Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Knock On the Door

It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed writing a post.  On those rare occasions that I cannot sleep, I often feel the Lord impressing on me a story to share.  Tonight, for some reason, it is an old story that I have wanted to write, but never did find the time.

In the Fall of 2002, Mark and I lived in San Diego, California with our two young boys (Pierce – 2 ½; Jaden – 6 months).  Mark worked as an electrical engineer at Intel, and found himself at an interesting crossroads with his career.  When Mark was a bachelor, he put in long hours at work with little consequence.  Once we married, however, and especially after we started having children, the expectations grew to be unreasonable.  Mark’s work/life balance was painfully off-balance, to the tune of being expected to work 80 hours per week.  He began to seek the Lord constantly in prayer regarding the situation, and interestingly, things at work grew to be ridiculously painful.  It became clear to Mark that he was to quit.  Interesting, considering that his goal prior to this season in life was to work his way up the ladder to become a VP at Intel.

In December 2002, we visited friends of ours in Houston.  Knowing that Mark planned to quit in the Spring, they joked that we should move to Houston and purchase a lot in their neighborhood.  They recently built a new home on a golf course, and empty lots lined their street.  This joke held no temptation for Mark, but I actually found the idea rather appealing.  I spoke with him within the next couple of days regarding the many benefits to moving to Houston (cheaper cost of living, living near good friends, support with home schooling, etc.).  He was not impressed… at all.  But he said that he would pray about it, and he was open to my staying a bit longer in Houston to research building a home on a lot.  You could say he was humoring me  : )

Things seemed to fall easily into place regarding the home we would want built in Houston.  When Spring arrived, we had one foot invested in building a home on a lot across the street from our good friends.  It was a low risk to Mark, because pulling out meant little money lost.  He was happy living in our home in a beautiful valley in San Diego.  Moving to Houston still held little appeal, but he was faithful in prayer, asking for confirmation.  He planned to quit in April, as he felt the Lord was leading him clearly in that area, but he had no idea what was around the corner regarding career.  There was no reason – yet – to move.

One Saturday that Spring, Mark lined up a few different realtors to interview them regarding selling our home in San Diego.  Once again, he was just speculating – simply doing his research.  A heavy, closed door regarding moving to Houston would be a great relief to Mark.  But if the Lord knew better, Mark would certainly follow.

Mind you, our home was not on the market.  There was no ‘For Sale’ sign in the yard.  Mark was simply talking with three realtors, one interview lined up after another, at our kitchen table.  During one of the interviews, the realtor shared with Mark a story about a home in our neighborhood.  The home was not for sale, but someone knocked on the door asking to buy it, and the house ended up being sold to them.  In the midst of this story, exactly when the lady said the word “knocked,” there was a knock on our door.  Not the ringing of a door bell.  A knock.  Mark got up, answered the door, and was in shock to hear a man expressing interest in seeing our home -  to possibly purchase it.  Mark motioned to the lady at our kitchen table, to express that he was currently talking with a realtor and would have to get back with him.  The man expressed that he, himself, was a realtor.  He explained that he had a client that may be interested in our home.  And beyond that, he and his wife were interested personally. 

After viewing our home, his client was indeed interested, which irritated his wife because she was interested in our home!  Short story - a contract was signed within three days for them to purchase our home (wife won, client lost!).  No fees, mind you, because he was a realtor and took care of the paperwork himself.  Also, Mark asked that the sale of their home not be contingent, which the realtor had no qualms with.  Mark was blown away.

With little doubt that he was not only to quit his job, but also to move to Houston, Mark willingly went through the motions to move our family to a hot, humid, flat city with plenty of traffic.  Obedient to the promptings God gave us, his nervous stomach didn’t follow suit as easily, and he threw up that first night in our new home in Houston.  He laughs about that now, as we’ve been so incredibly blessed by God’s redirection in our lives.

In the Fall of 2003, fires tore through San Diego, burning down homes in our old area and altering the beautiful views of that valley that we lived in.  Mark pondered the sad timing of that tragedy with awe.  Looking back, we also wonder that if we had stayed in San Diego, Mark most likely would have taken another high-tech job (leading to more work/life imbalance) through connections with friends, rather than start the family business that the Lord led him to in Houston.  Not to mention, we couldn’t have afforded to survive financially in San Diego, with its cost of living, running our family business. 

The Lord works in mysterious ways.  We find that the directions He has us take often look ‘crazy’ to the world.  But if we follow, we find ourselves on a beautiful path.  We’re thankful that He intervened in the details of Mark’s career, which has altered the dynamics of our family dramatically for the better.  We marvel at the confirmations He gave us along the way, including that perfectly timed knock on the door.

A Long Time Comin'

It's time to finally post some pictures!  Here are some snippets since moving last October (can you tell, I can't keep up??)...

The boys made a special anniversary dinner for us in February.  They created the surprise menu themselves and did a fantastic job.  Crawfish etouffee,  hush puppies, old fashioned baked beans, and poached pears - yum!

We were appreciative and look forward to next year's dinner!

Pierce decided to make Jesus his Lord in February.  He put Christ on in baptism... what a wonderful day!

 Pierce wears Ezra.  He's a great helper, and loves his younger brothers and sister (with plenty of conflict, of course!)...

Fishing with Paw Paw Schell in Baton Rouge.

During Maw Maw & Paw Paw Miller's visit, Paw Paw helped us build a fence around the garden to keep deer and other critters out.  

There was plenty of fun to be had with Maw Maw Miller out on the street!



A wonderful time was had camping at Mission Tejas in early April with our dear friends Don & Melissa.

We've found that we don't even need to go camping now to come in contact with very large bugs.  Our home on a shady acre is stocked full of creatures!  This one greeted me one morning in the den.  He was about 5 inches across.  Perhaps he is a she, though... that fat body may hold plenty of babies!  Eeeek!

 In April, we also got to visit with Maw Maw & Paw Paw Schell as well as my sister & her family at Lake Catherine State Park in Arkansas.  While there, we visited Mark's brother and his family.

In July, Jaden & Elijah went on an RV trip to Estes Park, Colorado with Maw Maw & Paw Paw Schell.  The rest of us flew up to join them for the last week.  We had a great time!