Our House Building History

Some new blog readers have asked for some background on the house we have just finished building. I thought it would be good to share briefly how the Lord has brought us to this point.

Around three years ago, it became obvious we had a space crisis on our hands in regards to our family’s ministry. Since our first book, Managers of Their Homes was published in 1999, we have added eleven more books that need to be stored and shipped. We were using about a sixth of our basement, which is all that was available, for storing the books, shipping orders, and computer stations for Sarah and Joseph. A couple years earlier we had built the largest shed the city would allow to ease the book storage problem. Even with that, it had became obvious that our current home was simply not adequate for housing both our family and ministry, even though we had been very satisfied with it. We had lived there eighteen years, and it was all we could desire.

John and Joseph working on the shed--several years ago!
John and Joseph working on the shed--several years ago!
The shed
The shed

Around four years ago, when I approached the neighbor immediately behind our house for permission to cut down some diseased trees that were threatening to fall down on our shed, he responded with the offer to sell us the property. We had no current need for it, but God had been putting on our hearts the need for a bus for our family’s speaking travel. This property would be the perfect place to park a bus. The price was reasonable, and we felt the Lord’s leading to purchase it.

Somewhere about this time, neighbors approached Christopher about buying their house which was close to us in the neighborhood. He committed it to prayer, and we were all surprised when he said he felt the Lord told him no. We couldn’t understand it, because it was a great house, at a price he easily could afford. But we rested in the seemingly strange fact that the Lord said no.

Then one day, we are not sure exactly how it came up, but I asked Christopher if he was interested in buying our house. Without hesitating, he said he would love to. We knew that if Christopher bought our house, we could take that money and build a bigger house on the new property if we did most of the work ourselves. The question was how to decide on a fair amount to have Christopher pay for our house and whether that would be enough to build with. While Christopher had it appraised, we set to work trying to estimate the cost of building a house. I felt led that if the appraisal came in near the estimate amount, and if Christopher was satisfied to buy it for the appraised amount, we would go for it.

Well, the appraisal and the estimate were close enough that we thought we could do it. And so it began. We did end up overrunning the estimate significantly, but God was faithful in continuing the work that He led us to begin.

The forms for the foundation walls.
The forms for the foundation walls.

The new house has a walk-in basement so we no longer have to carry pallet loads of books down and then back up stairs. The old houses’ attic was large enough to have moved the boys’ bedrooms from the basement to the attic, but it structurally wasn’t able to support the weight of the modifications. So the new house was built for the “attic” to be the boys bedroom with enough room still for a bathroom and music practice room.

Since we were content with our old home, the new home was designed much the same as the old one, only reversed with minor changes. We tried to concentrate on function and economy. We contracted for the inside concrete work, framing and roofing of it, plus heating and ac systems. We were going to install the insulation, but to have it installed was cheaper than what we could buy it ourselves. We did the rough-in plumbing, drainage around the foundation and on the inside, all the outside concrete work (drives and sidewalks), built the deck, electrical wiring, plumbing, sheetrocking, finishing, painting (inside and out), finish carpentry and landscaping. We had carpet installed upstairs but the whole main floor we tiled ourselves. We’ve not been thrilled with how hard is it to keep carpet clean, and so we opted for all tile on the main floor. We also found it less expensive than the carpet if by laying it ourselves.

The day the sheetrock was delivered.
The day the sheetrock was delivered.
We spent many, many hours working with concrete as we laid the driveway.
We spent many, many hours working with concrete as we laid the driveway.
Anna and Jesse working on the deck (last May)
Anna and Jesse working on the deck (last May)

We have marveled at God’s grace. We had a little experience in most of the skills required to build this house, but not to the extent that was called for. We have been greatly challenged, often daily, but God is the One Who always enabled and directed. We know we could have rented book storage space somewhere or had the orders shipped by a fulfillment company. However, that would have taken Sarah and I away from the home, and we didn’t feel that was God’s leading. We also see how Joseph and John have become incredibly skilled in a vast variety of building skills through building this house. This is allowing them to begin their own business.

Joseph designed the deck.
Joseph designed the deck.
John
John

So as we finish the odds and ends, we are truly grateful to the Lord that the building phase is finished, and we can focus our time more fully on the ministry that God has called us to. The building project has taken longer because of our ministry responsibilities including writing and the travel involved in our speaking. Many have prayed for us while we were in the midst of this project, and we can’t thank you enough. We covet your prayers as we look ahead. May we hear Him and be obedient.

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. Luke 17:10

Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. Psalms 148:13

In Christ Jesus,
Steve for all

The Move Continues

In a way, the last few days have passed in a blur. We are finally able to say we are mostly moved 🙂 . Yesterday was the moving day for the ministry things. To be able to keep shipping website orders, we wanted to wait to move TItus2 until we had the family settled. So Titus2/MOTH came over, and we’re remarkably settled.

Here are some pictures from the last several days.

A very special moment was two nights ago, at the beginning of our family Bible time, when Dad placed the Bible on the mantle. It had been on our old mantle, and we carefully moved it over. The Bible belonged to my grandmas parents.
Dad placing the family Bible on the mantle that belonged to my great-great grandparents which had been on our mantle at the old house.
Since Melanie has spent quite a bit of time organizing our kitchen/pantry, Abigail has been around a lot too. Melanie put Abigail in this box, and we thought she was too cute :-) .
Since Melanie has spent quite a bit of time organizing our kitchen/pantry, Abigail has been around a lot too. Melanie put Abigail in this box, and we thought she was too cute 🙂 .
Mary, helping...
Mary, helping...
A big project that Joseph, John, Anna, and Jesse worked on was building shelves in the basement. Here John and Anna are, ready for their picture.
A big project that Joseph, John, Anna, and Jesse worked on was building shelves in the basement. Here John and Anna are, ready for their picture.
Nailing the supports for the shelves.
Nailing the supports for the shelves.
The basement (and garage) has been our stashing place for items that dont have a home yet. We worked to clean the basement in preparation for Titus2 moving over. Jesse used Cheep Sweep, which is a substance like fine mulch, that you push around with a broom, and it cleans the floor extremely well.
The basement (and garage) has been our stashing place for items that don't have a home yet. We worked to clean the basement in preparation for Titus2 moving over. Jesse used Cheep Sweep, which is a substance like fine mulch, that you push around with a broom, and it cleans the floor extremely well.
Anna carrying boxes outside.
Anna carrying boxes outside.
John
John
The first day or two was hard for Honey, because she wanted to go back to the old house. After that, she has settled in very nicely and loves the new house!
The first day or two was hard for Honey, because she wanted to go back to the old house. After that, she has settled in very nicely and loves the new house!

Things that have happened to different family members

  • The new shower door falls off, but you’re able to grab it, and it’s not broken.
  • You try to tell someone your new address over the phone. “South 15th” was easy enough to say, but “Santa Fe Street”, is harder. After explaining it several times to people on the phone, a helpful brother suggested saying all three words together, instead of going one by one. The suggestion was tried, but the receiver didn’t get it either. Oh well. We’ll keep working 🙂 .
  • When Melanie was over for a meal, she is asked by several different people where things are to be found in the kitchen because she organized the kitchen.
  • Honey slept in Dad and Mom’s room for several years, until we got new carpet, and then she wasn’t allowed on the carpet. For the last five or six years, she’s slept in the boys’ room. Now that we have tile in the main part of the house she can go wherever she wants. The first night, she was in Dad and Mom’s room. The second night, the boys wanted to see if she would stay in theirs. No, it didn’t work. Why? the girls wondered. How did you know she didn’t want to? —- Because, they said, she panted and stood at the door.
  • When you get up in the night, and your stomach feels sick, you head for the kitchen to grab some Tums. You feel like you’re in another family’s house–it still feels so new!
  • Since the house is a reversed floor plan from the old house, several things have happened. For example, you’re backing out the door with a box, and you reach for the door handle, and you can’t find it. Oops. It’s on the other side.

Monday, school resumes and for those who are out of school there is still a lot to do unpacking and organizing 🙂 .

Sarah

“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:3).

The Day in Pictures

Since we had moved all the living room furniture last night, Dad settled on the floor for his Bible time.
Since we had moved all the living room furniture last night, Dad settled on the floor for his Bible time.
Anna and Jesse packed Dads shop.
Anna and Jesse packed Dad's shop.
 
Our new dining room!
Our new dining room!
 
Melanie is enthusiastically working to organize our kitchen. It is looking WONDERFUL!
Melanie is enthusiastically working to organize our kitchen. It is looking WONDERFUL!
 
There are many boxes to be unpacked, as you can even see through the window :-) .
There are many boxes to be unpacked, as you can even see through the window 🙂 .
 
Dishes to be packed!
Dishes to be packed!
Nathan has been a wonderful, wonderful help as we moved. Sometimes Abigail was riding in the backpack :-) .
Nathan has been a wonderful, wonderful help as we moved. Sometimes Abigail was riding in the backpack 🙂 .
 
Joseph was helping to get things down from the old houses attic, and it was too good of a picture to pass up.
Joseph was helping to get things down from the old house's attic, and it was too good of a picture to pass up.
John, hand-trucking cabinets...
John, hand-trucking cabinets...
Abigail definitely added a nice distraction to our time today :-) . You would often find people stopping to talk to her.
Abigail definitely added a nice distraction to our time today 🙂 . You would often find people stopping to talk to her.
Putting things away!
Putting things away!
 
Sarah was at the old house packing her closet, when Jesse came back for something. He ran for her camera :-) .
Sarah

 It’s been a good day of house-moving, and much of the house has been shifted over. We know there have been a few questions as to who has bought our old house, why did we need to move, how far is the new house from the old house, etc, so we’ll be posting answers to those later 🙂 .

“In all labour there is profit…” (Proverbs 14:23)

It All Started at 5 O’Clock

The move — it is official, and it is well underway! Dad picked up the U-Haul (no endorsement!) early this evening, and after dinner, family Bible time (sentimental Sarah thinking about it being our last in the house…), everyone hurried into action!

Daddy with the U-Haul, pulling up to our old house.
Daddy with the U-Haul, pulling up to our "old" house.

We can’t be long-winded right now, but suffice it to say, we’ll be trying to document the move with pictures, and keep you posted as we are able. We’ve been in the house for about nineteen years, so with a normal family of 9, plus a ministry, there is a LOT to move! 🙂 There are many fond memories from these years here, and the three youngest were born in this house!

Sarah for the rest

Everyone was busy complete projects today. One project was putting trim around the edges of the countertop.
Everyone was busy completing projects today. One project was putting trim around the edges of the countertop.
Mom, cleaning her new kitchen floor!
Mom, cleaning her new kitchen floor!
I think the first piece of furniture to move was the piano! Here Jesse is--he must be waiting :-).
I think the first piece of furniture to move was the piano! Here Jesse is--he must be waiting 🙂 .
We have been saving empty book cases for quite awhile in preparation for the move.
We have been saving empty book cases for quite awhile in preparation for the move.
A willing helper!
A willing helper!
Carrying the sofa out!
Carrying the sofa out!
Packing food up
Packing food up

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccl. 3:1).

Uncle John’s Watch and the Count Down

Uncle Johns watch is a favorite toy of mine. He lets me play with it and chew on it. The only sad part is it doesnt rattle.
"Uncle John's watch is a favorite toy of mine (he washes it first :-)). He lets me play with it and chew on it. The only sad part is it doesn't rattle."
When I get tired from rocking back and forth on my knees, I can lay down and chew on his watch!
"When I get tired from rocking back and forth on my knees, I can lay down and chew on his watch!"

—————————–
Each one of us has on a count-down watch, in literal terms. A count-down until the day of eternity. Not one of us knows when that will be. Are we living our lives with that in mind, making each day count for eternity?

Sarah

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Romans 13:11).