Editor’s Note: Following is a page from my spiritual notebook.

Back in Florida after a brief trip to Michiana (Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana) in November of 2014, life felt normal. Writing, shopping and meal-making punctuated my days. I turned calendar pages: December 2014, January 2015, and February 2015.  All the while, I thought of my hometown–Goshen, Indiana.

My realtor there, Ann Wisler, sent frequent condo listings.  I also used Zillow.com and their birds’ eye-view option to study neighborhoods.

Sitting at my Florida desk, I poured over reports and bank statements, pooled my funds and set a plan. 1. Travel north in March to shop and buy a Goshen condo.  2. Sell my Michigan condo. 3.  Buy a car to drive and leave in Indiana. 4. Visit my Michigan kids.

After buying a ticket, I called Ann Wisler. “I’m arriving on the Amish Bus on Friday, March 6. I’ll be in town one day. Are there any condos you can show me?”

Her voice carried a warning. “I don’t know. There aren’t many listings right now, but I’ll see what I can do.”


The Florida sun shone warmly and temperatures climbed to 90 the afternoon of March 5 when I climbed on the Crossroad Tours bus. (Amish bus.)  That night we encountered a huge snowstorm that closed I-75 near Louisville, Kentucky. Luckily, we weren’t stuck on the Interstate, but detoured.

By morning, the storm had passed, but we were an hour and a half behind schedule. My watch read 9:30

when I scanned  Goshen’s Walmart parking lot for my ride.

New snow fell lightly topping dirty white piles along the edges of the parking lot. As she promised, my girlfriend Tonya sat bundled up in her big Dodge Nitro. Steam and exhaust rose in small clouds before a breeze whisked them away.

Hood up on her winter coat, Tonya climbed out. Her words caught in white puffs like a Sunday comic character. “Let me help you!”

We stowed my baggage before climbing in her vehicle. Tonya said, “I brought you my extra gloves.” She touched a wooly black pair lying on the console. “It’s cold here.”

No kidding. Though chilled, I felt warm inside being back in my hometown. “Thanks for picking me up!”

Tonya said, “Glad you called about the bus being late. Have you had breakfast?” She glanced to the north. “The Lux isn’t far.”

I joked, “Does snacking count?”

She grinned and put her car in gear. We rolled a mile to the popular breakfast-and-more eatery.

Facing each other in a booth, I scanned the menu.

Tonya asked, “How are you for time?”

I glanced up. “I’m meeting Ann Wisler at 1:00 to look at condos.”

My friend unrolled her napkin and nodded. “Ann’s good.”

After sipping coffee, I said, “She has only three that match my criteria, but I am hopeful.”


After breakfasting and exchanging news, Tonya drove me to get my rental car.  I thanked her and after a hug we parted.

I climbed into my compact Nissan, cranked up the heater and rolled to meet Ann at the first address.

The condo was in a different section of the development where I had seen “the perfect one” three months before.

Parked in front of the unit, I studied it. In photos, its interior was a decorator’s delight and I was eager to see it in person.

Five minutes early, Ann drove up in her red Charger. She stepped out and waved a key. “Let’s take a look!”

Like a page in Better Homes and Gardens, it was lovely and ready to move in.  My face brightened when I saw a Pontiac Vibe in its garage. Wow!  I’ll ask for the car, and the decorator furniture, too. 

Ann called the seller to ask about including the car and furniture. We stood outside as she left a voice message for Delight’s owner and I noticed a “For sale by Owner” sign in a window three doors to the right. “How about that one?” I pointed.

Ann’s eyes widened. “Wow! I didn’t see that. Let me give them a call.”

Phone to her ear, she turned  and said,  “Look!  Another ‘By Owner!’”

4 sale by owner

From the sales flier of 2nd ‘By Owner’

Looking around, I followed her finger to my left and saw a second “By Owner” sign in a front window.

Ann grinned. “I’ll call that one, too!”

I looked right and left.  Jackpot! What are the chances of three in this one court when nothing else is for sale? God is surely guiding me!

Frances, Editor adds, “In making my choice, I felt like Goldilocks visiting the home of The Three Bears.  One ‘By Owner” was too big (and costly), the Decorator’s Delight seller would not include the furniture   or the car. Finally, the small, Plain-Jane ‘By owner’ was least expensive and ‘just right’ for me.  I bought it!”

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