I know the "Christmas miracle" is a Hollywood creation, and the true Christmas miracle was a virgin birth over 2000 years ago, but we have experienced several bits of extra good news this month. For those who may not have heard all of them, here goes.
1) We have a house! Feast your eyes. :-)
We have decided to rent for now. The pool of homes for sale that fit our needs, wants, and price range is pretty small right now. We narrowed down to a couple of options, looked at those, and decided we weren't up to the task of making them immediately inhabitable. So we turned to the rental market. That pool is also fairly small. We looked at two houses in Tulsa and two in Broken Arrow. Both houses in Tulsa could have worked for us. One was an older midtown home with a lot of character; the other was a newer home with a lot of square footage. Neither was ideal, though, and both would have meant a 20-25 minute drive to church. That is less than desirable for people whose lives revolve around church. So we turned to the Broken Arrow options. One of them had five bedrooms, which would have been great for bunking purposes when everyone is home, but it was lacking in living space and in need of much cleaning and repair. The property manager did not leave us feeling confident that either would be adequately done. So at 7:00 p.m. this past Friday night we nervously headed to the last house on the list.
Oh, my. It was lovely. A little smaller than we would like, but truly a beautiful home, built in 2000 and in mint condition. The current occupants are moving back to their home state of Texas and we enjoyed chatting with them as we looked at the house. We knew within a few minutes that this was the house for us. Not only is it in excellent condition, with the floor plan we need (a suitable bedroom and bath on the main floor for my mom), but it comes with all appliances in new or newer condition. (All of our appliances are remaining with our house in Illinois.) It even comes with patio furniture, flat screen TV in the master bedroom, and bar stools (I kid you not)! It is almost too good to be true. There is a nice-sized, fenced yard (which we need for the dog) and a pretty neighborhood park within walking distance. Church is 10-12 minutes away. Between the charming young couple (with adorable newborn and cute Yorkshire terrier) from Texas and the fact that the house just came up for rent this week and we were the first people to look at it, we are convinced this was a "God thing." I know--everything is a God thing. But this was really a GOD THING. We snatched up that house on the spot, and because we are renting, not buying, and we don't have to be at the closing on our own house, we will be able to move even sooner than we had originally thought (probably the first week of January). Oklahoma, here we come!
2) Caitlin has been accepted to her first choice of college, Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. They have offered her $10,000 up front with the possibility of more money later when the competitive scholarship review begins. Truman was recently ranked #12 on the Kiplinger list of best values in public colleges in the U.S. Caitlin is very excited about the prospect of attending there, and they have been extremely attentive to her in the admissions process, calling on the phone (multiple times), sending handwritten notes, and now, processing her application and sending her initial offer with great speed. I think the odds are good we will be moving some boxes to Missouri in August of 2014 (sniff).
3) My mom recently took another fall, but after a four-night hospital stay and thorough once-over she is back home and doing fine. As best we can tell, she had a fainting spell due to a urinary tract infection. She got quite a bump on her head and a nasty tear on her hand, but we are thankful that nothing was broken. Considering what she has gone through the last week, she is in excellent spirits. Anyone reading who knows me well knows that the preceding sentence is something of a miracle. My mom was so sad for such a long time--I am still pinching myself at the change she has undergone since her surgery in September. I am having to relearn the way I interact with her. Protective walls don't come down overnight, but we are working on it and slowly remembering what it's like to be mother and daughter.
I am in Oklahoma right now but heading home tomorrow. Then it will be time to pick up Trevor and get ready for Christmas! Phillip will be home the week between Christmas and New Year's. We hope to move in early January. Maybe in 2014 you will see me writing less about our day-to-day struggles and more about ideas. I do still have them, sometimes.
Blessed Gaudete Sunday!