Friday, May 19, 2006

4500 Napa Valley, Argyle, Texas

Hello, It's William posting on Heidi's Blog. Just wanted to put up some pictures of the house we are looking seriously at. Enjoy.

Here is the Front View! Behold the majestic peaks!

You can see that the back yard slopes up a bit in the back. However, half of the yard is level, and there is plenty of room for a play place. Yes! And the BBQ.

The east side of the house.

This is my favorite feature of the home--the fireplace. I am excited to have Claude, Tim, Stacy, all the Shackelfords, and of course the grandparents, and anyone else to come and sit by the fire.

Here is Sam's future bedroom--the study. My suggestion: put some saloon doors there for Sam and his six gun to barrel through.

Those aren't the Grand Tetons in the distance. You can't see them from here. However, the army corps. of engineers owns the property directly across from the house and we have a view of the forest.

The westside of the house. See, there is some distance between us and the neighbors. We can extend our fence forward and I can practice my archery skills on the weekend.

This Might Be The House

We have been feverishly looking for jobs, and have been researching homes regularly. We spent one whole day with a realtor and saw 14 homes from Denton and down south to Flower Mound, and we have done a lot of random driving and looking up and finding too. What I am discovering is that the homes I love (old, charming, like Whittier) cost about 160k and up if they are functional. There are some even more wonderful old ones for 300k, of course. The ones we can afford are falling off their foundations, and need major work, which takes them back out of our price range.

So, yesterday I looked up some 95k homes, and we took a tour. They ended up being either ugly in a run down neighborhood, or falling apart. On our way back from Denton, we decided to stop in at a tract that we saw the first day we were hunting to look again at a home that was 1950 sq ft. with 3 bedrooms and a study that could be a fourth bedroom. We had never seen inside, so we went in and looked around. And, now that I knew what our money could buy, I realized that this home is a great deal. It is brand new, trouble free, cute, and 5 miles south of Denton off the 35W. That means it is close to our new church, and out in the country. It is also 14 fwy miles from Jim and Erin. And, even better yet, the original price was 131k, and 15k had been dropped by the builder because the people had chosen their tile etc. and then backed out, and they really want to sell it.

It has all the things we want including a fireplace, tile instead of linoleum, and the study room, is close to where we want to be, in a tract that is almost finished. And now I know that 116k won't buy us much in other places. It looks like this will be the one. I have photos which I'll download soon. Oh, and the other good thing is that it will be ready June 15th, which is perfect timing for us. The DeHarts are helping us with the downpayment, which makes it all possible, so I think we are really going to have a house to call our own.

The next big hurdle is the job, so please keep praying for that. Will has put lots of applications out there, and will put out more, but we are waiting to see what turns up. Thanks again for your prayers!

Oh, we have put our cell phone on hold for the next three months to save money, so I'm sorry we won't have that up and running. Please call us on E and J's number...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Texas Life Continued

I just typed a letter to Grandpa, and realized that it would be a good newsy blog, so here goes...

We've been exploring our surroundings here, and last night we invited Erin and Jim to go down to the airport and watch airplanes with us. We drove all around the thing, and finally found a golf club right under the flight path for landing planes where we could pull off the road and get out. It was fun to see the jets come right over our heads. Sam and the girls loved it. They also had fun messing up fire ant mounds and watching the ants come flowing out in a panic.

We are still in the job hunt. William has three resumes in the hands of temp agencies, and we are also going through the process of getting the Calif teaching credential examined and approved of by the Texas state education dept. That could take two months, maybe more. But I don't think the schools can really even look at Will until he has the approval letter in his hand. So, the hunt is on for anything else to fill the gaps.

Dan and Jacquie DeHart are going to come out and visit us in a couple of weeks in their fifth wheel trailer. There is a really pretty campground about 4 miles from us that they can use, and we'll go hang out there during their stay. We are looking forward to that.

Another fun event is that we discovered the town of Grapevine. It is large now, but there is a really cute downtown area surrounded by craftsman style homes. It felt like Whittier at it's best, and there are lots of festivals and events in town, including an old steam engine train that you can take to Ft Worth. I think it's pretty expensive, but maybe someday we'll try it. I am salivating over the old homes. My dream would be to buy one and fix it up, but I'm not sure that's practical right now. There were some homes that had been refurbished, and they were running at about 250-350k. We definitely need something cheaper.

Oh, we also tried out a new church yesterday. It's called Glory of Zion, and its up in Denton, about 18 miles away, and it was a lot of fun. They had very lively worship, and the kids liked the Sunday School. The sermon was good, and we'll probably go back again. They pass out a book to all the visitors entitled "Experiencing the Holy Spirit" written by the pastor. It turns out that he is a Campus Crusade alum, and Dallas Theological Seminary grad who became a charismatic. I was glad to see that he had all the foundation of scholarly Bible study and Greek etc, because that shows that he can do it. He also announced that he is teaching a class called "The Word and Spirit" which is basically a how-to study the Bible in conjunction with the Holy Spirit. I was glad to see that Bible Study was highly valued from the pulpit. The other things I liked were that there were a mix of ethnicities, and a balance of men and women in the service, and a wide age range. So those are all healthy signs. We'll see how that goes.

The weather has been really nice. Its in the 70's, breezy and not too humid today. I'm really enjoying not needing to use lotion after every shower, and the warmer weather. When we left Palmdale it was in the 60's, and chilly at night, so I always had to take a jacket with me. It's probably warmer there now, but it was a big difference when we arrived here.

Walt and Judy Barnes are coming to visit on Thursday, so this week I'm going to help Erin get the house and room ready, and I'm also going to help her with cooking while they're here. I'll provide some starches.

So far we are really enjoing Texas. It is very green and beautiful, life is a bit slower, and the people are very friendly. We've been scouting the surrounding areas for homes, and have had fun discovering what is around us, and how to get there. I'm definately finding that I prefer an older home, but I also realize that the tracts have a lot to offer in the way of general convenience. I know the Lord has the right place for us, and the right job. So, we are waiting and responding as He points out. I was talking to Gretchen the other day, and she quoted Chris who basically was saying that "Responsibility" is "the ability to respond." I liked that definition, and shared it with William. That is what we are doing every day...responding with action to the opportunites that come along. It's like casting the bread upon the water, and now we are waiting for it to come back.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What Happened Today?

We went to the library this morning to use their wireless internet connection, since the one here at the Barnes house wasn't running. While there, Meg called me and I hurried out into the library foyer where I wouldn't offend the quiet rules with my phone. It was a bit awkward, since we had the double cell phone silences, and my voice still echoed loudly against the hard surfaces, and the kids kept running in and out, but we still had a good talk.

Meg gave me the local low-down on the area we are in, since she and Murry grew up here. The long and short is that she encouraged us to look in Denton for homes. So, on her recommendation, we drove the 14 miles north, and cruised the neighborhoods around the universities looking at houses. And, we found some great homes in older, treelined neighborhoods that were much closer to our price range.

So, tomorrow we are going with a realtor to look again at the area, and see inside a bunch of houses. I'm looking forward to seeing what's there. I like the fact that Denton is an older college town. I even found some homes that felt just like Whittier.

Surprisingly to me, I was super tired after we came home, so Erin and I made tacos together, and now the kids are in bed, and I'll go have some ice cream.

Oh, by the way, our cell phone minutes are out, so we need to talk to everyone after 9:00pm our time, or on the weekends. If you call, just leave a message and we'll pick it up later. Or, you can call us on Erin and Jim's phone anytime.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

We Made It

I need to officially report that we made it to the Barnes' Oasis. We drove for three long days, day two being the worst, and rolled in at about 6:30pm on Tuesday. I have some photos of the drive, which I'll post when I can.

Since we've gotten here, we've been enjoying home cooked meals, good beds, and the pool. Today we got to drive around town and look at some of the neighborhoods where we could buy. It was fun to get oriented. I will say that it is much prettier here than I was imagining. There are lots of old trees, and right now everything is green. It is a far cry from the desert landscape we are used to. And, I am really enjoying the silence of the neighborhood.

So, tomorrow we go unpack the truck at the storage unit. I'm believing that it won't be as difficult to unpack as it was to pack, and it will be good to have the big yellow truck out of the yard.

One exciting event, we saw our first snake in the pool. It was Erin and Jim's first snake too. Fortunately it was a garden snake, since we were all swimming and it swam over William's shoulder. You bet we left the water quickly. Now we look carefully before we get in.

We are blessed by Erin and Jim's hospitality and generosity to us. And we are praying that the right job comes along for William. He'll be going to a teacher's job fair on Monday, and we'll see what happens. I know many of you are praying too, so thank you.