Happy New Year!
Needless to say, like Waffle House at midnight on Christmas Eve, some traditions just have to continue.
2015 for our family summed up:
At the conclusion of the 2014 year, Darco was an assistant store manager at Starbucks, I was working as an aide in the special education department at a local middle school, and we were commuting daily from our original apartment…an hour one way…to work, and doing it all over again.
Transitions first started with Darco; through prayer, grace, and extremely hard work she was notified that she would be given keys to her own store. Meaning, my awesome wife had been promoted to store manager and was given her own store. Since that moment she’s been hiring, training, and sipping coffee nearly 24/7.
Not even a month after her promotion; I had been working through the system to have my teaching license reissued. This meant taking online courses, taking standardized tests for certification, and a whole lot of prayer. Incredibly, and it still shocks me here in 2016, towards the end of the 2014-2015 school year I was requested to visit the administration office at our school. I had been on and off with this school as a substitute teacher for two years, and also settled in with their special education department; turns out teaching is a lot of fun. This is when the head principal offered me my own
classroom for the 2015-2016 school year. Needless to say, I accepted, and was issued seventh grade social studies as my first teaching experience; starting in August of 2015.
The summer was rather quiet for myself, and adventurous for Darco. Due to my commitment as a new teacher my summer was full of training and preparation (shocker). Darco on the other hand took some time off from work and went on her first international mission trip to El Salvador. Not only was it her first international, but it was also without me. She was with an awesome group of people from our church body, and she still shares stories of the experience to this day. I’m blessed to have a wife that doesn’t fear adventure and risk.
August into September were hard months. I stopped my pay period for my prior education job, and for a moment we were surviving almost solely off of Daroc. We were just praying to make it to the end of September.
Also, due to the ongoing amount of time I was spending in the classroom, I finally ended my final social media account with a local business. It was bittersweet. I know that they’re doing so, so well in life, but there was a little sadness of finally stepping away from cyberspace. I now have my social media accounts, that’s it. First time in three years that life has been so quiet.
Thankfully though, we still had enough time to take a random trip out east to see our awesome friends(WHO WE MISS DEARLY)!
To add to the housing experience we were notified that our apartment lease was up in October. We knew we couldn’t take another lease; the miles and time on the road were slowly killing us. However, we didn’t know what to do. We didn’t make enough to just pick a spot, and our credit score was poor enough that we were turned down for an apartment…frequently. Darco reached out to our house church group, now in it’s second year, for help on what to do to find a place for us to call home. This is the point that all the puzzle pieces started to come together for a memorable year.
One of the individuals that Darco met on the mission trip to El Salvador owned some rental properties in a town just north of where we work, and the same town that we attend church. However, he had no open rental properties, but knew his neighbor might.
Desperate for solutions Darco and I went to an apartment complex in the city on a Friday, and after the meeting we said that we’d likely be by on Monday to sign the rent papers. Though, we still had to meet this mystery man that Darco’s friend from the mission trip knew that might have an opening. Did you get all of that?
So, that Sunday we visited this house that looked to be available. Now, let me set the stage; this is a house that sits a mile away from a lake, just outside a city of 8,000 people, and the home isn’t even twenty years old. Alright, do we see the picture? We walked up to the door, myself alrighty thinking about how we were going to move into the new apartment because this was so not happening.
To further emphasize how unrealistic this house was, when we entered we noted the following:
- Vaulted Ceilings
- 2 1/2 bathrooms
- Privacy Deck
- 2 bedrooms
- Two entertainment rooms
- Basement floor was being tiled
You can imagine, too good to be true, going through my head at a rapid rate. I nearly walked out without even talking. However, my wife, being a graceful creature started talking to the man who owned the house. He didn’t want a credit report, he asked if we’d ever thought owning a home (seriously), and then he gave us a number for cost that was below what the apartment that we were preparing to sign with offered us.
Darco cried the moment we stepped out of the door. Later in the day we called and said we’d accept the house on the terms we spoke on. Two weeks later we were moved into our new home. I still sit in the living room in shock that we’re in this house. There are so many definitive “God moments” in 2015, and this house is right there with teaching and a store manager promotion.
As the year concluded we switched roles up in the household a bit. I started to work more and more on our budget and our finances. While I’m very poor at mathematical skills, I do want to strive to ensure that our family is in its best position 24/7. When we started tearing through the budget, we started to see the potential of our lives since moving. Nearly $400 a month has been saved on fuel alone. We cook at home and took another $200-$300 off our ‘eating out’ budget. We started projecting out into the future, and by July of 2016; aside from students loans, we’ll be debt free.
That may be the biggest shock of 2015.
2015 was a life altering year for Darco and myself. We’re finally growing up, and we’re functioning more and more like a family. We both have jobs that we’re blessed with and that we love, we’re in an amazing home that we could have never predicted, and between our local family and our friends we’re connected to a world of people that are watching over us.
That’s a pretty cool life.
May 2016 be a blessing for all!
-D & Darco-