Tuesday, October 25, 2016

comfort in the pictures...

It's been a week.

There's comfort in the flowers on my table.  
There's comfort to be found in the food I eat
and the words and hugs of loved ones.

There's also comfort in the pictures.
Jameson and his friend enjoying smores at the ruf campfire

Because in the moments when it feels like the world has flipped upside down, 
and nothing is as it should be,
the pictures tell me
there is joy.
There is happiness.
And there are good memories being made.

Road trip 
Through times I won't necessarily want to remember, there are still those I will.  

Like his first swim lesson.

Like her incessant attempts to do a handstand in the living room.
Like their first football game.
And just like life, I'm learning the published pictures don't have to be perfect.

The crinkled-up-nose and fake smile doesn't need to go in the delete pile.

There is laughter, beauty and truth here.

We are all in process.

Life isn't a perfectly posed picture.

sassy girl
It's often a tangled, messy web of joys and sorrows.

It's getting knocked down, and learning how to get back up again.

It's a journey to find peace and joy in the midst of chaos and sorrow.

wrapping up his baby
And in the middle of it all are some of the quietest, most tender moments.

I struggle to embrace what God has appointed for me.
And I simultaneously give Him praise for all that He has given.

There is comfort in the pictures.

Friday, October 7, 2016

the river house #10: tour of the new addition...

River House before the addition
Phase 2 of the River House project is going strong!  

(Phase 1 was completing the basement over the summer, and now our female intern is comfortably living there... woohoo!)

Phase 2 is the addition on the side of the house.  There was no stairway connecting the main house to the basement, and the previous owners had poured a concrete foundation to build an elevator shaft (!!!).  So in order to be smart with our design (and our wallet), we decided to use that space meant for an elevator to be our stairwell addition. 

From the back of the house (remember that windows aren't cut out yet-- that'll come in Phase 3), you can see the addition begins on the ground floor with a door that will lead into a "mud room" area. 

Here's the mudroom area from inside.  There's a door on the right (you can't see in this pic) that leads into the basement area where Audrey is currently living.  We love that by keeping the basement area separate, we have the option to use it in the future as an Air BnB or private guest space.  And the rest of the time, it can be the kids' playroom.

The staircase will connect the main floor of the house with the basement, and we'll have a storage rom underneath the staircase.

the addition before windows and doors
When you walk up the stairs, the addition opens up into what will be the open Great Room, dining, and kitchen.  

view of addition from the kitchen
With the large window and french door installed, all the natural light flooding in makes me happy.  Nevermind that little temporary railing in the picture- that's to keep the inspector happy until we get real railings one day.

So where does that french door off the Great Room lead, you ask?  We designed it to open up onto a small deck.  (which will also one day have railings too, ha ha...)  Here's what we're thinking... see the large deck up top off of the master bedroom?  That's where you've got the beautiful river view.  But as it stood before this addition, there was no way for guests to get to the top deck without traipsing through my BEDROOM!  

So envision this.... you come out that french door onto the small deck, there's our grill right off the kitchen.  And ALSO on that deck is a SPIRAL STAIRCASE leading you up to the top deck for lounging!!!  Yes!  I just gave away our big secret for the addition!!  It's going to be incredible.  

You may notice that the addition has another floor above the main floor.  We decided to keep going up  another floor with it because on the top floor, there will be a new walk-in master closet with a washer & dryer in the closet!  (we installed a little window so I can look at the river while I do laundry in there...)  Y'all.  It's so exciting.  I can't wait to see what's only been in my head thus far become a reality.

Speaking of exciting, THIS is where it's at for a little boy.  The construction crew suddenly came to patch the road where the gas company installed our new gas line.  "Mom, I could watch this all day," Jameson said keeping his eyes fixed on that digger.

Also exciting was when Mr. Larry, our great contractor, stopped for a few minutes to throw big rocks with him.  

Back to the basement for a few more updates...

 I finished putting the stain and poly on the cabinetry Larry custom built for our kitchenette and I love how it looks against the old exposed brick.
Last time I told you the crazy story of building the deck off the basement, and here's how it turned out.

And instead of framing in a closet in the bedroom, I scored this beauty off our local craigslist and it's the perfect rustic "loft"-style closet with lots of open storage.  

So there you have it!  This week we're hoping to complete the framing of the addition so we can move on to the exterior siding, roof, gutters, etc. to get the exterior all ready and protected for the winter.  Then we can head indoors for Phase 3... the longest and costliest phase of them all... working on the main house!  But at the end of that phase, our family gets a beautiful new space to live, so that gives us the motivation to keep going.  

To be continued!...

Thursday, October 6, 2016


It is with deep sadness that I tell you this blog has lost one of its most faithful readers.   
And this world has lost one of its most treasured men.
I have lost my sweet Grandpa.
Though he lived so healthy, independent and strong for 94 years, 
I am left broken-hearted to think he's now gone.

Though we lived thousands of miles apart, Grandpa felt connected through this blog.
I knew he was reading.  
My eyes fill with tears knowing he's no longer on the other end of these words.

Grandpa was faithful.
Faithful to his wife of almost 50 years.
Faithful to his church for over 70 years.
And faithful to send birthday and Christmas cards, even for 24 years after Grandma went to be with Jesus.

So much of my life can be attributed to him.  
He chose to live with very little materially, and he gave so much of his resources away.
As I look at my children, tears come to my eyes
because with all of the costs of adoption, 
I don't know that we could've done it without him.

When we adopted a black son, I didn't know what he would think.
Transracial adoption can be harder to swallow for older generations.
But he cheered us on the entire way.  
He mailed many typed letters
saying how proud he was of me for adopting Jameson, 
and how he looked up to me for the way 
I want to incorporate Jameson's culture into our family.

I had a fan in Grandpa.  
His love and support, though long distance, 
has been an undercurrent throughout my life.

A kinder man you've never met.  
His mind could recall specific dates and specific amounts from decades past.
He cared about every little detail.
And now He is with Jesus.

I loved Grandpa.  
And I will miss him.