Thursday, June 23, 2011

I need to be on a TLC or HGTV show...

...Called, "UGH, Sell My Freakin' House!"

That being said, here are some thoughts about the home selling process.

First of all, we don't even really want to move. Don't get me wrong. We want to follow the call God's placed on our lives to move to Charlotte and start RWOC Charlotte. But that is easier said than done. We love our home. We love the new floors and upgrades we've done. We love our neighbors (more on that later). We love our friends who live here. We love Greenville. AND...we don't love having to pack our stuff, find a new home, move our stuff, unpack our stuff, and reorganize our stuff. It's a lot of work. We're certainly not opposed to work, but dang...what a hassle! We don't love trying to sell in this economy and the prospect of losing money on this investment. Who does, right?

Re: neighbors...we live in a great neighborhood. People are friendly. There are tons of little kids to play with (about 18 with two more on the way) on our cul-de-sac. We've got a great mix of young and old, married and single, working and stay-at-home...it's just fun. We have block parties and borrow each others' lawn machines and watch each others' kids. Brandon and I have been blessed to have this be the first neighborhood we bought a house in. And we realize that it's taken 4 years to get to this point in our relationships with our neighbors, and that it's going to take probably just as long to build that up in a new neighborhood. Again, work. Again, not opposed to work.

Secondly, have you ever tried to keep your house "show ready"? This means, clean, clean, clean. It means all the windows clean and the floors sparkling, and the toothpaste spots on the mirrors and faucets wiped away. It means keeping the carpet stainless, keeping the curb appeal up, and keeping up with minor repairs. It means making your beds right after you get out of them just in case a showing gets scheduled for that day. It means packing half your stuff away and "staging" your home, which therefore means bye-bye to things that make it homey like family pictures and special knick-knacks. I don't miss the knick-knacks, but I do miss seeing my pictures around.

Now try to imagine keeping the house show ready with a 2 year old and a 3 year old in the house. And a kitten. And a husband. And me, too...I guess. It's tough. So tough, I'm surprised I'm not in a mental institution after doing it for 6 months. At first I was neurotic about it. Running behind my family members with a rag and a broom. And that was not sustainable. For me or my marriage. So we've had to decide on a happy balance because it's just plain impossible. Usually, the house is pretty well picked up and somewhat clean. But it still takes a good 2 hours to do a top-to-bottom-pre-showing cleaning. And that's a lot of work.

Then you get things like this:

That's crayon on the carpet. Yes. It. Is. In the shape of a cross. As in, someone's about to get crucified in the Berry household. Can I get an amen from all the folk who believe in spanking your children? Cause that wasn't from my 2 year old. It was from my 3, almost 4 year old who knows better. And tried to blame it on her sister at first. This blog is my sanity break from cleaning it up all morning.

So we've cleaned and staged and marketed and showed this house plenty of times. We've had some real characters come through here. People who have knocked on our door during our morning jammies/coffee time (that's too early, people!) and been super aggressive trying to get us to allow them to lease-purchase the home (only to find that when we actually asked them to get a CREDIT CHECK, they mysteriously backed out. hmmmmm....). We've had people who were ...this close...to putting an offer in and then something came up that made them back out. It's been truly hysterical. I can't tell you how many times I've heard from agents, "my client loved, loved, loved your house...if they could just pick it up and move it (to the country, to Simpsonville, downtown, etc...) they'd be all about it. If I had $10k for every time I heard that, I could...well, I could buy this house again.

And finally we figured that maybe the Lord has had us stay here for this time for a reason. Yes, we need to get to Charlotte eventually. But we definitely didn't have to get there as soon as we originally thought we did.

As far as the natural side of things, we've done everything we can do to get this house sold. And so we wait on the the Lord. LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God (Ps 38:15).

So if you're the TLC/HGTV watching type and they announce a new show, sign me up, please!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Book Review: Lioness Arising


Like a slow-moving train that eventually gains power and speed, making it a dangerous force to be reckoned with, Lioness Arising begins in an almost innocuous fashion. In fact, it took me almost a week to really get into it! Maybe it was the 1st trimester of pregnancy playing tricks on me, but every time I tried to get through a few pages, I began to feel like a lioness after a large meal in the heat of the day. *Yawn* Thankfully, I decided to plug through, and boy am I glad I did!

Bevere has done her homework on the mighty lioness and compares her well to Christian women today who have the Lion of the Tribe of Judah living inside them. She challenges us to wake up, recognize who we are, come together in unity for the purpose of bringing the Kingdom to our earthly realm, and keep our eyes fixed on the Light of the world. As a stay at home mom, I needed to hear that because it’s easy for me to get bogged down in dirty diapers and dishes and forget that God desires to raise me up and use me for His good purposes.

As for her use of The Message, I thought that in this case it was helpful because it opened up the biblical concepts to more people who may not have a clear grasp on Scripture. She even says that she is not “replacing the Bible with a paraphrase” (pg. 29), but bringing in relevant language and additional research with the use of The Message.

I felt my heart stirred by many of her stories, particularly regarding her time working overseas with women who are caught in the sex-trade industry. Perhaps God was using this book to bring to light some way I can pray, give, help in that area. I believe that her inspiring details would probably do that for many people, for how can one read about some of the things she experienced and not be moved in the least?

Overall, I believe that this book is one that is a keeper. Even better, read it and then share it with a girlfriend! If we all get the heart of this book within us, we can be unstoppable!

I received Lisa Bevere's "Lioness Arising" for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Organic Church Growth

As most of you know, Brandon and I are in the process of planting a satellite campus of Redemption World Outreach Center in Charlotte, NC. There is a lot, I mean, A LOT of work that goes into birthing one of these things (who knew, right? ha!)

And, as most of you know, we are also in the process of moving, and there is a lot, I mean, A LOT of work that goes into moving a family of four across state lines. As seen in this post, we are trying to sell our home in the Greenville area before we head over to look for homes in Charlotte. I would hate to find something I simply cannot live without only to realize I'll have to live without it because we don't have the funds available as they are tied into our house in SC. That would be bad.

During this time of transition, we have been spending a lot of time researching best practices (there are already a lot of churches doing this satellite campus thing well. Why reinvent the wheel, huh?), building launch teams, negotiating deals with possible sites in Charlotte, and trying to figure out the best way to market this awesome, life-giving church to the people of our new city. A lot of questions have arisen concerning how to grow a church.

And I think we have an answer. or at least an idea as to how RWOC Charlotte will be growing:

Yes, that is what you think it is. And yes, it is ours. And yes, we realize what craziness having a baby, moving, and starting a church all within a few months of each other can wreak on a family who already has a 2 year old and a 3 year old.

We are about 12 weeks in (that pic was taken about a month ago) and almost done with the yucky, nausea-filled, ultra-exhausted, all-I-wanna-do-is-lock-the-kids-in-their-room-and-take-an-uninterrupted-nap first trimester. Actually, the exhaustion has been doubled from what I remember from the last two babies, but the nausea hasn't been nearly as bad. In fact, not once (yet) have I had to quickly find a trash can, commode, or remote patch of grass (I learned the hard way never to throw up or pee on concrete--it always comes back to haunt you).  So happiness is on its way. I can feel it.

So, by Christmas, RWOC Charlotte will have at least one new member. And we couldn't be more tickled about it! Actually, on our awesome launch team (which I can't wait to tell you more about, they are awesome!), there are a few other families who are also expecting in 2011, so that is practically exponential growth! Charlotte, get ready!