Monthly Archives: April 2011

God’s Plan for the House

There is a verse that I post often, quote often, and remind myself of often. Do you know why? Because it is quite literally the story of my life and I shall share it with you.

Proverbs 16:9 – ” A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”

I just started a Bible Study with an awesome group of gals out here in Owasso, Oklahoma: Jonah: The Interrupted Life. Wow! It’s like God just said, you still need to learn this lesson so we’re going to go over it and over it until you get it. =) Hmmm…I am a stubborn one sometimes.

You see I like to be a planner. I like things all lined up in order. I like to know what’s going on. I like to be prepared. “But the Lord directeth his steps.” And God hasn’t directed my steps the way I had it planned. I didn’t plan on getting pregnant on my honeymoon. I didn’t plan on having 3 kids in 3 years. I didn’t plan on living without my husband because of how much he had to work the first couple years of our marriage. I didn’t plan on only having one car. I didn’t plan on having to pinch pennies so carefully. I didn’t plan on saying goodbye to one of my babies. I didn’t plan on moving to Oklahoma.

“But the Lord directeth his steps.” I thought if I did the right thing and obeyed God than I would get in return only what I had coming to me. Now, I wouldn’t say that to you if you asked me, but that’s, in essence, how I thought about life. To be honest, I still think that way sometimes. I remember looking around at other people (big mistake) and asking God why he wasn’t making my life easier. “I thought I was doing the right thing, God; why does it seem you’re always making things harder?” Now, if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s,

1.) Quit looking at other people. It’s a big waste of time and God says it’s not wise.

2 Corinthians 10:12 – “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

2.) Everyone has their own struggles. They may seem insignificant to me, but it is huge for them. An African woman living in a hut would look at my housing situation and think, “Man! What does she have to complain about? She has running water!” And my husband’s been to Africa, so maybe that’s why we bought that house. =)

3.) God is not in the business of making our lives easier. That may sound warped, but I’m telling you it’s true. You know how I know. Because I’ve been “through the fire.” I can’t disclose everything because God hasn’t given me peace about it. But I’m telling you He made beauty out of ashes. I fought with God. I was bitter. I was ugly. I was disrespectful. I was prideful. But He didn’t give up on me. I can’t believe He kept working on me and keeps working on me.

Job 23:10 – “But he knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

So do you know what God’s plan was for that house? Well, it was nearing completion after a year and a half of steady plugging away. We were dumping every spare change we had into it so it could be finished. We were running out of change and that was a problem. A big problem since baby number three was on his way. Steven was putting in for every possible promotion at work. One was in Montana. Another was in Alaska. Others were in North Carolina or Georgia. My husband is so diligent I’ll tell you. Most men would crack under the pressure of having a third baby in 3 years, but he’s a real trooper. And calm as all get-out. He interviewed for months and through a series of events that will take up a whole other blog post, he got this job in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The only place he had interviewed for that I really wanted to go. Boy, God is good, isn’t He?!

We moved out here literally 2 weeks later and I haven’t seen that house since. Beautiful crown molding went up after I left and all the odds and ends that were bugging me got finished up. So, I have not even seen it “finished”. But you know, I am completely fine with that. God taught me to love my eternal home more than the present. And I really mean that. I long for heaven now more than I ever have. I learned how really worthless earthly possessions are. I learned to never get “settled” because I am not the pilot of this plane. And I just gave that house that I had put so much time into back to the Lord. It took a solid year and a half to get to that point. But God did it. And I’m glad.

Here are the “after” pictures, but keep in mind they are not true after pictures because I left before it was all done.

Shelving was added and crown molding after I left.

~Living Room~

~Master Bedroom~
Crown molding was added in here after I left as well.

~First Floor Bath~

~Second Floor Bath ~
~ Emma Claire’s Bedroom ~
(Blue bedspread does not belong on bed.) =)

~ Shiloh’s Bedroom ~

~ My Sewing Room! ~

The House That Changed Me: Part 2

This is the process…
It began with lists…and lists…and more lists.
I am a list writer. I got that straight from my mother. I swore I would never write one as soon as I got out of the house because we kids used to HATE her lists. So…yeah…explain this picture…
And so now Steven pretty much HATES my lists. Not because I write them, but the way I write them I’m told. Apparently I put too much on one list that will never all be accomplished in a day. I don’t see a problem with that. But someone does. =)

The process then includes preparation for the job. We were less than perfect with this. You see, our goal (probably more mine – read caption of first photo) was to get this house flipped in a year. Never mind the fact that Steven worked 2 sometimes 3 jobs during the first year we lived there and I was pregnant most of that year or had a newborn. I now know why Steven thinks I was psycho.

We worked rapid fire on this house I’m telling you. Prep got to be really a hassle as you can see…
I’m using my nice Pottery Barn drape for a shield from the dust storm in the kitchen as we sanded cabinets and scraped off the popcorn ceiling, complete with a paint can holding it down at the bottom. I really don’t know what I was thinking. Actually, “Get this done,” is what I was thinking.
Our house was always under some MAJOR project so we never actually enjoyed a room for what it was supposed to be made for. I brushed my teeth in the kitchen. We pulled our food out of the fridge in the living room. Then we ate our meals in the bathroom. It all depended on what was functioning at the moment.

Next, hire as much free labor as you can. And I have to tell you, my siblings were real troopers to help us out on the week of Christmas break to redo our entire kitchen. We still owe you guys dinner out for that one, so we’ll plan on that when we see you next week!

My sister, Becky, priming closets we added in the kitchen.
My sister, Abby, sleepily sands down our original cabinetry for painting.

My brothers, Timmy and Isaac, scrape popcorn off the ceiling.

Matt sands down cabinetry.

My brother, Michael, cutting out space for our tile back splash. Woa! Check out the wallpaper. We had hideous wallpaper in several rooms. But it wasn’t just wallpaper. There were layers. Layers of painted over wallpaper…talk about a hassle.

Next, pick a cute husband who can look great covered in dust, doesn’t mind working the late nights, and who knows how to do everything in order to flip a house…and if he doesn’t, he’s willing to learn.

Lastly, order some cute kiddos who are really flexible, love visiting Lowes at 10 o’ clock at night….

can sleep in a playpen while mommy paints…

pitch in to help with any job...

and keep you company while you work.

I cannot leave out the many family and friends who babysat the kids for us so we could get stuff done. Or those of you who let us use your truck since we didn’t have one. Or those of you who just came over and helped us with projects. We owe a HUGE thank you to you and please know how much we appreciate and love all of you!

And the Lord was the greatest friend – right by my side through it all. Sometimes I didn’t know it or feel it, but He was there and had a plan for it all.

The House That Changed Me

You know that song called, “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert? It’s one of my favorites! I could come up with my own version: “The House That Changed Me”. But if you’re thinking about buying a flip house anytime soon, you might not want to listen to it. =)Really, it was God that used that house to change me.

Tomorrow marks the 2 year anniversary of the day we closed on this house:We didn’t live in it until 3 weeks later. 3 weeks astonishes me when I look back over these pictures. I can’t believe we actually went through with this! We had an almost 1-yr. old and I was 6 months along with Shiloh. We had saved a bunch of money and wanted to invest it in flipping a house, while living in it. The market was right, interest rates at their lowest, and we found the cheapest house in the nicest neighborhood. What could be a better time to flip a house?! =)

I can’t help but smile when I think of how excited we were, how many ideas we had, and how optimistic we were about that 2,100 square foot dump. And it really was. Most do not believe me when I tell them our house was bad. Then, they see pictures and…well…they believe me. Most of these pictures are not true “before” pictures, but they’re enough to make me feel a pit in my stomach when I remember all the work.

That’s me in all my 6-month-pregnant-glory scraping wall paper and crusted walls. There was not a smooth patch of wall in that house. Steven just said to me the other day, “If I had it to do all over again, I would have just paid somebody to install new sheet rock in the whole thing.”

Here’s another shot of the back of the house. That deck was the nicest feature of the house. (A railing was added in case you’re wondering.) That’s the only thing I’ve missed from our home since we’ve moved. I have many fond memories of sitting outside with the girls while they rode bikes, played on their play set, or swam in their little $10 pool. We planted flowers together in our pots on that deck; we hung Christmas lights out there; we sunbathed out there; we played with friends out there; we chatted with the nicest neighbor ever out there! Amazing really that you buy a house and your favorite spot is outside.

This is the best “before” picture I have of the kitchen. This was the day I came home from the hospital with Shiloh. You can’t see it, but the floor was nasty. I scrubbed and scrubbed with bleach but the peeling laminate was permanently stained with neon pink spots and other unknown things.

This is a picture of our living room after demo had begun. It was severely termite damaged (which we knew before we bought it). causing all of the sub floor and cross beams to be unsalvageable.

The same was true of the laundry room (above) and parts of the 1st floor bathroom. (below)

This photo is of our Master Bedroom.

The bedrooms upstairs were in the best condition out of everything. The carpet was severely stained in some spots and still needs to be replaced.

The upstairs bathroom.

My favorite little space inside – a walk-in closet upstairs – that got transformed into my little sewing room.

I always struggle with how much to share here on a public blog. I have been blessed thoroughly by other people’s honesty on the web. I myself prefer to be an open book. It’s just my nature and an easier way of life for me honestly. But it’s not all about me here on this blog. It’s my husband’s life and my children’s lives getting documented as well. I’ve wrestled with God the last few days over how much to share here about the year and a half that I lived at this house. The spiritual breakthroughs, the refining process of our marriage, my personal pain and struggles, and the lessons learned. But I’ve not gotten the green light yet from God. So until then, trust me that I am a completely different person because God used that house and the events that occurred while I lived there to change me into looking less like me and more like Him.

So, there you have it. Tomorrow I’ll share some of the process.