In three days, I leave on a very long awaited adventure to Burundi, Africa. Originally planned for summer of 2015, the election year in Burundi caused a lot of unrest which led to the trip being postponed to this year.

When I first felt the Lord tugging at my heart to apply (in the Fall of 2014), I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t want to go if I wasn’t called. I didn’t see a burning bush telling me to go but I didn’t see a burning bushing telling me not to either. As I shared this with a dear friend and mentor in our church hallway right before the service, she encouraged me to go for it. What did I have to loose?

When my application was accepted, I was excited and still apprehensive. $3,800 is a lot of money to raise. I am independent now…how would I make it not working for three weeks? Who else would be going that I would have as an ally?

So the next “fleece” was fundraising. I started making “Bread for Burundi” and many people in the Haviland community graciously supported me through that. By my calculations, I only had to make 380 loaves of bread before my funds were raised…help us.

My wonderful father offered to do a fundraising night at my parent’s church where he would make his famous fajitas. I went into that night praying the Lord would bring in at least $500.


Silly me.


I raised almost exactly the amount I had left to raise (almost $3,000) in one night.

Yea God. 🙂

At this point I realized the Lord must have much bigger plans for this trip than I could ever dream up.

Later that Spring, all of the members of the trip received an email that the trip would be postponed due to political unrest anticipated during the time of our trip. I was angry, I was disappointed, and I was confused. I went right over to my Aunt Doris’s house on my way home from work and just cried to her. She lived in Burundi/Rwanda for many years and she was the one person who I knew would have wisdom for the situation.

She sat with me as a cried and encouraged me that this was still God’s plan. She said even if nothing happens this summer in Burundi, this is still His timing and he always knows best.

So now, fast forward a year and a few months later, here I am getting ready to hop on a plane with 20 other people on a journey to Burundi, Africa. IS THIS REAL LIFE.

The process getting to this point was and is still pretty uncertain. Many plans have changed, many plans have not even been made yet.

I am nervous about team dynamics with a group of people I (mostly) do not know.

I am nervous about not having much communication with my loved ones.

I am also nervous about not having a set schedule (at my weakest I turn into a bit of a control freak).

But I am certain of one thing, I have already learned a lot in preparing for this trip, and have full faith knowing the Lord will continue to transform my heart. I am certain it will be painful and hard, but I want that. In a time of my life with so many uncertainties, knowing God is in control is the warm security blanket wrapped around me.

Last week, I felt the Lord lay on my heart that my prayer for the Burundi trip should be to be strong and courageous. No matter what I am faced with, I pray that I will be strong and courageous in his mighty power.

Check out my Facebook page tomorrow for a video with some quick deets about what we will be doing and what prayers I would covet from you. 🙂






My Favorite Transformations

Each week I try to take a couple of pictures of a space in the Little House that has come a long way since I first started this venture. Or, I try to look back at some of the pictures when I first looked at the house. The house wasn’t “bad,” (I wouldn’t have fallen in love with it if it was), it just needed a little TLC.

These two rooms though…

They are my absolute favorite “Before” and “Progress” pictures.

Let’s take a look-see at the bathroom before:


As you can tell, there was only subflooring around the toilet. And, duct tape for the toilet top.


You can barely see it, but in the bottom left corner was the only sink which was about 12 in wide. The reason it was so small was because there was another door right in front of it that went into a bedroom (now Danye’s room).


And then the construction began (a.k.a.: all those years of babysitting and pizza place money poured into one room :/). Soon after the crew began working, they discovered there was a lot of termite damage on the back wall and even leading onto some of the side walls. This required completely taking out the lath and plaster in those areas (not to mention the completely destroyed trim) and putting up sheet rock.


They also worked on closing up the doorway to the bedroom so that a larger (two sink vanity) could be placed there.


This is looking in from the bedroom into the bathroom.


When the HVAC was installed, the guys were kind enough to listen to my wishes of wanting a vent to go to the “back porch” or mud room. However, this meant having to put those vents coming through the bathroom. Later, the bathroom crew built a super nice cabinet around that to hide the pipes and also give some extra storage.


I loved how the flooring turned out. Can you guess what type it is? Bonus points if you can. 🙂


Meanwhile, my dad and I worked on this vanity. I say “my dad and I” loosely. I was really good at telling him exactly what I wanted and he was really good at making my dreams come true. 🙂 I got this vanity bottom off Craigslist for $20 and then my dad build the top with three 2 x 8s and I stained/polyurethane-ed it.



And this is what it looks like now! I wanted the above counter vessel sinks because it allowed for the drawers to still be used.

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Adding a shower attachment to the tub allowed for turning the tub on the back wall and made more space for the double sinks I wanted.

Also, never fear, I got a new toilet.


And now, my favorite room in the whole house. That stove is what sealed the deal for me. Danye and I even called the house Casa De La Stove for a long time because we loved it so much.


I love that sink too. Old cast iron with metal cabinets.

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One day, I was taking down those metal shelves next to the window and some of the wall came with it. We realized, there was a termite problem around the kitchen window as well. Yea!



Silver lining: the kitchen window is now the most secure and updated window in the whole house.


Oscar and Danye work harder than me most the time.

Then came moving everything out of the kitchen to do the floors and walls. (See Flooring Adventures if ya missed it.)


Skip a few hundred other steps, and here we are!



Kevin and Gayle had some oak cabinets they gave to me (so graciously) so I chalk-painted them white, Marco installed them and then also built my counter-top!

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(Ignore the upside-down photos on the fridge, bags of Friendship Bread starter in the basket, and water-bottle… Progress photos, right?) P.S. Does anyone want a Amish Friendship Bread starter? 😉



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Thanks for checkin’ out the progress. 🙂 Please let me know if you have any tips or advice for me.

Ta ta for now!




Little Steps on the Little House

There have been several changes to the Little House since my last post. “Several” meaning, it is almost time to start hanging decorations on the walls! Woohoo!

The house is still far from being complete, but I thought it might be fun to take a little walk down memory lane and compare some snapshots of where we started and where we are at now.

My lovely and talented friend, Chelsea went through and took as many “before” pictures as she could right after I closed on the house. There was not even electricity in the house at the time yet, I had already moved in a lot of my furniture and possessions into the living room and “storage” room.



Not much has changed from the outside other than some grooming to the yard and making the sidewalk visible again.


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(Obviously, the photographer can not seem to take straight pictures.)



These doors have since been flip-flopped all around. The door with the address on the frame (used as the front door) is now on the back door. The back door was moved into the shed. The oval door is now the front door. And a new beveled glass door was put where the oval door was.

Got all that? 😉


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My bedroom before…


I kept the mattresses and am trying the Princess and the Pea thing.

Just kidding. 🙂



Here is what my room looks like currently!





Keep in mind…these are progress pictures. Which to me, progress is defined by being allowed to still have note cards and light fixtures on the floor. 😉



The living room is where I put all my bulky furniture in the transition phase. The previous owners were so kind to let me store my stuff before I even closed on the house. This allowed me to move out of my apartment and temporarily move in with Kevin and Gayle (my adoptive Haviland parents) about a month before closing. Living with Kevin and Gayle was such an amazing blessing…but that is a whole other blog post. 🙂


Hi Gayle!





This is what the current living room looks like. We just painted it last month, thanks to the wonderful help of my friend and mentor, Kathy.



My mom came a few weekends ago and helped me arrange/decorate it so it felt more relaxing to walk into.

We are still figuring out the most functional, fung shui arrangement for the room…so if you have ideas, please shoot them to me!

As you can tell, this floor has not been redone. Hopefully this will happen soon. The last floor-refinishing project really took it out of me. I need to work up some more ambition before I start on that project again.

That’s all for now! Tomorrow I will post some more progress pics of the kitchen, bathroom, and dining room (my favorites). Let me know if you have any suggestions or tips on restoring an old home on a budget. 😉


What is the greatest motivator of human behavior?

Is it consequences?

Is it self-preservation?


Is it love?

Is it fear?


I think I am torn between the latter two.

Love makes people do crazy things. Love is something that I don’t think will ever be fully explained or understood because it is so abstract and unpredictable. It is…well, indescribable. Even as I sit here trying to come up with a description, I can’t.

Fear on the other hand…fear can be explained. It is crippling. It is is paralyzing. And at times, it is unpredictable as well.

Just since this morning, I have made decisions based on my fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of sounding silly, fear of looking silly, and fear of offending someone.

Is all fear bad? Is all love good?

As I look back on decisions I have made in my few adult years, it would seem I have made a lot of “safe” decisions. Whether they were motivated by love or fear…the jury is still out. Even with some seemingly “risky” decisions or steps I have taken there were still elements of safety to them.

Is that wrong?

The idea of risk excites me. Isn’t that why my generation is obsessed with “adventure?” It provides an adrenaline rush no matter how big or small.

I have a second cousin who leaves for New Zealand in two days. She only found out about the trip three weeks ago. It is a trip through YWAM and she had to raise a significant amount of funds, but somehow it all came before she could barely say “I’m in.” She will be in New Zealand for three months, and then an unknown country for the next three months. She can only pack in one backpack for her whole six month trip.

That gets my adrenaline pumping and I am not even going.

My mind is constantly torn between the logic and the dreams. I have big dreams and so many things I want to be when I grow up, but then I am grounded by the logistics and possible downfalls of them. I want to be wise with my finances, and choices for future success, but I never want that to become what rules my life.

I want to be a good steward of what I have been given, but I have already been given so much. And…“from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked,” right?*

All this is to say…is there a standard for how we should live our lives and make decisions? How often has fear, love, and safety held me back? And how often has it propelled me to grow?

For now, I will cling to this verse. I will cling to loving my Father and trying to accept how He loves me even more. I will cling to loving each person I encounter with His love, as best I can.

I will cling, as I patiently await his whisper into the unknown.

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.    1 John 4:18 MSG

* Luke 12:48



Flooring Adventures

Hello beautiful people.

Updates have been few and far between because…well, home improvement never goes as quickly as planned. I kept thinking I would wait to post an update on my projects until I can do a complete “before and after” with the finished product.

Let’s be real, it is going to be awhile before there is a finished project.  But it’s about the journey not the destination right? That’s what I am telling myself. 🙂

So, here is an update on the progress being made, hopefully by the end of writing this, I will feel like there actually has been progress made. 😉

I mentioned to my dear friend, Neill last month that I would really like to redo the kitchen now, while I am not living in the house, but didn’t really have the time or resources. Wouldn’t you know, I caught him that next weekend with all the appliances moved out and pulling up the four layers of flooring in the kitchen. What a stinker.

Under all the layers of flooring was a nasty black glue substance and a million nail holes in the wood flooring. We also discovered MORE termite damage, (I am so thankful I had that treated when I bought the house).

After weighing the options of time vs. money, we decided for the sake of time it would be better to put new flooring over the wood instead of trying refinish the floor.


First, we put down roofing tar paper. Then, we (mostly Neill and Kay) put down a mahogany underlayment. I found a killer deal on vinyl plank flooring at Lowe’s which saved me about $100.


2015-10-27_002600000_9592C_iOSAfter painting the underlayment, my partner in crime (Danye) and I layed the peel and stick flooring. Don’t worry, we thoroughly read the directions after we were finished.

Now…onto the floor that has all my blood, sweat, and tears  love poured into it.


My bedroom floor.

This little booger has been…a process for sure. It had been painted brown in the middle and it would seem some crafting projects were done on it as well.


It is safe to say I have a relationship with this sander now. We have been through a lot.


This was before I knew the pain that was about to ensue. 


I got pretty frustrated after only about an hour and text my good friend Amanda my feelings of hopelessness. In about five minutes her husband was at my door to give me a “break.” This break ended up being about 3 hours. Friends are the best.


Meanwhile, I scrubbed the carpet tape all the way around the dining room.


That brown paint is in the grain for good, I am afraid. Even the white spray paint would not come up for the life of me. And there was also glue that would not come up with that giant sander. But we got it the best we could.

Later, Danye and I used hand sanders to take up as much of the glue as we could and also do the edges.


After what seemed like years of sanding, I put two coats of Special Walnut stain down. This was the most fun step. 🙂 In between stains, I sanded the floor with 400 grit paper. My friend Kay highly recommended doing this as it would bring out the grain more. I think it really made it pop.


Next, I put a coat of Bona Woodline Semi-Gloss polyurethane down. This was recommended by a flooring expert in town. It was a little pricey but since this was the guinea-pig room, I thought I would try it and see if it is worth the price.

After this coat dried, my sister and I sanded it with 150 grit paper and then wiped it clean.


Then the last coat of poly brings me a FINISHED FLOOR. Whew.

You can still see where the paint was before, and let me tell you, there are many imperfections, but I almost like it that way now. Each little unique mark tells a story of this 101 year old home and the memories that have been made here. And now, I have the honor of adding to those stories. 🙂

Now, I am off to sand the kitchen ceiling. Doesn’t that sound fun?! 😉

Ta ta for now!


Community Serve Day

Last Wednesday, the college had their annual Community Serve Day. This is in the middle of their Missional Leadership Conference week so it is incredibly fitting for them to be able to put to action what is being taught. I had the honor and privilege of two groups coming over to the Little House to lend a helping hand. And boy, did they do that! 2015-09-23_143844969_8EBD9_iOS 2015-09-23_143856709_DF521_iOS

With Gayle’s help earlier in the week mudding and sanding (countless hours), the walls and ceiling in the dining room and my room were ready to be painted! The girls group got right to work by taping and painting around the trim.

2015-09-23_143903571_1E8D8_iOSHannah Kendall even stopped by to help and washed all my wood work. Could there be a more selfless job? 😉 2015-09-23_143931605_9C368_iOS2015-09-23_143916171_490C9_iOS

Here you can see all the cracks and imperfections that had to be mudded and sanded by Gayle. I so wish I had a before picture of the ceiling!! Before Gayle worked her magic, the ceiling looked awful. Through the whole room it looked like someone had mudded but never sanded it down and then painted over it (which makes it permanent). Somehow, Gayle made that ceiling look brand new.

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These girls were such troopers! They primed all the walls and celings and then got to work on the paint! And without one complaint (that I heard 😉 ).


The dining room color is called Belgium Waffle. It is more “orangey” than I wanted. Maybe it will grow on me.


Lois stopped by for a bit and couldn’t stand my kitchen floor any longer so she asked for a broom. 🙂 I guess I have just gotten used to being in the “construction phase,” cleanliness has not been my top priority for the house.


While the girls were inside painting their hearts out, the boys group was outside scraping the paint off the back to prepare it for paint. Remember what it looked like before? IMG_9078


Those poor fellas spent all morning scraping and then finally got to start priming right before our lunch break. Obviously, Shane was thoroughly excited about the whole ordeal. 😉

See Ethan on the top right roof? He camped out up there all day. There was not one scrape of paint he missed or nail he didn’t give an extra hammer to. He took such good care of his area and went the extra mile to make sure it was done right. Thanks Ethan!!


In between primer and paint coats, a couple of the guys were anxious to do something inside. 2015-09-23_175240136_8088A_iOS

They began helping me take everything out of the kitchen so the flooring and painting can be done. They took out the metal cabinets and put them in the shed along with taking down all the shelves.2015-09-23_175236978_AD1AB_iOS

Without being asked (gasp!), they even moved the washer and dryer to the back porch where I wanted them anyway!


The only reason they could move those to the back porch is because Caitlin (the cutie above) so selflessly cleaned out the porch I have been mean putting off cleaning for weeks. It was filled with pheasant feathers and smelled like something dead. I guess that is what comes with buying a Hunting Lodge!


The reward for finishing the walls and ceiling was being able to pull the carpet up!! Woohoo!! Also, note the fearless ceiling fan installers above. We won’t talk about how long it took them to install it or the fact that the light and the fan spun when turned on…all that matters is, its the thought that counts. 🙂


The floor in my bedroom seemed to be stained on the outside edge and painted on the inside. I have thought many thoughts about the person who painted this floor but for now we will just stick with the fact that there is a gorgeous fir floor under that nasty carpet. Praise be! And just like our hearts, almost anything can be restored. 🙂


After pulling up the carpet, the staples had to all be plucked and pried out. This took awhile even for the many hands working on it. Aren’t they the greatest?!


The dining room was stained on the outer edge as well and bare in the middle. There was also white tape all the way around this room which required some serious Goo Gone attention to get the sticky substance up.


David was such a trooper as well. He went to school with me and then married one of my friends, Brandie. We both embarked on the house buying experience about the same time and they have been such a blessing to compare house stories and struggles with. David works grounds for the college but stopped by for the afternoon to lend a helping hand and some leadership with the fan installation (hehe).


And here is the finished product of the back of the house!


Doesn’t it look great?! Thank you Jessica, Sierra, Cailtin, Alyssa, Ashley, Katie, and Kayln for all your work on the inside and odd jobs outside. Thank you Isaac, Jay, Deldrick, Ethan, Shane, and Drew for your hard work scrapping, painting, and doing other man things. Just one of the they did would have taken me all day to do by myself. What a tremendous blessing to get so much progress done in ONE DAY.

Have I mentioned I love Community? 🙂

Can you vision it?

Good Tuesday morning! 🙂 Riding my bike to work this morning in the crisp cool air was such perfect start to the day. The sunrise is always such a quick reminder for me of the presence of God and His love for His creation. We are a part of a much bigger vision. What an incredible God we are invited to be in relationship with!

So much of what we are working on at the Little House are stepping stones to a bigger vision. I love thinking about the bigger picture…I am terrible at considering the little details leading up to that. Usually, I get impatient and take short-cuts which leads to bigger problems. This is an issue I am aware I have and am working on finding a short-cut to fix. 😉

Here is the current state of the bathroom…which is not a bathroom anymore.


It has all been gutted and new wiring has (almost) all been put in for outlets and lights above the vanity.

Oooo I can’t wait to show you the transformation of the vanity! It started with a $20 Craigslist find. Woohoo!

Gayle and Kevin (who I am currently living with) have been awesome with helping out at the Little House. Kevin helped me move some massive furniture around on Sunday so that the ceiling and walls can be painted in the dining room and my bedroom. He also did other odd (man) jobs around the house that I haven’t gotten to yet.


Gayle has been working tirelessly at mudding and sanding the walls and ceilings in the dining room and my bedroom…again to be ready for paint. Since everything is still lath and plaster, there are many imperfections. Gayle keeps reminding me that this is the character of the house. She has been such a trooper with doing all this mudding. Many spots require more than one coat which means she muds it, lets it dry for a day, comes back to mud it again, lets it dry a day, and then sometimes comes back to mud it again. Then it has to be either wet or dry sanded and then the whole wall and trim has to be wiped down to get rid of all the dirt and dust. Who knew the journey to painting could be so long!

Can you vision it??


Last Saturday, trusty Neill rented a backhoe to do some dirt work with the backyard. Before there was a berm about 5 feet from the house that was causing all rain water to drain right to the foundation. Uh oh! So Neill and his genius brain moved the berm back about 16 feet and did a gradual slope so the drop off is not so prominent. He worked from sun up to sun down on Saturday to get the job done. What a selfless servant.


We think that pipe sticking up in the middle of the dirt was the old water well. There were pieces of cement encasing it (which you can see by the back door). That pipe is not going anywhere anytime soon! He is stuck down pretty deep.

The back will be finished painting tomorrow as it is Community Serve Day! (More details later).

We are thinking a nice brick patio and fire pit would go nicely out here. Can you vision it? Any more ideas for making the “perfect patio”?