Friday, April 17, 2015

Hope and Home

Y'all. That inspector's report came back a 42-page heart attack.

I have been knitting a Seed Stitch pillow in an attempt to keep the hope alive. I paused last night to ask Josh the question I didn't want to send out into the world: Do you think the bank will still lend after it sees the inspector's report? Josh said he didn't know. I knit faster.

But surely they will. Insurance agent and realtor friends have gone out of their ways the past two days to assure us that it will be fine. Good. Fine is good. Banks expect things like this with an old home, they said. 

Maybe we're overreacting, I said back to Josh. knitknitknit

Hope with me, won't you? I have a vision to establish a house of refuge... a house with roses and a screened porch and fresh-baked bread and fluffy quilts and reading alcoves in the attic. We have a vision of one day adopting a child who has no home. Of welcoming people without a place. There are dreams here of hope and home...

knitknitknit -Brin

(Later note: I feel compelled to add that, 1. A 2011 inspection report showed issues that had all since been addressed by the current owner, and 2. The Seller's Disclosure was beautiful and didn't note anything alarming. It cited two concerns, so we were prepared for some issues. But not 42 pages. Egads.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Grays and Greens

Driving home - Cass County, Texas

Have you ever been to Northeast Texas in the spring? It's like rural England, almost. I wish you'd been in the car with me this morning, right before it rained, heading down the highway. Just over this hill, there's a pond and a field of wildflowers. Gorgeous.

I've decided I want to take a break from my usual color schemes and go with whites, grays, greens and antiqued golds for this house. The landscape today captured the colors perfectly. I feel my best on cloudy days in spring or fall, and I think I want that muted- yet hopeful- feeling in this new house.

We leave in 15 minutes to meet the home inspector at the house. I have the tape measure ready and am eager to see just how the little kitchen measures up. 

I'll report back, with pictures, very soon. Enjoy your Wednesday! -Brin

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Miscommunications and Muffins

We have lots and lots of house stuff going on these next few days. As you can imagine. There are meetings with insurance agents, the bank, the realtor... and then the 5-hour home inspection we need to be present for (and simultaneously get bids from companies on repairs that have to be done immediately). The home inspection was set for today but had to be rescheduled this morning due to realtor miscommunication. Josh had taken the day off and everything.

Maybe I need to take the realtors/inspectors/repairmen muffins to help speed this along and get everyone reading their texts and emails. Or maybe not. We are stress eating them kinda quickly. Ha!

Do yourself a favor and make these Streusel Crumb Blueberry Muffins. Go preheat the oven now. Seriously. I don't even like blueberries, but these are incredible! Perfect. Everything a muffin should be... and more.

Many pictures to come... just as soon as I can get in the house. Tomorrow, hopefully? 

In the meantime, happy Tuesday. If you were close, I'd offer you a muffin and coffee and drive you by the house....

Monday, April 13, 2015

Big News

We got the house!!! (And I guess a white flamingo, too.)

So, so, so much more to come. Get ready!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The (House) Game's Afoot!

Home wasn't built in a day.
-Jane Sherwood Ace

We got a counter offer yesterday. A gut-punching counter offer, but one nonetheless. The game is afoot!

Of course, I've been waking up between 3 and 4 AM since Monday, pacing, making kettles of tea, sketching out bathroom layouts, and telling myself to calm down... this is part of it. Josh and the realtor, meanwhile, are playing the game nicely. It's driving me crazy. Why can't we just walk up on porches, explain situations, have a glass of iced tea, and make a deal? The owner is a single woman several years older than I am. Let me at her. I know I could bring her around!

You get too emotionally attached to houses, everyone says.

Um, have you met me? Emotionallyattachedtohouses is my middle name.

I have so much to show y'all. And a dozen questions to ask. What should we do with the glassed-in side porch if we get the house? The alcove in the attic? The kitchen? The back garden?

Say a prayer, would you? We meet the realtor again this morning! -Brin

(By the way, your birthday wishes are treasured. I commented in the post below. Thank you all so very much! You made my day.)

(Oh! And my tea addiction is so out of control that Sonic Drive-In unofficially named their Sweet Cranberry Tea in my honor yesterday, nationwide. No joke. You can see it here. Nuts, right?!)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Freeman House the Second??

She woke each morning with a glow of hope,
not because a new dream had been born,
but knowing the one she carried
inside her heart would last.
-Jodi Hills, An Imperfect Life

I've had a secret, but now I'm telling you: I found a house. But not just any house. The house. I think I've found the house.

She reminds me of Freeman House- heavy wood floors, thick window panes, awkward rooms, soaring ceilings. But unlike Freeman House, someone hasn't abandoned her. In 2013, a nurse took pity on this house and gave her new electrics, a new roof, and a good leveling. What she hasn't had the time or inclination to do is give this old beauty her life back. 

Late in the afternoon on Easter Sunday, as it rained, we met the realtor and signed a contract. Are you sure? he asked, searching my face.

Absolutely, I answered. I've waited for this day.

Well, he replied, We should know by Wednesday

Wednesday is tomorrow. Tomorrow is my birthday. Josh looked at me and I looked at him and we both smiled.

So tomorrow, my birthday, is the day we hope to hear if we got Freeman House the Second.

Could y'all do this all again? We could be in for quite an adventure....

(A few things of note: like Freeman House, this house needs a major facelift, inside and out. And also like Freeman House, it sits in town on a third of an acre, with old rose bushes and ivy. Unlike Freeman House, this girl is on a corner lot, has a detached storage building/cottage, and is close enough to the ground that a donkey can't get stuck underneath it. Win!)

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Great Gift of Easter

The great gift of Easter is hope -
Christian hope which makes us have
that confidence in God, in His ultimate triumph,
and in His goodness and love, which nothing can shake.
-Basil C. Hume

Thank you, Jesus, for making a way. For being the Way, Truth and Life. Because you died, I now live.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The God of Spring

The day the Lord created hope
was probably the same day He created Spring.
-Bernard Williams

Spring is so reassuring to me this year. 

Undoubtedly, change is coming to the nations. Big changes are coming to our doorstep. Although I'm not a news reporter anymore, I'm still a news junkie. But it doesn't take a news junkie or an acclaimed economist or an ivy league rocket scientist to tell us that change is in the air for our beloved country.

That's why I'm so grateful God made Spring. It's His reminder that He makes all things new. That He is the God of life.

So let's make our lemon cakes, even in times of turmoil. Let's raise our families and work our jobs and sing our songs and wash our dishes with a steadying hope that the God of Spring is on His throne.

Let the earth rejoice and hope, even still! 

Happy Spring.  -Brin

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Biscuits and Success

Put your heart, mind and soul
into even your smallest acts.
This is the secret of success.
-Swami Sivananda 

I've had so much stirring around in my mind lately. Big thoughts. Scatty thoughts. Important thoughts. Heavy thoughts. I think them as I go about my day- folding laundry, paying bills, making biscuits.

What about you? Thinking thoughts lately?

A collapse in oil prices and massive cuts in the industry have suddenly freed my time. (I should be used to it by now, after 2008 and all, shouldn't I?) Over the weekend, Josh told me I should take the time to write a book.

I wouldn't know where to start, I said.

What kind of book would you write?, he asked.

No idea, I responded. Not a clue. How do you even successfully write a book?

I've considered that question several times since I asked it. How do you even successfully write a book? As I was making biscuits, the answer came to me: how do you successfully do anything? How do you successfully make biscuits? Pay bills? Fold laundry? How do we successfully tackle that project, that goal, that dream? We throw ourselves in and at the end, there are our biscuits, our bills, our balled-up socks, our triumphs.

Time to put in our heart, mind, and souls, y'all. Time to see some success.  -Brin

UPDATE: My biscuit recipe is in the comments. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

"You still have hope so don't worry."

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. 
-Martin Luther


Thanks, you all, for the kind comments and emails. No test results yet from the doctor saying anything we don't already know. So I've been keeping busy in the meantime. Let me tell you about Valentine's Day....

So I started this my city called HUGS for the Homeless. Hats-Underwear-Gloves-Socks. We have a website and everything. Basically, the idea is to provide new winter and underwear- and socks- for our homeless friends because, let's face it, everyone needs clean underpants. And a warm hat and gloves. And clean socks. Especially people on the street or in shelters. 

So this Valentine's Day, I organized a little drive called Sweets for Soles. The goal was to get homemade Valentines, some candy, and lots of clean socks to 100 of my city's homeless. To be honest, I thought we'd probably do 50 and so I set my goal for double that.

Saturday, we delivered 125 Valentines. 125. You have to see the video:

While distributing those Valentines, I met a lady named Sue. Sue was excited to get new socks and grinned when she found the Snickers in her Valentines bag, but when she pulled out the Valentine someone made her, Sue started crying.

She told us that her kids are not in contact with her ever since she left their abusive father and became homeless. "I feel so forgotten and so worthless," she said. "I can't see my grandkids and woke up this morning thinking about what I'd give to see their faces or get a Valentine from them."

Thanks to everyone around here who gave, Sue wasn't alone or forgotten this Valentine's Day, and she DID get a Valentine. She told me that she will sleep with her Valentine under her pillow to remind her that someone cares.

It was the best Valentine's Day I ever had. Ever.

A TV producer from a local station contacted me yesterday and asked about the event. What was the motivation behind this?, she asked me.

Hope, I said. We all need to know that there is always hope. Or, as one kid wrote on his Valentine: You still have hope so don't worry.

We still have hope. Don't worry.

Happy belated Valentine's to you, friend. Hold out hope.  -Brin