our moving story | part 2

Marian Parsonsa slice of life79 Comments

If you missed part one of the story of how we ended up moving to Rochester, MN, you can check it out HERE.

Where that post just left off, Jeff and I were in the waiting place.

We did Lucketts, we prepared the studio to move, we packed the house, we had a yard sale, and we prayed that everything would fall into place – the temporary housing we would need, the boys starting school, making sure we don’t have a lapse in medical coverage, where mail could be sent while we were “homeless”…all of that important stuff.

We also decided to be proactive and start looking at houses.

Now, this is kind of funny, because I started looking at houses the second Jeff submitted his application, so I already had an idea of the market and what kind of houses were available.  I mean, I am ME, after all!

We wanted to take it a step further, though, and schedule to meet with a realtor and see some houses when we were in town for the interview.  It felt a little presumptuous, but there was great and open communication with the church and the pastor encouraged us to check out houses.  In fact, he referred us to a realtor!

So, we scheduled an appointment with her to look at houses.

Here were some of the parameters…

  1. Space – It had to have enough space for our family, of course, but also for my business.  I want to have my studio space in the house, so that meant I needed room to work on furniture, upholstery, sewing, art, an office, a place for photo shoots, etc.  And I’ve done all of that in our living spaces before and we really didn’t want to go there again!  (Think daily furniture rearranging for photo shoots, sewing projects on the dining table, and a palette of look books sitting in the living room.)
  2. Light – There are many things you can improve in a house, but having good natural light can be an expensive one.  I wanted a home that was flooded with pretty light, not only for the purpose of pictures, but also because I just love natural light!
  3. Good bones & layout – We wanted a home that had a traditional layout that was good for entertaining and not too open.  I’m not a fan of walking in the front door and seeing my entire house in one view!
  4. Not a fixer upper – I know that might be surprising, but while I would be happy doing a ton of work on a house, Jeff would be working in a new full-time job and he will be finishing up his Master’s degree part time.  I also have a business that’s in full swing.  A fixer upper would be great blog material, but I need space to work that isn’t a construction zone.  It would just be too much at this stage of our life to take on a house that needed a major gut job.
  5. Location – We started saying a slogan for this, “We want to live where we live.”  Jeff has spent the last two years driving the boys 45 minutes to school and back.  It worked out okay, because he would set up in a booth at Panera Bread for the day and work on his degree while the boys were in school.  All of the time in the car got really old for him and the boys.  On top of that, we’re 45 minutes from Home Depot, Lowes, Target, and shopping other than the grocery store and Walmart.  We wanted to be closer to everything, so we aren’t spending so much time in the car!
  6. All the bedrooms on one floor – This wouldn’t be a big deal for us, except for the fact that our youngest is a type 1 diabetic.  For those who aren’t familiar with what that care entails, it involves many middle of the night blood sugar checks and corrections for highs and lows.  In our PA house, the master was on the ground floor and the boys’ rooms were upstairs, so that meant a lot of running up and down steps in the middle of the night!

Other than that, we were pretty open!

As I trolled through homes online, I restricted my search to old homes at first.  I’ve always told Jeff, as we drove through suburban neighborhoods, “These cookie-cutter houses with two story foyers have no appeal for me.  I know they are beautiful homes, but give me an old home any day.”  I quickly realized that old homes were around, but that most of them didn’t fall within our parameters.  They didn’t have space for my business or they were in a small town on the far outskirts of Rochester or they were too expensive, needed too much work, had a funky layout, etc.

There was an old blue & white victorian on the market that had pretty good space, amazing woodwork, but it was a 30 minute drive to school and to the church (in different directions).  Even though I loved that house, I knew it would be selfish.  It would be all about me and what I wanted and not about what was best for our family.

It was a tough realization for me, but I knew that, unless something new popped up in the market, I needed to give up the desire to live in an old home.  Just for now.

(This is a picture of one of the oldest homes in Minnesota.  It was way too small and didn’t have the modern amenities we wanted in a house, like indoor plumbing and electricity.  And it was in a public park.)

I opened my search to newer homes and restricted the geography to the area where we would “live”.  I spent hours trolling the listings, checking the same houses again and again to make sure I wasn’t missing something that might get me excited about a house.  For some reason, it’s easy for me to see beyond ugly wallpaper, stained carpet, and dated tile in an old house.  It’s harder for me to see how I can put my stamp on a house that is in great condition, but it has granite counters that aren’t my taste or really nice wood floors that aren’t the shade I would’ve picked.

After looking at many homes, I was hoping to find one that had fairly neutral choices, so there wasn’t a lot to undo.  Instead, I would work on bringing my style and personal touches to “mustard-ize” a neutral space.  (It’s a thing.)

And I eventually found a home that checked off every box.  It had the space, it had the light, it had good bones and even some great character you find in older homes.  The location was perfect and I was coming around to the idea of having a newer home, even one with a two-story foyer.  The double sinks in the master bath, the walk-in closet, and the garage were starting to woo me.

Jeff and the boys loved it, too.

So, we sent the listing to the realtor and hoped it would be available when we went to Rochester to look at homes.

The realtor followed up a couple of days later and let us know that the listing agent was expecting an offer.  My heart sank.  Memories of our last home search, when every house we liked received an offer as soon as we expressed interest, started to haunt me.  Feeling like we weren’t in a position to do anything, we waited to see if an offer was made and we pondered our options.  Then, we had a crazy thought…what if we made an offer contingent on accepting a job in the area?  Do people do that?

More importantly, would we do that?  

We asked about it and it’s apparently not such a crazy idea.  In a transient area, like Rochester, it’s fairly common for people to make contingent offers based on a potential job offer.  At first, Jeff was completely uncomfortable with the idea and insisted he would not buy a house on the internet!

I countered with, “We’re not buying a house.  We’re just making an offer.

We both needed to marinate on it a little bit more, though.  We liked the idea of having a contract on a home, so if it all worked out, the transition would be easier. On the flip side, we didn’t want to put pressure on anyone.

We heard from the realtor a few days later and “our” house now had two offers on it!  Are you kidding me?!  I was resigned to the fact that the house was lost!  But Jeff didn’t raise the white flag so easily.  He plainly pointed out that if we want this house, why shouldn’t we give it our best shot?  The man who wouldn’t buy a house on the internet decided it was okay to make an offer as long as he could be present for the inspection.  Fair enough.

“You’re right.  Let’s throw our hat in and see what happens.”

We worked with the realtor to complete our offer.  She warned us that even if our offer was accepted, the sellers would probably still allow other offers.  We understood and signed the papers.

Now, those who have made an offer on a house before know that it’s a nail-biting experience.  It’s emotional and nerve-wracking.  Especially if there are two other offers on the house.  Jeff and I were completely calm.  Instead of praying to get the house, we decided we would pray that the sellers wouldn’t accept the offer if there was some reason it wasn’t the best thing.  We prayed that and we meant it.  We didn’t want this house if it wasn’t best.  And God can see what we can’t.

The next day, we were in the car driving to Raleigh to visit Jeff’s family.  The realtor called us and Jeff put her on speaker phone.

“Well, you’re not going to believe this…”

Jeff stole a quick glance at me and replied, “Try me.”

Continue the story in part three HERE.

our moving story | part 2

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79 Comments on “our moving story | part 2”

  1. I am super excited to meet you in person. I also feel slightly intimidated…. only because I don’t know you yet! Welcome to Rochester!!! Can’t wait to meet all of you!!

    1. Oh, don’t feel intimidated!! I will be a new girl in town and I am looking forward to making friends. 🙂

  2. Isn’t it amazing what God does when we just give him the reigns and let go. That is exactly how he just provided our new house and I am thrilled for you that He has the perfect one for you too.

  3. Marion,
    All houses were new at one time. It takes a family and love to give it character, no matter how old it is!! I’m sure your new home will be fabulous!😍All the best and happy that you will still have family on my home turf…Raleigh!! We’ll keep a light burning for you! Congrats again on the adventure!!

  4. God does know best and it is awesome when we humans can allow Him to work in our lives! We just recently went through a major change in home ownership as well. God’s timing and God’s will worked in our lives and is still managing all the details of this life-changing chapter.

    1. Monica is right. This feels like a cliffhanger at the end of a movie! Bring on the sequel! Pictures, please!

      I’m very happy for Marian, Jeff and the boys. No house is perfect, of course, but from what Marian has told us l, this one was meant to be.

  5. I’m so happy for you! I was from Minnesota! Born and raised there until I was 17! So happy you’ve found the place God wants you to be!

  6. Congratulations! Change is good. Wishing you all the best in your new home & new state. 🙂

  7. Never underestimate God.
    We both love Minnesota. Both born on the Iron Range area.
    The seasonal balance is very nice.
    Looking forward to meeting you next year, and when we next visit family in the midwest, we will look you up too.

  8. Welcome to Minnesota! 🙂 I grew up in Winona and now live in Red Wing (both are about 45 minutes in different directions from Rochester along the Mississippi)!

    Red Wing has a lovely downtown area filled with cute shops and good restaurants – worth the drive if you’re looking to explore close to home.

    I love my state, and I hope you and yours will too! ^_^

  9. Welcome! Hope you love it here! About 45 minutes away but am in Rochester a ton, maybe I’ll see you around sometime. Great state if you love ev the outdoors, we aregoing out to look at the Northern Lights tonight!

  10. I just know you’ll love Minnesota! My mom was from southwest Minnesota and my sis, both her daughters and I all went to college up there. Just learn to say “uff da” and you’ll be fine.

  11. So glad all your pieces are falling into place! These cliff hangers though, man!!

    My daughter (14) is also Type 1. I understand your struggle and theirs, but am a firm believer that some people receive these challenges because god knows they are meant to be above average in life and need a little help being elevated to another level in life.

    Best of luck! Can’t wait for part 3!

  12. Wow! This is so exciting! I can’t wait for the 3rd part of this. I am from/grew up in Minnesota and I think you guys will fit in perfectly! Especially in Rochester. And now I actually have a chance to visit any market you may be a part of because I visit my home state often. Bless you a sweet you take this step of faith and follow the Lord.

  13. Another wonderful entry.
    I bought some fusion paint the other day and this locations sells your paints as well. Lynn told me she had met you. The shop is Ellen J Goods.
    Keep us posted, love following you.
    You are inspiring me as I grow a small new business. Would love to bend your ear Marian.
    Happy trails and best of luck😊

  14. Okay, please Marian we need to hear Part 3 of your inspiring story really soon!!!
    Thank you.

  15. I was crying tears of happiness for you and your family by the end of this! Watching Jeff grow and fulfill his potential is going to make you love your new home. The Midwest is a wonderful place and oh the auctions! I look forward to following your new adventure. Your family will love coming to visit and helping you explore all that is going to be new and wonderful. The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways. Congratulations.

  16. Congratulations Marian! What an exciting new adventure for you and your family! I’m excited to see the journey unfold (on your blog). I keep thinking about those rural photos you posted (above) look like the paintings on the dressers you’ve done in the past…almost like a peek of what was to come. Funny how things work out right? God has a plan for everyone!

  17. I love when we put God in charge the amazing things that happen. We were in the same situation when looking at our house – also another offer. We prayed if it wasn’t right God would not let us get the house. I then went to sleep dreaming of redecorating. Wishing you the best in your new adventure.

  18. I was so excited to read of your new adventure and to hear that you’re moving to our neck of the woods! We’ve been here for almost 10 years now and love it! Oh, and I’ve also wondered what it would be like to live in that tiny cabin at Oxbow Park 😉 Best wishes to you on an easy move and seamless transition!

  19. Wonderful to hear what has happened so far and to hear how you are both depending on the Lord’s leading and peace in it all. He is the Master of personally caring for us, IF we listen. So excited for you and am so looking forward to hearing more about your new stage of life up there!

  20. Congratulations, Marian, I can’t vouch personally for Minnesota bc I’m from Indiana but I’ve never been anywhere in the Midwest I didn’t like. I follow several bloggers from Minnesota and I think it’s going to be right up your alley as far as your business goes. Best of luck and thx for sharing your experiences with us all.

  21. “When God closes a door he opens a window”! When I”m in the middle of transition and still clinging to my worry, that reminder irritates me no end! But, when your old house didn’t sell, this one was waiting for you all along. I rejoice with you!

  22. HE ..
    Is a good good Father ..
    I know you are in good hands and everything will work out in His good and perfect timing ..
    Great stories ..thank you for sharing your journey with us!
    Can’t wait for the next chapter to evolve ☺️❤️

  23. More More!! I want to hear more. I’d rather read about your amazing adventure than work. So happy for you and can’t wait to follow (from Michigan).

  24. What a great story Marian! Thrilled for your family. I am a midwestern girl and I think you will love that part of the country and especially the warmhearted people!

  25. This is again wonderful news !! My heart is beaming right now!! Your life of faith is an encouragement to all… Cannot. wait. to hear about all the cool pieces, auctions and shops you will find in your new territory,,, ,, God is sooo good to us,,, thanks for being so transparent with your life,, hugs to you and the fam,,,

  26. I am so excited for you!!!! What an adventure too!!!! God is good and will honor your faithfulness! Can’t wait for part 3!! I’ve only driven through Minnesota, but it is beautiful. I am one of those blog readers and followers that will miss seeing you at Lucketts!!! Our loss but other’s gain! Happy for those that live in the north!! Blessings!!!

  27. Hooray for you and your family. What an example of Christ you and your husband have been to stay calm and trust God has the best plan for you. It is so easy to only see “our” plan and do things in “our” time, but you trusted God and look what he has done. Thank you for being a good steward of Christ!!! Can’t wait to see your home.

  28. YAY! Welcome to Minnesota! You will love it here. I know you will land in the place you are meant to be!

  29. Welcome to Minnesota! You will enjoy the Rochester area and exploring all that the “land of 10,000 lakes” has to offer. Once you get settled…feel free to reach out to me for some places to junk shop in the Twin Cities. And if in the future you do any Lucketts type of events…I would love to volunteer to help out.


  30. Great read! I can’t wait to see which area of Rochester you ended up in. The city is really growing and changing, and I hope it will be a great place for your family. Selfishly, I am also really excited to see what kind of business adventures you will have here that I can now see in person.

  31. I have to say that your posts about your move, job, etc., really touched me. You live your life the way I try to…to let God lead. What a beautiful story and I can’t wait for the next installment. I wish all the happiness in your new adventure – I am so happy you followed God’s leading.

  32. Cant wait to read part 3! Sounds like a fun adventure for you and your family. Still, TN (eastern) would have been a great place for you. 😉

  33. What church? My In laws live in Rochester, and are very involved in their church. After living in California over 30 years, they retired back to their roots in 1990. They were raised in a tiny town called Elmore, MN. May God’s blessings abound on your family, your new home and life.

  34. About two years ago we agreed to sell our home and move with our daughter and her family to wherever her husband’s job search lead. We lived just outside State College, PA and my daughter lived in Abington, PA. The job search ended with a job in NYC. Hmmm…..not the area we were planning on moving to.

    We sold our home and packed everything up. We moved temporarily in with our daughter and her family. Four adults, three kids, two cats and two dogs in a very small duplex. My daughter and I had been looking online for months at neighborhoods and houses in New Jersey. We needed two independent living spaces, good schools, biking distance to the express train station to NYC, space for all of us at a price we could afford.

    We saw a house that was perfect. Why hadn’t we seen this house before? They were having an open house on Saturday. My husband couldn’t come because he was taking our friend from Uganda on a trip around the northeast U.S. We all loved the house. It was perfect.

    My daughter and I were not meeting with our realtor until Monday morning. We told her we wanted to see three houses that met our criteria. Because, we thought we shouldn’t buy the first and only house you look at. We still loved “our house”. We went to our realtor’s office and put in an offer. The house had been on the market 1 year and 1 day without any offers being made. Before we had left our realtor’s office we heard back from the seller and she accepted our offer.

    This past week we celebrated our one year anniversary of the closing on our house. We plan on a BIG family celebration on our one year anniversary of moving in.

    It has worked out better than we could have imagined. We know God’s hand was in every decision we made and his timing was perfect. We have allowed each other a lot of love and grace this past year.

    Last year was pretty chaotic but it was all worth it in the end.

  35. Hey, welcome to Minnesota. I live in the capitol city of St. Paul. Maybe someone has already shared this with you but here goes. On Aug 18, 19 & 20, in a town about 30 to 45 min from Rochester, they have Gold Rush Days. Actually, it is in this tiny town Oronoco and the Rochester State Fairgrounds. In Oronoco, the streets are filled with junk, antiques and other treasures. It draws a great crowd & most of us pay a bit to park and cross the street into town. The Firemen and others offer food. It is a bit of Americana. We have done both towns but prefer Oronoco. About a mile from me in St. Paul are 3 good antique places. Email me if you are interested & I can certainly let you know. (The Missouri Mouse is my personal fav.) Here is hoping your boys are happy, happy in school and your husband & you settle in to your new town too. I am saying nothing about snow.

  36. Congratulations on finding THE house you will live in. Hope to see you at Gold Rush Days in Oronoco!
    Midwest is Best.

  37. How absolutely wonderful! I can’t wait for part 3!!!!! Dying to hear about the house and see photos! I was keeping my fingers crossed for Raleigh, but it sounds like Rochester is going to be amazing!

  38. Marian I have been reading and enjoying your blogs for some time now. When I heard about a move in your familys future I never in my wildest dream did I think you would be coming to Minnesota! Its so awesome! We live in New Ulm a 2 hour drive from Rochester. I wanted to mention it because it is rich in German heritage which I know is close to your heart! Maybe you will have a chance to spend some time here checking out our fair city! Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story! Welcome to Minnesota!

  39. so happy for you and your family…can’t wait to see pictures of your home. See what happens when we put our trust in the Lord.

  40. 1So happy for you and your family! May God continue to bless you all as you settle in!

    I’m so glad you have moved closer to Canada! Now I will be able to attend some of your markets, etc.


  41. Welcome to the Rochester area! You and your family will really enjoy getting to know SE Minnesota and all it has to offer. God’s plan is amazing, isn’t it?!

    I’d be happy to be your tour guide when you’re ready to start hunting for treasures. We have a lot of great shops and markets to check out.

  42. Marian,

    I’m so excited. For all of you! What fun putting your stamp on a new home . . . I can’t wait to see the process! Sending you all lots of love🙂💚

  43. Well we bought a second house in North Carolina sight unseen in person! We never saw the house in person until we arrived for the winter! We had been looking for some time and there was a significant reduction on a house, it was right before Christmas, and I had much to do to get to NC by the end of January. We had looked in the development before but had never looked at the particular type of townhouse we bought. The realtor took a lot of extra pictures for us and she measured the windows of the rooms that I wanted to make custom treatments for and ship them down with things we were moving. It all worked out fine and there were extra things in the house that I did not even realize were there!

    Your house journey for the years I have been reading your blog is definitely a story of how things were meant to be! I anxiously await Part 3, part 4 . . . . .

  44. This story is getting better as you type! God’s ways are not our ways! Can’t wait to see it. I’m truly wondering if it is one I saw on Zillow. 😉

    Can’t wait for part 3!

  45. NO, NO , NO. Everyone else is all, “that’s sweet Marion.” and I’m over here going “you can’t leave me at “Try me!.”
    I don’t do cliff hangers well. Can’t stand to have to wait for book #2 to come out so I often wait until #3 is almost on the shelf before I read 1 because I know myself.
    Excited for you ….. but come on… spill it.

    1. My feelings exactly! Marian only lived about 15 miles from me in PA – although I only met her in person a couple times, I’ve been reading her blog for about 4 years and it feels like my best friend just moved away! I can’t wait to read the rest of their story!!!

  46. I think you will learn to like Minnesota, it has been my home for the past 40 years. Rochester has the best medical facilities in the world with the Mayo clinic; it will be much easier for you to get the Type I diabetes in check. Minnesota is also home to Medtronic, which makes a great insulin pump that is widely used and accepted in the Midwest and is really beneficial when your kid goes into adolescence and has many different activities.
    Rochester is wonderful because you are really never far from schools or downtown. It is much more convenient than being in the Twin Cities where commutes can be horrific. The mix of people in Rochester is really interesting because you have so many professionals from the Mayo clinic mixed in with people from a rural/farming background. It is also somewhat warmer than St. Paul/Minneapolis, which is really a benefit when every degree below zero can be painful. There are active musical groups and I am sure you will find art groups as well.
    Some people say that Minnesotans can be passive aggressive, but I think it is a coping mechanism developed to cope with our winters. When you are battling cold temperatures and confined to small quarters, verbal confrontations can be harmful to a family/work community. Indirect methods were developed to keep the peace ( or at least that is what I’ve come to believe).
    We look forward to welcoming you to new adventures!

  47. One of my favorite parts of this whole story is how thrilled your blog-reading Minnesotans are that you’re moving there! It’s like reading happy comments from people who just won a nice prize!

  48. OMG congrats! I have a good friend that lives there, going to see him I a couple of weeks!! Keep us posted of all your adventures!

  49. Congratulations on all your good fortune but all this suspense is killing me! I want to know what became of the house. BTW: I’ve been reading your blog for several years and I never miss a post. Keep it coming! 🙂

  50. Your family will love Minnesota! I live in St. Paul, about 90 minutes north of Rochester. Many visual similarities will make it feel comfortingly familiar. You may lose Luckett’s, but you will gain the Oronoco Gold Rush Days and rwice-yearly Junkbonanza. I am very happy for your family!

  51. My DIL is an amazing person. A great lady, smart, intelligent, and analytical. She is an exceptional communicator an accomplished author. What did pique my interest is a novel technique in decision-making, that of marinating. My concept of marinating is applying a tasty mix of spices and oil on chicken, beef, or lamb, or a vegetable for grilling. So how do you marinate a decision process? Well, I googled it and, indeed, the concept of marination in the decision making process is one of concentration deep-thought, intense analysis. Of course, the term begs the question of what is a suitable marinade in which to marinate. Well, it is a summation of experiences, knowledge, discernment and sound wisdom applied to the process of making the right call, choosing the right option. After all, we want the result to taste good, be pleasing and fulfilling.

    Really, though, a more suitable term would be to simply marianate because that is what Marian, my DIL, does so well. Whether it’s managing the boys, the business, the home, the dog, or time, or testy issues, she is the great marianator. May her tribe increase! Best wishes to the Parsons family in their new endeavors in Rochester, MN.

    1. Awesome post, FIL. May the Lord bless you richly for saying all you said about your sweet, intentional DIL.
      I imagine how very much she appreciates your thoughtfulness as well as your “no guilt” approach to their clear, well-marinated decision, accompanied by prayer. This very attitude is what sets our children free to live their own lives! It’s a win-win way, which my husband and I have learned over the years with our children.

  52. Congratulations on this new exciting phase of your family’s life! I was reading your story and my jaw almost hit the floor when I read that your child has Type 1 Diabetes ! My youngest daughter was diagnosed at 10 months of age and I understand what you are going through and dealing with during the night . Until someone has experienced that never-ending fear ( night time lows ) no one will ever understand . Kudos to you …. I just fell in love with you even more !

  53. WOW!!! Oh, Marian, you have me (and many others) on the edge of our seats!!!! Part 1: was unbelievable….tears for me. Seeing how God works. Now Part 2: doesn’t miss a beat!!!! Listening and trusting God. Amen!!!
    Your furniture redo’s, your art, your decorating skills, your photography and your writing is all perfection. I am sure if you moved into a cave you would have us all drooling!!!
    Bring on the pictures!!! We are waiting for Part 3!!!

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