(Cross-posted from SimplySara.com)
Honestly, in my entire life, I don’t think I’ve ever been as drawn to anything…much less a house that would capture my affection and undivided attention.
I KNEW the Lord was calling me home. Every time I visited my family, I soaked in the tall pine trees, azaleas and slower pace of life in north Louisiana. I could feel it drawing me in. I KNEW He wanted me near my family. Sure, I could just buy any old house and move as soon as my company gave me the OK. But, in all reality, I’m at a point in life where I don’t want to settle. For as long as I can remember I’ve been in love with old houses. I didn’t want a cookie cutter house. I wanted nostalgia, a big front porch, shiplap and character that oozes the south. I just wanted something cozy and simple. A house in a safe neighborhood with a small yard I could landscape to my heart’s content.
And when I saw this house, I knew it was EXACTLY what I was looking for.
Located on the edge of the historic district in Minden, La, it was EVERYTHING I had dreamed of and wanted. Safe neighborhood. Quaint community. Walkable amenities. Perfect size. Perfect yard. 30 minutes from my parents. 30 minutes from the airport. Kind faces and southern smiles. And… those downtown brick streets, y’all!!
From the looks of the house I could tell that it was likely vacant, so I set out to track down the owner.
First, I reached out to the president of the Minden Historic Residential District and she thought someone still lived in the house. YIKES! So a few days later, I went and knocked on the door. No answer. And I was even more certain the house was vacant.
The next steps were to find out WHO owned the house. And from a quick search of the property tax records, I found the name of the owner, at an “in care of” address in Tennessee. Next, I took to the web to find an email address for the owner or the “in care of” owner. And after an exhaustive search over a period of a few days, I found an email address on some obscure website and sent a quick note to inquire about the status of the home. No response. Either I didn’t have the right person OR the right email address. OR, worst case, they were ignoring me.
Next step was to send a letter, old-fashioned through snail mail.
On New Year’s Day 2015, two weeks after my initial email, a reply popped up in my inbox!
“My Mom still owns the house but is in an assisted living facility nearby. We are trying to figure out what to do with the contents….. If you are not in too big of a rush, I will contact you after we come up with a plan.”
My heart leaped! The son had just given me HOPE that the house I instantly fell in love with could *possibly* become mine. HOWEVER, I had NO IDEA it would take nearly 21 additional months to secure the home.
Of course, I told him I could be patient, but I was HOPING to secure the house sooner than later. Aren’t we always in a rush for the things we desire? January 1, 2015 was the beginning of “The Wait” and I had NO idea the twists and turns about to take place during this love story. (But isn’t that true of any love story?!)
I’m elated to tell you as of this past September, I was able to close on the home and it’s officially mine!
So the cat is out of the bag! The Lord drew my heart back to Louisiana and provided provision for a house my heart desired (because when we delight in Him, He provides the desires of our heart Psalm 37:4).
The house needs COMPLETE renovation. And when I say complete, I’m not exaggerating. The electrical is outdated. Some of the plumbing doesn’t work. The interior ceilings are falling in. The foundation is crumbling and rotten. And the underneath is eaten up with POWDERPOST BEETLES! (Oh, and there is a squirrel or raccoon that lives in the attic.)
Here’s a sneak peak of my Simply Southern Cottage a few weeks after closing, when I was able to get all the brush removed and expose her true beauty!
On the outside chance any of you want to follow along during the renovation process, I’m launching a SECOND blog (Lord help me), social media channels and will be documenting the progress of the entire renovation! This is not going to be an easy project. I’m no stranger to renovation, but this will definitely be the most challenging project I’ve ever completed.
I would be thrilled if you would join me over at SimplySouthernCottage.com and on these social media channels:
On SimplySouthernCottage.com I have a gallery posted of lots of before pics so you can REALLY assess the true condition.
The 22 months I spent in contact with the family was an emotional roller coaster, but I watched the Lord give me tangible bits of hope all along “The Wait.” Even though there were lots of times I doubted, in the back of my mind, I just KNEW this house was going to work out. The Lord was closing EVERY. OTHER. DOOR. for housing. I have no idea why (and still don’t) I had to wait almost two years to secure this house, but if I know Him, I bet somewhere down the line He’ll be kind and allow me to trace His hand and SEE the WHY behind the wait. One of my favorite parts about getting older is looking back and seeing divine appointments where the Lord was setting me up for a need, want or desire I would have down the road. So I have NO doubt The Wait was also divinely orchestrated by Him.
Over on SimplySouthernCottage.com, in addition to taking you through the renovation process, I’ll be paralleling it with the restorative work the Lord has done in my life. SimplySara will still be my space to share my heart and lessons learned centered on grace, forgiveness, faith and hope. SimplySouthernCottage will focus on the renovation of the house.
I’ll start out by sharing the two year romance story with the house and ALL the things that went into bringing it under my ownership. My faith grew and was stretched like never before in my life!
I would be honored and thrilled if you would also hop over to SimplySouthernCottage.com and walk this new journey out with me. If I’m being honest, I’m VERY excited and VERY terrified. It’s been 15 years since I’ve lived in Louisiana. I’m not the same person I was 15 years ago. I’m not sure where I’ll go to church, who’ll I’ll commune with, where I’ll get my nails done, lol, but I KNOW that KNOW that I KNOW the Lord is all over this. And I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds!
P.S. Here’s some BONUS news for you!!!! Starting with the November/December issue of The Minute Magazine I will have my very own column!!! Ahhhhhhh, can you even believe that? How is this my life?! The Lord is SO faithful to redeem and His goodness abounds! Can’t wait to take you guys deeper in PRINT!
If there’s nothing else I’ve learned in life, I’ve learned never to say never. I’ve learned to LIVE and LISTEN and wait expectantly on the Lord. Never did I dream I’d “Come Home Louisiana.” It’s where my heart is, my people are and I cannot wait to see the glorious unfolding the Lord has in store.
Have there been times in your life when you’ve said “never will I ever?” What lessons did the Lord teach you through the process? I would love to hear your story in the comments below.
You have always impressed me from the first second I met you and that was a very long time ago!
Now you are over the top!
You are an amazing women!
Cynthia!!! We go way back! 🙂 You are too kind. Thank you! Miss you so much!
Sara, your story has touched my heart. Yes, the Lord delights in our joy and giving the desires of our heart, when we TRUST Him to guide and direct our every step and offering over to Him even the smallest detail of our life. Our Heavenly Father only wants what is best for His children. It is quite obvious you are one of His favorites. ? Your dream home is beyond beautiful! I see what what you see ……envisioning the end from the beginning.
I was one who said “never” would I remain in Springhill. Out of 6 siblings, I am the only one who stayed. For many years I wondered, “why,Lord,”
“Bloom where you are planted”, I could hear His voice clearly. “Learn the lessons, don’t run from them.”
The refining fire is scorching hot but the Lord is always there to bring the cool winds of healing as He molds us into a beautiful reflection of His Love.
Obedience to His voice is far greater than any sacrifice.
Sara, I am happy you have found such peace, Your words are filled with joy and contentment. May God bless you on this exciting journey and direct your path each day.
In Christ alone,
Rhonda Chambless Curtis
Thank you SO much Rhonda! These are such beautiful words and I claim them! Hope to see you soon! <3
I am proud of you Lil Sis, Love you forever
I love you the mostest!!!! Thank you SO much! <3
I am so in love with this! I remember passing by this house everyday on the way to school. I thought it was such a cute house. I am so glad it is coming “back to life”. Welcome to Minden!
Thank you SO much Lauren! I’m so excited!! <3
I cannot tell you how much joy it brings me to read this! This was my childhood home from 1976-1983 and my memories of living there are heart-warming. It always upset me when I would come home to visit and show my own children where I lived when I was their age. I have told them many stories about my playing McDonalds drive-thru out of my bedroom window to getting wet with the water hose just so we could play in the attic longer. We were just talking the other night while putting my children to bed about playing red light/green light while trying to go to sleep at night. I would lay and look out the window and watch the stoplight at East &West and Lewisville Road.
I told my parents that if it ever became available that I would LOVE for them to remodel it. I am so happy to read that you see the potential in that house and what it can become with some TLC. I look forward to watching the transformation and would love the opportunity to see it finished. We have so many pictures from living there; it would be awesome to compare them.
With love from Houston,
Karrie Hodges Woodard
I love this SO SO much! I eventually want to write up the history of the home, so I will be sure to include these facts. I’m SOOOOO glad you reached out!!!! I’ll be in touch as soon as I get to that point. Please do keep in touch!