Dwellings...Our Parade of Ten Homes in Twenty Years

5. Renovation in Ryde

We are halfway through the parade of homes! It's the biggest renovation project to date and somewhat taxing on our relationship. My husband is fantastic with the whole construction process, I must say, and I am learning quickly. But really, without pressures to try us, we would remain weak and unproductive. So I am thankful for these tests!

Here's what the house looked like when we bought it. Remember, this is the one I wanted to walk away from, but Dale was excited to begin working on it!

If you are looking for a real test of endurance, understanding, and surrender, undertake a large home remodel assignment with strict time limits. Looking back, I almost can't believe all the new schemes I attempted with little or no experience...and two busy toddlers in tow!

It looks positively dangerous to have the littles out there with that heavy equipment nearby. Amie, their cousin, is on the porch with Julian and Jacki, watching the excavator at work. We had the pleasure of having my brother Keith and his family live in our rental for awhile, so the little cousins got to play together a lot.

Another menace was a wrap-around porch just perfect for toddlers to run around on, only it didn't have railings and was within a few feet of the road. Julian and Jacki got many a warning to be careful out there, but we did make it a priority to put up a railing soon after we moved in.

Keith and Dale's dad were a huge help those first few weeks. Here, they are building a block wall where we had excavation done to enlarge the driveway.

I am so proud of my husband's many talents! None of these varied enterprises could have happened without his expertise and willingness to dream up new designs and ideas with his wife.

Now for a tour of the inside as it looked when we first took possession. Warning - some photos will seriously gross you out! Or maybe it affected me that way because I had to clean it up and live there!

The stairway was closed up and looked like this from the dining room

This is the addition, if I have my facts straight. It was a disturbing sight...

The bathroom was so disgustingly dirty...

The living room had a brilliant 70's style orange carpet! It was one of those things I wanted changed right now and my husband didn't agree, so I had to surrender! Amazing what I learned to live with.

On to the upstairs and shocking wallpaper...

...unfinished rooms, a storm door from finished to unfinished sections, and a boarded up stairway.

What you can't see, hear, or smell are the bats and their droppings, a reality I had never faced before. Hideous. Awful. Frightful. Those creatures gave me grief the entire time we lived there, both inside and outside the house. Even after all the methods we used to try to get rid of them while we lived there, Dale still had to return and try another route after we sold the house. It must have finally worked, because we never heard from the buyers again. After that, bats were a consideration when it came to moving into another home!

Again, the "after" photos are missing. I don't know if I lost them or never took them, except for a few...

Yellow must have been my color! I loved that charcoal laminate flooring we put in the new bathroom, and the convenience of finally having an upstairs bath, but we moved soon after putting it in. That became the story of our lives. About the time I finished painting and completing the main projects, it was time to move on to the next house.

The house looked like this after we were finished remodeling the exterior.

obviously autumn...

Although I tried to do some kindergarten at home with Julian the previous year, we didn't get very far. I felt like I was unable to teach him effectively on my own. We were learning to deal with his restrictions due to autism, but we were not content to just let him muddle along without structure, discipline, and attempts at scholastics.

Hoping he could learn if he was given time and lots of training, we kept trying, praying, and waiting. God heard our prayers! After talking to some key people and making some phone calls, we had a team consisting of a psychologist, speech therapist, special education teacher, and psychiatrist from the local public school come out to our house and conduct evaluations. They were great to work with and informed us Julian could be included in a regular classroom with help from an aide and a speech therapist. Here he is, ready for his first day of public school!

It tugs at my heartstrings even now to see this picture of him getting on the bus. I was so nervous that first day. Julian is not communicative even to this day, and he didn't ever say much about school, but I was happy to see and hear that he enjoyed it. That was an outstanding public school.

It was just what he needed at that time of his life. They were a tremendously good influence on him and he became, according to his teacher, the social butterfly of the class! Talk about transformation! It was unbelievable. But God is so good at taking impossibility and making it possible, if we will only ask Him and trust Him.

Jacki and Amie had many happy playtimes together!

After a thunderstorm, the children wanted to play in the mud. Tina and I decided it's okay this time! Did they ever have a grand time. Jacki remembers the fun of it to this day!

Darling little cousins out on the front porch...Amie - Amanda - Jacquelyn

The adorable little boys...Levi - Julian - Weston

Julian and Jacki picking dandelions in the backyard

Here are some photos of Mom's 60th birthday party at our house.

We stayed in this house for about 3 years. Though we had good times here, I know for a fact that we hit the lowest point in our marriage during this time. I don't want to go into all kinds of depressing details of negative events, but I also don't want to portray a glossy, always-wonderful home.

For whatever all reasons, this place holds the spot for darkest and most tormenting, at least in my mind. Inch by inch God was chipping away at the self-sufficient, self-centered part of me, bringing me face to face with my need of Him. I realize now that it is most merciful of Him to care enough to take me as His daughter and train me for His Kingdom. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

And I might also add, the next house in line holds the most happy memories for me!

To be continued...


  1. Wow, you all really have a touch of "Know How" when it comes to renovating houses!!


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