Over the last nearly 2 years, we have been extremely blessed by gracious friends that have allowed us to rent their home for a fraction of the market value. This is the home Maddox came home from the hospital to. It’s the home we walked from for Maggie’s first school experiences. But it still wasn’t ours. We had been “looking” for a home off and on throughout this time, but hadn’t landed on anything. At the beginning of the year, the homeowners let us know that they would be wanting to sell the home this spring/summer. Given Maggie’s great school situation, our one request was that Maggie could finish out the school year. Wish granted with no reservations!!
Date night (the one that we’ve had this year) became a pro/con, what do we do list making session. We talked through location and priorities and non-negotiables vs. no biggies. Take one guess at that non-negotiable….if you guessed, must have garage…ding ding!! We already made the mistake of buying a house without a garage once in our marriage and won’t again. There were lots of variables but the direction was unclear.
During drives between Littlteton and Castle Rock, I would pray through that location that something would become available that would work. I also got into quite the discussion with God a couple of times. For some reason, the houses we have looked at have been dumpy dumpy places. In part, because Shawn’s abilities would allow us to build our own sweat equity into the homes. In part, because of what our budget has allowed for. But what God revealed was that I didn’t believe we deserved much better. That we needed to buy something run down and fix it up ourselves, because that is what would be justified for us. Throughout this conversation with God, my unbelief became clear. God revealed that we do deserve something better. My prayers became…bless us in this housing search far beyond anything I could imagine.
As the conversations continued, we still didn’t have a lot of clear direction. We weighed out buying the house from the homeowners. Buy property and build a shipping container home (still think this could be cool) or build a Quonset hut. The possibilities were endless. Then…. a conversation with a new PURE Haven Consultant (also a special needs momma friend). “I don’t know how much I’ll be able to invest in the business over the next couple of months because we are going to need to be getting renters out of our old house and get it sold”. “I hear ya, we are going to need to be moving ourselves and try to find a place to live.” Ha! So, I asked a little about the house that they were going to try to sell. She told me a bit about it. I told Shawn about it, but the price seemed to be way out of our budget. Not really an option. A couple of things in particular did stand out to us though. The house was wheelchair accessible…though not completely imminent right now, it is definitely a need coming up in the next few years. It was on .66 an acre, so not a 2 ft x 2 ft backyard. The 1300 sq ft basement is unfinished, so with Shawn’s skills we could still build equity into the home. There are at least 4-5 other special needs families in the neighborhood that we know, extra “Aunties” to love on our kiddos. Shawn was happy to know there was a three car garage. And one really intriguing thing was that though the house was in an HOA (Home Owner’s Association-pay to have neighborhood standards and in our eyes have people tell you what not to do), it would never be enforced due to a lawsuit from one of the neighbors. Hmm… Shawn has had a handful of letters sent threatening fines because of a trailer in the driveway or working on a car, etc. HOA’s are great for some people, but terrible for us.
So, we decided we would at least look at the place just to make sure we weren’t passing something up. Shawn wasn’t able to meet up when the kids and I walked through. So he swung by and the renter let him through. We both walked away with “hmm…..that has a lot of potential and would seem to be a good fit for us.” A couple of things that seemed as God clearly saying, “see, I got this”. One of my dreams is to create a kind of drop in therapy center, where other families could come and use our equipment, essentially we could "play"/therapetize together. The house had it’s own “therapy room”. Also, a little background….our dogs have been at Grandma Camp since we moved from Tennessee. At my mom’s house they have become a lot less tolerant of each other and are now always separated. We have pondered if we will bring them both back, or how in the world we could make it work. As I walked into the backyard of the house, I noticed it was all fenced in. Great for a dog. But then, the ah-ha moment. It had a separate fenced in yard. Wow…confirmation that God was paving the way for us. (still not sure that both dogs will come, but at least it is a glimmer of a possibility)
I don’t know what all really transpired from there. We crunched the numbers, and with the really low interest rates, it seemed to be a legitimate possibility. In reality, the mortgage is less than rent would be for a semi decent place in SW Denver area. And, to us, the cost was actually worth the value of the house and property, not inflated like in Denver. There were other major God moments along the way with money we anticipating for down payment not being available, but then are tax return making up the difference plus some. One thing lead to another and next thing you know, there we were sitting at closing. Now...ready for a chuckle, one of the inspection concessions was deck repair. In place of those funds, the seller’s offered us the older LandCruiser they were going to try to sell. Of course my husband said, “sure we’ll take a car”. Leave it to the Selmeskis to walk away from Closing with a new house and a car!! Also, the numbers at closing didn’t quite add up with our wheeling and dealing with car trade for allowances, etc. I was ready to write a check back to the seller’s, but they declined and told us not to worry about it. And then after everything, knowing we were preparing to buy a second hand washer/dryer, they just gave us their old (not so old) set….and delivered it to the house.
Blessed beyond anything we could imagine???….I think so. Yes, the mortgage is going to stretch us a bit and we are going to have to get back to being more disciplined on a budget, but the house is a perfect fit for us!!
The bummer, however, was a lot of goodbyes (or see you laters) this week. The house is east of the Springs, which means, while we are much closer to many of our Realm of Caring families, we are now much further from where we have considered “home” the last 2 ½ years. The major pulls for us staying towards the SW Denver metro area was our amazing church family at the Rock of Southwest and Maggie’s providers. Had we stayed in Douglas County, Maggie would have had the entire same team of teachers and specialists for her 2nd year of preschool. Instead, her last day this week was a day of not just goodbyes for the summer, but really goodbye and tears on Momma’s part. Her team has done a tremendous job loving on her, providing for her, and cheering her on.
Last day of school was followed by goodbyes to Maggie’s great music therapist. And the day before that, our PT….that began seeing Maggie while we lived on seminary campus, shortly after we got here. Ms. Kristine is one provider here that can really attest to the leaps and bounds Maggie has made. She saw Maggie at her more critical state and has walked alongside our family for the past 2 years exploring different modalities with us and celebrating all the small victories with us. As we said goodbye on Monday, Maggie was oblivious to what was happening, but we were both in tears.
And then our Rock family. This church was such an answer to prayer from the moment we walked through the doors that first Sunday evening. The relationships we have built have become family to us. We were blessed to have the worship team pray over us between sets and we shared one more lunch out with some friends. I think I might still be in denial that we won’t be back there next week. It’ll probably hit me when we sit next Saturday evening and ponder where in the world will we attend in the morning.
Now as I sit in a big ol house surrounded by boxes and projects, we anxiously wait to see what adventure will unfold. We look forward to the opportunity for ministry to take place in our home. We anticipate lots of bonfires and grill-outs. We truly have been blessed beyond anything I could have imagined. Stay tuned for an open house/Maggie's bday party some time this summer!