What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hidden Treasure and the $40.00 room

We are officially at a stand still at the house. Polyurethane is drying and forcing us to not step foot there for three days and so we have run out of time for improvements.

October 31st is fast approaching and now begins the packing and the moving.

Many times throughout the day I think "It just can't be done! We aren't going to be able to do all this before Oct. 31st!" Then I think about what has been done and it seems pretty amazing.

Every now and again it seems pretty clear that yes....everything IS going to be okay.

Like when we peeled back the four layers of carpeting, newspaper and linoleum in the living room and kitchen. That was an "It is going to be okay" moment.

It isn't because I need lovely floors to be happy, I don't.

But having a lovely floor underneath all that grime and dust is clearly God's abundant goodness to me and a very obvious "See, I have everything in order for you" message.

He is the greatest Overachiever, God, and loves giving us good things to drop our jaws with wonder.

We rented a sander for $25.00, a few sheets of sand paper and bought a gallon of paint for $14.00 and changed the whole look of the room for a mere $40.00. We already had the polyurethane.

I have often wondered if I would ever be able to make Hopestead feel like I belonged there; like I wasn't just living in Grams house, but my own. It helped when all of Grams things were finally taken out, but even then I worried. Would it ever be MINE?

When I see the living room, I know it is possible.

It isn't done yet. The trim needs to be painted, the drop ceiling taken down, etc. But here it is presently, after $40.00 and a day or two of work:

...and here is what it looked like before:

Feels so much more like home now.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I really, really love him too.

...And not just because of how sveltely he can handle a couple of sanders and a chop saw....

...but I won't lie~ they are definite perks.

A handy husband is a happy circumstance to have and not to be taken for granted.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I really love my children.

I really love them for many, many, many reasons but recently, my eyes have opened up to a few more.

They are handling this total upheaval of their lives, the neglect of two parents~great with distractions, lack of sleep and days filled in an empty house not yet their own with such grace it amazes.

(under the carpet in the dining room there were scads of newspaper sheets and plenty of COMICS to read from the 1940's. They kept the children, especially Corynn, occupied until evening.)

(painting was a highlight)

When they aren't off playing or exploring, they are helping. Or making lemonade out of lemons and mountains out of mole hills (in the very best possible way).

So glad they are mine.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dirty work

We hoped for three weeks to do home improvements before we began 'the MOVE'. Then a week and a half had to be devoted to just getting the house EMPTY.

I thought a full three weeks time would would be a challenge; a week and a half is impossible.

But we are cramming as much into those few days as possible.

We wake up early, work all day through, and come home well past bed time and carry the children up to their beds asleep. We then collapse into bed ourselves. I have worn the same paint speckled pants the entire week.

But contact paper is being ripped up. Floors are being revealed, for better or worse. And we are finding, paint covers a multitude of sins.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Just some moments last week~

Matt and his Dad repaired part of the roof last week. The children took turns 'helping'. I love Corynn's expression.

~ Hopestead feels a bit like it sits on top of the world, a very good place to see Autumn colors emerge.

That, and watching tractors weave to and fro, children run and play and random things being thrown out windows are the only things that keep being locked up in a pack and play for HOURS bearable. This child is the most amazing kid (maa-a-aaa!) and just what I need, when there is a home with nitro pills, carpet tacks and all sorts of hazardous things to consume that needs cleaning out. I feel bad about the portapack, but very very very thankful too. I will make it up to him someday.

~ zucchini mozzerella bites~

~ Grams motto must have been "LAYER IT!" because there is not a place in the house that doesn't have at least four layers of flooring, wallpaper or contact paper on it. Tar paper. Laminate floor. Foam. Newspaper. Carpet. Carpet on top of carpet.

Made finding the real floor a sort of treasure hunt.

It is easy for one to get distracted from his work.

Especially when there are $1.50 tires on sale. We could use that sale right about now!

~ Matt putting up the library bookshelves to be used as homeschool bookshelves. I should be getting a whole new set of nice, real wood shelves made for me as soon as Matt is able....MEANING: I can get rid of those nasty, warped particle board bookcases from Walmart I loathe.

~ When one has girls that look just like each other and boys that look just like each other, all with the same distance between them, it is easy to feel as though you are being time warped at times. I remember this exact same moment a few years ago, with a Corynn and Andrew doing just that very thing and looking just that way.

~ I post this picture for the sole reason of admiring those adorable squinty eyes. A one-year-old with laugh wrinkles is too much for this mother to bear, especially if it is hers.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yes You!

There are never enough moments in a day to do everything but there are plenty to accomplish the truly important things.

I have a notebook by my bedstand that says Take Some Time. Each time I look at it, I am reminded to be deliberate in everything I do- to pick and choose those important things carefully, and those things are often based around RELATIONSHIPS, not activities.

And so... I wanted to take some time to thank each of you for your amazing encouragement these last few weeks! I may not be able to personally write a note to every one of you right now, but I can't let another day go by without showing my gratitude.

Thank you to the several women who have emailed me privately their own stories and dreams of owning a home and/or moving and shared with me words of wisdom/encouragement.

Thank you to the friend from church who made a wonderful meal (and BROWNIES!) for our family and who shared a card so lovely I sighed.

Thank you to my sister who came and helped me with two batches of pears this morning. Two extra hands and two wagging tongues were more help than you could imagine!

Thank you to the bread maker extraordinaire who is taking over my church-bread-making responsibilities for the next two weeks so that I can focus my attentions elsewhere.

Thank you to you gal pals who have sent precious paper to my mailbox with such encouraging words.

Thank you for all the lovely comments that are showered upon me every time I share with trepidation a picture of a room of junk or a wall of water stains or a floor of old boards.

If I could hug you through a computer I would. If my computer screen were some sort of garden zinnia transporter, I would pick armfuls for you. Instead, here is a picture of the last garden bouquet of the year. For you. With thanks.

You know who you are.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

just call me Taz

When it comes to cleaning rooms of their junk, I am like a Tazmanian Devil~ throwing things here, rushing back, tossing more things and so it goes. I would make piles by the stairs so that when I went downstairs I could take handfuls at a time.

I was working so quickly, I didn't even realize that I had boxed a poor little Adele' in until I heard the wails.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Name of the Place

Growing up, I was in a nomadic family. I believe my parents have moved 22 times since they have been married. (Right, Mom?) And in my life, in particular, the moves were often to different STATES and often far, far away from friends and family. I took my neighbor with me for Grandparents Day at school. As a child, it was mostly fun, adventurous, exciting (well, maybe not for Mom!). But when I met Matt, I got to see a different side of things.

He lived in the same house he was born in all of his non-married life. Both sets of grandparents lived down the road and he would be babysat or spend the night at their homes regularly. We still pass a stone wall that he built as a teenager~out of stones that another Newman built long ago. His family is all buried in the local cemetery. Our children sleep in his old room for rest time when we visit.

It was all so different from my upbringing. So constant, so secure. So.....stagnant. Though I wouldn't trade how I was raised, this lifestyle~so vastly different from my own~appealed to me greatly.

When I got married, I decided I should like to live in one beautiful, amazing home the rest of my days; that my children would grow up and their children would sleep in the same room and reminisce, that we could write the heights of our children on the doorposts and see them, small again, decades later. I thought it would be lovely to watch my children climb and play on the apple trees their parents played on and that we could all picnic under a great maple that we planted. A place where we would never have to abandon our memories. Wouldn't my life be grand?!

And then real life happened. And while 'real life' didn't turn out at all like I had envisioned, it was beautiful to us....like my childhood. We moved, almost like clockwork, every two years. Each place we made our home happy and sweet, and named her thus.

Home #1 was the home where Matt and I moved into married life, blushing and flirtatious. Where we learned to live with one another and had our first (and second and third) fight, something I was SURE would never, ever happen. It was where I learned that Matt had a horrible temper and where he learned that I couldn't cook a lick. It was a teeny little house that you could see every square foot of when you walked in the front door. Reminiscent of Laura Ingalls house (minus the loft), it was the most lovely place on earth in my mind. It was where Matt and I slept in a twin bed together until we could afford a queen size bed, but when the bed was delivered~ the delivery men weren't sure it would fit into the room. (It did, though when you walked into the doorway you were practically on it and I had to climb over Matt to get to my side.) There were open shelves between the 'living room' and the 'dining room' where I put all my lovely shiny crystal wedding presents and the most lovely rainbows would dance through the house every morning as the sun came up-right through the window onto the crystal. It sat on the farm where Matt worked and right next to a large house where a dozen Mexicans lived. This was the home I would walk to the farm and have picnic lunches with Matt and where Matt learned to speak fluent Spanish, even though he took French in school. This is where Corynn was born. But we moved about a month later. We called her The Little House. We pass her on the way to church.

Home #2 was an apartment down the road. Still small, though more spacious than the first house, it had an upstairs(!) that had TWO rooms and it even had two bathrooms (though the downstairs bathroom, your knees rubbed the washing machine when you sat down.) It was in a nice grand house, the large side being where the owner (our landlady) lived. I really disliked this house~ it is bizarre to play outside in a yard where your landlady is watching you. Or hanging clothes on a line where another persons clothes were hanging. Or watching her dig up the rose bush you just planted because, well, she didn't want it in HER lawn. This was the home where I hung lights from trees and we danced and celebrated our anniversary (the same night our single landlady had all her single girlfriends over for cards and they all swooned at the romance of it all). This is the home I taught myself how to can and where Matt went to his parents' house every weekend to "DO something outside!". This is the home where Andrew was born. We called her The Duplex. But we moved a week later.

Home #3 was where we became a family. A real family. It was three and a half hours away, in a place where we knew no one. A beautiful, big, BRICK home with columns in front~ it, too, came with the farm where Matt was working~ though this time, it wasn't ON the farm but down the road a bit. It had a huge yard, where I began teaching myself how to garden and a huge garage where Matt would work. It had a huge basement where the children would play and a huge CEILING in the living room that I would sometimes just stare up at in awe. Everything about it was huge in my mind, coming from two *small* houses before that.

This was the home where we met a wonderful church family, and established wonderful lifelong friendships with some dear families. It is where I met with one of my dearest friends every few weeks and we would get together at someones' house after the children were in bed, and we would crochet and gab, sometimes cry and ALWAYS laugh the nights away. This is the home where the shelves that held my beautiful crystal wedding presents broke, dashing them all to pieces and leaving me with just three special things...none of them rainbow-throwing crystals. Since we lived so far from parents', we were able to establish our own family traditions and celebrate our own family holidays....at our own home! For this reason alone, I will forever love this place. Matt moved down there in order to take over the farm and buy it out from the farmer, which was never a part of the plan in the farmers' mind, turns out.... so Matt, with no love-loss and maybe just a bit of resentment, called this house (despite its' grandiose charm and the memories we built as a family) simply The Brick House. We packed up and moved when I was pregnant with Adele'.

Home #4 is this, our current dream home. Since our dream house was really just a shell when we moved, we had to live with Matt's parents for a month or so. So I was pregnant when we packed up the Brick House and very VERY pregnant when we finally unpacked it into the new house. I lifted things WAY too heavy for a woman great with child and remember feeling guilty the whole time. But. It had to be done.

This house is much more grandiose than the brick house ever was and has barns to boot. It has high ceilings and large rooms and everything I ever wanted in a home (except a mortgage.) This is the home where we finally started to live as we always wanted to live: with wood heat, with animals, with a huge garden and chickens. This is where we had Halloween parties in the woods, and circus parties and book parties and Christmas parties. It is where I began to teach myself about food storage and preparedness. It is where Matt taught himself how to butcher a cow himself. With his bare hands he tore the cow from limb to limb. It is where we began having somewhat regular dates (once every several months) since the grandparents lived close by for babysitting. This is the house where Adele' and Judah joined our family. We call this home The Mansion.

Home #5 is the one we are working hard for, the one that is pulling us and our attentions from the moment we wake up to the moment we collapse into bed, and then pervades our dreams. When we first began looking at it, I called it the Hobbit Hole. With its dark paneling for walls, short ceilings, lack of light fixtures and just general claustrophobic feel, that name seemed to suit it. But of course, it won't be long before I throw buckets of white paint in every direction to brighten up the place. So, no....it won't be called the Hobbit Hole. Instead, a much better, more fitting name we have decided on is....


Right now, the only homestead we have is built of hope and mortared with plans. The place we envision, the place we hope for is something we have to work to attain, something we ARE working for. So... Hopestead it is. And each time a piece of laminate flooring or wallpaper is peeled back, that hope grows.

We have been working tirelessly at Hopestead this past week. From dawn to dusk. we wake up, eat breakfast, I make lunch and snack and we go and are gone until dinner (and often later)

I feel homeless right now. Our Mansion is as of yet not packed (except books) and still feels like home but the only time we are here is to sleep. We spend every moment we can at Hopestead but it feels nothing at all like a home, only like work. We basically do our 'living' in the car between the two homes. And that is DEFINITELY the only time I sit down too. Pretty sad.

But! Not without its benefits. Here is some of what we have done:

You've seen this before:

Now it looks like this:

This is how the someday school room was looking last week:

Now it looks like this:

This is one of two medium sized bedrooms with lighting and small closets in the upstairs. The other two small rooms were part of the original house and have only a single (not grounded) outlet each to boast and barn boards for floors.

And here it is now~ so empty it echoes.

This is the BEFORE picture of the girls' room:

And, while it isn't DONE...here it is presently:

The hallway then:

And now:

The stairway then:

And now:

The master bedroom~the easiest of the upstairs rooms.

After I tackled it:

While I was tackling the rooms~ Matt was on the tractor taking load by load of stuff to the fire, tearing down shelves, building shelves, helping haul furniture, and completely cleaning out the granary. I never got a before picture of that-but it was amazing what he did all himself.

Once the last of the STUFF is gotten rid of, we can begin to squeeze as many cosmetic changes as we can muster into one week. Then, ready or not, it is time to move.

And finally..... a little something I find solace in:

by Edgar Albert Guest

The dreamer sees the finished thing
before the start is made;
She sees the roses pink and red
beyond the rusty spade,
And all that bleak and barren spot
which is so bare to see
Is but a place where very soon
the marigolds will be.

Imagination carries her
across the dusty years,
And what is dull and commonplace
in radiant charm appears.
The little home that she will build
where willows bend and bow
Is but the dreamer's paper sketch,
but she can see it now.

She sees the little winding walk
that slowly finds her door,
The chimney in its ivy dress,
the children on the floor;
The staircase where they'll race and romp,
the windows where will gleam
The light of peace and happiness -
the house that's still a dream.

You see the weeds and rubbish there,
and ugliness and grime,
But she can show you where there'll be
a swing in summertime.
And she can show you where there'll be
a fireplace rich with cheer,
Although you stand and shake your head
and think the dreamer queer.

Imagination! This it is
the dreamer has today;
She sees the beauty that shall be
when time has cleared the way.
She reads the blueprint of her years,
and she can plainly see
Beyond life's care and ugliness -
the joy that is to be.

Friday, October 07, 2011


Looking for a little heart warming in these turning-chilly October days....

...and Carl Larsson never disappoints.