My Cup Runneth Over

My sister Sharon recently reminded me of this phrase in a song we both heard –“I’m drinking from my saucer, ’cause my cup’s overflowed!”  That is about how I feel right now –blessed beyond anything I deserve.  I hate to go on and on about a house and all the little material things I like when there are such greater things to be thankful for such as Salvation, God’s Word, a wonderful Godly husband, good Christian families (on both sides), a strong church and Pastor, and good friends here and around the world.  But I also know God cares about little things; and as a Father, He delights to please us in so many ways, great and small.  I love to notice the little things God does for me…it would be a shame to let them pass me by.  So I would like to share a few–

A really nice kitchen…

A gas stove, and a real flame!  I grew up with a gas stove, and in the last two years I learned to appreciate them even more, having an electric one.

A fire place.  Can I tell you how much I love having a fireplace?  I love fall, and Christmas, and even winter –wierd, I know.  But again I grew up having a fireplace, and am so excited to have and use one again, especially as the chilly days draw nearer.

Living Room with Fireplace

A dishwasher.  I have never lived in a house with a dishwasher.  Growing up, my sister and I WERE the dishwashers, according to Dad.  It’s not too bad with just two people, but for baking, or having company, it is soooo much easier to just throw dishes into the dishwasher, then to wash counterfuls upon counterfuls of dishes!  I think I just might enjoy cooking and baking more too, knowing I don’t have oodles of clean-up to keep in mind!

Lots of windows and outdoor light.  I love the brightness of our home.  And curtains are so fun!

(And you may be saying, "Outdoor light?" We are in the middle of the outreaching effects of Tropical Storm Lee! Rain, rain, rain! No, not much outdoor light today!)

Outdoor living space.  Although we didn’t miss it too much in our apartment, it will be very nice to have picnics outside, cook burgers and steaks on the grill, plant flowers, and sit on the deck.

A grill!
This was before many of my plants either went into shock because of so much sunlight (weren't used to it), or flooded, and I brought most of them in.

A living room and kitchen adjoined.  I love being able to work in the kitchen and still feel a part to what is happening in the living room.  We can do our separate things and still converse, and maybe one day the kids can play on the floor and Dad read the paper while Mom bakes cookies…all in the same area!  (But life is sometimes less than ideal!  Maybe it will be more like –The kids arguing on the floor, Dad talking on the phone, and me hustling about the kitchen with timers going off and smoke rising from the oven!  We’ll be all together, though, nonetheless!)

A big master bedroom.  I love the roominess of our bedroom.  And I love the way Dustin and his Dad set it up.  I didn’t envision it that way, but I like it so much better than the idea I had.  It makes the room feel so spacious.

And I could go on and on, but I will stop there.  God is so good to us, and we don’t deserve such a nice, new house.  He even gave us lots of “little” things he knew we specifically would enjoy.  May we use them all to His glory and share liberally with others.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 23

All of the Change

I could say that we are busy–but if you know me at all, I never like to admit that Andrea and I are busy.  I could be wrong here–and I’m not trying to be dogmatic–but I have noticed that people who are truly busy never go around saying how busy they are.  I never hear my pastor saying, “Oh, I’m just so busy!  I don’t have time to do anything!”  And I know that he is one of the busier people that I know.  So, it’s hard for me to confess business…

A baby is on the way, due on February 6th, and we are overjoyed and blessed to have this responsibility to raise a child for God.  Summer at church has been full of our camp, Vacation Bible School, and a blossoming bus ministry, all of which we love serving in.  Along with the baby, which will change our way of life completely, we have been in the midst of another huge change.

It all started in 2008, when the bottom started to fall out from under the housing market, which caused housing prices to drop dramatically.  Two years ago, soon after we were married, we moved into a beautiful apartment right on the main drag in Red Lion, PA.  We could never complain about how nice it has been for us.  We created a multitude of memories here, and it has always been more than we thought we deserved.

Earlier this year, I started to get curious about actually purchasing a home.  We then started to save at or above half of what we make for whatever God might have us do with it–whether it be a home, or vehicle, or something else.  I talked to my parents and many others about what our options might be with buying a home and what we could responsibly afford.  Starting in May, I began to gather every last bit of personal financial information I could find to begin the pre-approval process.  We waited several weeks; then sat on it, took a deep breath, and observed what we could and could not do.  In early June, I was convinced that we would wait for another year or so.

Camp was coming in a little over a week.  The mortgage company that we were dealing with called and said that we were “pre-approved” for a certain amount, and the interest rate was actually much better than I expected.  I began to look intently at neighborhoods that would like, and then specifically at houses–and without a real estate agent: we did not feel quite ready for an agent yet.  In late June, just before camp, my parents came to bring Adam and Catie (my brother and sister) to camp.  Just after church and bus Sunday afternoon, they said, “Hey, let’s go look at houses.”  So we piled into the car and left.  I had neighborhoods that I liked, but nothing particular in mind.

We came to a brand new neighborhood about a mile and a half from where we live now.  There was a model home open as well.  We went into the beautiful home, of course knowing we could never afford it.  The neighborhood manager that worked for the builder told us the price range for it, which was less than I expected, but still well out of my range.  Then, he told us of a house just across the road that had been custom built by someone, but in the end, that person ended up not purchasing the house.  It was close to perfect from the moment we stepped in.  My parents even said that the styling of it is very “Dustin and Andrea.”  The manager told me the price, which was still out of my range, but fairly close to what we could afford.  He then said the magic words, “We really want to sell this house.  I’m willing to take any reasonable offer, especially if you can close within a month or two.”  Hey, that was us!  Our lease expires on our apartment, we have no property to sell or other contingencies.  If we can get the price within our range, we could definitely do this.

Well, camp started the next day–all day and night every day for the next week.  That was a perfect time for me to take a step back, think, pray, and get advice if this was the right path and right timing for us.  I was sure that it was.  I called the builder on Wednesday of camp, and told him that I wanted to meet with him and make an offer right after we get back–two hours after we got back home, in fact.

So I wrote up the proposal (I wanted them to build a deck and get us a refrigerator as well, on top of our price).  I wasn’t really low-balling either–reasonable is the word.  We met with the builders, handed them our proposal, and then I expected to wait over the weekend before they countered.  Nope.  She called her manager right there, and five minutes later, they had a counter proposal, and still with the 10 foot by 10 foot deck and refrigerator!  And only $5,000 more than we had offered!  I came back $2,500 less right there.  She called her manager again, and a couple minutes later, they were $2,000 above my proposal, and still with the added things.  Then we left.  Just for 15 minutes though!  We wanted to take one more look at the house.  We still loved it.

We came back, I gave her a nice little speech about compromise, and we ended up settling right in the middle, still with the two things that I wanted as well.  It was all done in an hour: offer, counter-offer, counter-offer, counter-offer, sign papers, make a deposit, done.  We had a tentative closing date of August 10th!

Now, over the last month, we have jumped through all of the financing hoops, and now, as of last Wednesday, our loan is approved with contingencies. (They still want to see that we have the cash for closing, as well as one clarification on tithing, of all things!  They thought it was undeclared debt at first –well it kind of is!)  So, as of now, the only thing left is to pack, close, and move.  I have a few pictures below.  We will have more as we start to make this house our home in less than two weeks!

The front of the house.
The kitchen, and part of the dining area.
View from the back, looking out into the PA countryside
Looking out the back from the living room area.