Sunday, November 27, 2016


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WEEK 6 // November 14 - 20

Taking advantage of the last week of very nice weather (especially for November in Indiana!), Bryce finished up the flashing on the chimney and ran the electrical for outside security lights. He also spent a couple of days removing the old insulation on the ductwork in the attic and then putting on all new insulation.

Bryce gutted the kitchen and laundry room. (Thanks to Justin for helping!) We're down to the studs, everybody! This wasn't in the original plan (whatever that was) but necessary at this point. There was some mold in the base cabinets in the kitchen, leaking pipes in the ceiling from the second story bathrooms, rotting studs in the laundry room, plumbing run incorrectly...and the list goes on. But there was a bonus in all of this mess: Bryce found and fixed the electrical issue for the basement! What he thought was going to be a complete new install turned out to be an easily-fixed chewed-through wire in the wall behind the half bath--and we have lights in the basement now!

A gutted kitchen. I'm pretty sure this is the part where it looks significantly worse before it gets better.

Fixed wiring to the basement!

Bryce and Tom also widened and raised the doorway between the dining room and kitchen. Before it was a normal-sized doorway with louvered doors on the dining room side. We took off the doors (which we're going to re-purpose for the pantry) and opened the doorway to counter depth and raised it to the ceiling so that the ceiling will run continuously from the kitchen to the dining room. I love it! The flow between the rooms will be so much better now and the dining room won't feel cut off from the kitchen.

Doorway before

And after! That's going to make such a big difference.

Don't mind the mess in the dining room!

There also was a raised part of the subfloor where one joist was sitting higher than the rest, so they cut out the subfloor with the plan to make that joist flush with the rest.

We called for them to take away a very full dumpster at the end of the week. We might need to get another with all of the unexpected gutting that's happening around this Tree House.

For my part, I've been trying to scope out deals on supplies. So far I've rounded up these second-hand items (with the help of my friend Chris, who is helping me keep an eye on Facebook sale groups): a reverse osmosis, steel door for between the house and garage, a gas double oven, stackable washer and dryer, and a toilet for the half bath. I've also been trying to get our well water tested through the Marion County health department. The office where I need to pick up and drop off the tests is a 25 minute drive downtown. Between unexpected state holidays and my forgetting to take a personal check every time, it's getting comical (and cry-inducing) how many times I've driven down there to no avail! Very frustrating at this point. I still have two tests (of the four) to complete and take downtown and I will be very relieved when that project is done (or "done-zo" as the children say).

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I AM the Bread of Life

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Jesus' "I AM" Statement #1
John 6:35 & 48

Jesus is Sufficient
* He fills me up; no other soul-food is needed. *

"He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35). "For My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life" (John 5:40).

Jesus Satisfies
* He quenches my deepest soul-longings and hungers. *

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:51).

Jesus Sustains
* He keeps me full for the long-haul (i.e. eternity). *

"Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood . . . has eternal life, I will raise him up on the last day, remains in Me and I in him, will live because of Me, will live forever . . ." (John 6:54-58).

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


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WEEK 5 // November 7 - 13

Have I mentioned before that I've been painting lots of trim? I spent an evening and an afternoon painting at the house--starting on the bright white trim paint. I love white trim; it makes such a big difference. Although, now the white walls look pretty dingy and the hallway looks yellow...ready to get some new paint up there.

Bryce finished up all of the soffits and put up cedar trim where the garage roof meets the house (thanks for the help, Jesse!). He also took out the old counter flashing on the chimney, ground out the old mortar and installed new counter flashing.  (Yes, Bryce is dictating this to me--I have no idea what I'm writing right now.)

We opened up the wall between the laundry room and the kitchen about a foot. It will make entering and exiting via the garage much easier--no more traffic jam in between the doorways. You can see where the old wall came to by the 2x4 that is still on the floor in the second picture. Bryce raised the doorway about 8 inches. (Thanks to Justin and Ian for also jumping in to help this week.)

Torn out all the way to the ceiling (you can see the 2x4 on the floor)

New opening framed and electrical moved

The other major happening this week: we tore down the wall between library/den and the entry hallway. Our original idea was to make an opening to match the living room to entry opening. But Bryce decided we needed to just tear the whole thing down, making the flow better and eliminating a tight hallway. I wasn't on board at first but getting there. The name for the room probably needs to change--it's more like a Great Room now!

Before (looking from the library towards the entry, that's the pocket door on the left

During demo

AFTER! Can you believe it?!

For perspective, here's a good before and during from the same vantage point:

Other items Bryce accomplished: worked on the electrical in the pantry, started tearing apart the laundry room and repaired part of the deck that he took apart when working on the outside walls and sliding door.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


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WEEK 4 // October 31 - November 6

Justus has spent quite a bit of time playing at the house while Bryce is working (one less kid does wonders for the mama). This day he was down in the "ravine" behind the house, having a great time on an "adventure."

Not many pictures of this, but I kept slowly chipping away at painting the trim upstairs. Four bedrooms + a hallway + 2 bathrooms + 5 closets is a lot of window, floor and doorway trim! This week (with the help of dear friends Chris and Kerri) we finished priming all of the trim, as well as the bathroom vanities. 

Vanity before. They were pretty gross.

Thank goodness for primer!
I also worked on painting our bedside tables back at Tom & Wendy's house--the same color as the bed frame that I painted at my parents' house. Finally, Wendy spent a couple of afternoons cleaning and vacuuming cobwebs--that made such a big difference!

A rainbow Bryce saw one day while working.

 Bryce's main job for the week was installing new soffits. He also had someone come out to give a quote on new gutters and leaf guards.

All ready to go! Lots of up-and-down-the-ladder work.

New soffits!

During the evening work hours, Bryce finished putting in the new beam in between the library and kitchen (since it's a load bearing wall), and framed out the new pantry. It's about a foot wider than the old one--I'm excited about the extra space.

Support walls are up for putting in a new beam.

Framed out pantry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


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This little grantedgrace blog of mine reached a milestone this week: it's received 30,000 views since the start back in 2007 and this is post #402. Just for fun, here's a post from way back in the beginning. I've come a long way in 10 years!

To commemorate that milestone (unintentionally), today my first guest blog was posted!

"If you were to peek in the Langebartels’ home, you might see two little boys awake at 5:55 a.m., interrupting their mother’s Bible/coffee time. You would quickly notice the endless diaper changes and half-folded loads of laundry lying around the house in baskets. . . ." 
Click over to continue reading: Clay Jar Living

Last Sunday at church, Bryce and I had the privilege of sharing our story, especially as it relates to foster care and Safe Families for Children. Such an honor! We are excited about the journey that our church is on to care for vulnerable children, spurred on by the hope of the Gospel!

You can watch the 3 minute video of a day-in-the-life HERE.
Or you can watch the full interview HERE.

We are so thankful for these continuing opportunities to share our heart for children and to join alongside others in a similar journey!

Monday, November 14, 2016


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WEEK 3 // October 24-30

More work on the roof and they were finally able to finish it up! (A big thank you to my dad, Bruce, for all of his help on the roof!)

Bryce opened up the doorway from the kitchen eat-in to the library, for better flow between the rooms and more light in the library. This meant taking out the built-in desk and cabinet above it, but makes room for a slightly bigger pantry.

Opened doorway! Bryce is holding the board where the wall used to be.

One evening I cleaned the kids bathroom. And also worked on deciding paint colors for the walls downstairs and upstairs.

So many paint swatches!

I line up all of the possibilities and start narrowing it down.
Lovely contact paper in the kid's bathroom closet.
All of the sinks and toilets have rust/iron stains--but this is the before.
And here's the after--much better!

On Sunday afternoon a small group from our church came to help for the afternoon. We were blown away by and so grateful for all they were able to get done! (Probably about 1-2 weeks of man-hours for Bryce and I.) Over the three hours they tore out the carpet on the main floor, tore out the linoleum and tile behind the oven in the kitchen, moved the oven out, primed the trim upstairs, picked up all of the shingles in the back of the house, cleared brush around the driveway and mulched wood in the front yard. Such a blessing!

Friday, November 11, 2016


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Week 2 // October 17-23

The kids and I went up to Fort Wayne for the week to stay with my parents. That way Bryce could focus on working on the house--and that he did, from sun up to sun down, literally.

Rainbow over the house.
When they were working on the garage roof, they found decaying wood (thanks to an incorrectly fixed roof leak) in the beams/joists of the garage roof and the corner of the house by the master bedroom/kitchen/laundry room. Bryce spent most of the week tearing off siding, building three support walls inside (one on each level), and replacing the rotten wood. 

This is where it started: all of that wood is not supposed to be black
Support wall in the master bedroom
The cut out in the corner of the master bedroom
That doesn't look too good!
Rotten parts are cut out
Looking better!

In the process, the sliding door from the kitchen eat-in area to the deck had to be replaced, which we knew would need to be done eventually. It made such a difference! (I don't have a picture of the new will come in future posts.)

The old sliding door is gone and all of the decaying wood is replaced.
The laundry room got torn apart since the plumbing for the washer was never run correctly. Also, some of the 2x4s in the outside wall will need to be replaced eventually as well. 

Our kitchen had a lovely wrought iron spiral staircase down to the basement. From the beginning we knew it had to go! There is an actual staircase just a few steps away in the front hallway and the spiral stairs used up precious real estate in the kitchen. Bryce took out the stairs and filled in the hole.

He also killed an unwanted house guest: a snake. Yes, a snake. We think it was living in the basement. Oh the joys of moving into an unoccupied house. There's one big plus in all of this: there were no mice in the house! Also, another plus: no other snakes have been sighted.

Blurry picture of our intruder guest
I painted our master bed while at my parents' house. My one small contribution. Well, that and watching all of the children.