Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Smith House

I’ve been promising to write “the rest of the story” about the sale of our house and today—after an extra long nap--is finally the day!

By way of a quick review, here is what we were up against in our recent home buying/selling challenge:

The house we had for sale in Smithfield had to be under contract by April 30 in order for us to get a (greatly needed) $6,500 rebate. More importantly, the house had to be sold by that date in order for us to be able to buy the rent-to-own house we’re currently living in.

Coincidentally, April 30 was also the day another buyer was waiting in the wings to buy our rent-to-own house if we weren’t able to. (We had first dibs on it but only as long as we were able to do it by the deadline.)

While we wouldn’t have immediately been out on the street on April 30, our challenge was that, since this is a very expensive market, there are literally no other houses in Manteo anywhere near our price range with the features we would like to have. Our Realtor just basically stumbled across this house when we moved to town five months ago. It wasn’t even officially listed at the time but, because it had been listed in the past, he called up the owner on the off chance that he might be thinking about putting it on the market again sometime. And he was. So we were able to get the house (on a rent to own basis) before anyone else even knew it was for sale.

So it was really a one-in-a-million find and within our financial reach only because it needed some repairs and fix-its.

Because our Realtor knew about all the impossible deadlines we were up against, he got busy looking around for another home for us if this one fell through. Finally he just said, “There’s just nothing else out there.” And this is a creative, motivated guy who doesn’t give up easily.

So by the time April 27th rolled around and no offers had come in on the house we were trying to sell, we were sweatin’ just a little. There’s nothing like a bit of stress to keep life interesting: we had a cancer diagnosis, major surgery and a huge housing crisis all hit within a couple of weeks.

I was definitely stressed out about the whole issue, but I was especially feeling bad for Sarah. She had so fallen in love with this house, her 3rd story, 400 sq. foot bedroom, the lovely neighborhood, the pretty front porch, her big bathroom.


She had spent a good deal of time over the past few weeks worrying over the fact that we would have to move and she talked with me about it quite a bit. In fact, last Wednesday, she had yet another “house mourning spell.” She came and got into bed beside me (I was in between several of my daily Post Surgical Naps) and broke down into tears over the whole situation, not wanting to move, not wanting to leave a place she had already come to love. I listened to her sadness, we talked together and I comforted her as best I could. After she left the room, I went back to sleep.

About an hour later, Steve came into the room, woke me and said, “Hi, honey. How would you like to sell the house in Smithfield today?”

I just gaped at him rather vacantly--having just awakened from a deep sleep, I was trying to determine whether or not I was dreaming, or if it really was my husband sitting on my bed telling me this last minute, incredible, impossible news.

As it turned out, our Realtor in Smithfield had just called him with an offer that (while lower than we had hoped) was still something we could work with. And that meant that our house which had been on the market for sixteen months was actually, miraculously under contract—just two days before the final, scary deadline.

After Steve and I had done our own bit of rejoicing, we started talking about how we wanted to share the news with Sarah, and my visiting mom and sister. The news was too big and too wonderful to just blurt out any ol’ way, so Steve came up with a plan.

At dinner that night, we all sat down to a wonderful meal my sister had cooked. We joined hands as we always do and Steve prayed the following prayer:

“Dear Lord, thank you for this beautiful evening and that Debbie and Jo Ann get to be here with us for a few days. Thank you for this wonderful meal and (pause) thank you that the house in Smithfield sold today. Amen.”

There was half a nanosecond of silence and then Debbie half squealed and half squeaked, “It sold? It really sold? Really?” (She and her husband had been praying fervently about our housing situation for many weeks.)

While Debbie continued on with her own celebratory spate of happiness, I glanced across the table at Sarah and this is what I saw.


And then her smile gave way to the happiest tears I’ve ever seen. Her sweet, grateful face just made me cry.


The dinner was momentarily forgotten as the five of us sat and basked in the wonderful news. It was especially timely that mom and Debbie just happened to with us for the announcement because they had been praying right along with us. Being just five days out from cancer surgery, I was still a bit foggy and drugged, but I was not too foggy to realize we had just seen an amazing answer to prayer.

After we finally got down to eating and were finishing up the last bites, Steve suddenly got up and said he had to “do something.” He left in the van for a few minutes and returned with a little surprise.

Ever since we moved into the house five months ago, we had always said the front porch was perfect for a swing and we all looked forward to the day when we would be able to get one. Well, Steve decided that there was no better day to get a swing than on our Good News Day!

Since I was out of commission, Sarah was enlisted as his helper.


Debbie got in on the act, as well.



Everything was fine (not to mention dandy) until it occurred to Steve that something was a bit amiss. It appears as though the swing had been made for people with very long legs. Very, very long legs.




Happily, my very observant, ever resourceful husband quickly discerned that he did not live in a family of Very Long Legged People and within a few minutes, he had gone back to the store and bought some more chain to remedy the situation.

And so it was the next morning, before my still-rejoicing mom and sister left for the airport, that they got to sit for a few minutes on the swing on the porch on the house that will happily shelter the Smith family for years to come.


The front porch of The Smith House. What beautiful words! What a beautiful place.


25 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Lyndsay said...

Oh sweet Sarah!! I'm so glad things worked out!

Jessica Kramasz said...

What a wonderful story. God is so good.

Anonymous said...

Becky, now that was a post well wort waiting for! Loved the way you broke the house news, I believe you have turned a tiny corner. Keep it up slow and steady, we are all wishing you well as soon as possible.

Jean C.

Sue G said...

Well, what a wonderful surprise: a story told so beautifully by a woman who is on her way to regaining the wonder and beauty that surrounds her daily. It's hard to see sometimes through the fog of pain medication...but the nice thing about truth, beauty and wondrous moments is that they wait for our eyes and our hearts to clear.

Congratulations. Welcome back. And thank you for the story we have all been waiting for.

Susan said...

So happy that you were able to sell your house in Smithfield. I have been praying that your house would sell and also for your recovery.


Susan said...

So happy that you were able to sell your house in Smithfield. I have been praying that your house would sell and also for your recovery.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Sarah, you're beaming face says it all!


Anonymous said...

Made me cry... at work....

Megan said...

Seeing Sarah cry made me cry and chills took over my body just as I sat down from a HOT HOT run ouside. The Lord is good! Thank you for this story! I needed it!
Thinking of you and praying for a quick recovery!
Megan in Wilmington!

Anonymous said...

LOL at the swing! That's too funny!

Shannon said...

I so love happy endings!! With GREAT potential for wonderful beginings!!! Congrats!!!
I think I can detect in your writing you might be feeling a little better? Hope so!!
Long distance hugs!

Gail puckett said...

The Smith House, How wonderful that sounds. I am so happy for your family, I know how stressful things like that can be. The picture of Sarah says it all.
God bless

Anonymous said...

That is such an amazing story! God is great!

Gayle in AL

Lisa said...

All the glory be to God for the marvelous things He has done in your lives! Praise Him!!

MaryH said...

I just love the expressions on Sarah's face, in each photo, after the announcement of the sale of the house - she is just a happy, safe, secure, giddy kid - just what she needs to be and should be. I am so happy for her - and for all of you and for your porch with a swing. What great memories will be made sitting and swinging on that porch. Praying - but I am beginning to see some results of prayers here and it makes me smile.

tylersmama said...

YAY!!!! That is a great story! And that sweet Sarah....her happy face makes me want to cry tears of joy along with her! I am sooo happy that you guys are going to be able to stay put! Hooray!!!!

Vicky Elder said...

Porch swings are so awesome! I used to have one and LOVED it. Then we moved. And no porch for a swing! You sound better today Becky - I hope that is a good sign. I have been praying for you for a long time.

LizW said...

What a wonderful story! Miracles do occur and prayers are answered. Love the way Steve broke the news and the porch swing story. The pictures of the "up in the air" swing are priceless! Thanks for sharing it all with your readers.
Prayers are with you as always.


Chris said...

God never stops working;
He's wonderfully and mysteriously
in control.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story! The writer in you is BACK! Not that you ever went anywhere, but this made me cry happy tears. Jill-FL

Margie said...

What a beautiful story. I love how the rose is right there to be smelled by anybody who happens to be in the swing.

Ann Martin said...

Great news about the house!!! God is good! Love the swing especially with Steve's feet in the air. Jim wants a swing but no porch so he decided on a yard swing. Hasn't found one he is satisfied with yet.

lesley said...

Sarah's happy teary face brought me to tears.


Mommy! said...


Anonymous said...

Wonderful story with great pictures to make it even better.

God is so good even though his timing scares us sometimes!