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Home Improvements

Life has been moving ahead at full steam, especially due to the large amounts of home improvements we’ve been working on the past few weeks. Hans spent almost all of last Thursday (his day off) sanding the drywall of the last bedroom. A few students came to help Hans prime the two remaining rooms on Saturday, and then Hans and I painted one room yesterday (Sunday). We finished up the crazy weekend of house work by painting Caleb’s room this morning – with his help. (Who knew our three-year-old is such a good painter?! He worked with us for an hour and actually was helpful without making any extra messes!)

With the baby due in less than two weeks, we were pushing pretty hard to finish and are in a pretty good spot. All we really need to do now is mop and set up furniture – it will be nice to have three finished bedrooms for the first time ever in this house!

It’s been nice having Hans’ flexible schedule (we moved his day off to Monday this week since his supervisor is visiting on Thursday) to be able to get more done. We’re all looking forward to having truly restful days off now that the pressing work is finished.

Finally done sanding!

It's primed!

Caleb likes to paint

All Done!

For some reason we only took pictures of one of the rooms when we were painting. Eventually we may get photos up of the completed rooms!


Full House

This weekend was the first “normal” weekend we’ve had since school started this semester. On the first weekend we had barely arrived home from all of our travels, and only had some of the usual activities with students. Last weekend, we were up north in the Keweenaw at the chapter’s winter retreat, so none of those usual activities happened either. But this weekend we had the full schedule. And full is how it felt!

On Saturday mornings, we have been hosting a group of (American) students for breakfast and discipleship training. With the group from last semester we looked at the Five Thresholds of Conversion – a fancy way of looking at the stages of how people generally come to know and follow Jesus. This semester, we started another group of students and they are also going through the same material. But the tricky part comes with the fact that the first group hadn’t quite finished up yet… so we decided to run two simultaneous groups!

How does that work? Hans is continuing with the first group, which happens to be smaller – a mere seven students – and they get the privilege of eating breakfast and meeting upstairs in Caleb’s bedroom. (Why Caleb’s bedroom?… the spare bedroom has absolutely no furniture in it currently… maybe we should finish that room!) The new group, which has 16 students, gets to meet in our livingroom with me. I’m excited to lead the group through the material and see them grow in their faith. (I’m also more than a little nervous to be leading something like this!) The goal is to work through all of the material by spring break, which also happens to be near our baby’s due date, and then we will combine both groups and Hans will continue with them.

Full House!

On Sunday nights this semester we will be hosting two leadership meetings over dinner, with additional students joining for dessert. This group was a little smaller – only eight students made it for dinner this week, though I’ve been told that number was a little lower than usual. But seven more joined for dessert, so we still had a good crowd.

I have been thankful for the size and location of our house many times in the past two years, but this weekend made me thankful again. It was wonderful to see our house full of students, and to see so many students excited to grow in their faith, lead the chapter, and encourage others to grow as well. We dreamed of having a house full of people when we bought it, and it is great to see God filling it up!

An aside…

During last night’s leadership meeting, Caleb and I ate our dinner in the Bible Study leader’s prep meeting, since attendance was low this week and there was room at the table. The group is in the middle of the Gospel of Mark, and a miracle of Jesus healing a blind man was mentioned. We were all surprised when Caleb immediately began to tell us how Jesus spat on the ground, made mud, put it on the blind man’s eyes and told him to go wash his face in water and be healed! (This particular miracle happens to be recorded in the Gospel of John, but that’s a minor detail!) I don’t even remember when Caleb first heard this story of Jesus, but he had all of the details correct. I am starting to see that having students come to our house for trainings, Bible studies, and other events is not only teaching students, but also teaching Caleb!

Making Progress: One Room (Mostly) Done!

We started our big house remodel last spring. I knew I was idealistic in my expectations of finishing this summer, but I hadn’t fully appreciated how much work it is to remodel yourself, especially while pregnant and with a toddler hanging around. And so, as I think it is with most remodelling projects, we’re not done yet. Not too long ago, Hans asked me what we’ll work on next summer…  and I responded with a resounding, “finish this summer’s projects!”

Dance a little... we finished a house project!

I know the photo’s blurry, but we had fun dancing around once the room was clean. It feels good to have a room done!

It has been fun to see the changes in the house. The electrical work is done upstairs. We have three bedrooms – and Hans and I moved into our new (mostly finished) room a few weeks ago. Caleb now gets to sleep in what is to be his room – granted it still needs to be mudded, primed, and painted. But it was fantastic to get our first room cleaned and moved into. We’re still finding places for everything, but it’s nice having our stuff all in the same room. (Before it was in semi-storage as we moved stuff around to work.)

It's done!

Our friend, Chris, and his son, Christopher, helped us with a lot of the work this summer. My dad came for a few days and helped us mud the walls when Hans was really busy with work, and when Hans’ parents were visiting last month, they helped me prime. And another friend helped us paint. This has definitely been a group venture!

The reason the room isn’t completely done is two-fold. Trim still needs to go up (but that’s pretty trivial after all the changes we’ve made) and we plan to have new built-in drawers made to replace the current ones, giving us more storage (and more attractive storage) than what is already there. Caleb’s room will have the same built-ins installed as well, so there’s a “hole” in the drywall in his room, revealing the old, ugly wallpaper where it will go. Hopefully that will be done next summer. Anyone with drawer-making skills want to come show us how to build them? 🙂

It has been wonderful to have three bedrooms, even though they’re not finished yet. We’ve already had a few people take advantage of our third bedroom, and when the baby comes, it will be nice to have the flexibility that another room gives. But maybe next time we remodel, we’ll take it in smaller stages…

New Bedroom!

Like our headboard? Until Caleb’s room is done, we get to store his mattress in our room…

Our House’s Identity Crisis

Several people have asked me lately what the summer holds for us. For work, we’ve been spending time with students – taking advantage of the slower pace of summer life for most international students and working on behind-the-scenes ministry stuff (like preparing for next year and raising more support). Family-wise, we’ve been taking time for picnics and other summer fun, but one of the main things we’ve been doing involves power tools.


The house we bought was built with three bedrooms. Sometime between its construction and when the previous owner took residence, two of the bedrooms were combined into one. (Based on the wallpaper, carpet, and curtains in the room I’m guessing it was sometime in the 60’s or 70’s.) Since none of the aforementioned attributes of the room were desirable in this decade, I was anxious to remove them, plus we wanted a third bedroom. So our house has undergone another identity crisis and is becoming a three bedroom house once again. Read More…