Posted by: Kara Luker | February 14, 2019

Home at last

Do you remember the end of Miracle on 34th Street? They are driving past a house with a For Sale sign out front and Susan shouts “Stop! Stop!” She hops out of the car and excitedly runs through the house, giddily declaring “This is my house! The one I asked Mr. Kringle for!” Her mom and Fred, her mom’s romantic interest (who just proved in court that Santa is real), smile at her sweetly naive claim… until they see a cane leaning against the fireplace. One that looks a heck of a lot like Kris Kringle’s. One that throws their doubts into question.

Well…. I just had an experience that felt a whole lot like that. We have been renting our home for nearly five years and have spent three of those looking for another to buy. This has involved countless hours on Zillow (like I really don’t know if I can count that high), dozens and dozens of open houses and discussions of a possible out-of-state move to Florida where John’s family lives and tract houses don’t cost millions. We have also put offers in on a few houses, but have been unwilling to compete in the bidding wars. The last one seemed ours for the taking and, although it was 25 minutes outside our community, checked a lot of lifestyle boxes. But after we put in our offer, I could find no peace and ended up totally and completely freaking out. My extraordinary husband, who really, really wanted that house and really, really wanted to be in that beach-is-a-bike-ride-away area, pulled the offer. That is love.

All the while, we have been living in a home that I’ve loved with my whole heart. It is by no means perfect, but it has served our family so well. We’ve had incredible neighbors and all that we’ve needed. In light of this (and the relentless craziness of our Southern California housing market), the need to buy had been diminishing bit by bit… until a handful of months ago I decided that it truly didn’t matter. Unless God had something else for us, I’d be happy to rent this one forever more.

Fortunately, despite my complete abandonment of Zillow, my husband continued the search because last Thursday, he sent me a link to one that was smack dab in the middle of our community and looked pretty great. That in itself was nothing new, but what was new was the fact that when we saw it in person, it finally felt right. Not only would it serve our needs, but there is a separate unit my parents could convert into a cottage. Incorporating them has been on our hearts during our whole search, but we just didn’t know if we could make it happen. (The obvious answer is that we couldn’t; but clearly God could.)

In Escrow

We saw the house at 11:30 on Friday and had our offer accepted by 6:30 that evening – one day after the house had gone onto the market and one day before the scheduled open house. It is unheard of in these parts for realtors to accept an offer on such a desirable house before having the opportunity to pit sellers against each other and drive up the price. I mean unheard of! But that’s what they did and it felt as though this incredible property was handed to us on a platter. The sellers are heading to Tennessee and want a quick escrow. So if all goes well, it’s possible we could start moving in by the end of this month… standing in our much-prayed-for-home just three weeks after having not even known about its existence. That is nuts!!

Since having our offer accepted, we have learned about how amazing the neighborhood is. Not perfect, I’m sure, but it is less than a mile from Chase’s school, there are hoards of kids – even a favorite classmate three houses down, and the welcoming neighbors can’t say enough wonderful things about living there. But here is the kicker. On that first visit, after we had wandered around the yard, the realtor asked if we had noticed the writing shed in the side yard on the opposite side of the house. Um, what?? No! So he walked us over and showed us a perfect little writing shed (I didn’t even know that was a thing!) in which the current owner has written several books. It wasn’t listed in the details on Zillow. We missed it on first glance. But it was the sign for me that God went before us – the cane He left leaning by the fireplace for us to find. A symbol of His presence with us; His generosity toward us. We still have to make it through the hoops that come before closing and we will still have to pay a hearty mortgage, but there is finally peace and I am so glad that through our restless process the Lord kept us from taking for ourselves lesser things than what He wanted to give. 


The “cane” left on the property


  1. Kara, you are so incredibly gifted! Open, honest, thoughtful, and you have a true talent with words and connecting with your readers.

    I will miss my writing shed, but I can’t imagine a better steward for it. I hope it brings you as much joy, contented solitude, and inspiration as it has brought me.

    Change is always hard, but you have brought me immense comfort, as I know you’ll continue to create beautiful memories in this home we built with so much love. Wishing you all the best in your new home and in the next part of your journey!

    Andrea Ring

    • Thank you so much , Andrea, for taking the time to read this in the midst of preparing for an out-of-state move. And especially for your kind, encouraging words. They mean a lot to me!

      We are going to fill this house with so much joy (and hopefully plenty of writing) and I pray your new adventure is going to be sweeter than you could have imagined. My uncle said you are moving to God’s country so that shouldn’t be too hard 🙂

      Please know that you are always welcome to stop by when you are in town! Kara

  2. Great story, Karanoel! We are excited for you. What city is it in? I am a California boy in Minnesota. Paul


    • Thank you! Our house is in Tustin. Can’t imagine the shock that must have been to your system! It’s been in the 50’s here and I am freeeezing 😂

  3. Ah, Tustin. We lived near there for many years (Santa Ana). Say hey to OC for me. And get to work in that writing shed ASAP!

    • We currently live in Santa Ana so I will certainly say hello for you! And it looks like we are going to close on the new house in a hurry so I will get to writing in that shed ASAP 🙂

  4. Such great news Kara and John!!!! We’re so happy for your family! xoxo

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