Tuesday, July 31, 2018


- - - - - - - - - -

Perhaps you've heard a rumor that the God-of-the-Old-Testament didn't value or protect women? Well, I am amazed by how very un-true that rumor is, which I am discovering firsthand during my current read-through of the Bible. Back in June, I started a 6-month reading plan (this one) using the CSB Study Bible for Women (this one). I highly recommend this study Bible; it is excellent! Jumping out of the pages at me--literally, because they have a spotlight on each one--are the women of the Old Testament. God noticed these women. Their lives are recorded. And, do you know what I notice most of all?

They are amazingly COURAGEOUS.

My word for the year! Courage! These women are just remarkable--21 women from the book of Numbers to 2 Samuel. Can you list 21 courageous women from the Old Testament? I don't know that I could have! You better believe I'm going to tell you all about them. These women deserve to be remembered. (And this isn't even an exhaustive list! It's just women from seven books of the Bible and doesn't include prominent women like the patriarch wives or Queen Esther.) Let's learn a little about their stories, shall we?

1-5. Daughters of Zelophehad: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah (Numbers 27 & 36, Joshua 17)
          * boldly asked for what they needed and took care of their family's future

6. Rahab (Joshua 2)
          * recognized the Israelite's God was the true God, saved the spies, and was rescued from the fall of Jericho

7. Acsah, Caleb's daughter (Joshua 15, Judges 1)
          * asked her father for a field and the springs, thereby taking care of her family

8. Deborah (Judges 4 & 5)
          * prophetess, judge-ruler and military leader

9. Jael (Judges 4)
          * resourceful & brave: killed a military commander by putting a spike through his head

10. Abimelech's killer (Judges 9)
          * dropped a millstone on his head from a tower roof, killing him and changing the course of a war

11. Jephthah's daughter (Judges 11)
          * a sad story, but still she honorably fulfilled her father's vow

12. Manoah's wife / Samson's mother (Judges 13-14)
          * the angel of the Lord appeared to her first and she was a faithful mother

13-14. Ruth & Naomi (the book of Ruth)
          * need I write more? . . . these two women show such love, devotion & courage

15. Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2)
          * prayed for a child and then courageously gave him to the Lord  Side note: one of my favorite characters in the Bible.

16. Abigail (1 Samuel 25)
          * acted swiftly and decisively to save her entire family from King David's (justified) wrath, later became his wife

17. a wise woman of Tekoa (2 Samuel 14)
          * the military commander brought her all the way from Tekoa to use her wit, perception & cunning to help King David change his mind about his son

18-19. two unnamed women in an intelligence network used to take information to King David who was on the run from his son (2 Samuel 17)  Side note: I can't make this stuff up! The Bible is amazing!
          * one was a servant girl; the other was "the wife of a man in Bahurim" and she hid two men in a well when they were carrying an important message

20. a wise woman of Abel (2 Samuel 20)
          * intervened in an attack on her city: convinced the city leaders to cut off a man's head ("wise counsel"), threw it over the wall and saved her city

21. Rizpah (2 Samuel 21)
          * bravely watched over the bodies of her dead sons to protect them from disgrace, which moved King David to give honorable burial to her entire family

Please, you must go read these stories for yourself. Such bravery, cunning, wisdom, devotion, resourcefulness and courage displayed in these women. See, God honored women and used them mightily for His purposes, as He still does today!

Monday, July 16, 2018


- - - - - - - - - -

Are you ready for a house project list update? This may not be all that interesting to the general public, but it's encouraging to see what we've accomplished and helps us to prioritize our list going forward. Back in September 2017, I posted what's "next on the list" and here is the updated version almost a year later. Also included are a couple of updated photos, because that's obviously the fun part.

Blue is done!
Red is currently in process.

I think I'll just point people to this post when they ask if we're almost done working on the house. Oh boy! Far from it! Much still to be done but thankful for God's provision for all that we've been able to complete so far.

Main floor of the house
  • dining room board & batten wall treatment -- installed but still needs to be caulked & painted
  • downstairs trim -- still in process, about 75% installed, need to fill nail holes and paint
  • all new windows for the house, plus add two new ones -- ordered, to be installed early August
  • kitchen: drawer front on the drawer under the microwave, wine rack, toe kick under the cabinets, sliding barn door
  • front door rebuilt with new door and sidelights
  • built-in corner computer desk in the library
  • build out the fireplace hearth
  • laundry room: built-ins and cabinets for shoes, laundry storage, etc.
  • all new interior doors (10) and closet doors (10)
Before & After view of new dining room shelving and also the board & batten wall treatment.

Basement and upstairs
  • insulate attic
  • add ceiling fan in master bedroom
  • clean out the basement
  • basement playroom / sensory gym for the kids
  • build basement storage/utility room
  • clean out the guest bedroom & prepare for guests
  • hang art in the girls' room
  • master closet organization system -- we have a Rubbermaid system to hold us over...just need to install
  • kids bathroom redo -- tile shower walls, tile floor, new sinks & countertop, etc.
  • master bathroom gut & rebuild
  • build a 3rd bed for the boys' room and hang art
  • finish basement music studio rooms, guest bedroom, full bathroom, and living area -- started working on electrical and framing
  • new sliding door in the walkout basement

Master bedroom in process. There's a new window coming soon!

Guest bedroom ready for visitors!

Outside at the house
  • clean up the garage
  • new garage door and opener system
  • new insulation and siding for the entire house -- currently saving for this project
  • build a front porch -- saving for this one too
  • add flooring in the attic above the garage
  • refinish the deck
  • rebuild and/or reface the chimney

Last fall--view of the side yard looking toward the barn (house is to the right).
And below is the same view today--you can see the barn a little bit better!

Outside in the yard
  • get a 4-wheeler
  • build a chicken house -- still need to finish trim and paint
  • get chickens and cats
  • mini-redo on the deck (read about it here!)
  • gravel drive to the barn
  • clean out the pole barn -- still in process but looking much better
  • clear the brush to make a grass field between the house and the barn -- in process
  • get goats
  • build mini-barn
  • landscape around the house
  • purchase a new well pump
  • grade and re-seed the yard
  • build a treehouse (#priorities) and hang more swings
  • and so much more.....create a pasture for the animals, build a fire-pit area, etc.

The chicken house! An entire post about this coming to the blog soon...

Thursday, June 21, 2018


- - - - - - - - - -

It's been awhile since I've posted any sort of Tree House update, so I thought it might be fun to share the changes we've made on the deck this year. When the weather is nice, the deck becomes just an extension of our kitchen, providing a place to eat and color and swing and rest. The deck itself desperately needs to be refinished and the back of the house needs some major siding help (it looks pretty bad right now) and the rest of the yard is a bit of a mess, but I figured with a few quick & relatively inexpensive projects, I could make the deck a pretty oasis for our family.

The moral of the story: don't wait to enjoy a space until "someday" when the major projects are done and it's looking amazing--just do what you can today to make the space most usable and pretty and welcoming in the meantime! (Just make it beautiful!)

My plan of action:
* find a table to refinish so we can eat more meals outside (bought a table & bench off of Facebook marketplace and then sanded/stained/sealed)
* find 3 chairs to add to the table (found colorful ones on sale at Menards!)
* buy a rug to make a soft landing spot for little feet and to bring some fun color (I looked at 5 different stores before I found what I was looking for)
* move the swing to face out toward the woods, stain & seal the wood to match the table
* hang cafe lights to bring ambiance in the evening
* buy 2 ferns in the cheap section at Lowes (the plants that are not doing well and they're just getting rid of) and plop them in big pots I found in the barn and hope they survive!
* buy a container of pansies because they make me happy and remind me of my Gram

Here is the difference from winter to spring--it's amazing how different it looks once the trees fill in! Really gives you a sense of the "tree house" feel of our backyard. And this is before we turned the swing around.

This is the before & after on the table project. I love the power of stain!

Also the before & after on the swing.

And here's some photos of our sweet outdoor spot!

And a night-time shot.

Morning sunshine.

Instead of noticing all the places that still need work, I'm choosing to be grateful for this beautiful place to be together and enjoy the outdoors. And it's the perfect spot for gathering! Who wants to come over for some deck-sitting and bird watching? You're always welcome, friends!