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2 In More/ My Family

Goodbye 2016 & Hello 2017, Nice to Meet You

 

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I’m not good at lying. As a matter of fact whenever I try to lie my face tells the truth. I’ve been known for my “looks” and facial expressions. Since this is the case, if you could see my face right now, you would know that I seriously am happy to say “Goodbye” to 2016. I also have to mention that I normally do not write about things of a spiritual nature and so close to my heart. What is the term…do not cast your pearls before swine? But I have felt a pull and a prompting to share a little glimpse into the past year with my readers. I am crossing my fingers there are no swine among you…

If I gave the last year a theme it would be “Let Go and Let God”. When I say this I mean it in the most literal way possible. Letting go of almost all earthly possessions and trusting that God has your back. This year would be the ending of a three year journey. We were self-employed in 2014, D turned down a six figure job offer that was not right in 2015, and we would continue our journey into the unknown, praying that the perfect solution would come forth. It was three years of a constant trial of faith, one of growing closer to God, and of not giving up. It has been a rollercoaster ride to say the least.

If I rewind to January 2016, you’d find me living in a nice home in the Dallas area. I was just getting this little blog up off the ground and scrounging what money I could gather together to give it a go. To start a revenue stream I began designing and selling my own line of tee shirts on-line and opened a booth in Canton. D was self-employed and had been traveling from Dallas to NYC every other week for nearly two years. His current job had no guarantee that he would have a contract in place the following month. It was pins and needles waiting to see if it would be extended. Little P was nervously starting his second semester of 7th grade–fearing that we may have to move and that he would have to leave some really great friends behind if and when dad got a new job. Those were just a few of our worries.

D and I had a feeling deep down that changes were coming. We knew they would, we couldn’t keep going as we had the previous two years. Deep down, in our guts, we knew a change was inevitable. That very month I had made a list of things that I wanted to simplify in my life. Little did I know how writing down those goals as my New Years Resolution would be the very start of what big changes were to come. We had been ardently praying for two years and God was setting the groundwork for the most blessed and smooth transitions to take place. To say the following happenings were less than miraculous would be ridiculous. Because we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God’s hand was in every single detail of our lives.

If you have ever been the bread-winner for your family and felt the scare of not being able to provide you would know how D felt. He has always been a great provider but with his job having a month to month contract things were a bit on edge. The not knowing was killing us. Walking in faith and trusting in His timing was hard. We were tested in every spiritual and monetary way. D’s job paid well but his checks were never sent on time. As a matter of fact, that January we were just paid a large sum that was billed the prior year. What we did not know was that this large sum would have to last us almost nine months–until early September.

It seemed to be feast or famine at our house. We were always afraid to feast because we never knew when the famine would hit. Cable was turned off, no house phone was to be found, the grocery bill was squeezed as tight as possible. There wouldn’t be expensive trips or huge social occasions. We were pretty much in survival mode. I would walk out to the mail box each day praying that a check would be there. Let me express that being told a check was in the mail and not have it arrive for several months was very discouraging.

We also had our daughter S and her husband B living with us. They were both working full-time and B was in school. Both had applied for BYU but weren’t scheduled to attend until January 2017. This put us in fear that if and when D found a permanent solution that they would be left without a place to live.

A few months prior in 2015 D flew to North Carolina for an interview with a head-hunter. He knew that he didn’t want the job that he was interviewing for, but was leaving no stone unturned. I remember asking him, “why are you going out there and spending all of this time to try to get a job you aren’t interested in?” As it turns out that little trip, which I felt was insignificant, paved the way to where we were meant to be. I know now that the Lord works in mysterious ways and there is a pathway of dots that need to be connected before one can get to the final destination. The Lord hears our prayers and things that happen which seem discouraging are generally for the greater good of what is yet to come.

So on went our lovely little lives in Dallas. We were safe, we were happy, we loved our church, we loved the neighborhood we lived in. We were struggling, but blessed in a million ways. The Lord took care of us and saw that our needs were met. We never went without food, shelter, or gas in our cars. We experienced many blessings, tithing blessings, blessings from friends and even from people we did not know. I seriously cannot even complain, for I do not know but a very glimpse of the depths of poverty and how that might feel. I’ve lived a very privileged live full of blessings. I would say that the biggest trial for me was being in the limbo of the unknown and waiting for changes to finally happen and to become settled into a new situation which was permanent.

Summer came before we knew it and we found out that D may be hired by the hospital he was working for and a move out East may be inevitable. Our prayer always was to get back West, nearer to our children and parents. New Jersey was further away than we wanted to be. We had already been four years in Dallas and that was tough. D is a California boy and always wanted to get back to a place where he could be close again. I didn’t care, I just wanted him to be happy. My home has always been with him, regardless where life has taken us.

Just as we were pondering and considering a move to New Jersey another, very unexpected, door opened. The head-hunter who had interviewed D in 2015 called him out of the blue and said, “I have a job I’d like you to interview for in Reno, Nevada”. D was excited because it isn’t far from California. So he began the interviewing process. I’ll never forget one afternoon when D had a Skype interview scheduled. For some reason he could not get the internet to work in his home office. He announced to the family that we needed to head out and leave for a few hours and he would have to interview at the kitchen counter. In hind-site I know that the internet not working that day was not an accident.

Later that afternoon when the interview was over I asked how it went. He said he didn’t realize at the beginning of the interview, but our living room was in the background. The interviewer started asking questions about the decor and details about where we had gotten the framed American Flag on our mantel. At that particular time it was around the Fourth of July and I was displaying some Americana decor. D told the story of how the flag was a gift when he became an Eagle Scout and had been flown over the Capitol Building. It was as if this gentleman was sitting right in our living room, as a friend, getting to know our family. I often tease that my decor landed D the job opportunity!

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The counter D sat at for his Skype interview.

Within a few weeks we were asked to both fly to Reno. When a company asks the wife to come along it is normally because they need to have her there to seal the deal. I was scheduled to work my booth in Canton that weekend, but I cancelled and went with D. I remember praying, fasting, and going to the Temple the week before. I told D that no matter what happened, if I didn’t have a direct answer that we were supposed to be in Reno, that I was not going to move there. I wanted and needed to know that Reno was where the Lord wanted us to be. If I knew that then I could leave Dallas. But I would never move somewhere blindly without inspiration that we were to be there. {This is actually why we had turned down the job offer the prior year, we prayed and it was revealed several times in many beautiful and amazing ways that we were NOT to move to Paris Texas–I will share that story in a different post}.

The plan was that D would interview all day on Thursday and that meant I would have the day to myself to look around. We rented a car and I dropped him off early that morning. He looked sharp in his navy suit and striped power tie. From the hospital I drove straight to the Temple. My plan was to go there, attend a session and pray for an answer. I wanted to know if we did get a job offer if we were to take it.

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The morning was sunny, bright, and beautiful. As I drove up the mountain I spotted the Angel Moroni on top of the Temple up in the clouds. Unexpectedly the answer I had been praying for came to me right then and there. It was as if the Spirit was talking to my spirit and with tears streaming down my face I began repeating what I was feeling out loud, “this is home, this is home, this is home”. I also knew at that moment that Doug indeed would get an offer for employment, that we were meant to move here, and that Reno was to be our new home.

While inside the Temple I prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for answering my prayers. Knowing we were to move would now make leaving so much easier. Then I asked if there was anything else that He wanted me to know. After some meditation I opened the scriptures which were sitting on my lap and my eyes fell to D&C 25 where the Lord is speaking to Emma Smith. As I read I felt as if He were speaking directly to me:

10 And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.

At that very moment the Spirit whispered to me and I knew that we were to continue to simplify, leaving most of our belongings behind when we moved . I knew that the journey of simplification and getting rid of excess I had been on this year had an ultimate purpose of preparing me for this moment. I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy but knowing that the Lord wanted us to let go of everything would lessen any attachments.

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The Reno, Nevada Temple

The following day we met with a real estate agent and went out looking for homes. We knew we wanted to downsize even further than we had in Dallas and have a much simpler life. This was a journey that we had been on this year, not to own anything unnecessary or frivolous. To feel the freedom of having no debt and not having to care for a lot of earthly possessions. To free up our time for things that mattered.

If D got this job offer we could stand to buy a very nice large home. Something to be proud of, but also something that we did not need. We decided to look at what was necessary for three people and not anything more. D had found a townhouse on-line and when we visited the home we both really liked it. I was nervous that there wouldn’t be children P’s age in the neighborhood. It was my main concern. We went back to the hotel that evening and that little townhouse still looked to be the best option.

Shortly after returning to the hotel D’s cell phone began to buzz. He quickly answered and it was the job offer. Human Resources went through the potential contract with him over the phone. I still had not told D what had been revealed to me in the Temple in regards to giving up the things of the world. When he got off the phone he explained that the company would only move our belongings up to a certain dollar amount or we could pack and move ourselves, keeping the money. We both knew that the dollar amount given would not pay for all of our belongings to be moved by a professional company.

I said, “I know the answer, we are to lay aside the things of the world. We will simplify more, sell or donate as much as we can, and move ourselves”.

I was so grateful that I was given the answer to this question in the Temple. So, we accepted the job, agreed to the terms, and began to move forward. Now to find the perfect house. With only one day left of our trip could we find and put an offer on the right home?

The next morning we visited the town home again. I went in ahead of D and the real estate agent. I was standing on the front gated porch when a neighbor came out and said hello. He asked, “I saw you here yesterday, are you going to buy this house?” I said, “We are considering it.” He went on to tell me that his family moved here from Houston Texas and asked if I had any kids. I told him that we had a 13-year-old son who would move with us. He excitedly exclaimed, “I have a 13-year-old son too!”

And so another prayer had been answered. During this trip every worry I had was eliminated and every prayer in my heart was answered. P would have a friend right next door! We went inside the house, walked through again, and decided to put an offer on it that morning. As D and I drove away from the house we knew, with burning in our bosoms, that we were doing the right thing. We also knew, for one of the first times in our married life, that THIS is where the Lord wanted us to be. We were supposed to live in Reno.

After that trip miracles just kept rolling in. The Sunday after we returned home we were all sitting in the living room talking with our family and B looked at his phone. He had an email from BYU inviting him to go to school a semester earlier, in September. A day later Sabryna received the same email for her to begin school early too. You see, the Lord took care of them as well. They left exactly one month before we did. It was hard seeing them go. I cried for a day because I knew that S would never call our home her home again. But I was bursting with pride at the same time for her moving off on her own with her sweet husband. This is what I raised her for, to be an independent woman who could do things on her own and she certainly has not disappointed.

Sabryna, Brady & little Aspyn on their way to BYU.

Two weeks before closing on the new house D was finally paid for six months of work in 2016. This trail of feast or famine ended up being a huge blessing. Because of this check coming so late we were able to have enough cash for a down-payment on the house. We took our home off of the market in Dallas and decided to rent it, so that P and I could move sooner and not have to wait for the older house to sell while D worked away from us.

Within two weeks our property management company would find renters for us. The new renters didn’t want the bedrooms furnished which posed a problem since we could not move our furniture with us. However, I was able to donate the bedroom furniture to a single mother and her children who had next to nothing. It was a beautiful experience, giving to someone who really needed help. I know that this was all orchestrated behind the scenes through angels and prayers being answered.

Because we purchased a smaller house D could easily carry the load of two house payments on his credit. We didn’t have to sell to purchase. Because we had not been paid from the old job for months we had the money to move ourselves out to Reno. The moving bonus wouldn’t come for a few months later, but everything worked out beautifully. We left Texas on a Friday evening and had tenants move into our home on the very next day, Saturday morning. Everything fell into place like it was scripted.

We would find ourselves making the long drive to Reno with only our personal belongings and two chairs on our 24th wedding anniversary. Just P, D, the dog and me. We are excited and grateful for our journey into this new area. It was easy to start over and leave dear friends because we knew we were supposed to. I’m extremely grateful for the beautiful closing chapter to the years of struggle and I know it was scripted by the help of angels. I sit here writing this in my new little townhouse in Reno, where with a grateful heart and the greatest hope and joy I declare,  “Hello 2017, Nice to Meet You”.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Mike Metcalfe, aka Dad
    January 4, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    I’m happy to say that you have become a blessing to me and all of your family. I was recounting some of the miracles that happened when you were little.
    Thanks for this story, it really made me happy.

    • Reply
      Amylia Coover
      January 5, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks dad! I love you & mom.

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