Friday, April 14, 2017

risk or retreat?

       The medic waits at the top of a high ridge. His fellow soldiers have already scrambled down a long rope wall cliff on the island of Okinawa. The American officers had called for a retreat as the Japanese charge them with overwhelming numbers. But despite the fear and chaos, he stops before going down to safety and asks the question, “What do You want me to do?” 

        From out of the darkness and thick smoke he hears a voice cry out “medic,” and Desmond Doss decides to not retreat but go find a man afraid, in pain, and hoping someone will come to his aid. Desmond searches for him despite the danger  around him and being all alone. He drags the injured man to the ridge, ties a rope around him and lowers him down to the safe arms of men who will take him onto the hospital. But instead of going down the rope ladder himself, he again pauses at the ridge and prays “give me one more,” and heads back out into danger.

       I won't tell you how many men Desmond Doss rescues by himself, but I will tell you he becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. His religious beliefs won't allow him to kill, but he still wishes to serve his country. The men in his unit disrespect, mock and even beat him up, but many will owe their life to him after their first battle. The movie “Hacksaw Ridge” is the inspiring story of this brave man and I would highly recommend it even though it is extremely violent and hard to watch.

       Every time Desmond got back to the ridge, I wanted to shout at him, “Go down the wall. Get to safety,” but he didn't. He just prayed, “Give me one more,” and headed out into the darkness and danger of the battlefield. He trusted God to help him and put his life in God's hands.

       I couldn't help but think of the spiritual metaphors of this scene. How easy it is to stay where it is safe, to retreat, to go where everyone else is going. How hard it is to truly live out our convictions, our beliefs, and to trust God with our lives. Do we even take the moment in the midst of our busy lives, our fears, our chaos, to ask God, “What do you want me to do”? Are we willing to risk, to hurt, to bleed for others?

       I also saw a picture of Christ in Desmond Doss. Both were willing to face  darkness and death to rescue those who could not help themselves. I was that man lying on the battlefield with both his legs blown off, helpless and alone.  Then Jesus comes to me through the hands of Desmond and puts tourniquets on both legs and carries me to the cliff and tells the men to lower me down.  But they don't.  They leave me on the top of the cliff to die.  

        But Jesus  sees the abandoned and hopeless me lying there and straps me to his own body and caries me down the wall.  He saves my life.  He values me when all others see none.  Desmond was the hands of Jesus to that man and many others. We are the hands of Jesus to those He puts in our lives.  To love means to serve, to risk hurt,  to give our life for others,  piercing the darkness with God's hope and love.

        As I remember this Holy Week and what Christ did for me, I am so grateful. He did not leave me on the battlefield of life suffering and alone, but gave His all to bring me to safety.

       Christ left the ninety-nine sheep to search for me.  
       “His name is Compassion and He will not break us, but will break Himself for us." (From “The Broken Way” by Ann Voskamp)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Kansas beach

I just took you to the beach for your birthday.

You're welcome!

This was a favorite birthday card that I received recently. 

     The beach is my favorite place to vacation but if you know your geography, the ocean is a long drive or airplane ride away when you live in Kansas. 

       Last summer when we were at the farmhouse working on the land in 90+ degree weather with sweat dripping down our faces, I made the comment to my husband, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a pool to jump in right now?"  He thought about it for a moment and then said, "That's it!  We're getting a pool!"  Timing is everything ladies. 

         I wish I could say I planned those words for just the right moment, but I didn't.  Kansas feels like a desert from May to September, so a pool is a great option for summer relief.  So our last big project has been started.    Let the digging begin. . .

       And naturally once you start digging a pool it has to start raining and raining and raining.💧

     Our Saturdays are usually spent out at the farmhouse doing some kind of work.  We were planning to put corrugated tin behind our wood burning stoves, and I was just getting ready to spray paint it to look old when I heard my son aAlex yell my name from the barn.  He discovered a supply of old tin in the barn which Dave is washing off below. This type of old rusted tin sells for $6 a sq. foot and I was thrilled that he found it.

       I have been working on sanding and white-washing old shiplap boards that were saved from the kitchen demo to be used for a range hood over my cooktop.  The left board (below) shows what I started with and the right is the final look.  

       I've realized that part of the reason I love this old house and didn't want to tear it down and start over is because I love history.  Even re-using these old boards instead of throwing them in a burn pile gives me satisfaction.  I love the color and texture and history they hold.  Here is a picture of the look I'm going for on the range hood.

        I found out from our contractor that a neighbor stopped by to look at the work on our farmhouse and told him that two brothers bought a house and split it in two and 1/2 of that house was added onto our original 1897 farmhouse.  The other half is about two miles away attached to another house. So our house move to redo the foundation was not the first time this property had a house moved on it.  

      Other work going on includes dry wall getting mudded and taped in the loft and garage.


         Built in shelves have been made for the living area and the closets in the loft,  trying to maximize every space we can.

And I have shiplap in my farmhouse kitchen! 🔨

       Our  farm hands hard at work.  They enjoy this lazy front porch and the view.  
       If the beach is my happy place, the farm is our yellow lab, Latte's favorite place.  He loves being a country dog.  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

spring fever

       Spring is busting out all over here in Wichita, Kansas.  My Redbud tree is starting to bloom.     But I remember last year when this happened.....  

      The first week of March was  a time of clearing out all the dead branches and trees   because Grandpa came to visit and wanted to work at the farm.  Together, father and son made at least 8 piles of wood as high as the one you see here.  Thanks, Grandpa!

       The additional siding arrived and our front dormers are done and the back ones should be completed soon. 

       Remember what we started with?  The picture below shows the house move done two years ago this month.

      It helps to remember just how far we've come.  

       If you ignore the toilet and tub sitting in the front yard,  it is looking pretty good.

        The HVAC unit has been installed for the loft above the garage and more drywall  hung.  Where our little buddy sits is the doorway down to the garage. 

              And the most exciting thing that happened this past week was the hardwood floors were put down in the master bedroom, living room, and kitchen/dining room areas.

       This picture is taken from the living room looking back into the kitchen area.  The floors won't be stained until all the walls are painted and the kitchen cabinets are installed. 

      Do you remember the huge pocket doors between the living room and master bedroom that I wrote about months ago?  How I was going to remove all the paint and stain them?  Well, I did try . . .  

      Here is what one side  looked like after eight hours of my effort.  You can just start to see the beautiful wood under all those layers of paint.   

        And here they are now!  Pretty fabulous for doors over 100 years old.

      I can only take credit for the sanding and staining of these old doors.  I gave up trying to strip them and hired a professional.  I love them!  They were so worth saving. We are nearing the finish line!

       "By perseverance the snail reached the ark."
                                         - Charles Spurgeon

(photo by Vyacheslav Mishchenko)

Monday, February 27, 2017

barn dance

        We have been working on The Noah Farm for over two years now and sometimes it feels like it will never be done.  Then there are other days when we visit the farm and it looks like a beehive of activity and my contractor tells me to have paint ready soon for the living room and kitchen walls and I want to run into the barn and do my happy dance. 

        The one question I get asked continually is when do you expect to move in and the answer I'm currently giving is . . . before summer. I'm learning to be vague.  We have a lot to do before then.  So here's what's happening at the farmhouse lately . . .

       The siding job was started and stopped because they ran out of siding . . .what?   (See it does pay to do your math in school).  The additional siding was delivered yesterday so this part will be done by the end of next week.

Back view

       On this side of the garage the siding is all done, but if you look closely along the ground something else is being built.   Another thing we didn't plan for was building . . . .
a retaining wall!  To give you some perspective here is the view from the garage apron looking down. 

drywall has been started in the apt./loft above the garage.

And is almost completely done in the farmhouse.

         All the cabinets for the loft kitchen  have been delivered.
       And this green submarine was put in the ground in the back yard. 

Lifting it to move into the hole

       I'll probably never see this green propane tank again.  It was filled and buried so it wouldn't float when it rained.  Can you believe that big thing would float?  I thought it was going to pull the backhoe right into the hole with it.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

decorating inspiration!

     One of the things I've learned in decorating is to find something that gives me inspiration for the theme or color of a room.  My sister, Cindy, taught me this when she was taking decorating classes at Ohio State University.  It can be anything:   a piece of fabric, artwork or even the colors in a stone. 

         This mini quilt was made and given to me for my birthday in 2000 by my dear friend, Lori.  I love the colors and the cowboy, prairie, country feel of it and decided it would be my inspiration piece for my mud room and half bath.  

       I found this dresser at the new Paramount Antique Marketplace location in Northeast Wichita.   
 My talented contractor is going to convert it into a vanity for the half bath in the farmhouse. 

   Another piece I am excited to show you is something older than our house (built circa 1897)   Below is our busy contractor, Steve Vogt, holding up one of the two beautiful corbels that will go in the corners between the living room and kitchen areas so I could see how they will look.   I purchased them from my sister Cindy, who was selling them on her etsy shop   She bought them from a lady who said they were from the Civil War era.  I love history so they are especially meaningful to me.

               I thought they would feel right at home in this old farmhouse. 

        Now for some progress pictures.   The garage doors are on 
and the concrete apron has been laid.


And the final result looked like this. . . .

       And the first car in the garage is Alex's new/used Mini Cooper.  

      One of the most daunting projects was getting internet for the house.  We weren't even think about how difficult it would be to get a decent internet connection when we fell in love with this farm.  Something to consider if you are thinking about country life.  So far we've had to install a 50 foot telephone pole.

        And then have a tech install a satellite dish.    

        And we're in business.  Works great!

        Inside the garage and loft, insulation has been sprayed and drywall will go up soon.

       I have been working on the kitchen layout in the loft above the garage and purchased cabinets, countertop, and appliances.  Here is the floor plan.  

        Here is what my dining room looks like right now. Not quite warm enough to work outside.  See my inspiration piece laying on the dresser and the barn quilts in the background? 
        The quilts are both done and ready to be hung up, but I have to wait until we rent a lift to put  steps on the telephone pole for future service calls on the internet.  We'll use this lift to hang the large barn quilt over the barn doors.  Can't wait!