Category Archives: Everything in Between

Devotion

Hello and happy Thursday, friends!  I am looking forward to this week coming to an end because my mom and step-dad are coming down again to hang out and help at the house. These visits have become so fun, and they truly enjoy helping us build our new home!  I have a feeling though that it is kind of like babysitting — they are probably glad when they get to pack up and return to their own cozy (and finished) home by weekend’s end!  😉

Mr. Fixer and I, on the other hand, are in this for the long haul.  The past few weeks at church we’ve been discussing the same passage in Acts (chapter 2, verses 42-47) about community, fellowship, and devotion; and the word devotion is definitely something I would associate with Mr. Fixer.  He has got to be one of the most devoted people I have been blessed to know.  Not only has he shown incredible devotion to our marriage, but he is also so devoted to his work at the house (not to mention his full-time day job!).  I was there the other day cleaning up for him and snapping some photos, and I am truly amazed at what he has accomplished in the little time he has been able to actually be there working.  And the most humbling part of it all — he is doing it all for me!  Okay, so he is having fun and loves doing this type of stuff in general, but goodness knows that guys can tolerate living in filth and mess much better than us gals!  He wants me to have a beautiful and comfortable home, and he is doing everything he can to provide that.

Sure, sometimes I get discouraged that he’s not home right after work, or that we aren’t going on fancy getaways or eating out at fancy restaurants.  In our society and culture, we are conditioned to believe that these are the signs of devotion.  I have to remind myself that devotion goes much deeper than that, though.  It is the day-in and day-out commitment to someone or something other than yourself, not a random gift or gesture here and there.  Now, that is not to say that I do not still want those things (I am like every woman longing for romance, after all), but they would certainly mean a lot less if the man behind them was not the kind of devoted man that I know Mr. Fixer to be.

With that thought, then, I encourage you to take a moment and say thank you to the ones in your life that are devoted to you.  Maybe it is a spouse like Mr. Fixer, but perhaps also it is a parent helping a child through school, or a daughter checking in on her mother.  Whatever the relationship, don’t ignore the everyday signs of love and devotion while you are pining away for fireworks and filet mignon.

Hugs,

Mrs. Fab

Update: Mr. Fixer has been busy working on framing lately.  I know these pictures may seem like a puzzle to some, so read the captions for a frame of reference (ha!).

Living room looking towards addition

Standing in the living room, looking towards the addition. The wall in the front is a new kitchen wall. To the right of that will be the new eating bar.

Half bathroom doorway

Standing in the living room, looking towards the bedrooms and bathroom. The framing to the left will be a closet and the doorway to the right is for the half bathroom. Beyond that is the “master” bedroom.

Kitchen looking towards bathroom

Another view towards the bedrooms, this time from the kitchen. There will eventually be two new walls here — one dividing the kitchen from the bathrooms, and another dividing the half bath from the master bath.

Garage entrance looking in

Standing near the garage entrance, looking into the kitchen and living room.

ADU bedroom doorway

Moving to the back of the house, this will be the ADU bedroom. This is looking out towards the ADU living area.

ADU closet doorway

Standing in the ADU bedroom, looking towards the new closet doorway. Beyond that will be the new laundry room/pantry.

ADU bathroom doorway

Again, standing in the ADU bedroom, looking towards the doorway to the adjoining bathroom.

ADU bathroom and closet doorways

A broader picture of the two previous doorways.

Doorway to laundry opposite

Standing in the ADU bathroom, looking towards the laundry room/pantry doorway. There will be a wall separating these spaces. Beyond the doorway will be a new entrance to the deck, and you can see a sliver of the kitchen through the doorway to the left.

Doorway to laundry

An opposite view — standing in the back entry looking towards the laundry room/pantry doorway. Again, there will be another wall here separating the laundry from the ADU bathroom.

Doorway to ADU opposite

Standing near the ADU entrance, looking towards the main house.

 

Doorway to ADU

An opposite view — standing in the main house near the kitchen, looking towards the doorway to the ADU/future master bedroom.

 

Don’t Worry About It

First off, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who read my last blog post.  Mr. Fixer and I have received an overwhelming amount of support, encouragement, and prayer in response to our loss.  We feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful family and friends in our lives!  Starting this conversation has been especially cathartic for me, giving me hope and courage to continue to move forward on this adventure of future parenthood.

Not only was writing about my miscarriage cathartic, though, it was also an eye-opening experience for myself as a “blogger.”  As any blogger knows, the statistics graph on your website can be incredibly interesting to monitor.  In the grand scheme of things, Mr. Fixer and I have a relatively small number of people who consistently read the blog (hi Grandma!).  With the last post, however, readership jumped to about four times our normal traffic!  I’m not really sure why this is, however I have my theories.  The overarching theory is that we are simply very curious (voyeuristic?) creatures.  The title of the post — Burly Beams and Shattered Dreams — was compelling enough for people to click, and I mentioned a “heart-to-heart” in my Facebook link (who wouldn’t be drawn in by that?).  On a deeper level, though, I think we are all just yearning for a little bit of personal connection.  We love to hear personal stories, and we love to tell them!

The huge proliferation of the blogging world is testament enough to that, and I am certainly not excluded.  Which is why (yes, I am getting to a point) I don’t feel terribly awkward including more personal posts on the site.  Yeah, yeah, I know this is supposed to be a DIY, home improvement type of blog, but the subtitle is “and everything in between,” so you certainly can’t say you weren’t warned! 🙂

Well, friends, now that we got that out of the way, onward and upward!  Yesterday, two weeks into this bittersweet new year, I finally decided on my new year’s resolution. [Drumroll, please] I don’t want to worry anymore!  I know for some of you Whole30/quit-smoking/run-a-marathon/win-the-Pulitzer-Prize type of folks, you are probably rolling your eyes right now; but believe me, there were choir bells and angels singing in Mr. Fixer’s head when I told him my idea.

Because, well, I worry about everything.  Yesterday, today, tomorrow, everything.  And then I get grumpy.  And then I sulk and cry and whine to Mr. Fixer (now you can imagine why he was singing hallelujah).  Example: last night I decided to make chicken pot pie for dinner.  I have never made this recipe before, though, so one, I underestimated the amount of time it would take to actually assemble everything and get it into the oven; and two, when I finally did get it in the oven, the butter in the crust started dripping onto the bottom of the oven, creating massive billows of smoke to come rushing out!  And this is what is happening in my head the entire time — everyone is going to be so hangry (hungry + angry) that dinner is taking forever, and everyone is going to hate me, and our wonderful hosts are going to kick us out of their house for ruining the bottom of their oven and smoking up their kitchen, and the crust is going to turn out terrible, and I’m going to have to throw everything away and order pizza, which is going to make everyone even more hangry… and so on.  Meanwhile, what everyone is really doing is keeping busy with chores around the house, laughing about the mess I am making, and not even realizing that it is creeping past 8pm and we haven’t even eaten yet.

After it slowly dawned on me what was happening around me, I gave Mr. Fixer a hug and told him that I wanted to worry less in the new year.  [Hall-e-lu-jah, hall-e-lu-jah!]  Wouldn’t I be so much happier and less stressed if I didn’t feel like the weight of the world (or maybe just dinner) was resting on my shoulders all the time?  Why yes, yes I would.

Again, some of you are probably laughing, shaking your heads, and thinking, DUH, right? Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result, but I think I’ve been on the crazy train for so long the obviousness of the solution was, well, not-so-obvious.  The clouds have parted, though, and I have seen the light, so here is to a worry-free 2015!  I hope that many of you will continue to follow along as I share my adventures in making this a reality.  Of course, there will be plenty of house updates, as well!

Hugs and Happy Thursday!

Mrs. Fab

Anyone else hoping to worry and stress less in the new year?  I’d love to hear about it!

 

Burly Beams & Shattered Dreams

Well hello friends!  I bet you were beginning to think Mr. Fixer and Mrs. Fab ran off to live in a new house, didn’t you?!  (Believe me, the thought crosses my mind from time to time…) Alas, that is not the case!  We are still plugging away on our little project, it is just that life has a funny way of sneaking in and messing up your blog-writing plans.

I know many of you can relate to this season of life right now.  You got fired (okay, maybe that’s just me); you are going through a breakup/divorce; you are dealing with the death of a loved one; your child is diagnosed with a condition you have no control over; your best friend is heading down a destructive path; and so on [insert life’s curveball here].  For Mr. Fixer and me, our curveball came screaming in at high speed last Monday when my doctor told me that I had miscarried our very first baby.

For most anyone going through a difficult situation like this, one of the hardest things is beginning to spread the awkward news.  Mom and Dad, I need a place to stay for awhile until I find my own place…  Daughter or Son, Grandpa was just admitted to the hospital and they say he’s not going to make it…  Friends and Family, that adorable baby announcement we just made… just kidding.

And then of course come the equally awkward responses.  What do you say in situations like these?  What do you say to someone in the throes of a grief that you oftentimes cannot relate to?  In our most recent experience of miscarriage, one of the most common things I heard was, “It is actually really common, people just don’t talk about it.”  But as I think about these words and reflect on their truth, I realize this is true about most any hard situation, not just miscarriage.

Why this is true, I am not quite sure.  I can surmise, certainly.  We are embarrassed.  We don’t want to relive the experience every time we tell someone.  We don’t think anyone will understand.  The reasons could go on and on.  Well, friends, I am here to offer this humble suggestion: just do it!  Whatever your “it” might be, grab it by the reigns with a firm grip and own it!  Start the conversation.  Because you know what will happen?  A line will start forming behind you.  And then all that embarrassment, awkwardness, loneliness, and grief will start to diminish.  People will look each other in the eye and say, “I’ve gone through this, too.  And I’m okay.” Or they might say, “You know what, I have no idea what this is like, but I am going to be here for you every step of the way.”  Let’s stop the cycle of not sharing our common human experiences!

So, I guess this is me starting the conversation.  Miscarriage is an incredibly heartbreaking thing to experience.  It has left me sad, discouraged, angry, and with lots of questions.  But this is not the end of the story, my friends.  I also have an incredible amount of thankfulness and hope stored up inside me, as well.  I have an amazing group of supportive and loving family and friends.  I have the gift of overall health and vitality.  I have food to eat and warm clothes to wear.  I have blue skies and sunshine in the middle of dreary winter days.  And I have hope. Mounds and mounds of hope!  For I know that I have a faithful Father wanting to bestow upon me wonderful gifts.  Gifts that I cannot even fathom!  And I know that this same Father is always going to be at the front of my line, knowing my heart and enlisting His Son to carry my burdens.

Friends, if you are experiencing a tough time, please know that I too am in line to offer you support and love.  Whatever it is you are going through, you are not alone.  Start the conversation.

With many hugs,

Mrs. Fab

I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.  Psalm 13:6

And what’s a blog post without some pictures!  The week of New Year’s day, Mr. Fixer took some time off and my mom and her husband came down to assist with putting in our giant new beams.  Thanks, guys!  We couldn’t have done it without you! 🙂

Big beam

This guy is a beast! Almost 18 feet long, 13.5″ deep, and 5.5″ wide. 

Tiny beam to be replaced

This is the tiny little beam that we are replacing. The original house built in the 50’s had a wall under this beam, which was removed at some point (eliminating the 3rd bedroom!).

Tiny beam removed

The small beam has been removed and the ceiling braced with temporary supports.  My wonderful step-dad, Mike (to the right), was a huge help the entire time!

Cutting the beam

This end of the beam will be tucked up and bearing on the exterior wall. Mr. Fixer is cutting it to follow the slope of the roof.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Door stop

Door stop, anyone?

 

Mr. Fixer holding beam up with a finger

Geesh Mr. Fixer — you’re so strong!

Beam on ladder

This almost-400 lb. bad boy was slowly hoisted into place with the help of some ladders (Mr. Fixer is always coming up with such clever ideas!).

Beam in place at one end

One side is up!

Beam in place

Ta-da! Mr. Fixer is admiring his handiwork.

Smaller beam to replace arched header

A smaller beam is going in here. This will replace the large header over the archway.

View of both beams

Both beams are in! A huge amount of work was accomplished in just a couple days!

 

Lessons in Hospitality

One of the things I am most excited about in terms of finally being a homeowner is the opportunity to serve others in my own home.  Ever since I was a kid I have been drawn towards the idea of “hospitality.”  For example, one of my favorite movies growing up was Dunston Checks In.   Aside from the endearing relationship between the little boy and orangutan, I was most fascinated with the luxurious hotel and accommodations in the film.  I was only eleven at the time that the movie came out, but the concept of providing such opulent comfort for travelers really drew me in.  (Okay, so living in such opulent comfort might have had something to do with it too!)

As I got older, I became more and more convinced that I would somehow end up in the hospitality industry.  I shadowed the general manager of a high-end hotel while I was in high school and spent countless hours researching the best programs to apply for in college.  I envisioned myself wearing power suits and living in the penthouse suite of some fancy resort, catering to big shots a la Barney Thompson in Pretty Woman.

At this point, some of you who know me personally might wonder why these dreams never materialized.  The only thing I can point to as the principle reason — fear.  Fear of leaving my hometown and close proximity to family; fear of putting myself into too much student debt; fear of what others would think; fear of making the wrong career choice… just plain fear.

I would like to think that I have no regrets, though.  My path definitely took me elsewhere, but my desire for hospitality is still a huge part of who I am.  Of course, my idea of hospitality has certainly evolved since then, too.  My dreams have changed from luxury hotels to homey B&B’s, from 5 star accommodations to generosity, humility, and grace.  Steaming cups of coffee. Warm-from-the-oven muffins.  Cozy kitchens and crackling fireplaces.

A major contributor to this shift in thinking — Jesus (and the people He put in my life to show me His love).  One person that taught me a great deal about Jesus’ idea of hospitality has been a dear role model of mine since high school.  Thelma has Jesus written all over her mind, body, and soul.  She exudes grace and gentleness and peace.   Every Thursday morning throughout my high school years (and for years before and after!), Thelma would open her home and feed a multitude of girls from church and school the most amazing breakfasts.  Yummy blueberry muffins.  Sweet and sticky cinnamon buns. Fresh fruit.  Creamy egg casseroles.  All on the most beautiful dishes.

Those breakfasts went beyond the delicious food and lovely dishware, though. It was during that time that I learned hospitality is not about 1000 thread-count sheets, but fellowship with one another.  It was a time to enter into each others’ lives, grow in friendship, and pray for one another.  Those mornings in my angst-filled teen years are certainly some of my fondest memories.

So here I sit on a Monday morning, following a wonderful beach getaway weekend with dear friends, reflecting on hospitality and wondering how I can fit more of it into my life.  How I still have so much more to learn about the subject.  How I can be more like Mary than Martha and not get caught up in the preparations, but focus more on relationships and God’s love. How I can use my new home to serve others.  But most of all, how thankful I am that Jesus moved me beyond the luxury of a resort to the humbleness of His table.

Hugs,

Mrs. Fab

P.S.  Has a movie or book or someone in your life inspired your concept of hospitality?  I’d love to hear your stories!

The Value of a Good Foundation

In the last week or so, I have been thinking about the “everything in between” part of our blog.  I have wondered what types of content will be most compelling to our readers, especially in light of the fact that most come to read about home improvement and DIY.

This is what I have come up with: I have no idea!

What I do know, though, is that in the quietness of the simple tasks I can do unsupervised by Mr. Fixer, my mind starts to wander, and I am Spirit-filled with inspiration and little nuggets of wisdom from which someone else might benefit.  So while I don’t have a specific topic for the “everything in between, ” perhaps that is the point — the “everything in between” will simply be my random musings as we go about our daily home adventures.

Working on a project like ours, for example, leaves ample room for thought and meditation. Last weekend as I was methodically tearing off trim and pulling out nails, I couldn’t help but feel that I was living smack dab in the middle of Jesus’ age old metaphor that following Him is like building a house on a strong foundation.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”  (Matthew 7:24-25)

In many ways, I have never understood that metaphor more clearly until now (getting so up close and personal to a construction zone will do that to you, I suppose).  Some people wonder why we didn’t just invest in new construction if we wanted to tear our house down to the studs, and my answer is this: one, that wouldn’t have been nearly as fun; and two, we wouldn’t have been able to buy a new house as cheaply as we found this one.  Yes, it needs a lot of work, but the value of our fixer is in the foundation and the land.  There might be leaks in the walls and rotting wood here and there, but the foundation is strong and the land is stable (and roomy enough for a chicken coop!).  With those two critical things, we can practically create the house of our dreams!

And so it is true with following Jesus.  I might be a little leaky or rotting in some areas of my life, but if Jesus is my foundation, I know that He can create something beautiful and even dream-worthy.  Does that mean it is always easy?  No, certainly not!  He might have to tear into some walls or replace some plumbing, which never “feels good,” but it is certainly better than being overcome by mold, filth, and rat poop.  And for that, I am grateful.

TGIF, friends.  If you need something to do this weekend, you know where to find us! 😉

With many hugs,

Mrs. Fab

P.S. If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see on the “everything in between” column, please let me know!  Otherwise, you’re stuck with my rambling thoughts!