Today was a day. A good day. A weird day.

We swam in a friend’s pool for a few hours and then packed a cooler of food and headed to the beach. We met up with our church family and shared food and stories and ice cream. Matthew was late to the party (that he organized) because he was bringing Nathan to camp.

Nate Diggity is at camp for the first time without Matthew volunteering, because a friend asked him to go, and which is HUGE with his anxiety history. He was so excited to go! BUT. I feel like I’m missing a limb with just four of us. I miss Nathan, with his big green eyes and huge smile and his wrap-around hugs. Hugs are his favorite. He’s my Nathan.

(I’m a little emotional.)

(We’re also still living in a basement suite with three cats until we get keys to the house on Friday. The smell in here isn’t my favorite.)

Front yard!

This is a photo taken from the road that shows our entire front yard. (T-Minus eleven days until possession!) The Tree is a big part of it, but the garden is another big part of it. Is it just me, or do the iron quail on the garden shed make it look like the shed is sad about the state of the garden?

(It should be sad. The garden is full of weeds.)

We’ll be in there weeding as soon as we can. There are raspberries and grapes and flowers and so much more.

Our plan is to make our home in a West Coast style — as we do — dark wood and bricks and big windows.

As for the garden shed, I’d kind of like to paint it barn red and maybe make the doors look like barn doors. Thoughts?

The View

It’s no secret that we sold our house. Why did we sell our house? It is a lovely home on a pretty acreage that we renovated for over ten years and made it ours. It’s the only home we’ve ever owned, the home we brought all of our newborn babies home to, and is a home that everyone who came over marveled at. So why sell it?

Long story short: It was time.

Longer story longer: It was only a ten-minute drive from town, but those twenty-minute return trips add up when you have three kids, all of whom are active and also, social. Plus, a large home and an acreage take a lot of time that we now prefer to spend skiing or hiking or running or anything else but maintaining three acres of land.

Because of the low price we bought our house at and the sweat equity we put in, we walked away with a decent amount of money after paying off our almost-done mortgage and the debt on our cabin at Apex. I KNOW.

There was a house on a street in the neighborhood we wanted that was for sale, but there were some issues. It was a foreclosure, and had been a grow op. The basement is stripped down to the studs, there is no power or water connected, and it needs to be remediated. But it’s a 1/2 acre on a quiet road that is a ten-minute WALK to schools/shops/church. We have many friends in the area, and the VIEW. It’s on a bench, with views of the mountains on the other side of the lake.

Renovations and remediation aside, because of its history, only people with cash could make an offer as banks won’t lend until it’s remediated.

We had cash. We offered and countered a few times and then had an accepted offer. Because it was a foreclosure, it had to go to court. Our court date was today. The iffy part is that people can come to court and submit sealed bids, and if they do, we decide if we want to submit another bid, not even knowing what they bid. Then the judge gives the house to the highest bidder. Blind bidding. Fun!

We sat down last night and decided what we would bid. A tip to anyone in this situation that we got from our Realtors: Pick an odd number. If you’re bidding on $100,000, and want to bid $100, 500, instead bid $100,600 or some other odd number. My friend Jazz is also a Realtor and said that she won one by $17.23. With that in mind, I tacked on $11.20 to our number, because 11 and 20 are my favorite numbers.

This morning as we were about to leave, I ran back in to grab my water bottle and a higher number (ending in $11.20) came to mind. I got into the truck and Matthew had written the EXACT SAME NUMBER on a piece of paper. God is awesome. We met up with Amanda and got to the courthouse early and found out our time was at 10:00. It was the LONGEST TWO HOURS OF MY LIFE.

We sat in court as other matters came forth and were dealt with and then the property we had an offer on came up. Two other offers were presented, as well as our higher offer. The judge read through them and at one point her eyebrows went up. She then said, “Well, it doesn’t get much closer than this.”


Judge: “The highest offer is {redacted} and $11.20, from…”

Me: *fist in the air* “Woop!”

Her: “…Matthew Dykstra and Angella Dykstra, who is a little bit emotional right now.”

(She had a great sense of humor.)

She read out the other bids and our bid was only higher than the next highest bid by $111.20. ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN DOLLARS AND TWENTY CENTS.

So crazy. So awesome. So unbelievable.

Possession is in ten business days, and then the (renovating and remediating) games begin!


Miss Emily

If you’ve read the Bible story about walking on water (or heard about it), you know that it’s about faith and trust. Trust and faith. They are tied together. We’re in a holding pattern over here until Wednesday (as I talked about last week), and many of you commented or messaged me. I gave you the inside story (privately) as to what is happening and we’re down to the final hours of waiting to know which direction we’re going with a house/home.

We’re walking on water over here, trusting that we’re on the right path, having faith that things will work out for good, but I am a human being. All of the uncertainty makes me nauseous from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep. Then, sleep decides to be a jerk and I lay awake in the middle of the night running through scenarios and options and battling with anxiety. I don’t want to share the details, yet, but if you could be praying for us/thinking of us on Wednesday from 9 a.m. onward, that would be amazing.

On top of all of the uncertainties, there is regular life. There is school for the kids and work for me and Matthew and baseball (kids) and instead of rambling, I’ll just state that two adults + three kids in a basement suite + all of the activities = I’d appreciate a trip to Mexico. Or Hawaii. Or Vancouver. Or, anywhere but here. Fight or flight is happening in all her glory.

My coping mechanism has been going to the beach with the kids, even for twenty minutes. Sun, sand, cool water, and the kids having the best time, every time. There is nothing to complain about, and everything to make you appreciate that we live a short drive from a lake.

(Wednesday morning, friends. Send everything you can our way.)

Me and Hills!

I’ve attended Blissdom Canada every year since it began. I’ve been a speaker, an ambassador, and a community leader. When I got an email about the offshoot ROAM event happening in Kelowna, I was amazed that a (non) conference was going to be in my area of the Okanagan. I knew that it was something I had to be a part of, because everything related to Blissdom is amazing. This was a different concept, with only 40-ish people, but I was pretty sure I was on board. Then Hillary texted me to ask if I was going to attend and then I signed up immediately. Because, Hillary. (It was her first conference (non-conference) and I was so happy to have her as a roommate.)

The timing was the best, and the worst. I signed up before our house sold, and the conference started on the Sunday after our house sale closed. There was so much to do, but I had done so (too) much. It was great to stay in a nice hotel and talk with creative people and escape the turbulence of our daily life for two days. It was two days of sitting with people in our one (non) conference room, of walking to local businesses for presentations, of talking over breakfast and lunch, and of sitting in the pool with these amazing people and laughing from my gut.

I would write all of the nitty gritty details, but Angelique and Tiffany and Christine and Merry all have posts that summed up what I want to remember and run with.

Another highlight for me was meeting Dai Manuel and his wife Christie for a Monday morning run and workout. It was them, me, Gillian (World traveler!), and Alex (Instagram fashion queen!). We ran 1 mile (1.5 km, everyone not American) and then he talked about HIT (High Intensity Training). We would do 30 seconds of a cardio workout, followed by 30 seconds of rest. The rest time was a plank. THAT’S NOT RESTING, DAI. We ran stairs and did jumping jacks and lunges and burpees. BURPEES. While “resting” in between with planks. Hillary had been sad that she forgot her runners at home but when I returned to the room and told her what Dai made us do, she was no longer sad.

(Thanks for pushing us, Dai and Christie. I hope to work out with you again one day.)

I’m hoping that ROAM happens again next year, and that some of you lovelies join us. (Not sponsored, I just loved every single minute.)

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