Completed projects:

roof, kitchen, master bedroom, main bathroom (sans shower tile), fireplace, hardwood flooring, windows, office, front entry, stairway

Ongoing projects:

shower surround, dapping/painting woodwork, ensuite vanity/lights/mirror, painting outdoor trim, finishing front entry tile work, interior door painting and hardware, decorating

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The cool people in my life.

It's a typical day after work kind of evening. I'm finishing up the dishes, when suddenly this kind gent comes up my 'sturdy magnificent' back steps and knocks on the door. It's Vic needing a plug for a saw and is in search of my screwdriver. Cool... my kinda guy. Ben is below getting ready to finish up the stair banister. I pretend to shake my finger at them because it's drizzly out and I didn't want them working in the rain, so I warm them up some with hot chocolate and cookies.

Have I told you lately how much I LOVE those stairs?!? I like to run up and down them just because.

Then Pete and Gina arrived later. I sure love their feedback on things. It's overwhelming when you have many decisions to make. I think my favorite saying of late is, "You chose!" They're amazing. Their motive is that I'm smiling after all is said and done, so I guess I have some decisions to make. I'll do my homework, I promise!

It's wonderful having people around you. I'm able to finally bounce off some household type dreams I've had for a very long time and to actually get real live personal people type feedback... just AWESOME.

Everyone just comes in and out, does their thing, and involves me when I need or can be a part of something.

They've all met my annoyingly friendly dog, and two fat cats. They know about the warranty pamphlet taped over the bathroom door knob opening. (knob broke off) They know of the cat litter room. (downstairs bathroom with no door nor toilet, soon to change!)

They are cool with it all. Because THEY are cool.

Thanks for your time tonite folks. It's always welcome and much appreciated!

Monday, April 28, 2008

My 'moments' result in Jake's Sunday visits

I honestly have the best neighbours you could possibly dream up. During the week it's a quiet neighbourhood as everyone is busy at work. Zach is one of the local lawn mower extraordinaires we see Wednesdays, and I do see lots of Georgia and Ross here and there playing outdoors, and most other movement is pretty hit and miss, weather and sports activities permitting.

On Sunday, Janette wandered over, and was the fortunate reciever of one of my 'moments.' Some work and personal issues were just simply getting the better of me. But I have to be VERY careful what I say to her. I mean, honestly, what do you think would happen if I had a tearful moment stressing the fact that I was out of CAKE?!? (hmmmm... I like that one...)

Anyway, she got an earful on my most recent plea of what seemed like leaking air from tires. The conversation led to other things as well of course, but obviously she didn't like the fact that air DARED to leak from my tires! So Jake came for a 'surprise' visit... LOL

I love this guy. He put my mind at ease immediatey on the issue, and that allowed me to cross that one off the 'worry' list. But then he volunteered to put together yet another one of my un-put-together Ikea shelf deals I've had for some time.

This one I bought... oh... 1.5 years ago. It's a cool rolling cart that has drawers and a place for files. It fits neatly under my Ikea desks. So he attacked that one for me and naturally had it done in a flash, utilizing only about 24" x 24" floor space. (that part always amazes me...)

I love this thing! I can't wait for a 'home office day' to play with it, you know, try it here, no, there...

But what I love more is the way my neighbours take care of us. Just a friendly hello would suffice! But naturally, living in the great neighbourhood I live in, there most certainly can be much more at any given moment.

Jake, thank-you! I love my new/old furniture! But please don't give up all your Sunday afternoons to put Ikea components together. I promise not to tell Janette too much this week... And I promise to quit shopping at Ikea! :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day 4 ~ stair rail built, windows and electrical checked out


Oh my oh my oh my... I just now, at 9:09 pm saw what Ben and Pete did to the patio stairs, the rail is GORGEOUS! I tried to wiggle it like my last one and it wouldn't budge!!!! We tried to get Gina to join us today but she was tied up at home. Soon Gina! I sure could use some of your wonderful advice. These guys have me hopping all over the place here!

It's really strange being in this place with improvements. I'm so use to living in limbo with wiggly and squeaky stuff. Everything that's touched is strong, silent and magnificent. I didn't think I could ever feel like that about living here. I am being proven wrong and I couldn't be happier!

Ok, so the day started with Ben coming to meet window guy John. To my pleasant surprise, Pete came too and Ben and Pete worked on the stair rail while waiting for John. Once John arrived, he did what he did best and measured up windows and offering advice. Awesome to meet you John!

Cody and I then had to leave for a soccer game. When we came home, Rich the electrician was here with Pete. Rich blew me away with his know-how and expertise. He's a true Holmes kinda guy. He and Pete devised a plan before I even got there and knew what they had to do. All the electrical will be checked, tweeked, done right. A new box is needed because the old one is full. They are gonna buzz saw the floors up but good and get those wires in where they need to be!

I hope my house is very scared. No more nonsense from you, house!

Welcome to the project, Rich and John!

Thanks everyone, for taking the time and coming out tonite. I can't begin to tell you how much it's appreciated. But I'll continue to try!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Day 3 ~ Good 'ol Yarrow hospitality!

So, here I thought I had my tarped up office all to myself today. Thank goodness Ben called that he was on his way. Every day is more fun when there's someone to jibber jabber with when you work from home.

I feel sorry for him. I couldn't make up my mind on one shelf. One silly shelf. Go Ben go! I promise I won't ask you to move it an inch up or anything like that. I'd make it worth your while and ask for two inches! Heh...

Seriously, nice framing job today! Thanks so much for coming by! And thanks Gord for the chunk of insulation we got from your shop when you weren't home. And thanks Dan for helping me break into Gord's shop via Ben's tip of Gord's stock. Isn't it wonderful working all together like this?!? (even when one isn't home?)

Jake and Janette also stopped by. Jake was measuring doors and Janette was wishing she could vaccum my office. Mess? What mess? What day is it anyway?

So then once everyone left, I made a mask for Zach's basketball backer board and went and painted the pole. Then Zach mowed my lawn.

Gotta love Yarrow hospitality. Small town folks with big hearts.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Day 2 ~ sneaky sneaky....

Ok, who's runnin' the show and not tellin' me stuff?!? So I'm learning by the minute to accept the surprises. And what nice surprises they are!

I knew Vic and Ralph were due for a stop in this fine AM. But I carried on my normal routine, attempting to keep life to the dull roar I've been accustomed to living in. I take Cody to school , then go on my walk, then return, get ready for my day of work and work the day away until Cody's out of school again. Yep, that was the plan...

But ohhhh, this was SO MUCH BETTER! I found Vic and Ralph hacking away at this cement hearth that was meant to last for a million years or so. But that wasn't all. Oh no. Outside, equal banging was going on. I found Ben dismanteling my patio stairs, finally putting them in their so desired final resting place.. (the back of a pickup).

You know that sound when you drive past new construction? All that banging and buzzing and rrrrring you hear? Don't you just love those sounds? Well, I was the very fortunate recipient to hold the loudest sounding sawdust in the land today! On good ol' Devon Avenue, we had it goin' on!

So I'm thinking, wow. Just wow. What do I do? Wow. It's a work day today so I ought to put in a few hours of well, work. First, gotta get up the tarps and sheets. Then find the tools. Ok, all set. I go turn on my computer to work and start getting stuff done, when I glance outside. Nice sunny day, three guys are using power tools, and I'm stuck indoors surrounded in tarps and sheets?!? Nice... just no comparison. Power tools and good company rate first here! There's always Tuesday...

So I'm out there. I'm watching wanting to get in the middle of the mess, somehow. So I start hauling crap to the back of the trucks. When done, I go out back again and watch. Here are three guys simply going about their reno business at lighting speed. Zoom zoom zoom... yeah, they most certainly did rate their own tv commercial, but my digital picture taking had to suffice.

And then Pastor Eldon paid us a visit, probably to check up on Ben, you know, make sure he's workin' hard I'm sure. Then Janette comes around the corner with a tray of lunch for all. Can this day possibly get any better?!?

Yes, it did. When I started working on the stairs myself. Cool... I helped to build my stairs!!! Ok, so I only screwed in the steps but still...

These guys are sneaky. I hear snippets of conversations about what's about to embark next, but don't REALLY hear it, it's more like the wind blows over one every five words about what's going on. Makes for lots of sneaky surprises...

Thanks for another exciting day everyone! It's getting to be a whole lotta fun over here....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Many Hands ~ The dust has begun!

I was paid a little innocent type visit from my neighbours Jake and Janette today. Sure, come on in and measure stuff! How nice to see you too!

And with some news. Apparently my smoke belching wreck of an airtight wood stove was getting a new home tonite. (that would be my driveway). Hmmmm... that would mean... mild renos ahead. Soon. Today even. Ok, more like NOW. Room not prepared.. now what?!?

All weekend while I was cleaning my house and doing laundry, the usual that generally takes up the entire weekend in itself, I was wondering how on earth would I find enough time to start on this massive project ahead? I've been going to the dump and MCC runs while purging lots of items, but as you know, when you're busy doing the things you should be to keep up with the household, how do you steal the time to get extras done?!? Today I figured out that answer.

Many hands.

We needed to move some hardwood flooring stacked up to the side to enable the woodstove to be removed. While that was being done, Janette 'found' this full box of Ikea components and asked me what it was. I explained it was a cabinet I bought 2 years ago... it was to hold shoes by the front door, but I didn't put it together because a different opportunity for something else came up instead so now I had this 'extra', but I had thoughts on perhaps using it to put my tv on instead...

Janette happily offered Jake for the job! LOL (run Jake run!)

Honestly, if it were me putting that thing together, I'd need a massive expanse of floor, all the parts spread around and squinting at the directions with my reading glasses. It would have taken me approximately 1 hour to lay it out and 2 hours to figure it out. With no interruptions. Well, Jake had it together in about 20 minutes. Smart hands!

I then had to leave to pick up Cody and left the dangerous duo alone in my house with handfuls of tools.

As I was driving home, I had a spurt of "NO WAY!!! THAT THING IS BEING PUT TOGETHER! WITHOUT ME!" What an awesome feeling. And when I walked in and saw it set up, it was wonderful. Just wonderful. It LOOKED good, it WORKED, and it was JUST FINALLY DONE. No more tripping over that silly box! It was done!

Jake started getting crazy with the crowbar and tore off some strange bavarian styled something or other around the stove. Honestly, I was just watching it happen when I finally just realized, hey, it's really happening, so get in there already and make it go faster! RIP BANG DUST COUGH UGH YAY!

Then a team of muscles, Stan, Erv and Blake, arrived at the door upon a call by Jake. It took the four guys to haul the stove outside to the delight of my neighbourhood's viewing pleasure. And it only took a few minutes!!!

Just know, this would have been a year's venture for me to coordinate. But with many hands, the entire stove-out-the-window project lasted approximately 2 hours. That's it! TWO hours!

Tonite I giggled. I looked at my tv cabinet and excitement started to rise. I looked at the vacant spot the wood stove ate up for way too long and smiled. "Cody, our house is going to LOOK so good! Soon! Look at the cabinet! It's awesome!" Even sitting on my plywood floors, it looked awesome. I am so thankful.

I'm just really really thankful for all those many hands that helped today!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Our first team meeting!

I'm tired AND smiling today.

'My team' came over last night. Silly me, feeling nervous, undeserving, hesitant, grateful, just a big mixed salad of emotions. Emotion hit me when they first walked in and after I introduced to them my newest friend 'toilet paper in my pocket', we all had a laugh and got down to it.

Janette led Ben the contractor, Pete the project manager, and Gina the stage setter/decorator into my lovely domain. We walked the rooms and talked about this and that, measurements were taken, discussions that this and that were/weren't possible, and none of them ran out the door in fright! Cool...

And cool folk they were! I loved digging into their minds to see what they saw and they seemed somewhat delighted (I hope that's what it was??) that while I sketched ideas, my enthusiasm crawled right out of me and even hit a few in my line of vision. When Ben started taking measurements for my 'dream catagory' windows in the kitchen, you'd think someone was tickling me...

While we were wrapping up, notes were being jotted down, quiet discussions around corners were noted, they all knew what to do. They just knew. And you know what that felt like? Someone was taking care of me. And I told them so.

How am I feeling? I'd say overwhelmed is pretty much it. Not sure whether to supress my excitement or live it. I seem to need to tuck it away now and then so I can focus on my work, but honestly, all I want to do is get rippin' and throwin' out and bangin' and sawin' and just get dirty!

I've started a new binder. I always start a binder of contacts and such when a new project comes upon me on a given subject. And how exciting to start one of those binders on something so unique, needed, desired!!! It's a different feeling than the binder I had on the septic system, I'll say that.

Thank-you all! It was such a pleasure to not only meet you, but to get to KNOW you. I am so looking forward to that part the very most.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The 'HUGS' are coming!

Ahhhhhh!!!!! Thanks, I needed that.

I just recieved a phonecall from Pastor Eldon to schedule a meeting with the project manager among others for Wednesday evening. THIS WEDNESDAY THEY COME! OF THIS WEEK! 2 DAYS AWAY!

Breathe, breathe... I don't know whether to hide under a rock for what they are about to see or do a little reno dance with them. I don't know how to thank them. I don't know how to allow myself to fall into a place where I just release my "I don't care about this place' attitude of late and really start feeling the process.

You know what this feels like? It feels like they're all coming over to give me a hug. Someone out there is caring about our needs and it feels like a big ol' bear hug.

When you have no spouse, or no others really living with you totally understanding what you truely are going through on your own, you don't often get hugs, or hear about them. Except kid hugs around your knees of course, aren't they cool?. But there are other kinds of hugs I'm referring to.

Hugs to me come in the way of emotional support. There's a team of wonderful folks whom I've never met in my life, EAGER to help. ME. I ask why. Many times a day.

I've done alot of self analization of late since this whole project came about, and it appears that my love language is, someone just being there for me, including me, wanting me around, wanting to help if I need it. I have some great friends whom I just know I'm always welcome, but sometimes you just need a little visual or verbal proof, ya know? My door will be knocked on with a team of very excited folks wanting to give me 'the hug' I sooooo have missed for a very long time.

That in itself, makes me more emotional than the reno aspect. They don't truely know what my story is. Yet, they've put total faith in my neighbour's nomination, and that was enough for them. That's it! I wasn't thrown a survey to jot down what level my present needs were at, they just had faith they chose someone that needed this in more ways than one.

I saw a flick of Extreme Home Editon and Oprah's Big Give yesterday. Honestly? I had to turn the channel. I looked at those individuals and felt for them. Now there are some real needs! Physical issues, deaths, natural disasters, you get the idea.

I've been prepped by many now to simply allow this to happen. To accept the gift, because there are others out there that want to help ME. We all have stories, I truely believe that and one story isn't less important than the other. But it's hard to accept this when you watch the media and see what else is going on.

I was in Shoppers over the weekend and noticed a lady looking at a protein drink. I approached her and asked, "Is this stuff any good?" I had been debating on a similar suppliment for my son.

She replied, "Well my daughter drinks it so I'm happy if she's happy!" And then she proceeded to tell me about why her daughter required it. Apparently her daughter had fainted, fell and broke her jaw, so it had to be wired up. Now they had to fix the jaw, help her to eat AND figure out why she fainted.

Her future even overwhelmed me. I stood and listened. I didn't quite know what to do. I thought for a moment, and said what I needed to say to her. "I'm going to pray for your daughter." I watched her reaction. She turned to me with a brightness in her eyes and said, "Oh thank-you! Many are praying for her! Bless you!"

I guess in a round about way, I gave one of those hugs that I so desire from time to time. Just knowing someone cares enough to send thoughts or prayers your way. I was so happy I could offer that to a total stranger and it was accepted just that way.

I love the pay-it-forward aspect of life. When you are being blessed with something, it fullfills you to a point where you crave to give give give because it feels so good!

So, keeping that in mind, my heart is smiling because others out there care enough to hear my story and share a little bit of my life with me. And help me get back up on my feet so I can stand even taller. And in return, I continue to look around me offering others those kinds of hugs right back!

The recieved hugs are heartwarming to say the least. But those pay-it-forward hugs are the best kind of all!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Time's ticking living with the 'old clean'...

I worked hard yesterday cleaning up my place for some arriving company.

I seem to find (make??) the time for it once a week to keep on top of things. I can't wash my plywood floors but I do vacuum them. I pick up the nests that accumulate in the corners throughout the week, I attempt to do it right. Even if company didn't arrive, I do it anyway just because. We all like a clean house!

I often wonder what others see when they walk in. Do they look at all the unfinished business going on inside? Do they have any idea how it can rattle me to see it undone myself? I KNOW it's clean, but it never looks clean, know what I mean? Ugly is hard to make look good.

But nevertheless, as I wash over my stained peeling floors yet another time, I know it will FEEL and SMELL clean and I love that!

So I get to this place yesterday to where it's permissible for others to venture in the house. My company comes and a remark is made that my truck needs a good wash.

I have a black truck. I've never known anyone that actually owns a black truck that stays black for very long. It was washed 2 days ago and it looked like a mud pit yesterday. So at some point, you have to 'let it go' and be ok with that, for there's many other things in life than having a clean truck 24/7! ( Ok, so the real me would have made the valiant attempt to clean it before my guests arrived, but I was busy with the house and there's only one of me, so...)

I suppose my entire house plays the same mind games on me. I soooo desire to clean it and have it actually LOOK clean! My truck allows me that option but my house doesn't. I have had a new home before once upon a time so I know the difference, painfully well. But to actually have the option to have it look clean, I can barely contain myself! I've suppressed that wish for a very long time and now with the pending changes, I'm allowing myself to revisit that dream from time to time. Hard to imagine it's an upcoming reality.. VERY hard. But makes for a great dream!

I guess until the dust starts to fly, I will continue to have the 'old' overshadow the 'new', or, dirty look vs clean look. But I guess that's what they mean about appreciating the improved change all the more! Have I finally 'earned' the upcoming change? Have I done my appropriate time?!?

So for today, I'll smile as I wash my 'smell and feel clean only' old lino. For one day soon it just may be the last time and a shiney new floor will be smiling back at me...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The toothfairy that 'forgets'.

Cody still believes. And farbeit for me to change that. I don't encourage nor discourage, but more, support. I know the magic will one day soon be changed to reality, so for today, he believes.

When kids lose teeth at school, you get an adorable little plastic treasure chest or box to place your teeth in. Cody came home with such a box yesterday and was VERY excited at the prospect of yet another visit from the toothfairy.

I have to admit, the toothfairy has a tendancy to sometimes 'forget' to show up. I remember the first time she failed to show up to work. Cody checked under his pillow and was distraught that she didn't come one morning! Gulping hard, I empathized with him, thinking fast. But Cody came up with the PERFECT solution...

"Mom, I'm going to put it by the window. Maybe she couldn't find it." Phew... Yep, it worked.

So next time a tooth became available, Cody promptly remembers what works best and puts it by the window. Trouble is, she didn't show again... oy...

But no worries. Cody to the rescue again. "Mom, maybe I have to open a window!" Well, that worked.

So the new deal is, the tooth goes on the window silll with the window slightly cracked open. Good deal!

Yesterday Cody had done everything right. But as you can only imagine, she didn't show again. (maybe our toothfairy has a 46 yr old memory issue too... huh...) I was beside myself! I mean now what?!?

Then I thought fast. "Cody, was Jenna (the dog) in your room last night?"

During the night, Cody had crawled into my bed, leaving his door wide open. What generally happens is, the big ol hairy dog creeps into Cody's room and takes advantage of her humans fast asleep and jumps into Cody's bed. When we got up this AM, I heard her nails click on the floor quick like. Generally means, she heard me get up and rather than suffer the wrath of her human scolding her, she just got up quicker than I. Smart dog! (smarter than our toothfairy anyway)

"You're right mom!" No way... do I get another chance here?!?

"Mom, stay out of my room! She might come soon!"

"Yeah, ok, I just have to quickly get your clothes ready for school." (it wasn't a lie, I indeed did do that LOL)

So she finally showed up I guess. What is it about this memory failure anyway? Oh well, at least I easily forget what gives me grief at times. I'm surely to forget this one too. Until it happens again of course. But that's the beauty of a failing memory bank. You simply forget some things better left forgotten. But I'm quite sure Cody will 'remind' me... thank goodness for my boy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The BIG PURGE has begun!

Anyone else watch those home reno shows where they show you the ultimate dump styled room, transforming it into something beyond definition? I often look at the 'before' and wonder how someone could LIVE like that.

When I moved here 3 years ago, I brought two houses full of stuff and forced it into the insides of this place. Did it fit?!? No way. Not even close. I remember having to get rid of some stuff instantly by means of putting it on my driveway with a FREE sign. Now THAT was worth paying a mover to move...

Where'd this stuff come from?! And why is it multiplying?!?!? Just yesterday I had a REALLY good look at my basement and that was it. It was time to move it on out! By golly, I was going to be like those on tv and do it right! Because sadly enough, I had one of those HOW COULD THEY LIVE LIKE THAT rooms right in front of me.

So I start boxing stuff up. Oh... no wait.. I'll use THAT again. Awww, I remember that... I caught myself and I huffed and I puffed and threw it back in the OUT box... while biting my bottom lip in absolute anguish naturally.

So I have nowhere to store these newly filled boxes, so outside they must go! Better yet, I'll take them to the local MCC! So out they went when I remembered the little itty bitty courtesty car in my driveway rather than my truck. Augh...

No matter. This stuff will NOT re-enter my home! I found some carpet flooring down there and I like it! So it will just stay here till I get my truck back.

So a couple of my fav neighbours wander by wondering what I'm up to... again. (I guess I'm sort of known for pulling off some colourful projects of late, coming here equates to wondering what kind of toy the $2 machine at the theatre will give you) I hold my breath, they're walking towards my stuff. My precious 1" thick dust on it stuff! I use to LOVE that stuff and they're looking at it! Should I just throw the works back into the house now? Cuz I'm really losing my nerve here..

I imagined them running home getting other family members to help them heave their newest greatest finds home. That didn't happen. They left empty handed! I thought I had treasures in those boxes. Was I wrong?!? Was I hanging onto absolute junk all this time?!?

I paced around my boxes. It was getting dark so it was time to call it a day. I left it all out there. Just maybe someone would come by and just take it and end my misery.

Didn't happen. All still there the next day. I had to go to work, so I took a fat felt pen and wrote FREE STUFF on the box flaps. That oughta do it and it'll be done while I'm at work so it won't bother me! Right?!?

Wrong. All there when I got back home. Ok, now I am seriously looking at that stuff in a new light. It MUST be junk! If you can't get rid of it for free even, what are you seriously left with?!?

So as soon as I get my truck back from it's servicing, I guess I'm going to have to put those boxes out of their misery. Watch the MCC not even want them, that would really take the cake. After MCC, then it's the dump I suppose.

This whole ordeal really put a new spin on my stuff. I guess we always find more value in it because memories are attached to those trinkets. But I know if I move them along, I'll allow someone else to have the chance to enjoy that stuff. Staying in a box isn't the way to go.

Here's to my new soon-to-be empty basement! And space to put more NEW stuff one day...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A VERY happy '40's to me!

Yes, it is my 46th birthday today. But I'm not sharing it to encourage more and more rah rah festivities for myself. I'm sharing it because, generally as we age, we don't much like talking about it. But I do.

This is how it worked for me. When in your teens, you think you know alot but later find that mom and dad really were right. In your 20's you're trying life out. In your 30's, you know just enough to get yourself into trouble.

And in your 40's, you really start living. You are open to new and wonderful ideas and don't mind admitting you were wrong or that you don't know stuff. (or perhaps it's because you 'forget' stuff and have to be open to relearn it over and over again...)

Despite all the hurdles I've jumped to get where I am today, I realize that all needed to transpire to make me the person I am today. I finally feel, at this age, a sort of hushed kind of peace. Perhaps it's because most of my troubled major stresses in life are slowly working themselves out. Perhaps it's because I've finally allowed new and valuable friendships into my otherwise somewhat chosen lonely life of the past. It 'takes a village' for adults too I think. Or perhaps it's all of the above and more I have yet to figure out.

And of course, I can't overlook this project that's about to embark! THAT in itself makes this day a very special one indeed!!!

But perhaps that's what aging is just meant to do for us! If that is the case, I'm REALLY looking forward to being in my 50's! Bring it on!

So for today, I'll celebrate where I'm at. And indulge in some wonderful cake with my mom and son. Gotta have the cake... yes, today just ought to be that carefree! Plus, I have my very young energetic son to help me blow out ALL THOSE CANDLES. Doesn't get much better than that!

Wants vs. Needs

So yesterday I finalized my wants vs. needs list for the upcoming reno project.

Imagine if you will, you were to write down everything your house needs AND all the things you want. Do I actually share all that or just be conservative so I don't make myself out to be over the top?!?

I started with conservative. Very. You know, the toilet ready to fall through the floor thing. But as many of you fully realize, when you renovate, the new touches the old somewhere. It's hard at times to know where to stop!

So I started writing, allowing the list to see where it would lead me. It was sort of fun in an odd way to see what could be for my old tired house the way I've simply known it to exsist.

The list was way way way too long, but being obedient, I kept on. What if one of those items listed was dead easy to comply with, vs. something I thought was easier and listed that instead? I did what I was suppose to do. So forgive me Extreme Team, I was definately nibbling on some stress related kind of scrumptious treat to help get me through this! LOL

Then I got radical. I thought, one more step. I'm going to also make an extreme list, you know, the kind where you laugh out loud because these are totally unnecessary but things we'd love if money was no object or you loved borrowing lots of money. So with my radical designer brain, I started adding a deck with a hot tub off the bedroom leading through french doors, which in return created a covered roof shelter below for grand rain free outdoor living, peaked roof lines to remove the BC box aspect of the exterior and create a vaulted type feeling indoors... you get the idea. Do I dream well or what?!?

After I wrote that list, I shook my head but smiled. It was much like writing a storybook. Having dreams and actually sharing them is much like running into the rain with no rain gear. You're soaked but it was worth it because it was FUN!

Dreaming IS fun! If all it does is put a smile on your face, that's not a bad thing. In fact, often dreams can turn into some form of reality if you take small steps towards them, one at a time. So because my Extreme Team plans to help me with my much more needed 'needed' list, perhaps now I CAN somehow make my bigger dreams a reality at some point in my life. Now THAT is exciting!

But in all honesty? I'm REALLY excited for that toilet to not actually fall through that floor! I guess my dreams are pretty simplistic after all.

We all have so much to smile about. However, just for fun for today, may you allow yourself one fantastical kind of dream that puts a big 'ol whimsical smile on your face! Life ought to be just that much fun.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

An Opposing View

A friend of mine, Dan, told a seminar that leaders are generally in a lonely place, for they are embarking on new territory.

I'd have to say, good fortune rates right up there with leadership in a way. It doesn't come by easy nor frequently, therefore when it does happen, it can be a lonely place, for not many can relate. And when/if it does happen, generally one rejoices! Don't they?

I was working at a job yesterday and someone expressed their views on me recieving such a donation. Basically in a nutshell, they felt I was less than deserving of such a gift, that there were many others out there that needed this much more than I.

I have been fighting internally all week over the very same fact. That's why this blow was so unexpected and hard to take, especially from what I considered a friend. What he said is what I had felt. I wasn't worthy.

While I continued to work that day, one of the other workers approached me and commented on what a wonderful opportunity I had before me. Still stinging from the words of another, I was very reserved in my comments back. Yes indeed, it was incredible, but did I wish to be in the line of fire yet again? I was reluctant to comment but felt a need to say something.

"What do you make of what was said to me in front of everyone?"

He promptly recited a verse I can't remember because I was too shocked to take it in by his response, then said, "These kinds of things only happen by prayers being answered. This wasn't YOUR doing."

I thought for a moment, silent, and simply said, "Thank-you." He knew I meant much more. But I was very touched by his type of response, not just by what he said.

I suppose everyone is entitled to their views. I have some too! And I no doubt will run into other opinions that may hurt or not be to my liking. But I guess the moral to this story is, to just trust.

Janette's Letter

Feb 17, 2008

Dear Bonnie,

This letter is in response to the "Extreme Makeover-Yarrow Edition" project that has been in the bulletin.

I have had an idea for a year now on how I could help my neighbour Donna fix up her home. She is a single mom of one little boy and has lived in Yarrow for just over 2 years.

She has great ideas and great skills herself for working on her home, however her great plans run into other problems and along the way, they have accumulated into something too big for her alone to solve.

Last spring she purchased hardwood flooring for her upstairs level of her home, yet still it is not laid down because of some other problems that came along that needed first priority.

Donna is a talented woman and has done much home maintenance on her own, but time, money and care for her son has slowed this home renovation down.

It would be wonderful if Donna could benefit from Yarrow's Make-Over Edition home project. Though accepting help is not easy for her, an opportunity for our church to reach out to her and Cody, I think would soften her heart towards her reserved ideas of "church."

She so needs to have Christ in her life and see Him in a personal way. Christianity is not foreign to her; she grew up attending Chilliwack Alliance. However, from what I understand, it was her parent's faith and felt it was pushed on her.

These are the things that I know need to still be completed; hardwood floor laid in the kitchen; living room and bedrooms; new toilets installed up and down; painting in some rooms; tile flooring downstairs to be completed; some wall structure in the kitchen area to be changed (not so sure about this part).

So please consider Donna and Cody, my neighbour, who is in need of a "make-over" for her home and heart.

Sincerely, Janette

Recieving the BIG NEWS!

My neighbour Janette called me over a few days ago and showed me this article that had been advertised in their church bulletin. It was called Extreme Home Makeover - Yarrow Edition. This is what I read:

Extreme Makeover - Yarrow Edition is an opportunity to serve a family in need in our own community. Are you interested in helping renovate a house in need of repair? Do you have strength or skills to share? From roofers to cooks, we need to work as a team to make things happen. Anyone interested in being a part of some hands-on service in Yarrow this summer, please share with Bonnie your ideas and willingness.

I got excited and exclaimed, "Would you like me to volunteer for it? That would be cool!" as she knows my love for pounding nails and handling any power tool nearby.

She replied, "No, I want you to read THIS letter."

The letter was about me. She had written all about my current life, hardships learning the sole parent deal, what I have been going through in other areas, and what a valiant attempt I've made in doing my own home renos to date, however was indeed in need of some major help, as I couldn't seem to get it beautiful. My funds were applied to problems, not beautification which slowed my progress down tremendously.

My eyes welled up. I knew what was unfolding. With a loving gleam in her eye, she put her hand on me and told me, "YOU have been chosen for this home makeover!"

Relief and gratitude engulfed me. I requested a kleenex box NOW and heaved sobs. When I came up for air, I made direct eye contact with her and with all the love I could muster, said, "I'm so PROUD of you."

She looked abit stunned, thanked me and then asked "But why?!"

"Because YOU heard me."

I've never once complained about how hard it was to stay on top of things reno wise. I love it. But I was indeed over my head and she burst through my daily optimism that it would be ok, and saw it for what it was. And she did something about it.

She said, "I've watched you over the last year and I've so wanted to help you but didn't know how. I don't know how to fix your house. All I've been doing is praying for you and bringing over paska and bread."

"I know... that was awesome..." She knows I adore her baking LOL..

"I wanted to do MORE and then this opportunity came up. I nominated you two months ago and I've known you won this only for 2 weeks but had to keep it secret."

I was speechless. All sorts of emotions ran through me. Elated, ashamed, excited, embarrassed, worry. And then the final one hit. Relief and gratitude.

When I looked back on all my grand efforts to keep up with my place, I heard Cody's voice asking me to find the time to play with him. To actually have my house in a place where I can stop running after it and chosing to enjoy it and puttering as artistically desired when I had time is where I desire to be. But I'm no where near there. Yet. So when this little announcement came my way, my first thought was time for my boy again.

But there's alot more I've been going through. Accepting help is the hardest lesson I'll ever have to overcome. I know now that's alot of what this has to do with for me. I've gotten somewhat better over the last while with it, but I have a long ways to go.

It takes a very long time to open yourself up to others that have no intention of letting you down! I had to make the friends I have today in order to fully see that. It was easier to just learn to do things myself and be proud of my efforts. Learning has changed my world to which I'm very grateful to my friend Dan and the crew and his family. But there are just some things that a 2nd or 3rd or 4th pair of hands would make a huge difference with.

I'm also looking to broaden my circle of relationships. Right away, I thought of all these amazing folks coming into my home. How can you not fall in love with people like that? I am SO excited to create new friendships that I hope last for a very long time! It will only enhance Cody's and my life. My heart is so ready for that.

I finally started to see all the pros. It wasn't just about the house renos, which you'd think it was at first. Nope, it was about so much more. For every event, there's a reason behind it and by golly, it was my turn to grow in new and wonderful ways. And what a way to do that!

I accepted what was about to embark.

The pastor came by the next day and we walked through every room in the house. He knew the house well as he looked at it when it was for sale. It was fun to bounce back and forth with him what had been there. He remembered the wine celler which ate up half the garage, remembering it to look like some sort of dungeon. LOL That so made me laugh! And he was amazed at how different it looked with the little effort I did already.

Pastor Eldon requested I make a need and want list. His intent was to have many of the needs met if possible and hopefully wander into some wants area if they could. Depended on volunteers, funds and donations.

I will say this. Two days prior to recieving this generous donation, I had felt defeated. The house thing was getting to me. I had entertained the idea of moving as a lovely little house on 1 acre with a barn had come up for sale. I had allowed myself to dream and hope. My view started to change as I placed myself in a world that had a home suitable to just move into and not worry about gutting, but just enhancing. I prayed for God to give me strength to make the right decision. He promptly replied by allowing me to find a major flaw in the place I was looking at! When reality hit that it couldn't be, I had resigned myself to start to love my own place again and somehow make it work.

Feeling totally deflated, I dragged my feet home from yet another visit to that property, walked inside and the phone rang shortly after. It was Janette asking me over to show me the letter.

I've had a pretty emotional week. I'm excited beyond belief to plant myself in the middle of dust and banging and work with the top guns on this project! No matter what we do, I'll be so grateful. If it means getting my electrical finally looked at, or leaks fixed, that's enough for me! Anything! I have no expectations so whatever comes my way, my smile will be the biggest I can muster for that's what I feel inside.

Thanks for sharing our special news with us!

Donna & Cody

Here We Go!

Welcome to my first blog ever! We hope you'll peek in frequently on what's about to transpire in our lives!

We feel so blessed to have such a wonderul community come forward and give us renewed hope to our home in much needed repair. Not having any expectations, it's like waiting for someone to turn over the next page in our adventure book. We can't wait to meet our newest friends and start this wonderful new journey.

Thanks so much for all your support up until this time from our friends, family, neighbours, Yarrow MB Church, and mostly of all, to God for answering many many prayers!

Donna & Cody