Monday, September 5, 2016

Land Preparation

After a busy summer full of both planned and un-planned deployments with Mercy Chefs, a high school graduation, family vacation, a new job, and school we got a bit sidetracked on prepping the land.  But with our youngest son moving off to college at the end of August, we knew we needed to push forward to get the land move-in ready for our RV.  The land was very overgrown by mid-July; so much so that we had to have it bush hogged.  Once that was complete, we called out all the utility companies to mark their lines so that we could have some power pole removed. 
We had a burn pile that needed to be burned desperately and by the end of July had growth coming out of it. We finally had time to burn, and then-BOOM!  Burn ban!  We'd have to wait even longer.
 Water utility markings..
 Two of the poles that were removed.  These were placed really awkwardly right by the driveway, and they dead-ended on our property.  We had the electric company pull them out and dead-end on the very edge of our property instead.
 More utility markings by the road.  Our future fence will be just to the left of these flags.
 Here my hubby is showing a friend where he plans to dig the hole for our electricity to be directed to.
 Almost every time we work on the land our "neighbors" come over to be nosy.
 Two days after my hubby made plans to move forward on the electrical he got called away to the flooding in Baton Rouge.  Some friends who knew we were planning to do the work graciously came and did a ton of work while he was away. I am still amazed by their generosity!  They ran the water line from meter to the back of the property where we plan to park the RV.
 The burn band was lifted that very day, and they even burned the burn pile for us.
 He brought out his equipment which made quick work of the piles of brush.
 My youngest son helped them finish up the weed eating.
 Covering the water line back up.
 What a beautiful sight to see this catching and finally burning!
 Running water!  Another beautiful sight!
 I actually have no idea how many hours they tended the fire-there was just a huge amount of brush that needed to be burned.
 No idea what's going on here, but I think he was getting a line dug.
 We had many questions about the septic system that had been on the site, and when our friend dug the line for the water, he came across some of the septic lines and was able to answer our questions about where the line had been run, which was great to be able to move forward.
 At the final location for the water spigot.  (I think some of these pictures must be a bit out of order.)

 The next day he came out and spread out a pile of rock and dirt near the burn pile.  We are going to have to raise the level of the house site before building because it is in a flood plain, so it made sense to move that pile to the area that will have to be raised.
 When my husband got home from Baton Rouge, he started prepping the land for the new electric pole that is going in.  This one is 4 feet deep.
 Here he is cutting the pole for that hole.
 And here it is laid out and ready for the electrician.
 Today is Labor Day so I got to go out with his to the land while he dug more holes to finish out the fence.
 This hole had an old tree root that gave him a bit of trouble.
 And then...our connex was delivered!
 Pretty nifty trailer that rolled sideways to get it into place.  We will start moving some of our stuff into storage in here.
Next the electrician got started on his part of the pole.  I didn't get any pictures of that because I had to go home to study right after he began.  So much has happened on the land this month-it is so exciting, and I am ready (mentally) for the move!  Physically, not so much-lots of packing to do!  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The History Behind the History

I've been plugging away at my District School of Ministry course-work.  I wish I could say I have been on top of things better, but life kind of gets in the way sometimes.  My summer has been jam-packed between the new job, lots of Mercy Chefs deployments/trips, and various other outings.  When I attended my last course I was just submitting my test from my May course.  The good news is I have now put a plan in place to get caught up-and so far I have stuck it.  Mostly because I want to graduate on time!

My most recent book I have been studying is Christ in the Synoptic Gospels-actually I just finished reading the last chapter tonight.  I will take the test Saturday, and begin my new book Sunday.

The most intriguing chapter in this book was Chapter 3 "The Historical Background".  I've read the Bible, and studied World History when I was in school, but this chapter put the 2 together in a neat way.  In school, the teachers were not concerned with putting emphasis on how the times were interwoven with biblical times.  And the Bible was written by people who didn't have a need to explain the whole world political situation at that time-it was just understood as its original audience lived in those times.

Greece and Alexander the Great, Ancient Rome, and more.  So many political conquests and empires played their part in preparing the world for Christ's appearance.  The chapter laid out things in such a way that you know it was not by accident that God sent His Son at a time when the world was ready for Him.

Galatians 4:4 says, "But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law."  This chapter filled in my mind what this scripture means when it says the time had fully come.  God didn't pick this time by accident.  I love how my studies are showing me how things fit together so well!

Friday, April 22, 2016

I'll Pray About That

Change is in the air!  A few weeks ago I decided to apply for a part time summer job.  I was drawn to Lakeview for several reasons, but primarily due to proximity to my house.  It didn't really go any further.  A few days later, I was at Lakeview eating lunch for my DSOM class when I saw one of the directors, so I figured I would inquire if they had done all their summer hiring yet.  She mentioned that they had a position available at the fitness center working at the front desk.  That sounded to me like a great summer job!  I turned in my application, and they called a few days later to ask if I could come in for an interview.

I went into the interview thinking about how great the new job would be-it would keep me busy between Mercy Chefs deployments, give a little bit of extra income, and working in an environment I was already familiar with.  Almost as soon as the interview started, though, I was told that they would like me to consider another position they thought I was more suited for-which happened to be a full time, permanent position.  My immediate thought-reaction was "No way!  I just want to work for the summer, and definitely not full time!"  But the more they described the office job to me, my interest piqued.  The position would be using exactly my gifting of administrative abilities and attention to detail.  Still, on the inside I was screaming "No! I don't want a permanent job!"

I believe strongly that if an opportunity arises, it may be for a reason.  While not all opportunities are meant to be taken, they at least deserve some thought and prayer.  I walked away from the interview saying I would pray about it-almost sure that I would come back and let them know that I was not interested.  We agreed to meet again after 5 days.

I went home and immediately talked to my husband, who really encouraged me to think about it seriously.  So I prayed.  Strange-that feeling of non-interest seemed to change a bit.  The next day as I read my devotions, the very first words illuminated themselves to me:  "Are you searching for peace?"  Absolutely I was!  I was searching for peace about the whole situation.  While the entire situation isn't "perfect", I began to realize that God opened this opportunity to me.  Maybe some day I will understand why!  Yes, I will miss being able to go on Mercy Chefs deployments during disasters, as that flexibility just won't be there.  But I have peace in knowing that I will still be able to continue working in the homeless outreaches, and perhaps some local disasters on weekends.  

I met with the Lakeview staff again and accepted the position-and it just felt right!  I definitely had the peace about it that I felt like I needed.   I am excited to start my job training on Monday, and then begin at the beginning of May.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Vida de la Confianza

My husband and I purchased a beautiful piece of land in December with a deep ravine leading down to a creek running alongside part of the property. In order to help us stay as debt-free as possible (and because of an intense work schedule), we are moving slowly on the whole process, with plans to live in our RV while we do the work.  Our first step is getting the fence up-and it is currently about half-way done.  Here is a picture of the first half of our fence...

...and part of our creek right after heavy rains.

We bought our blueprints this week for a home that is called Vida de la Confianza.  After a quick internet search, we found a few pictures from someone else who had built the same home in South Dakota.  I am primarily posting all the pictures below for myself so I can reference them all in one location in the future as needed.  None of the pictures are my own-they came from Google Images, originally from

Exterior pictures (these were mostly small images, so many are not clear, but there is nothing I can do about that).  They made a few changes to the original plan, turning the garage to a different angle, plus some of the exterior surface materials are different than the architect calls for.  (We will probably also make some changes in this area.)  We bought the plan for a slab foundation, but this has the basement foundation, so it won't look exactly like this, but very similar.

Exterior back porch-ours will look very different as we don't have a basement, and exterior deck will be cement, just a few inches above the ground. 

View from front porch (ours will be cement).

View of front porch from road.  They chose different windows than the architect called for.  Because we will have a slab foundation it will sit much lower to the ground, so that will changes the looks some as well.

I like their porch ceiling, not sure what (if anything specifically) the architect called for.

I can envision rocking chairs or a porch swing out here some day overlooking our land.

This is a backyard view-again, we won't have the basement or wooden decking.  

Another back yard view into the house.  This doorway opens into the breakfast nook.  In the house plans this is actually windows, so again, the builder made some changes.  Further down to the right, out of view in the picture, is the french-style doors that open out from the living room, plus a doorway into the master.

A more clear picture of the front porch.  Before we had even seen this picture we had discussed a similar front door.

Moving inside...
This picture was taken standing in the kitchen and looking out to the living room to the right of the staircase and foyer/dining room to the left of the staircase. In our plans, this staircase will actually be going the opposite direction in an enclosed space, so where the staircase stands in the picture will actually be a full wall.

This view is just as you step in the front door and look to the right.  This seating area is shown as the dining room on the blue prints, and we will use it that way.

View from the kitchen sink into the living room. We would like a farmhouse style sink.  We really like the hammered bronze look.

View from living room into the kitchen.  The doorway on the far right side of the picture is supposed to have a small wall directly to the left of it...big enough for a coat closet with it's door on the other side of the wall.  It appears that they opted for more cabinetry instead, probably because they changed the floor plan of the kitchen a bit.

This is my favorite of all the pictures, as it shows the living room, kitchen, and breakfast nook, so you can see the layout pretty well.

Another good view.  This picture reminds me that I don't like sectionals!  Thankfully I will get to choose my own furniture.

The builder staged this dining room as an additional seating area.

My husband will more than likely build a beautiful wooden table for this space.  We have found some inspiration for our table at World Market.

I love the wooden accents-door, trimwork around the windows and along the floors.  Again-where the stairway is will just be a closed-in wall.

Here the builder made some changes near the fireplace to include some built-ins, which we probably won't do-I think the brick-work will actually extend higher than shown.  Since 2 of the living room walls are just open to the next room, we will have limited space for a tv.  We have talked about using the space above the fireplace for the tv, or hooking up a projector and having a motorized screen that can be raised when not in use.  The door to the left of the fireplace will lead to the staircase.

More detail of the fireplace, and the doorway into the master bedroom.

Kitchen.  The dishwasher will be just to the left of the sink.

Kitchen again...The builder made some significant changes to the kitchen as well.  Fridge will be placed where the cabinetry on the far right is located.  There will be a large pantry just to the left of the doorway. 

Since my husband is chef we plan to upgrade the oven and stovetop and add a hood vent. We will also add a pot-filler and we want a brick backsplash.  I would like white or off-white cabinets, and will probably go with granite counter-tops.

Here is a view of the breakfast nook...the builder replaced the windows with a sliding glass door.  I'm not sure what kind of seating we will do here.

And again, turned just slightly.

The builder made some significant changes to the walkway between the house and the garage, as well as just inside the entryway to the house from the garage.  This is one of those areas.  Our plan will still include washer/dryer hookups but won't be laid out like this at all.

 I believe this is where the builder chose to enclose the covered walkway from the garage to the house.  We will likely enclose ours as well.

And the same area from the opposite direction as it appears the builder chose to add a few closets on the right...

Master bedroom.  Door on the far left opens to the living room.  The door on the right is a walk-in closet.

In this picture the closet is located on the left and the bathroom to the right of that.  The un-seen wall where the photographer is standing has a door that opens up to the back deck.

This is one of the bedrooms that we will use as an office.  I couldn't find any pictures of the 3rd bedroom, although it will be similar size.  We will use it as the guest room.

Master closet.  I think it may actually have been altered some as well.

This bathroom will be shared between the office and guest room (again-some changes made by the builder).

I believe this is the 1/2 bath with alterations in the hallway to the garage.

Master bathroom.  I like these square sinks.

This is Bonus Room 2 which we plan to use as a music room.

The stairway opening will be from the opposite side so there will just be a plain wall where the stairway is with the stairway entrance in the other bonus room.

Another view

Bonus Room 1.  We will probably add a bathroom in here, and perhaps some storage space.

Another view...

This is an exciting venture for us-we have not built a home before, so I am sure we have much to learn as time progresses.