Perspective

I looked up the word “perspective” this week, because it seems to be the running theme word of my life lately. It has two definitions. One is putting two or more solid objects on a two dimensional surface (like paper) to give a comparison of their size. (Wow! Art class 101!)

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The other meaning is “attitude” towards something…or point of view.

Hmmm…We all know I’ve struggled a bit in this department in recent weeks. Β In fact, the term “Pity Party” comes to mind …and BOY do I LOVE throwing parties!! (Pics of lots of them are in the Butterfly Fly Away post.)

As for our first definition, however (and cleverly taking the attention away from my pity parties), most visitors who come see us tell us how very different the log house is in real life than in pictures.

For example, they say the green color is much lighter in person, rather than dark or forest green, as it appears with my (stupid, frustrating…) camera.

They say that the height and size of the logs are much more “grand” (their word, not ours) than in pictures.

The overall size of the rooms, height of ceilings, and size of house in general are…according to those who come…much larger compared to what they “seem” to be in pictures.

In fact, many people have requested that I put Steve in pictures, so that they can have a reference point for the size of what we’re working on. Therefore, your wish is granted. Β (“Proper” perspective can be pretty important, I guess!)

Here are a few examples from outside (particularly for those new readers who haven’t gotten to every past post yet). Here are two pictures of one side of our house. One without a person, and the other with my 6’8″ husband, both kids, and man-lift machine…

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Then, on the other side of the house, you can see how difficult it is to get an idea of size in the first pic, until you see the ladies in the corner in the second picture…

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I have some updated pictures of the house, as of January 16th (2014). I’ve had us pose in a few of the pics, so you’d have better “perspective”. Β (Too bad you can’t hear Steve groaning during the modeling session. I think it would have added to the whole effect….)

Here are the stairs. I’m not quite done with the railings. I have more staining to do. (Some rails need a second coat, while some need a first coat still.)

I took a close-up of one railing so you can see my lame attempt at “distressing” wood to make it look old and worn. (In my case, the opposite happened. I felt old and worn after beating all four sides of waaaay too many 4×4’s, and felt a little distressed myself!!)

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The front of our open loft area upstairs is a display area, made from scrap boards (it will be completely covered in display items). Steve is a waterfowl taxidermist…Waterfowl Studios (and San Antonio fire fighter). We plan to put an antique wooden canoe that we have (after I sand and varnish it), and some artificial rock and habitat displays for a few waterfowl and animal mounts.

Here are a couple of pics of the open loft (for tv, air hockey, couch, upright piano, etc), and display ledge, featuring our “perspective model”, Steve. If you use your imagination, you can hear the groans and sighs he’s making as I torture him with modeling duties.

Take note, also, of the “bird blocks” he finished, where the ceiling meets the wall. Those boards still need trim and stain.

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Steve’s other full time job this last week or so was finishing all the chinking inside the house, and framing up the fireplace, preparing it for rock, and installing log supports through it for mantle to sit on. (For inquiring minds, the protruding logs are lag bolted to the exterior logs of the house. They are sturdy.) You’ll see pics in a minute. Poor guy was basically cemented to the concrete mixer…he was there so frequently to keep up with the incessant concrete needs.

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20140118-083231.jpgI watched my 10-yr old and 15- yr old girls rocking the fireplace this week (after Steve worked his framing and mortar magic on it). After I had rocked the kitchen walls myself, I knew that when you are zeroed in on a certain area, up close, trying to fit the “perfect rock” into a certain shaped space, with 6000 rocks spread all over the floor to choose from, it can make your brain spiral. (Focusing on a problem, or particular “void” in our life can do that, too.)

I learned that unless you step back and see the whole wall at one time, you can’t really clearly see which rock could work best.

But, also, when stepped back, I could suddenly see the unwanted and accidental “patterns” being formed with the rocks (I.e….several vertical or horizontal rocks in one area, appearing “stacked”…rather than the mixed rubble look I was aiming for).

Keeping with our theme of “perspective” (of course), Reese was up on the ladder trying to find the perfect rock for the void she was wanting to fill. It was taking longer than she had patience for, and was asking me which rock to use. I suggested that she come down off the ladder and see the whole wall from a distance. That way she could more easily see any unwanted patterns, and could see which rock might fit where.

The deep, “philosophical” side of me oozed out at that moment. (Yes, I have one. It’s the same unfortunate side of me that writes short novels for every blog post.)

I’ve learned in this building time period (of a year) that it’s important and needed to occasionally step away from your daily or normal activities, and look at the directions that each facet of your life is heading, from a distance. Perhaps even through someone else’s eyes.

See what changes need to take place in priorities, goals, focuses, work, time spent, financial expenditures, friendships and relationships.

Building has sucked me away from my old life, forcing me to literally observe the life I was living from a distance…like rocking the wall. In stepping away from the life I’m used to living, I’ve learned all kinds of things about myself, have noted necessary changes that need to be made in various areas, and now have many brand new exciting things to look forward to that I never could have known had I not stepped back from normal life. It helped me! I highly recommend it!

That’s my $1 advice for you today.

Sure enough, she got off the ladder and immediately noticed her rock patterns, and knew where to put the next one, and which way to turn it.

What was interesting to me (and another deep thought….which I get waaaay too often) is that Reiley was taking the rocking process slower than Reese, and kind of struggling more with the decision of which rock would fit best. But, no matter the speed they went, or ease or struggle, they both did great in the end, and also tended to make unwanted patterns, had to step back and see…and ended up making changes to their route.

What does that say about our lives…whether we are fast paced or slow, introvert or extrovert, motivated or lazy? Each of us needs to step back and tweak our life patterns along the way.

Seeing that only our Maker knows our futures, permits us to breathe, and equips us with skills and personalities, He is the one we should look to for which changes need to take place, and let Him do the tweaking. He is The void-filling and tweaking Specialist, after all!

God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” (Psalm 32:8-9)

He will and does try to guide each person, but too frequently we ignore, push away, or resist His Leadership. (Sounds sorta like stubborn kids with parents, huh?)

As a team we finally finished the fireplace…but I think I will often stare at the rocks and reflect on the life lesson I learned while making it. Here are pics of the process and finished product…

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Can you see me standing on the extension ladder in this next picture? Perspective of fireplace height…..

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While still on the subject of all things mortar, our friends Mallory, the Trowbridges, and Jeff Johnson came to help us chink and paint our back door. And thank you Trowbridges for bringing us fajitas and sausage, and thank you Rhonda Johnson for our chicken dinner! Thank you Dixie for cooking for us and doing our laundry! Thank you Comeaux family for bringing us a full Jambalaya dinner and dessert! And thank you Walker family for our chili supper around the fire! We’re so blessed to be surrounded by so many generous family and friends.

Mallory is moving to Montana. I’m sooo sad about that, but very happy and excited for her. I’ve included here our last picture taken with her until next time we see her.

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We also spent a fantastic morning here with dear, lifelong friends, the Shockeys. I’m bummed that I have no pictures to show you. 😦

Our new friend and neighbor, Kevin, came another day to see us. He gave Steve pre-cut pieces of wood that were just the right size to fit from edge to edge of our kitchen overhang, covering our a/c duct work! All we had to do was nail them up, trim, and stain twice. Voila! Thank you Kevin! Here’s a picture of overhang “before”…

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Here are pictures of the Walnut slab counter tops I’ve been sanding and varnishing. They are for our two bathrooms.

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20140119-075659.jpg Here are updated pictures of our front door with glass, and the etched picture. This is only the tester. We will buy a new piece of glass and do another, better etching.

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20140119-080249.jpg Here are more updated pictures that don’t need explanations. I’ve tried to take pictures from different angles than before to give you a whole different perspective.

Tons of changes are taking place in just the next few days, so keep checking back in. I will be posting another new update in a few days!

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Don’t forget that the outside hasn’t been chinked (mortar between logs) yet. We will finish that after moving in. Insulation can be seen between our logs on the outside right now.

And we will have an 8-9′ wraparound porch held up by log posts and green metal roof, after we move in. The front door will have its own gable over it, and a chandelier dangling over. The following pictures are visual examples of what were doing…

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Lastly, I want to welcome and thank all of our readers. People from 23 countries are reading this blog. I’m amazed and humbled. Thank you for your encouragement and interest in our family. This is a picture of my screen from my blog statistics page. All those flags are reading. New flags show up almost weekly. I couldn’t fit all of them in one picture. So there’s a second picture with the rest of them.

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Talk about PERSPECTIVE! It is mind boggling to Steve and me (and the girls), that people in homes in each of these completely unique cultures sit and look at pictures of us as we build our home. From our home to yours…thank you, and may God bless you, as you have blessed us with your interest.

4 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. Thank you so much Rita! You have no idea how much these messages mean to us. So encouraging. I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the blog and seeing the final projects. Hopefully some day you’ll be able to come and see it in person! We can sit on the porch and chat. πŸ™‚ Gretchen

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  2. Hi Gretchen πŸ™‚ I’ve been interested and been reading your blogs here and I am so amazed with your faith in God. Your log home is so wonderful plus the fact that you and your family with the help of some friends were the one’s building it, I am in awe! I will keep reading your previous post until I get to your recent post. Thanks much Gretchen for sharing your wonderful experience with us readers. God bless πŸ™‚

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  3. Hi Gretchen πŸ™‚ Wow, am I the one from the Philippines? lol. I’ve been interested and been following and reading your blogs starting from your post until now and I can’t wait to read all of your blogs on your journey as you built this log home. It’s so wonderful and amazing!!!

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  4. AS USUAL LOVED IT!!! Β  Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice. Philip. 4:4

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