life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


Our President’s Day Getaway with a Surprise

Over President’s Day weekend (February 18th-20th), Dayne & I ventured on a little getaway to Absecon, NJ (pronounced ab-SEE-con, not AB-se-CON, like I originally thought). We arrived typically late (thanks to me) on Saturday night to Clarion Inn & Suites and unpacked our bags in our jacuzzi suite. The suite was spacious, the bed was comfortable, the jacuzzi was suh-weet!, and the bathroom was okay. Unfortunately, I took zero pictures of the suite.

On Sunday, we headed out to the Atlantic City Aquarium, home of the stingrays you can pet and absolutely nothing bigger than a seaturtle. It was fabulous. We love going to places like that.

Us at the Atlantic City Aquarium, 2/19/20.

We have a tradition (Dayne hates when I use that word, since he claims nothing we do has actually been repeated enough to become a tradition) of buying magnets from everywhere we go on vacation together, so we picked up this little guy:

He is proudly hanging on our fridge with our Aruba and Bushkill Falls magnets (3 whole traditions!).

After the Atlantic City Aquarium, we had lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s and then did some outlet shopping. Dayne got a few new work shirts from Eddie Bauer, and I finally got new black heels for work (my old ones were completely falling apart) and a couple pieces of work clothes. Shopping at the outlets was exhausting because: 1) neither one of us likes shopping, and 2) it was SO cold & windy & FRIGID that day. But it was fun to be together and to get something accomplished.

One of my goals for this trip to Absecon/Atlantic City was to finally eat at The Melting Pot, which we did that night, even though we weren’t very hungry. Being not-so-hungry is both good and bad at The Melting Pot — good because you won’t spend as much money (it is expensive), but bad because everything is so freaking delicious. We split a cheese fondue as an appetizer, then a salad, and finally a mixed entree of shrimp, filet mignon, chicken, sausage, and veggies rubbed in some cajun spices and dipped in this amazing fondue that I cannot even describe to you with justice. I also had a perfect glass of white wine. The saddest part is that we could not fit dessert (chocolate fondue) in our bellies.

The damage. Taken after everything was eaten because I could not stop stuffing my face & enjoying myself long enough to take a picture beforehand.

Blissfully fondue-d in a little corner at The Melting Pot.

Our getaway was simply lovely. While the hotel was mostly not relaxing (there were no noise barriers at all, so falling asleep with doors slamming, kids yelling, and people dropping dumbbells in the room above us was incredibly difficult), the temporary relaxation of sipping sparkling white wine in a warm jacuzzi tub in the evenings made up for it.

The reason I chose to take pictures at all during this trip, besides wanting to have something to remember it by, was also to document that on Sunday, February 19th, 2012 (the day when all these pictures were taken besides the lighthouse one), we found out that our offer was accepted on a house.

So… we are under contract on a house! While it is exciting and worthy of celebration and even worthy of describing the God-ordained details to you, there is so much involved in the process (still) that I don’t feel like divulging any of the details is quite appropriate yet. But we are in the process, and we just had our first home inspection, and we are throwing a lot of money around, and I may be developing an ulcer, and we have started collecting boxes because we’ll be moving pretty soon if all goes well.

With so much going on, and with both of us working full-time, I have had little time to blog. Today, I stayed home from work because of stomach pains (see aforementioned possible ulcer) and finally had the time to gather my thoughts and pictures and put together an update. I desire to blog more, but the days have been so fast-paced, tiring, and uncertain that it becomes quite difficult. There is still lots more I could write about, and I would love to document the whole process on the house so that other future first-time homebuyers could learn from it, but we’ll just have to see how frequently I get a chance to blog. Otherwise, there will be bigger updates like this a little less frequently.

We’re doing well, we’re happy to be in this stage of life and in the process of buying a home, and I will do my best to keep this blog in the loop of any updates. 🙂 Thanks for reading!


Letting Go without Feeling Defeated.

There have been so many times in my life when I’ve had to let go of something, and I chose to latch onto anger or cynicism in its place.

Failed relationships, failed friendships, failed plans in life (professional, educational, personal)… fail, fail, fail.

I don’t have an easy time of letting go of something that seems good to me. Especially if it looks pretty good to everybody else. I want to keep up a facade of being at least 95% competent (intelligent & in control) and good (having good intentions, growing positively, and being a loving, compassionate person).

So when something ends or changes and I have to let go of it, I tend to push as many negative opinions and feelings as possible onto the other person or thing. I can’t deal with the fact that maybe it just didn’t work out, and it wasn’t supposed to work out, and it’s in my best interest for it not to work out — instead, I feel like a fool (and am afraid of looking like a fool) for believing it could work out in the first place, or for not heeding the obvious signs.

What made me think of this personality flaw on a random Monday morning?

I don’t think we’re getting our house.

I’ve been slowly letting go of all my plans and dreams for that house and that neighborhood — day by day, I’ve become less and less upset with the possibility of it not working out. I’ve distanced myself more and more emotionally.

However, there’s the tendency to do what I always do: instead of just letting it go as something that God probably didn’t have for us right now, I want to find a way to manage my disappointment. I begin to think about the idea of not looking at houses anymore for a while. I want time to be legitimately frustrated (or to save face).

How come I can’t let go without feeling defeated? Why can’t I see something not working out as impersonal? Could I begin to accept that maybe others aren’t as critical of me as I am of myself?

Do any of you struggle with this?

Perhaps this event will give me the chance to work through a failed plan in a healthy way, now that I recognize this in myself…

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:20-21


Short Sales and Keeping Sanity.

I was planning on entitling this post “Our Firsts, Part 2” and describing to you in endless detail the house we had under contract and all the things we were excited about, as well as including pictures of our current apartment as kind of a “farewell”, “adieu”, “goodbyyyyyyyyyyyyye!” — but alas, life is full of learning experiences, and we are smack dab in the middle of a big one.

On Sunday, October 9th, we saw the house we want for the first time in person. (We had definitely online stalked it before, as well as every other house in the 19335 area code and surrounding counties.) It was the morning after we got back from our trip to the Poconos. We were refreshed, in love, and taking things slow. We looked at five houses that day; this one came last. We’ll call it the G&G house, because Grandma & Grandpa live there.

The G&G house was the first house we walked through that we both immediately, simultaneously liked. We had a really great feeling walking through it. The house seemed to fit us, and it didn’t need a lot of work! Its backyard is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen, and it’s on a great street, in a great neighborhood, walking distance to parks, restaurants, and the elementary school, and it’s been well taken care of by G&G.

So we started thinking more about it & crunching numbers, and we met with our mortgage broker and Kay (our realtor) on Wednesday, October 12th. We learned through that meeting that this house is a great financial decision for us at this time. Although mortgages are intimidating, we were excited!

On Thursday, October 13th, we walked through the G&G house for the second time, then came home and filled out the paperwork with Kay to submit an offer on the house. Lots of initialing, and little bursts of panic on my end — it’s a scary step!

On Friday, October 14th, Kay submitted our offer in the morning, and we received a verbal counter-offer from the sellers that was still in our price range, so we agreed to it.

On Saturday, October 15th, we submitted updated paperwork with the new pricing. We were supposed to receive the signed paperwork from the sellers by Sunday morning, October 16th. We didn’t.

Actually, we didn’t receive our signed paperwork until last night. And it was an addendum asking us to wait (gasp! I’m horrible at that!). Long story short, the sellers are in the process of a short sale on the house they’re buying. I was pretty naive about short sales, so I did some of my own research. A short sale is when a homeowner is going to default on his/her loan, and agrees with the lender to sell their house for a certain amount and settle with the bank pre-foreclosure. Short sales offer deep discounts, but a lot of frustration as the house needs to be sold through the seller, the listing agent, AND the bank. The bank is not the most cooperative or straightforward institution in the world. And that’s who we’re all waiting on for approval going forward.

So while we’re not buying a short sale per say, we are in a short sale timeframe because our sellers are. It’s very, very hard to deal with things being so up in the air when it is such a big deal in the first place. Plus, we have a hard and fast settlement date deadline that we’re just going to keep getting closer to while everything else keeps getting pushed back (inspections, mortgage commitment date, getting out of our lease, etc.).

We are learning a whole heck of a lot about the homebuying process. Our situation is a little unusual — or maybe it’s not; I’m not sure how many houses are sold through short sales nowadays — but I’m grateful to go through something unusual so that we are familiar with it for the future!

My end goal is to get these:

with as few complications as possible henceforth, and actually write “Our Firsts, Part 2”. However, I’m not in charge, and I can’t make the world revolve around me and my wishes (or us and our wishes), so I just have to accept things as they come and really act like I believe that God is sovereign and knows what’s best for us!