Our Grand Home - Part 1

Many of you may follow my personal Instagram account and have seen the hashtag #OurGrandHome. I’ve wanted to share this whole story for quite some time now. I figured now is as good as time as any. 

9 years ago, Geoffrey and I were house hunting. We were looking to purchase our first home and needed to find a house before I graduated college.

We looked at TONS of houses!!! It was rather ridiculous, but every time we went into a house, we would find something (or many things) we didn’t like. You see, I am the daughter of a contractor in town who is a perfectionist in his line of work, so I’ve always had pretty high standards!

But there was this one house that we compared every other house to: the Grand house. 

I had never seen inside of it, but the outside looked beautiful, charming and unique. It was a house my dad remodeled from top to bottom several years before. He said it was just as beautiful and unique inside as it was outside; a 3 bedroom/2 bath home in the Sayles area (a neighborhood I always wanted to live in), with hardwood floors, crown molding, arched doorways, a clawfoot tub in one of the bathrooms, an open floor plan with lots of charm throughout, guest apartment and a HUGE garage/shop!!! It was everything Geoffrey and I wanted in a home and so much more! 

But it wasn’t for sale. 

We drove past it often hoping we would someday see a for sale sign in the yard. Even knowing we probably couldn’t afford it, we still dreamed. 

After house hunting for almost a year, I had become extremely weary and began to think that we were never going to find a house we loved. I began to doubt God’s provision and timing, and believed we were just going to have to settle. Maybe I was asking for too much? Maybe I was being too picky? Maybe my heart’s desires were unrealistic and I needed to get real. I had lost hope of finding a home that I would love. 

Then, one day, the same day we put in a contract on a house we were “settling” for, my family, Geoffrey and I went to dinner. While eating, my dad ran into a family that had hired him to remodel their house a few years earlier. Which house was it? You guessed it; the house on Grand. The family was military and was moving to Germany soon. They asked my dad if he knew of anyone who might want to look at their house before it went on the market. My dad said “YES! My daughter and son-in-law would love to look!”

Later that night, our offer on the other house we had “settled” for, was declined. That door had closed and I hoped with all my heart that the door on Grand was about to open. The next day, we walked into that beautiful house on Grand Avenue and of course we loved it! The house was everything we wanted and MORE! It was perfect! I was SOLD!!!! 

Unfortunately, it was out of our price range. 

I was devastated! We NEEDED to move out of married student housing by the end of May, as I was about to graduate college in less than a month. Why would the timing have worked out so perfectly? Surely it wasn’t a coincidence that we ran into the family who owned our dream home the night we placed an offer on another house? Surely it wasn’t a coincidence that the offer on that other house was rejected? Surely it wasn’t a coincidence that we were given the opportunity to see the house on Grand before it went on the market because we just so happened to run into the family at dinner? 

What was God doing? Why would He wave my dream home in my face, only to find out that the price tag was just too high for us? 

I had a lot to learn about God’s character and I had a lot of maturing to do when it came to mine.

Thankfully, God is so kind, so good and so giving. Not long after we saw the house and started talking numbers and began negotiating, this sweet military family (about to move to Germany) dropped their asking price so that our dream home was within our reach. 

We moved in that summer and have lived in our Grand home for 8 years. It has been the most amazing place for us as our family has grown; this house is filled with wonderful memories including when we brought our babies home from the hospital. Geoffrey, the girls and I have all learned a lot and grown so much here on Grand Avenue. We’ve laughed and played, sang to the top of our lungs and danced like no one was watching. We’ve shared a lot of meals with friends and family around our farmhouse table. Geoffrey and I have always considered our home to be a retreat from the rest of the world. It has been a place of peace and rest for our little family of 4. 

Over the years, we’ve also done several renovations, which has been a lot of fun! Including:

  • renovating the garage apartment
  • replacing the fence outside 
  • creating a true ensuite with a walk in closet (we stole space from a hallway)
  • granite countertops in the kitchen with a subway tile backsplash 
  • a black and white stripe awning above the front door 
  • shiplap on the fireplace
  • walk in pantry with built ins and a sliding barn door that Geoffrey built
  • barn doors to cover the washer and dryer (which Geoffrey also built and installed)
  • new paint in every room
  • and recently we had the exterior of our house painted as well

Why do I say all of this? 

It is indeed going to be VERY hard to say goodbye to our Grand home. This 1660 square foot house has been an amazing first home for us! But, it is time for a bigger space for our family and for my growing business (Part 2 of this blog post will explain more about the connection between our Grand home and Grand Avenue Designs). 

So here it is…Our Grand home is on the market. 

https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Abilene-TX/house_type/53332157_zpid/23394_rid/2-_beds/2-_baths/0-315000_price/0-1152_mp/32.454916,-99.734982,32.432715,-99.762447_rect/14_zm/

Take a look when you can and share it with friends and family who might be interested in a great 3 bedroom/2 bath home! It is our prayer that the next family to move here will take good care of our first ever dream home, that they will love our neighbors like we have and make many memories of their own in this Grand home! 

My Car Story

I told you all I would tell the story of how God provided my new vehicle. Well, here it is...

Back in December, when God said it was "go time" regarding stepping out and launching a new business, I jumped in 100% knowing that this was all His idea. So being confident in His perfect timing and knowing He has always been faithful and will always be faithful, I didn't doubt His provision in the process.

But I noticed a slight problem in week 1 of launching a new business: my car wasn’t going to provide the space I needed. You see, I've had a 4 door Honda Accord for the past 8 years and for the last 3 years the back seat has been FULL with 2 car seats and 2 precious little girls and ZERO extra space. So picking up buckets of florals wasn't even a possibility when it came to this new job, I was lucky to get maybe 3 buckets of flowers on the floor boards of the car (all the while, hoping my kids kept their feet off the stems and petals of everything I just purchased).

I knew this would especially be a problem after I had been hired as the floral designer for 2 weddings on back-to-back weekends of Spring Break! YAY!!! But I needed a new vehicle and I needed God to provide it before that first wedding on March 11th!!!

So I started praying circles around what I needed God to provide so that I could do what He called me to do. I needed an SUV with space for my kids AND space for Grand Ave. Designs to flourish as I hauled florals and products to clients and events.

In February, we approached Freedom Motors to help us with our search. My wish list:

·      Midsize SUV

·      Seats 7, comfortably

·      A third row that folds down

·      Caption chairs in second row, that also fold down

·      Remote start

·      Power lift gate

·      Back up cam

·      And when they asked about a color, I said white, but not white white, like a pearly white.

·      Preferably a 2014-2016 Chevy Traverse LTZ

(No one has ever accused me of being too detailed or specific haha)

But my husband had a wish list of his own as well: a budget that suited our family, around 50,000 miles and good safety ratings. So Freedom Motors graciously took our seemingly impossible wish list and started looking for this dream vehicle for us. We told them we weren’t in any huge hurry, but when a month passed by, we were getting concerned that maybe we were asking too much and that we needed to get real haha! They assured us, they would find us a vehicle that met our wish list, even if it took longer than it normally does.

The week of that first wedding, we got a call that they had found a vehicle that met our wish list, but it wasn’t a Chevy Traverse. It was a Buick Enclave and they were going to buy it at an auction in West Texas, regardless of whether or not we wanted it. But if we did want it, we had first priority when it came in. For the record, this vehicle wasn’t scheduled to come into Abilene until Monday, March 13th (2 days after that first wedding on March 11th). But we got a phone call on Friday, March 10th that the vehicle was on their lot (it had come early) and we could come check it out and take it for a test drive.

I was shocked. What in the world did this mean? Has God answered my prayer? Is this it? And IF this vehicle was it, then that means God pulled through in the nick of time. I was already overwhelmed by this thought.

So, Geoff, the girls and I (as well as my sweet friend Faith, who had been helping me prep flowers that day) drove to Freedom Motors to take a look at this car.

Geoffrey and I were blown away. Not only was it gorgeous, but it met our ENTIRE wish list AND THEN EVEN MORE!!!! I’m talking this vehicle was FULLY LOADED with everything I could ever imagine and then some! All within our price range and within the mileage we wanted. But here’s the kicker, which just blows my mind even more: the color of this Buick Enclave was called “White Pearl!”

WHHHATTTTTT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Did I not say I wanted I white SUV, but not white, white, but like a pearly white?!?!?!

Yes, yes, I believe that is what I wanted and that is what I said.

Y’all, God pulled through.

Freedom Motors allowed us to keep it over the weekend to ensure we wanted it or not. So I drove that vehicle home that afternoon. It wasn’t the Chevy Traverse I had my mind set on…but it was MORE than I asked for! More than I imagined. And I got to use it on my first big wedding of the season that first weekend of Spring Break. It was perfect. It met every need for that job and for my family. I was sold.

So, the following Monday, March 13th, we began the process of buying the White Pearl, Premium Edition, Buick Enclave. No it’s not what I thought we were going to buy. It’s better.

How sweet and kind of the Lord? He is faithful. 

I would also like to add, that Geoff and I had already resolved to renting a vehicle for those weddings over Spring Break if we had not bought a new car yet. But we couldn’t find an SUV to rent for that first weekend that was under $350. Which totally makes since now, because God was already working to provide for us! We just didn’t know it yet!

- Sarah