Three years ago, after returning home from Zambia, we moved into "the white house." It was an old farmhouse, one that showed its age in creaky steps and a bathroom that was added on after plumbing came to town. But it served us well, and we were thankful for a space of our own. Soon after we moved in, the house next door became vacant. The owners, it turned out, were bailing on both a failed business and their mortgage. We admired that "brown house" every day--its large fenced-in yard, mature trees, bay window, closer proximity to Mary's granny--basically everything we could see from the outside. As renters, we dreamed of owning a house, but not just any house--the brown house.
Then one day Mary saw a real estate agent putting up a sign at the brown house. It was being sold in a short sale, which might save us a few bucks if we were willing to be patient. Amazingly, it never went on the market--Mary's contact with the agent positioned us as the presumptive buyers, and after a 6-month process of chasing down lenders and divulging my deepest, darkest secrets to our bank, we were the new owners of the brown house.
Today, 18 months later, we are saying bye-for-now to the brown house. God brought just the right tenant and just the right time, and we are moving in with Mary's parents for our last month in Virginia. Our attempt at a proper farewell is a video we made of the kids walking around the house, recalling their favorite memories from each room (screenshots below). In a relatively short time, this house has endeared itself to us in a big way. Its yard has given Olivia and Simeon countless hours of play time; its kitchen and lounge has given us the opportunity to host three semesters of small groups; its half-finished basement has allowed us to host over a dozen guests; and the doggy door allowed for a happy existence for Riley and Peppermint (and no litter box cleaning for us!). See you later, brown house. -dan