The House

Once I was thinking about transferring jobs (read March/April of this year) and that the likelihood was growing that I would be moving to Baton Rouge, I started looking online at houses for sale. Everything I loved was out of my price range and everything in my price range needed a tremendous amount of updating. After a couple of weeks of frustration, I realized that this was becoming consuming to me. All I wanted to do was look at houses that I couldn’t afford and be upset by it. When I finally prayed about it, God made it abundantly clear that I needed to look for a place to rent.

After I interviewed, I would search online for places while in Kansas City and then drive around after hours looking at neighborhoods when I was in Baton Rouge for work. Place after place would get marked off the list. I did find a couple of apartment complexes that would be ok but they were expensive and didn’t have good availability. Plus I really wanted to live in a house.

On my last trip to Baton Rouge, I found around four houses to drive by that were for rent and in my price range. This was one of my quickest trips to BR – I left KC at 8am Wednesday morning, landed in New Orleans around noon, drove to Port Allen and had meetings until 6pm then had meetings from 6am to 11:30am, drove back to the airport to catch a 3:30pm flight back to KC, landing at 10pm. Only one house that I drove by that Wednesday night was one I would want to live in so I called the listed realtor at 9:30pm and asked to tour the next morning on my way to the airport. She agreed to meet me at the house.

The house was new – 5 years old – in a gated one street subdivision. Two car garage. One story. 3 bedrooms. 2 bathrooms. Builder grade everything. Not bad to rent. I called my mom on the way to the real estate office to put in an application and she suggested I ask the realtor about running some numbers to purchase the house since it was also for sale.

By the next Monday I was pre-approved for the list price on the home and had submitted an offer on the house since the mortgage payment would be several hundred dollars cheaper per month than the rent payment. The sellers did not really want to negotiate and after several counter offers, we had agreed on the purchase price but not on the closing costs and status of who was getting the refrigerator. I was frustrated and called my mom for some advice.

This was a Wednesday morning and I was meeting her and my Dad on Friday in Boston for a fun weekend prior to speaking at an annual conference held in Boston starting the following Monday. Mom asked me what my plan B was if I wasn’t going to buy this house? I told her that God must have one but it’d be nice if He would share it with me because I didn’t know when I was going to be available to go back to Baton Rouge to look for a place to live. She started asking me about our plans for the weekend – I was supposed to be planning our activities for Boston since we were leaving in two days. Meanwhile, she’s google-ing houses for sale in the same zip code as this house.

After a few minutes, Mom asked if I had seen this house on Barrett Lane – it was 200 more square feet and $25k less than the house I was negotiating and way cuter. I hadn’t looked at any other houses for sale in the area because God had taken that from my heart months before. She told me that I should buy this house she had just found. I hung up with her and called my realtor.

I’m sure my realtor thought I was nuts but she agreed to find out more information about this house on Barrett Lane. A few hours later, she was facetiming me from the front door and taking me on a walking tour of this house. It was adorable. Terrible paint colors but adorable.

She asked if I was going to try to fly down the next day on my way to Boston for a tour. Her face fell when I told her no. She thought that I had loved it. I told her I was going to buy it without touring it in person. I think she dropped the phone at this point. First time homebuyer who isn’t going to tour the house and lives 900+ miles away.

When she called me back later to work out the numbers, she told me that there were two other offers on the house but the sellers were willing to accept my offer before making a decision the next day. Apparently the house had been under contract before but the previous seller’s financing fell thru so they had re-listed 5 days prior. This house wouldn’t have even been listed when I was searching for housing (for rent or sale)!

I came in over asking price and asked for them to leave all the appliances. They accepted my offer and by the time I was in Boston, I was calling for home insurance, set up the appraisal, and waived the home inspection (one had been conducted 30 days prior with the previous buyers which I accepted).

August was a blur – I’m sure I’ll post about it in the coming days/weeks but suffice it to say I only spent 4 days in Kansas City and two of those days were to pack the Uhaul I was driving across the country.

We had to close after my first day of work (apparently the bank wants you to be employed when they write a big check on your behalf). The sellers were less than helpful in providing me with access to the house prior to closing and in setting up when closing even was. In fact, when I started driving on Thursday August 27th, I didn’t know if I would have to live out of the Uhaul truck until Monday August 31st. But God is a good provider – the sellers moved out of the house Saturday morning and I was able to get the truck unloaded that afternoon. Grass was high, house was dirty, sellers took stuff they weren’t supposed to (the flag pole that was one of the big motivators of me buying the house in the first place) but I was in.

Closing was chaotic. I am very thankful my Mom was able to come with me. The sellers brought their twin 18 month olds would screamed and ran around the entire time. I write and execute contracts for a living so I read every line of every page in the entire process – much to the seller’s dismay. By the time we were done, I had bought a house and was ready to celebrate with a margarita!!

Here’s a glimpse of my new home. More to come.

House

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The Interview

Kansas City was a season of God withholding what my heart desired and granting what my heart needed. It was a season of intense struggle for me but was a season of intense glory to Him when He led me out of the valley. This is the story of climbing up to the next rise to see a glimpse of His promised land.

My job had been deteriorating for a year, or maybe even two. I was traveling almost continuously to Baton Rouge Louisiana or Freeport/Houston Texas and the people I was working with and for were becoming less and less appropriate. The gore-y details don’t add enough to this story so I’m not going to share them here but by the time I left, 4 hours didn’t pass at work without someone cussing me out or telling me I wasn’t good enough (as a person, as a female, as someone who is under 30 years old, as an engineer) to be in the position I was in or getting blamed for something I didn’t do.

God provided me a new job. He orchestrated long ago, for my Dad to be in the same industry as me, and for him to have mentors and friends. Those mentors and friends caught wind of my situation and offered an interview.

The night before my interview, I was driving around Baton Rouge trying to figure out a part of town that I could see myself living in if I liked the job the next day. I was balling – tears streaming down my face – as I cried out to God that I didn’t have any friends in Baton Rouge and I have wonderful community (finally!) in Kansas City so why would I want to leave? And why don’t I quit construction all together because I didn’t believe that men in construction could be inclusive of a woman like me.

Fast forward to a breakfast meeting that lasted almost 6 hours where I struggled to comprehend that men in power in the construction industry were patiently listening to my opinion on the current state of affairs in our business. They wanted to know what I thought about how to run a project, how to leverage technology to produce faster results, how I could teach others my leadership skills, if I would be alright moving across the country for a job in a different culture, if they would be able to afford my salary to even hire me in the first place.

Lunchtime meant introducing me to another female engineer – the lead process engineer on the largest company project, also under 30 years old, and from Texas with a family full of Aggies (she’s a LSU grad but I won’t hold that against her). She and I were able to talk like we’d been friends for years. God was showing me to trust Him and He will provide me with new community.

I wanted to work for a company affiliated with CII (construction industry institute) because I hold a couple of leadership positions within this volunteer organization to help further the construction industry and didn’t want to walk away quite yet. I also felt obligated to finish the project I was currently working on at my old job regardless of how I was being treated, I was speaking at a national convention on behalf of my previous company, and one of my best friends was getting married in Jamaica in August so I needed a little time to finish everything up from Kansas City. In His generosity, God provided a slow down in the project at the new company so my timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I was able to “finish” everything prior to turning in my two weeks notice.

Months later – I look back at my time in Kansas City and I still miss my community and church family. I wish it was colder here in Baton Rouge. but my job has already afforded me tremendous opportunity both for my career and for space in my personal life. I am still excited to see what God is doing with me here.