Home Sweet Country Home
It's been a little over a year since I last wrote here. I've really missed blogging! So many changes have happened since my last blog post — the biggest one being the purchase of our very first home. For the first four years of our marriage, Kerwin and I lived just seven minutes away from Torrey Pines State Park and the Del Mar beach in San Diego. We loved the ocean breeze and the convenience of being so close to our favorite organic health food store. Walking along the beach and enjoying the ocean breeze was one of my favorite perks of living so close to the ocean.
Our first home was a one-bedroom condo rental in a family-friendly neighborhood. We experienced and began so many life chapters there: adjusting to newlywed life, exploring new career opportunities, anniversaries, and our first pregnancy (which later ended in miscarriage). Every year, we dreamed and talked about moving to the country. Before allowing our paths to cross years ago, God had already convicted us to leave the city and move to the country. When we were engaged, we began seriously talking about making this a reality, but knew it would take time and a lot of prayer and patience before it could happen.
WAITING ON GOD
Two years ago, we began seriously considering the possibility of leaving Southern California and moving to the beautiful state of Montana. Big Sky Country! We also considered Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, but each time we searched for homes online and prayed for guidance before planning trips to check out prospective home locations, God strongly impressed us it was not the right time to actively search for a home. God told us to wait, and closed several doors to show us it wasn't the right time to move.
So we waited.
And we prayed...and waited some more.
At times, I felt discouraged and wondered if we would ever move out of the city. I began feeling claustrophobic and longing for openness, space and sunlight to start a garden. Since our balcony was north-facing, we didn't get much sunlight and couldn't grow plants. Almost every day, I woke up feeling tired and sluggish, as though I had barely slept a wink due to the street lights outside our bedroom window. We knew in our hearts that God had something amazing planned for us. We just didn't know what it was.
In the middle of October, Kerwin and I were nearing the end of our condo lease. We had outgrown our first home and felt it was time to move. We prayed once again and knew it was time to resume our search for our next home. We began searching for another rental home, but throughout our search, God began to reveal to us that it was time to search for our very first owned home. We prayed for God to grant us wisdom and discernment. We spent late nights researching so many details about purchasing our first home. There was so much to learn, and I felt as though I was constantly in a tizzy. For a few weeks, we searched online and found some houses that seemed great, but the more we prayed, the more we knew to keep searching.
MUST-HAVES & NICE-TO-HAVES
Our decision to leave the city and move to the country was no coincidence. We knew we would have to be intentional about our life choices if we were going to have more calm and peace in our lives. We wanted to fully transition and experience country living as a couple before starting a family. I was happy, nervous and excited.
To help us narrow down our search results and options, we prayerfully discussed our list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. We agreed that one of our must-haves was space to grow fruit trees and start our own organic vegetable garden. Our online home search showed us several homes that were nice, but they didn't have the open feel we were looking for. One night, Kerwin felt impressed to expand the search to cover a bigger area, while staying within our budget. He wasn't sure what he would find, but there it was! After filtering out all of the other properties, only one house appeared in the search results. "Honey, you have to come and see this!" I eagerly plopped down beside my sweetheart and looked at pictures of the house.
There it was.
Our future home.
OUR FIRST VISIT
We felt a huge tug in our hearts and had so much peace about this certain property. We learned it was a newly built home and had never been lived in. One day after work, we drove to the property to check out the area before scheduling a viewing with David, our close friend and realtor. We prayed before driving and asked God to give us guidance and discernment. I specifically asked God to keep me from being emotionally attached to the house (or any other house) before He gave us the green light.
On our drive to the property, we saw farms, nurseries and orchards. We loved the spectacular views from the twisty switchbacks on the country roads. As we approached, our GPS took us to a dirt road. I must confess, this had my heart excitedly skipping beats! I held Kerwin's hand in eager anticipation. The area felt right, but I knew not to trust my emotions (especially with something as major as our first home purchase). I looked at Kerwin and saw he had the look, too! The look of being finally home. I could tell this place felt right to him, too.
As we drove up the uphill driveway to the house, we were filled with awe at the spectacular views of hills filled with avocado, guava and citrus trees. The country breeze felt so inviting, and the wild birds seemed to be serenading us. We walked around the house and peeked through the windows. It sounds a little creepy, but I promise — no one was there. I peeked through the kitchen windows and loved what I saw from the outside. It felt like home. After exploring outside the house, we drove on the dirt road and explored the area. We contacted our friend David and asked him to schedule a viewing of the house. A few days later, we stepped foot inside our future home and felt even more peace about prayerfully moving forward and making an offer on the house.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. On the 1st of December, we signed a tower of documents and officially became the new owners of our home sweet country home. It was a busy, rushed and memorable Friday. A couple of hours before welcoming the Sabbath, we pulled into our new home and met the contractor who built our house. During our final walkthrough, we discovered that both he and the seller's realtor are Christians. They had been praying for three specific things:
1. That the buyers would be a young Christian couple hoping to start a family
2. That they would get along well with the sweet young family who live closest to us
3. That they would love living on a dirt road
Check, check, and CHECK!
We couldn't believe our ears when he told us about their very specific prayers! He was baffled when we joyfully told him God had indeed answered their prayers. We had already met the neighbors several days back when we were in the area and loved getting to know them and their three young children. We laughed as we talked about God's amazing answers to prayer. Before he left, we prayed with the contractor and asked the Lord to bless him and his business. It was a special moment I will never forget.
Here are a few photos from the day we closed escrow and received the keys to our country home.
OUR FIRST NIGHT AT HOME
We welcomed the Sabbath in our new home with grateful hearts and sore cheeks (we hadn't smiled that much since our wedding day). After the contractor left, My romantic Kerwin swept me off my feet and carried me through the threshold of our empty house. We watched the beautiful sunset from our front porch and breathed a sigh of relief and gratitude.
We couldn't believe it. We were finally and officially home!!!
Our first order of business was to lay out our picnic blanket on the living room floor and say a prayer of gratitude and praise for this new chapter of our lives and marriage. We only had our air mattress, pillows, covers, a few clothes, some food, our camping pots and pans, and the family Bible my parents gifted us on our wedding day. This was the same Bible we placed our hands on when we exchanged our wedding vows.
We had a simple rice-and-beans picnic on the floor with nothing but paper plates and plasticware.
These past six months have been exciting, busy, and memorable. Getting settled into a new home takes a significant amount of time and energy (...and, dare I say, endless trips to Home Depot?). Ah! More on that in my next post, where I'll tell you all about our first few months transitioning to life in the country. In the meantime, here are three blessings I’m grateful for today:
The slower, peaceful pace of the country
Our new country home
What are you grateful for today?