Why Owner Financing Can Be Better Than Traditional

My husband and I have done both owner financing and traditional mortgages. Be sure to do your own due diligence, I’m not a lawyer and can’t be held liable if things don’t work out well for you.

That being said, owner financing opens doors for people with no credit and poor credit, depending on who is offering it. The company owner financing Berry Cottage looked at our payment history instead of our credit score.

It also allows buyers to purchase homes and land that a bank may not finance. Very few banks would have financed Berry Cottage because it had some issues when we first bought it. We were able to get a lot done for very little money, thanks to friends and family, but a bank wouldn’t have looked at that.

You can negotiate better terms some times. We put $1,000 down, we don’t pay any interest, and our loan term is only for three years. Then the financing company pays all of the closing fees. There isn’t a bank anywhere that will do all of that.

Before you sign a contract to owner finance anything be sure to read the contract and hire a lawyer to look it over. If you go through a company do some digging into their history and look for reviews. It can be harder with an individual, but try. If something doesn’t feel right then walk away.

With Berry Cottage we paid for the deed and the property map to make sure things added up. To be honest, it seemed to good to be true. Everything checked out and the contract was so simple that I had my skeptical parents read over to see if we missed anything. They agreed that we needed to proceed quickly. It’s almost been a year and I can’t say enough good things about the company we’re buying Berry Cottage from.

Just Participate, Don’t Anticipate

DontAnticipate

“Just participate, don’t anticipate” was the mantra on my Walk to Emmaus. It made us slow down and not overthink our weekend, just enjoy the surprises that popped up along the way. I find that doing this now is almost therapeutic. I thought I was crazy, until today.

Every afternoon I start my Bible study with Jesus Calling  by Sarah Young. Today it says, “Concentrate on keeping step with Me, instead of trying to anticipate My plans for you”. It references Proverbs 16:9 which says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps”. This means that it’s okay to make plans as long as you allow God to guide your steps.

That’s what we have done with Berry Cottage. We asked God to show us where He wanted us and He showed us Berry Cottage. Then He blessed us financially to be able to move there. We serve a loving, merciful God who wants to bless us, but in His time and in His way. That’s what He’s teaching me.

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, I still have my struggles. I’m still praying to be content in our current circumstances, but I’m learning that contentment is really a choice. Some days I have to ask Him to show me the way, but it’s getting easier.

When Are You Moving?

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I get this question a lot. I have been praying that God would open a door so that we can move. Yesterday I told my husband that I want a move-in date. He said, “Show me the money”. I prayed and asked God to please help us. An hour later my mom called with a surprise for us. We are moving in July of this year!

To say that I’m excited is an understatement. The house won’t be perfect, but I don’t even care. That will come in time. I’m ecstatic because I know where God wants us. All we have to do is take what we need, which really isn’t much.

I will post pictures as we complete projects and start decorating. That’s my favourite part of this. Decorating and making our house a home. It’s going to be simple, but comfortable. Like the house itself.

If you are looking for an answer or you are struggling, go to Jesus. I can tell you with certainty that He loves you and He’s waiting for you to talk to Him. He still talks to us just like He talked to people in the Bible. We just have to take time to listen. We’re too often too busy for Him. He’s never too busy for us.

The Walk to Emmaus

WalkToEmmaus

If you have never heard of The Walk to Emmaus I encourage you to ask at your church and see if anyone has been. I went in April and I sent my mom on the very next one. It isn’t a secret society nor is it a cult. It is an incredible experience where you will see Jesus.

The Walk to Emmaus is based on Luke 24:13-35. It’s just after Jesus was resurrected and he appeared to two men on the road to Emmaus. They walked and talked with Him, but did not know that He was Jesus. It wasn’t until He broke the bread and blessed it that they recognized Him. Then He vanished.

The Walk to Emmaus ministry is clouded in mystery because if you know what is going to happen you will miss a blessing. The purpose is for you to focus on Jesus all weekend. To truly seek Him. If it’s like my weekend and my Mom’s, you will encounter Him. It may not be the first day, it may be the last, but He will meet you there. You only have to be receptive.

It is not a replacement for going to church. It is a place to go and get re-charged. Then you return to your church and your community ready to serve. While I was there I realized that I wasn’t serving because I had allowed my anxiety to overwhelm me. The devil still tries to use my anxiety, but I’m wise to his tricks and I rebuke him. Right now, this blog is how I serve until God shows me what He wants me to do.

The Walk to Emmaus is life-changing, just like it was for the two men on the road to Emmaus. I pray that if you haven’t been that you will pray about going. If you have been I would love for you to share your experience without revealing any of the secrets.

Travel Bucket List

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As you can see from the map above, my family and I have visited quite a few states, but there are so many that we haven’t seen. My husband and I are working on our travel bucket list. We are hoping to start sometime in the next eighteen months and see every state by the time I turn 40 in 2024. Some will require a plane or a boat, obviously, but if we can drive we will. Why? To truly see God’s creation.

My family and I love tent camping. Last year we had a shocking experience when my parent’s camper was struck by lightning and it fried the electronics in our tent. We have learned from that “mistake” and will use what we have learned to keep everyone safe. Or God may provide a pop-up. We’ll see.

I am really looking forward to Maine, Salem, Massachusetts, and Branson, Missouri. We’re discussing flying from Northern California to Anaheim so I can cross Disneyland off my bucket list, but we’ll see. The goal is to spend at least twenty-four hours in each state, so driving through doesn’t count. Except Texas. We can sightsee and visit cool places while we navigate our way across.

As I have said before, we homeschool so we feel this will be a great learning experience for our children and us. There are so many museums in every state along with some great national landmarks. No one should complain about being bored.

Fighting a Spiritual Battle

SpiritualWarfare

For over a month now my family and I have been struggling financially. I have made cuts that were somewhat painful, but I have also prepared to lose things that so far we have arrangements made. We have food, electricity, internet, both homes, and our vehicle. All of this time God has given me verses on not being afraid. I thought this was a physical fight in the sense that we’re struggling to keep things.

Last night God got my attention through a dream. My husband and I had just bought a house that was way more than we needed, but it was an old house. I’m talking two stories with a basement and a full attic. Everything was fine until it got dark. Then things started moving, I heard voices, and I was being attacked with our youngest child beside me. When I went to rebuke the dark spirit I was too weak, it laughed at me.

I ran to where my husband was sleeping with our other two kids and the spirit was after them, too. My husband and I stood there and pondered what to do at three in the morning in the middle of a spiritual battle. I called my dad, who I lost in February. In true Dad fashion, his response was, “You aren’t bringing that $%^& here!” So we loaded up and went to Berry Cottage.

When I woke up I realized that even though this feels like we’re dealing on the physical level, we’re actually dealing on a spiritual level. This fight is about Who we are going to listen to and where our trust lies. Do we trust God? Or are we going to let the devil take away our joy and our faith?

I haven’t been praying for strength, I have been praying for answers. I haven’t felt like reading the Bible so I have neglected it. So I’m not prepared for this spiritual battle at all and I’m not doing anything about it! I’m too focused on myself.

This realization was more terrifying than the nightmare I had woken up from. I stayed up a few hours praying and reading my Bible. God had my undivided attention and I was shaking too bad to fall asleep.

I realized that my husband and I need to come together to face the devil, he’s already fighting us and we’re letting him win. Every time I look at our budget in fear and panic, the enemy is winning because I’m not trusting Jesus. He’s got this. All I have to do is let go and remind the devil that he has no place here. Jesus always wins. Always. He already conquered hell and death, there’s no power in either one.

So, how do you fight a spiritual fight? Start with Ephesians 6 and put on the whole armour of God. Pray, preferably out loud, without ceasing. Get in His word and stay there. Go to church and ask your church family to pray for you and your family, too. The enemy comes to see who he can devour, don’t let it be you. Fight back! Remind him what God’s Word says.

On another note, I think seeing Berry Cottage as our sanctuary and refuge was a pretty clear sign, too. When we’re there you can feel the presence of God. It’s beautiful! Anyone who has been there has felt His peace, even in the yard! We haven’t heard from the mortgage company there yet, but I know that God’s got this. No matter what happens.

 

Organizing for the Unorganized

OrganizingTheUnorganized

Today I want to talk to you about organizing and I feel like I am qualified to tell you about this because I am not organized. I am a long time member of the procrastination support group and I’m supposed to be president, but the meetings are perpetually postponed. So, this is more about how to organize a disorganized person. If you are type-A personality or OCD you can maybe leave some tips for the rest of us in comments.

My biggest struggle is making myself do the things I despise. Especially when I’m in “one of my moods”. I am getting better at this, but when I’m not in a mood I notice the horrible job I did and I fix it. Which takes longer.

I have an iPhone so I am starting to use Reminders quite a bit. I actually had to put my blood pressure medicine in there or else I forget about it. Not very smart. I also list everything I want to do the night before I’m going to get started. It tends to be shorter if I write up the list when I first get up.

So, I highly recommend an app that allows you to input tasks and has check marks so you can see how much (or little) you have accomplished. I like setting time restraints so that I know how much free time I can enjoy once I’m done. I don’t allow myself breaks before or while I’m cleaning because I will shrug off the rest of my list. It can be done tomorrow. Until you do this perpetually and your house is still a disaster six months later.

What do I list in Reminders?

  • Take medications
  • Eat/Feed kids breakfast (Not that forget, but I like lots of checkmarks)
  • Morning with God – this is not His time slot. I talk and sing to Him while I’m doing my chores. This is when I do my Bible study and devotional time.
  • Help 4 year old clean her room
  • Clean bathroom
  • Remind 12 year old to clean his bedroom and bathroom
  • Eat/feed kids lunch
  • Put away clothes or wash clothes
  • Clean kitchen/dining room
  • Clean living room
  • Work on blog (Monday – Friday)
  • Meal plan (Every Friday)
  • Budget (End of month)
  • Pay bills (First of every month)
  • Free time!

Of course I may have to add or remove things as time goes on. That’s fine as long as it’s not doing the laundry. Right now I have, what I think is, a valid excuse. Two of our dressers are at the former Berry Cottage and I really need them because my kid’s dressers are in disrepair. Well, they could be repaired, but I don’t want to when there are two good ones we can bring home. I also feel like we don’t have a good place to store towels. Our bathrooms have zero storage except under the sinks and I hate storing stuff there in case of a leak. I guess I need to realize that if there is a leak that’s where my towels are going anyway.

I’m going to try my ideas out over the next week and next Friday I will let y’all know how it’s going. If it goes really well I may even share pictures of the inside of my home.

Remodeling on a Budget

RemodelOnABudget

Recently my husband and I were talking about what our trailer needs. It’s twenty years old so the list is pretty expansive (and expensive!). We still have a long time left until it’s paid off (which is a long story), but it’s not worth much. So we agreed that while we want to make it comfortable, we don’t want to invest a fortune.

The above picture is our home a year ago. It hasn’t changed much, but we are hoping to fix that with shutters and some paint. Along with a few other ideas we’re tossing around.

A big thing is the outdated and undersized HVAC system. Add that to the aluminum siding and lack of insulation and you understand why it’s hot inside and our electric bill is high. In case you don’t, I’ll add the missing piece, we live in Alabama.

We could replace the furnace, exterior unit, and the broken ducts for around $5,000. That we don’t have. Instead, we are going to use window units on the back and portable units on the front since they’re not as unsightly. We discussed propane for heat, but our floorplan isn’t set up where it will work well. Basically, our TV and Xbox will melt while our bedrooms and bathrooms freeze. We are looking into infrared heaters and an infrared fireplace for the living room.

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We’re also looking into window awnings and shade cloth until we can put on vinyl siding and a good metal roof. Our current roof requires cool sealing which is what you typically do with an RV. We are hoping to eventually put on a real metal roof.

Another problem is the furring strips on the walls that they do in manufactured homes to save money instead of spackling and putty. We’re going to take them off, spackle, and putty then repaint. It will feel like a house and a home then.

If you live in a manufactured home and you’re in need of inspiration I highly recommend going to Pinterest and putting in your dimensions along with “manufactured home”. In my case I put in, “16×80 manufactured home”. I found a similar floor plan that with minimal effort would give me a full laundry room and a pantry. So we are going to take down one wall and build two plus add two doors to our home. I’m ecstatic! This will give us two things that we have wanted for about $1,000 or less once we’re done. This also makes our space more usable.

What I am looking forward to most is my children’s bedrooms. We decided to put our 12 and two year old boys together in the large 15×9 bedroom and give our daughter the 8×9 bedroom. To maximize her space we’re going to build her a loft bed with a desk and a swing where she can sit and draw or do her school work. She’s four so she pretty much designed it herself and I think it’s going to be an amazing space. Our oldest is getting my 90 year old mahogany bed and the little guy wants a John Deere tractor bed. I’m going to try to build it for him.

I will write posts as we accomplish goals and let you know how things are going and how things are working. I’m hoping to put a lot of pictures on Pinterest, too, in case anyone wants to copy our ideas. We’re hoping to get started soon, but it may be November with everything going on. Which is fine since it gives us time to make sure that we’re doing what God wants and not just what we want.

 

What Makes a House a Home?

HouseOrHome

This is a pretty simple question that could have millions of answers because home can mean something different to each person. It could be something as simple as where your family lives, your address, where your belongings are located, and any combination of these things.

For me, it is where I worship and talk to God the most (I’m only at church four hours a week), where my family lives, and our piece of land. The past few days I have realized that in spite of the problems our current home has, I love it. It may be an old tin can, but it’s where I brought my last baby home, where my kids have pretty much grown up, and where I have grown in Christ the most. To me, that’s worth far more than I’ve paid for the house.

If God chooses to allow us to stay here, I will be grateful for the rest of my life. If He doesn’t, we own the land and we can figure something out. My husband loves alternative, preferably off-grid, housing.

Tent

My point is, home is what you make it. It can be an apartment, an old house, a manufactured home, or even a tent. If you’re glorifying God that’s all that really matters. Yes, your home is a way of glorifying Him because that’s where you spend most of your time with Him. Or it may be your car if you travel a lot.

Of all the things that we as a society take for granted, I think the home is the biggest one. When was the last time you thanked God for the space you live in? Or do you think the size isn’t right, it’s not perfect, or you don’t like your neighbors? I have said those things about almost every place we have lived and we have moved as a result. I can’t remember the last time, before now, that I just thanked God for the blessing that is my home.

As a final note, if your house has problems, you will feel better if you fix them. Organizing does wonders, too. I’m horribly disorganized and our home was a mess! It’s still not perfect, but I love it anyway and I’m fixing it.

About Prayer

Prayer

Today I want to talk to you about prayer. I know this can be a pretty broad topic, but I’m going to try and simplify it. For the record, I am a Christian so I’m talking about praying to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As always, I will be using the ESV because I feel it is the easiest to read and understand. Feel free to use your favorite translation.

When should we pray? In Luke 18:1, Jesus was speaking to His disciples. “And He them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” We are to pray constantly, without ceasing. Praying is not just bringing our needs to Jesus, but it’s a conversation with Him. How would you feel if a close friend only spoke to you when they needed something? Pretty bad, right?

How should we pray? I encourage you to read Matthew 6:5-15, but I’m going to focus on verses 9-13. “Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

That’s all that is required because He already knows our needs and the desires of our hearts. He also knows how we have sinned better than we do. Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

I also like the ACTS format.

Adoration worship God for who He is, not what He has done.

Confession confess your sins to God

Thanksgiving thank God for all of your blessings

Supplication bring any needs or desires to Him

Psalm 77:11-15 goes along with adoring God and it says, “I will remember the deeds of the LORDyes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.”

You can always come to Jesus and talk with Him, especially when you are hurting and feel broken. Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. Never feel like you can’t talk to God, He loves you.

I highly recommend keeping a prayer journal listing prayer requests with the dates when you first started praying and when God answered them. I have had to wait years for God to answer many of my prayers, but when He did I was more grateful to Him. It is always in His time and not our own, but seeing His faithfulness on paper is incredible!