Sunday, October 16, 2016


- - - - - - - - - -

For memories' sake, here's our crazy journey from living happily at the Parsonage to moving a few short months later.

The Beginning

July 18 -- sometime during this week, the house in the woods (as the kids started calling it) came on our radar. Now, oddly enough, it had actually been on our radar a few years earlier, but seemed way out of our price range and just not the right timing. Unbeknownst to me, Bryce kept his eye on it. It went back on the market sometime in May/June 2016 but still seemed too high. And then we noticed it was off the market again in July--that was odd, did it sell? Bryce asked a co-worker/realtor friend to look into it and he said it hadn't sold. So, we asked our realtor friends from church to do some digging and found out that the buyers took it off the market to redo the roof but it was going to go back on soon. For "kicks-and-giggles" we decided to get pre-approved for a mortgage, just in case when it came back on the market . . .

July 28 -- the house came back on the market, no new roof but $30,000 lower than the original listing price!

July 29 -- saw inside the house for the first time, all 5 kids in tow. A fixer upper with great potential for us. We especially loved the land.

July 30-31 -- took the weekend to pray about it and then discussed Sunday night. I couldn't believe I was on board--but I was, and Bryce was definitely all in, so we decided to put in an offer.

August 1 -- wrote and submitted our offer, a little bit of a low-ball.

August 3 -- accepted their counter offer (the final priced ended up being $50,000 below the original listing price!). It was a 45-day contingent offer, which means we needed to sell ASAP.

Selling the Parsonage

August 4 -- Let the house projects begin! Bryce and I worked long days, late hours over the next week to get our house ready to sell (you know, all those projects that sit on the back-burner for years and then you think--why didn't we do this sooner?).

August 8 -- take pictures of the house for the listing (we worked until 2am that morning to finish up last minute tasks).

August 9 -- our house was listed! (And I flew out that morning for an already-planned 5 day trip to Montreal to visit my sister.)

August 9-22 -- over the next two weeks we had eight showings (which included two no-shows and a few with only an hour notice). Keeping the house spotless and then getting ready for showings with five kids and a dog is no joke. Many times we left the house with minutes to spare and in a dead-sweat, vacuuming ourselves out of the house (no footprints!) with all the kids and the dog piled in the laundry room (there may have been lots of screaming and some tears). There was pretty good interest in the house but no offer until . . .

August 23 -- our first offer, and at asking price! We countered to request an earlier closing date. They accepted immediately and we immediately cancelled two more showings that were on the calendar (hallelujah!).

Final Days

August 24-October 4 -- lots of inspections (on both houses). Inspection related projects (on the old house). Started cleaning out and organizing and making lists and then packing, packing and more packing. Thank you to gracious in-laws--we decided to live with them for a couple of months to allow us to redo the kitchen and a few other projects at the new house before moving in. Which means I was packing up some stuff for 2+ months and then separately the items we would need in the interim (which included 2 seasons of clothes for all the kids).

September 24 -- hosted a final neighborhood party. We will miss our neighbors! Tried to soak up lots of "lasts" in our beloved home.

October 2 -- had a small 5-year-old birthday party for our lovely Miss S. The last birthday celebrated in our Parsonage.

Moving Week!

October 3 -- literally packed the kitchen for the entire day, with breaks to eat and to do Miss A's hair. It felt like I was packing for two weeks straight, just chipping away at a couple of boxes every day (which the 1-year-old tried to unpack as fast I could pack them).

Wednesday, October 5 -- moved in with Tom & Wendy, my in-laws. It took a couple of loads with the truck and van, but we were moved in by 4pm and pretty much unpacked and settled by the evening.

Thursday, October 6 -- spent the whole day at our old house to complete the packing. Came back to the in-laws for dinner and to put the kids down, and then back to the house (with my dear friend Chris' help) to finish up, clean bathrooms, and move most of the boxes/small items to the living room. We worked until 10pm and left with everything ready for moving day!

Friday, October 7 -- my parents arrived to watch the children for the day, and Bryce and I headed out. Closed on the old house at 10am, walked through the new house, ate lunch, and then closed on the new house at 1pm. For about 2 hours we were debt free and had a good amount of money to our name . . . and then we decided to embark on the biggest project/adventure of our lives!

It was fun to meet the buyers and the sellers. The buyers of our old house are a young couple; they remind me of us back when we bought the house. They really seemed to love the house and the updates we've done, which made me feel better about leaving it. And the sellers of our new house are a sweet older couple who just celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary. They built the house 40 years ago, so we are only the second owner. They had a few cute stories and we could tell they were excited to have a family moving into their beloved home.

Saturday, October 8 -- moving day! Early start at 8 a.m. with Panera bagels and coffee. Five guys from church, a friend from Bryce's work, our dads, my brother Jordan and Bryce's brother Clay were such amazing help and the day went so smoothly! The 26 ft. U-haul, along with five pick-up trucks, were loaded and we headed over to the new house before 10 a.m. I was worried about having the kids with us all day but they were troopers and enjoyed being involved with everything (thanks to my Mom and sister-in-law Katelyn for helping to keep the children corralled). JD was running around all day, in heaven (and getting in everyone's way, I'm sure). He kept saying to me: "Come over here, Mom. You're missing all the fun!" It was back to the old house for lunch (thank you, Wendy!) and for one more load of random items, which included the play-set that they just lifted right into the back of Clay's pick-up. Everything was done by dinner time!

Sunday, October 9 -- church and a birthday party for our nice and nephew. I took the girls over to the old house after lunch and spent four hours cleaning . . . one more time walking through the upstairs and wiping the counters and mopping the laundry room. When we moved into the home six years ago they left everything pretty nasty, so I wanted to make sure we passed it along clean and ready. Bryce spent the afternoon getting items for his first project on the new house, and then came by to pick up all of the random things leftover from the move. We prayed over the home for the new owners, and then drove away for the last time.

What a whirlwind!
And with that, in the course of two and a half months, our wonderful Parsonage chapter closed.
I guess it's time for a new adventure.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


I probably should be doing important things, like packing and organizing, but instead I'm over here reminiscing and being all sentimental about our wonderful home of 6.5 years. This morning I remembered three prayers I've prayed for this home over the years. So, here they are, along with a little tour via the listing pictures, so we can remember this wonderful Parsonage.

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. (Isaiah 32:17)

The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. 
(Isaiah 33:5-6)

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. (Proverbs 24:3-4)

Saturday, September 10, 2016


- - - - - - - - - -

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

I used to think of this verse as an invitation to weary Christians: come to Jesus and lay your daily burdens down. And it is probably still that. But it is also much more than that: It is THE GOSPEL. In a nutshell from Jesus Himself. Right there in Matthew 11.  (All quotes in this post from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible.)

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened... (NIV)
All you who labor and are heavy laden... (NKJV)

This is not just being exhausted from the burden of life, but more specifically the burden of SIN, "both the guilt and the power of it."  Jesus is calling to all those "that are really sick of their sins, weary of the service of the world and of the flesh" to come to Him! "This is the gospel call." One must reach the point of acknowledging their sin, being fed up with their sin, and ready to turn from their sin--all on Jesus' terms.

I will give you rest. (NIV)
I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls. (AMPC)

Jesus gives true rest--not rest from our busy schedules or frantic relationships or stressful situations. Jesus gives "rest from the terror of sin, in a well-grounded peace of conscience; rest from the power of sin, in a regular order of the soul; a rest in God, in His love." This is a soul-rest, not a situational-rest. And soul-rest comes from Jesus Alone.

Take My yoke upon you. (NIV)

But wait, Jesus! A yoke is a symbol of servitude and work. Do You really mean for us to pick up another burden? You just said that You were going to give us soul-rest from the burden of sin. But notice how the entire phrase turns on the word MY: whose yoke is it? My yoke. Jesus' yoke. "The rest He promises is a release from the drudgery of sin, not [release] from the service to God--[there is still] an obligation to the duty we owe Him."

My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (NIV)
Useful, good--not harsh, hard, sharp or pressing, but comfortable, gracious and pleasant... (AMPC)

This is where Jesus makes sure to "qualify the hard part of the lesson"--further detail about this coming/soul-resting/yoke-bearing life that the gospel offers.

First, it is an easy yoke. "It is a yoke that is lined with love." Those who walk closely with Jesus know first-hand the joy of carrying Jesus' yoke. They have learned that "it may be a little hard at first, but it is easy afterwards; the love of God and the hope of heaven will make it easy."

Second, it is a light burden. We do not carry alone: "God's presence, Christ's sympathy, and especially the Spirit's aids and comforts make suffering for Christ light and easy. . . . [T]hough we may lose for Christ, we shall not lose by Him." He is forever faithful and present.

Learn from Me (NIV)

Third and final qualifier of this hard lesson is the promise that Jesus is our Teacher. He asks us to take up His yoke and in the very same breath promises that we can learn from Him. Henry observes that "we must so learn of Christ, so as to learn Christ, for He is both Teacher and Lesson, Guide and Way, and All in All."

For I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. (AMPC)

There are two reasons why we must learn from Christ. First, He is the most fit to teach. "Who teaches like Him? . . . The truths that Christ teaches are such as we may venture our souls upon." And second, He will provide rest for our souls. This gospel lesson has come full circle: we come with the burden of sin and He lifts us, gives us the privilege of walking with and learning from Him, and provides us with soul-rest. "The only way, and a sure way to find rest for our souls is to sit at Christ's feet and hear His word. The way of duty is the way of rest."

"This is the sum and substance of the gospel call and offer: 
we are here told, in a few words, 
what the Lord Jesus requires of us . . ."