Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dear Houston: First Impressions

Dear Houston, 

You are much more than I thought you'd be. I felt so small when we roamed from neighborhood to neighborhood - coffee shop to hotel room. Is it really possible to have that much traffic at 2:15 on a Friday afternoon on a five lane highway? In a lot of ways, you are exactly as I pictured you... a little grimy, some wasteland but still somehow congested with old tire stores, fast food joints next to white picket fences, and huge apartment lofts next to tiny shacks. The whole no zoning thing will definitely take some getting used to. I may not have the knowledge to say this completely, but you sort of reminded me of East L.A. But then there was so much of you that I've yet to know...I discovered little corners and pockets to peel back that were much more beautiful, funky, and nestled than I imagined. Colorful old bungalows next to eclectic antique book stores and old houses turned into coffee shops... people walking their dogs and riding their bikes; people living in a wonderful, safe, tight nit community because of the no zoning policies. You're a big city, Houston, but I'm hopeful among the freeways and the River Oaks mansions that I'll find my place. There were moments when I wanted to cry, spending countless hours driving to find an affordable place to live in a safe area with a yard for Zoey... humble houses with yards in our budget are a rarity. We met with Jorge at In the Loop Properties each morning to find that the houses we planned to look at were already snatched up. He kept encouraging us that he would continue to look until we've exhausted all avenues... and what a blessing he was to us; we would have been lost without him. But Oh! How the Lord provides! Thursday morning, after we found that all of the houses we had planned to see were off the market, we find a house listed an hour previously in one of the best neighborhoods (according to Jorge). He calls the listing agent, who has already been bombarded with phone calls for this one house. "We're on it!" he says, and we race to the house to find an old, 1930s built home. It's funky and cute on the outside, a little rough around the edges, but in the best location for us. We can make this home. We'll take it, it's got "character" right? 

We waited a day and a half and had not heard back from the Realtor, assuming that they were waiting for other applications because they preferred no pets. We drove for hours, calling on houses that didn't work out. We reminded each other that these two days weren't a waste, whether or not we found a home. We are learning about our new city, and it's worth it. We were reminded that the Lord is sovereign, and despite our efforts to gain control of where we would live and how we would find it, God was faithful. He gave us two days to wrestle with the truth that He is in control, and Houston, I'm not going to lie, it was terribly sanctifying. We headed for the airport as the storm clouds rolled in, went through security, and decided to have peace with the fact that Jorge was going to find us a place to live. Ultimately, we wanted to see where it would be, but we trusted that he knew what we wanted, needed, and that he would send us pictures and videos before we had to sign. It will be okay, it really will be. Our flight was delayed due to the isolated storms, and we sunk into our chairs with a sigh of relief that we were in good hands. And then the phone rang. Jorge called to tell us what we did not expect: the house we applied for was approved! We were overjoyed and so very thankful that the Lord had ordained it to be so. Any other weekend, and that house would have been snatched up just like the rest. He is faithful! And no matter the turn out of our weekend, He is good. We immediately grabbed our bags and headed for the bar at the airport to enjoy some celebratory beers and spicy chicken wings :)

So Houston, even though I am scared of what's ahead and sad to leave the city I love, I know He is sufficient of all things, and that His blessings are rich! Our house is located in the same neighborhood that celebrates "Lights in the Heights" once a year for the neighborhood holiday festival of music. They shut everything down, close off the roads, light up the night, and dance in the street. Every time we brought up this neighborhood in conversation, we were told how proud the residents were to live there and how much they cared to keep it a safe, fun neighborhood. Among the high rise buildings and Walmarts that pop up too often in Houston neighborhoods, this one fought to keep it the same... to be in the light, so to speak. I think we'll enjoy living in that old house with the sloping floors after all, and we're thankful for what the Lord has given us. 

Some pictures of our trip....

Our first stop: Tacos A Go-Go

hungry yet?

Our hot whip for city cruisin'...

One of many cute coffee shops...

Tacos A Go-Go

Oh, you know, just some scary highways that I'm terrified to drive on

Montrose Lofts...

one of many River Oaks Mansions... it is insane how many mansions there are

Very fun coffee shop in Montrose....

Agora Coffee shop on the inside

Really fun bar/restaurant called Onion Creek a block from our house...

More crazy mansions near Rice University...

More beautiful streets near Rice University...

AMAZING Tex-Mex restaurant... best enchilada and margaritas!

Aaron's face after days of searching for an affordable house....

HUGE city....

Our new living room & dining room... can't wait to fix it up!!


guest room!

Master bedroom!

cute, funky outside patio to the coffee shop across the street from our house!



  1. so perf <3 yay God :) PTL

  2. Love the pictures and updates, the new house looks great. So thankful for God's goodness in finding a house during this weekend! Love you!

  3. Thanks Tyler :) We are so thankful too. I'll always keep you updated ;) Much love!

  4. so pretty, congratulations on new adventures!!

  5. Mollie! Thank you so much for your sweet encouragement a few weeks ago. I'm not in Houston yet...but I will be this time next week! I'm so glad you're learning to love the big's crazy, but it sure has character! Hope to cross paths with you soon...have y'all begun to look for a church yet?


"Pleasant words are [like] honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24