Friday, August 25, 2017


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It's been haunting us.

On Wednesday Bryce and I went on a lovely date night to the village at West Clay--a belated 8-year-anniversary dinner. We exclaimed over all of the lovely, new (huge!) houses surrounding the quaint little storefront restaurant. Enjoyed our dinner of burgers (for both) and fries (for him) and salad (for me). Chatted and listened to the live music near our table on the sidewalk eating area. It was a beautiful evening.

........but earlier that day, we sat at our kitchen table with a worker from our foster agency. She was on call the night before, and received urgent requests from the Department of Child Services (DCS) from 1am - 5am about twenty-three children sitting in the office who needed a place to sleep. 23 children. 23 scared and lonely children. Sleeping in an office cubicle. Because there are literally no available/willing foster homes to take them in the greater central Indiana area.

Oh, our hearts broke.
We asked again if we could take more children, but our home is "maxed out" according to the State.

As we drove back home through the beautiful neighborhood, it haunted us. How many bedrooms did those huge houses have? Five? Six? And yet they can't find a place to sleep children who are a mere 25 minute drive away. What is wrong with the world that such dichotomies exist? (Answer: Everything. Everything is wrong with the world. Everything is wrong with a world where children are sleeping in cubicles.)

I try to keep this blog about our personal journey (but not too personal, to protect the stories of our children). My main goal is to present the Gospel and the need, and then let the Holy Spirit do the convicting. But, maybe sometimes my words need to be stronger? Maybe I need to be more honest with you about the overwhelming need in your/our city?

Bryce and I are just heartbroken. For these children who have to sleep on the floor. For the care centers in Indianapolis that are overflowing and literally can't take one more child right now. For the agencies who are maxed out and desperate for more foster families. Where is the Church in Indianapolis? Where is our church? In our congregation of 500+, why are there only 3 foster families? So many Bible-believing families with empty beds. (A brief online search brought up 700+ churches in the greater Indianapolis area!)

Yes, it's true: not every family is "called" to foster and there are many ways to serve. But friends!!! There are children who need a place to sleep! Surely there are more families who can/should step in, do something hard, and care for a child--the least of these, the ones the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to. Use that spare bedroom (or two or three).

Let the reality haunt you. Let it sink in. Let it convict. Let Him call you to action.

Bryce and I dream of the day when the Church is overflowing with available foster families.
DCS will always have someone to call.
A child will never spend the night in a cubicle....
but instead will immediately be welcomed by a family who loves Jesus.
Will you do it?
Picture a child sleeping on the floor two nights ago.
Would you answer the phone if DCS called you?

Follow-up post HERE. For when the what-ifs come calling instead...

Monday, August 21, 2017


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 Listing picture views >>>>> August 2017 views

Disclaimers: these are not the same exact views, I didn't perfectly stage the house (#reallifewithfivekids) and we don't have a fancy wide-angle camera lens. But you'll at least be able to get a sense of some of the changes we've made.


(looking from the living room toward the library)



(looking toward the eat-in area and laundry room)


(looking back toward the dining room)



(another angle)

Which changed-view is your favorite? For me, it would have to be a tie between the entryway opened up and then the one looking down the kitchen toward the eat-in area. What a difference opening four doorways (and closing one) can make!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


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Light #1
I found this one for $15 at the Habitat Restore downtown. A little spray paint and fancy bulbs and we're in business! I love a black hanging chandelier in the dining room.

Light #2
The pendant light for the computer nook in the library. I found this light second-hand for less than $20. Bryce retrofitted it to be a straight hanging light (he can figure just about anything out!) and it works perfectly in that spot. Eventually there will be floating shelves and a built-in computer desk beneath it.

Light #3
And another black light spray paint is just addicting. This little light used to hang in our entryway, with lovely 70's etched glass on all four sides. I removed the glass, spray-painted, and then Bryce hung it up in the laundry room. Free! And the perfect little bit of bling.

Light #4
And our personal favorite, the light Bryce built for over the kitchen sink. I had a design in mind but while online searching (for weeks) I could only find it for $400-500. So Bryce designed and built one for less than $100! We love it--a perfect fit for our kitchen.

**Bryce can make more of these lights if anyone is interested in placing an order! 
Fully customizable: variety of colors, # of lights, hanging length, etc. 
Let us know if you're interested!**

Saturday, August 12, 2017


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We've been in our Tree House for 6+ months now! Looking back over what we've been able to accomplish, it's definitely not as much as the first four months where Bryce worked full-time on the house. I guess maybe the projects aren't as big and the results aren't as visually-major. But we've still been "chipping away" at it, while also letting the budget play catch-up. :-)

New front steps (still need to be stained and sealed)

Here's a quick recap of projects completed along with some pictures!

Living areas & upstairs:
  • Painted the bookshelves and stained the mantle (photos of this project here)
  • Hung curtains in the guest room and living room
  • Organized the kids' rooms
  • Cleaned out the spare bedroom to make usable for guests
  • Unpacked all of the boxes (except for a few in the master bedroom since we don't have closets built yet....and a few left in the basement, which is still a horrible mess)
  • Started installing trim in the downstairs--about halfway done installing and only about a quarter of it is painted so far
  • Added transitions between the tile and laminate floors

The entryway in March vs now (notice the new floor/doorway trim and the new light fixture).

Decor misc:
  • Slowly added new lighting to the hallway, kitchen, dining room, laundry, and library--nine lights total (two were spray-paint projects, one Bryce built, one I found second-hand and Bryce retrofitted, two were given to us, and three we bought--here's more about the lights!)
  • Found a rug for the library
  • Arranged the living room (with a new-to-us gifted couch!)
  • Started to hang a few pictures on the walls

Living room is slowly starting to come together. 
And so happy to have our "bench" photos on the wall finally!

Kitchen & bathrooms:
  • Built, stained, sealed and hung shelves in the kitchen, and added under-cabinet lighting
  • Added cabinet hardware
  • Finished the pantry: built shelves, primed/painted, and hung a door (blog post to come!)
  • Built and painted (matching the cabinets) a frame around the fridge to make it look built-in
  • Installed a new water heater
  • Added towel bars and toilet paper holders to all of the bathrooms, and hung a mirror in the half-bath

Pantry straight ahead with antique door (not yet refinished). 
You can also see the built-in fridge and black cabinet hardware.

  • Built a frame for the deck swing
  • Built a front step
  • Got a trampoline for the kids (and Bryce)
  • More septic work completed and it's been holding up fine so far--thank goodness
  • Cleared a lot of brush and trees--an actual yard is slowly starting to emerge
  • Started cleaning out the pole barn
  • Installed an electric fence for Parson
  • Installed a new mailbox and post
  • Installed a solar-powered attic fan to help keep the upstairs cooler

Front yard torn up for a new septic pump.

New lights in the hallway, over the desk area, and over the table (this is looking from the entry way, half bath on the right, eat in area and deck sliding doors through to the left)

Deer sighted out the dining room window.

Want to see more TREE HOUSE posts? Click HERE.