Friday, December 5, 2014

Pollyanna I am not. Confessions of the heart and the saga of the drywall

In this blog I have tried to put on a positive front, but some of you that see me daily, know that this has not always been the case with this build. I want to be upfront with that, and yes, I do try to have a positive, sunny outlook on things. The truth is I don't always, and sometimes my eyes get on me and my situation and I grumble, A LOT.  I also get anxious, nervous and impatient. Some of this comes from being completely out of control, and this has been ongoing through out my adult life. When our children were small, we had very little money. We had one income to live off of. My husband Dan was an outdoors man and I learned to do what I could with deer, which was completely new to me.  I was thankful that my parents had brought me up they way they had, I had to be creative with hand me down clothing or what my mom could sew for my sister and I, and I was NEVER allowed to turn my nose up to what was placed on the table. Picky eating were not words that were allowed at my fathers table, but it helped that mom was a great cook. As an adult, I learned to make cheap meals, shop garage sales and consignment stores. If someone gave us a bag of clothing, I learned to use what I could, and again, be creative with it. For a good long time, I don't know that I had an article of clothing that was not found at a garage sale, consignment, given to me or on the clearance rack. (This excludes undergarments) There were times we did not have money for food, money to pay bills, or anything extra. We were that dirty word that no one likes to admit to, poor. Our house had lots of issues, including expensive structural work that needed to be done. As a result I became a bit of a pack rat. I had a hard time parting with items that I might sometime need, and I still struggle to get rid of items.  I also became very anxious about money, to the point that it was and actually still can be a struggle for me to really look at finances. I am saying that today, because things, situations in life can take me back to those uneasy anxious feelings. Gods word says in Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 

As an adult when I was troubled my mom would tell me to turn on good Christian music. There is just something about listening to good music that helps settle me. As a child, our home was filled with music. I grew an appreciation for many different music styles. From Blue Grass and old time country that my Grandpa would play, to the Blackwood Brothers Christian Quartet that would play always on Sunday morning as we got ready for church, (as well as lots of other times) to Chuck Mangione and other forms of jazz that my oldest brother Rick would listen to my other brother Curt listening to heavy metal, the Beach Boys album of my cousin's Jeff and Rhonda that I nearly wore out, and then was a small amount of time that I lived in the south and a greater appreciation for country music and orchestra music was born.
But as an adult, my greatest joy in music is listening to contemporary Christian and Praise. For me it is relevant to my life and situations, and Christ truly speaks to my heart and my anxiety through song. Most of the time you will find me listening to Life 107.1, and I am touched by the stories this radio station gives of changed lives, not by the music, but the hope that this music can point you to if you allow Christ to work in your heart.
      If you are reading this and you are learning about my struggle with anxiety, that's because I don't talk about it much, if I do, it is with a select group of people and I rarely delve into it's source. Quite frankly, it is a struggle of faith on my end or lack there of, and it continues to be a work in progress. For some reason, God has laid on my heart that I need to confess this struggle publicly, and how I have learned to deal with it. First, I must say that I have come to believe we are on a journey through life. If you believe yourself to be a Christian, and you live to have Christ first, it is a journey that Christ puts you on, to mold you for his use, and not your own. For this reason, I believe God has led me down many paths I would not have wanted to walk simply because he was going to use my situation and circumstance to meet the needs of others. I have attempted to never turn away anyone that God brought to me, and God has brought some of the most amazing people to me and through this, I have been greatly blessed as the people he has brought to me have left the greatest impact on my life, just by showing his absolute love and power. Most of those people are you, reading this, I have been told I have a greatly caring heart. This is why, because I have let others impact my life, because in my lowest moments God brought us together and we walked the path together. And most of you are very special to me. God has also taken people out of my life. I have struggled with this until just very recently. As I write the next few lines, please know that anything I am about to write, and you are to read is my opinion and experience, and do not expect accolades. This is Christ in me, and if you ever see any good in me, please know that it is Christ in me, and not my carnal heart you see.

Poverty- And how it changed me- I spoke earlier about the anxiety it created, but there was some great growth I made that would have come no other way. You never find out exactly how creative you can be until you have nothing. I grew a greater discovery of sewing, cooking, gardening, canning, painting, creating, and decorating from nothing. I learned how to look at throw away items and find use of them. God changed my heart by allowing me to go through poverty, and with the people that I have been able to connect with later. Rather than look at someone in judgement who might be down in out, I have great compassion, and usually find myself  humbled.
   When I reentered the work world after my youngest was in school, I followed God's guidance that led me to education and early childhood. (Pre-K) I grew in independence as I learned that I could do anything if I determined to. I also learned that if God put me some place, he would give me the ability to perform. And he did. A few years after my first endeavor in preschool I took a job with Head Start. Head Start is a preschool program for income eligible and low income families. I was able to show great respect to many of these struggling families, mostly young, single women. I learned that all any one really wants is to be treated with dignity and respect. You don't have to agree with someone's life choices, situation or circumstance to treat others with respect, you just see them worthy of respect. I currently am friend with several of my former preschool students on Facebook, and I enjoy seeing them grow and spread their wings.

Anxiety and yes at time depression- I heard a report that indicated 8% of Americans 12 years and older were moderately to severely depressed, and that depression is more prevalent in women. These numbers do not surprise me, and I am humbled at the amount of people I have ran into that suffered from both depression and anxiety. For me, again it is usually my spiritual walk, and I need to draw close to the Lord in prayer, devotions and music. But in my times that I suffered, and times that I starting sharing myself with others, I found that most of the time I could take a look around and find about 5 people who had life much, much worse. As I started to look around, instead of my own circumstance, not only did I see those who had things worse, but I started to notice how much God had blessed me, and how much he had taken care of not only me, but my entire family. As I started looking for God's blessings, and acknowledging God's grace, he blessed me more. I still would have struggles, and would still have moments of discouragement, but I learned how to lean of Christ more and more. God has been extremely good to me, but he has allowed me to walk through some very dark moments.

Selfishness- As much as my life has been impacted by God's grace, it has also been deeply impacted by selfishness of others, and to watch the impact of my life, my families lives and the impact selfishness has played in the lives of loved ones. The pain of selfishness can be unbearable, and most of the time, the selfishness is is so denied by those guilty of it, they can never acknowledge the impact they have had on others, which adds to the hurt.

There are some hurts I hope I never have to experience, but if I do, I hope I can remember to draw close to Christ.

So enough about me and on with the house, which is why I started to write this whiny entry. On Wednesday, November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving we had the drywallers arrive. It was my first snowy drive, and a man had come out to show them where we were to have drywall hung and where we were not. He was worried about them driving out in the snow, but they made it, and had a majority of the house hung by nights end. The next morning to our surprise they were back to finish. This was Thanksgiving morning. Thursday evening, we had a call from our builder telling us that we needed to turn on our furnace so they could come mud and tape the next morning. Now let me remind you, we have no doorway from our garage, which is open, to our house, and there are three downstairs windows with plastic covering them, but no windows. And we are supposed to turn our furnace on.........So they sent someone down to put a piece of heavy plywood over the door, but Dan reluctantly turned it on. Because the furnace we have installed produces condensation, once you have turned it on in the cold temperatures, you have to leave it on, or it can do damage. But we were told they would be there in the morning, so this is what we had to do. The next one.......the next morning, no one. Day after day we were told they will be there, but they weren't. I started writing this blog on Monday December 1. Confessing what I felt God wanted me to and on Tuesday, December 2nd they started our septic system. On Thursday, December 4th they finally began to mud our walls. Today the Amish guys should be back with my three basement windows, and the door between the house and garage. By this time next week, I will likely be either cleaning, or possibly painting.....Lord willing as we say in Christian circles.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 11-26

So November has been cold. We were able to sneak a few days in above freezing during the day, and rarely at night. About a week ago they finished putting the siding up on the outside. We are now waiting for garage doors, three windows in the basement that came in wrong. (We've been waiting for about 3 weeks on those) septic, and drywall. When I left home this day before Thanksgiving this morning our drywall crew had showed up finally. Dan has been working for the past few days to install our fireplace, and we got more snow. We are both getting just a little weary of delays. 

 The morning after they completed the front of our house, the sun was just coming up and I snapped this picture. I then grew just a little concerned at how bright the red was. You will see by the pictures below that it's not quite as bright, and I love it. the end is in sight of camper living, but a few very big steps need to happen, so continued prayers are requested.

 For these shots of the house, I actually walked around the entire house to capture several different views.

The fireplace looks so small in this space, but it is a beast of a fireplace. Can't wait to get a fire started, and come home to the smell of a wood burning fire. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Home Sweet Camper

We purchased our first travel trailer camper a number of years ago, when our children were still young. Some of my family already had campers and wanted us to go on adventures with them. We saw it as a way to take cheaper vacations as a family. We also knew that we would be needing to redo our only bathroom in our house and this could serve as temporary facilities.  So we took off on adventures with family. My cousin Jeff and his family, and my cousin Rhonda and her family and my brother Curt and his family. Several of our kids were around the same age, but even if they were not, they all got along wonderfully. While we were able to be out on our adventures, our kids had the freedom of enjoying their childhood, but they also were able to develop relationships with cousins that still last to this day. Their is a safety that comes from being able to develop these relationships, an unconditional love that is there. The ability to be 10-11 again when they get together. Not a care in the world and no lofty airs to put on. Just let your hair down and be yourself. I should know, I had this when I was a child. Some of my greatest memories occurred while on vacation with the family of these very same cousins. One of the first vacations we took in our travel trailer was to Colorado. We took our one 4 wheeler with us, and set off for adventure. On our travels out there we visited lots of old gold mining sites, mining museums, we set off on hikes into the wilderness. We went on a river rafting trip down the Arkansas river that runs through Colorado.
A few years later we traded in our travel trailer for a fifth wheel trailer just in time to go to Branson, and then the next year we went back to Colorado for the last time.
This was our first time down the Arkansas, and we took my nephew Travis down with us on this trip. 

This trip was taken a few years later. This year we took my cousin Jeff's son along for the ride. When we started the trip the water was quite low, and it was fairly warm. After we started down this river storm clouds started forming, then a tornado warning went off, and the temperature dropped dramatically. It started to rain, then it stared to hail. This picture was taken during the storm, Midway down we were forced to the side of the river to try to get out temporarily to seek some shelter. By the time we got back to the river and got down and all the boats were in from the trip down we were absolutely freezing. But we had fun and made great memories.

                                                                          This was taken looking over Twin Lakes in Colorado

This picture was taken at the Continental Divide in Colorado

Jake in Tin Cup 

The last time we wen to Colorado and this time Jake had his own 4 wheeler, and Dan had a trail 4 wheeler. That freed Jen and I to have the Honda. 


One day when we were driving we noticed this trail, we took the boys back with us and spent a few hours jumping the large hills 

Look out, yes this is me. 

Nuff said

Travis, Curt, Dan, Jen and Jake

Curt. Jordan, Dan and off to the side Travis

Our camper has not been used for the past couple of years. Jen and Jake had been busy working and going to school, and we have been busy working on other things. We have actually put the camper on Craigslist, praying that the right buyer would come along and love it for their family. But that did not happen, and last year it became apparent that we were probably going to need to stay in it for a while during the build, which was really fine with me, as I really do love my camper. So in June, I packed up my summer clothes and Dan's summer clothes, and we headed for my in laws front yard. Yep, that's where we were for June, July, August AND most of September. Count that folks 4 months, in about 300 square feet, just me, my hubby and our kitty. Usually in the summer I can kind of dress down a bit, but once school starts back up, I try to look a little more professional. So, I headed back to the house to get some of my more professional clothing. Then it started getting a little chilly and well, I think I might need a couple of jackets. Oh and then yes, I NEED my boots, I cannot survive fall without my boots, in brown and black and heal and no heal and yes the brown bootie's, and I might need the black booties too. Did I mention the camper is not that big?????? Colder yet, I need my pants, and maybe some gloves, and a hat. And Dan needs some colder weather gear and some additional sweatshirts. Oh yah, it's October, and now I need a whole array of camo for him plus his boots. (Mine are cuter) Warmer PJ's and a few more blankets. Oh, it's going to be below freezing? Now, I need sweaters, and coats. So, I think you get the picture. 
So, I did some figuring and then I somewhat got very cranky. In two weeks, December 4, it will be exactly 6 months I have spent in my lovely tin can on wheels. GRRRR- Not what I had anticipated. And where on past years, I would have had fall leaves and decorations galore, I have clothing, and lots of it, and holes where windows should be. No septic, Grrr. Dry wall was coming? Oh well, they are on hold for a few days. Grr, Have I mentioned that when we moved the camper down to the new place, I made a deal with Dan. One less thing for him to worry about would be to not have solid waste in the septic tanks of the camper. I think we all know what I am talking about, and although I was happy at first, as the last several months and weeks down at the property, if I heard nature's call, I would have to go use......well nature. Yuck. So to the portta potty I went, except if it was raining or in the middle of the night, then I could put toilet paper in the tank. Sure. Till, it was 24 degrees on morning.......hello!! Then 5? You know it's bad when you are excited to go to work to use their facilities.
So with the hope that I would be in soon, I went to my old stomping grounds, the southside of Des Moines to grab a few things from Menards and Home Depot, and I stopped by Hobby Lobby. I love Hobby Lobby, so many fun things to do in your.........home, which I don't have, and won't be done, till way after Christmas. AND, even if I found something I LOVED, where would I put it? I went to look at the Christmas decorations, this usually inspires me, and today it depressed me. I haven't had a home to love for quite sometime now, and everything about building makes you want to get in there and make it home, especially now, and I can't. I had hit a low, and I was getting harder and harder to live with. It was getting harder and harder to focus on what was to come, but what was not. THEN, I saw a man with his family. He was hold a sign about being out work and needing money. Now when I say family, I mean a woman holding a young child, like 1 or 2. Last Saturday was COLD, not above freezing and it was snowing, and God convicted me. I have so, so much, and here is a man begging. No, I did not stop to help them, everything me knew that he was probably just using them as a tactic to pull at heartstrings and get money. What father would actually really take their family (baby) out to sit in the snowy cold while he begs?  But God did convict me that I have so much to be thankful for. Then my friend Sarah, who was undergoing surgery this week, and so many others of you, out there, hurting. Worrying about sending your kids to school this week, and the news has so many stories about so many needs and hurts, and I was grumbling  about not being able to decorate for holidays? and for holiday's that I know the true meaning to and celebrate that with passion. So, God has convicted me, and I have tried to have a better outlook this past week. Bear with me out there folks, it's not easy right now, but God is in control, and my hands are off the wheel. 
We met with the drywall crew last night, they should be starting anytime. Time to get ready to paint. :) Could you all please pray for the septic crew? Next week, please, and three windows that seem to be lost. Pray!!! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

November 10-14

So we were told that on the 17th the Amish would be siding the house, the insulators would be done, the septic would be going in, and the drywall would start. I began being hopeful that possibly by the week of Thanksgiving we might be in the basement. If this was possible, I had a lot to get figured out. So, I made some appointments to look at some finishing for the basement and other areas, so that when my builder said "Go" I would be ready to paint and tile the basement bedroom and bathroom.
Friday, Jen and I went to Junk and Jingle at the Fair Grounds, and met Dan's aunt Joy. I was hoping to find some fixtures for my home, but came out with a lantern and an ash bucket. Not that I could not have bought up several things I saw, but the priority right now is the staples of my home unfortunately, as I really have no place to put items. I did catch a picture of this amazing sled at the show.

The insulators had been busy working since Wednesday. It looks so different with the insulation in. 
Dan had taken part of the week off to hunt, turns out it was one of the coldest, windiest, weeks we seen so far this fall. He was disappointed. But the Amish were also working all week on putting on our metal gray roof and starting on the wall color, so he was glad he could be there to watch that. 

View of fireplace framing from loft

My kitchen will sit under the loft

Fireplace framing

View from greatroom down the back entry hall and towards the powder room



Dan's tractor 

First glimpse of the red that will go on the barn with the gray steel roof

The cold has set in, and we are now suffering through one of the longest cold spells for a November in weather history. I must admit, I am getting a bit crabby. More on that to come.