The past few mornings I’ve been getting up early to have some time by myself. I’m one of those odd people who have always woken up on my own around 5:30am (depending on the day it could be earlier or as late as 6:30… I know, really sleeping in there) but sometimes I just lay in bed thinking… and then I figured I’d be so much happier about the day if I could get some stuff done pre-Drew / AJ. I’m sitting here reading “The Purpose Driven Life” and found this great quote from CS Lewis (seriously, when does he NOT say something brilliant?):
The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become- because he made us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. … It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.
Before AJ and I got married (or even met each other!) he had a vision for acquiring rental properties and how it would set him and our family up for financial freedom later in life. He had purchased his condo and a two family before I met him and as we were just getting to know each other he passed papers on a foreclosure single family home. It was in that house (with a classy bright blue bidet) as I helped him paint that he first told me he loved me. 🙂 We passed papers on the house to flip in Lynn three days after we were married and that was when I understood the complete stress of what goes on before purchasing a house and the stress about money after. AJ understands real estate tax laws so that it can help us get the max back at tax time and he miraculously understands all of the things I’m just learning about like only purchasing homes with equity in them (home is appraised at $200k, you get it for $100k. $100k instant equity) and the way banks will calculate if we are eligible for another mortgage.
Okay, so how does this have anything to do with CS Lewis and surrender, you might ask? In two ways… I found that being married to AJ means surrender… for both of us… without a doubt we think making these investments is a smart way to prepare ourselves for the future but it also means we each need to listen to each other and our requests / worries / etc. I was a thousand times more worried with the first house we flipped… and now I trust AJ so much more, but I also trust myself. I’ve learned what we do right and wrong when renovating a property or purchasing a property. And you know what? I’ve learned that I’ll probably always have things to add to a list entitled “things to never under any circumstance do again”. But I’ve also learned that I need to trust God to work out these investments… we entered into them really believing that it was something that God wanted for us so shouldn’t we believe that he will work it out (of course, providing that we are making responsible decisions)?
But here is the other thing I’ve learned, like Lewis talked about, when we let God take over the more truly ourselves we become because he made us… and I find that to be so true… I feel so “me” when I’m doing house projects and painting and seeing the progress of a before and after. I felt so “me” when Drew and I were at Home Depot Saturday morning and I picked out paint colors, floors and a rug for a foreclosure AJ and I are closing on today. Why? Because I could use the creativity God gave me while at the same time using the mind he gave me to figure out what kind of materials are the biggest bang for our buck in a rental… Of course, none of this is to say AJ hasn’t had a say in this, we were just talking the other night about the best decisions to make on this condo… the counters have to be replaced… it’s not in an upscale area so is granite what we should do or is a nice clean laminate or butcher block okay? What is going to get us an upstanding tenant who will pay the bills?
Here are some of the options I picked at Home Depot. (Would it be far different choices if we were putting this in our own home? Yes. But our goal here is to have it look nice and be clean. It doesn’t need to have top of the line materials for a rental.)
- a new clean vinyl floor for the kitchen / bathroom at 77 cents / sq ft
- a rug for the living room, dining room and bedroom at 33 cents / sq ft (plus the 50 cents / sq ft for the padding under the rug).
- four paints from Martha’s line that all go well together… picture it with white trim.