Monday, January 19, 2009

Shock and Awe

We are still in shock around the Johnson house! We received not only one offer on our house this weekend, but two!!! And we are in awe of God's amazing blessing and grace on our lives. Here is how it all happened. Last week we put our house back on the market after taking it off right before Christmas. We listed with a different agent and dropped the price some more. We had a lot of showings this week- probably seven or eight in seven days. Saturday morning we received a call that a realtor wanted to do a second showing. We got the house all ready along with the Hoovers (Kyle and Christine were in town for Kyle to perform a wedding) and left for the morning. We came back after lunch and we got a call from Haley, our realtor, that these people were going to have an offer ready for us that afternoon. We were cautiously excited- not knowing what the offer was at that point. That evening we got a call with their offer amount and it was a good offer. We were so excited and were going to negotiate some with these people. Haley said she had gotten some really good feedback from showings last week and wanted to let those realtors know we had received an offer just in case someone was seriously interested. About an hour after we got the first offer Haley called and said we should have another offer by that night or the next morning. WHAT??? Seriously? You should have seen us when we found this out. We were going CRAZY!!! So we received the second offer which was only $5,000 less than our asking price. WOW! So then we went back and asked the first people to make their best and final offer. They did and they came a little bit above our asking price. We were blown away. We then told the second people to make their final offer and it was within just a couple thousand of the first offer. So then we had to choose who would get the house. This was a little nerve wracking because we did NOT want to choose the wrong people and then have them back down. We choose the second offer which was actually the lower offer because they had a quicker option period and closing date. The wife is actually the showing realtor's daughter so we feel like they won't opt out because that wouldn't look good for the mom. The other family was coming from overseas and had a longer option period. It was just a little more risky and our realtor felt better about the other family. Needless to say we are thrilled!!! And who would have ever thought that our rollercoaster of a ride would end this way. We ended up getting $100 over our asking price and sold it for the same amount we sold it for a couple years ago. God is AWESOME!!!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:19

Please pray with us that everything will go smoothly from here. We are supposed to close on February 24th. Please pray that the option period will pass quickly and without a glitch. Pray that the inspection would be free of any major items and that their financing would not be an issue. They are pre-approved for enough money, but these days you just never know!

We are planning on renting a house around here for 6 months and then moving to Harlingen in August. Travis has already committed to some work here and we need him to honor those commitments. Thank you to tall of those who have prayed for us and our house to sell. We definitely believe this is a miracle of God. There is no other way to explain getting two offers and having a bidding war during this economy and housing market!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tyler's Big Boy Room!

After Christmas we decided it was time to move Tyler to his big boy bed! We have had his bed and bedding for awhile and after we got back from traveling we went mattress shopping. The day we brought the mattress home, Tyler was SO excited we were setting up his bed. He just kept saying, "I want to go night night!" He has really done great in the transition to a big bed and I'm so glad. I was a little worried, especially about nap time. The first week we had to discipline him for getting out of his bed at nap time, but since then he really hasn't tried to get out. If he does, he knows he is going to get in trouble. His room is a work in progress, but I like how it has turned out. I went with a fishing theme and wanted to create a cabin type atmosphere. I bought bedding that he can grow up with even if we take all of the fishing stuff down. He is so proud of his new bed!

Tyler ready for bed!


A view from the doorway.


A closeup of the bed. Eventually the boys are going to share a room and I already have bedding that matches for Cooper. We are planning on buying the same bed for Cooper when we move him to a big bed.


The kids table where they color, read books, and work puzzles. I put decorative fish net up and hung old fishing lures all around it. I'm using it as a bulletin board and hanging the kids art from the hooks in the lures. This is one of my favorite parts of the room.


The bookshelf is now by the door.


We moved the train table from the gameroom into his room at the foot of his bed. This is the wall that is still a work in progress. It is just such a big empty wall. Any suggestions are welcome!

B-I-B-L-E

video

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Lord has done great things for us...

... And we are filled with JOY! (Psalm 126:3) About a month ago we had our last service in our old church building. We recently moved into an amazing building where our whole church meets together. Anyway, during that last service our pastor talked about why we should take the time to remember what God has done in the past. He said that it allows us to show our gratitude towards God and helps us trust him for the future because of his faithfulness in the past. He went on to tell the history of our church and the amazing things God has done for us and through us. Anyway, I thought it was an amazing sermon and I thought it would be nice to remember what God has done for our family this year. I'm going to be honest...it has been a tough year for us, but through this year God has shown his faithfulness to us and his provision in incredible ways. He has strengthened us as a family and shown us His great love for us.

In January we started our Dave Ramsey cash budget and I'm so glad we did! We would have never made it through this year if we hadn't really gotten our finances in order. It isn't always easy to stick to the budget, but we have been blessed by being faithful. In March we decided that we were going to use some savings and bonuses Travis received to add on to the family room to try to help the house sell. God had another plan and we decided to give the money to our church building fund that we had committed to a couple of years ago. Read the full story here. Back to that in a moment. In June we realized that Travis was going to be out of work soon and we began praying about what God would want him to do. Travis felt like God was calling him to farm, but I wasn't totally sold. We made a trip to Harlingen to visit and God spoke to my heart and gave me a verse (Deuteronomy 6:18) as an answer to our prayers. "Do what is right and good in the Lord's sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers!" So we decided as a family that we would move to Harlingen and he would join his father and uncles on the farm. If you haven't heard the full story you can read it here.

After we made the decision to move we felt like God would sell our house quickly and the farm would have a great crop to allow us to easily join the farm. Boy, were we wrong!!! In July a horrible hurricane blew through the Rio Grande Valley and completely wiped out the farms cotton crop. It was devastating to the farm and we just couldn't understand what God was up to. Zac let Travis know in August that he would have to let him go at the end of September and so we decided that we would move in October because we would have no income here. Needless to say, the farm really wasn't in a great position to bring us on because of the devastating year they experienced. In September, Hurricane Ike blew through the Houston area and was more of an annoyance than anything to us. Little did we know, God was going to use this storm to provide for our family. Travis got several jobs to repair homes that suffered damage from the storm. Out of that work and through word of mouth, he has gotten numerous referrals for additions, remodels, and repair. In October, we got great news in that a family was going to lease our house for 18 months with the potential to buy at the end of that time. We were thrilled and decided we would be moving in mid-January. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks later we were once again devastated! They decided to cancel the contract and move elsewhere. We really were heartbroken and couldn't understand why God would do this to us! During this time I remember our pastor saying during several services that in the end God is going to be proven faithful. He is always faithful to us, even when it doesn't seem like it at the time. Well, I definitely wasn't feeling it at the time!!! Through the next couple of months we had a couple of second showings and of course we (or probably more like I) would get my hopes up and nothing would happen. But even looking back now, I can see God's faithfulness to us through this year. He was faithful to provide for our family when we didn't know where our next months income would come from. He was faithful to us and allowed us to meet in our new church building that we sacrificed and gave money towards- if we had moved in October as we originally thought we would have not been able to attend church in our new building. And I believe that he will be faithful to us and sell our house in the future- in his time. God has provided so much work for Travis that we think we will be able to stay here until the end of the summer. And we are believing God for a great year on the farm that will allow better circumstances for us to join his father and uncles. We are already praying for the crops that they haven't even planted yet! I believe that this entire year has also been preparing us for the lifestyle that we will lead as farmers. We will have to completely depend on Him to take care of us. We won't have a definite paycheck every year, but that doesn't matter because I know that he is going to take care of my family.

This year has been an emotional one, but God has taught us so much. God has taught us how to give up control, how to completely depend on Him, and just how much He really does care for us. We are so blessed!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Trip to the Zoo!

Today I ventured out early this morning with the boys and headed to the Houston Zoo! We got a family membership to the zoo for Christmas- thanks Hoovers! It was a beautiful day for the zoo and was not crowded at all. Tyler has been begging to go back to the zoo since September when we went in Tyler while we were evacuating from Hurricane Ike. Tyler loved every minute of it, while Cooper was more hesitant. He liked seeing everything from the stroller or from my arms, but the minute an animal got to close or made a loud noise he came running back to me. In the children's zoo they have some large signs with buttons you can push to hear the animals sound. The sounds are pretty loud and it really sounds like the animal is right there next to you. When Tyler pushed the cow and a loud Moooooooooo came out, Cooper freaked out and would not stop crying. It was pretty funny. We had a picnic lunch while we were there and then headed home soon after. We got home and we ALL crashed! If we all need naps then you know we have had a fun day!

Tyler checking out the llama. Eat the food, Tina! (I just had to include that movie reference!)


Tyler poking his head out of the prarie dog holes. Cooper wanted to go in after he saw Tyler do it, but when I tried to get him to crawl in he chickened out.


Watching the zookeepers feed one of the animals.


Tyler is not quite tall enough to be a giraffe! Maybe one day.


When we were at the Orangutan exhibit the male came over to the window and just sat there and stared at us. Tyler got right up in his face and talked to him and I got the best picture with him!

Christmas Part 2

Travis' parents came in town on New Year's Eve to celebrate Christmas with all of their kiddos. On New Years Eve they babysat our kids so we could have a date. We rang in the New Year with some Pappadeaux and a movie. It was great and we enjoyed our time together. On Thursday, Ross and Kim, Kelsey and Charlie, and some surprise visitors came to the house to celebrate Christmas. Everyone except Richard and Cheryl knew that Kristi and her family were coming to complete the celebration. Kristi and Josh live in Jacksonville, Florida and we are rarely all together anymore. It was a great surprise and we had a lot of fun together. On Friday we all headed to Katy to Ross and Kim's and that night all of the girls headed to a baby shower for Kelsey. We spent the night Friday and then headed home one tired family! Here are some pictures from our time together:

Grandma and Papa with all the grandkids. We can't wait to add Callie in April! (This is the best picture I could find of all of them.)


Cooper ready to open presents.


Cade, Bailey, and Tyler ripping open their presents!


Cooper looks very serious about opoening his gift!