The past few months have been very difficult. Steve, the girls, and I have been working every day around the clock trying to get our house ready to sell. It’s a 2900 square foot house that we built together 7 years ago as a family…literally. (Well…we had it framed and sheet rocked by others…but we did all the plumbing, electrical, roof, siding, rock, floors, cabinets, bathrooms, kitchen, ….you get the idea….with our hands.)
Thinking we’d stay in it forever, there are tasks we never completed or found time to do. No one would ever see but us, so they never mattered. Except, now a buyer would. Therefore, we’ve been thrust into “Project Finish” mode…so that we can get back to finishing the log house.
We (foolishly) assumed it would take us a matter of weeks to do these menial jobs, that Steve really could do quickly…if he didn’t also have to leave for the fire station for 24 hours at a time, be up all night fighting fires and going on medical emergencies, and then have to spend 4-8 hours per day on his days off to get caught up on waterfowl taxidermy customer birds. After working so hard, on his “down time”, he played construction worker again and got to the task list at hand.
We are in kind of a hurry to get these jobs done and get our house on the market, because we need the equity to finish the log home, and prefer to not spend the holidays in the b&b we own. It’s great for a few days, but was never meant for month-long (or longer) stays with suitcases everywhere, and one of us sleeping on a loveseat couch.
Here’s a picture of us in front of our home, only months after first moving in. We hadn’t landscaped yet. (We’re a motley crew.)
So, we proceeded to spend the entire SUMMER prepping the house for selling. I can’t count how many jobs we ended up accomplishing, and how many things went wrong during the process. But, it all got done, pulling full 14 hour days working.
At this point, I had only gotten a few hours of sleep per night, for days, and had been working all day and all evening til 11pm every day. I was beyond exhausted. Now the realtor was standing in the house taking pictures. I could barely focus on a word she and Steve were saying.
She took her pictures and we signed papers. Just before she left, she turned and said, “Let’s pray.” I couldn’t believe it. My eyes immediately welled up with tears. I wasn’t expecting a realtor to want to pray for me. But, she knew my emotional, physical, and mental status; I had told her.
I was slumped in the dining room chair. She put her hand on my shoulder, Steve came and stood with us, and she poured out her heart to The Lord, asking Him to be completely in charge of the sale, to bring the right buyers who would appreciate what we had put into the building of the house. She asked Him to give me strength physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I started crying with relief, devastation, and exhaustion all in one…
“The right buyer”?…(was I really ready for someone to buy my home?)
There are endless memories of my children helping us build. We spent 4 months (roughly) in a 300 sq ft travel trailer during the build. Reiley and Reese would bring us lunch and snacks, and wantingly learned to use the tile saw and miter saw (with supervision, of course), and helped cut tiles for the bathrooms, cut boards for ceilings, stained them, painted, stretched out wiring and Pex, helped drill holes for them, screw in light switch covers, and far more. I remember drawing, marking, cutting, and staining the star in our foyer floor with Steve. The girls helped us put up the rocks outside and inside. We had scaffolding in the living room with our furniture, watching tv while rocking the fireplace. You can’t buy memories like that.
After she left, I headed straight to the guest room.
I curled up in a ball on the floor and just sobbed….
That one room holds so many memories to me. It’s the room where I spent 7 (LONG) years researching for and writing a book on the world’s religions. (My desk was in front of the window.) It’s the room where I housed friends for 8 weeks while we painted and re-did a house in town for them to live in. It’s the room we housed another family for a week or two while their house was getting ready to move in to. It housed another friend for a couple weeks while she repaired her marriage. And it’s the room that I had countless counseling sessions over the years with another friend over her troubled marriage, while sharing the traditional glass of iced tea…and sometimes Kleenex box. Jeremiah stayed in there for 2 months while helping us build…and many other times before that. My nephew just stayed in there a couple months ago.
That’s the room I mainly read my Bible in (sitting in the white wing-back chair), talked and cried to God, and did countless Bible studies with Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore. The bookshelf I had was filled with family pictures, and hand-made keepsakes by my parents, grandparents, children, and husband, and a jillion books that I’ve read.
But, that’s just one room that holds my heart. My kitchen is where I’ve cooked countless meals for friends and family, made jelly, Christmas cookies, 4-course meals with my children for my mother on her birthday each year, where Reese learned to cook, and Reiley developed her passion for baking.
We’ve had more parties and functions than I can count. Seriously. A couple of them were for 100 people. Youth socials for teens at church, countless slumber parties, Steve learned and perfected his taxidermy art in there, i home-schooled the girls for hours a day…and SO much more…
But when it comes down to it…they’re just rooms…
This whole building process reminds me of something I learned weeks ago about butterflies. As you know, first the caterpillar is born, and all it does is eat. Just eat. Then, when it’s “time”, it creates its own chrysalis (actually the chrysalis is yet another “skin” of the caterpillar just before it becomes a butterfly).
It remains in private, transforming into a completely different creature! It will no longer crawl, or eat leaves. It will have more colors, and will FLY with new wings. These changes, evidently, start taking place from inside the caterpillar. (Stick with me…that’s not the interesting part yet.)
What I didn’t know about the butterfly is that those brand new, VERY delicate…and CRUMPLED up wings have to break open the protective chrysalis when it’s done transforming. How?
According to what I read, it’s very difficult…a great strain and struggle for the butterfly to do this. In fact, if we knew how challenging it was for the butterfly, we’d be inclined to want to tear open the chrysalis for it, to assist it in flying off sooner. But, tragically, if we did that, the butterfly wouldn’t develop the strength it gains and needs by struggling to break free…and therefore wouldn’t be able to fly upon getting out. So, it needs to struggle. It needs to strain itself…to gain strength, and eventually fly away with ease. (I will NEVER see butterflies the same way again.).
My point? I entered this building process (McGuire House and log home) with inner conflicts, relationship conflicts with some people in my life, and financial conflict. God has been trying to clear them all from my life like one of those Magic Eraser gizmos, and through means of STRUGGLE. In dealing with SO much struggle in so many aspects of my life, and for so long, it has made me stronger.
As we’ve been “renewing” the old house and aspiring to get back to the log house, the one verse God keeps reminding me of is, “Look! I am making all things new!”
That is no exaggeration. I’ve been pulled totally away from the life I’d been living, and have been literally sheltered away (cocooned) at our land, and recently our home.
During this cocooned time period, ALL things, indeed, have become new in my life…from home, friendships, relationships with family, husband, and kids, finances, self-confidence, new skills in my life, stronger emotionally, and more.
In essence, the building process has been like a chrysalis, with me (us) changing both internally and externally during the private chrysalis building phase. (I wonder what my wings will look like when I’m done? I LOVE polka dots!! Maybe I have some polka-dotted wings to look forward to?)
We aren’t staying at the house while it’s being shown. We opted to stay at the b&b, just until we get an offer. Then we will move back in to pack, until closing.
But we will stay at our b&b until the log home is ready. Hopefully we can get close to finishing soon, so that we aren’t in b&b through the holidays. Steve will be off work four weeks in September and October, which should buy us lots of time to work on log home.
In closing, Billy Rae and Miley Cyrus wrote a song about a butterfly that has kind of become the theme of this process to me. “Caterpillar in a tree, how you wonder who you’ll be. Can’t go far, but you can always dream….I promise you that there will come a day. Butterfly fly away.”
People are coming to see the log house, even in our absence. 15 countries are now reading this blog; 3 countries were just added while I was away from typing. My neighbor texted recently and told me that she’s telling everyone she knows to read the blog, and shows them pictures. Our friends Gina and Charlie told several people while on vacation in New Mexico! A local reporter contacted me and wants to come see the whole place, take pictures, and write an article about it on the local paper.
This whole thing is bigger than Steve and me. It’s God. Plain and simple. We’ve just been building, and I’m recording it as we go along. It all makes me wonder where God will send us with our new wings, when the process is done and we break free of this chrysalis of a building process.
On vacation would be nice….
To go on to the next post, click here: “Sand, kids, sand! Mama needs a brand new house!” If you stumbled onto this post and aren’t sure who we are, click here: “What is Cottonwood Creek?” If you want to start from the beginning of our chronological story, and watch us build our 130-year old guest house, click here: “Welcome to Cottonwood Creek!”