Monday, August 26, 2013

Are we there yet!?!

We are quickly approaching home after our sudden trip to visit Brian's father, grandpa, in the ICU and be with him as he passed away. Although a sad time we had a fun time with family and a a lot of driving time to think and plan what our next life steps are. Our house is no longer home since we have sold all our stuff and packed up all our pictures. It is just a sad reminder of where home used to be. Home is now in the RV with no where to park. We are in crunch time with the house under contract and potential closing less than 60 days out, we need to get our 7 acre raw property livable QUICK! (Click here for our recent update to our upcoming move)

For all those following our raw land, debt-free journey here is just a plain old "need" list of what is required and the cost involved:

Trash pick-up by hand: free but TONS of work,

Rent construction dumpster for trash (we could fill up 2-6): first dump $400 then $150 per dump,

Rent Backhoe for land clearing and trash pick-up: $1700/week,

Land clearing by hand: free but need an army of chainsaws and workers,

Two trailers and 2 wooden house structures needing demolition: $?,

County Electric hook-up: $55,

Electrician to install power pole: $900-1200,

County Water Meter set-up at road: $800-1200,

Plumber to install water line to home site: $?,

Septic tank and installation: $?,

Perimeter fencing, cheapest wire farm fence: $3000,

Then there is the dream "want" list:

Sod so we have a field of grass instead of dirt: $?,

A small insulated, air-conditioned storage shed/cottage to house our washer, dryer deep freezer and a shelf for storage or craft and homeschool supplies: $3000-$10000,

Garden bed, flower pots, flowering plants to beautify property: $?,

A picnic or outside table to have room to seat or whole family during meals: $?,

A swing set or tree house or an outdoor play place for kids: $?,

Then a full-fledged farm, cows, chickens, goats, pigs, geese, a horse and maybe a llama or an emu :)

God is teaching us to live within our means with contentment. We have been and are tempted to borrow money at every turn so we can have it all quick but that is what got us up to our ears in debt in the first place :). God will provide faithfully as we faithfully learn, more fully, what it means to wait on the Lord!

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone

Friday, August 16, 2013

So Many Preperations! So Many Distractions!

A whirlwind doesn't even begin to describe the turbulence of our life for the past month! Wind constantly pushing and turning and rushing! (Click here for post explaining our upcoming move) We have had garage sale after garage sale, met with 50+ people for sales from craigslist and facebook, listed and shipped dozens of items on eBay.
Tried to stay consistent on potty-training the twins (Titus and Maggie are both 2 years old).

 Cleaned and cleaned and cleaned to keep our home "show clean" for any perspective buyers (which is a triumph in itself with 5 kids and 2 dogs).

We have been traveling back and forth daily to care for our land-clearing goats and join them by picking up trash and chopping down trees with the added bonus of ticks and poison ivy!

I feel like I skipped July and now August is slipping away! Our goal was finishing clearing enough of a path to park RV on property and moving completely out of the house by Sept. 1st. That gives us 15 days left.....God has put all this above busyness on halt. We are now packing quickly to go visit family in Virginia. Brian's father (grandpa) is in the ICU on life support. We are going to rush up there to spend one last week with him and make his passing as peaceful and joyful as possible. Although this is a very sad time the kids are also excited to see extended family again! They had so much fun meeting their grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins last November for the first time!

Although I am a crazy planner I am at peace with this change in my plans. God has been so gracious to not take grandpa suddenly but to give us a chance to say good-bye. We cannot plan death, it sneaks up on us and halts all our plans without apology. It reels us in from looking at the big picture, the future, the "could be"s and the "what if"s, it slows us down again and lets us marvel at the little things.  The way a nectarine  tastes and smells when you take the first bite. The way our dogs' tails wags when we come home after leaving them. The sparkle in Mirabel's eye as she falls in love and nuzzles her little goat. The way Maggie's tiny hands wrap around my neck ever so tightly when I am pulling her training pants up. The way Risa's long black hair waves and flows at her every carefree leap and twirl. The way Titus's smile beams with the biggest sense of accomplishment after doing something as overlooked as throwing something away for me. The way I hug Anthony and realize for the first time he is almost at eye level and isn't little anymore. The little things that are found in this life alone. The things that can be so easily missed when death seems so far away. Funerals bring that zeal for life, that preciousness back like a slap in the face....

With all our preparations, move, and going ons I jumped on every waking moment to DO something, to pack, to work, to go, to sell, to list, to train....I forgot the "only thing necessary".

Luke 10:38-42
38 Now as they were traveling along, He (Jesus) entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Lord I feel so much like Martha, always distracted by preparations! Lord let me learn to be like Mary and just sit at Your feet! For I will never regret marveling at You or Your creation!

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Do you ever slow down!?!

So "Plan Move" is underway and sweeping us off our feet! Click here for our previous blog post. We are moving through our goals quickly:
Sell everything (most everything we have has sold, the little left is listed for sale)
Sell house (we have a contracted buyer for house)
Buy or rent small piece of land (or pay rent at RV park) (we have land!)
Move into RV 
Save up every dime of Brian's income for 2-3 years
Pay CASH for whatever house we want
Pray for a new plan (kids say adopt 20 more kids...hope that isn't God inspired)

In late June we went public about this plan and began operation get debt free, it is early August and all is happening so quickly! We don't even have our house on the market yet, the Realtor just put a sign out front and we have already had 4 showings, which by the way cleaning your house in a way that it looks so enticing that someone else wants to live there is very difficult with 5 kids and 2 dogs. We found out today we officially have a contracted buyer! If God wants our house to sell, sell it He will!

It is strange to think of life anywhere but our cozy little 3 bedroom 2 bath home in our perfect little city door to door neighborhood. It was our dream home, it has murals on the walls that remind me of my time spent waiting, waiting on children to come. It was here that we prayed for children, that we cried, that we rejoiced. It was here that the kids first knew what it was like to have a real home, one with running water, electric, food, and a family. This is our first home, but one that came with a heavy price tag and financial strain. Although we will miss our life here we are learning that stuff and walls don't make a home, family does.

We have sorted through stuff and more stuff and more stuff! This is different than most moves as we don't have any space for stuff, we need clothes and schooling materials and only very little of either can fit. We have sorted through our clothes and now each of us only have 14 outfits each plus 4 church outfits, which is still more clothes than we can fit in the RV. The kids have chosen their favorite toys and filled a shoebox full, all the rest had to leave. We have all had our material possession idols torn down as we part with every item that provides memories or comfort.

Even with all our losses we are excited about the future to come! We had decided to look for cheap plots of land to park our RV on while we save money to build or buy a house. We know that the RV park in town is $600/month and we know it would take us at least 2 years to save up enough for a reasonable house. So in looking for land we wanted something that would cost less than what we would pay in rent to an RV park for 24 months. We were looking for an acre maybe two in our price range. God had plans for sure! The very first property we looked at was 7 acres, but out of our price range. We tinkered with the idea, what if we could get that land, what if we could have the farm we always wanted! God was weaving our steps as we day dreamed and not only did this property get negotiated into our price range but it is also being owner financed over the next 6 months. But this is 7 acres with a history, a story, 7 acres that is not pretty and looks like it has just plain given up on life. 7 acres of trash and filth that is screaming for salvation, wishing to be cleansed, wanting to be pure!


The yarn God uses to weave our tapestry is always worn out and beat up. To the world it is ugly and tattered, but when He is done and says "See what I have created!?!" the world takes a second glance and can only give glory to Him alone who can make the most stunningly beautiful tapestries from worn and tattered yarn! Our life has been one jumbled mess of tattered yarn, we don't buy pedigree puppies, we don't birth perfect newborn babies and we don't buy gorgeous, pristine property, for if you see any beauty in us you see our Father's amazing talent alone, He is the creator of beauty!


I love thrift store shopping! I actually NEVER shop retail, it is too perfect, with it's too perfect high price tag. We frequent every thrift store in town and we are recognized by all the workers and owners. We are always buying used and broken toys and turning them into what they were created to be or better. Often with just a new coat of paint, some elbow grease and love they turn into amazing treasures that the kids love playing with (and often can be turned around for a good profit!). This land we got is like the thrift store of land, but with a little elbow grease and labor of love it will one day be the gorgeous green pasture with scattered pine trees for shade with a swing set and clothes line behind a huge light blue country farm house!

Before                                                                       After

The path from here won't be easy. It is raw land. No water, electric, or septic. It looks like the forest and we have enough bug bites and poison ivy to show you that the wildlife there is thriving! It will take time and we are working hard every chance we get, we have cleared about .20 of an acre by hand, just clippers, an ax and a rake (we can't afford to rent machine help!). We even had the brilliant idea of getting some free labor out there so we got goats to chow down on brush so we can clear enough of an area to get our RV parked in there. We have had the blessing of some amazing people jumping in with the task of putting up a fence and even brought us a gate and we look so legit! 


At this rate we will be moved in no time! This next step of the journey is so exciting and scary all at once. It is at the same time freeing and overwhelming as we lose our financial weight of a mortgage but gain tons of work as we pretty up our new home!


Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone