Renovations are not for Sissies..

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We are beginning our second year in the little Redbird Cottage farm. My dear friend Janet Rico Everett was present in the car with me when I found the “for sale by owner” on the gate of a very dilapidated cottage and metal building in 2020.

Truthfully I think she thought I was nuts, we had moved to Oklahoma, purchased a dream home near Grand Lake, and then on a visit to the house, she realized I intended to sell the house and move back to the country.

I had done renovations before… but under estimated what doing one in C ovid times when new to the town, county, and state would do to my skills.

Day 2 and 3 revealed termite damage far beyond teh scope of what we expected….all walls of 2 rooms had to go and joists under neath replaced….whooo boy.

Mercy…Bitty’s expression for mercy at the door was exactly how I felt… “please God, please let me back into your mercy” Which of course, I never left…but the season was h.a.r.d.

2020 until September 2021 was a season of loss, loss of so many things, ways of living, and challenges to our hope for the future..the hits just kept coming…

We moved 3 times to consolidate 3 homes in 3 different states as we chose to move nearer Les’s parents and our grown children. What normally would take 90 days for us (we were used to moving) took over 14 months to complete. Moving is not my favorite…on a good day…much less when homes are 14 hours a part and there is not a moving company involved. One home, my parent’s home, a historic home that had all their belonging in it to deal with as well.

We had decided to retire from the DoD. Les would work in a private company….but Les’s career changed forever when the pandemic ended his company role after moving for the job. His entire wing was summarily dismissed due to Cov id though that was not the truth. Covid meant he couldn’t return to DoD until restrictions were lifted…some 22 months later…His role is large, so it was not something you can find in every area at the level he works.

Loss of most of the events that my income was dependent on due to the pandemic, scared me silly. Folks count on me for their income, and I had to hustle to cover the houses that didn’t sell, the needs of the family for insurance, and to recreate how to earn 2x the money in C ovid times….it.was.only.God….nothing else could have helped so much.

Loss of relationship with one of our closest, tightest friends…unexpectedly…it was like having the rug pulled out from under me…and it hurt…deeply…yet I understand choices sometimes have to be made.

Loss of a dear one, who died unexpectedly. Les’s step sister, who had just become close after we moved to Oklahoma.She had been in our home a week before and talking to me the night a massive heart attack took her the next morning on a business trip to a place I love in PA.

Loss of the feeling of personal stability as my health unexpectedly got complex, Les and I had not lived under one roof until 2019…he was deployed most of the time, who knew sleep would not happen well when we finally got under one roof for more than 3 months at a time. I knew I always got ill if I was home long after he came home…but we tanked it to over working, overdoing, not a lack of rest when sleeping at home. I traveled enough before C ovid I could recover 2-3 nights away, but after 18 months at home, It tanked me when I wasn’t resting and didn’t realize that was happening. (I fall asleep easily, but wasn’t getting rest) Many doctors, counselors had many different answers as to why my body was crashing, my mind weary. I am the original energizer bunny, but for months just going across the house would exhaust me and my body literally swelled up with fluids despite diet, walking, and all the things I was told to do.

Loss of being in a community where I knew people, church, or things to count on…for a low vision person, it is a whole new thing to move to unfamiliar places when you cannot see the signs, street signs or they don’t exist in unfamiliar terrain.

Loss of my mentor and adopted family member David Cooper, who had treated me as a daughter and mentored me the last 29 years. Loss of his bride, our fellowship and his brother all in a space of 2 years.

Loss of ease as every single thing was boxed and put somewhere else to camp out while we deconstructed a termite infested, walls missing home 8 miles from anything with comfort…and little to support our comfort while we worked creatively with a cash budget, maintaining 3 other homes while we waited it out.

Living in a house that meant the loss of all comfort while we tore it down to the studs and without comfort for 18 months, including no kitchen, no walls for warmth, no floors and I love to go barefoot…etc.. but the scenery enchanted my heart. I splurged on a used three door french door in my office and the wild birds, like Cinderella, came daily to see me. I fell in love with the people, the hardwood trees, the stories of resilience and most of all the concept that as we tore down this cottage, we rebuilt our lives.

Do you know such seasons in your life? Where every.single.thing. seems hard?

That desert, barren job situation lasted over 18 months for Feller. Interview after interview said he was over qualified and yet we needed a job….and it. was.dry financially, experientially, physically, mentally, and socially. I mean we kept trying but nothing, I mean nothing would work out. I returned to my love, teaching others how to use technology, how to create business income producing goals, and I remembered just how much of an income trainer I am. Money seems to come more easily to me, but 3 houses, a loss of income of a spouse, and serious bills meant that if I didn’t want to drain our savings and retirement I needed to step up. Step up I did! (being sick isn’t an excuse in a Doctor’s family, my father, the country doctor, believed sickness was you “allowing” yourself to get run down…a gestalt German…he lived that concept and rarely missed an 80 hour week of work if not 100.)

We prayed and praised and we prayed some more. We helped others because we had food and others had none. We had skills, so we shared those so others could learn too. We all have to help each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re missing $150 a month to make ends meet or $9,000 because a job went away…lack is lack and I believe you share what you have…and it is a comfort when we can and we choose to whether it makes sense or not to others.

Then came God’s reprieve after a long long 18 months…. in 4 weeks….prayers were answered that we prayed and spoke life over despite crickets for weeks, then months, then seasons….and:

Workers, Roberto and Flor, came and did the work at a price we could manage, Christian workers I feel safe with.

Contracts worked on for years suddenly came in without warning, right on time in God’s economy.

Houses sold and closed this time (each time they had sold on day 1 but then C ovid issues kept folks from closing) We loved who bought them and we are so thankful they are loving our former homes.

Relationships ended, but with peace with two families we loved and truly adored, but each family has to do what works for them. We respect that, and the differences ideology and how we live were not overcomeable at this time. We wish them well, we love them, and pray for them as I know they do for us. But partings are hard.

God narrowed the path…we asked for him to prune us and he did, in every way…but he walked us through the hard season. Hard seasons come, sometimes without warning despite the best plans we make…but it is in Him that we have peace and provision, not our discipline or strength.

So we’ve got the porch off the house this January 2nd morning. Today would have been my grandfather’s 116th birthday. William Alexander Geddie was born in I believe 1905 so that’s 2022-1905 or 117 today! I believe he would be proud of the season we just weathered and I can hear his voice saying “hard things come, but God is there” and He was even in the storms.

The Redbird Cottage Farm is official. We have the house ready to go to the next steps:

We are replacing the siding, it’s Hardie Board Vertical Siding and a whole new concept but we’re excited and it’s going up in a few weeks, then paint, …lots to do! (and its so exciting to see!)

We are rebuilding the porch to a more traditional look than this 130-year-old former cabin, later, the home moved to this property from a county road farm not far from here, later added on by the former owner…to a more cohesive plan.

We have chosen to think of this as the place we’ll enjoy learing then build a home across the property so this one will be our children’s home and client’s guest house when they come to film and write with us.

We love this place and all its worn places. It was like deconstructing my life as we worked..taking away that which didn’t belong any more, things that no longer served their purpose in my life were exposed…

This morning I am waking up to snow on the ground…the first snow of 2022..snow is my favorite. The Tyvek is only where the porch was removed…the new windows warm and the walls complete. How appropriate that the new year starts white as snow…Always a reminder of how God restores brokenness.

We are still broken as family. We have worked together with all families as a blended family that is complex. We’ve intentionally included all sides of the family in our lives as we have been in theirs. Yet something happened, and there is division within the families….it is hard. It is so far gone for now, it is not something we can expect to get better. When hearts are hurt, or projecting is involved…it takes time and communication not to mention desire to listen, to hear, and to begin to heal. Restoration is possible, but it has to be desired. It is hard for me personally, I was very close to all sides of my parent’s family and their families…but each generation makes their own way.

It breaks our heart…yet we know God promises us restoration and our children to return to our lives. C ovid has made many families miss time together and we hope this will be overcome.

We as individuals are very imperfect, but we are hopeful that God will restore our unity as a family. Heal our hearts and heal our hurts. We moved to be near all our grown it is particularly hard when we are not in unity. We respect the desire that each family has to do what’s best for their unit, but we trust God… He’s been in the business of restoration all of our lives….

and Janet…well…Janet may just come back and be the first one filmed in the new studio this fall, for she is a writer and I can’t wait to see God use her gifts this season! I remember too well the first night we saw the house…and the LOOK she had when I said “we bought it on a handshake deal”. Perfect moment…and I can’t wait to see her on the next trip up! (ask her about HER new vision for her own home!)

Happy New Year, I’ll be updating on Sundays this year…sometimes Mondays…and a few unexpected times at other times…but I like to start the fresh new blog week on Sunday evenings and so we shall…and I hope you’ll come along. We’ll be beginning a new year of gathering in Gathering the Girls on Facebook too. I hope you’ll join us there for encouragement and fellowship online!

Let’s all have cake today to celebrate Grandfather Geddie…he would have liked that. He was a fan of everyone having cake….as often as possible…he shared his birthday with Fran Sprow…how we miss them both. Let’s all have a day of celebration…for we are here, God is here and hope is restored in His presence.

~ love to you and yours!

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