Some months are crazy, or maybe it’s just me. This month we moved (again), brought Moriah home from college, sold our pickup, bought a car, closed on the sale of our house in New Richmond, and a bunch of other stuff… that could make this story a couple months long.
I do want to share some details because the care of God has been incredible. We’ve experienced the care of God in some really painful seasons, seasons of routine, and seasons of delight. During every season Jesus’ followers will witness His faithfulness and face the daily call to be like Him. That’s been obvious this crazy May.
I have to start this story on the last day of April. I stopped by our mail box in the lobby of our condo building, where I noticed a posting for a two bedroom, two bath condo on the 11th floor of our same building. It’s not unusual to have postings like this, what caught my attention was the price. We moved into this building June 1 of last year, and I’ve watched rental prices… looked like a bargain, or a mess.
I thought it wise to check this out before I opened the subject with Jill (she doesn’t seem to enjoy taking every side trail I take ;o) It had only been hours earlier we thought we settled the question that we would renew our lease on our one bedroom, one bath condo for another year. Sure, Moriah would be with us for the summer. We were, for sure, looking forward to having her with us, but it does make things pretty chummy. And, she has a way of laying claim to a bathroom.
I called the phone number on the condo listing and spoke with David. He explained that he had purchased the condo several years ago thinking he would live there but eventually decided to rent it instead. He happened to be coming to the condo early that afternoon and invited me to take a look. We met, and within a few minutes became fast friends. The condo was very well kept and the extra bedroom and bathroom made it seem huge! David told me he doesn’t pay attention to rental rates. He knows what he needs to cover his costs, but focuses on finding good tenants. I sent Jill a text… “Are you willing to look at a 2 bedroom at 3:30?” “Yes I guess.”
Jill loved it too. Now the question shifted to ending our lease. I called the guy who manages our condo (the owner lives in China), he told me the lease requires a 60 day notice from the end of the month. He explained, if you give notice today (it was now about 4:45 pm, April 30) the lease will end June 30. If you give notice tomorrow it will end July 31.
I called David and explained we had to give 60 days and would be obligated for rent for two more months. He told me he would wait for us. Additionally he told me we could move whenever we wanted. Jill and I decided we didn’t want to make him eat both months rent, so we told him we would begin paying June 1.
I started moving things up five floors with one of the carts available in our garage, just a few things at a time. Our property manager was wanting to show our condo and I told him we were going to be out early, so if they could find a renter early, that would be a huge help. They showed it a couple days before we we left to pick up Moriah. The next day he called to ask if the new tenant could move in June 1. Score! We had everything moved by May 13. As much as we enjoyed where we were, we enjoy everything about our new place even more. Really sweet!
I bought a 2013 Honda Ridgeline while I was in Arizona in March 2017. I had wanted a pickup for years! In my mind (which can be a very lonely place) a pickup is an incredibly practical vehicle. It made a lot of sense until… we moved into the heart of the city. The Ridgeline isn’t a huge truck. Still, the underground garage at our condo is tight with a car. A once great idea wasn’t so great anymore. So, I put together a Craigslist ad for a vehicle I really didn’t want to sell. When it didn’t sell the decision seemed to be settled. Then I decided to re-list the Ridgeline when we decided to renew our lease. (Which you now know didn’t happen. But…)
Within a few hours of the ad posting a man called and expressed his interest. It was going to be a couple days before he could come take a look. I promised him I wouldn’t sell before he had a chance to see it.
Before that time came I received a call from a woman and her husband in Sioux Falls, SD. They had been looking for a truck for their son who was graduating from college. Our phone call covered more topics than necessary as we got to know each other. I told them I promised to show the truck to interested guy #1, but would let them know if he wasn’t ready to make a deal. Within ten minutes my phone rang again. Same lady. She asked, “What if we commit to buy the Ridgeline sight unseen, full price?”
These are places God has made my life much simpler. I had already given my word to guy #1. I told her I appreciate the offer, but I was committed to let the earlier buyer see it.
I sent guy #1 an email letting him know there was another buyer so we needed to get his visit scheduled. He responded right away. “If you have another buyer ready to pay full price you have to take it, right?” I told him, “If you’re ready to release the truck I would sell to them, but I gave you my word.” He told me he would be at my place the next day.
I’ve got to jump forward because there are far too many fascinating details. When he and his wife came to see the truck we learned we’re all Christ-followers. At one point he said (in reference to keeping my word rather than selling), “Who does that? Now I know why.” What I didn’t think about at the time was that those steps also took away all the price negotiation. Deal, or no deal?
Getting the title transferred has been a challenge. Buying the Ridgeline in AZ, registration in WI, moving and registering in MN, complicated by the serious mess of MN DMV has made this a crazy adventure too. In the process guy #1 and I have become friends.
Of course when I sold the Ridgeline we needed a vehicle. There is plenty to tell about that deal too, but the short version is, I found a young man making plans to get married. He had a very nice Buick Regal.
Mo is home. May 10 Jill and I headed for Laramie WY in our new-to-us Buick. (I wished I had my Ridgeline.) That Friday we moved Moriah out of her dorm along with a couple million (it seemed) other freshmen. Chaos. One of the elevators wasn’t working (who’s in charge here?). There was a mass of youngsters waiting for the elevators so we did what any reasonable, able-bodied person would do… took the stairs. Fortunately Moriah was on just the fourth floor. I had arranged for a small self storage unit to keep the things she’ll need in the fall. A few hours later we turned the Buick toward MN. We landed at home early Saturday afternoon, just shy of 2,000 miles, to move the last three pieces of furniture upstairs.
The last two weeks we’ve been adjusting. Moriah is about to start a summer nanny job, so we’ll be juggling the vehicle and loving our girl (who now has her own bathroom).
Not many weeks ago our son and his family, who had been renting our house in New Richmond, found the house they wanted to buy. That deal worked out so along that way we made the decision to sell our house. The real estate market is crazy hot in NR these days! My head was swimming with some equally crazy thoughts about how we might handle the sale of our house. Fortunately God, and a wise real estate agent (Thank you Laurie Stafne!) rescued me from creating a new level of crazy. The short version of this deal is, that Josh Maciel sent a message that he and his wife Stephanie were interested in buying our house. We settled on a price that worked for all of us and the deal was done. No listing. No showings. We closed on the 24th. Jill and I are really thrilled the Maciel family get to enjoy the church family, the neighborhood, and the community we were graced with for so long.
We turn the calendar to June. I think we won’t move again soon. June 10-13 Jill and I will be at the staff retreat for Training Leaders International in Colorado Springs, Co. I leave for Haiti on the 16th and won’t be home until June is finished. Sounds simple enough. I pray you’re looking forward to June too!
Thanks to all those who share in this work. Our financial support base continues to grow. And, for those who pray for us, we live in the daily grace of God’s great care. I will be teaching a class on Marriage and Family in Haiti. I will be joined by Matt Oberg, a faithful brother from our sister church in Baldwin, WI who will be teaching Galatians.
I have very little idea what this month holds, but I am absolutely certain Who holds this month.