move in prior to Justin and I's belated honeymoon in Costa Rica this February.