a few things

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I got to look at three apartments yesterday. One was an apartment I actually visited when I first moved to Atlanta, over three years ago, and I loved it at the time but they didn’t have anything on the top floor (one of my stipulations, since I was a single female). The apartment complex was sold and completely renovated, and I was excited to go back and look again. Let me say, it is a BEAUTIFUL complex! Right along a river, the trees and landscaping are just gorgeous. It has a more “natural” feel, which I love, without looking abandoned. The apartment was gorgeous too. The kitchen looked like I was stepping into a Southern Living magazine, though it was the typical small galley style kitchen. However, a major negative: they have DirecPath cable. Other majors: there is almost no closet space, no pantry in the small kitchen, and literally nowhere to put the litter box. There wouldn’t be anywhere to stick our camping stuff, and the apartment is fairly small (900 sq. ft. and one bedroom) so storage space is important. Ah, well. I’m putting it on my short list because I love the location and the trees, but I doubt we’ll get it.

The second one I visited I really liked. Two bedroom, beautiful floorplan, would fit us and our stuff perfectly. I loved the kitchen – it even had a window! It was small, but the way it was laid out wasn’t as depressing as galley-style kitchens. The rent was within our budget. The cons: I don’t want to be the only white person, so I’d like to go back on a weekend when people are out and see if I would be. It’s at the top of our budget and what she quoted me was lower than their advertised price, so it concerns me that the price might “suddenly raise” when we go to sign the lease papers. I also want to check police reports for the area, because the windows in the apartment I was in had the wired security glass in the kitchen window (like this). And, the complex isn’t PRETTY like the first one I went to!!

The third one I visited didn’t have the right “vibe” to me. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, though it was way cheap and the cynic in me wants to avoid getting something TOO cheap. :-) The layout was fine, though I wasn’t thrilled with it – the living room was awkward and the kitchen was the small, galley style. So I crossed that one off my list. I have 14 other possibilities which I’d like to try and at least visit, and if the complex looks nice I’d like to see a floorplan. I intend to visit four or five today if I can.

As soon as Paul gets off work, we’re headed north to NASHVILLE! :-) Bethany gets married TOMORROW, can you believe it?? I’m super thrilled for her. We got to meet her fiance last weekend at her bridal shower and we really like him a lot. We’re excited that they’ll be living close-by once we move (perhaps even in the same complex! :-) I’m going to check the one they chose out today). We’ll be in Nashville until Monday, and then when we get home we get to spend the rest of the day packing and sorting. We have a lot of junk to get rid of!

I better go get dressed for the day and get going! I hope all of y’all have a great Labor Day weekend!

and He just keeps closing 'em!

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So I mentioned yesterday that our plans to do the apartment ministry have fallen through. (Which is fine.) We were in the midst of trying to decide whether we should move or not when our lease is up in October.

We have some very good reasons for moving. Besides all the downsides to our current apartment, we realized that we could move to the area of town where we’d like to eventually buy. We could get an apartment, allowing us a year to explore the area and give us more insight into which community we want to settle in. (Ha! Settle! That’s a funny word. :-)) While alone it isn’t a reason to move, paired with our current dissatisfaction with our current apartment it seemed to make more sense…

I called the leasing office yesterday of our current apartment to see what our rent will be if we were to renew our lease in October. They had warned us previously that the rent would be raised, since the complex was recently sold and now under new management.

I was shocked when the leasing agent told us they were raising our rent $120. That’s ONE HUNDRED TWENTY DOLLARS. I was shocked. That puts our current apartment way out of our budget. Strike three, we’re moving!

According to a friend who grew up near here, when our apartments were built 25 years ago, they were luxury apartments and apparently THE place to live. Lack of upkeep has caused them to lower in value, so you get fabulous floorplans (seriously, almost 1500 square feet? that’s great!) and good prices. Apparently the new owners are remodeling the apartments. They’ve started re-roofing and re-siding all the buildings, and I think as apartments become empty they’ll upgrade the appliances. Anyways, that explains the raise in the price. I guess they’re wanting to go back to the previously “luxury” apartments.

That gives us about a month and a half to find a new apartment! We are excited to move, though we’ll seriously be downsizing. Since this area is a lot more expensive, we may have to downsize to a one bedroom. But it will be worth it we think! We are currently going through our stuff and deciding what we can sell, throw away, or give away. It’s going to be really tough, but good for us. I need to not be so tied to material possessions!

when God closes a door…

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On Monday was our big interview with Apartment Life.

Today we got an email from the person we interviewed with, saying that at this point there aren’t any apartment communities available for us to move in October, and they didn’t know when one would be available.

This was the closed door we were looking for. Because, to be honest, after the interview we both felt that we shouldn’t go through with this. The interview went okay; we talked to a staff member who went in depth about the responsibilities we would have and what a normal week/month would look like for us. She told us the pros and cons that we could expect, and talked about the kinds of things that lead to successful ministries. (For example, she said a successful couple tends to be extroverted and hospitable – two things we aren’t.)

Paul and I actually made the decision last night to not pursue this. Our hesitation was because we don’t ever want to not do something that God has asked us to do because we were too scared or we didn’t want to be outside our comfort zone. However, I don’t think that means you have to intentionally place yourself in a stressful situation just because you think it’s a good Christian thing to do!

So, the fact that God closed a door actually relieved us very much. And it answered a few questions about our future, something which I hadn’t realized had been weighing on me so much. I’ve actually been so stressed out the past few weeks, worrying about various decisions to make in addition to planning multiple trips and just overall having a lot on my mind. I just sent the email letting them know that we would like to withdraw our names from consideration for the apartment ministry. There will be other ministries, and hopefully we’ll be able to find one that we can serve together and it will use the gifts we have better.

Now we are in the process of deciding if we should stay where we are for another year or move to a new apartment. I think we’ll look to buy a place in fall of 2009, though as we take a hard look at our budget we aren’t sure if we’ll have enough for a down payment by then. We’ll see. We first need to see how much the new owners of our complex are going to raise our rent, and perhaps use the threat of lease renewing to get them to fix some things. Or perhaps we’ll decide it’s better to move over to the area where we intend to buy a condo when we can, which will mean downsizing but also will help us make a more informed decision in a year about where/when we should buy. Of course, the thought of having to move both excites me and fills me with dread. It will be our fourth apartment since we married in 2006. Are we crazy? Or does it just show so plainly that we’re a military brat and a missionary kid? Ah, life. Will I ever be satisfied with where I am?

as promised: pictures!

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So finally I got all my pictures from New England uploaded to Flickr! It took forever, but they’re there. I’ll include a few highlights then some links so you can see more if you’re interested. :-) (By the way, you can download the original size from Flickr if you ever want to turn any of my pictures into prints… Though I would ask that you always give me the credit as the photographer. :-))

First, here are the three albums from my trip:
* Various pictures from Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
* Nathan and Sarah’s wedding
* An evening with Isaac, Katie, Jesse, Catherine, Jeremiah, and Paul at Horseneck Beach

From the first album:
I got to meet 2 month old Hans; he was really cute! I also got to visit with his mother for a while, which was very nice.
Sleeping Hans

I also met (for the third time) Katherine, who is absolutely adorable at almost-two. (I visited with her mother too!)

One thing that fascinates me about New England is their style of houses. Obviously some look the same, but I had never seen anything like the tenement houses they have. I tried to take a lot of pictures this trip of New Bedford and surrounding area to capture this. If you’re not sure what a tenement is, here is a picture of one. Paul’s parents have the entire third floor:
Paul's parents' house

Check out the rest of the album here.

Nathan and Sarah’s wedding was beautiful; I’m so glad we went! I thought the foot-washing part of the ceremony was really special:
Nathan washes Sarah's feet

They told us that they liked our method of leaving the church after our wedding so much that they decided to copy it for themselves.

You can see all the pictures from Sarah’s wedding and reception here.

We ended the day with a nice evening at Horseneck Beach with Isaac and company. Paul had taken me over there my very first visit to New England in 2002, and it was fun to go back. I got some great pictures while there.

We got to meet Katie, Isaac’s girlfriend, for the first time:
Hi, Katie!

I saw the fattest seagulls!
Seagull tracks

And had fun being artistic.
Footprints in the sand

Paul and I had fun walking along the beach.

The clouds were incredible. (Seriously. See all my sky pictures here!)
Clouds in the sky

Amazing clouds

You can’t go wrong with sunset-over-beach pictures.
Sunset on the beach

I used the sunset to my advantage when Isaac was standing on a hill playing guitar.

Isaac and Jeremiah

Isaac pulls out his guitar

You can see all my Horseneck Beach pictures here.