Service weekend

Our Lifegroup from church did a service/work weekend. Several families went out to Red Rock Bible Camp and helped with a bit of spring cleaning to get ready for their spring camps that will be starting soon. Together, we scraped paint off of bathroom stalls to prep for repainting, completely cleaned out the Tuck Shop including defrosting the freezer and scrubbing walls with "magic erasers," emptied sheds, cleaned cabins and bathrooms, built floor supports in a couple places that needed it, washed down tables and benches and helped with a lot of kitchen work. It was a super long day of good old- fashioned manual labour. Wonderful!

We ended our workday with a great visit, some nighttime tubing down to the beach,  good coffee and a Bible study with communion. 

Sorry, World.

I found something I've been searching for at my local thrift store yesterday....and it was only 10 cents. Yay me! I felt very accomplished and very lucky. Until I read the bottom of the receipt and saw that my purchase is a gift to the world. Now I feel like a cheapskate. Sorry, world.

In related news, I am still on the hunt for more older-style Reader's Digest Condensed Books (the kinds with the patterned paper covers*** - not the kind that are supposed to look like solid coloured leather). If you have any kicking around....or you have parents or grandparents who need their collections thinned out, give me a shout. I'll help. And I'll contribute to your (or their) world next time. 

(***Books like these)

A New Thing

Happy New Year! It's the first day of 2015.  And how fitting that the verse of the day in my Bible App is this one:

 Isaiah 43:19. 
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."

This is a part of one of my favourite chapters....reminding me that God cares for me, loves me, and is always providing for me. He has plans for me that are good. 

The part that I get a kick out of the most is the slightly sarcastic: "do you not perceive it?" How many times has God blessed me and provided for me and I haven't even noticed. I'm in my own little world, focussing on the things yet to be done, and I miss out on all the ways he's already moving in and around me. Lord, open my eyes to what you're doing right now. 

I also love the verb "am making." It is not finished for me yet....he is making a way....currently, and continually....its a journey. I can't expect perfection or a finished work. It's a process that He is doing and I am privileged enough to be a part of. 

And lastly....and maybe the best a little line not included in this verse but tucked several verses further down in the chapter. The second half of verse 21 says, "...that they may proclaim my praise." The reason for all of this is that His name will be praised. Not so that my life can be comfortable. Not so that I can brag about the things I have. But so the whole world will see what a great God I serve. 

My goal then, this year is to:
1. See and notice what God is doing around and in my life. 
2. Jump in and be a part of the process wherever that may take me. 
3. Proclaim the praises of the One who holds my whole world in His hands. 


I know lots of people are waiting for before-and-after photos of the Dome I moved into.....and they're me.  I'm finally off work for the summer and can devote more than 5 minutes a day to renos.  So the before-and-after shots ARE coming.  I promise.  I've already done lots around here and I've got a few more major things to finish up.

In the mean was time for a little bit of a personal before-and-after makeover.

This is me - before.  My hair grows like CRAZY....and last year I made a "huge" change and finally cut bangs but this time it was time for a real change.

After:  Shorty-short-short.  I love it.  I feel like this might be my best weight-loss plan ever.  Looking forward to no time spent in the bathroom doing my hair, no headaches from ponytails, and hats!

THANK YOU so much to Elisa Griffin-Boily at Serenity Spa (which just happens to be a 2 minute walk from my house!) She's amazing!!!!

What we walked into....

We tackled a few more renovations in this move than we'd originally intended too....and so the before/after pics of that are going to be a little while yet.  But for those of you who are just too curious about what the Dome house looked like when we walked into it (pre-renovations), here are the original photos taken from the real estate site.

Warning:  50 shades of brown ahead:

This is what it looked like when we went to see it.  Easy to see why one of the house nicknames in this area is "the Igloo House."  Other nicknames also include:  "The beehive," "The Franklin House (because it looks like a turtle shell)," and "The Hobbit House."

Same view - but in summer.  I almost can't believe it ever will be summer again so this might be the only shot I'll ever have like this.

 The back of the house.  This large window is directly into the kitchen and lets enough light in this house to bring sun to the whole upstairs!

 The garage.  A huge selling feature for me even though, as I write this, the garage is completely full of boxes of stuff.  Not sure how so much stuff gets accumulated  but in the spirit of purging, I asked our movers to put all boxes labeled "basement rec room" into the garage so that most of it will be on a garage sale and not back in my basement.

The kitchen.  This long bank of cabinets runs almost exactly across the center of the circle which is the house shape (12-sided actually but round enough).  Lots of cabinets.  One thing you can't see is that they've run the exhaust from the range directly out through (yes, through) all of the upper cabinets from the range all the way to the window. the after pictures you'll see in a week or so, you'll notice that we've built in something above the cabinets to reclaim that space for food and dishes. 

Did I mention everything is a shade of brown?  Very cabin-esque.

More brown - the large entrance closet, the shiny floor which reflects the sunlight from the big window into the whole house

 There's the big window.  

 Main floor 2-pc bathroom and laundry.

 Small living room.  It's really more of a sitting room.  I don't think we'll even have a tv up here....just a place to sit and hang out.  Interestingly enough, everytime I think about my dream house and how I would design it, I always put a place IN my kitchen with a couch or a couple of cozy chairs for people to sit in while meals are being made.  This is, essentially that set up.

 Basement "bedroom" which will be getting a window.

 Basement rec room - really a great size for us even with the intentions of building one more bedroom down here.  We're pretty happy with this and because it was all recently re-done, we're not doing a whole lot of renovation down here.  

 Basement bathroom....small but easily enough for my teens.  Shower is around the back of the door.

 View from the front door area:  to the right, that sitting room and to the left, stairs to the loft. This is a good photo of the ceiling construction.  Giant triangles, manufactured at Hanover Doors, brought to the property and assembled on site to my understanding.  It's really a fascinating house.  The big puzzle for one of my math-oriented kids is how/why some of the connections are six-sided and some are five-sided.  It keeps him up at night staring at his own ceiling.

 Masterbath/ensuite upstairs in the loft.  Yes, those are swinging saloon doors on there.  Look now because those were one of the first things to come down in the renovations (especially because this is the only bathtub in the house and there'll need to be a bit more privacy up here). A very large closet in here though - I'm excited about that.  Big enough, I think for all of my clothes, including my dresser.

 Another view of the masterbath....coming in from the door.  Did I mention everything in this house is (was) brown?  Chocolate brown toilet, sink and jetted tub.  

Upstairs loft area.  Can't legally be called a bedroom by real estate standards because there's no window.  There was a skylight but it leaked apparently (as they tend to do) so it was taken out long ago.  This room will have to serve as my bedroom and craft room as well for a few years while my kids are all still living at home but it's easily big enough to do so.  This picture is a bit deceiving as well in that the wall at the back is completely straight up and down - not angled as it appears. 

Well...I may have bitten off more than I can chew in the renovation department so those "after" pictures, like I said, will have to wait a bit....but for those of you who were anxious to see what we've gotten ourselves into....there you go. 

House prep: physical and spiritual

Move in day is tomorrow and I've been spending the last week neck-deep in renovations. As soon as we're in and the dust has settled, I'll have some before-and-after shots for you.

Today, just some introspection. I know my life (the bad parts) barely begins to compare with being taken captive but I am drawn over and over to this page as I think of where God has brought us. 

I feel like I'm dreaming sometimes. And I can't help but smile (and yes, sometimes sing) when I read, think, or say the words:  "The Lord has done great things for us."

(Interesting side note: the reason this passage in my Bible is slightly pink is because the back page has highlighted the first verse from Psalm 127...."unless The Lord builds the house, it's builders labour in vain...")

One of my lifesaver friends whom I love and respect on so many levels had this brilliant idea to "hide" a verse in my new house as I was renovating. Not hide in fear, so that no one ever sees it but hide it so it is a part of the house and I'll think if it often. So, before the carpets go in on the stairwell up to my room....I've Sharpied a verse on the stairs that has been our verse for several years now....Habakkuk 1:5

“Look at the nations and watch
    and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe, 
    even if you were told.
5 years ago if you'd told me I'd be here, I never would have believed you. Even 6 months ago it would have seemed slightly crazy to think we'd be where we we are. God's timing, God's leading, and God's great big plan. 

Here's a panorama shot of the stairs. It's not perfect 'cause let's face it....who among us can take a steady photo while walking up stairs?? (If you can, I don't want to hear about it.)

And these are the steps leading up to the landing....directly when you come into the house. It's hard to see but on these I've written James 1:7

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father

(Note: these are also my poor attempt at panorama - the steps aren't curved like that)

Ok.  Enough blogging. I have a LOT of work to do yet today to get ready for movers. I'll be back with updates :)

What I'm leaving behind

In a little over 3 weeks I'll be leaving this house that has been my home for more than 12 years. 
 It has seen the very, very best of me and the very, very worst of me.  
tears and laughter; 
fights and making up; 
ups and downs; hot and cold; 
babies, toddlers, preschoolers, grade schoolers, middle schoolers and teens; 
times of great faith and times of great doubt; 
fears and failures; joy and triumphs; 
marriage and divorce; 
hard work and silly play; 

In the last few years there have been a lot of changes around here with regards to the house.  
Physically, the house has gone through a complete overhaul.  The unnecessary was discarded, donated or sold. The necessary was acquired and put to good use, including a new stove, hot water tank, flooring, roof, paint, etc. etc.  I've worked hard to maintain a house that I never thought I'd have to care for on my own. 
 Emotionally, the house has seen it's share of ups and downs too.  My prayer several years ago was that this house would be a place of peace and safety.  For me.  For my kids.  For anyone who would step over the threshold.  And I have to say, God answers prayer!  No amount of renovating by me could have done this miracle and made this house the home it's been in the past few years. I sad to leave it?  A little, yes.  But I know that the God who carried us this far is leading us into a new adventure and the home he built with us here....can be built again, even better, at the new house.  And any ties I have to this house, are dwarfed by the much stronger ties to my God who has never, ever left us on our own. I'm sorry....I just can't say it any better than this:

A few photos and memories of the house we're leaving behind.  (Note:  these photos were taken professionally to sell the house - something that happened, literally, overnight - so if you're thinking my house ever really looked this good, the joke's on you)

 My "spa" bathroom:  I loved this room.  We initially renovated this room because one of our children dropped something in the toilet that was irretrievable.  Even the plumber told us to take it out to the backyard and smash it and let him know what was in there (the cap to a spray can, incidentally). My favourite part, aside from the colours.....a deep soaker tub which, yes, I will miss dearly!
 My craft room:  I love how neat and organized it looks here.  If you know anything about me at all, you know it only ever looks like this just before I start creating.  I was very excited a few years ago when my two oldest wanted basement bedrooms and all that was left for me to scrapbook in was this Upstairs room, with a window :)
 Laundry room: yes, I'll miss this space. It's not finished but it reminds me of how God provides....2 freezers with food to spare and a washer and dryer that have lasted and lasted and lasted.
 Teen room #1:  Style maybe defined as Vintage meets IKEA meets Grandma's afghan.
 Basement bathroom:  Again, my favourite "waterfall" colour.
 Shed:  (obviously these pictures are in no particular order)  This shed has been snowed in all winter so honestly, it'll be a surprise to me what's all in there when we get around to digging it out to move :)
 Pre-teen room: Go Bombers! 
 Pantry: So much lovely storage space.  THIS, I will miss!! 
 Dining room: This room has seen many meals, many games, many family discussions, and much love!
 The front yard;  This yard reminds me of football games and toboggan slides; sprinkler wars and basketball games; furniture painting and yard sales; somersaults and bocce ball; late night coffee and early morning....well, coffee too :)

 Rec room:  otherwise known as the Xbox room.  Many a sleepover has happened in this room - exactly my intention in finishing out this room and stocking it with piles and piles of blankets and pillows.
 Master bedroom:  I will miss this room. This room has definitely been touched by God and it has become a place of peace and laughter and lots of silliness.  You can't see it in this picture but above the white dresser in the far right corner, there's a TV mounted on the wall.  We've had so many family movie nights with the 4 of us snuggled into this bed.  Funnier still is that recently most of us are close to 6' tall and we also have 3 cats joining us.  It's a big pile of fun :)  The kids are trying to convince me that I need a King size in the new house so we can still all fit in there :)

 Kitchen:  I painted these cabinets just this last Christmas and the flooring was done last August.  I adore these colours and I'm really sad to leave them.  I'm copying a bit of this in my new house but it won't be quite the same.  Lots of cooking and lots of eating happened here!
 Playhouse:  Rockwall, slide, rope ladder, secret trap door, and monkey bars.....this was a unique design that we made ourselves.  I have no idea how many kids have played on this but I pray that the kids who will be playing on here this coming summer will be as safe, happy and silly as mine were. 
 Teen bedroom #2:  Snowcone green.  It's even brighter in real life.  
Living room:  Another room that's probably never been so clean and neat before....and maybe never will be again as long as we're around.....but a room that's been full of family movies, wrestling matches, deep heart-to-heart talks, coffee with friends, a party or two, Christmas gatherings, meals, devotions, music and drama. 

There you have it.  What I'm leaving behind.   A house that was my home....but in the end, to me, just a house.  Our home will be where we end up (wait for the next blog post)and this house will go on to be home to another family who will love it and find love in it.