Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Still Cannot Believe What I Did in 2014!!

Susie's 2014 by Slidely Slideshow


I hope you enjoyed my little 2014 slide show. Isn't the music wonderful? The song is called "You Are Beautiful" and it was written and recorded by my good friend Stephanie Carlson! (Thanks for allowing me to use it Stephanie.)

On the last day of 2014 I am sitting in a beautiful home looking out my windows at a grey and cloudy sky. My scented candles make me feel cosy and contented. I look back at 2014 and wonder how it all happened! I could easily let the slide show speak for itself. You will see photos of our year of packing up our California home and moving to this upgrade of a home in Texas. It could appear to have been a faith-filled and confident journey full of joy and careful planning.

It was not any of those things.

The years immediately preceding 2014 were tough ones. As I look back on my blog posts in 2011...2012...2013...2014...I can see the desperation, fear and anger that fueled my writing. But I also see God there with me. Admittedly, there were fewer posts published during that time because I refused to write a blog full of complaining and I wrote nothing during those seasons. 

BUT NOW, I marvel at what a miracle 2014 really was for us!! 

The song on the slide show mentions hearing the "rush of angels wings" and I am reminded of a quirky character in a great fiction book I just finished reading, "Drenched In Light" by my newest favorite author, Lisa Wingate. The side-character has a habit of reaching into the air and symbolically picking up a tiny guardian angel and placing it on the shoulders of her grandchildren as they head out the door to walk through their dangerous neighborhood to school each day. 

I am convinced that Hubs and I had guardian angels on our shoulders all through 2014. They were whispering good advice about some very big and hasty decisions that we made for our futures. Our former strong faith in divine direction had become a bit fragile in recent years. I know that we had each asked God to help us know what to do, but they were prayers that sounded more like, "HELP!!" than anything full of faith and confidence.

Last January we entered 2014 knowing that we wanted to move from California to Texas to live near our married son and his wife. But that was all we knew. Our home of 20 years needed many serious repairs and we had no money to bring it up to selling level. You get used to doors that don't stay open without a teddy bear propping it in place. The back fence was falling down and covered in "temporary" patches that embarrassed both of us. After every high wind Hubs climbed the roof to replace loose shingles.

But I began to sort closets; donating, selling and packing as I went. I also became obsessed with Texas real estate websites and created a Pinterest board that quickly became full of possible new homes. My interest was noticed by a few agents who emailed and offered to set up appointments to tour the homes I was looking at online. I had to let them know that I was just "window shopping" and still lived 2,000 miles away. 

Then came the happy news that we were going to be grandparents toward the end of 2014 and our goal to get to Texas was intensified 100%! 

My journal records our desires for our new home...No yard-work...Room for our dog Layla...Walking distance to a swimming pool...Plenty of sunshine. So these requirements led me to senior living communities, condominiums and duplexes. They fit the requirements and I saved them on my Pinterest board and looked for the bright-side of each place. I wasn't sad about these places at all, just excited to start over in a completely different way of life! 

On May 1st I went to the emergency room with a mini-stroke. A few days later my doctor told me to "take it easy" for the next few weeks and reduce stress in my life. Hubs and I laughed and told her that we planned to move out of state within the next few months! 

Here is where the fun part begins. On May 6, 2014 Hubs is offered a job in Texas...IF we can be there by the end of JUNE!!!

Sell, pack and move in 7 weeks??!! We decided to go for it. (Thanks guardian angel!)

Our local WONDERFUL realtor, Samuel Vera looked over our home and told us not to do any of the painting or big repairs we thought we needed to do. COULD HAVE KISSED HIM! He said the house was great and would sell as is. Yay!...And he was totally right! It sold above asking price to the first couple who looked at it, after only 2 days on the market! (There were some bumps along the way, but they got it and that made us happy.)

We still had no place to move TO, but we ordered the moving van to come take away all of our belongings on June 24. Our kids in TX offered to house us until we found a new home. Hubs and I decided that we would stay with them for one month and if it took longer, we would rent a place while house-shopping. 

The job offer was in a town 1 hour away from the kids, so we literally drew a line on a map from the job-town to the kids-town and started looking for homes half-way in-between the two so that the commute would not be too long either direction. All of the towns were complete mysteries to us. Our one and only visit to Texas was for our son's wedding, for 3 days, 4 years ago. 

The sale of our house prompted Hubs to start showing me homes online that were NOTHING like the condos I had saved on my Pinterest board. Suddenly he is talking about granite counters, hardwood floors and asking me if I want to have MY OWN swimming pool!! WHAT??? (Some heavy guardian angel whispering must have been happening!) I was flabber-gasted! That is the only word that truly works for this crazy turn-about in plans. 

Then as if that was not enough to knock my socks off...he actually wanted to make an OFFER on a house the kids had walked through for us and we all loved. Make an offer? Without ever seeing it for ourselves? Really? (Thank you BJ Fish for being an awesome TX realtor for us!) 

That particular offer did not go through, but it opened the door to the next great house that was even better...AND WE GOT IT! The gorgeous home, with granite counters, hardwood floors and a pool with a WATERFALL is mine now.

Divine guidance HAD to be happening. We bought this home on June 20th...the moving van took away our belongings on June 24...we left California on June 25...and saw our new home for the FIRST TIME on July 2nd! We stayed with Writer Son and Sassy Bride for about 3 weeks and moved into our new home one day before the movers arrived on July 19th! 

Five months later we are still in marvel-mode as we drive around this new hometown of ours. The kids were not at all familiar with this city so we really "lucked out" at landing blindly in a place that we already love and enjoy so much! We are 30 minutes from them and 30 minutes from Hub's new job. (He may be transferred to a store about 5 minutes from our house this year!) 

My want list for 2014 has been fulfilled above and beyond my desires. I have an adorable new grandson, a huge home with a pool (within walking distance!) AND a WATERFALL! The yards are very low-maintenance and neighborhood is gorgeous. The house is not sunshiny, I have to turn on lights all day...but I have a SWIMMING POOL! who cares about a few lights burning in the daytime? 

We began this year with very low faith. I knew that I was loved by God...but that was ALL I knew for sure. It was enough. He loved me through the yuck-times and He led us into the good-times.  He led us quietly...almost silently. We never heard any big direction from God about this move or during any of the million small decisions that were involved. 

Looking back, we can see that God's hand was on our year...but we did not know it at the time. If FELT blind and very stumbly. I begged for clear direction, but He chose to just let the tiny guardian angels whisper little urgings here and there as we tripped over our own feet on this journey. It was scary. It was not faith-filled. 

I am wondering if you are in a stumbly, scary place right now? You have yelled out to God for help and only heard silence as your answer. Can I tell you that He does hear you and He does love you and care about your situation? This I know. I do not know why He chooses to lead us with whispers when we would obviously prefer grand declarations from Him. I am hoping that my story of 2014 will remind you that the crazy-goodness COULD be just around the corner. 

Please know that you are loved by God...and that is enough. Listen for the tiny whispers, they might hold your answers. It has just now occurred to me that my One Word chosen for 2014 was LISTEN. I never made the connection until this instant as I finish this post. I am plucking a little guardian angel out of the air right now and placing it securely on your shoulder. Listen to the positive whispers of one of God's messengers. You are loved by God. 

This I know.

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  1. I love that God led you even when you were uncertain.

    1. Me too, since "uncertainty" SHOULD have been my One Word for 2014! Ha!

  2. Tears flowing as I read this post Susie. 2014 was a big year for us both - and God was faithful to lead in both our lives. Love the song and the "rush of angel wings" was what jumped out at me as I listened - such an awesome picture. I'm still holding on to Trust for 2015, but I've just written about the word I believe God is giving me to build on that trust - abundance :) May He continue to bless you and yours in the coming year with the abundance of His love and grace :)

    1. Toni, you made some colossal changes in 2014 and God was whispering all along the way. I am so proud of both of us!

  3. Love those bookshelves and all that God has provided for you and your family. He is faithful!

    1. He is faithful even when it feels like He may have forgotten all about us. What a crazy year. I honestly forgot what my One Word was for 2014 and planned on skipping it for 2015. But then it came back to me as I wrote the last paragraph of this post!! So maybe it does make a difference! Ha!

  4. God has been very good to you and your husband. This is a very sweet entry. Blessed New Year to you and yours.

  5. Wow!!! What can I say? Even though I already knew a lot of this...I didn't REALLY know all of this...and it is even better than what I thought I already knew! I definitely KNEW that God was leading you step by step, and that He had His hand on you (and His angel on your shoulder) all the way...I am SO happy for how all of this turned out so wonderfully. Now...What's next? I believe God brought you to this wonderful new place for many good reasons...and I believe that in 2015 you will discover even more than what you think you already know! Keep your eyes open, and keep "listening" to His voice. I think the journey has only just begun! Love to you all and praying for a wonderful new year!

  6. Wonderful testimony of his faithfulness (even when we aren't!). And to top it off with a swimming pool! May 2015 be filled with many more sovereign surprises!


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