I have a story to tell you, but brace yourself for some highs and lows, people. This house that we call home now, the one most of you know as the #phillipsfamilyfixerupper, was a gift from God. And before you discount what I’m about to say, sit here and listen to me for a minute.
Summer before last, we were living in the sweetest little rental house on the South side of Knoxville. It was about 1300 square feet of cuteness and barely fit the six of us, but it was home. And I loved it. I started my business there. I took on clients who had 9,000 square feet. And we were completely content in that little house.
A realtor that I stage houses for, to help prepare them (and sellers) for the market, called me up one day. She said that she had an estate that needed to go on the market and that she needed my advice on what it would take to get it market-ready. We’re not talking renovations here. She wanted to know, in a “bare bones” sort of way, how to properly clean the place up enough that some crazy fool would want to fix it up. So I show up, with my handy man in tow, to meet an elderly gentleman who had raised his family there, took care of his aging wife there, and who had been forced by the tides of life to abandon his home, to live with his kids for the past six or so years. It was an emotional day for us all.
I fell in love that day. I fall in love with houses like middle school girls do boys. But this one… All I could think about was how someone could bring this beauty back to life. I ran home and showed a few friends the pictures. They didn’t agree. I showed my number one, too. Not only did Dan not agree, but he said Hell no, not a chance Brooke, no way. And he didn’t even know that the bid to clean the place up was 50K, and we’re not talking renovations here peeps.
Wonder if he meant it?
My realtor calls me up and says, Brooke, I’m sure you didn’t mean to give Mr. Wye the impression that you were interested in buying his house, but he believes that you may be interested?
Well, uh, no Carol. Not a chance. No way. Dan said.
But, even IF it were a yes, we couldn’t afford that house – we couldn’t afford half of that house, even in the condition it was.
My dad told me to run. My uncle told me to run. My husband kept on telling me no. So I told Carol, no thank you Carol, but iiiiiffff I were to make an offer, it would basically be a third of what he could sell the place for. And not because we’re low ballin’. It’s our best.
Realtor Carol calls back, with news that Mr. Wye, unbeknownst to her or his kids, loved his late wife Ellie so much, that he mortgaged that house for reasons I’m sure he felt were necessary, and that he owed 50K more than our offer. My prayer started to become, Lord, either give me that place or protect me from it.
But I don’t know that I really believed He would give it to me. We’ve messed up in the past, we still mess up. We should pay for our mess ups.
Realtor Carol calls back, and I really think she was shocked at this point, because she says that Mr. Wye and his kids believe that the Phillips family are supposed to be the ones to love their house back to life. And oh, Mr. Wye would like to pay the $50K delta between your offer and what he owes. “He’s going to pay to sell you his house, Brooke.” Yes, you just heard me right.
You know that there’s so many details that have to be left out of this story, because I’ve asked you to listen for a minute, not a decade. But that is the short of how we ended up here, in the #phillipsfamilyfixerupper. Beyond what I could even think to ask for, God gave.
You’ve all been so gracious to follow our progress on this place, and I thought it would be a long time before I told the story. I thought we would finish raising our kids here and raise our grand babies here and do ministry here and do business here. But sometimes we think wrong, and sometimes, He takes away.
Three weeks ago we received a call from an appraiser from the state who called to tell us that he needed access to our home “for acquisition”.
Our phone call to the State DOT:
Husband: “Hello, my name is Dan Phillips and we received a call notifying us of the acquisition of our property, said acquisition was supposedly planned a year ago. Two months after we gave our life to the renovation of this house. I’m sure this is a mistake, so I need to clear up the misunderstanding.”
The State: “Mr. Phillips, we are so sorry, the plans that were shown to you at the time you purchased the house were changed. The fact that you were not notified was an oversight… The state is acquiring your property due to the new projections of destabilization, based on core drilling samples taken in preparation for the roadway improvements. How soon can we meet with you to discuss your relocation?”
That gave new meaning to the phrase “the wise man built his house upon a rock”, because apparently, our house sits on solid granite. And unless God does yet another miracle to make this house stand firm, convincing the good ol’ state of Tennessee to re-work their plans, we’re movin’ friends. And they’re tearing it down.
Tearing. It. Down. Every inch of character and charm. Of brick LAID ON HERRINBONE PATTERN, of original black and white tile, of molding and crooked beautiful walls. Of a pool and a guesthouse that loves and gives.
I hope to be on here and keep you posted on what this means for our family. There have been tears and confusion. I have cussed. I have wanted to drink wine and buy clothes more than normal. I’ve drawn house plans. I’ve asked, how, how on earth can I take on one more thing?! And if you’re experiencing some highs and lows listening to my story, that’s not even the half of it. I get it. But this I know…
When God asks for Isaac, it is in order to give the promise.
We already see evidence of it. There are some promises coming, and I’ll try to keep you posted and share as things unfold. Because I know another thing too…
He gives. And gives and gives.