Offer Accepted!

Yes, you read it right–they accepted our offer on the latest house!  When I made the announcement to the kids they responded with whoops, hollers, hoorays and screams.  Can we say excited?  😉  It doesn’t even seem real right now.

We may not be able to move into the house until mid-March, depending on how things go with the lady who is living there right now.  The city says we have to live there (it was only open to owner-occupants), but she may not be very willing to find a new place.  I guess we’ll just wait and see what happens.

The house has a parking slab in the back and virtually no yard, so we will have to go to the park when the kids need to blow off steam.  It’s also very close to a high school, and our realtor told us that during the high schoolers’ lunch break the street is lined with food trucks.  I think I might have to go out there and grab some lunch, too!

That’s all for now.  There’s a light at the end of the tunnel of waiting!

 

Is this number 4 or 5?

We are on either our fourth or fifth house offer right now.  We’ve lost count.  We’ve also lost a fair bit of hope, I’d say.  Our family is operating under a cloud of anxiety, apathy, and discouragement.  Except for the two youngest–they seem to be weathering the situation fairly well.  Oh, to be young and oblivious!

Our current offer is on a city-owned property–a foreclosure.  It has no yard (not a plus!) and a parking slab in back.  I don’t know if a garage could be built back there.  If we did get the house, the lady who is living there would get a notice that she has 30 days to move out.  (The city says the house must be owner-occupied and converted back to a single family dwelling.)  We’re not sure how she will take it and hope that she won’t take it out on the house by busting stuff up.  So…we’re not 100% in love with this house, but we feel like our options are pretty limited right now.  I’m praying that if this isn’t the right house for us, that God will prevent it from working out.  Oh yeah, did I say that this is the house that our realtor toured, but we’ve never even set foot inside it?  Sounds like the set-up for a comedy of errors, doesn’t it?

Besides that, we’re trying to get the kids back into some semblance of normal homeschooling, while having virtually all of our supplies packed away in storage.  Yeah, it isn’t easy.  A couple of the kids have been chomping at the bit to dive back into school.

As you can probably guess, our kids are bored out of their minds.  Their belongings are in storage; they’re trying to keep entertained in someone else’s house; the weather doesn’t permit them to go outside very much; socially they’ve been uprooted.  They don’t have a lot going for them right now.  We’ve especially noticed the effect this situation has had on our 12-year-old.  He’s become bored, apathetic, anxious.  What we all need is some stability, a normal routine, and familiar surroundings.  We need a home, but as far as we can tell that isn’t even on the radar.  It would be nice to know one way or the other about this current offer.  We were assured it would take only a couple of days to get an answer, but that has turned into a week.  One more week of waiting in what seems to be an endless and cruel trick of the universe.  Waiting is pretty much all we’ve been doing for the past 2 1/2 months.

Sometimes I think about all of the things I miss, but I try to follow that up with things that I’m thankful for.  Things could always be worse.

Things I miss:

  • my own functioning kitchen and pantry
  • the use of craft & homeschool supplies
  • the ability to control how comforting & inviting my home is
  • a yard for the kids to play in
  • a mattress & being able to sleep next to my husband
  • being able to have people over for a visit
  • a warm place to sleep
  • a comfortable environment for our cats
  • a functioning home where my kids can live normal lives

Things I’m thankful for:

  • 2 running vehicles
  • a space heater
  • that we didn’t have to get rid of our cats
  • family who is willing to let us stay as long as we need to
  • tea (my daily stress reliever)
  • good health
  • the time I’ve gotten to spend with extended family
  • chickadees & cardinals
  • that my dad had a successful surgery
  • enough food to eat
  • that we’re not out homeless on the street in winter

Housing Scams

I’ve been looking at the option of renting for a little while before buying.  If we could find a landlord who is willing to work with us in our odd circumstances, we could get a job in our target city.  With a job we could look at additional financing for buying a house, and it would be tons easier looking at potential houses.

Craigslist has a lot of rental listings, so I sent several messages to landlords telling them about our circumstances and asking if they’d be willing to work with us.  While I did hear back from a couple of legitimate landlords, I also got at least five emails from people involved in housing scams.

They’re fairly easy to spot–misspellings, poor grammar, incorrect punctuation and capitalization, justification for all of the questionable circumstances surrounding their rental process, oversharing of personal information, etc.

I just wanted to warn others who might be desperate to find a place to live, like us.  If the deal sounds too good to be true or their message sounds fishy, it’s probably a scam.  Below are a few of the messages I’ve received.  You can see that they are very similar.

Tips for spotting a housing scam:

  • Great price for the rental that’s listed
  • Poor spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation
  • Justification for why the property is listed (fancy out-of-state job which will last several years)
  • You are directed to drive by the property, peek in the windows, and disregard the “For Sale” sign in the yard.  They don’t offer to let you see the inside of the property.
  • Request for your personal information
  • They say that they’ll send the keys in the mail once a contract has been signed and you’ve paid the rent and deposit (or a certain amount to “reserve” the property)
  • Solicitous that you treat the property as your own and maintain it nicely so that they would be proud to visit it when they’re in the area

Actual email quotes that I received:

#1

“The house is still available for rent I decided to rent my house because my company sent me to OK I am adviser on oil platform, My job is as secure as can be. I’ve been with this company for 6 years now and have been in this line of work for 25 years so my accommodation period in OK will be about 4-7 years.I must confess to you that I am very new in this landlord business.However my name is Scott Palmer I own the 4bed 2full bath property Located at **** The initial plan was to sell the House which I tried, but sometimes the agents inflates the prize and it takes longer time to sell. Pet are allowed.rent is $700 and a refundable security deposit is $1000 You can go over and view the house first If you like it then you can contact me so we can make proper arrangement for the keys and contract”

#2

Hello Tenant

Thanks for mailing me regarding the house, it is still available, but now I’m out of the state because I got transferred due to my work. I am a stock broker for Charles Schwab brokerage before I found a better job opportunities. I will be staying here in New York for a long time. I came over here with my Wife and we decided to stay here for few years because we like it here. We wanted to sell the property but my Wife advised me not to sell the house, so I contacted the realty handling the house back in the state and requested for my keys and the paper work. We would have given the same agent this job, but we want to rent the house out ourselves and I do not have anyone in the area I can leave the keys behind with. If you notice the price we are offering is far below normal. I want my property to be well taken good care of, and there are some rules and regulation in which I do give out to tenant willing to rent my house so please don’t disrespect my order But if you are still capable of renting my house the rules and regulation goes this way; You must keep my house clean including the surrounding, you must know the way in which you use the stove so as to avoid fire outbreak,you must not disturb the neighbor.I decided to rent out the property due to our transfer to New York so we are renting it out since we need someone to take good care of the property on our absent.
Don’t be surprise if you find the home with another site and deference price, I have plan to rent it through Real estate before but they are not serious simply because they have a lot of house to lease out And they added some money to the rent while there commission is not fair. Have this in mind you must know the kind of person that I’m nevertheless I am giving you this rules because of what corresponded between me and my last tenant, the keys and documents are with us here in New York… So I will need to ship them to you before you can occupy the house But you can drive by the house anytime to take a look at the area and surrounding, You can also peek through the windows if you don’t mind.For now we are looking for 3 or 4 years lease or rather lets us know how long you wish to stay.
Attn : The rent are including the Utilities are intact such as Dishwasher,Dryer, Electric Stove, Fridge, Washer,Air Condition,Sewage,Trash, Other amenities include ; large eat-in kitchen with refrigerator, gas stove/oven, and microwave oven; spacious living room with fireplace; deck; laundry room off kitchen with washer & dryer; and cable/internet ready.Hi-efficiency gas heat & electric hot water, city water.all included in the monthly rent,as i am in a governmental programmer that sponsors my utilities on monthly basis etc.
Please note that, we are a kind and honest family,that spent a lot on property that is available for rent, so in one accord,we are soliciting for your absolute maintenance of this house and want you to treat it as your own.We want you to keep it tidy all the time so that we shall be glad to see it whenever we are around on a visit.
SO IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED I WILL WANT YOU TO FILL THE RENTAL APPLICATION FORMS BELOW

RENT APPLICATION FORM AND TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU .

1) Your Full Name
2A) Home Phone ?
2B) Cell Phone Number ?
3) Your Full Address :
4) How old are you?
5a) Are you married?
5b) How many people will be living in the house?
6a) Do you have a pet?
6b) What type
7a) Do you have a car?
7b) What type?
8) Occupation?
9) Do you smoke?
10) Do you Drink ?
11) Do you work at Night ?
12) What is your monthly income?
13) Reference Contact Name and Address?
14) When do you intend Moving in?
15) private email :
16 ) picture of you and your family?
17) When can you pay for your deposit to
secure or move in?
Notice : Call me immediately you fill out the application
Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that we can have it our file in case of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you..
Await your prompt reply so that we can discuss on the rental terms and agreement, please we are renting the house to you base on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words.So please do not let us down in maintaining this our property and God bless you more as you do this.”

#3

Hello,
I received your inquiry about my property for rent at **** , My name is ****, My family and I just moved down to Las Vegas,NV due to my job transfer, we will be here for 4 to 5 years. My initial plan was to sell the house but I find it difficult to let go this adorable home, I have decided to rent home to a responsible tenant who is willing to take very good care of it in our absence. Pets are allowed as long as they are not destructive. The rent is $725 and security deposit is $700 and total move-in cost is $1,425 and all the utilities are included in the monthly rent,as i am in a governmental programmer that sponsors my utilities on monthly basis and pets are also allowed. Feel free to contact me via email for further inquiries .You can drive-by to view the outside and neighborhood of the house and get back to me with the rental questionnaire filled out.

General house description:
Bedroom: 3
Bathroom: 1

Below are some questions I need you to answer so we can discuss further. You can only drive by the property for now to check the outside and the neighborhood, it is available for a long lease. Get back to me for further discussion on how to get the keys and paperwork of the property to you if I find you suitable and decide to rent the property to you..

RENT QUESTIONNAIRE

Name (First name/ Middle name/Surname ) : __________?
Phone numbers (home,cell and office line ) # :__________?
Marital Status:__________?
How many proposed occupants :__________?
List all in addition to yourself including approx age :__________?
Present Address :__________?
Will you have pets :__________?
Please describe Breed, size :__________?
Personality of pet :__________?
When do you plan to move in, please write exact date?
Intended length of lease:__________?
Do you agree to pay the payment before you move in:__________?
If you are ask to make a down payment to secure the house today and take it off market, How much will you be able to pay:__________?
Length of previous tenancy :__________?
Present occupation :__________?
Are you a section 8 applicant
Do you work late night :__________?
Do you smoke :__________?
Do you drink :__________?


I ___________________, Certify that answers given herein are true and complete to the best of my knowledge. I authorize investigation of all statements contained in this application for tenant screening as may be necessary in arriving at a tenant decision. I understand that the landlord may terminate any rental agreement entered into for any misrepresentation made above.

Looking forward to hearing from you with all these details so that I can have it in my file in case of issuing the receipt and contacting you. Await your reply so we can discuss on how to get the document and the key to you.

N.B: I want you to know that we never had an intention of renting out the home until we got down here when my wife got sick so we had to rent out the home so we can use the monthly rent as a source of income to carter for my wife and the kids,so should in case we had an intention of renting the home then we would have drop down the keys with someone to handle the rental on our behalf but since we don’t then that is why we had t o bring the keys over here,so we will be mailing out the keys to you as soon as we finalize the rental processes OK?

Thanks and God bless.”

#4

Hello Dear,


Am sorry for the late response. It’s my great pleasure that you are interested in our lovely home  for rent.My name is **** am  the  owner of this home, Actually we resided in this home before and presently we have packed out due to my transfer as a matter of my profession, where I work as a Civil Engineer I am here in Kenya. And my wife who is a missionary’s dealing with Bible Translation and literacy worldwide…Please i want you to note that i spent a lot on my property that i want to give to you for rent, so i will solicit for your absolute maintenance of this house and want you to treat it as your own, It is not the money that is the main problem but i want you to keep it tidy all the time so that i will be glad to see it neat when i come for a check up. I also want you to let me have trust in you as i always stand on my word. Me and my wife bought the house when we got married. When we left the state I had a thought of selling the house so I have to look for an agent, after getting one, we got a deal but later my wife advised against that. I reasoned with her and accepted her advise. So I contacted the agent back and requested for my keys and documents. Later we decided to have the house rent out our-self, we would have give the same agent this job also but the truth of the matter is that the agent would want to handle it professionally and the occupant may not be able to reason along with him later. If you notice, you will discovered that the price we are offering is far below standard price, this is enough for you to know that we are not after the rental fee but the absolute care for the property. 

The house include the utilities like Heat, A/C in wall/window, Hydro, cable, Garbage Disposal, Fireplace ,Fridge, stove, Dishwasher, Dryer, Breakfast Bar, Dining Table and Sofa Set,Refrigerator,Canopied deck overlooking nature.,internet access e.t.c. because of this reason and more we need a responsible person  that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money, but want it to be clean and for you to take it as if it were yours.
 
This is the address of the House (****)
The rent is: $600
Security Deposit: $700
2 beds / 1 baths 888ft2 available now
cats are OK – purrr
dogs are OK – wooof
wheelchair accessible
house

SO IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED I WILL WANT YOU TO FILL THE RENT APPLICATION FORM BELOW.
                      RENT QUESTIONNAIRE
 
1.) Your full Name?______________________________
2.) Your full address & mobile number / home #?______________________________
3.) Marital Status / DOB?___________________________________________
4.) How many people will be living in the house and Names of people moving in with you?
_________________________
5.) Length of previous tenancy and occupation of each person move in with you?
______________________________
6.) Do you have a car / Do you have a pet? Please describe Breed, size______________________________
7.)  Are you a section 8 applicant?__________________
8.) Do you run a business from home, If so what kind of business?___________________
9.) How often do you do your current house cleaning?___________________
10.) When will you like to move in?_____________________________
11.) How long are you willing to stay in the property?________________
12.) When are you ready to Move In, please write exact move in date?________________
13.) How many months rent can you pay upfront? Minimum ( 1 month +
SECURITY DEPOSIT ) or ( 2 months + SECURITY DEPOSIT ), so which option
do you prefer ??________________
14.) Earliest possible date of deposit?_____________
15.) Can we trust you and our house safe keeping in your hand?_______________________
16.) If you are ask to make a down payment to secure the house today and take it off market, How much will you be able to pay:__________?
17.) Do you work late night and do you smoke and drink? (We just wanna know don’t get it twisted) no hard feelings.
18.) REFERENCE?__________________
19.)Attach A Copy Of Your Driver License
     =================
20.) Applicant Comment:
     =================

Looking forward to hearing from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file in case of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you…Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the keys to you,please we are giving you all this based on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words,you know that we have not seen yet and only putting everything into Gods hands,so please do not let us down in this our property and God bless you more as you do this…The house is available for rent at the moment so you are free to move in as soon as you wish to. Feel free to get back to me for more  information and arrangements on how to get the keys and other necessary documents delivered to you. The house will be available for rent for a period of 5 years so you have a choice of deciding how long you intend staying there…

YOU CAN CALL ME OR TEXT ON THESE NUMBER:****”

#5

Hello,

        Thanks for your interest and inquiry about my house. Yes the house is still available for rent and we are looking for a responsible person/family to occupy and maintain the house now that we are not around. Myself and my wife just traveled to Oroville, CA  for a program called SERVING IN MISSION (SIM), you can view the link for more info: (http://www.sim.org/index.php/content/our-purpose).

        We will be away for 3 to 4 years or more that is why I have made up my mind to put up my house for rent to whom ever that will take good care of it. However, my initial plan was to sell the house  but it was not successful because the Realtor raised the price which made it difficult for me to sell before leaving the States so never mind if you see the for sale sign in front of the house, It has already been taken off the market as for sale so there is no need to contact any Realtor.

        I want you to understand that I spent a lot on my property that you have requested to rent, so I will solicit for your absolute maintenance of this house and would want you to treat it as your own because cleanliness they say is next to Godliness. It is not all about the money to be paid on rent or spent; it is all about a good maintenance culture which I want you to adopt on the property. I want you to keep it tidy all the time so that I would be full of smiles whenever I come and above all, a good, strong and tight relationship between us when I come for a check up. Please one more thing, I wouldn’t like to have any benefit of trust in you because I want to stand in your words that the property would be well taken care of all the time. I believe you have seen how lovely it is if from only the pictures you saw in my posting compare to the 100% comfort to be derived from it as you are an occupant.”

Notice any common themes in these messages?

 

Third Time is Not a Charm

House number three is definitely out of the picture.  The listing agent was acting and communicating in a very confusing way, which left us scratching our heads.  We had no idea what he wanted us to do or if they really even wanted to negotiate with us on the house.  It turns out they were trying to get us into a bidding war.  No thanks–we decided to cancel our offer and look for another place.

Once that deal was off the table, our realtor sent us a link to a city-owned property.  It’s quite large and needs only a fraction of the rehab that many of the other houses we’ve seen have needed.  Being the rock star that she is, our realtor has arranged a walk-through of the house tomorrow, Christmas Eve.  We’ll see if this is the right one.  Kind of like Mary and Joseph searching for a suitable shelter in which to welcome their son.

Is this similar to what Jesus’ parents were feeling on that first Christmas?  Did they question God about why they found themselves in such an uncertain and uncomfortable position when they were just trying to do His will?  Were they anxious because they had no place to call home when they were welcoming the Son of God into this world?  Did they have to take joy in the small blessings so that they could remember that God is good?  What did they think and feel when they were sheltered in a barn with their newborn baby, and others were comfortable in warm homes?

I’ve gained a greater appreciation for what that first Christmas must have been like.  It was uncomfortable and smelly.  They must have felt confused, anxious, and disoriented.  They were probably also thankful for the small things–the animals’ warmth that kept them warm, a manger where they could place the baby, and the shepherds who noticed and celebrated the arrival of their son.

This Christmas I’m trying to find joy in the small things–freshly baked cookies, shelter from the elements, and cardinals and chickadees frolicking in the bare lilac bushes outside my parents’ house.  Take a moment this Christmas to cherish the small things in your life!

6 More Practical Ways to Help the Homeless

Here are a few more ideas of things you can do to help those who are homeless.

  1. PROVIDE A TEMPORARY HOME.  Of course this depends on the individual circumstances of your situation.  Do you have room to house an extra person?  Do you know the person enough to trust them in your home?  I’m not advocating inviting someone you don’t even know to spend the night in your home, especially not if you have children.  However, would you invite someone you know personally to live with you until they can get on their feet and find more permanent housing?  Are you willing to put up with some measure of inconvenience?
  2. STORE THEIR BELONGINGS.  Unless a homeless person has money to pay for storage, they will probably have to give up a significant portion of their belongings.  Not only is this very sad, but it puts a greater financial burden on them when they do find housing again, because they have to buy household supplies and furnishings again.  Maybe you would have enough room in your basement, garage or shed to keep some of their belongings until they can claim them again.
  3. TAKE IN/HELP RE-HOME THEIR PET.  When you lose your house, you also lose the ability to house your pets.  I once saw a homeless man who had kept his dog as a companion, but I think that’s probably not the norm.  If a person is forced to give up their pet, they will feel some peace of mind knowing that it is going to a good home and not just going to end up in an animal shelter.
  4. BE AN UNDERSTANDING PERSON TO TALK TO.  When a person is homeless, they can lose some of their feeling of being a normal person.  It’s a gift to them when you can talk to and with them in a respectful and friendly manner.  Make them feel like a valued human being, but also treat them with respect.  While you probably feel badly about their situation, don’t let your entire conversation revolve around the fact that they don’t have a home.  They want to be valued for who they are, not defined by the current circumstances in their lives.
  5. HELP PROVIDE MONETARILY FOR THEIR NEEDS.  You can give cash, which can be used for any manner of needs: food, a hotel room, clothing, toiletries, travel, etc.  If you’re nervous about providing cash, perhaps because you don’t know what it will be used for, you could give in the form of a gift card instead.  Just make sure it’s for a store that is somewhat well-known, such as Walmart or Target.
  6. ADVOCATE FOR TINY HOUSES IN YOUR COMMUNITY.  These houses can provide temporary shelter for the homeless in any community.  Here is an article about a good-sized city in my state which has done just such a thing.  There is more to it than simply building tiny houses, but it’s refreshing to see that it can be done successfully.

11 Practical Ways to Help the Homeless

How many times have you seen a homeless person camped out at a busy intersection?  Let me assure you that there are many more homeless in your community–those who are not sitting out on a corner, but in a shelter or a relative’s home.  Someday you will probably have a personal acquaintance who finds themselves without a permanent home.  Here are some practical ideas for ways you can help them.  Every situation is different, so they may not need help in all areas.  It’s best to be straightforward and ask what they could use help with.

  1. OFFER THE USE OF YOUR WASHER AND DRYER.  It is extremely inconvenient to not have access to laundry equipment.  A homeless person generally has a small amount of clothing and it’s important that they be able to wash it regularly.  Who wants to go around wearing smelly clothing?  Laundromats are generally prohibitively expensive and not always accessible.
  2. OFFER THE USE OF YOUR SHOWER.  The simple knowledge that you’ll be able to regularly shower is a great reassurance.  Even if it’s only twice a week, at least they will have a schedule for when they can get clean.  It’s really dehumanizing to not even be able to clean yourself when necessary.
  3. OFFER YOUR HOME AS A PLACE WHERE THEY CAN RECEIVE MAIL AND MAKE PHONE CALLS.  Without a permanent address, it’s incredibly difficult to receive mail. You simply fall off the grid when you don’t have an address.  If the person in question doesn’t have a cell phone, the ability to make necessary phone calls from your home would be a great convenience, too.  Receiving calls would also be a nice benefit, but they would probably have to camp out for a while.  It’s rare to know exactly when you’ll be receiving important phone calls from caseworkers, potential employers, etc.  You could offer to take messages for those important calls so that they can call back about important bits of business the next time they are at your house.
  4. SCHEDULE AN ENJOYABLE AND RELAXED HANG-OUT TIME IN YOUR HOME.  It is a great gift to be able to spend relaxed and enjoyable time in a regular home–forgetting for a space of time that you are, in fact, homeless.  If you want to schedule activities, they should be low-key and completely optional.  The individual may simply want to relax, chat, read a book, or do something else that is relaxing and rejuvenating to them.  Try to just treat them like another member of the family and not schedule every minute of their time.
  5. PROVIDE SHELTER IN INCLEMENT WEATHER.  Give an open invitation, letting them know that if the weather is too cold/wet/hot/extreme, they are welcome to wait it out in your home.  Would you want to be out in the elements in a blizzard or tornado?  I didn’t think so.
  6. INCLUDE THEM IN HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS.  It’s quite depressing to be without a home during the holidays and to not be able to participate in holiday traditions.  Invite the homeless in for holiday meals, caroling, opening gifts, etc.  It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you haven’t been forgotten and you matter.
  7. HELP SECURE HOUSING AND EMPLOYMENT.  It’s exhausting and difficult to get permanent housing and a job when you’re homeless.  Anything you can do to help a person in this process would be appreciated.  Ask them what you can do and respect their wishes.  Also know that just because a person is homeless, they are not necessarily unemployed.
  8. OFFER CHILDCARE.  This is especially important for the single parent who is homeless.  They may need to go to appointments where their child is not welcome.  If you are good with kids and somebody they trust, offer to watch their child while they go to appointments, etc.
  9. EXTEND AN OPEN INVITATION TO MEALS.  Let them know that they are welcome to join you for a meal whenever they need it.  It’s very easy to include an extra person in your meal by adding another side dish to make the meal go farther.
  10. OFFER TRANSPORTATION.  Some people will have cars and some won’t.  For those who do not, your offer of transportation will make appointments and errands much easier.  Be clear in communicating about both of your schedules and expectations.  You could ask if they want to accompany you on regular errands such as grocery shopping, etc.  That way you both get your regular tasks done and it only takes a bit of extra planning.
  11. BECOME AN ADVOCATE FOR THE HOMELESS.  Learn all you can about the state of homelessness and how to help.  Educate others when the opportunity presents itself.  Don’t think that somebody else will help–be the one who steps up and does something.  Do what you can for the homeless in your own community!

 

**I did not include offering a place to sleep in this list, even though that is the most obvious tip.  I wanted to suggest other options for those who are not in a position to provide sleeping space, but still want to do something helpful.

Doldrums

We’ve gotten a taste of what it feels like to be homeless, and we are so ready to be done with it!  I know that our circumstances are a bit different, but we’re still feeling some of the same things that any other homeless family would feel.  I’ll just give a rundown of some of the feelings that being without a home can bring up:

  1. STRESS.  This is number one.  No matter what we’re doing there is a constant undercurrent of stress and anxiety.  I have to fight to keep it in check so that my behavior isn’t constantly tainted by stress and worry.  If I don’t keep it in check, it turns into a feeling of panic.
  2. SENSE OF BEING LOST.  Many of the markers that define and encompass your life when you have a home to call your own are simply not there when you are homeless.  There is no quiet and familiar place where you can relax and which gives you some measure of comfort.  You aren’t surrounded by familiar belongings.  You can’t even function like you would in your own home because there is no space for you to call your home base.  If you’re staying with a relative, you have to tuck your necessities in among theirs in a way that is as unobtrusive as possible.  Even your regular routines are no longer there because you have to work around someone else’s schedule.  Anything could be up in the air–bath time, meal times, TV time, bedtime, etc.
  3. SADNESS/APATHY/DEPRESSION.  It is only a matter of time before the uncertainty of your situation gets to you and you start to feel a certain amount of sadness, apathy, or depression.  You know that you can’t live a normal life, so you stop trying.  You don’t have the same standards or expectations that you had before.  It’s a successful day if you got clean, fed, and just made it through the day to bedtime again.  After a certain amount of time you stop caring.  It feels like nothing is going to get better, so you stop hoping for anything better.
  4. INTERRUPTION OF THE BASICS OF LIFE.  Even the most basic things in life become a major chore.  Meal preparation.  Showers.  Childcare.  Getting children to school.  Doctor’s appointments (or really any other kind of appointment).  Getting/keeping a job.  Receiving mail.  Doing laundry.  Sleeping.  Getting permanent housing.  It wears you down very quickly.

We’re staying at a relative’s house and it is still incredibly difficult to cope.  I can’t imagine what it would feel like to truly have nowhere to go, no money to fall back on, no friends or family to help.  The next time you see a homeless person on the street, please remember that everything is a struggle for them.  Please look for things you can do to help them long-term, as they try to get on their feet again.  It can be a long and exhausting process, but don’t give up on them.  Everybody deserves a place to call home.

Offer on a Fixer-Upper

I did go down to our target city last weekend and toured quite a few properties.  Three of them stood out to me as having potential for our family.  One of them had asbestos siding, so I researched that online and found out that those houses can be difficult to insure.  After checking with our insurance company, I found that they do NOT insure houses with asbestos siding.  Okay, that one was off the list.  The other house has three buildings on the property and is a bit more divided than we would like.  The last house is quite large but needs a ton of work.  We decided to offer on the last one.

Yesterday we made an offer on the major fixer-upper.  We found out that an investor had previously made an offer on the house and that there was a lot of back and forth negotiation still in the process.  My suspicions are that the investor was just trying to pay as low a price as possible.  Since the seller now has two offers on the table, they asked for each of us to submit our best offer.  While we are offering all that we have (which isn’t much when it comes to buying a house), we’re not in much of a position to compete with an investor.  We’ve been praying about it and asking others to pray with us.  It would be nice to get the house, but maybe it isn’t God’s plan for us.  If not, we can always offer on the three-building property.

The waiting is difficult.  Not knowing one way or another and trying not to let my thoughts be consumed with this one issue is a major challenge.  I want to be content with whatever God has planned for us, whether or not it’s what I think He has planned.

We should have a reply to our offer by tomorrow.  Until then I’m trying to just chill out.  Easier said than done.  A hot cup of tea definitely helps  🙂

Technically Homeless

Yes, we are technically homeless right now.  The big difference between our situation and that of other homeless families, is that we chose to put ourselves in this position.  It’s not nearly as scary when you have a choice in the matter.

We accepted an offer on our house on October 9 and closed on November 4.  That means it only took 26 days to close!  That time was a whirlwind of packing, cleaning, taking things to storage, and taking care of all the little tasks of moving house.  Despite all of that, it was surprisingly relaxed and unstressful.  The day of closing, two friends from church came over and helped us do last-minute cleaning and getting final belongings out of the house.  It worked out perfectly, with just the right amount of time for us to drive over to our realtor’s office to sign papers.  The kids hung out in an adjoining room, playing with their little animal and people figurines.  That was it–we were house free and had a good down-payment for a new house!

We’ve spent two nights at my parents’ house now.  My dad set up their pop-up camper in the garage and that’s where all seven of us, plus the two cats are sleeping.  It’s cozy.  😉

We’re getting by as best we can, trying to operate out of someone else’s home.  I’m just focused on keeping our basic needs met–clean laundry, regular meals, trying to stay organized.  It’s a daunting task since we don’t really have any space of our own.  The camper is too small for anything other than sleeping.

I’m hoping to go down to our target city at the end of this week and look at some potential properties.  We don’t want to move in the middle of winter.  That’s a little too much adventure for us.

Kundalini Warning Documentary – Andrew Strom

I’m sharing the following videos because they were very informative and helpful to me in understanding a newer influence that is becoming more mainstream in the church.  Personally, I’m alarmed at the way some of these supposed “Spirit” movements are going, and I think it’s especially important to inform and warn our young people because they seem to be the main targets.

Andrew Strom, the man who does the documentary, asks the question, Are false spirits invading the church?  I think he does a great job of examining this phenomenon.  Each video is about 10 minutes long.

SHOCKING DOCUMENTARY 1- False spirits invade the church – KUNDALINI WARNING – Andrew Strom -Part 1

SHOCKING DOCUMENTARY 2- False spirits invade the church – KUNDALINI WARNING – Andrew Strom -Part 2

SHOCKING DOCUMENTARY 3- False spirits invade the church – KUNDALINI WARNING – Andrew Strom -Part 3

 

*Please pardon the dramatic music in the videos.

Awareness

One of my main hopes for this blog, once we have actually settled into an inner city neighborhood, is to use it as a tool to spread awareness.  This awareness could encompass many things (I certainly hope that it does), such as living conditions, crime rates, general community statistics, personal stories, and the everyday difficulties and victories of life in the inner city.

I want to share the things I learn and observe, but also use this as a platform to share other peoples’ thoughts and stories.  Let’s face it–a person of color who collaborates with a white person in telling their story is going to be afforded more credibility by many other white people.  I don’t think that’s the way that it should be, but I recognize that we tend to look to those who are most like us when we want to know if what we’re being told is truthful.  Some people will try to deny it, but I suspect that if they looked deep down within themselves, they would see that it’s true for them, however deep it is buried.  It’s true of me–I tend to look to other moms (the ones who are most like myself inspire greater confidence), when I want to find out the truth of something.

I have a platform in communicating with other white people, simply because I myself am white.  That’s just reality.  Perhaps we’re just hard-wired as humans to trust that which looks familiar to us.  I don’t know, but I’m willing to work within that reality to try and bring awareness to some things which your average white person living in suburbia or a small town might not be aware of.

Using this blog as a platform to hopefully increase this type of awareness is not my only goal, but it is an important part.  I’d really like to share with those who’ve told me:

“I’d never go there.”

“Good luck.”

“You know there’s a lot of crime there, right?”

“You couldn’t pay me enough to move there.”

“Why not just minister right here?”

I want to share real people and their stories, so that those with doubts about the worth, validity, and saneness of going to the inner city can see that we are talking about real people who are not so very different from ourselves.  I want them to see that there are people in the inner city who need a helping hand and a listening ear every once in a while, and it’s a privilege to be their friend and confidante.  And most important to me, I want them to learn about the kids.  I have always been drawn to kids.  For as long as I can remember I’ve been the mom-type.  We have five kids of our own, and wherever we go, other children are drawn to us.  They see the kid-party central going on in our family and they want to join in.  And we’re happy to include them!  I just love investing in young people–it fuels me like nothing else!

I want all the doubters and naysayers to see the amazing kids.  And I can’t wait to meet those kids myself.  🙂

Presidential Debate – Oct. 9, 2016

I just finished watching the second presidential debate with my husband and two sons.  Now I need to talk about what we just heard and witnessed.  Please know that these are only my personal thoughts and observations.  You are entitled to your views, just as I am entitled to mine.

First, you should know that I am normally not involved in politics.  It isn’t that I don’t care that I have the right to vote, it’s just that politics matter little in what I believe God requires of His believers.  Right now I know some of y’all just picked up some stones to chuck at my head.  😉

Let me explain.  My personal views on what a Christian life should look like stem from my observations of Jesus’ life.  Jesus’ popularity developed at a time of great political unrest.  The Jews hated that they were under the rule of the Romans.  Jesus knew this and could have taken advantage of that charged political atmosphere to garner supporters and amass a great following.  He could have secured followers using forceful political rhetoric, and challenged Roman rule with the backing of his fellow Jews.  It would have seemed a noble cause, a great rallying point, a quest for justice and freedom.  But that is not what he did.

Why not?  The first reason is that Jesus came not to establish His kingdom on earth, but to plant the seeds that would come to fruition at a later time.  When seeds are planted, it takes time for them to sprout, strengthen and grow.  The seeds of faith that Jesus planted needed time to grow.  The seeds which grew into young plants needed pruning to help strengthen and train them into useful living organisms.  Jesus came to plant the seed which would one day flourish, grow into mature plants, and be harvested into His eternal kingdom.  He did not come to tear up all the weeds and stick a bunch of adult wheat in the ground.  The Church, his holy bride, had to develop and mature over time, until she was ready.  If Jesus’ method for bringing about the Kingdom of God did not incorporate the political system of his day, why should ours?

If Jesus had chosen the political rallying method of establishing his kingdom, he would have been operating according to man’s ways, not God’s ways.  So I tend to take a long-term view of God’s Kingdom and politics in general.  I know that political leaders and parties will come and go.  I know that laws and policies will change.  However, I also know that God will NEVER change.  I base the direction of my life on God, not any political party or leader.  There will never be a political leader who will accurately represent the God I love.  A fallen man can never fill the shoes of God.

So I don’t usually concern myself with politics.  Whatever is happening around me politically, I know what God has commanded me to do, and that is to glorify Him and make disciples.  I can do that under a Democratic President, and I can do that under a Republican President.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

Romans 13: 1-7 (NIV)

 

But there comes a day when the political rhetoric and obtuseness in your country becomes so great that you can’t keep your mouth shut any longer.  That day has arrived for me.

When many of my fellow Christians endorse a candidate who is so much the opposite of Jesus, whom we are called to emulate, there is something wrong.  What I saw of Trump tonight convinced me that he is a person who:

  1. Plays the blame game extraordinarily well.  I couldn’t believe how much finger-pointing and blaming he did.  He blamed Hillary for not fixing inner cities, for not changing tax laws, for the failure of Obamacare, for any issues in New York (where she was Senator), for the failings of the Senate, for foreign policy failings.  Is there anything that he believes she is not solely responsible for?  I had no idea this woman was juggling so many hats all by her lonesome!  Point: Does God call us to play the blame-game with others or to own up to our own faults?  A political candidate needs to accept criticisms without automatically reverting to blaming others.
  2. Does not reconcile the things he says and believes.  I don’t even know where to start.  Trump has said so many offensive and hurtful things to people from a variety of different people groups–African Americans, POWs, women, Latinos, people with disabilities, Muslims, etc.  Yet, when asked if he would fairly represent all people in America, he answered yes.  His insulting words contradict his claims about wanting to fairly represent all US citizens and undertake the leadership of this country.  You can’t disrespect and belittle whole swaths of American citizens and then in the next breath, say that you will serve and represent them in an unbiased manner.  Point: A politician who is cavalier about mocking, belittling and disliking numerous people groups is not someone who should be put in a position of power over those people groups.
  3. Lacks specific, concrete plans.  I cannot count the number of times he used broad generalities in his language which conveyed absolutely no facts.  Language such as: very, so much, a lot, really, awful, terrible, etc. do not convey any real meaning.  This is the language of someone who wants to make you think something, but they don’t bother to gather any facts to back up their statements.  Please use numbers, names, and hard facts.  Facts, people, facts.  If you hear a sentence from a candidate which is meant to send you into an emotional state and it isn’t backed up by anything more than their assurance that things are really, really awful, put your emotions on hold.  Check out the facts before getting drawn into the emotionally charged mire.  Also, when Trump talked about what he would do for America, he did not share specifics.  If he is to inspire confidence in his followers, he has to know where he is going.  I got the sense that he was simply bluffing by saying the things people want to hear, without actually having any plans to follow through with.  Point: A political candidate should not be so cavalier about spreading messages which are based on nothing more than their opinion and vague, emotionally-charged statements.
  4. Lacks focus.  I found myself saying ‘huh?’ on multiple occasions.  Some of the things which Trump said didn’t make any sense.  Perhaps he was flustered, but the President of the US needs to be able to utter coherent sentences.  I just want to hear some thoughts which a reasonable person can follow and make some sense of.  Another issue related to lack of focus was his tendency to go off on tangents.  Trump had an uncanny ability to take a seemingly straightforward question and completely derail it so that he could talk about whatever he wanted to talk about.  I get that politicians do this, but what we need are real answers to real questions.  At least do the American people the dignity of talking to us like your peers.
  5. Acts immature.  This came through in what seemed like petulant remarks which a politician with more experience would understand is not a desirable trait in a President.  There were also remarks and behavior which reminded me of how a bully would behave.  Do we want our President to employ bullying tactics with the people he disagrees with?  Really?
  6. Knows how to play both the business system, and now the political system.  This is a man who knows how to manipulate.  He is confident, commanding, and knows how to get people to see and/or feel a certain way.  If Trump wants to make you upset about Muslims, all he needs to do is use language which will incite fear in his listeners.  Then he will manipulate you into thinking that he has the answer for this problem.  Of course you’ll see him as the political savior!  This man plays peoples’ emotions and fears like a harp.  Do not submit to such manipulation!

That’s it.  Those are my thoughts and observations based on tonight’s debate.  I wish that I could keep silent at this time and just let politics play out its normal back and forth shift, but there are people who should not exercise control over others.  I believe that Donald Trump is just such a man.

I fear for our country should he come to power.  I fear for women, people with disabilities, American Muslims, African Americans, and Latinos in the US.  Do I want to see my fellow countrymen belittled and made to feel less than?  Do I want the leader of our country to deny the worth which God has placed in all of his created beings?  No way!

I’m not advocating Hillary, but I’m pleading with my fellow Christians to stop allowing Donald Trump to use his hatred, bigotry, and divisive rhetoric to divide us.  Our identity is in Christ first.  Period.  End of sentence.  How will others know we are true Christians?  By our love for one another.  I love my brothers and sisters in Christ–male, female, old, young, disabled, African American, Latino, and all other colors under the sun.  I even love Muslims, though we are not brothers and sisters in Christ.  Why?  Because my Father created and loves them, just as much as he loves me and those I hold dearest in my heart.  Let the unity of God remain between those who love Christ.

Trump doesn’t even enter into it.

False Teaching: Demons in Church – Rick Joyner – False Prophet – Morningstar Ministries – Kundalini

I’m starting a new series on what I’ll be dubbing “Sham Christianity.”  These posts will seek to point out false teaching in the Church and Christianity at large.  Any names associated with these videos are not really meant to particularly single out that person or ministry.  The more important things to focus on are the message, manifestations, and personal integrity of the leaders.  I’m amazed at how many people are deceived by all kinds of supposedly Christian messages, manifestations, and other hoopla which is not supported in the least by Scripture.  It is my belief that if a new teaching comes along and it cannot be supported by God’s Written Word, then it should not be accepted as God’s message at all.  Of course people have differing viewpoints on this, but I believe that since God does not change, He would not introduce doctrine and practices into the Church which would undermine The Holy Bible–the main way He has chosen to reveal Himself and His plan for humanity to mankind.

Anybody with a modicum of common sense can do some very basic research and see that something strange is invading churches today.  People are engaging in all sorts of bizarre behavior and embracing heretical teachings.  Unfortunately, the Church has generally been checking its collective brain at the door for so long, that we’ve forgotten how to discern God’s messages from the counterfeit ones which Satan tries to sneak into the Church.

It’s time to use our brains again.

DEMONS IN CHURCH RICK JOYNER FALSE PROPHET MORNINGSTAR MINISTRIES KUNDALINI

It seems that young people are especially susceptible to this type of sham Christianity.  I pray that at least a few young people would be warned against this type of teaching and that they would recognize it for what it is, should they ever come across it. (And run–far, far away!)

Paul Washer Sermon: Marks of True Christianity

I just finished listening to this interesting sermon from Paul Washer.  He talks about what our approach should be in leading others to Christ, and the marks of true Christianity.  The title of the video is a little misleading–it simply comments on the audience he was preaching to and he is in no way critical of them.  In fact, quite the opposite.

Paul Washer Preaching to Reformed Rappers

We’ve Accepted an Offer!

As of yesterday we accepted an offer on our house!  It was the first offer we received, and the offer was too good to refuse.  It’s not quite as much as we would have liked to get for the house, but the buyer didn’t ask for an appraisal or inspection.  It was also a cash offer, which totally negates the need for flood insurance on her end and should help expedite the process.  We are hoping that we can move before it’s too snowy and cold.  We’re also trusting that God will provide sufficient funds for the purchase of our new house.

This is an answer to prayer!  Let’s hope that everything works out.

We’re feeling bittersweet about the whole thing.  On Halloween, we will have lived in this house for six years, and it feels like home.  For three of our kids, it’s the only home they’ve ever known.  It will be sad to leave behind the house that we love, our community, our church, friends and family.  We’ve made a lot of good memories here.