As I alluded to earlier
, we have been making decisions as a family. In September, we received a notice from our apartment management, notifying us that it was time to renew our lease. Now, you may be thinking, “They already did that
!” (because that’s what we were thinking too!)
. Apparently, the employee handling our file neglected the most important piece of paperwork.
This was welcome news to us, however! Calvin’s new job is clear across town, and the commute has been quite daunting (about two hours). All of a sudden, we had the option to move (instead of being stuck in a year-long lease, like we originally thought)!
Also during this time, was when we began mulling over Calvin’s school situation
All this to say, God is in the details!
As we prayerfully considered the option of moving, we chose to keep in mind the lessons we’ve learned so far along our journey toward living simply. Supporting independent, honest merchants/farmers using sustainable practices has become a high priority in our lifestyle and spending. We have implemented these ideals with purchases of local, organic produce from Farmer’s Markets (even on vacation!)
, and holiday gifts that have been homemade or obtained from sources such as Etsy
. We believe these ethics are God-honoring, as we seek to love others personally (rather than support commercial entities that harm human life in various ways).
As we initially browsed through apartment rental booklets, it occurred to us that perhaps we should take this same viewpoint toward our housing, as well. We have been discouraged by the typical “apartment lifestyle” that includes paying corporate “application fees,” supporting the development of large, impersonal complexes (built on top of once treasured farmland), and participating in a microcosm that encourages wanton waste (large dumpsters instead of recycling bins, for example).
So, we turned to the venue of Craigslist
, which has become a ubiquitous feature in our lives over the past months. We were in search of a housing opportunity that would fit our ethical standards. (“Could such a thing truly exist- especially in our small budget?”
, we wondered.) We posted “housing wanted” ads on the site, as well as on local sustainability e-mail networks. (We joked that it was our “personals ad.”)
We responded to ads as they surfaced, and weeded through a typical number of “unsuitable” situations. (ie. “flaky” landlords that didn’t show up to their own apartments, people that were “scared off” by renting to a family of three in a small space, etc.)
Just when we were ready to give up, and sign another lease, and we had decided to stop sitting in front of the computer all day, “The” ad popped up. (You know, like when you find “The” dress for your wedding… You just know.)
Calvin called immediately, and quickly set into a wonderfully down-to-earth, pleasant conversation. As details about the apartment surfaced, it fit our “want list” in amazingly real ways.
A young couple has been fixing up their basement into an apartment rental, in precisely the location we had been hoping to live (near both church and work). They’ve previously had a friend and her baby living with them these past couple of years, and even helped her organize a daycare situation out of their home, so that this friend could be home with her son. This young lady has now transitioned to another season of her life, and is no longer living there. However, all the “fun things,” such as a tricycle, still remain! (Gen loves that aspect.) It is certainly a “family-friendly” atmosphere.
When we viewed the apartment, we were astonished at its beautiful condition. The new laminate wood flooring (a blessing to our allergies!)
, bathroom, and painting had just been completed. The new Ikea kitchen
was on order (they gladly showed us the plans, and it has since arrived). There was even a fireplace in the living room!
We visited with this couple for awhile, and learned a bit more about each other. The lady is studying renewable energy in college right now. (This was a fun “coincidence,” since we are interested in pursuing solar power at some point in the future.) They are especially excited to have a safe family living below them, instead of some “scary guy,” as they put it!
I tentatively broached the topic of washing cloth diapers in their washing machine (which we will share). Their joyous response of affirmation was a blessing! Apparently their friend had washed cloth diapers there, so they were familiar with the process.
We are able to share their fenced yard, so there is plenty of room for Gen to play. This is was one of our top priorities, as Gen basically lives outside! Playing in the dirt, watering/picking plants, and watching bugs are her favorite pastimes. They also have pets, which she loves. We had also been hoping for some room to continue growing our container garden (this was highly encouraged, and the idea of beginning a raised bed garden in the spring was suggested as well).
The situation has worked out well for both parties so far. We have needed to give a 30-days move-out notice at our current apartment. They have been dealing with electrician/plumber scheduling, and beginning the kitchen installation process. We are both able to pursue our endeavors at a more relaxed pace (not originally rushing for an Oct. 1st deadline, as originally thought). We will be able to fully move in once the kitchen is completed in the next couple of weeks.
They have kindly let us gradually move in a few boxes (by their suggestion!) already. They also offered to only charge us for part of the month, instead of requiring us to pay the full month’s rent, in a compassionate effort to help us avoid paying two rental fees for the month of October! The rent is exactly the amount we are paying now, but all utilities (including internet!) are included. This will help our budget tremendously.
When we began our apartment search, we chose to keep our scheduled (and much needed!) vacation
. Rather than try to hurry and find a place, and move by the end of September, we chose to simply place our desires in God’s hands, pay the rent for October, and spend a weekend away. We returned refreshed, and ready to face the changes ahead.
During our search, we continued to prayerfully share our dreams with God, and waiting for His leading. Many potential apartments appeared on the lists, that we could rationalize and “make it work.” But we chose to ignore the desire to “hurry up and grab it,” when it just didn’t seem right. We are continuing our attempts to honor God in our decisions, and to receive His wisdom and direction as we move ahead. This is living simply. We’re not taking life in our hands “because we want to,” and running full speed ahead (to get ahead!). We are waiting patiently, believing that God’s best will come in His time.
Are you facing some new decisions right now? God is there. My prayers go before you. If you would like to share, you are welcome to leave a comment!
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