Rejoice With Us!

Our House

Today’s theme is gratefulness. I want to record all of God’s goodness to us in the most detail I can.

God led us to our home.  A home we had initially rejected as we did internet research, but nevertheless the home for us.  Just the leading to the place was extraordinary.

We looked at one place that was well within our budget. It was somewhat redone (kind of a poor “flip” job), but no laundry area, air conditioning in the main living area and the secondary bedroom, but not the master bedroom (what’s with that?!).  A “soggy” place in the secondary bedroom floor, not a good sign.  A bit on the small side.  Kind of a messy park.  Park rent $490 a month.  Rather disappointing.

We had seen another mobile home for sale in the park across the street, #84.  We decided to drive by it and see it with our own eyes.  We saw that the owner was home, so we knocked on the door.  The new owner answered (the home should have been taken off the internet sites), but said that the home two doors down (#86) was for sale and to check it out.  So, we wandered down the street.

Two vehicles were in the carport, a golf cart was blocking access to the front door, but flyers were out in the little box attached to the “For Sale” sign.  As I reached in to get a flyer, a woman came out the front door.  We later learned that she thought I was the neighbor from across the street, to whom I bear resemblance.  She asked if we wanted to see the house.  “Of course!” we replied.  So, in we went.

Elke introduced herself and her husband, Bryne.  Just inside the front door is what Elke called the “boot room.”  That’s the term Canadians use for mud room.  It contained a rack for shoes, a chair to sit on to take off, change, or put on shoes, a little table, and a place for umbrellas, coats, sweaters, and the like.  Nice.  No need for shoes to gather around the foot of our chairs!  This is a continual problem with us.

Next, we entered a small living room/breakfast nook area.  I noticed the beautiful wood or wood laminate flooring that would be found throughout most of the home.  I’ve always loved wood floors; I grew up with narrow slat hardwood floors, and they were so beautiful, especially after Mom had deep cleaned and waxed them!  This room also has a reclining leather love seat, end table, and recliner.  This room has become Dana’s office.

We then entered the kitchen, the only room in the house with tile flooring.  Elke explained that, although all the house had been redone, the only thing that had been redone in the kitchen was the appliances.  Only the dishwasher is more than a couple of years old.  The stove is for someone who loves cooking, and Elke loves cooking!  The top of it is a solid cast-iron grill.  I’ve long “petted” stoves like this, liking them but never in my wildest dreams thinking I would actually have one.  There’s a small chest deep-freeze, perfect for the way I like to cook – making large batches and freezing portions for two servings that just need baked or microwaved for us.  Some fresh paint, new window treatments, and possibly cabinet and drawer face replacement, maybe new roll flooring, and it will be AMAZING! Just a little bit for me to do at some point to make the house “mine.”  Nothing urgent!

This mobile had originally been a two-bedroom place, but Elke and Bryne have transformed the second bedroom, adjacent to the small living room/breakfast nook, into a semi-formal dining room.  Once again, the closet and built-ins from the bedroom could be refaced, but it’s absolutely perfect!  The table can seat up to 8, maybe 10.

The sliding glass door that lead from this second-bedroom-now-dining-room has been removed, providing direct access to the enclosed sun room, which is now a living room.  Another large opening has been made between the dining room and the living room adding to the open look while still maintaining the integrity of the structure. I think that larger living room is about 12’x40’. There is a PIANO, another little table for office work or eating, a grandfather clock, and TWO sofas that turn into beds.  (My thought is to switch places with the old-school sofa bed and the reclining love seat, thus providing two separate sleeping areas for family.)  This room will be perfect for a home Bible study and/or prayer group and family gatherings.  WOW!

At the far end of this room is an enclosed porch – not too pretty, but not too much work to make beautiful.  Like everything else we had seen, it is structurally sound.  This area, about 12’x12’ or 12’x15’, will make a PERFECT sewing/craft/office room for me, and the door can be closed to block the view of how most sewing and craft rooms look much of the time.  Some paint, some better lighting and more electric outlets, a window air conditioning unit, and a big craft table at a good height, and a proper office chair is all it needs! Roll laminate flooring would be nice instead of the indoor/outdoor carpet that’s in there now.  Carpet and sewing pins can be dangerous to bare feet!  Again, nothing is urgent.

We came back around through the living room and dining room, and proceed through the hallway toward the bathroom and bedroom.  The washer and dryer are in an alcove in the hallway, then the bathroom.  It’s large and has a wonderful, new shower installed last year, along with a new toilet, sink and plumbing fixtures.  We also learned that the shower head is pressurized and will maintain constant temperature even when the toilet is flushed or laundry is started.  A small, but very appreciated, feature.  Also, the water heater is only two years old, as is the central heating system.  The evaporative cooler, aka swamper, is the same age.  Bryne said that on the 108* days we had in October 2017, he had it down to 68*F.  Nice!  And, very rarely is an air conditioner required here in the dry, dry desert.

The bedroom is somewhat small, but has a wonderfully large closet.  There’s room for our Southern California clothes to hang year ‘round, plus additional for the little bit of cold-weather clothing we have for our trips to Medford, Vancouver, and Virgin in the winter.  There is a window air conditioning unit in the bedroom.  Good thinking since the house does not have central air and sometimes it’s nice to chill a bedroom down just before bedtime.  The mattress is new, queen size like all the bedding we own.  Oh!  I don’t think that I’ve stated yet that all the furnishings, except a couple of Elke’s favorite pots and her good dishes and Bryne’s tools, came with the house!

We went out the back door, opposite the laundry area, to find ample storage for whatever we want to store.  We brought a lot of stuff with us from Thailand, but not that much!  As Elke was showing one of the locked storage closets, she pointed out the brand-new golf cart charger, because the golf cart comes with the home.  The carport extends the length of the mobile (60 feet, I think) and is paved and in excellent condition.  Alongside the carport are some plants, two of which are rosemary bushes.  How I love fresh rosemary!  We walked around the back of the home into a small yard area, also accessible through the sewing room.  It contains some pretty plants, a couple of chairs and a little table.  Walking back up the other side of the home, the outside wall of the sewing room, large living room, and mud room, there are five citrus trees, all bearing:  Blood orange, Clementine orange, Meyer lemon, Kumquat, and Grapefruit.  WOW!  We snagged a couple of kumquats – DELICIOUS! Elke says those kumquats make excellent marmalade.

Having made a complete circuit, we found ourselves back on the front porch.  It’s small, but has a little bistro set-up, a small bistro table and a couple of chairs along with a good-sized umbrella.  Good for sitting at in the evenings and spying on whoever goes up and down the street.  I like to spy on people 😉

This home meets all our needs (hard flooring, in-unit laundry, the ability to sleep our family when they come visit, a place for me to sew and craft and an office) and goes far beyond.

Now, for some of the even more interesting parts of this story.  Elke and Bryne had just returned, less than 10 minutes before, from a multiple-day trip to Mexico for dental work.  And, after hearing how lackadaisical their real estate agent is, if they had not been home, we probably wouldn’t have been able to see the home for a good, long time.  As we talked about faith, we learned they too are Christians.  As we spoke of our church, we found that they attend the same church, just the early service, the same time we attend Sunday School.  Also, their being snowbirds from the Edmonton, Canada area means they aren’t there all year ‘round.  And we’ve only been regular attenders there since October or so, so it’s no big surprise that we’ve not met them yet.

We gave an offer, which was accepted.  I emptied out my 403b account to get the cash to fully pay for the home; we didn’t want to incur any debt. We then applied for residency in the mobile home park.  On Saturday, 27 January, the paperwork was received from Vista Grande Spa telling us we were approved as residents.  On Monday, 29 January a call came to confirm that it really was me requesting the disbursement from my 403b account.  That check arrived in about a week.  Elke requested the paperwork to prove the title on the mobile home is clear, so it was possible to accomplish the transfer to our name well before Bryne and Elkie returned to Canada.  Things like this are a real relief to me.  Government paperwork drives me nuts!  We moved in the first week of April.  And the park rent is only $440 per month, includes water, sewer and trash, and it’s rent-controlled.  I think that means rent can only increase in conjunction with the cost of living figures from the government.

After 13 months of not having a home of our own, we are getting settled.  I never, in my wildest dreams, expected to be able to own our home again.  I never, in my wildest dreams, considered that our monthly rent would be under $1,000 per month.  I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for what God has provided us.

Then, Sunday, 14 January just added a bit of icing to the cake, so to speak. We were asked to share, during the service, the testimony of how God has provided a home for us. The church has just completed 8 days of prayer, and one of the things prayed over was our housing situation.

We’ve been in our home two and a half months now.  It really feels like home!  On Thursday, 7 June we hosted our first home Bible study, and it’s wonderful to see God encouraging others and us as Dana leads us through the book of Mark and we pray for each other. We thought it would mostly reach the park residents, but some from our church come and some of our friends from the Gideon’s are also coming.  I’m really enjoying that stove and oven, making snacks for each week.

When we follow God’s leading, He will provide everything we need, and BEYOND what we can even imagine possible.  Why do we ever doubt His love and watch-care for us.

 

Advertisements

Repatriation, Part 9

question mark

It’s been nearly 4 and a half months since my last entry about our repatriation.  That might provide a lot of information in and of itself.

It’s been a crazy 4 months.  Two days to recover from jet lag.  A funeral; nearly a week spent in Anaheim with family; our children delivering our car to us, and announcing that they took on ¾ of the cost of the car; a trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit family, especially four of our grandchildren; back to Riverside, CA and more resumes being sent out. This was all quite expected.

But then the unexpected happened.  My husband had a bad transition from his Thai medicines to medicines that are available here in the States.  Today marks his 26th day in hospital, with his discharge scheduled for 2 o’clock this afternoon.  He still has some ways to go to be fully “back to himself,” but we know that God is able.

My job hunt has not gone well.  Because I’ve been out of country and out of the school district so long, I cannot get letters of recommendation to apply for a contract position in the public school system here in California.  I do have applications in at two Christian schools in the area.  School opens early next month, and I’ve not heard anything.  Another online teaching opportunity just fell through.  However, I have a couple of kids I’m tutoring in their reading.  I’m in the process of working toward certification in teaching dyslexic kids and adults to read, spell, and write well.  I’d really like to have about 25 hours a week of private tutoring.  That could also include EFL/ESL and even sewing and crochet lessons.  I have my Cindy’s Creative Crafts shop on Facebook, and my husband will help me get the shopping cart stuff working better.  I need to find a better way to market it.  My book about overcoming fear is now available on Kindle via Amazon. I need to find a better way to market it too.  I’ve always had a lot of different interests, and there are a few things I do well.  Now they need to provide a way to provide for our financial needs.  I will probably have at least a brief stint in the retail arena.  Maybe as a clerk or cashier or something along those lines.  Minimum wage job with no benefits, probably multiple little jobs like this. I’ve submitted at least 50, probably closer to 100, online applications to various retailers.  Crickets.

I ask for your prayers in this next season of our lives.  We need a little place of our own, it doesn’t need to be much.  We need to stay in the Riverside area so my husband can complete his recovery here with the medical staff that is already involved in his care.

God has always taken care of us in the past, and I know He’ll continue and provide the perfect resources so we can once again serve with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

 

THE TICKETS ARE BOUGHT!

asiana-a380-copy

We did it! Yesterday, the 7th of February, we bought the tickets to take us to LAX. Asiana Air now has an A380 for the leg over the Pacific Ocean. The flights in the A380 are sooooo smooth – and quiet! We’ll be arriving at LAX on March 14th, 9:40 a.m. 35 more days, 31 until the sea container guys come to pick up 4 cubic meters of our stuff. Couldn’t sleep last night – such a mix of emotions, believe it or not. Excited to be reconnecting with friends and family, especially the grandchildren; sad to be leaving our dear friends (and pets) here.

Pray for the stress we’ll be going through these next few months – not only leaving our home of over 9 years, but finding jobs in our early 60s and settling back in.

We have enough in our account to cover the airfare (reimbursement will come the 7th of March), and we were able to fully pay for Dana’s cataract surgery – not sure how the money’s stretched that far, but it has. The next big expense on the agenda is payment to the shipping container company. That’s 2,500 USD – OUCH! Still cheaper than replacing the stuff we’re shipping with them . . . we’ve tried to keep it as low as we can. We need that amount to come in by the end of this month so we can pay the shipping guys without going into debt.  17% interest is a killer!  The contract has been signed with the shipping guys, so we can’t back out of it.

Once we’re back on U.S. soil, we’ll need increased support for March – June, to pay for increased rent and basic furniture and electric appliances as we set up house from scratch once again and find employment. Hopefully for the last time. We’re feeling our age, and getting older is NOT for sissies, that’s for sure!

If you would like to consider helping with our final expenses, we would greatly appreciate it. Over the course of the next 5 months (February – June) it seems to be about 11,500 above-and-beyond what we already normally receive, 2,300 more per month. Crazy, I know! This would enable us to pay our daughter back for the car they found for us and repatriate debt-free, able to help the family members we’re returning to help. It would also enable us to be in ministry positions that might not be able to provide as well as work in the public sector might. 23 people/families/Bible Study groups committing to 100 a month for the next five months would accomplish the goal.

Here’s a link to our mission facilitator’s page for us:
http://ssmfi.org/missionary/dana-and-cindy-bratton/

God bless you as you pray for and support us in this adventure!