Unfortunately, the weekend of our move our camera was out of battery and the camera cord used for charging was hopelessly lost (only recovered just last week!). I know. I'm super organized. We do, however, compliments of the former owners/builders (Thanks, Alicia!) have a few shots of what it looked like as we took possession.
The housing market in Bismarck is nothing short of crazy and insane (yes, both! I'm redundant for emphasis. It's a Trishaism.). Due to an oil boom in the western edge of North Dakota a few years ago, which now is being compared to the gold rush of 1849 in California, this town has seen a boom in it's population. This boom has created a serious shortage of housing and a rise in housing prices, exactly opposite of the housing situation most of the country finds itself in thse days.
Having just moved from the somewhat rebounding real estate market in Maryland, we were shocked to find that a new house on the market at 10AM would have two offers, above asking price by 6PM when Joe would arrive to see the home. This scenario played out at least three times during our housing hunt.
Our top priority, which quickly took a backseat to actually finding a home, was an open layout. This home is one of two homes we saw with the open layout concept. The other home was one of the sold above asking price by 6PM houses. The kitchen, living room and dining room are one big open room and almost everyday I muse to myself just how much I like it!
When Joe stepped inside the front door of this home he told the realtor, "It's a good thing Trisha isn't here or she'd never leave this house." After four months living here, I can confirm his words. I'd truly like to never leave. It's so much more than we need and everything that we wanted! While we battle loneliness and the other trials of life and this transition, we are grateful for God's abundant, truly abundant, provision in giving us this home. He closed so many other doors, including an almost ratified contract on another home four days before this one, and left the doors on this home wide open the whole way.
A wonderful story from the purchase of this home involves the playset in the backyard. Originally the owners mentioned that they would be taking it with them when they moved. We were sad to about not having the set because we knew we would likely not put one in its place. A few weeks before the move, the owners emailed and asked if we'd like to buy it. After some discussion, we decided that although we did want it and really liked it, it wasn't in our budget. After we made that decision, I was really disappointed. I decided I would pray with the kids about it. For one week every night at bedtime, I prayed with the kids that God would somehow allow us to have that playset. I emphasized with the kids that we would be grateful to God either way. When I pulled up on closing day and saw the set I was so happy. My first glance out the window at it revealed someone had taped bows all over the set. I climbed down the outside steps to retrieve a card also taped to the set. Inside the card I discovered that our realtor purchased the set for us as a closing gift on the home. God used her to answer the prayers of a momma and her four kids. I cried.
God is so faithful, kind and good to answer our prayers, to give us a tangible reminder when we look in our backyard and play on our playset that he answers prayers, even silly ones about a playset. He cares about the desires of even the smallest of His children.
We're humbled and grateful. This home, although so different in stature and layout and newness from our beloved Floral Court home, is the same as our Floral Court home, too. It's a gift from a kind, generous God. It's also not ours. It's His. And we'll use it however he asks us to until He moves us from this place. I hope He'll leave us here for a long, long time, but I'll follow Him if He moves us on next month. In the meantime, we're enjoying the space, getting to know the neighbors, hosting a few overnight guests, and thanking God for His kind faithfulness in putting our family back together in one spot and giving us a bonus playset, too.