Monday, September 22, 2008

Back Story

I have to tell you all the story of the Van. It has a story. Really. Which is what makes me such a heel, wanting to get rid of it and into another one. Shame, shame on me.

I'm counting backwards - hold on. Okay. Three and a half years ago, while in Florida, the Hunny and I talked sporadically about getting a larger vehicle. We owned a Ford Ranger (his Tonka truck) and a Ford Focus wagon. The wagon was the family car, it was fairly new, but the kids were outgrowing it. Lessee ... Maybelline would have been 12, Oatmeal Head 11 and Little Guy 8. All three in the back seat. Dogs in the way back. Luggage where? And the legs on my children stretching like crazy.

The problem was debt. We owed a family member for the vehicles and were on a long-term payment plan. There was no way we'd be able to sell the Focus and get into another car or van. So we scrunched ourselves up and rode around in it. In fact, about five years ago, not long after we got it, the kids and I took a two week road trip from Orlando to Louisiana to Tulsa to Tupelo to Atlanta to Orlando. Listened to the entire Hobbit on CD. Best road trip ever, except for my horrid ear ache. Without the Hunny, the 4 of us were comfortable in the Focus.


The Hunny decided to start asking God for a minivan. I thought he was crazy, since I had a better handle on our financial situation. You know, because God's not big enough to handle a little debt and things like getting us into another vehicle without incurring more debt. He's small that way. Right? But I started praying for it too. Just not very seriously. I'm very much an inside-the-box thinker.

One day a friend of ours, the church accountant and my coffee buddy (hi Nipper! I miss you!!!), came to us. She knew we were the clown family in our tiny car and had been praying about a minivan. Oh, alright. Maybe she'd just heard me complain enough to think we needed something bigger. But it seemed a couple had inherited a Dodge Grand Caravan
from a couple of missionaries several years prior and this couple had sent their last kids off to college and were looking for a new family to acquire it. They didn't want to sell it, since it had been given to them. They'd maintained it well over the years. Leather seats, deluxe features. Very nice. nine years old. Ran well.

The Hunny and I talked it over. My first statement was, "If someone's going to give us a minivan, we have to give away our Focus - to my friend Nipper." She'd been driving a much older vehicle, one which was held together with duct tape and baling wire, I think. The only problem was that we owed a bunch of money on the Focus. Man! That meant praying some more. I wasn't sure I was up to praying about it. I mean, sure God proved He was able to get us a minivan, but we still owed money! Let's not get carried away here.

So we said yes, we'd love to have the van, but it was conditional. We had to be able to give our car to our friend, who was okay with that. So the van was parked. For six months. I'd go over and pat it occasionally, tell it I wasn't neglecting it intentionally, but that I couldn't afford tags and tax and insurance yet. We still owed a butt load of money on the newer car. Dang it.

We were going through a rough patch with the family member to whom we owed the money (not because of the money). We made the decision to sell our house we'd been in for seven years. The house I'd ripped carpet out of and stained the cement floors for six months. The house I'd painted every color known to
mankind. The house I learned to lay tile in. The house my kids had grown up in. The house we grew and changed as a family in. The house which was home. It was a tough decision, but the right one. So we cleaned it up, put it on the market, moved to a rental and waited. That was the fall of '05.

Did I mention that seven years before, we'd purchased the house, all 1588 square feet, for 88,000 dollars? Yeah. And that we listed it for 256k? Uh huh. I protested. No house that size is worth that much, regardless of what a realtor tells you. Evidently another family thought it was and we closed on it in December. A month later it wasn't, but it was no longer ours. The bottom dropped out of the housing market about two weeks after the house sold. Don't you tell me there's no God. We totally didn't deserve to sell that house.
Especially not then.

As soon as the check cleared, we wrote a check to the family member for the entire amount of our debt to them. We then switched tags and titles to the van, writing the title on the Focus over to our friend, Nipper. God gave us that van. Big time. It's taken us halfway across the country twice. The Hunny was reminding me of this when I wanted to look at vans. Especially when the appraiser told me that it would make some family a great van because it's in great shape. I've kept it maintained. It's a good vehicle, I guess.

So I'm sorry for grousing about our gift. I forget so easily. Especially when it's hot and the A/C doesn't work. But it IS a gift. And we all fit. It runs. Well. I jus
t wanted to tell you all the story. Thanks for listening.

Just for fun, here's a shot of its rear end. I was most upset about giving it up because of this:



We were never a bumper sticker family till we got this van. These stickers tell of our travels. I love them. We've added more since I took this. The sticker at the top is my favorite, and I'll order another one when we get another van (eventually it will happen). Here's a better shot of it:



Glornak the Destroyer is part of the family.

Until I write again ...

Flea

23 comments:

imbeingheldhostage said...

That is not only a great story, but an inspirational one as well-- really terrific, Flea. Thanks for sharing it.
LOVE the bumper stickers :-)

~ Straight Shooter ~ said...

I love your van's hinney!

Mental P Mama said...

That van must never leave your family. Ever. What a wonderful story.

Karen said...

Our God is an awesome God. Thanks for the faith boost this morning.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Love the sticker!!

I think I have a gift for Morbid Mondays. I really believe it's my calling....

Hallie :)

Laura ~Peach~ said...

those God provided vehicles are something else arent they.... My 96 nissan altima is The car God provided for us... needless to say i still have it and it is still running like a NEW car!

Mabunny said...

oh wow, what a story Flea;)

come celebrate my 200th post with me:) have a great day!

Chelf said...

I love the stickers.

Do you impersonate Susan often? Hee hee.

I don't like being in debt for my new car... but I couldn't feel comfortable in the other one. Paid off, but NOT running right. And nobody could find, much less fix, the problems!

God has rescued me from a lot of predicaments that I put myself in. Money is so meaningless to Him in the big picture, but so important to us on the small scale. Praise to God for helping to fix your special gift!

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

Love this story. And, since you have a direct line to the big guy? Can you tell him praying for a new job for the hubby for 9 years is simply long enough - we just flat out need one.

Tammy said...

My minister often reminds us that God hears all our prayers and that a person should keep praying until something happens. She gave me a bracelet that says P.U.S.H. (pray until something happens). I wear it all the time to remind me of it.

Kacey said...

What a great story! Great, inspiring read! Love the stickers on the back too!

Daryl said...

Love those stickers ...

Great post, Flea!


:-Daryl

noble pig said...

That's a great story Flea, I really loved it. But don't ever give away that van!

Karate Mom said...

What a fantastic story!! God is so awesome!

Ellyn said...

Great story. Glad all the kids have room to stretch their legs. Very important for a growing body.

Loved Karen's comment. Great song.

dlyn said...

First, let me comment on the obvious good taste and widsom of someone who drives a Caravan. Second - we have prayed up many a vehicle in our day. God is so very good!

k said...

I'm proud of you guys. You dood good.

Karen said...

I needed that! Thank you! My faith was running on fumes this morning. I have a full tank now. :)

Debbie in CA : ) said...

I just love a happy ending. (And I REALLY love a happy beginning to go along wih it!) I smile when I come to Flea's World -- it's so GOOD to be with Flea. ; )

Kidzmama said...

It's amazing that our vehicles mean as much to us as our homes. They are the place that we spend so much of our waking hours. I'm sure your kids have tons of van stories that will carry them into their parenting years. Great memories.

Nipper said...

Being frightened of the dangerous combination of my need to please car salesman and my inability to afford car payments, yet possessing real confidence in God, I started praying for a replacement car about 5 years ago. Every time I heard a new noise, I simply said to God that I would need a car someday. It was humbling and heartwarming when God answered my prayers (after two years) through my coffee buddy and her Hunny. I don't know if I ever adequately thanked them. How do you do that? However, I've had the privilege of bragging on God and their obedience ever since. Oh, and may I brag, that Flea & her Hunny put new tires on the car for me? And I was able to pass along my clunker, still running, though barely, to Teen Challenge.

Tanya Brown said...

This is a great story. However, this being the real world and all, even blessings come with busted air conditioning, clogged drains and diarrhea. That doesn't mean we aren't grateful for them, but sometimes the details can get a bit overwhelming.

Colleen said...

Wow. Simply wow.

And that reminds me I really need to ensure that I'm praying about that lemon in my garage.