Your eyes may see a hash climate that gives you shivers over your entire body but if you could see this picture through my eyes you would see nothing but a safe haven that brings about a flush of warmth and love.
When we moved to Minot North Dakota in 2003 my daughter was three years old and my son was one. I was a little uncertain about the neighborhood being I was totally unfamiliar with the community. Housing was limited in our price range so we couldn't be too choosy but I wanted to be sure it was safe for my children.
The neighborhood was older, just off of a main traffic artery, and a little commercial. The house was at a bargain price, the exterior and interior were clean and freshly painted, and it was a nice yard for the children and dog.
Both my wife, who grew up in a neighboring town, and the Real Estate agent both assured me that it was/is a safe neighborhood so we moved ahead with the purchase.
It was a tiny two bedroom house of only 600 square feet but it grew with us and fit us just right at the time.
As we could afford to we remodeled and added another 500 square feet to the main floor as well as two egress bedrooms to the basement.
Even with the improvements, and despite the fact I was self employed (starting my own new business) we were able to pay off all debts associated with home ownership in nine years.
I've never been comfortable with debt so this made our home all the more a perfect fit for us.
The commercial aspect to our neighborhood was that just less then 100 feet away was a small Nisson dealership, across the street is a historic (but still active) baseball field, and less then a thousand feet away is The Roosevelt Park and Zoo.
The car dealer lost his dealership a couple of years in but a new owner for the facility stepped in and made a fine office complex out of the property. The owner is a horses ass but at least the property is not an abandoned eye soar as it could have become without his investment.
The historic ball park, the zoo, and the park have all brought us great joy over the years. Each of them have been fantastic neighbors. If memory serves me correctly the zoo was my daughters first employer and the ball park was my sons first employer.
Our children both learned to ride their bikes in Roosevelt Park, learned a lot about photographing nature, learned how to play tennis, and of course had lots and lots of fun there.
I have always been pretty content with what the Lord has given me and in most cases He has given me more than I have every dreamed of. This is certainly true of our home. Owning a home I can afford relieves me of a lot of stress I can't afford.
The neighborhood has been safe as promised with us having had only two instances in 18 years (two bikes stolen, one recovered). I should note that because of the ball diamond across the street we have collected more wayward baseballs that found their way to our yard then I can count. A few of those balls have dented our cars but even so, I still look forward to hearing the crack of the bat with the boys of summer returning in the spring.
For those wondering where I'm going with this story I just want to say "buy what you can afford" not the max that the bank will lend you. Home ownership can be stressful. Financial pressures destroy more families then any other pressure on a marriage. Please remember you are not doing your children a favor by spending more than you can afford... especially if it leads to a divorce. Children want a happy, secure home.
Your children would be happy in a mobile home if mom and dad are happy and in love.
This story is an entry into ActiveRain May Contest - Life is a Story by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP