Through a series of articles, we show the journey of how we came to Heart Ridge.
There's nothing like the opportunity of moving to help you sort your stuff and get rid of what you don't need. We've lived in our current house for over 20 years, and it looked as though we had to get it ready to sell. This put me in a panic! I'm so sentimental about everything. I really love this home and think about all of the memories I've made here with my family. My kids did most of their growing up here.
OH so many memories here. . .
But in God's great mercy--He has figured out a way for us to keep our house--at least for a little bit longer. Since my husband will still need to commute to work and my son to attend his Catholic high school, we were thinking about renting an apartment to stay in for a couple nights a week. This would still be cheaper than paying our mortgage for our current house.
But now in our new plan, we will rent out a large portion of our house to 3 renters. They will each get a bedroom and bathroom and share the common areas of our house with us, when we are there, as well as with our other 2 adult sons who are still at home. This is really too good to be true. Our house isn't huge, but because of our large family, we have a lot of bedrooms!
This move is a lot easier because we just need to move 3 children out of their current rooms. Both my husband and I are giving up our offices--so we're moving all of our "office" stuff. And finally, since we are setting up a "new" house at the retreat center for ourselves, we also need to move enough stuff to set up a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom there.
I don't know about you, but unfortunately, I have enough stuff in my house for two houses! Sad, but true.
So this is really good for me to do.
"We Bought a Retreat Center!" It's a done deal. On the day after the Feast of St. Joseph at the start of the CoVid social distancing in South Carolina we became the official owners of a retreat place in Sunset, SC. Now the fun begins!
Chapter 9 of "Finding Heart Ridge" : Ok, THIS has got to be the place. Thank You, St. Joseph
The day after we left the zoning meeting with the Spartanburg Co. people, Tami went home and started crunching numbers. She wanted to see if we made all of the changes, including adding the "motel", to the place in Campobello what that final cost would be, and more importantly, what would that monthly mortgage payment look like. The easiest place to find a mortgage calculator online is Realtor.com. It was when she went onto this web page that she noticed--without even searching--a rather large, piece of property, for sale in Sunset. Upon further inspection, she immediately emailed the property to Keith and said, "We've got to look at this ASAP."
Although we haven't mentioned it in the other blog posts, besides St. Therese, and some other saints, we have always been big fans of St. Joseph. Especially Keith. As the patron saint of real estate, we've been praying to him regularly. He's been our constant companion, especially as we've been considering the feasibility of doing this and supporting our family.
So we called our South Carolina realtor, Susan, and scheduled a tour.
Each time we visited we "discovered" something new. Once it was a complete chapel! Another time, a tiny house. This last time, we found a weight room with Nautilus equipment.
But first a brief history--and it's much more complicated than this. A long time ago--in the 90s, it was a reform camp/school for girls run by a Baptist couple. Before that, in the 50's this beautiful stone house on a lake was built and owned by a professional tennis player. The Baptist couple sold it in a few years ago to another organization that runs homes for children. This organization leased it out to another organization who was running a home for Foster children. This last organization had serious money problems, and also, was being chased out of town from the people of Pickens county who did not approve of their methods of reform. With all kinds of tax evasion, and bankruptcy problems, they were forced to sell. Their misfortune was fortunate for us.
Many of the buildings were ready to "go." Others, however, were in terrible disrepair. But the potential of everything we wanted for a great retreat center were there:
The first time we visited, there was no power--in fact it took quite a few visits before we could convince the power company to turn the power back on. (They were owed money.) But in December, when it was a little chilly and no power, we were wondering through all of these spaces in the dark, with only the flashlights on our phones. One space in the gymnasium was particularly dark. (You never know what you will find when you open a door--especially as these spaces have no windows. As we opened one door, we saw a shadow of something or someone sitting on a chair. As we shone the light on it, this is what we saw:
In a Baptist camp--we found a statue of St. Joseph! Amazing!
Of course when we went back later to look with electricity, we saw Mary, too. This St. Joseph was part of a nativity scene. But why was he propped on the chair eagerly greeting us?
After more trips to this place with family and friends, we decided to make an offer on the place. This was the biggest Christmas present we ever bought for each other.
Although we hoped to close in January or February, because of the uniqueness of the property, the financial mess the seller was in, the extra taxes, the extra insurance, and all the other red tape--it took a lot longer to close than expected. Our final closing date was just the other day--the day after March 19th--the Feast of St. Joseph. (It was supposed to be on the 19th but pushed back one more day--close enough!)
Stay tuned as the journey continues!
Keith and Tami Kiser
On the journey of building a retreat center and more.