Friday, January 31, 2014

Debt Free Here We Come!

Sell everything (All that won't fit in RV is sold, just a dining room table, tv, and bed to store)
Sell house (House is sold and closing was Dec. 6th, 2013)
Buy or rent small piece of land  (Our 7 acre property will be paid off by March 2014 or sooner)
Move into small, low-rent house (We moved into a 700sqft mobile home on 4 acres Jan. 1st, 2014)
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)

We made it through over half our goals in 6 months! 6 months must be an important timeline for us ;) When God put it on our hearts to get debt free He wasn't kidding. He certainly pushed us down this path quickly and effeciently. (Click here to see our previous debt-free post from November 2013).
We still have a little debt on our shoulders. We still have our small RV loan to pay off as well as just under $15,000 left to pay off our two properties. Yep, we sold our house and bought two properties, not one like those normal people, but two. I will try to tell the shortened story :)
Property one is a beautifully trashed (it is trashed but has an amazing potential to be beautiful) 7 acre raw property that was about to go to a tax sale. We inquired about it and God worked it out that we could owner finance it at $12,000 with no interest over 6 months. We had planned to park our RV and live there fully debt free but county ordinances forbid that. While we were trying to work all legalities out with the county our house sold and we needed somewhere to move to quick.
We were now stuck. We prayed and prayed and then our pressure washer broke! Our realtor asked us to have the house pressure washed for the final broker visit so we had to hire someone that same day. The person who came out to wash had done fix-it work for us years back. He asked, first, where all the kids came from :) then why we were selling our pretty little house. We explained God's prompting and our debt free journey. Then God moved. "I was going to sell a property of mine for what it is worth, about $40k, but the Lord is leading me to give it to you for what I owe." This sweet man pressure-washing our porch was too kind. I called Brian right away, turns out Brian was praying in his car that very moment for direction. This was that direction. We went to see this 2nd property that afternoon.
Property two is a humble, run-down, single-wide 600sqft mobile home on 4 mostly cleared acres. I remember having my arms crossed and nose up when I first saw this little excuse for a house. No way! There is no way this is what God has for our family! N O  W A Y period. Brian on the other hand didn't snub it's terrible appearance, "How much do you owe on it?" The washer guy seemed pleased, "About $12,000 and it is $200/month owner finance." Me: "We will take it!" It may need work and be small but it sure beats our plan to live in the RV if push came to shove!


So here we are, we have paid quite a bit off both properties and are almost there, goal is to own both properties and be mortgage free by May 2014 (Long term goal is to build our dream house on property one and rent out property two). We officially moved in January 1st and have been working overdrive to make it a home. We have painted every wall, installed wood flooring, patched walls, fixed leaks, rebuilt supports, hauled trash and put up fencing. It is humble, but it is growing on us and is now home. We spend a lot of time outdoors doing anything and everything. Our kids are free to run, play and explore. No streets or neighbors to worry about. We worried about the transition of our kids coming from hard places into our upper class home and now downsizing to a lower class mobile home. But no worries were needed. They wouldn't trade this amount of outside space for another thousand squarefeet of inside space anyday!

One would think that this move was enough change and challenge our family could handle, but God always gives us more than we can handle. Our next adoption story will be posted soon, like before Valentine's Day soon! Click here for a preview post on our 6th adoption, our 7 year old son!

Now some before and after pictures:
Yep, this is home. We put lattice all around the deck and built a small wall to make a covered pen for our dogs at night and when we are gone. We surrounded the home with a rock garden and pots that will bloom in spring. We also built a raised garden bed in front of all the lattice so vine produce can grow in spring. We have a large area seating area with a bon fire pit that can seat 15-20 out front, we call it our living room, then our RV is extra living space and our outside storage shed.

The front yard took some work: The trash pile turned out to be 880lbs of stuff we had to load and haul away! We took down and rebuilt the privacy fence. We also built a small puppy pen, hard to see in the after picture, and we fixed a pig/goat pen in the middle of the yard. We still have 3 more acres behind us!

Now for the inside tour:

We painted the main inside a mint green with white trim and installed cherry wood flooring. Finishing touches like pictures and curtains make it home.

There was no oven when we bought it, but after a quick trip to a local thrift store we found a used $1500 oven for only $99. There was no hook-up for the dish washer so we nixed it, cut the half counter and put our washing machine there. This is our living room, dining room, laundry room and kitchen, or as we call it our utility room.

We built the wall to make a second bedroom, the boy's room. Thankful for an inside area that can comfortably seat 10 for dinner.

Girls' room and 1/2 bath

Boy's room

The master bed and bath are pictures to come :)

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It is Not a Good Time

Did you see our cover photo? In May 2013 we let our adoption homestudy expire. We were just about to put our house on the market, any normal person would say this is not a good time to bring another child into our family. We agreed. I cried and grieved knowing that it wouldn't be a "good time" to add a child to our family for a couple years while we were living lower to pursue our debt free calling. Wasn't one calling from God enough? He can't call us to adoption and debt freedom can He? 
6 months passed by and God was convicting my heart more and more. When God changed our heart in 2010 to commit to leave our family planning in His hands alone we committed to never pursue birth control again, not due to family size or current circumstances. As God tilled my heart I began to justify myself before Him. One night crying out to Him in the shower I heard, "you are on birth control, you are hindering a blessing in the way I choose to give it, through adoption". Brian and I repented right away and began the process of opening up our home once again.

On Thanksgiving day we chose to announce (via our photo) to the world we were ready for God's blessing regardless of our circumstances, our upcoming move, or our debt free journey. We wouldn't buy into the "it is not a good time" lie that the world sold us again, God's timing is always perfect!

Little did we know God was already weaving our new child's story as well. A little boy came up for adoption on Thanksgiving day. We began praying for the perfect home for him in early December, since we wouldn't be homestudy ready for months. God worked miracles, and we were chosen as this child's new family and our homestudy was completed 9 days later. God instantly began providing financially through generous donations and we began this new to us process through private domestic interstate adoption.

We could possibly bring home our new son in as little as 2-3 weeks. If you feel called to care for the orphan through adoption please come along side us and help us bring our son home!

What we need:
  • FUNDS 
  • and most of all a community willing to show him UNFAILING LOVE!
Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Our Wonderful Shaka is Missing! UPDATE: Shaka is deceased.

Our sweet and wonderful Shaka is missing...

Her disappearance is really making me sad. It's been 8 days, she went missing January 1st evening while we were at the movies taking kids to see Frozen. Feels like she is either with someone who refuses to find her owner or is dead. I hate to give up but I am at a dead end. She has a collar with her Delta Society tag and a tag with her name and our phone number, she is also microchipped. I have posted on 15 different local and animal FB pages, have an ad on Craigslist, check all nearby local shelters every 3 days, called all vets in our town, put flyers in 30 close by mailboxes and posted signs all along surrounding streets. 
I miss this dog like crazy!
She was my first baby, adopted when she was just 1 or 2 years old back in 2006 when Brian surprised me by bringing me to a Petco dog adoption event! We learned obedience, agility and sheep herding together and visited hospitals and homes to bring joy to the suffering. She has helped socialize and foster over 50 orphaned kittens and puppies. Although she is aging and has recently had a bout with seizures she is still energetic and agile. She is the sweetest dog you'll meet and was the perfect companion when 5 orphaned and hurting kids showed up and stole lots of attention from her mama. Shaka slept at their bed sides and was the first to greet them, her theraputic nature is probably one of the reasons our children are so well adjusted.
Please pray  with us that we find her or in the least get closure.

February 2nd, 2014 UPDATE:

We got the call we had been hoping for, but not the news. Our precious Shaka was found, in a drainage pipe on the side of the road only 50ft from a "lost dog" sign. We brought her remains home to bury her. I never knew one could hurt this much over the loss of a pet, she was my first adopted baby, and loved by us for 8 long years. It is hard to console upset children when your eyes are cloudy and your whole body is shaking with grief. God is still good.
 "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
   Blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone