All I know of real estate I learned from Peanuts’ Lucy van Pelt sometime in the early 90s. Having never sold a house, Nathan and I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Fortunately for us, and thanks to our incredible realtor the amazing Kathy White who took care of ALL the details, we still have about the same very-limited understanding, but our house is SOLD! (Huge praise! Thank you God! Thank you all for your prayers!) In a whirlwind of mere days, our home went from familiar and, um, “lived-in” to a presentable and somewhat alien house, ready for market. Photographs of our family, friends, and places we love were replaced with neutral photographs or artwork. Counters and desks were cleaned and cleared. Pictures were taken, the sign was planted in the front yard, and our home was visited by scrutinizing strangers. After being on the market for less than two days, our house was sold. (Please note that pretty much this entire process was completed while I was in Philadelphia preparing for and taking my general surgery oral boards and while Nathan and I were traveling together… Seriously, if you need a realtor, call Kathy.) After returning to town, and after four days of frantic packing, we closed only two weeks after originally placing the house on the market. God has truly blessed us with a quick sale, making me laugh at my “what if it doesn’t sell” anxieties.
While Kathy & Nathan were busy selling our house, I was studying for and taking the final part of my board certification. Oral boards in Philadelphia on September 27th were the culmination of my 9 years of medical and surgical training. By passing this final exam, I am now a board certified general surgeon. So much praise to God for seeing me through and giving me His peace for the exam, as well as huge thanks to our family and friends who have supported me (us) along the way. We couldn’t have done it without you all, nor would we have wanted to.
With boards behind us, we took a much-needed and much-enjoyed vacation up the Atlantic Coast to visit places on our bucket list. We traveled around having adventures in New York City (including finding out I passed boards while hanging out in Grand Central Station, thus allowing me to reeeeeeally enjoy the remainder of the trip), exploring Boston in the fall, driving up the coast of Maine and going off the beaten path looking for tiny lighthouses, taking in the glory of God’s creation in Acadia, and following backroads through New Hampshire and Vermont enjoying the sights and tastes of New England before heading home. After returning home, we had a quick pack-and-move turn around prior to closing, and then were able to attend SP’s Prescription for Renewal at the Cove in Asheville, NC. There we were both challenged by other dedicated believers and learned about new advancements/updates from the medical mission field. It was so encouraging to get to meet and fellowship with other people with similar passions who seek to use their gifts to share Christ’s love around the world.
After spending most of the past month or so away from Johnson City, we have come home to and settled into our new temporary living place, a cozy and affordable above-garage apartment. This allows Nathan to continue his work at the clinic and allows us to continue being with our church and near family and friends during our last few months in the States. More than anything else that we have done on this journey so far, selling our house and downsizing our lives has made our upcoming move to Liberia seem real and imminent, in a very positive sort of way. We are realizing that this time will go by quickly, and we are trying to remain focused while enjoying it with our family and friends. We are currently continuing the Great Purge of 2017, further organizing as we continue to donate/give away/throw away while ultimately attempting to pack for Liberia. There is nothing that will make you realize just how blessed you are quite like being forced to individually hold and consider the inherent value of every single item you own. Realizing you have an attachment to things is both eye-opening and somewhat difficult at times. But with that realization, He has given us the option to choose. And as we choose to lay these things down, we feel more free to pick up the call that He has given us for our lives, to declare His glory among the nations.
ALSO: Our address has obviously changed… and will change a couple more times in the next few months. So, if you need us, you can either call, email, or send things to my parents’ house which we will be using as our permanent address (thanks Mom & Dad!): 625 Citico Road, Vonore, TN 37885.