My perfectly brilliant (and exorbitantly long-winded) husband wrote today’s post. 

I love him and this exciting news.

I’d get a snack.   

———–

Hello again one and all.

I’m back to tell a great story.  “Why is he telling it?”- I’m sure you are all asking.  Well Lindsay has the oddest memory.  She can remember crazy stuff like what shoes she had on when she first saw the Rockies at the age of 11, but for some reason rather large details of more recent stories get completely mixed up.  You all saw her get her tattoo, (if you’re new, Welcome, go view it here, and be sure to join in the comments section) a couple weeks later someone who hadn’t seen it noticed and Lindsay says, “Oh did you hear what Scotty said about it…” Me: “Uh Lindsay that was Jana.” Not even close.

Tatoo not related to buying a house

And before you all start thinking it, no it’s not marijuana.  As you’ve probably noticed Lindsay is the gold star goody-two-shoes (boy I could have a field day rabbit trailing on that phrase but I’m displaying restraint).  Actually while we were in Colorado (where it’s legal), she tried to convince me to try it with her.  But as of now she’s clean, so it’s not that. 

Anyway as you can clearly see I am the best person to tell this story. See we recently bought a house.  Kinda boring in and of itself but the circumstances that made this possible are pretty miraculous.  While we were in Colorado I was talking with Meeker, of yesiwantcake fame.  We were discussing Blend details, and it’s own miraculous heritage, and I said a phrase that has really stuck with me since then:

“Lindsay and I are the poster children for small miracles.”

I’ll explain that….see our God isn’t this benevolent spirit far off who hopes you do good and will see you when you die, to check up on you.  No.  He’s a God near at hand, wanting to know us NOW, and be part of our lives.  I say small because they aren’t like some of the stories friends of ours have (cancer disappearing, doctors asking to meet you because the fact that you’re standing contradicts medical understanding etc.) So small, but still divine.

Today I’ll be limiting myself to only those things regarding this house.  In considering how to tell it I’ve decided employ a hub and spoke method. 

So we bought a house.  I’m not sure if Lindsay’s told you that.  Actually at the time of this writing we haven’t.  We’re still in the process but enough has happened that any doubt we had of it not going through has been erased, actually in our minds instead of thinking/worrying if the next step is going to go through, we are eagerly awaiting what other great blessings God will surprise us with. 

So that’s the hub.  Now let me list for you some spokes which will be the tiny little things that you can completely discount as coincidence or luck if you wish.

No such thing as luck.

Ok so first of all we really wanted this house.  It is literally perfect for us.  It’s in town with a sidewalk which means when Lindsay wants to go for a walk instead of loading a stroller and kids into the car, driving somewhere and going through the load out process, she instead walks out her door.  Franklin is a small rural town and few people have this luxury.  It’s directly across the street from my parent’s house.  Which could be seen as a drawback – a wife living within shouting distance of her mother-in-law.  But Lindsay and my mother are equally opinionated and sure of themselves so they get along just fine.  The advantage that it has is the easy (or emergency) baby sitting.  See I’ve got two kids as you may have noticed 2 and 4, and I’ve also got 3 brothers and 2 sisters in the 12-13 range.  The numbers aren’t perfect now but add 2 or 3 years to each of them and you’ve got yourself a lot of help watching your kids on a moments notice if you need to go somewhere.  Also it’s right at a half mile from my office which will make short breaks to come watch henry write his name way more practical.

Bad Handwriting

The house itself is exactly what Lindsay was looking for the perfect combination of character and utility.  It’s got about double the space we have now so we’ll finally be able to build up the home gym we’ve always wanted.  I’m sure she’ll bring you along for the whole fixing up process so I’ll leave that to her. 

Alright so on with the spokes.  We got his house for a great deal.  Our realtor (Lindsay’s aunt) was almost offended by our negotiation tactics and was completely shocked at the price we finally got the house for.  (To be clear we aren’t some genius negotiators with psychological warfare to bend others to our will, so don’t ask, we simply are poor and had not choice but to offer what seemed like offensively low amounts.). 

This house has been on the market for over a year.  Actually the former owner passed away nearly 3  years ago, it was held equally by 8 inheritors.  The house was originally listed for a quite high price (I’m not going to use numbers but instead percentages, otherwise those of you in New York, LA, or Europe would be shocked at how cheap housing is in the southern US) not high for the house or the area really but high for our budget.  Then three months later they dropped the price, and continued to drop the price ~5-10% every two months.  This went on until the house was about 70 percent of the original price at which point they inexplicably stopped.  Given the low price we finally settled on if they had only dropped the price a few more times they could have accepted an 85% offer and still sold for more than we could afford.  But they stopped dropping the price.  So when people went to look at it they ended up just passing instead of low balling.

Bob Barker

As I’ve told you this was the perfect house for us so we decided to potentially waste our time putting in obscenely low offers.  Our first offer was 44% of the original asking price or about 65% of current price.  Their counter was so high that we didn’t even bother to re-counter.  This was another of the huge disguised blessings.  See Lindsay was so emotionally in love with this house that if they had countered just a bit lower we probably would have re-countered back and forth settling on a number that was really unwise for us to pay. 

This was right before Blend, so we packed up and went to CO for three weeks had a wonderful time and got to meet some of you.  Amazing.  Wonderful. Etc.

Then we waited.

During this wait the next door house sold.  Now this could have been seen as a bad thing, the market picking up or less competition, but we’ve come to realize that it was another disguised blessing.  That family looking at both houses and not putting in an offer on ours, made it so that when we did come back and put in a new offer they had to consider it a little more seriously. 

Now as you may know, we still own a house in Chattanooga.  In 2008 right after Henry was born when we moved back to Franklin.  It was not a good time to sell a house, so we put it up for rent and eventually found renters (that move and it’s story is another filled with disguised blessings, if you ever meet me in person feel free to ask about it).  Again not being able to sell a house is the kind of thing that can only be seen as a blessing in hind sight.  See the previous owner of the new house only passed away in 2010 so if we had sold our house back in ‘08, we would have found another house here to buy that better fit our then circumstances, long before this house was even an option. 

So three months after our initial offer we decided to put in another offer on the house.  After much debate and offense we finally settled on an amount 1.5% higher than our original offer.  A few days later, their realtor called us and said they were afraid to counter offer a good price, for fear we would try and re-counter even lower, so if we wrote the offer for 80% of the current price (51% of the original listing price) they would accept it.  After a very tense week waiting for the paperwork to be mailed to the 8 different states and collect all of the signatures, we had a contract to buy the house.

Daffy Duck Office

Back when we put in the original offer so many months ago, Lindsay’s father, a certified arborist, when walking the property pointed to a giant oak tree and said, “That will have to come down soon.”  As it so happens the night after we put in the offer there was a great storm and the oak was blown down, missing the house by less than 10 yards and missing the main power lines by only a few feet.  No one has said so, but we are convinced that the report of this made the owners, who had responded so coldly to our original offer re-evaluate all that could go wrong while they waited for a better offer, and therefore respond to our offer.  Again with the wrong mindset a tree falling down nearly destroying our dream house wouldn’t be seen as a blessing, but when you had been praying for months the way we had there was no other way to see it.

So that’s the story.

We bought a house.

We close on said house tomorrow.

We believe that God answers prayers.

We believe in disguised blessings.

We believe in any type of blessing we can get.

-Travis

  1. Mariella Lombardi says:

    Hi,

    This story really captivated me.First of all, I believe too, in God and praying and all the things you said. I felt the power on my own skin and I wouldn’t be alive right now if I hadn’t prayed. The second thing that caught my attention was moving house. I really want to move to another city with my husband, but we are planning to do that in 2 years. It’s really tricky in Europe with the house prices so high.

  2. STUFT Mama says:

    Congrats congrats congrats! Yes…. God has ALL things planned out for us. I’m so happy for your family and will continue to keep you in my prayers. Yay!!!!! Thanks for taking time to write Travis- it’s fun to hear (or read rather) your side of the story. Hugs Linds!

  3. Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale says:

    I bought a condo in May (well, signed all the papers and paid the deposit – I won’t be moving in until Nov. 2013) — and it was seriously THE most exhilerating experience. I was feeling SO many different emotions, it was unbelievable. I have never been more proud of myself. Yay for home owners!! :) Congratulations to you guys! I’m so glad you were blessed with the house of your dreams!

  4. eryka says:

    I love seeing God’s fingerprints all over our lives. Subtle, but if you’re looking for them, they’re obviously there. We just bought a house too, our first home infact. It was a total God thing, especially since the market was hot in Seattle, the homes in our price range were dealing with multiple offers and 20 grand over asking price. We found ourselves caught up in one of those and ultimately walked away. But God brought us our dream home, with twice the space and twice the land in our desired neighborhood and no multiple offer situation–it’s like God HID this home from everyone else’s eyes and we were the only ones looking at it. We settled for about 10% under asking price and had a smooth closing, smooth move in, and multiple opportunities to save even more money on projects and whatnot. The whole thing is smudged with God’s fingerprints everywhere we look. We’re unbelievably grateful.I just blogged a tour of it, if you wish to see! http://www.erykacherise.com/
    Congrats to you and your new home! I wish you a smooth closing, transition, and blessed house!

  5. Christina says:

    That is amazing! So happy for you guys! I’m also glad that you guys left the figures out because I would have most certainly cried at the prices since I live in NY. We want to buy really bad, “it’s the right time” says everyone around us BUT it’s just so darn expensive! I cannot imagine paying half a mil on an apt. Cannot, will not. But it is amazing when you hear that two great people were able to buy a house for the amount they wanted!

  6. Maria says:

    God just loves to humor us and answer our prayers in the funniest of ways. Congrats on the new house and how perfect that Travis’ parent live across the street!

  7. Bonnie says:

    Praise God! He is indeed in every.little.thing – I sure believe it. What a testimony to his timing and plan in his wisdom! Thanks for sharing of his faithfulness in your retelling, Travis – engaging and full of so many blessings! I was thinking Colorado or a baby – SO neat that you now have a house to keep blessing others in. Love you guys!

  8. Jess says:

    Wow. As I’m sitting here struggling to keep the faith (per my post today!), I read this about disguised blessings and I am RENEWED in my faith 100x over. how does God know just when and where to place the message we need to hear most at JUST the right time, huh? THANK YOU for this!! And PS Congrats on your own personal blessing, this is awesome!

  9. jobo says:

    Wow. That is truly amazing. WHAT a message of disguised blessings. SO fitting right now to hear this for my family right now, and I am so happy for you both. This sounds like the right time, right house, right opportunity!!

  10. Katie says:

    YAY! I wish I could hug you right now! I know how stressful, emotional, and exciting that whole process can be since we just went through that early this year! I am so happy for you guys!! CONGRATS to you and the family!!!!! <3

  11. Katie says:

    I remember you saying that, too! You were standing on MY sidewalk right by the mailbox, about to get into your car. I’m so happy you guys will have your OWN sidewalk now…although, ours is always welcome for standing on and chatting about life.

  12. Noelle McKenzie says:

    Gosh now I want to see pictures of the house! Where are they hiding? =) I love stories that end in “happily ever after…” Buying a new house is like starting a new chapter. Enjoy the process of turning that house into a home =)

  13. Noelle McKenzie says:

    Gosh now I want to see a picture of the house- where are they hiding? =) I love stories that end in “happily ever after…” so happy for your family! Buying a house is like starting a new chapter. Enjoy the process of turning that house into a home =)

  14. Suzanne says:

    So excited for you guys! I remember talking about it with you at lunch when we came to visit. Love you all and can’t wait to visit the new homestead! :)

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