At the time this page was first written, we had been married for over 20 years. During that time, we'd lived in many different housing situations:
Each of our living situations was unique and at times adventurous.
But we dreamed of having and living in our own debt-free home.
The catch or restriction was that Vicki had been through a Financial Freedom course at the church she had attended in 1988, a few years before she met and married Mike.
The book used in the course was Men's Manual Volume 2, co-authored by Bill Gothard and Jim Sammons, shown here.
(Note: Although the title of the book implies that it is just for men, there were no restrictions on who could take the course and the book is just as helpful for women as men.)
In the years since, Vicki has referred to the book often for Biblical principles about finances.
Vicki learned from the book about debt, mortgages, interest and more.
The link to the book here is from Amazon.com, with whom we have an affiliate relationship.
She made a vow not to go into debt for non-appreciating items.
Of course, most homes appreciate in value, but she wanted if at all possible to make a dream come true by being able to buy a home without having to pay a single penny in interest to a bank!
That meant: no mortgage!
During the bulk of our married years, we rented housing.
We treated -- as much as possible -- our living quarters the way we would our own home: neat, clean and well kept.
It was a preview of what we wanted for our own home.
In 2007, Vicki became re-acquainted with someone whom she had met before.
The man began sharing with Vicki some information she had never before heard about preparing for hard financial times.
He strongly recommended making a particular type of investment.
After researching it, she brought her findings to Mike, he approved of it and we began to invest.
It was a bit easier for us to invest when Vicki had a regular income from a part-time job (in a field not even remotely related to trucking, but which allowed her to use her researching and writing skills).
But even after that job ended, we continued to invest, sometimes with large periods of time between investments.
We began to look for likely places to live.
What would make our dream come true was a particular type of land in a particular type of location.
We looked at dozens of real estate listings online and in person over the course of about 2 years.
Of the seemingly suitable pieces of land, some were too expensive, others had been trashed, and others did not permit the kind of freedom that we were looking for.
(This scenario may be similar to wanting to buy a used truck.)
On top of all of that, Vicki simply did not have peace of mind and heart that any of the parcels would work for us.
She prayed continually for God's wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
She laid out her "wish list" to the Lord and then waited.
We had a big change in our lives in 2009, when we packed up (for the second time) all of our non-car, non-in-truck items and put them into storage.
Vicki went on the road with Mike for about a year, making us homeless but for the truck Mike drove.
We went off on vacation in the fall of 2010 when an urgent family matter arose.
It required travel and for Mike to be out of trucking (and hence without a paycheck) for a number of weeks.
When we came back, the situation with Mike's trucking company took a turn.
He ended up getting a temporary job and then he was hired by the company through which he obtained a local truck driving job.
Since Mike's local driving job allowed him to be home every night and off every weekend (many truckers' dream job come true), we once again began looking at buying land.
However, because of our investments, this time our financial situation was a bit different.
We were reminded of a scene in the movie "Where the Red Fern Grows" when Billy is trying to chop down a large tree.
As a youngster, he gave it his all, but after working for a long time, he still hadn't chopped enough of the trunk for the tree to topple.
He prayed an out-loud prayer to the Lord about doing "his part."
The Lord answered by sending a strong wind, which caused the tree to fall.
In our situation,
We found a listing for a piece of real estate that met our needs and about which we had peace.
However, the competition for the land was hot.
Two other offers fell through, one of which was because the potential buyers could not get their financing together.
We, on the other hand, made a cash offer which was accepted.
We sold off some of our investment -- at over double the initial purchase price -- to pay for it.
This was part of our dream come true.
When we found a repossessed double-wide mobile home with the space and floor plan we liked, we sold off more of our investment -- at double the top purchase price -- to pay for it.
Was this the culmination of our dream come true?
We had been told that the mobile home would be delivered to us and set up in "turn key condition."
This is what we think of when we hear the phrase turnkey: "ready for immediate use."
Well, the home didn't meet that definition because we had purchased the home in "as-is" condition.
So we set about the task of making the needed repairs and renovations.
Have you ever heard of that quote about turning lemons into lemonade?
That's what we did. It took us months to take someone's trash and turn it into our treasure.
In fact, when it became known that we were looking several months' worth of work in the face, friends of ours loaned us the use of their camper -- for free.
They moved it to our land and we hooked it up to the water (via well), septic tank and electrical connections, all of which were already on the property.
So we were able to stay on our land utility-wise for roughly the cost of the electricity we used.
What a blessing it was to be living within feet of our home, not having to pay rent to someone else while we were making repairs! We were able to work on the house as we could.
Our handyman, being a contractor, handled the big stuff that contractors do and Vicki did much of the rest of the work herself.
Of particular interest is that in having our dream come true, we paid cash for the land, paid cash for the home, and we worked on the house as the Lord provided funds through Mike's trucking job.
The Lord gave us the desire of our hearts to be debt-free through the whole home set-up process.
If we didn't have the money, we didn't buy goods or services toward the renovation.
We waited until we did.
If you use an online amortization calculator, you can calculate the payments, principle and interest paid (as an example) on a $100,000 mortgage over 30 years at 7% interest.
By the end of 30 years, the mortgage holder will have paid the amount loaned plus an additional $139,508.90 in interest!
How long would it take an average truck driver to earn that much money?
Furthermore, that money would not be going into the trucker's own investments or retirement, but the bank's.
By pursuing our dream come true the way we did, we didn't have to pay someone for the "privilege" of borrowing money.
Some people say that it is a mistake to rent for years and years because one is not building equity in a home.
Our position was that we never wanted to presume on the future, never wanted the threat of foreclosure hanging over our heads, and never wanted interest money going to the bank.
Yes, our years' worth of rent payments were going to a landlord (or in our case, a series of landlords), but in so doing, we stayed on a cash basis the whole time.
In addition to His letting us buy our land and home debt-free, Vicki says that she came to appreciate the fact that the Lord let us have a home that needed so much work.
An example of the skills Vicki learned along the way was how to lay down vinyl flooring.
Below are before, during and after installation photographs of the floor in one of our closets.
Before putting down vinyl flooring
During vinyl floor installation
After vinyl floor installation is completed
We moved into our new-to-us home on December 27, 2011.
We give praise and thanksgiving to the Lord for how He has guided us through all of this.
We clearly see His hand through it all.
There has been no mortgage, no interest payments, and no threat of foreclosure.
We have experienced the sweet realization of a goal realized and a dream come true.
If you have a dream that you would like to have come true, are you willing to pursue it even though it may take years?
Are you willing to learn what it takes to be successful once you've achieved your goal?
Money saving tip: If you do not have a savings plan, we encourage you to develop a budget so that you can put aside at least a little something with every paycheck.
Strive to save a minimum of 10 percent of your gross paycheck (before taxes are taken out).
If you are in debt, we encourage you to get out of debt as soon as possible.
Research good investments. A general rule of thumb with investment potential is: Low risk, low yield; high risk, high yield.
However, in our day and age, some investments -- especially the stock market -- have been known to rise dramatically or plunge precipitously in a matter of hours.
Evaluate all of your investment options to help you best grow your money so that you, too, can have a dream come true.
Among the various investment vehicles are: real estate, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, certificates of deposit (CDs), precious metals and commodities.
Some of these vehicles have stable rates; others vary. Remember: past performance is no guarantee of future results.
If you find that you don't have anything left at the end of your paycheck, look to see what you can change, sell or cut back so that you can save.
If you smoke, we encourage you to quit smoking not only for the direct savings but also the indirect savings.
Set both short term and long term goals.
Give yourself permission to celebrate (even if frugally!) when you reach a goal.
It is indeed a noteworthy day when you reach a large long term goal and make a dream come true.