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

10. Dover Road

And now for the final dwelling in our parade of homes. This move was not just a few miles down the road. No, we were uprooted and taken across the state line into Ohio then politely deposited in Amish Country. To be sure, it is one of the last places I ever thought I'd be taking up residence, but here I am!

There is a verse of promise God gave me during a time of trial over a year ago. Psalm 84:6 "When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a Place of Refreshing Springs."

The sparkling lily and the elegant rose blooming in our new gardens in the spring. Lovely surprises!

Already, God's promise is being fulfilled. I take great delight in the new home, new village, new friends, new church, new hope God has showered upon us! For I'm a child of a Father who cares for the tiny details of my life. In so many amazing ways God has brought refreshing and renewing into our family.

"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives." Psalm 37:23

But the Valley of Weeping had to be traversed before reaching the Refreshing Springs. It would be easier to give up in that valley; to conclude that somewhere I've veered off-course too far for God to rescue me. I focus so intently on my performance when all the while God has provided a more excellent way of surrender to His Son Jesus, and obedience to His Will, which leads to acceptance into His family. In this Valley He tests us and proves us, preparing us for His purpose and plan.

Many tears were shed over having to move from my homeland, Pennsylvania. To be quite honest, my response to moving away from my familiar little circle of friends, family, and church surprised even me. I didn't think I was the sentimental type, so why all the drama? It felt as though a part of my body was being torn off; I had the sense of grief you feel at the funeral of a loved one. I don't understand it all, but it was quite real and painful. Yet God is the gracious Healer of my heart.

There is one key factor in all of this...God spoke to our hearts. "You will hear a voice behind you say, 'This is the way. Follow it, whether it turns to the right or to the left." (Isaiah 30:21) Dale and I both knew this was God's next move for us, and His grace has been sufficient.

This is how it looked when we first drove up to the property. I had seen photos online but only a few. I wanted to take a look because I couldn't get it out of my mind, but we were talking to an agent for another house down the street; we must not be the best at choosing right the first time!

Dilapidated but still grand...

I loved the look of the house from the street and immediately knew it could be restored into a state of grand beauty.

Once again, it seemed we had found the right dwelling for us, impossible as it looked initially.

But what of the inside? Not a photo could be found online, so I proceeded with some sense of caution. I  am of the opinion if it's pretty it will be photographed, so no photos was a bad sign!

My suspicions were confirmed as soon as I stepped inside the kitchen door. Due to all the work we had just put into the previous house, one look at the low ceiling covered with tiles sent my stomach plummeting. I know, it may seem so small and insignificant, but that room set the tone for the rest of the house.

For some, style and architecture just don't matter and that is wonderful. For others, these details matter exceedingly. I try to be reasonably flexible when I'm in search of a home. Most of all, I wait for that peace that I believe is from God. Then I know it'll be alright.

When I hoped to see wide wood trim, fine high ceilings of plaster, and hardwood floors, I found flimsy trim, wall to wall carpeting, panelling, much too much wallpaper, and some rather chintzy lights.

Just look at all those ceiling tiles...where is my bead board when I need it!

Hurray, we found a fireplace in the living room!

The house had been unoccupied for about a year. I believe the family left rather suddenly due to medical issues. Many of their belongings had been left behind.

But I was quite cheered by the upstairs! Somehow the wide trim and lovely old doors had been left intact. We also discovered wood floors under that huge amount of carpeting. It helped me see beyond the other updates I didn't particularly appreciate. The house was built in the 1920s, so I knew it had the proper framework somewhere, even if it lay hidden underneath layers of remodeling!

This wallpaper reminds me of the bathroom in my childhood home. It must be a similar pattern!

We were extremely grateful for all the help with cleaning and moving. I was properly overwhelmed and too stressed, but the dear brothers and sisters from our new church, Oasis Tabernacle, came out in force to cheer us with their assistance and kindness in so many ways!

Twila cleans the kitchen cabinets...

Sara had the awful job of scrubbing the oven, and I dare say, nearly damaged her system with fumes from the cleaner. I know I was almost gasping for breath when I walked through there.

Jacki diligently cleans the powder room and gets severely grossed out while she's at it!

Miriam vacuums a bedroom floor where I'm sure she found plenty of dog hair!

Anne helps me in the bathroom.

And the guys did a fantastic job of hauling furniture during one of the coldest, snowiest days of the year. We moved on January 1, 2013! New beginnings in more ways than one.

Obviously, I have leaped into the fray and am trying to sort it out one way or another!

When we were finally moved in and our wonderful friends had gone home, I collapsed into a puddle of tears. I had been crying almost the whole way out, from PA to OH. I had said tearful good-byes to friends back home, it had been an exceedingly long day of traveling and unloading, and my system cried out for rest. Dale had the task of calming his slightly overwrought wife, but he's quite a pro at that! God knew I would need him!

One of the last pieces to be put into place was the piano. This is actually on day two. Dale and Julian had to return to PA for another load.

But the next morning was bright once again and God's mercy was new, I could just feel it! Jacki and I were excited to begin exploring our new surroundings, and had determined to find things to love about this new state we had been transplanted into so suddenly.

There was still the problem of my eyes. I seriously worried that the swelling from weeping would never quite disappear. Perhaps I did age quickly in those days and weeks, but I was going to try to erase the saggy look, if possible. I spent several sessions in this position. I say it was helpful, even if not totally successful!

Following are a few of our efforts at renovation and general repairs.

Dale and Julian worked to get the fireplace working for my pleasure. Bless them!

Shall we say it was clogged? He has to place himself into all kinds of messy situations, but his wife is most grateful. How glad I am for his outstanding sense of humor!

The end result is a warm and inviting flame!

Julian was my main man when it came to wallpaper removal. He helped with most of it and decided he likes it...unless it's really stuck on hard! Then he's ready to walk away.

Oh my poor Dale, he is down on the floor again. This time it's for the new dishwasher, a luxury I did not have in the last two houses. What a pleasure it is to wash dishes in that new appliance!

Painting, which seems never-ending at this house of three levels! Add to that an attic (or the more elegant 'sky parlor') with darling dormers, wood floors, and cute windows I'd love to convert into living quarters some day.

Jacki helps with painting in the living room.

Jacki and I took the ceiling tiles off in her bedroom, hoping to reveal something usable. It didn't happen, so we put drywall up instead, with the sheer determination and strength of all four of us.

Those pieces are awkward and heavy to heave up onto the patio, shove in through the window, and hold up on the ceiling with your head and hands until they're screwed securely into place. Yes, I have recent experience!

It has yet to be spackled and painted...I've been informed by the necessary party that work might commence on that project this very weekend!

We are far, far from finished with renovations, but I'll post a few nooks and corners. This is in the dining room before I painted the walls...

Breakfast room

This is also the breakfast room...trim to paint, lighting to remove or redo, ceiling tiles, etc...

A corner in the library.

Dining room buffet

Remember the powder room Jacki was cleaning? I spray painted the mirror, light fixture, toilet paper roll, and door hardware in oil-rubbed bronze.

We removed the rather too flowery wallpaper and painted the walls white. Then I took a piece of lumber off the pile of salvaged wood, painted it green, and added towel hooks.

I'm dreaming of a white kitchen! But for now, this is the look. We removed some wallpaper and most of the upper cabinet doors, though I haven't even begun painting this room.

Dining room

The living room has had walls painted and new lights put in above the fireplace. Otherwise, it's a work in progress.

We are loving the large living room but plan to knock out a portion of the long wall opposite the fireplace. It used to have a six to eight foot opening into the library but someone boarded it shut years ago.

Guest room...brightened up with white and red!

The owners of a brickyard built the house and lived in it for over 70 years. I love the solid structure and the bricks of varied shapes and sizes all over this place, both indoors and out, from the basement to the attic, from the front wall by the sidewalk to the house itself to the gardens to the pillars around the back of the property.


Winter decks us in white

Everything from roaring semi to horse and buggy zips and clops along the street where we live!

Spring brought many delightful blooms!

A darling little mailbox from days gone by still hangs by the door.

Julian and Dale work on clearing lumber from the tree we had felled by a tree removal company. It took up too much valuable space in our backyard.

The backyard is now a parking court.

We opened up the enclosed patio, which looked rather forsaken when we first glanced at it in this state.

...making yet another pile of rubble.

Let there be light! I love opening things up. We've been given both a covered patio and an open seating area. Little delights from my Father, who knows I love outdoor rooms.

Summer...white flowers glow in the shaded patio.

This is an upper balcony off the guest bedroom. It's a sweet escape in the middle of town!

I have so many outdoor areas to put flowers, I ran out of pots to plant them. These tiny leftover pots did not do well in the heat of summer and it looks downright bare up there. Next year I can start all over again with the plans and ideas that now lie dormant in my brain!

The children and I had our hands full with all the trimming that was needed! Those ugly green awnings were removed very early on. I despised them from the start! It cut off the very light and view we most wanted. We could see traffic on the road and parts of neighboring houses and landscape but no sky or treetops. Claustrophobic!

We gather the yard waste into old sheets, plop them in the back of Dale's pickup, and drop them into the dumpster at the village hall. Life in a village takes some getting used to, but I'm thankful for free trash removal!

In summer's light...

Autumn...Dale and Julian removed shutters so I could paint them. But I think I'll leave them off...it's better in my opinion. Am I strange? The brick needs washed yet.

Dale reaches for the heights. He cleaned and tightened gutters as well as removing shutters.

Autumn...in a lovely dish I found at a local yard sale! Those are Cortland apples, which we discovered yesterday make the best apple dumplings, courtesy of Jacki.

Who knows what the future holds for our family, but we are secure in the hands of our Father. Among ourselves we have decided we want to stay here for the rest of our lifetime, yet we live one day at a time, listening for the Voice of God. On this earth we are only traveling through and don't put down roots too deeply. Our forever home is heavenly!

Congratulations if you've made it to the end of the parade! I'm afraid this particular post is excessively long but I hope you have enjoyed the little visits into our dwellings from the last twenty years. I've had abundant memories, bitter and sweet, come tumbling back as I browsed through all the photos and wrote about our experiences. It's a wonderful ride!

My life has been blessed because I've found my reason for living in Christ!

The end.


  1. I have loved the parade and am a little disappointed it is over! :) Your creativity is so fun to see and I would love to see what you would do with our house, which is still a project after 9 yrs. of living in it. :(
    Blessings to you!

    1. Thank you, Brenda! My little secret is that all our houses were not totally completed when we had to move again. Maybe, just maybe that will change with this home...either way, I will keep working at it :)

  2. I so enjoyed reading this post today! Thank you for all of the wonderful pictures...they make the reading so enjoyable! Your home is truly beautiful indeed. God's peace be with you always. Love, Cheryl

  3. Thank you, Cheryl, and God bless you for your encouragement!

  4. Karyn i'm a bit behind but your tour/s have been wonderful.....
    I love and am amazed at your creativity.....that helps make any place a home and a haven...
    sure would be grand to see and visit with you and Dale and Jackie and Julian...love and blessings to you...

    1. It would be lovely to see you! Someday I want to visit Seattle and see your new home :) Stop in if you ever come to Ohio! Thanks Martha!

  5. What an AMAZING transformation!! My mouth is just hanging open! Can you please come and transform my house & yard & patio like that?! What a beautiful job, and great great taste! You inspire me that all this hard work WILL one day pay off. Sometimes it feels like it will never come together! :)

    1. Thank you, Clarita! I know, some days I feel I shall never have a completely finished house, but I keep dreaming…and toiling...toward that goal. I really am thankful for the opportunity to live in and restore an old dwelling. O, and I happen to think your home is fabulous already!!!

  6. House looks absolutely stunning! :)
    God bless!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Happy day to you :)


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