Wednesday, October 30, 2019

the Goodness of God

Hi guys. I'm back. At least for today.

I have been feeling a nudge to write again. My days are full, my nights are short, and I will struggle to write on a consistent basis (let alone to the degree of excellence to which I aspire). But God's goodness will permeate it all, just as He has done in the past.

Why now? I'm not sure. I documented our building process to a certain degree, but I suppose I need to post some updates on how we are living in the new house. I hope to do that, but that's not the direction in which I feel the nudging.

God is good. That's the declaration on my heart and in my life, and I aim to point you toward that understanding, too. The past several months God has been reminding me of His goodness. The ways He has provided for us. The ways He has given us seemingly unattainable dreams and then allowed us to watch them come to life. The ways we have prayed for our kids and then heard someone provide a report of their actions that tells us clearly that God is answering our prayers. His goodness is clearly defined in our lives, even when it wasn't explicitly clear to us at the time. 

If I think of everything altogether, it's almost too much. The way He's in the details and uses those details to interweave our dreams and His plans and our heartaches and His heart for us. We have had the privilege of a front row seat to the unfolding of His plans. In those moments of watching, we hardly recognized the unfolding, but lately as we have been recounting the past with friends, it's been blatantly clear that our past "unattainable" dreams are now nearly tangible. We see that He has laid plans in motion to realize those dreams, dreams that He obviously laid on our hearts in the first place.

I'll drop one very short example here. About four years ago when  our church was in the embryonic stage (with about 125 members and without a building), Brad and I travelled to Austin, Texas, to meet with leaders at The Austin Stone Community Church. The Austin Stone has some pretty amazing ministries happening, one of which is For the City, which equips people to serve the broken and restore the city, physically and spiritually. We both knew it was something we wanted our church to be about and something we knew our people would want to be about.

God whispered to us that this was something we had permission to dream about. We spent hours throwing out ideas of how this could work in Springfun, MO, ways our church could best serve our city, and logistics of getting something like it up and running (a large feat, to say the least, particularly considering we didn't even have a church building or a staff).

(Insert almost four years, a wide range of community leaders and influencers who have gotten behind the vision, donations of ALL kinds--from HUGE to small but mighty--to help finance the dream, and tons of support from the church and leadership...these were all obviously well-planned details in God's design and further revelations of His goodness.)

Currently our church plant, which is three years old with approximately 700 regular attendees, is in the process of creating a "For the City Center." We have logistics in place, and we've bought property on which to build. Developers are helping church leaders create a multi-use building that can house nonprofits, host fundraisers, serve as a meeting spot for volunteers, house our church family for weekly gatherings, and meet a variety of other community-focused needs. We are hopeful it can be a liaison between our community and our church, and we pray God uses it for the restoration of our city and souls.

God is good, and He continues to make His goodness known and real in my life. I may well have missed the realization of His goodness and His ability to show up in the details if not for great talks with friends and further reflection on how He worked out great details with excellent precision. If you're not in talks with friends about how God has shown up in your life, I highly encourage you to dig into it. It is good.

(This is an abbreviated version of the story of For the City Center. I hope to be back soonish to continue expounding on this.)


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

dreamy things

Decisions are coming and going before I can even process them well. So I'm going to go ahead and nail down some virtues of a dreamy home. (Except that our version of a dreamy home is, of course, a mortgage-free home.)

We are narrowing down the main area flooring options, with a few favorites from local vendors Meeks, Vermillion and Mouery's Flooring.

In dream world, our floors would look like this (wide-plank white oak, essentially):

From Pinterest, the birthplace of all ridiculous dreams.

And my mudroom, bathroom and laundry room floors would look like this: 






And the kitchen would look like a combo of these. Basically, fat light countertops, textured backsplashes, light cabinets and some open shelving. (I could look at backsplashes and light fixtures for days, people. DAYS.):









I'd also like some concrete countertops, beautifully tiled master showers and one of these garage doors that opens up a whole wall of our house. A girl can dream, right?



And there you have it. My materialistic dreams. I'll be back on another day to discuss reality. :o)


Saturday, February 10, 2018

our dream home

People have asked if we are building our "forever home" or if we are building "our dream home."

Short answer: No, not really.

Obviously, we are planning ahead when designing aspects of this home so that it will work for us in the future. We are leaving the basement unfinished so it can be a gymnasium for our kids until they need more actual living space. (Also, kids ruin nearly everything, so there's no need to finish the basement and then be anal about how it's being used when we aren't down there. "This is why we can't have nice things," is an oft-quoted mantra around here for good reason.)

Obviously, we would like to live in this home for a while.

But obviously, we realize that God is in control and could have us change our plans at any point.

That said, we are NOT building our "dream home." We are building a home we can live in and that we find mostly attractive, but because we want to steward resources well and plan ahead for when we will have bigger bellies to fill and more activities for which we have to pay (and college for four kids---OMGoodness), we aren't putting absolutely dreamy features all over this house. Maybe we will include a few elements we love, but this home will not be the whole shebang of awesomeness.

We are Dave Ramsey fans, so this process of building a home has been a smidge difficult to navigate with his ideal of paying cash for everything in mind. With a home, the ideal of paying cash is obviously not going to work, but with regard to some non-necessary features we find ourselves thinking, "Do we really want to pay for this extra feature for 15-30 years, thus making us pay triple the actual cost?" No, no we don't. (And of course, Dave has shared some wisdom regarding navigating the home-building process while sticking to a budget.)

Which is another reason we chose not to finish the basement right now. Our plan is to finish it with cash as we live here, but we will see how that goes. We'd love to finish a room and a bathroom sooner rather than later so we can house some college students down there. (And also so we can send our dirty kids in from the outside to use the basement bathroom instead of upstairs. That idea will hopefully help us keep the nice new things nice and new!)

So, while it's not our absolute "dream home"--harshly evidenced this week in the vinyl siding options from which we are choosing and the likely absence of large hexagon tiles from my laundry room--it's a solid roof over our heads and we are grateful for it. I like pretty things, so I hope to be able to make it pretty. However, we have specific desires for our home and how it will be used, and being dreamy isn't among the top 10 in that list of desirables.

And to us, the only "dream home" is a home without a mortgage payment. THAT would be dreamy. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

a roof over our heads

We are moving right along with the home building process. We have a roof over the top of the house, which was completed in about two days, and our well company completed our well on Monday. They had a bit of a snafu when the large drilling truck didn't quite cut the corner wide enough getting out of our driveway and ended up in the ditch for quite some time. Oops. I felt bad, but they handled it like champs. (A&B Well and pump service in Rogersville is the bomb, guys. They serviced our well at the old house and absolutely went above and beyond.)

So here we are, mulling over new decisions. For example, I met with the cabinet maker a few weeks ago, and I should have been a bit more prepared with cabinet ideas. I just had no idea about some of the things I should even consider.

Cabinet guy: "Would you like (insert some awesome cabinet feature)?"

Me: "Of course, if it will fit in the budget."

Cabinet guy: "Ok, would you like (insert next awesome cabinet feature)."

Me: "Sure. I love that."

Cabinet guy: "What about (insert next awesome cabinet feature)?"

Me: "Just bag it all up. I want it all."

Cabinet guy,  a few weeks later: "Here's the estimate for the cabinet work."

Me: "GULP. We will need to make some minor adjustments."


So I guess what I'm saying here is that decisions are hard.


Friday, January 12, 2018

status update

Well, we've come through a few weeks of family sickness and super cold temps, so I've been trying to wait patiently and lie low to get through to warmer times. (Truth be told, I still have a sick child leaning on my shoulder as I type.) Sadly, see no warm temps in the near future.

The framers haven't gotten much done with the frigid temps and the holidays, but the house is coming along. Maybe the delay has been good, because we struggled for a solid week over whether or not to go with black or white windows. I didn't see that big of a struggle with decisions coming regarding windows, but I guess the tough decisions start early.


I mentioned the struggle on my Instagram, and several of my friends had some great insight on the topic of windows. (If you are building a house, ask around and check around. Find someone whose style you admire and follow them, ask them, even copy them. It's a compliment!) Basically, due to limited options in colors in the builder-grade windows for which we were planning, the black window option was quoted at about twice the cost we had anticipated. Fortunately, our builder--Pirtle Homes--worked with our local building supply company--Meeks Lumber--to find an option that would work well for us. They found a different brand of windows, still just as good or possibly even better than the originally quoted option, which helped us trim about $5,000 from the price of black windows. We chose to leave the windows in the basement with unprimed interior frames, which saved us some money, as well. Those will be pine on the inside, and I can finish them however I'd like after we get moved in. (I like a good home improvement project anyway. Before having kids, I used to paint walls of our home every time Brad went out of town.)

So, now that windows have been chosen we have moved on to soffits, facia, and roofing materials. We went with a "gray" roof color ("Estate Gray"), and soffits and facia are still TBD. I'm thinking they should be white or the same color as our painted brick will be (which I anticipate will be something like "Repose Gray").

The day after we chose to "splurge" on black windows we found out that the lumber for our house cost $5,000 more than originally anticipated, so that caused a minor panic attack for me (the planner, the person who likes to know where every dollar will go and who has worked out our budget up one side and down the other just to know all the variations that could come about in building this house). It's hard to determine lumber costs when building a house, particularly since lumber costs change quite a bit in an of themselves and because it's hard to determine how much lumber will really need to be used. Therefore, I know these things happen in building a house and I'm sure it will happen again. But I did spend a few more hours awake in bed working out a new budget in my mind to satisfy my need to plan.

I'm already looking at hardwood floors and tile, as well as countertop options, mostly because I think those options are fun to plan. Exteriors are pretty and awesome, but I'd much rather work on the inside of a home.

I love the floors below. Natural, great variations, wide planks. Yum.

I love this top one, with some gray mixed it. I think black windows with this would be spectacular. It's from Vermillion Flooring in SGF, but Mouery's has something similar. Now I just need these options to hit in my price point. :o)

From the Springfield HBA Dream Home.


House planning isn't the only thing we have going on around here (but it's all I'm writing about today). We've also been working on Lotz goals for 2018, planning some new things we'd like to do in the new house, and doing the Whole 30 (I mean, I am cheating some with chocolate and coffee creamer, but Brad is rocking it strong-style). One of my goals was to blog more consistently in 2018, so I'm basically already failing at that. Boo. Check ya later.