We Bought a House!

This new decade is overflowing with twists and turns at every corner. 2020 was the year of uncertainty. 2021 is currently a real estate nightmare. If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know that, as a family, we are on the Dave Ramsey financial plan. We graduated to baby step three and fully funded our emergency fund. We then saved more for a down payment on a house. My husband and I were ecstatic when we finally set up a meeting with a realtor! It was time to look for our family home. We recited our wish list, put in the numbers and specifications on the realtor website, and reality hit hard. Only five houses showed up.

Our realtor reassured us to not worry and to stay positive. Yet I had to wonder if we were ever going to find a house. I shook off the doubt and did not let that hinder my excitement. We plunged into the world of buying a house! We looked….

And looked…

And looked…

Until it was becoming a nightmare. Houses (in Michigan specifically) were selling for at least ten thousand over asking. Have you ever heard of an appraisal guarantee? Yeah, I had no clue either. It’s basically bribe money for the seller. Let’s say you offered $250,000 on a $225,000 house. If you offered an appraisal guarantee of $10,000, and the house was appraised at $225,000, then you would have to pay $235,000. No matter what, you would have to pay $10,000 over what the house appraises for. This is on top of closing costs and your down payment. Does that make sense?

At first, we refused to offer an appraisal guarantee. We didn’t have the extra money to give away when we were already shelling out thousands of dollars. Yet my husband and I quickly learned that the sellers aren’t even considering offers without one. The white flag was raised and we agreed to offering an appraisal guarantee on a house. Our offer was still blown out of the water. My positivity quickly grew to discouragement and anger.

I’ll admit it – I was angry. I’m going to get brutally honest with you all. I was a selfish child complaining to my father in heaven quite often. Why haven’t you given us a house yet?! Why are you giving other people houses and not us? What did we do wrong that you’re holding out on us?? I feel horrible just typing those. However, that’s what I was thinking at the time. I would hear stories of friends having houses dropping in their lap, and my bitterness grew. My husband and I took a drive and I vented and cried my heart out. I couldn’t understand God’s plan. I was panicking because it was messing up my timeline. Fast forward to our house.

My husband showed me the nice colonial style house online (check number one – I did not want a ranch) and I numbly agreed to go take a look at it. I was used to rejection at this point so I was indifferent about any house we saw. The kicker was, they hadn’t posted any pictures of the inside yet. However, since they put the house online before it became officially on the market, we assumed they were waiting until the launch day. We got to the house and it was on an acre of land with woods on one side of it (check number two – we wanted to be more in the country). My spirits were slightly lifted when our realtor called the seller’s and told us some interesting news. They were installing new carpet and it hasn’t come in yet, so that’s why they still haven’t posted the inside pictures yet. On top of that, we were the only people scheduled to see the house that day. We walked in the door and it checked every box on our list. My husband and I looked at each other and I knew we had the same thought – we might actually have a chance at this house.

Since there was no other interest in the house, we decided to take the plunge (again) and send in an offer. My hopes were not high, in fact, I had no hope at all. We’ve done this dance before, and our previous dance partners have left us in the dust on our butts. Yet while we waited for an answer, my Mom had me listen to a new worship song called “Wait on You” by Maverick City Music and Elevation Worship. As the music and lyrics enveloped me in God’s presence, I broke down. God brought my feelings of anger and bitterness to the forefront of my mind. I felt so ashamed. There is a verse in the song that says:

“It’s about what you do when you wait,

Why complain? When you can praise…”

With tears streaming down my face, I said I was sorry over and over. I was so sorry for the irrational, childish way I was behaving. I started to praise. I listed everything I was grateful for; everything that was a blessing in my life. I drew in a deep breath, and smiled genuinely for the first time in a long while. After the song was over, my husband came to me and told me that we had to schedule an inspection. It took a moment to sink in, but I realized that WE GOT THE HOUSE!

Needless to say I bawled my eyes out again.

Maybe God was waiting for my attitude to change. Maybe He was protecting us from a house we thought we loved but would end up hating in a year. Who knows? All I know is that I serve an amazing God who knows the very hairs on our heads; the God who sees you and listens to your grumbling, yet still loves you. The God who turns our mourning into dancing. The God who blesses us with more than we deserve.

I am beyond thrilled to start making this house our home. Through my (uncomfortable) vulnerability, I hope our testimony shows just how much God cares for us. I don’t want to pretend to be a perfect Christian, because I’m not. We all go through seasons where the valleys are just plain tough. Yet I could not agree more with the song; it’s about what we do in the waiting. Once I corrected my mindset, God gave me an answer. I believe these lessons are designed to help us grow. We need to lean on God entirely for our strength. While we wait, let’s praise.

With love,

Em

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3TYG7Q_fj4

Mama, Get Off Your Phone.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time. This is also to myself because I struggle with this daily. It’s something that I think many of us struggle with, regardless of whether we have kids or not. Our phones are a thief of our time. They also destroy our self-esteem. They create monsters inside of us called jealousy when we see an influencer’s new wardrobe, or their third new home in the last few years; each one more grand than the last. I should know because I’ve experienced these emotions and consequences. Yet it does have its virtues believe it or not.

Our phones connect us in ways past generations thought impossible. My daughter loves to FaceTime our family that lives 1,000 miles away. We can send pictures and videos instantly to our friends and relatives. Our phones also give us the ability to find the best deals on Facebook Marketplace, for example. Youtubers give us opinions and advice about products for our littles so we can make a sound purchase. See, I told you our phones have some good qualities!

Yet how many moments have I lost scrolling through Instagram, or watching video after video on Youtube? Moments of my daughter’s life and mine that I cannot get back. I believe that we would have so much “more time,” if we took a minute to see how much we waste on our devices. I love the screen time feature on the Apple iPhone. It was a rude wake up call to see how many endless hours I was wasting on my phone PER DAY. I’ll get transparent so you don’t have to feel as bad. I was averaging about five hours a day on my phone. What the heck?? I will also admit that it was mainly social media that was stealing that much of my time. Endless scrolling and mindless viewing.

I got to work and thought about what I could do with five hours of my day. I could definitely work on laundry. I could finish that book that’s been sitting on my bedside table for a year. I could throw in a thirty minute workout that I keep telling myself I don’t have time for. I could work on a mommy blog that I’ve been dreaming about (hello!) and make it a reality. There’s so much you could do that you “don’t have time for” if you looked up from your phone.

You know, it’s incredible how much comparison steals our happiness. I have to keep myself in check every day when looking on Instagram. I see her immaculate house, her expensive wardrobe, the endless hauls of hundreds of dollars she spent on a whim, the exotic trip that we all know cost her nothing because it was sponsored. That green monster of jealousy rears its ugly head and I become ungrateful for everything I do have. Do you want to know the secret to squashing that annoying monster? Get off your phone. If you’re a christian, get in your Bible. I cannot tell you how much better my day goes when I reach for His Word in the morning when I wake up before I open social media. If you’re not a christian, then I suggest keeping a notebook and write down a list of what you’re thankful for. How about the roof over your head? The fact that you were able to eat dinner last night? The fact that you and your family are in good health? How about the realization that it’s a luxury to have a smart phone? (Obviously these are examples, and it is different for everyone.) I remember always hearing, “If you have breath in your lungs, thank the Lord, because He’s the one who put it there.” How many times do we ever think about how blessed we are to be alive? Probably never. We’re too busy complaining about things we don’t have.

I hope this was encouraging for someone. I’m talking as much to myself as I am to someone else. No one in particular, I promise. I meant in general. I want to challenge you to utilize that screen time feature on your phone and schedule a part of your day where social media is blocked. Put your phone in your bedroom, in a drawer, in a safe, I don’t know. Just leave it somewhere you can’t get to it. Take a minute and breathe. Start on that hobby you’ve wanted to learn. Read a book. Journal. Go on that walk you didn’t have time for. Crack open those dusty recipe books and find a new one that looks delicious. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve done this. Leave me a comment or connect with me on the contact page! Or we can add each other on social media (I know it sounds ironic, but if it’s in your allotted time I’ll allow it 😉) and let me know that my blog sent you!

Let’s to this challenge together. Starting the month of July. Let’s go.

With love,

Emily

 

How I Plan My Week

Everyone has their own way of planning out his or her days and weeks. You’re probably thinking, “Girl, I don’t just plan my days. I micromanage every minute and color cod it.” Perhaps you’re thinking, “What are you talking about?? I just go day by day and see where the day takes me.” I have to ask, though, is the latter question truly working?

I’ll have to admit, I am not a planner by nature. Having a baby changes things. I have to constantly check my watch to know when to put my baby down for naps, when she has to eat, etc. So I hunkered down and bought myself a planner, some pretty colored pens, and got down to business. I want to show you how I do that! If you’re a new momma, this schedule will be ideal for you!

I believe writing it down is so important. Did you know that if you write things down, it will boost your ability to retain information? Now as I say this, I am all for the digital planners and calendars as well. I use them both hand in hand. Once I write everything down for the week in my planner, I will then put it in my calendar so my phone will remind me of important appointments or events. Pro tip: sync your digital calendar with your spouse. You’re welcome. 

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I break my days down into three blocks:

  • Morning Block
  • Afternoon Block
  • Evening Block

Let’s take a closer look at one day of the week:

(Keep in mind that this is a day in the life of quarantine)

Morning Block: 

6 a.m. Wake, Devotionals

7 a.m. Noelle Wakes, Change, Play

8:30 a.m. Breakfast

9:30 a.m. 1st Nap

10 a.m. Mommy time – this is where I use my time to workout, work on the blog, get some cleaning done, meal prep, etc.

11:30 a.m. Noelle up, play

Afternoon Block: 

12:30 p.m. Lunch

2:30 p.m. 2nd Nap

3 p.m. Mommy time

3:30 p.m. Noelle up, play

4:30 p.m. Start Dinner

Evening Block:

Dinner Plans: (Whatever we are having for dinner)

6 p.m. Dinner

*Bath Night* 

7:30 p.m. Noelle Bed Routine

“…the block system and using those timers are key – they help you keep track of time and manage it properly and realistically!”

And that’s it! That is a typical day in my life right now. I keep times open to account for running errands, going to the park, etc. I don’t micromanage my day, because I tried to do that and it didn’t work. If you can’t get everything done you wrote out, it doesn’t make you feel good. In fact, it can be pretty discouraging. I want to fill you in on a little secret: You don’t have to do it all, Mama! That is why the block system and using those timers are key – they help you keep track of time and manage it properly and realistically! When you see how many hours you have in your block, you can schedule realistic goals for that time period. One important rule, though. Honor those timers! Once the block is done, it is done. Finished. Gone. You get the idea.

Another thing to keep me on track is wearing a watch. I know it sounds pretty obvious, but I tend to lose track of time often and my Apple Watch syncs to my phone and I can keep track of my calendar much easier. Timers are a life saver as well! If you’re anything like me, I need a timer or else I could stay up for hours and not know when to press pause. Figure out what works for you and stick to it! And if you try my method, give it a week and I will wait with a big smile on my face and say you’re welcome.

Now, I know some of you will have completely different schedules, and that’s okay. This method is adaptable! You don’t have to do three blocks – make as many and you need throughout the day. We all have the same amount of hours in our day; we just have to figure out how to manage them!

You got this. Feel free to leave a comment with your own tips and tricks, or you can leave me an email under the contact link! Who knows, another printable may be coming soon!

With Love,

Emily

Planner I use: Link

Pens: Link