Thursday, July 1, 2010

Blessings in the Central Valley

(A very photo-shopped  image of Visalia)
I know, I know. This blog post is way over due. I've been meaning to sit and fill in the details of our recent move to the Central Valley but I feel like so much is going on I don't know where to begin. But I know a few of our friends and family are interested in the details so I will do my best to present the condensed version of this past month...

We moved to Visalia just over a month ago and, to be completely honest, came dragging our feet a bit. Though we were excited about making a fresh start, Tim beginning a new job, and the housing market possibilities, we LOVE living by the ocean. We were not one of those families who live by the beach but never go. We played at the beach all the time.
Plus, we had just started to settle it at a new church, I had just found an amazing new group of mommy friends and was enjoying amazing weekly fellowship with the mentors in my women's Bible study. We were not ready to move. Especially not to the Central Valley. 

But we came. We packed up our little beach bungalow and headed North. After a bit of a hiccup with which apartment unit we would actually be living in, we unpacked and began to settle in.

After about two weeks of figuring out where the nearest grocery store was and the easiest way to get to our bank, I began to feel myself going insane. First of all, its flippin' hot in Visalia. Monday we enjoyed a lovely day of 106 degrees. Oh my. Since we are currently living in a second story apartment and know very few people in our new town, it did not take long before the boredom set in. My initial solution was to hang out in air-conditioned stores. That got expensive quickly. Then I tried getting back into crafting/sewing. This was a good solution for a few days but the end result was still me with no friends, in hot Visalia. At least I now had a cute pillow to talk to.

Two weeks ago, a friend of a friend, who heard we were new to the area, sent me a facebook message inviting me to a ladies evening Bible Study she was involved in. What a God-send that invite was. I (all to eagerly) agreed to come and spent the entire day anxious to meet new people. I was thrilled to discover the ladies were all around my age and are all seeking to be more like Christ. I had a wonderful time that first night and am leaving for my third evening with them in a couple of hours. Thank you Jesus for providing sisters to share my burdens with and pray over me!

As far as the church search goes, we have some really good options on the table. We have been attending a fairly large church for the last couple weeks but I'm not sure it is where God will have us end up. After our experience in Ventura at the beginning of this year, I am having to deal with some fears that I am afraid will keep me from being able to settle in anywhere. My prayer is that God will make it abundantly clear to us where He wants us to get involved and that we will feel... "safe" among that body of believers very quickly.

Ok so now for the house stuff.

So we weren't planning on moving forward with any home purchasing decisions until September ish. Our goal was to be in a new house by Christmas. Because of some less than ideal things that have happened at our apartment complex, we called our Realtor and spent our second weekend in Visalia looking at homes. The first house hunt outing was primarily to get to know our Realtor and for her to get to know us and what we were looking for. We had an interesting afternoon discovering what our price range looked like in the form of homes and attempting to keep Sawyer from driving the nice Realtor crazy. The following weekend my lovely in-laws came up and watched Sawyer so we could get a bit more looking done. Our Realtor took us to a neighborhood I had fallen in love with when we drove through Visalia for the first time. The homes are amazing and so right up my alley as far as color and style go. At the time, we were all sure they were way out of our price range but decided to ask about incentives and deals anyways. We met with the seller and crunched numbers and were amazed that with the builders incentives, we could afford to buy my dream house. We took the information and went home totally overwhelmed and trying not to be too excited. Saturday night we talked and prayed until late and Sunday morning we called my parents to see if they could come up and look at the house. They hopped in their car and made it to Visalia by dinner time that same day.

My parents, like my in-laws, loved the home. Tim and I spent the next couple days praying and seeking council from a few other people and on Friday, signed papers to begin escrow. Today, almost a week later, we had our initial walk through with the builder to ensure all structural and cosmetic aspects of the home are perfect and move-in ready. It looks like escrow will close on July 30th and we will be home-owners!!

The house is so much more than anything we could have ever imagined we would buy. We both know it is a gift from God and are so thankful. I was struggling last week with feeling guilty about living in such a nice home while so many people live in poverty. I shared my heart with my new Bible study sisters and one of them spoke straight into my heart when she said, "Amber, stop asking God how it is that you get to live in such a beautiful home and start asking Him why He has given it to you. What is it He wants you to do with it?"

Her words came straight from God and since then I have been asking God what it is He wants us to do with our new home. I am excited to hear His answer. I look forward to hosting Bible Studies and Christmas parties and fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters in our new home.

So thats our update as of July 1st. Thank you to all of our friends and family who have been praying for us during this transition. Greater things are yet to come...


  1. So exciting! Can't wait to see pics and hear how it all plays out

  2. Amber, God's provision and blessing to you is overwhelming...even to just read!! Praising God for his provision! Any time you guys come for a beach visit you are more than welcome to come stay with us (we are kid friendly!).

  3. Im so excited for you guys! Your house is beautiful and Im sure that God has many great things in store for you guys to serve Him while you are in Visalia. Love you!!!