Sunday, September 17, 2017

For me to live is Christ

Elaine and I have been memorizing Philippians this year.  I am behind schedule, and behind Elaine.  But we continue to press on, because hiding God’s Word in our hearts is important.  I have been reminded of that recently because He is using those verses that I am learning to comfort my heart and reassure me as I walk through some uncertain and sad waters.

I lived most of my life just thirty minutes away from my mom’s parents.  Grandma and Grandpa.  They were a part of everything – every birthday dinner, every piano recital.  Everytime I flew to college they came to say goodbye and press a $20 into my hand.  Every Christmas Eve we spent crammed into Grandma’s basement or living room with my crazy extended family singing carols, reading the Christmas story, and opening more presents than should be allowed.

Grandma is not doing well right now.  She went to the ER this week with intense abdominal pain and they found a hole in her small intestine.  They did an emergency surgery to remove part of her small intestine and colon.  The doctor did not expect her to make it out of surgery. But at 2 am I got the text that she had pulled through.

Now she is still in ICU.  Still not doing well.  Things are uncertain, and some family members are traveling home in case they need to say goodbye.

And all this time the Lord keeps giving me Philippians 1:20-24:

Phl 1:20-24 KJV - 20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 21 For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

I want Grandma to “abide in the flesh.”  I love her.  But she has lived her life for Christ, and if He chooses to take her now, it will be her gain.  If she were alert I’m sure she would feel verse 23 – wanting to stay here with her family and her husband of 65 years.  But yet she desires to be with her Lord and free from pain.

I love you Grandma.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Before and After: Our Fixer Upper Story, part 4

IMG_5003If you missed the other posts, you can find them here:

UPSTAIRS (part 1)

MAIN FLOOR (part 2)

BASEMENT (part 3)

This project was definitely a family affair, but we also had a lot of helpers.  Ben’s parents came to Bronx four weekends in a row.  My parents came from Colorado for a week.  The Jackey boys helped knock out the basement.  Alex spent 4 or 5 days assisting Ben with anything.  Freddy came to paint, and Pastor Dan helped with painting and flooring.  After we moved in, Diane helped us paint the main floor, and the Bickels helped us paint trim.  Here are some misc pictures of the process…

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Ben and Nolan working on the basement bathroom sink // Kids pulling staples to prep for the new flooring.  They got a penny for every staple they cleaned up!

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Elaine prepping the floor // Twins scrubbing paint off the steps

IMG_5175  Kids helping with Renovation
Elaine was Pastor Dan’s runner for doing the new floor // The kids also pulled a lot of nails out of the old studs in the basement

Kids helping with Renovation  Kids helping with Renovation
They loved working on the ladder!

Pads for new flooring   Pads for new flooring
When we came home with new flooring in the van, we couldn’t get down our street.  So we parked up a block and carried the pads down the pedestrian steps )which is really 230th St.).  Henry wanted to carry a roll just like the big kids!  But he was slow…so Ben carried Henry carrying the floor pad.

Roof Repair   Stick Removal
My dad did a roof repair for us but Nolan got to help him. // The kids carried lots of sticks out to the trash! 

Bathroom Tiling Renovation   GJJT2989
I cut tiles for the bathroom – new experience for me!  // The kids endured MANY trips to Lowes and Home Depot!

Henry watching concrete repair   IMG_5368
Henry stood guard over the roofers who weren’t doing a fabulous job.  He had his Cheerios close by // Ben redid the radiators!

Moving Day!
This fabulous group loaded or unloaded our moving truck!

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The Happy Hamiltons – New Residents in Kingsbridge, Bronx, New York City

Before and After: Our Fixer Upper Story, part 3

IMG_5003If you missed the other posts, you can find them here:

UPSTAIRS (part 1)

MAIN FLOOR (part 2)





Basement – Before

The basement is long and skinny, and from the front of the house to the back there is an alcove, main room with old kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, and then the furnace/laundry room.  The previous owner’s dog lived in the basement, so we had to rip everything out.  Now there are no walls, and we have poured new concrete.  The bathroom is functional but needs some tile repair.  Ben uses the alcove as his workshop.

We haven’t done much changing, except for the demolition process.  The refinishing will have to be completed a little at a time, as the budget and time allows.  Ben will do most of the work himself, even the drywall mudding.  There was a drop ceiling and we’d like to put in a regular ceiling, so there is a good amount of work to be done.

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Furnace room/laundry room.  We knocked out walls and doorways to make this more open. // Now, on the left, there is a flat platform for both of my machines, and there is a storage freezer where the old washer was.

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Bathroom and bedroom closet.  There were like five different layers of flooring.

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Old bedroom and main room.

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Right hand corner is an old non-functioning kitchen which we ripped out.

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Basement steps // Basement shower

Basement – Demolition

Three brothers from our church came over and spent two days knocking out everything in the basement.  If you ever need something demolished, I highly recommend them!  They needed very little supervision and did a great job!

Basement Demolition  Basement Demolition
The Jackey Brothers // The Old Kitchen

Basement Demolition   Basement Demolition
They loved the ripping up part…not the sweeping and bagging part!

Basement Demolition   Basement Floor
Before and After New Flooring  

Basement Floor Renovation   Basement Floor Renovation
Cement in the basement floor  

Alex doing Basement flooring   Alex doing Basement flooring
Alex helped with the new floor

Laundry Room RenovationLaundry Room RenovationLaundry Room Renovation
Platform for my washing machine and dryer 

Gas Line for Dryer
Dad helped to connect a new gas line to run over for a gas dryer

Dryer Vent   Dryer Vent-
Breaking through the basement wall to vent the new dryer.  So very thankful for Jim and Sissy and all the work they did to help us.  They spent four weekends in a row in the Bronx, and then took our kids home with them!

Basement – After

Basement After Pics   Basement After Pics
Ben’s tool area. // The brown door in the center of the picture goes to the front patio (garage roof)

Basement After Pics   Basement After Pics
This is the main room (and my garage sale stash) // This is the “bedroom” or middle room in the basement (as you walk from front of house to back of house).  It’s my school books and kids clothing corner.  Eventually we would like to convert the old kitchen area into a storage closet for all of these totes.