I can't wait to be home owners! We are a long ways off but the ball is rolling and we looking for either land or a spread large enough for our home and business needs. What I am looking forward to most right now is the fact that when an improvement is made, it is for us - long term.
See, I have lived in a church parsonage nearly all my life. I might be shy a year there but that would be pushing it. A parsonage, for those who don't know, is "church housing." Next to or near the church there is a home, owned by the church, for the current pastors and their family to live in while they are the pastors. When there is change in pastors, the previous ones move out and the new ones move in - repeat cycle for decades.
Well, growing up, we were the pastors for 23 years so I more or less thought of that home as OUR home. We renovated, remodeled, built a fence, garden, etc. as though it were our home - for 23 years it was! Then, when my Dad resigned, I was forced to face the fact that they would be moving and my childhood home would be my home no more - all at the ripe old age of 24. When we moved from there, we essentially left all the equity we (okay, my parents) put into their home. So, they did not want to live in the other church parsonage we were going to but BUY their own home for the first time in their life, after 40+ years of marriage!!!
Enter my little family into the picture - we were renting a home, working with the youth group and here sat this abandoned parsonage. We were offered the house in exchange for coming on board and working with the youth group on a long-term basis.
3 1/2 years later, we are still here, working with the youth and loving it! With these years have come home improvements, some of the costs were paid for by the church and some were not...
(fall of 2002) Thankfully, prior to moving in, we did some major updating and restoration to the place: original hard wood floors were hiding beneath awful carpet. There is now hardwood floor in our dining room - gorgeous! New carpet in the living room and hallway upstairs and the entire basement and bathrooms were painted. Beams were wrapped in quality wood, things were trimmed and an all around face lift was given.
2004 - We added a deck to the west side of the house - very nice. We built this ourselves as an investment to the future of our church and future pastors who live here. Painted the outside a butter cream color and dark green trim.
Back indoors in 2005 we got new vinyl in the kitchen, laundry room and back stairs. I got to pick it out and the church used their budget money for improvements for this project. Anything over the budgeted amount we picked up.
Head on out back in 2006 and we finished a new dog wood cedar fence over Memorial Day weekend. Also, we invested in the garden spot and framed it in with railroad ties and put up a 6' cedar fence on the north side to protect the garden (from basketballs) and also to beautify that space.
From perennial flowers to annuals, the place looks great! As our clerk of the Elders told me, "I've never seen the parsonage look as good as it does!" We get compliment after compliment on the improvements to the property. This is as it should be and I wouldn't want it any other way!
However, I am ready to have my own home. We are ready. We have been working hard to get some past debt taken care of and live on a budget to not only keep me home, but to save for a home. God is truly blessing our business and us and I know He will continue to do so.
While we have found a place that would more than work for our home and business needs (and wants) we are praying that if is God's will, He will work it out. It's pretty lush and dreamy but nothing is too big for God - and hard work! As my hubby was leaving for work at 6:00 this morning, he came in to kiss me good-bye and said, "I'm going to work so I can buy my wife a house!" Too cute.
If you pray, you could pray that we get the financial end worked out with the business and personal. That if this is meant to be God will work it out and that I don't get my heart set on this spread - knowing that God has something better in store for us, we just don't know what that might be.