Water Works: Home Edition

We each have those messy moments as parents that literally take your breath away. Lately I’ve been reminiscing over the “highlights” of those in my mothering journey thus far. Funny that most of those involve copious amount of water. Perhaps you need a laugh today and could laugh with me.

S is now 5 years old, and her water messes have toned down quite a bit the last year or so-but about 1 year ago her worst one happened. (Perhaps my reaction to the WORST WATER MESS EVER made her think twice before splashing away, I don’t know.) We have continued on our “fixing up the house” journey, and the project then involved having the downstairs bathroom walls torn out and all the plumbing exposed. The recently finished upstairs bathroom is directly above it, and they share a “plumbing run”- a wall that is just chock full of pipes, including the sewer vent.  After a horrible wind and rain storm one day we had had a roof leak around the sewer vent pipe, and water had trickled all the way down to the ground floor. After replacing the sewer vent boot and drying out the plumbing run, we thought we were ok against future leaks. The wall stayed open to allow for us to work on the plumbing during our remodeling adventures. This story has to have this background info for you to understand what happened this one calm, lovely day. I was busy working on homemaker-ly things, when I heard what sounded like water dripping very slowly. Because of past water escapades, I have a very keen sense of hearing when it comes to water. So I tilted my head and tried to locate the sound. Several minutes later I walked by the downstairs bathroom again and heard the dripping, still slow… but a little faster. I went into the bathroom and was horrified to realize that there was a slow WATERFALL silently flowing down the last bit of remaining drywall, puddling on the floor, leaking under the wall and into the living room. The drip came from the ceiling, which was quite soaked and looked like it could begin losing a chunk of drywall at any moment. I made a very unladylike screech noise, and about high jumped up the stairs. Sitting on the sink was my adorable 4 year old, sopping wet and looking up from her imaginary world of fun waterworks with wide and frightened eyes. I could hardly speak-and probably a good thing, as my words at that moment were not very constructive or loving. Apparently the one thing on the bathroom floor that we had failed to complete, was caulking around the base of the toilet. The flood of water that was poured onto the floor was slowly finding it’s way under the toilet, across the downstairs ceiling, down the wall, and to it’s final puddling place on the living room/bathroom floor. I couldn’t have been more thankful at that moment that the downstairs bathroom wasn’t finished yet!

I’d go on with more water messes, but I think that’s enough reminiscing for one day. 😉


Washing our hearts clean and new

While painting our Guest Room/Prayer Room, I was contemplating how wonderful painting is and why it is such a fun thing to do.

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And renew it, give it new life:

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I was struck at how much joy Jesus must get from renewing our hearts! His Bride is being restored and made ready!

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

Isaiah 1:18

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:4-7

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Ephesians 5:25-27

The Adventure of Buying a Home Minus Debt, Plus God. Part THREE

Instead of having an open house of epic proportions this Fall, we are rushing to finish the kitchen so we can have an inside sink for dishes before the hose needs disconnected for Winter. It has been a slow process since we moved here at the end of June. Having three children and trying to do things ourselves is making the progress bar moving slowly. We have had a ton of help from family and friends from time to time, and I can’t imagine where we would be with out all that help. Pretty desperate indeed. So… pictures.

So far we have gone from this:

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To this:


We had to completely gut the kitchen. Rewire the whole deal. Reinsulate, hang drywall, mud and sand, prime, paint, and now we are working on cabinets. We still have about 5 cabinets to hang. The counter top has been ordered. The flooring is waiting, stacked up in our living room. It is getting close! I can almost taste it. Real food, that is…frozen pizza and veggie burgers are getting a tad old. 😉 This week I go to buy the sink and faucet, and I’m about giddy excited about it. 3 months of washing dishes in the garage with a cold garden hose has made me severely appreciate running hot water. I am so, so, SO excited!  People told us that working on such a huge and crazy project would either make us stronger as a couple, or really beat us down. It has been very difficult. We have had evenings where we sit there and harrumph and stare at each other contemplating whether or not our spouse is really thinking clearly at all. We have had evenings where we are laughing together, making silly jokes the whole evening, enjoying each other’s company immensely. Through all our craziness, God has been faithful. He has made us stronger through this, even with all our failings of worrying and getting angry. He has shown us His ways are easy, if we stick with Him. It’s awfully hard if you don’t. We have lost sleep over it, I got my first gray hair, and we have both taken walks alone around the block in frustration. Yet He is faithful. We know that this house was His idea, and we plan to keep on track with Him, and no matter how many times we have to go back to foundational truth numero uno, we shall. God is in charge, and He is faithful. We are thankful. We are excited!

The Adventure of Buying a Home Minus Debt, Plus God. Part TWO

We originally thought all of these things:
-The kitchen cabinets could be reused. (more like my husband was hoping they could, and I was hoping they couldn’t. 😉 )

-The bathrooms just needed some surface work.

-There wasn’t any water damage.

-We could finish it before the Feast of Tabernacles/ Thanksgiving season.

-The dining room floor might be ok to keep.

As we dug in, we quickly realized the tub needed to go, the cabinets were in no shape to keep, and there was indeed water damage from a pipe that had not been properly winterized. Oops.

As we continued on in our “tearing apart our home” frenzy, it began to dawn on us that everyone was right. All those people who told us “You’ll wonder why you ever thought it was a good idea.” and “Plan on everything taking 4 times longer and costing 3 times more.” were not just joking. They were quite serious. We had planned financially on things being much more expensive, and that has ended up being a very wise assumption. Time wise, we had to move in to the home with one working sink (bathroom), no kitchen, the bathtub didn’t work for a week after we moved in, and we had no bathroom door. Or bedroom door. That was July 1st. Now it is September 24th. The time I was hoping to have everything finished by, and be ready to have a big open house celebration of epic proportions. Instead…..

House Adventure, Pictorial Tour of Phase 1- Demolition

Ok, so here is a quick photographic tour of our home within the first 2 weeks of beginning work on it. Sorry for the jumping around in time, hopefully I can fix that someday. Today I’m just happy to have all these pictures in one place and labeled. 😉 Yes, it’s one of those days.

The kitchen, with most of the tile out
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The water heater, complete with disconnected water meter and slow leaking water main:

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One of several piles of carpet and padding. The carpet was so nasty I couldn’t bring myself to take pics of it. Biohazard came to mind. We wore gloves and masks. Our trash guys need a medal. Or a plate of cookies or something.

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Vacuuming our dandelion field front yard so the seed wouldn’t make our neighbors mad at us. 😉 We didn’t have a mower at the new house yet, and this happened. It was my husband’s idea. He has crazy ideas.

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Dining room walls were having moisture issues. Mortar had come loose from construction, and fell down blocking the weep holes in the brick facade. I now know more than I ever thought I would about brick and the importance of proper drainage thereof.

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Backyard mulberry bush trimmings. The fence was almost out of sight.

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Before painting the upstairs hallway:

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All of the bedrooms had this lovely brittle tile underneath the carpet, which was sort of held down with black tar-like glue.

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After we took out all the water damaged drywall downstairs in the kitchen. Utility closet is on the right, laundry/half bath is on the left.

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Kitchen walls. See the insulation that is dingier gray than it’s neighbors? Wet. Yeah.

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After removing the carpets we had the ventilation system thoroughly cleaned.

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Downstairs half bath/laundry area. Was the only working sink in the house for several months, even after we moved in.

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Living room looking towards the front door:

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Kitchen cabinet demo crew:

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Upstairs full bathroom… pulled off the paper thin plastic tub surround to discover this lovely zoo.

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Bedroom #3

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Dining room:

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Bedroom #1

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Bedroom #2 minus most of the princess party pink unicorn wallpaper:

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The Adventure of Buying A Home….Minus Debt, Plus God. Part ONE

My husband and I are committed to living life debt free. We also wanted to own a house so we could stop paying rent having money drain away each month for something we would have nothing to show for at the end of the day. For us that meant looking at very small homes. Now, don’t misunderstand, I’m perfectly fine with a small house. In fact I have often had aspirations of living in one of those “Tiny House” trailers and traveling the country. Sounds like amazing fun to me!


We have three children. We hope to have more. We also love to have company over. We both come from large families, so just to have one side over for dinner might mean having anywhere from 15-30 people in our home. We love to have an open door policy-come if you’re able, we’ll pull up an extra chair and make room! That’s kind of hard to do in a 8×12 trailer…. So that idea had to go. Maybe after our kids are grown and we are “retired”. Yeah right. ANYWAY.

Next grand idea was to buy a small 3 bedroom home with an eat in kitchen. Not too bad of an idea, other than the fact that we’d have to trade our kitchen table in for a breakfast booth and set up tables out back if we wanted to have anyone over. My heart for hospitality was hurting at this, but figured that was all we could reach for-all the homes in our area in our price range were 8-900 sq. ft. houses with eat in kitchens. So I prayed. Not any special prayer, just

“God, please make a way for us to still love on people in our home no matter what our home size!”

Around this time we went to a conference in Toronto, Canada, where people are often given words of knowledge, visions, and dreams from the Lord. A lady there prayed for me, and with out having any idea of my heart’s desires or where we were in life, told me she saw us having a big house and that people, even people off the street, single moms, fatherless children- would come and be ministered to, and it would be known as the house of peace. This floored me. I was a puddle of tears. God KNEW. I will share more of my heart regarding this in another post, but this was spot on what God had been planting in my heart for years. He hadn’t forgotten, and He had a plan!

We came home and continued house shopping, and one home came up that was a foreclosure outside the city limits in a nice older subdivision. Amazingly in our price range, I thought for sure it would be a complete wreck, as had other foreclosures we had looked at. It was a two story home, four bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, with a nice large dining room and living room. Fenced in yard. No rear neighbors. Solidly built. My DIY heart was contemplating what we would need to do to make this doable. When we went to look at it for the first time, I was dubious. All the flooring needed replaced. Bathrooms needed redone, kitchen was old nasty cabinets that were really damaged. All the interior doors needed replaced from someone tearing the latch THROUGH the wooden door frame. Most of the lights were busted. It would need a new water heater. We went home deep in thought, and I made a big spreadsheet of what would need replaced and how much it would cost, then doubled or tripled that amount to get an estimate.

We could swing it.

We went back to see it 3 times before deciding to pursue it. We went to the Lord in prayer and asked if this was it. He didn’t tell us “This is it.” but rather, “Go ahead, you may buy it.” So we put an offer in. Our Realtor rolled her eyes at our seriously low ball offer, as the house would be worth twice as much once fixed up… and of course it was counter offered. We ended up buying the house for approximately 2/3 it’s repaired worth price… which was a great deal. The house was unlivable, but we had a plan and a budget.