Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Finish Line

        Imagine you're running a marathon and just as you see the finish line and dream of resting your weary feet, someone moves the ribbon another mile down the road.

        This is how I felt during my husband's last year in residency. I remember thinking he would NEVER get done with his medical training. Then we finally hit his chief year of residency. The clouds were parting, angels were singing , and I could see the finish line. And then he applied to do an additional year of training called a fellowship, in trauma and critical care, at the University of Cincinnati. I didn't think I could face it. I cried. I whined. I wanted to quit. The finish line got pushed another year out. A normal, maybe a little less stressful life, settling down in a home and community would all have to wait. We moved one more time and plodded on.

      Our farmhouse  also has a finish line that keeps being moved out. It has been a long two and a half years of remodeling this 1897 farmhouse, but we can see the ribbon getting closer. We are both tired and ready to put our feet up and start the next phase of enjoy our new old home.

      Some landscaping has started on the outside but unfortunately with July coming and 90-100 degree temperatures hitting here in Kansas, we will have to wait until fall or next Spring to put in some beautiful plants. 















       The limestone being used to make beds around the front porch are the original stones used to create the foundation of the house 120 years ago.  So glad we could repurpose them.

      I can't wait to share with you our farmhouse kitchen.  Sometimes when I see a room in my head, it doesn't always turn out the way I had imagined.  I took what I consider a big risk with color in our kitchen, but I love the way it is turning out.  But our move is almost here so I am going to take a break for a month or so this summer to get us packed, moved, and settled into our farmhouse. 

       Here's a little peek at our wood burning stove in the dining room.


        I have never forgotten the words Tom Hanks said in the  movie “ A League of Their Own." He played the role of  the coach to a professional women's baseball team during World War II.  One of the female players  was whining about how difficult it was being on the  team. His reply?  

If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it.
It's the hard that makes it great. 


         Looking back, that extra year of training my husband did was one of the best decisions he ever made. It gave him the ability to choose between doing general surgery or trauma surgery. It turns out he is truly gifted at  handling life and death crisis situations. He says time even slows down and he can think more clearly when someone is crashing before him in the ER.  Even though it was a sacrifice, it was worth it all.


       We've all heard words like "the joy is in the journey and not reaching the destination." Sometimes this is hard to hear when we're in the middle of the race and just want it to end.   But we do grow and change during our journey and that is often just as important as  reaching our goal.  Frodo was not the same Hobbit when he ended his journey and neither am I.


     I have learned to have more patience,  less anxiety, and to accept things out of my control. Problems will always come in life.  Accepting this truth and not letting them tweak me out comes a little easier.   Usually any project we tackle will take longer than we think, cost more than we want, and leave us  exhausted.  As we finish one goal, or climb one hill, another one always appears. 


Emotion might drive us to make a decision,
      but character, or discipline,
 is what keeps us going when the journey gets hard.
                                                                             -John Maxwell 

        Would I want to go through medical school, internship, residency and a fellowship again with my husband?  No way!  Nor would I want to start remodeling this old farmhouse over again, but I am glad we did both.   

        Wherever you are on your journey, plod on dear friends, one step at a time.   You can always do more than you think you can.    The goal is reachable and what happens within you is the true treasure.









Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Pool construction 101


      If you've ever considered putting in a pool and wondered what all is involved, this post is for you! We have never had a pool but have always wanted one.  With our entire yard a mess, we figured it was better to put in a pool now rather than ruin our landscaping later.   So the fun began on March 21st.   Here is the process from beginning to end.  
My husband standing on a tree stump they had to dig out.
Deep end being dug.

Pool sides are up but rain keeps hindering work.




Cement around pool being poured.





Builders laid tarp in the pool to keep the rain out.  They had to pump the water out many times because of how wet our spring was this year.




These guys were truly artists!  They quickly smoothed a sand/cement like mixture over the interior of the pool that would lay just under the pool liner.




The pool liner was put in the very next day!




Pool being filled with water and the air being vacuumed out between the walls and the liner.

      The first dip in our new pool was taken on Memorial Day, May 29th.  (Two months from start to finish).   It was such a joy to finally have a time of relaxing at the farm instead of always pushing toward a new goal. 




        We celebrated family, friends, and freedom, giving thanks for those who gave their all so that we could truly enjoy life.  I believe they would want us to do this.


        We look forward to sharing these cool waters on our hot sunny Kansas days with many of you. If you come visit us, make sure you bring your swim suit. 💦 

* Pool installed by Platinum Pools and Spa, Wichita, KS.  They did a great job!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Master Bath Beauty

 "Only look back to see how far you've come."

photo credit: garryknight A Path Through Abbey Woods via photopin (license) 

       If there is one room I've waited the longest to  be done, it's our master bathroom.  When I look back, I can appreciate how far we've come with remodeling our 1897 farmhouse.  The master bathroom is so close to being done,  I couldn't wait to show you how beautiful it turned out. 

      In the original house this little room was used as a bedroom.  It was the only one on the first floor with a tiny little closet.  We wanted our master bedroom to be on the first floor, so we turned this little room into our master bathroom and one of the two living rooms into our bedroom.  

 
      This was the closet!  The only thing saved from the room and closet was the sweet overhead light.   I had it rewired and you will see it below in our new bathroom.  

       But before beauty, there was the beast.  Bill worked on and off again on this beast for over a year.   He would work on her and then get pulled away to work on another area of our farmhouse and since he also works as a fireman, the master bathroom seemed to take forever.  But he truly made her into a beauty with some help from a few others.  Here are the before  pictures:



       Her walls and floor were all  torn down and because of some rot she was even exposed to the weather  while Bill built her back up.  Doors and one window were removed to open her up to a completely new floor plan.




New insulation and walls going up for a bigger closet and a huge shower.   We wanted everything done on the first floor to be handicap assessable for any future guests or ourselves to use if needed in the future.   All door openings were made a minimum of 36" wide.
                       Shiplap and vanities are moving in.


        And now we present the beauty . . .


Notice the  overhead light that came from the original closet?





        Shower floor tile and hardwood floor looking tile.

My inspiration for our master bedroom and bathroom is the beach, which is my favorite place to be, especially with my sisters who I don't get to see very often.

My sisters, Kris, on the left and Beth on the right at Dauphin Island, Alabama. 



I added color to the room with the shower curtain (which is actually a window curtain), and rugs that  match the quilt covering our bed.  


        So what is missing from this beautiful bathroom?   A few towel bars, some decorations, a barn door that will  serve as our closet door and most importantly us!  We are starting to move things into our farmhouse.  Our big move is coming soon!  


   
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Metal vanity mirrors are from Ballard Design.
Vanity Lights are from Lowes.
Rugs from Target.
 Concrete Countertops done by: 2Dogs Custom Artisan Concrete, Wichita, KS  http://www.2dogsdesigns.com/#gallery


Friday, April 28, 2017

when plan "A" doesn't work

       If there is one truth I'm learning in this whole remodeling process it's this:  Nothing goes as planned.    But after two years I am learning to accept these bumps in the road and not let them tweak me out as much.
   

      For example, last Saturday was move day for my son Alex who has been living in the upstairs  of the farmhouse.  We were trying  to get the loft apartment above the garage done so we could move him in there (Plan A), . . . but it was not ready.  The hardwood floors in  the house were going to be sanded and stained on Monday so all his belongings had to be moved to the basement or sun porch (Plan B).


        Then we realized  the hardwood floors already put down in the dining room area were wet because of a leak coming through the french doors when it rained. Those planks got ripped out and a storm door was installed that will hopefully take care of the problem, but   


we have to wait for another good rain to be sure.  Then  the hardwood floors in the living room, kitchen and dining room (Plan C) will be completed.  
     
         The good news is  the farmhouse upstairs floors and the master bedroom floor were stained and we love how they turned out.

        The apartment above the garage (which we call "The Loft" because it sounds so cool), has seen lots of progress.  From the first cabinet being hung  . . .


to this beautiful kitchen. . .

       Only a little bit more to finish and Alex will finally have a kitchen.
      Close up of our kitchen backsplash tile.


       All the flooring has been put down in the main room and bedrooms and almost all the painting done except some trim work.



        Bedrooms are carpeted and the bathroom is almost done and will be revealed in my next post.

       The last exciting event that happened this past week was digging a new well.  This was desperately needed for several reasons.  One was because of the location of the well which was right next to a road that goes past the barn to our back acreage.  Both my husband and I have each hit the well cap with our vehicle or the tractor and our plumber said if it was hit one more time we would lose the well completely.   
So here is the new well being dug just yards away from the old one.  We hit water at 55 feet and have 150-200 gallons per minute!  I don't think we are going to have any trouble filling up our pool or

taking long showers.  And here is what it looked like after they were done.  The white pvc pipe sticking up is the new well.  The old well pipe top was blown as high as the barn roof because of a pressure build up.  I missed that excitement though.  
       
So glad we didn't take our lab out with us that day!

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

There.
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.