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Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Eleventh Hour

I wanted to take a moment and thank all of you who left such supportive, inspiring and constructive comments on last Sunday’s post. As I rule I generally turn off comments on the Sabbath and thought I had done so, but alas God had other plans. :)

Over the past few months I have received a few emails that questioned why I have shared my difficulties so openly. Believe me when I say “You don’t even know the half of it”.

But back in January a nagging voice, also known as the conscience, holy spirit or inner Jiminy Cricket kept telling me to write it down. After much hemming and hawing I complied as much as I felt I could.

I’ve learned that for every comment left on the blog, visible to see, there are two more to match it that arrive via my email inbox, Facebook page and Etsy message center that the public will never view.

What I know for sure is that:

People are hurting.

Some people have lost their hope.

I know that I am blessed because even in the darkest hour I knew there would eventually come a day in which a rainbow appeared followed by peeks of bright sunshine. It is coming. I can feel it.

In sharing my brokenness, I also get to share the blessedness.

That my be just enough hope for someone to make it through another day.

The idiom “the eleventh hour” means “at the last possible time, just before the absolute deadline, almost too late”.

We’ve all been there. As a rule, I try to avoid it at all costs. But, there are some things in life that we cannot control.

I currently live in a HOA community. The rules are both good and bad. One rule is that community wide garage sales are held four times a year. They are never held when it is convenient for the homeowner. I myself needed to be spending every free moment looking for a home (since you know how that was going) versus preparing for a garage sale.

But since I would soon be moving and needed to lighten the load, on Friday morning I set up my tables of treasures that were looking for a new home. My good friend and neighbor joined me. People forked over their quarters and left happy. It was almost a festive occasion.


By 11 am the Phoenix sun had begun to blaze down mercilessly and we shut down.

As I stepped inside the cool space the phone rang. It was the realtor. Mr. Décor and I had signed the paperwork turning over our home to its new owners. I was informed that it would soon be time to vacate the premises. 

“You have until July.”

“Thank you for letting me know, we will be ready” I said.

My voice did not betray me. But my mind and heart did.

As I hung up I felt lightheaded.

I went to my office and slumped down at my desk.

My head rested heavily in my hands.

“Woman Sitting on a Basket with Head in Hands”  ~ Vincent Van Gogh, 1883

After a moment I raised my head and began uploading the MRLS listing of homes. I wondered why I was bothering to check at all.

There had been only one potential home listed all week. I had driven by it and continued up the street. Upon turning the corner and passing by a park I witnessed a drug deal going down. In broad daylight. Obviously this was not the house for me and my family.

But now, at the top of the list, was a home that had been placed on the site a mere two minutes before. It was in a neighborhood I liked. It was listed for a price we could afford. I clicked on the details. As I read the information I tried not to get excited. But that is who I am. Then I clicked on the photos expecting to see horror. Instead it showed a home with fantastic bones. I could see it.


Knowing the rapidness of the market I grabbed my phone and texted my realtor “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! There is a house….”

He texted back immediately. “It looks good. This is a nice neighborhood, good schools. A bit overpriced, but in this market…”

I replied “I am getting in the car to drive by the house, is it possible to get the paperwork ready and I will come by to pick it up and get my husband to sign?”

“For a bid?”


“Without seeing it first?”

“Yes. I am playing investor hardball.  This time I plan to beat them at their game.”

I then called Mr. Décor and explained the method to my madness. Luckily, he trusts my judgment.

We placed a bid, site unseen, and asked that they make a decision that same evening. I didn’t even want this house up for weekend viewing.

The realtor called a short time later. “We can see the house at 4 pm.”

“I’ll be there.”

A man in his early 70’s greeted us at the door. It was obvious he loved the house.

He also loved to talk.

Even though I was chomping at the bit and sweating bullets to find my family a home I quietly and patiently listened.

As always, if you talk long enough, you can find something in common with everyone.

He took me on the tour and in great detail shared with me all he had done to the property, when he had done it, who the neighbors were….

I let him go on and on. I sincerely nodded and smiled. Filing away the awesome information as fast as I could.

I shared with him that I had been looking for a home for my family for weeks. We had bid and lost, bid and lost. I told him how the investors outbid us every time. It was the 11th inning, the bases were loaded and I needed an impossible HOME run.

My realtor scowled a bit. He did not want me reminding the gentleman that he could perhaps get a bidding war if he wanted one.

The owner shared his retirement dreams. They were far away from the heat of Phoenix. He wanted to go now

I said, “Time is short. You should live your dreams. I love your home. I can see how beautifully you have treated it. It feels peaceful. A place where I would want my kids to live. Thank you for showing it to me.”

We left. I waited by the phone all evening. I was nowhere near this calm.

It finally rang. Two minutes later I was bawling like a baby.

Only God would finalize the loss of one home and present a new home all on the same day.

I told Him that I found His sense of timing nerve wracking and BEAUTIFUL.

The heart of the home is here. Can you see it?


Is it my dream home? No, that still awaits me and I try to keep my eyes on that prize. But it is a wonderful, temporary gift that I will lovingly transform and treasure for the time being.


“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”  John 14:2


Auntie Em said...

YEA!!!!! It's the most beautiful home in Phoenix! And how lovely to be able to meet the owner and find out it's history and about the neighbourhood. That is such a rare thing now. The realtors usually do not want the home owners and home buyers to meet.
Get those boxes packed and get the paint rollers and staple guns ready! Can't wait to see it's transformation. Wooo-Hooo!!! :D

Perfectly Printed said...

So happy for you Laura. Like, you I tend to have a "feeling" about someone, and you just knew the gentleman selling the house wanted it to go to a wonderful family who would love it like he did open your heart to him and I'm sure he could sense your honesty, and true excitement at the prospect of owning and loving his he did! I often say my home is not my dream house....I love my home...but no granite counters, no front porch, and no amazing jet tub baths....yet it is my home, our family home. Sometimes I feel like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz..searching for something, when it's right in my own backyard!
So happy and excited for you!! Can't wait to see it's transformation into your dream home!!

Your Friend chris

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Yay! I am jumping up and down for you Laura! I knew you would find something. I am so happy for you!

Debbie said...

Yes!Yes! Yes! I told you "it" would come with a story to tell. God was saving you for that house, and He was saving that house for you. I don't know why He couldn't have just shown it to you earlier, but there is a bigger story that he's writing in the heavenlies, and the timing had to be perfect.

I just knew this was going to happen.

You're going to be blessed there. I know it as surely as I know my own name.

Debbie said...

And I just have to say again how frustrated I get with the house investors. In my opinion they and the "flippers" caused a huge part of our national real estate marker problems.

Restyled Home said...

I am so very happy for you. You deserve this break and it looks and sounds like it will be a lovely place of peace for you to nest in with your family.


Joani said...

I love the picture of Jimmy The Cricket! It is a blessing that this beautiful home came to you at this time. I'm so happy for you. I wept when you sent me an email saying things had changed. I couldn't wait to find out that everything was gonna be okay. I hate moving in this heat but I know it is a good thing. If you need help, let me know.

jeanetteann said...

I knew it would happen soon,I could feel it. I am so pleased for you and your family. xxx

Polly @ Make Mine Beautiful said...

God is on time EVERY SINGLE TIME. Congratulations.

Kathy B. said...

YES! I'm doing a little happy dance for you right on my keyboard here!!! So it's not your dream house, but it could be by the time you get done with it I'm willing to bet. Guess you can pack that tent away for now--your family won't have to live in it to be together after all! The elderly gentlemen will be so happy his house is going to a wonderful family so he can leave with good feelings, & you can move in & know it was a well-loved place of peace! What a great combination! God does have a master plan--it would just be nice to have a glimmer as to what it was now & then. I'll continue praying that everything goes smoothly with this move & that you settle in beautifully. Good for you for keeping your faith in such trying circumstances!

martinealison said...

Chaque jour suffit à sa peine et puis Paris ne s'est pas construit en un jour... Tout va aller bien vous verrez...
En attendant je vous fais de gros bisous.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Wooooooooooooo hooooooooooooooooooooo!! Praise the Lord!! That is AWESOME Laura!!!! What neighborhood???

Priscilla said...

Oh, Laura, I'm thrilled to tears for you. I knew this would happen. You had so many praying for you. It was truly "in God's own time".
This doesn't mean I'll stop praying for you and your family, just in a little different direction. I hope you love it and I know you will make it beautiful.

Maple Lane said...

So very thankful for answered prayers. What an awesome God! I know that you sharing this "trial" will give hope to many. Wishing you a smooth transition and many blessings in your pretty new home.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh I am so thrilled for you and I know you will transform this home into the most loving place in no time. Hugs, Marty

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Bless you for sharing this story. You will make this house a home. Whether it is for 2 years or 20. It's the heart that makes a home and the walls just hold it all together. God is so good, and always so faithful. Praying for you Laura.


It's All Connected said...

The page has turned in your book! You have shared the hard parts and, now, we get to share the good parts with you. It is truly a mansion when it keeps you and your family safe and happy! I'm so glad to have happy tears for you! ~ Maureen

Jane said...

Oh, Laura, such wonderful news! Such a sweet ending - or should I say new beginning? That man will be happy to know that a good family lives in his house, and you'll have fun making it your own. Bless you for your walk in the light and for your faithfulness!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Oh thank god! I am so happy for you! I can not imagine the anxiety you have felt. We have been praying and hoping. Now we can not wait to go along with you on this next adventure!!


Shelley {Crazy Wonderful} said...

This is awesome news Laura!!! I'm so happy for you and your family! Yea!!!!!

Sherri B. said...

Laura, I am so happy that you finally have an answer. God always has the best for us but, at times, it is so difficult to see it with our human eyes.

Thank you for sharing this with us so we can once again...Know how He loves us so. xo

DREAMS ON 34th STREET ~ French Bread & Family said...

Oh Laura...There is nothing more reassuring and elating than answered prayers! Congratulations on the purchase of your new home!
So blessed to be your blog friend!

Lorrie said...

Dear Laura,

God is good - even when we can't see his hand at work, he's always there. I am SO happy for you, and so excited to see how God is going before you, preparing just the right home for your family.
It looks like a wonderful canvas for you to stamp your own style onto. What fun! I'm rejoicing with you.

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

I am so happy for you and your sweet family! I will continue to pray that you have strength for the journey because I know that you have a LOT to do the next few weeks! I am looking forward to the tour.

Vicki said...

Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing you work your magic on your new home.

My name is Darlene Payan said...

You are a dear! And no one can tell a story the way you do. I was involved in each emotional picture and I had to laugh to see the Realtor's expression. Was that Jack Nichols? He scares me. Good job on house hunting. God will give you the right one.

Connie said...

Several years while going back to California and visiting with our kids someone broke into our car and stole my planner. In it was my dream house sketch I designed over many years, plus a lot of stuff I just put in there—hopes, dreams, personal stuff. I never saw it again. Yes, I can draw the plans again, but I realized that I'd never have that "dream" house and that was okay. Not many people have that "dream house" ever, but are truly satisfied. I don't wish for it anymore because I'm happy where I am. Now, this is NOT meant to denigrate any of your dreams at all. I truly understand what you mean. I'm just saying that I'm one of the happiest people alive that I have this humble house in Idaho and my hubby to share it with.

You sound like a religious woman, as I am, so I can say these things to you. You may not have that dream home in this life, but you can have a home that is dreamy for sure. My motto is "Love what you have. I'm been much happier when I realized this. Besides, I have no doubt you'll make that house beautiful, sugar! I'm hoping you have a sweet life in any house you buy.

Kelley said...

Loved this TESTimony with a capital luh.

From Hong Kong,

Can't wait to get home to my God Box...

Sandy said...

I've been following your story and my heart is filled with love and joy for you.... Happy Dance!
REMEMBER: EVERYTHING is MEANT to BE! If we can remember that always, it makes us understand life a little bit easier!
Have *fun*'s the journey!

Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

What an amazing, heart-warming story. I'm so glad you have a lovely home to move into and it all worked out in the end. This house will truly be your home.

Ceekay-Thinkin of Home/Doublewide Decor said...

Hallelujah....Praise the Lord! I hope I get to see it in person one day!!

joleneotten said...

I am so, so happy for you! I may have even shed a small tear or two reading this beautiful post. I love how God works! And I am sure you will be able to make this new house a lovely home for your family

Bettyann said...

Dear Laura..congratulations on your new home...thank you for sharing this lovley story of the seller. look forward to seeing all the great decorating..take care

michele said...

i am happy for you, and one part of this story i am very moved by is your faithfulness to trust. it wasn't just lip service. you called upon the Lord and then when something was placed in your path, you had GUTS. you were ballsy, laura! you made yourself vulnerable. this is what i think of as faith with action. i hope i can respond similarly when called upon to.

i also believe that this is YOUR blog and you can share whatever you feel led to share. i get concerned at times that bloggers feel guilty for sometimes going against the grain or status quo. but it's what i love about the blog world. we can choose.



Lady Dorothy said...

What a beautiful story! You know, miracles happen at the eleventh hour. If they didn't, they wouldn't be miracles! :-)

I am so happy for you. Meeting the owner of the home was just the icing on the cake. How wonderful that God loves icing!

5th and State said...

i am thrilled for you and your family laura.
loved sharing this journey with you and in that sharing is a big part of what makes blogging so special

He blessed you once again

Whimsey Creations said...

I'm so happy for you and with your creativity - I have no doubt it will look just as beautiful as you want it to in no time. Hugs!

Jill Elaine said...

Halelujah! I love how God works on His own time table and it always works out if we just trust Him. NOT easy to do every time but looking back on HIS plan makes all the handing-it-back-to-Him-daily days worth it! So happy for you!

Di said...

I am so happy for you, I too have had my ups and downs these past years. We sold our home in Florida and moved closer to our kids and now are tying to get a home here...I pray for my home to come to me!! Thank you for listening, Di

Louise said...

OH MY GOODNESS! I felt positive you would find a house before you needed to leave your current home, but THE TIMING! I am not as "religious" or devout as you are (I am just being honest, I should be, I could be . .. just things have happened, I have happened to myself) but THIS TIMING IS FOR SURE A GOD THING!

I am so happy for you, and I am also happy that you have shared some of our troubles . .. you are a real person. The blogs where everything and everyone look perfect, well, how can anyone relate to that? How could you have carried on sharing home related posts without sharing what was happening with your home? It would have been impossible and very fake, and you are not a fake woman.

Sophie said...

Congratulations sweet Laura
A house is a house, a home is what you make it and the love, people and personal touches you fill it with. As long as you got the basics right, good neighbourhood, the space you need, hopefully you will turn it into a house you love and a home you cherish even if you move on again someday. I'm so pleased for you.

openid said...

Dear Laura,
See this smile on my face? {No? Well imagine the biggest, brightest smile you've ever seen.} It belongs to you and yours! SO HAPPY FOR YOU!

Babs said...

Laura, How exciting and it just proves, that God works out things for us in ways we would never expect. I've seen his miracles so many times.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful news,