Ya’ll have been so patient. Merci. It’s hard to be a blogger when you go three weeks with no internet service… IN YOUR NEW HOME! That’s right! WE DID IT! The last we connected, I was “Longing for Home”. And here I am…
It’s such a looooonnnnnng story, how far we’ve come, by the Grace of God. I’ve alluded to hardships here and there on this blog.
But why don’t I finally tell you exactly what happened and how we decided to MAKE OUR DREAMS COME TRUE.
We had just started our family, we had a thriving painting and faux finishing business and newborn baby number two, we were so happy in a beautiful old home that we were redoing. Huge gardens, huge kitchen. Little family. It felt perfect.
And then the economy tanked. And the phone quit ringing. It got bad. Real bad. Our savings had been wiped out a couple of years before when our firstborn arrived with a heart condition. And I’ll admit, while friends were jumping on the Dave Ramsey bandwagon, we scoffed. And we continued in some pretty bad habits. No matter what we did we couldn’t get that painting business to stay alive and after eighteen months of scraping by Joel took a job delivering groceries in downtown Chicago. He worked from about 1pm to 1am most nights for the next five years.
During this time, I began to channel my inner “farmgirl”. Necessity is the mother of invention, non?
I wanted to help him however I could so I dug my first Potager garden and began to grow vegetables with my beloved perennials. I learned to can. Bake bread. (What a concept??!!) And live on an unbelievably modest budget. (And so many of you were there, following along as I developed this side of me.) I remember once being at Target with a four dollar lip gloss in my cart. I wanted a pick-me-up but I was so guilt ridden at the thought of buying something I didn’t “need”, I put it back.
In faith we continued to expand our family and in our hearts began to grow the desire for a farm, somewhere our kids could run free and we could take these new skills and expand them even more.
Remember when a year later my turd neighbors reported me? Well, that was the day we put our home on the market. Our beautiful home. But we were completely clueless about how bad the housing market had really gotten and we couldn’t GIVE it away.
And then in rapid succession we found a buyer and a small rental about fifteen minutes away. A little smallholding that we could rent as we saved for a farm of our own. We named it Half-Way Farm and disaster struck, the buyer’s financing caved. There we were, active in our new farm life with a house we still owned….
…and long story short, we lost it.
The sheriff’s notice shame.
It was embarrassing. Painful. So much for saving for our forever farm in Door County. Our perfect credit and modest finances were decimated at this point.
But life went on, more life in fact than we expected as I found myself totally stunned at pregnancy number five.
One day a Facebook message popped up from Shaye at The Elliott Homestead, “The LORD really has you on my heart. I know you’ve intimated on your blog about your financial struggles and I’ve got something I want to tell you about. Can I have your phone number?”
Well, I loved her blog so when Shaye asks for your phone number, you give it to her. We set up a time to talk and she nervously began to tell me about an essential oil company she had just started with.
I stopped her right there!
But not like you think….
I said, “Look, you can’t scare me away. I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Amway country. I have no problem with network marketing. It’s like a diet, you do it with class and commitment and it works. Tell me everything!”
And so she did. She explained she was putting together a little team of leaders and that she thought I was probably ornery enough to make a little money to help Joel out. I quietly raided my grocery money, strategically planning a whole lot of lentil soup for that week’s menu and set to work. My ultimate goal was to make $1,000 a month. That would be LIFE changing for us.
I found myself getting major results with my thyroid and some serious twitches I had been struggling with for years, and then testimonials started pouring in from my new customers and I thought, DANG! I’m really gonna make a go of this.
I showed Joel doTERRA’s income plan and I said, “Look, we have no retirement, we have no way to actually save money, I know I have the skill set to really do this and I think we’d be looking a gift horse in the mouth if I didn’t take this and run with it.”
That was three and a half years ago.
And now here we are with a new home in Sister Bay, Wisconsin, our families yearly vacation destination. Joel and I have been coming up here every year (except years we went to France or were flat A– broke), never dreaming we could actually live here. POOF! We have library cards, internet service, new cell numbers. Our children have had the chance to watch mom and dad admit their mistakes, make change and FIGHT for something. They’ve had a chance to see that life is not about instant gratification and that making dreams come true is not a right. It takes work and that’s a good thing. You can MAKE your dreams come true. But no one is going to do it for you.
….but now let me tell you about the move.
For those of you who have used an FHA loan before AND are self-employed, well, you’re a special breed that can understand the profound amount of stress our family has been under these last three months.
Our credit problems were far enough behind us that we could finally qualify for a loan but dang, they just couldn’t quite understand how I had built such a successful business in such a short amount of time. We were under the magnifying glass, hard core. We had been warned that it could take RIGHT up until closing for the loan to be approved and sure enough, with a closing schedule for Monday, December 18th at 3:00 p.m. we got the green light for the loan, in the Mobile gas parking lot, filling the truck tank at nine that morning.
For months we’d been tearing down animal housing, rolling up fencing, taking down chandeliers, packing, loading and getting in the truck as a complete and utter act of faith that this was actually going to happen.
I’ll NEVER forget sitting waiting for my tank to fill, Joel walking up to my window (he was driving the big rig) and showing me his email from the loan lady saying “We are a go.” Nothing like stringing it out until the not-so-bitter end.
It was about time!
Our little 1500 square foot house had been reduced to about 900 for WEEKS as boxes stacked higher and higher. Meals became more processed, tempers became shorter, homeschooling went out the window…. unless one of them decides to start a packing company. Then they’re set.
For the last month there was about a twelve inch path through the kitchen to get to the living room. We had enough room for the piano teacher to squeeze in and that’s how we lived for what seemed like an eternity. All the while waiting for the loan approval to come through.
I would vacilate from rock-star like faith to complete and total “screw this”. What were we doing? Who did we think we were trying to buy this grand house on 13.5 acres in Door County, Wisconsin? WHO DOES THAT?
The previous weeks had us saying goodbye to a part of the world we had lived in for over twenty years we began to make rounds. We visited the townhouse Joel and I started our life in together, we had cozy sleep overs at Gramma’s, we packed up the camper and had dinners at my sister’s and cousin’s. Wine with friends. It wasn’t really “Goodbye”…. it was just, “Now we’ll be a little farther apart.”
Friends and family rallied and felt our stress with us. They came with meals, let kids come over to play for the afternoon. Sent grocery money since our stupid finances were COMPLETELY locked up until the loan went thru. (Another FHA loan-ism.) In the midst of our stress and anticipation, the love poured in and we felt a PROFOUND amount of support from real life friends and people we’ve never met on social media as we stood on the precipice of this dream coming true.
And then there we were: Loading a truck, and then there we were: Pulling out of the drive.
And then there I was. An hour into Wisconsin, turning back around ’cause I forgot the down payment. (You’ll for sure want to see THAT video*).
And then there we were: Signing the paperwork. And then there I was: Being carried over the threshold.
As we walked in I squealed like a little girl.
I scared the baby. My legs went totally weak, as though I had stepped onto a boat in rough waters. My kids ran circles in their empty paradise, one screaming, “It’s real! It’s real!”.
We explored and oohed and ahhhhhhed. Tossed the baby in a pack and play and set to dragging in whatever cushions and blankets we could find. Bodies piled everywhere, we crumbled with fatigue at the thought of that huge truck we had to unload the next morning.
It didn’t stop there.
The last three weeks have involved four trips back to Illinois, a total of three moving trucks and 2,500 miles, and a many days where we were fragmented as a family as one or more of us made these long back and forth trips.
And then it happened last night, we got the text message from Joel and Aidan that they were twenty five minutes away on their way home from the FINAL trip to clean up Half-Way. The kids and I tidied up the wallpaper we’d been removing, made a cozy fire, turned on some Chopin and peered through the windows, starring down the long, dark driveway, waiting to see their headlights.
FINALLY IT’S OFFICIAL! All of us under one roof again. The door to Half-Way Farm has been locked for the final time. No more rented trucks, no more maxed out kids.
We’re home now and this new adventure has just begun.
There is SO much to tell you about this crazy house and what we’re doing. I will. Pinky promise. First I had to tell you how this all came to pass.
If you’re inspired at all by the doTERRA side of this story, reach out to me. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have. I’m putting together three new teams this winter. Perhaps you’d like to be on one.
*You can always watch for free on YouTube, if you’d like to be a Parisienne Farmgirl patron you can join us over on Patreon for perks for your support (Read: Coffee mugs complete with red lipstick stains and more!)