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October 29, 2021


Classic Colonial Home

A year ago... we weren't looking, but we weren't not looking either. At least that's what we told ourselves as we stalked real estate listings in our area over the course of five years (give or take). We knew what we didn't want, but more importantly, we knew exactly what we did want. With two kids and a golden retriever in tow, we wanted our next move to be our last move.

After narrowing down a few neighborhoods, we were on high alert for any houses that popped up. We're obnoxiously picky when it comes to spending money. Call it penny-pinching or cheap or tight or whatever you want, but we know what we like and, more often than not, we're not willing to settle - especially when it comes to big-ticket purchases like a house.

Then it appeared. A near-perfect listing.

We were nervous. We crunched numbers. We moved cautiously, slowly, too slowly, and it got away. Back to waiting we went. We were fine with it. Bruised egos and hurting hearts, sure, but still fine to wait. The first house we purchased a decade ago, as a young married couple, was suiting our needs. It was the house we brought both of our children home to. They crawled then walked on those floors. They said their first words within those walls. Bittersweetly, as children do, they were growing up and we were sadly outgrowing the space.

So, we prayed.

We prayed and we saved and we paid down the last of our debt from our frivolous spending in our 20's. (Lessons learned. No regrets.) We waited patiently. We waited through hard-earned promotions and career pivots, highs and lows, then a pandemic hit. Our waiting suddenly turned towards defeat and we almost gave up the hope that our dream home existed. We almost gave up the hope that the house we were waiting for was somewhere waiting for us, too.


However, God has a plan, as He always does. Our white flag was us letting go but little did we know it would be exactly what He was waiting for us to do - to surrender. We continued to pray. Although our house prayers were slipped in towards the end of bedtime as an additional PS before falling asleep or sandwiched between immense gratitude for making it through another day of uncharted times in a COVID-world.

Then it appeared. The perfect listing.

It was a Saturday, a day reserved for household chores and family time not for looking at recent real estate listings. That task was designated for weekday mornings over coffee, but there we were... looking but not looking. And there it was staring back at us. Screens can be deceiving, so we immediately reached out to our realtor for a showing first thing Monday morning. We counted the minutes, our blessings, and our finances for the next few days until we pulled into the driveway.

God's presence. Crippling fear. Sometimes they accompany each other.

The floorplan was everything we wanted. Open but with subtly defined spaces. So, I built walls. The layout was perfect for our family. A natural flow with plenty of space to spread out but would always lead us back to one another. So, I closed it all in. There were a few changes needed to make it feel like us. A fresh coat of paint to highlight all the stunning moldings throughout among other updates. So, I said it was a deal-breaker. The house was impeccably built and maintained, so I mentally tore it apart.

I was scared and nervous. I self-sabotaged, as I tend to do, and we walked away.

Over the next several days, I stalked the listing completely unaware that my wife was doing the same. We couldn't get the house out of our heads. It checked every box on every list we ever made. Plus, it added new boxes that we weren't even looking for but couldn't stop thinking about and checked them off too. We toyed with the option of building our own and toured a few new builds in various stages of progress, but in the end, what we wanted was already built. We both knew it.

I learned that in order for dreams to come true, you have to wake up.

We reached out to our realtor again for a second showing. With the patience of a saint, she let us in to walk through the house another time. This time, though, we envisioned our kids running through the halls leaving waves of laughter to wash the walls in their wake. We pictured birthdays and holidays celebrated in the dining room. We saw ourselves picking glitter and confetti from the cracks of the floorboards decades from now wondering how long they'd been there. We saw this house as our home and once we allowed ourselves to feel it, we couldn't imagine it any other way.

An offer was made on the spot. We attached a letter I wrote and crossed our fingers.

And just like that, we were back to waiting... and praying. From that point forward, we were strapped in for a ride that we couldn't seem to get off of. Things happened quickly. There was a mix of white-knuckling and throwing our hands up, but the ride moved on regardless. There was some back and forth, competition in a ruthless market, and we attempted to prepare ourselves to let it go if we had to. Then our offer was accepted. Our current house was listed, a buyer submitted an offer we couldn't refuse as soon as it hit the market, and we rolled with it. Strapped in. Both hands up.

I guess what is meant to be really will be.

It's hard to explain how important a house is when you're a homebody by nature. To most, it's just a dwelling. Four walls to close you in, a roof to store your things under, and a place to rest your head at night. I can understand that. For me, though, it's much more. It's where I let my guard down after a guarded day. It's where I recharge as an introvert in an extroverted world. It's where my wife and I are chasing and tackling one life goal at a time, where we're growing old together as we've grown up together. It's where the joy in this season of life is bottled, where my kids face their fears without judgment. It's where they'll establish a part of themselves that they'll always return to even when they're adults, even if it's only through recalled memories.

It's home. And there's no other place like it.

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