Saturday, September 8, 2012

From Waco to Lawrence Part II

             Many of you may have been wondering  how everything has continued to play out in our re-location journey.  You'll understand why this post has been so delayed once you read on.  Everyone said, especially our realtor, that it would be a miracle to sell our house at top of the market --for 85K-- in our neighborhood.  There were no comps, the housing market is still slow, our neighborhood scares some people. 

             Within 5 days of putting our house on the market, a young 23 year old engineer put an offer for 83K plus we pay closing costs.  We were elated!  First person to look at our house wanted to buy it!  Interestingly enough, BJ instructed me not to start packing just yet, he had a feeling about this guy falling through.  And he did, on the 9th day--right before we would have gotten the earnest money, he gave a silly excuse and backed out.  It was clear to us that he was fear driven by his responses to us wanting to work with him.  So the house went back on the market.  I was so sad about this.  I remember going to the community garden that night for our garden kids program, dejected. And that night, only like, 10 kids came and I had about 15+ volunteers.  It seemed clear to me that there was an incredible group of volunteers that would like to gather under a tree with me and pray.  There is something so beautiful and heavenly about praying in a garden on the river in the middle of an abandoned inner city neighborhood.  I just cried and told the circle of 8 ladies about how mad I was at this guy.  And how I didn't want to be mad, but I just was, tearfully so.  And they lovingly encouraged me, put hands on me, prayed over me.  My friends Catherine Mutheey & Tammi Crook especially nurtured me in the Holy Spirit, and I was able to get up from under that tree with a heart clean from a bitter spirit.
              Two days later, a pair of enthusiastic realtors previewed the home and loved it, loved meeting BJ, myself and Riviere.  It was fun for us to get to show them our house in a way that no realtor could.  One of them, Jim Sullivan, brought over a beautiful young girl, Alisa, who later wrote me an email after putting an offer on our home for 85K plus closing costs:     
Hi Ashley,
The moment that my family and I stepped into your home, it took our breath away! The blood, sweat, and tears that you and Bryan have put into your home truly show with the immaculate work that you have done! It is so comforting to hear that you and your family love the neighborhood and feel safe there as that is very important to us! I absolutely fell in love with your decorating style throughout the house and I was curious as to where your favorite places are to shop for furniture and home decorating items. I know this is kind of a silly question, but we loved everything that you have done and we would like to emulate it somewhat!  Thank you so much and God bless!

                The Lord knows what He is doing!  He had Alisa in mind all along, a believer!  That is what we had been hoping and praying for for years.  The inspection was great, the house appraised for 85K by a very conservative FHA appraiser, everything that needed to happen, happened.
               I found myself exhausted running around after Riviere, packing, cleaning, working part time, and all the normal mom stuff like laundry, diapers, meals, grocery shopping, etc.  Too exhausted.  And I was feeling depressed about not wanting to do anything at all.  Sometimes, when no one was around, I would just sit and stare or mindlessly watch old episodes of Grey's Anatomy. There's something about the wounded character, Meredith, that I am drawn to in times like these. That's usually a pretty good indicator to me that somethings going on.  And then one morning-- it occurred to me what was really happening within me.  I secretly handed Riviere something she wasn't supposed to have, which she immediately turned away and excitedly took off running with. Then said to BJ, "Quick honey!!! Rivi's got something she's not supposed to have, grab it!"  He did and looked up at me wide-eyed: "You're pregnant!!!??" And picked me up yelling with excitement and we high-fived.  
             I had always said I was excited to have another little babe, just not move during the first trimester because all I want to do is sleep and sit and stare.  I don't pretend to understand the timing of Jesus, but it seems to be no accident that our second child was coming along with this huge shift in our lives.  we are  3 months a long now, due sometime around March 23rd.  It has been a real challenge for me to function lately but as I begin to enter into my 2nd trimester, I feel my energy returning in little spurts, feeling more like my normal self.  I feel bad for BJ who has felt pretty alone in the last 2 months of moving, cleaning, etc. 

             BJ and I had the most marvelous help from family and best friends who are like family moving in all our furniture and boxes.  It is vulnerable to move, to receive help from others who are giving up their time and strength.  We felt so loved.  Not only did they get us moved in, then started unpacking and organizing.  Normally I love organizing, but with all my strength gone, I just sat, watched and thanked the Lord for His love through each of them. It felt strange, but lovely.

             Since then, BJ and I were led by Jesus to do something that seems slightly crazy.  Now that we live in this huge Victorian house we had no excuse not to do something that we'd been discussing for about a year: facilitate a group of college aged students who wanted community together with Jesus.  And with school starting and all, we realized we had to start too, so our first gathering with them was August 14th.  We have met every Tuesday night at 8 since then, and its been so life giving and incredible.  It seems like right after they left that first night Jesus assured us that we need not be overwhelmed with the opportunities to love those all around us here on Broadway, He has brought us an incredible group of college students full of energy and desire to join us in this.  

              Speaking of the broken people walking, riding their bikes, and driving by our house all the time.... One recent Saturday, August 25th, I went to Theresa Briscoe's "Workshop," with four of my beautiful college girls, Tammi Crook, and Lauren Hoppock.  It was life-changing for me.  Please friend her on Facebook to learn more about how God is working through her, or visit her website at: 

            You can read about her story on there.  My next blog entry will continue in sharing more about this workshop with my friend Theresa, as well as what it was like last night to go out on the streets with her with some of my beautiful college girls.  We've lived on Waco, and now Broadway (orignally known as Lawrence St.). In 1887, during Wichita's boom time, these two streets were known for their mansions and wealth.  Now they are places of abandonment, poverty, slavery, and addiction.  God has allowed our family to bring the great wealth of His Presence, His love, His light into this place, please join your hearts with us in agreement and prayer as we live with Jesus here and now. 

Here are some highlights from this portion of our adventure:
Riviere investigating the sign in front of the Waco house, only God can sell a house with golden brown grass.

                               Riviere helping mama clean the refrigerator, every time I turned my back she was finding a new way to help me, haha!

From Left, Bryan Brockus, BJ Brockus, Ryan Clement, Justin Shurtz, & Michael Peterson, BJ's best friends who helped us move.  Not Pictured: Craig Beebe, Shawn Brockus, & Mason Castro- BJ's brothers who helped move a few days prior.  Thanks for your incredible muscles, energy and time guys!!

These are pictures of our bedroom.  It was covered with a 1990s mauve carpet, which we promptly removed.  Our house was a boarding house in WWII, and the floors tell the story of how this room used to look a lot different.  BJ is in the midst of restoring these floors, these are the before pictures, after pictures will follow someday. 

 Above, BJ and our neighbor and wonderful friend Larry are talking about how to fix the window on the 3rd floor.  Larry is 10 years into restoring a 1904 home around the corner and has been an incredible help to BJ as he learns about fixing up old homes.

 July 28th, Move in Day!!

 Riviere and Meme Overholt in her first piano lesson.  It was an incredible sight and sound to watch Rivi match Meme's piano playing motions and volume.  She loved playing with Meme on this 1915 player piano our friend Dale Churchman refinished and left with this house for us--an incredible gift. 
Great Grandma "Gigi" Derby and Great Grandpa giving Riviere her first wagon ride during their recent visit.  Riviere loves her great grandparents and playing with them. 

My husband works tirelessly on scraping paint. He's been working until he can't see any more (note the moon) scraping paint, fixing old wood, and applying a special linseed oil mixture.  He's ready to finish this section soon and begin applying new colors.