2017 Year End Review

2017 has been a year of a lot of growing for my family. It has been a year filled with excitement, fear, difficult situations, new beginnings, new routines, and a roller coaster of numerous emotions! One year ago today, I would not have guessed that we would be where we are today. If I had to describe the year of 2017 in only 1 word it would be reliance: Complete reliance on God and His timing.

When last year began, I told my family that I knew that it was going to be a year of new adventures and many firsts. At that time, we had 2 graduating high school seniors in our house and I thought that most of the experiences would revolve around them. Many of them did, but many also revolved around our whole family.

It was mid last January that we felt God tugging on our heart and beginning a desire within us to make the biggest change of our lives. We felt that it was time to move. At first we weren’t sure where we were going to move, we just knew that it would involve moving out of the house that we had lived in for 18 years.

The state of Florida began entering our minds and we began the research on what it would take to move there. We weren’t even sure what part of Florida that we wanted to move to. In March we put feet on our research.

We planned a trip to Florida for late March. Our goal was to take an airplane, rent a car, and begin touring the state to find that area that best suited us. My kids and I had never been on an airplane before so that was a new experience, and a very good one. We landed in Ft. Myers and started our road trip up the west coast of the state. Once we hit the Sarasota area, my husband and I loved it! We never even made it to the east coast of the state, since we knew that the west side was where we were suppose to be. We got in contact with a local realtor, met him later that day, and began our online house search.

The next couple of months were a blur. We started getting our house in Indiana ready to put on the market, finished up our homeschooling year(s), planned a graduation party for the kids, and continued our Florida home search. By May, we had pretty much everything in place. Our house was on the market and our kids graduation party was held at the end of the month. We had a great party! It was a bittersweet time as my 13 years of homeschooling came to an end, but I knew that there were many new experiences ahead for us.

My husband and I flew back down to Florida in early June to begin our house search in person. We spent an entire week with our realtor looking at about 30 houses. We just could not find a house that fit our needs and that felt like “home”. We rented a car and drove the 17 hours back to Indiana feeling very discouraged, and quite honestly, very depressed.

Once we got home, we decided to pull our house off of the market and wait. We did not know how long we would be waiting to make our move to Florida. At that point, we knew that it could be anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. In the meantime, we did a few upgrades on our home and continued our long distance Florida home search while keeping in contact with our Florida realtor. We continued to live life, but inside of us we were longing to be living in Florida.

The kids started college in August. After homeschooling them for 13 years it was very strange to say goodbye to them as they drove off to their classes. I was excited for them, but sad for me that I was no longer teaching them and spending each day learning along with them.

In late September, we felt that God was telling us to, “Try again” and making it very clear to us that our time in Indiana was over and that it was time to move on. So we put our house back up on the market. Within 3 weeks it was sold! That was when the real research began on where we would be living once we closed on our house. We knew that we wanted an apartment with short term rent available so we could move and look for a house while living in the area where we wanted to buy a house. That was hard! Leases for 7 month terms were the lowest I could find and we knew that we did not want to be an apartment for that long. I finally came across 1, and only 1, that allowed 3 month leases, so we began the process of becoming tenants.

We used the company Upack to move us and they were wonderful! Their price was so reasonable and our belongings arrived to our apartment in the time frame that was expected. We definitely recommend them for anyone moving across the country.

We arrived at our apartment 2 days after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, within a few days of arriving, all 4 of my family members and I came down with the flu which lasted almost 4 weeks. I have not been that sick in years, if ever! Obviously that slowed down our house search and our ability to be out and about much to check out our new surroundings. That was a downer!

We waited a while to meet up with our realtor to begin looking at houses. He has been so great! We offered to wait longer so he would not catch anything from us, but he was not worried about it and was ready to begin the task of house hunting with us once again. We looked for weeks! We were becoming anxious and, once again, discouraged. In fact, while looking at one house, I broke down out of sheer disappointment that we had not found “the one” yet. I wanted to find the house that felt like “home” and we had still not found it! Living in a 900 square foot, 2 bedroom apartment with 4 people (with the flu) is not the easiest thing to do and the walls really start closing in after a while! Not to mention that fact that we had hardly unpacked anything since we will just need to pack up again once we found a house. We had started to feel like we had just had enough! We were a bit lonely, scared, uptight, and anxious, although, we still knew that we were where we were suppose to be for the time being. We kept reminding ourselves to enjoy the process. It is when you are so focused on the end result that sometimes you miss the beauty and the lessons that are all around you.

Finally, after living here for 4 weeks exactly, we found our house AND we found it on our 22nd wedding anniversary. What awesome timing! The house had only been for sale for 4 days when we found it. We can not begin to express how excited we are to have found the perfect house for us after 9 months of searching! It is funny to think about because during the whole time we were house hunting, “our” house was not even on the market yet! It truly is all in God’s timing (although it is really hard to wait sometimes). We can not wait to move in!

We have learned a lot this year and it has really been the biggest year of our lives! Our 2 kids graduated from high school and began their college careers, I ended my homeschooling career after 13 years, and we made the biggest move of our lives. 2017 was definitely an action packed year! We are looking forward to 2018 and continuing our new adventure both as individuals and as a family. My family and I have truly stepped out in faith this last year, which has had some very scary moments. God has helped us through each step of this process, even through our discouragements and disappointments (which have been many). He has never left our side even through our doubts and concerns!

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I hope that 2018 brings you and your families much happiness!

Written by Kathryn Conrad

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