All posts by steph

Family Blessings

When Gary was a youngun’ he was unofficially adopted by his Aunt Sis and Uncle Rich into their (already robust) family of seven. Those good Jesus-loving folks included him in vacations, had him over for weekends, and generally loved on him during a time when his family was pretty much falling apart. As I was introduced and well-welcomed into that family I could see how God used those dear people to model for Gary not only what an intact family looked like, but also what living for Jesus looked like in real life. Oh, there was lots and lots of teasing, but never without the underlying lots and lots of loving. Even when the family moved from the Philadelphia area up to Massachusetts, the connection stayed strong. When we set out on this journey, their house was the first place we visited. While I failed to get a photo of them at the time – here they are a couple of years later –
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Man, we love these folks! They have both been promoted to Heaven, but we still are in contact with those wild and crazy cousins. When we got an invitation to join their family reunion in MA, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to join in the fun. While we had little to no idea who went with who in the younger generations, it was still a marvelous day of seeing the Lake tribe in all of its glory and goodness. They might’ve been short a family or two, but it was still a perfectly wonderful day. Since we were so enjoying catching up with the gang, I didn’t take too many photos, but I couldn’t resist when all the littles were gathered together for a group shot.
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Even though they were definitely looking at a different camera, you can get a feel for the energy of the day! And for the moms that were busy trying to capture the moment.
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I did manage one sibling/cousin/spouse photo –
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We might not get to connect with these folks very often – but the love is always there!!

After our quick trip to Mass, we returned to work for a couple of days and then headed south to do some doctoring and other family visiting! Blood work, mammogram and annual check-ups all went well (thank you, Lord!), but the real highlight of our “Doctoring” time is our chance to visit with the Chambersburg Fitz’s and any other nearby family – Joie and Fitz came for the day to add more delight to our visit. Such a wonderful time of catching up with this sweet family! I totally failed in the picture taking department, but managed to get a shot of three of the four kiddos working on one of the three jigsaw puzzles that were in process during our visit!
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The time spent with that family more than made up for the two shots I got at the Doctors. And a quick stop at Trickling Springs Creamery also helped!
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All in all, it was an excellent week. A little work, a little road trip, a little business (those doctoring things!), a little ice cream and a LOT OF FAMILY!!! What could be better!!

Thanks for stopping by!
Steph
PS – If you’d like to see just a few more pictures of the trip, you can check them out here!

Catching up by phone

First of all I’d like to say “Thank you” for continuing to visit this little corner of the internet!! My posts seem to get farther and farther apart – somewhat because our life seems pretty mundane these days but mostly because it’s easier not to write a post than it is to write one! Just trying to keep it real here, friends! Since it’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote, I thought I’d just look through my phone to see what I thought was interesting enough to document. And in that looking back I realized I’ve done a really poor job of photo-documenting some of the really important stuff!
So work – SOWER work that is!
We ladies have been largely working with housekeeping – making beds and getting rooms ready for guests. No pictures of that, but surely you can imagine the whole bed-making process. =) On the Fourth we were pulled into the kitchen, and that was super fun!
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Did you catch the whole red-white-and-blue theme of our attire?? Always working on getting in the spirit! It wasn’t all work, though and we did enjoy a yummy chicken BBQ
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and later in the day sported our matching (though you probably can’t see them) flag earrings!
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The guys have been busy working on that walk-in room.
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Framing approved and on to the insulation

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Insulation approved and on to the drywall….
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The drywall has passed inspection and hopefully sometime this week they will actually be able to start constructing the walk-in!! (I’m home alone this lovely Saturday morning, and I’m pretty sure that Gary is down tapin’ and muddin’ that drywall!)
So in a nutshell – this SOWER project has gone by in a flash, and with just one week to go, it will be sad to see our co-workers head off.
In Non-Work news, we took a little road trip last weekend up to the cabin (YIPPEE!!!!) for our annual Dwinell Cabin Association meeting. This is where I really fell down in photo-documenting it! No pictures of the cabin, no big group picture, no pictures of the friends we got to see along the way. Ugh. BUT – regardless of my sad photo taking, there were a couple of pictures on the phone from the weekend.
Like the produce at the Farmer’s Market in Ludlow, VT
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or the beautiful VT highway, with its lovely lack of traffic –
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or a candid shot from our meeting.
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What I failed to take pictures of are all the sweet moments we spent with friends and family. But maybe it’s just that I was too busy enjoying the time to get out the camera. Yep, I know that’s the case! Those wonderful memories are best stored in our hearts anyway, right?

Well, in the interest of getting something accomplished today, I’d best hit the ‘publish’ button on this.  I did just return from tracking down my sweet hubby, and sure enough –
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he’s been playing in the mud!

Thanks for stopping by!
Steph
 

Finally!

We weren’t sure we’d ever get here!! As our Waco Reno project stretched from April to May to June – we didn’t know when we’d be able to finally get to our summer SOWER project – Montrose Bible Conference. But here we are, and I’m happy to report that for the first time in a long time I’ve spent the last four days doing pretty much nuttin’. No alarms, no paint brushes, no trips to Lowes. We’ve been hanging around home, taking care of long-ignored house chores, doing a bit of sewing, and catching up on old episodes of Big Valley and Laramie. Ahhhh……

Back to SOWER work tomorrow! Yippee!! We’re working with two other couples so it should be a fun month. The guys will be working on the construction of a new walk-in freezer
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(Yep, there’s lots of steps to go to make it a reality!)
and we ladies will be helping out with housekeeping and kitchen work. I’m pretty experienced in that – and I’m pretty happy no one has mentioned the word “paint”.
Phew.

Have a blessed week, everyone!
Steph

Leaving Waco

It was hard to leave Waco.

Oh, it was emotionally hard to leave behind this house that we’d not only poured the last three months of our lives into but also a house that had been ‘in the family’ for 10 years. There are a lot of sweet memories and sweat equity in that home, and it was bittersweet to bid it that final farewell.

And of course it was heart-hard to leave behind our precious Waco family –
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(Abigail missed this photo-op, but we’re sure gonna miss her too!) Especially with that 4th little Texas cowboy on the way!

But what I’m talkin’ about here is that it was PHYSICALLY hard to leave Waco!
We got a good early start out of the campground,
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left the RV at the Sam’s Club parking lot and then went to the house to wait for a package. (We had placed the order before we realized we were going to be able to leave earlier than planned. Poor planning, I know.)
And then we waited.
We waited in the house.
We waited on the porch.
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We waited in the truck.
And at 3:45 that brown truck finally arrived.
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Finally, we were heading back to the RV to get hooked up and ON OUR WAY.
As I was pulling the truck behind Lizzie to get started, I had a brain hiccup and remembered I had left one last load of wash in the dryer. Back at the house. Yes, after sitting within 20 feet of the laundry room for a full 6 hours with no recall whatsoever that I had left the dryer going the night before, God (in His kindness but with a bit of humor) brought that to mind. So it was back to the house for me (Gary stayed at the rig to try and get her cooled off after sitting in the sun all day). I collected the wash (which was still a little damp – GAHHHHH), returned to the rig through rush hour traffic and FINALLY, at 6PM, we were on our way.
Ahhh…..
The rest of the trip had a few little hiccups –
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and
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and really and truly, too much traffic for my taste.
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But we made it to Ohio
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and spent the evening with these darling faces!
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We’ll get to see the rest of the Ohio Grands before we head on to Montrose Bible Conference (our July and August SOWER project), but for now we’re thankful for the sweet respite and the joy of seeing family. We’re also thankful for safety on the roads, the spare fuel filter that allowed us to continue on our way (and for my guy who knew how to change it!), for cooler temps and for all the laundry being with us in Ohio!!
God is Good!!
Steph

Wrapping up the Reno

In all fairness, this wasn’t a traditional ‘renovation’. No walls were moved, no windows replaced and no floors were ripped up.  The really important part of this reno is invisible to the naked eye, since it is all inside the walls or in the attic.
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But as to the parts that you CAN see – I thought I’d share a couple of “before” and “afters” before I share some other Really Big News!
Closets aren’t the most exciting spaces in any house, but I really enjoyed rehabbing these two spaces right down to the shiplap!
Hall Closet before:
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Hall Closet after:
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Upstairs attic before –
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and After –
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Then there were the two bathrooms. In all honestly they both could’ve used an big update. But that wasn’t really in the cards (or budget!). So with the first floor bath we painted and changed up the mirror just a bit and basically shined the place up!
Here it is before we started –
Bath Done-2
Bath Done-3
And here it is After (Photo by the realtor’s photographer!)
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The upstairs bathroom had all sorts of complications – a claw foot tub, a green ceiling, louvered doors on the closet….it really was just more than I could wrap my head around. So I took down the shower curtain, gave everything a good cleaning and shine and called it a day. When I saw the photo from the photographer, I was very pleased!! Still needs to be updated, but it really didn’t look too bad!
Upstairs bath
Our other big – and last to get done – project were the stairs to the second floor. The carpet had been removed years ago, and there was just never a good time to deal with refinishing or painting those stairs.
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We put it off until the end because there STILL wasn’t a good time to tie up those stairs. So there was a pretty hard push at the end to get three coats of paint and then three coast of polyurethane on those steps. But when it was all said and done – we were very pleased!
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Oh – and the shed!! We can’t take credit for the actual painting of the shed (the house painters did that!), but my how pleased we are with the change it made!
Before –
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After –
Shed Painted

HERE’S a link to the listing with all the photographs that were taken by the realtor’s photographer. Even I was like – this is MY house?????

OK – enough “before” and “afters”. The whole house was quite transformed, even without any walls being moved or rooms being redesigned. The “Coming Soon” sign when up last Wednesday and it was supposed to be officially listed on Tuesday (19th). By special permission an out of town buyer came to see in on Friday night. His realtor had another couple interested in it so they took an early look also. By Saturday morning, three days before it was officially listed, we had a full asking price/no contingencies offer. We signed the papers on Monday (after we put a final coat of polyurethane on those stairs!), and baring any unforeseen complications, settlement is scheduled for early August. Our heads are kinda spinning right now – but one thing we are doing is packing up and moving on out!! Pennsylvania (with a stop in Ohio to hug some grandkids (and their parents!)) here we come!!
Thanks for coming along on this Waco Reno journey!
Steph

Sorry – here’s one more of the front of the house…..
Before –
After –