I’m writing this post completely for myself. So that in a month, a year and heaven forbid, two years, I can remember….

My husband and I just bought a fixer-upper. Every room has 25-year-old decor complete with floral or lighthouse wallpaper borders and dark green paint. Every room is pleading with me to put it first on the list of making it lovely.

We gutted the kitchen and now I have no stove but I do have crooked nails and wires hanging from an open ceiling.

The boy’s bathroom has a pink sink and almost but not quite matching tub and toilet, also from the pink family.

The pool is sparkling blue one day and mud colored the next as we figure out the best levels for the chemicals as they mix with our well water.

We have no internet and our hopes of a decent, high-speed connection are fading fast. The internet is kind of my job, by the way, which helps pay our mortgage.

We have to switch our cell phone carrier and get new phones, our boys are starting a new school today, and the dog is itching something fierce.

We also spent our hard-earned money on the World’s Worst Barn. And I punctured the end of my big toe with a nail. Insert Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day comment here – almost.

There are definitely moments of completely suffocating overwhelm of the “what in the world have we done, we are idiots” variety. But I can’t actually get myself to feel that way for very long.

Because through all the junk in our lives, the Lord has used the circumstances of where we live to teach us, to guide us, to get our attention. I trust He’ll do the same through this home.

I simply cannot bring myself to be too distressed about the hot mess that is our new home because we hoped and prayed for years for this next adventure. We’ve lived in four different rentals in the past six years while paying off debt and looked so forward to the next house we bought. And in those moments where I secretly long for high-speed internet and that free garlic in Egypt, I’m reminded that the path to that free garlic was slavery.

And for us, we hoped for this very house, with all its quirks, all summer. For us, not owning this place would have meant staying where we were. And we were so over that.

I’m not saying I won’t have my days. Just the opposite. I know I will. I’m sure I’ll shed a few tears and yell at my husband and be short with my kids and curse the lack of water pressure all in the name of fixing up a house. Mark my words.

But ultimately, I hope I remember what a wonderful gift this house is and what a joy and honor it is to get to gut the kitchen and have nails and wires hanging and have the means to find a great deal on a secondhand dream stove and to have a pool even though it looks like diarrhea.


  • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    My house needs A LOT of TLC. I’ve raised two children in it and it’s showing many signs that life was lived here (understatement). It’s going to take a lot of elbow grease and money to get it back in pristine condition, but your one statement really struck me – “I hope I remember what a wonderful gift this house is.” I am so blessed to have this mess of a house and I pray that I don’t ever take it for granted. God is the master of bringing beauty from ashes, both literally and figuratively. He’s done that in my life and I know he’ll do that in my home. Thanks for a thought provoking post!

  • Pam

    I’m 22 years ‘down the road” and I can tell you that it is very well worth it. It certainly has not happened overnight ;) but this “Blessing from God” home of ours that needed every inch redone and updated is now even more than the vision we dreamed of when we first stepped inside. God gave us that vision and He has guided us in accomplishing it. He has taught us perseverance and how to plan. We now have a place where roots have established, children have grown and now grandchildren love visiting. Not to mention a lovely space to be and a visible testimony to God’s abundance.

  • http://www.arearrangedlife.com Miriam

    Amen! …and Amen not just about the house, but about LIFE. My Life has the shape of those walls in renovation – things broken to make them more whole…and hubbs was just reading me CS Lewis in Mere Christianity talking about how we go to God to get one thing fixed, and he won’t stop until He has ALL of us fixed (aka Holy)…and I am grateful for this…grateful that I’m worth renovating even if it is a painful mess!! Thanks, sister!! Beautifully said!

    • http://thenester.com The Nester

      YES. you are so right, I see the world through house colored glasses but usually it can be applied to pure life. xoxoo

  • http://www.asimplehaven.com Jenn @ A Simple Haven

    Love your attitude! It’s so easy to just focus on the mess and the stress and forget that God’s provided before and He’ll provide again. Today, you’ve encouraged me to trust in the midst of my own mess of babies and toddlers and the timing of more babies :).

    Super excited to see your house transform over time!

  • http://martysmoosetracks.blogspot.com Marty

    Oh, my…I can SO relate to this post and the house and the mess and all.the.work.ahead.of.us.

    And how it is all a blessing.

    But I loved what your friend wrote above, “things broken to make them more whole…” and how that is SO like how God works in our lives…so that’s how I’m refocusing my thoughts today. :)

    Thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.jennbatey.blogspot.com Jenn Batey

    Your blog is now my #1 favorite blog! In March my family of 6 moved from the comfortable sun of North Florida to Michigan. In every which way I have been challenged and pressed. We bought a fixer upper on a gorgeous lot… And just like you said: every inch of it demands my attention… Along with my 4 kids that I homeschool, the youngest needing all sorts of therapies. Painting, priming, sanding, demolitioning, redoing the wood stairs…everything you are doing we are too. I have such a comfort in watching you be ‘OK’ in the process, fighting for patience and gratitude… Because that is exactly where I find myself too. Waking up, thanking The Lord, and asking HIM to keep my heart and mind in the place of perspective and gratitude. It has been hard to be sure. Thank you for sharing your same season as well! Love~ Jenn

  • Jenn

    We moved two years ago. It was not my ideal house (farm in the country), but it met all the needs we had, and met the mission we felt God was calling us to (mission with people in the suburbs). We knew it was where God wanted us, and that He provided it for us. It has not been easy taking a house that is not my style, and turning it into “home”. Even though we purchased it, it has felt like a rental because it just isn’t me. During those times my husband has lamented that I hate everything about this house. :( (I guess I haven’t been that successful in being thankful) God is teaching me a lot. Sometimes it is overwhelmingly hard learning those lessons. Praying your renovations go well, and that you can continue to keep a God perspective on your home. (this past week I just painted our dusty rose tile a nice crisp white…what a difference!)

  • http://www.myextraordinarilyordinarylife.com Lisa Howard

    Such a wonderful post. I relate it to my personal house. Not the walls in which I dwell but the emotional and spiritual house that follows me no matter where I go. Lots of change has come my way the past 8 years. Divorce, new love, broken engagement, cancer, selling of what was my dream home to move to an easier to maintain townhouse. While some of these changes were NOT what I wanted, others were things for which I prayed. The lesson you share is a great one. No matter the source of change, keeping our perspective and an attitude of gratitude will allow our hearts to be open for all that God has in store for us.

    Best of luck with your new home. I pray for blessings to abound…

  • http://www.rhondisrosecoloredglasses.com Rhondi

    I am loving watching your dream unfold. Nothing is more fun to me than to fix up a house. I have this idea that a house is a living thing that deserves to be treated well. A house reminds me of the tree in the book The Giving Tree. A house provides shelter, love, a place of safety, a place for memories to be made etc and it asks for nothing in return. When we get to fix it up I feel like its a way of saying “thank you ” Whenever I see a rundown abandoned house I always feel sad and think, “that house deserves better than that “

  • april

    I have loved your blog since first signing up, but now I get SO excited to see you have posted something new…what is going on today in their new house? Your beautiful fixer upper is so very inspiring, not that you needed it, but I think it has made your blog super dupper fixer upper interesting!!! I love seeing every little improvement you do and think of for the future. I am really enjoying this ride God has put you on…the internet is big…will be praying for that solution! Please post your low water pressure solution when it comes, I think we need a plumber. :)

  • http://www.marcyholder.wordpress.com Marcy Holder

    Yes…”Life having the shape of walls in renovation!” That was exactly my thought when I read the post title Miriam.

    I came here today looking for a patch job and was pleasantly surprised to see it was you Nester! Your encouragement to take risks in my home has been the catalyst for risks in my life (recently returned from a trip to Ukraine). Today will hold risks that are “seemingly worse,” but in the end have the most potential for endless beauty. Your words were straight from God to my heart!

    Thank you!!!

  • http://easttennesseeblessings.blogspot.com/ Lisa

    I love your “from the gut” honesty with your readers about the days in your future that you know will not be stellar days. And yet, the hope you exude and the excitement about the coming transformation is wonderful and exciting and contagious. Your words inspire me to work on my own sad house that I have just lived in without loving it much for many years! Thank you for being REAL and inspiring! I look forward to watching the transformation!

  • http://wateringthegrass.blogspot.com Jen in MN

    We’ve gutted and remodeled our fair share of houses–I SO know the stage you’re in! We’ve painted ugly brick fireplaces and forest green rooms and even painted 6 coats of paint over a kitchen border that would.not.be.removed. (drywall mud became my bff that year). For me, the process is a huge part of the joy…I love seeing a house rescued from bad 90’s (or 80’s…or 70’s…) decor. Watching pieces of your personality come through in the remodel process feels almost like adding a member to the family. (that makes me sound like a weirdo, I’m really not. i just have a thing for remodeling.)

    Super excited for you and this amazing gift!! And those floors…and the land…swoon. xoxo

  • http://beyondtheportico.blogspot.com Sheila

    I know just where you are. We bought a fixer upper about three years ago. We have yet to gut the kitchen but that is coming (probably in about another 3-5 years). Kitchens are expensive renos!, but I can tell you that it does get better with each passing day and with the finishing or semi-finishing of each project. I have painted until I HATE painting. Even now the thought of it makes me want to puke but I still have so much more painting to do and I just keep plugging away at it a little at a time. There are a bazillion projects left to do, but I am loving my home more and more as time goes on. Some days its a love, hate relationship but I know in the end it will be worth all the blood, sweat and tears and your house will be too, not to mention it will be all yours, not someone else’s and that’s HUGE. Enjoy your journey!

  • http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com Linda@Creekside

    Yes and amen, dear Nester. And oh what He teaches us in this, our waiting room …

  • Laura

    Two thoughts – One, 28 years ago our walls were beige and I envied those people with the wallpaper and green paint you speak of! Ha! How funny we are with our trends and phases. Two, thank you for a quiet word from God to remind me this morning how to live in the answers to my prayers when the work and maintenance comes along with the answer!! =0)
    bless you today!

  • Betsie B. Johnson

    Nester…..this is my very fave blog. I love to watch work in progress….along with faith in progress. Today ai was reminded of a house we had where I was painting over the brick fireplace before even unpacking a single box……just do what your heart tells you!

  • http://www.maryrosescafe.blogspot.com maryrose

    Congrats on the new house, Nester! This post was perfect for me this morning. We moved to a new old house in a new city just a few months ago. I put my son on the bus for his new school just this morning. And guess what? My sons have a pink toilet, TWO pink sinks, and a pink tub in their bathroom. I am stripping butterfly wallpaper off of the yellow bathroom’s walls today. (And we call it the yellow bathroom because it has a yellow toilet, a yellow sink, and a yellow tub!) I am so thankful for every inch of this home. God took us out of an unfriendly and uncaring neighborhood where we never belonged, and moved us a few states away to one of the friendliest cities we’ve ever encountered. We have lovely neighbors who talk with us daily and bring us cookies and cucumbers and gardening advice. We all laugh about our houses pink and yellow toilets. God has been so good to us, and we are embracing the pink and yellow toilets as “retro vintage cool”. (By the way, you need to visit the website “savethepinkbathrooms!”.) Have fun in the process…just think of all the blogging material you’ll have now! :)

  • http://www.divvasdiary.com Divva on a Mission

    Amen & Great Post! It’s in the garden we blossom… Yes we get dirty… Yet we blossom!!

  • Jo

    All I can say is that we had a bathroom with pink fixtures, to be jointly shared by teen son and pre-teen daughter. We left the pink fixtures, and added charcoal grays: rugs, towels, curtains, etc. It worked, beautifully so! And saved hundreds of dollars by not ripping it all out. Good luck! Any marriage that can survive a major remodeling is a strong marriage! I know! We now live in a 110 year old house.

  • http://deturkdesign.blogspot.com Mandy DeTurk

    You could take Alexander’s advice and move to Australia but my bet is your house will be worth it. :)

  • stellastarlite

    The blog framedcooks is also redoing a kitchen. You might enjoy her misery!

  • Annette

    This coming from a Mother and a Grandmother, it’s going to be beautiful. Keep your strength up, eat right and rest. Times like this call for fun along the way. Eat take out on the floor with your family and laugh alot. Know when to ask for help.
    I love the house and the property you bought. Start your day in prayer and he’ll do the rest.

  • http://www.heartsonguard.com Vanessa

    Oh I’m right there with ya!!! We bought a foreclosure two months ago, after having to live in our friend’s basement for 3 months while the deal went through every fire-ringed hoop you can imagine. I initially felt like God set up those delays and challenges so that when we finally had our home we would be so grateful that we would see past all the blemishes that kept us from truly loving it (note – we bid on the house without seeing it in person, knowing we needed a house soon after we moved to town – ironic of course that it would then take us 3 months more to get it…….). But I digress. We have so much we want to do, but so little time and even less money. We are finding it to be a firm lesson in contentment in all circumstances, even in the yard of prairie weeds (we don’t have a working mower yet), the curtain rods that still lean against the wall instead hanging from them, and the paint still sitting in cans. Thank you for this post – so encouraging, and hopefully you and I will both be able to look back and see the blessings :)

  • http://www.lisajobaker.com Lisa-Jo @lisajobaker

    Amen and amen. I love seeing your world through house colored glasses. It tells an amazing story.

  • Judy

    God provided us a fixer upper too. It only took 10 years of complaining…before I found contentment without a decent kitchen and then another 5 before I got the kitchen on my dreams for this house. God even uses houses to teach us much about our selves and being content in whatever place He puts us.

  • http://rachelledawson.com/the-mover/ Rachelle Dawson

    I have just been in prayer this morning about why God has us physically where we are. It’s a topic I’ve prayed about a lot after each move we’ve made in our marriage. It takes a while to sort out. But there have always been things for me to learn in each place we’ve lived and each set of circumstances.

  • Lisa

    I cam so relate to your thoughts and feelings today. We just bought a home and have moved in just this weekend! In the middle of our move my husband got very ill, and he spent a week in the hospital. We found out the kitchen sink leaks into the downstairs bathroom, so I can’t really unpack the kitchen or do dishes, cook until we get a plumber! We both fell in love with this old house though, and it is a gift from God. We are living near our kids and grandkids once again and what else matters? this was our dream.

  • http://www.lillymaker.blogspot.com Courtney

    I get this. Every word of it. I’m so thanking for the difference “here” makes. Worth every ache, ounce of sweat, and all the tears. Not just on a home renovation, but the one in my heart.

  • http://happycandido.blogspot.com Joy

    Oh man, I just love ya. I’m so happy for you and your family. I’m glad you can see that nails from the ceiling are a dream come true. It’s really hard to keep a happy heart through rough patches like fixing up an old house. But! They are *your* nails! And that’s your kitchen and those are your stairs. And those gorgeous floors are yours, too! Thank you for sharing this season with us. You’ll be in my prayers! xoxo

  • MLG

    In more than a year of reading (in)courage, I have NEVER had a post speak to my heart the way that this one has. Thank you. Thank you!

  • http://www.nancyaruegg.com Nancy Ruegg

    ‘Love the last paragraph, highlighting the positives of your experience, and the dash of humor at the end! Indeed, positivity and humor are strong combatants against mess and stress. Thank you for an honest and delightful post!

  • http://yorkzoo-howmayihelpyou.com Melissa York

    HA! That’s great! I too have to remember what a blessing our new house is even with all its peeling pain and things needing replaced left and right. The joy of seeing our children out running around our 5 acres and the growing number of animals that they help care for is worth every penny, tear shed, and frustrating moment.

    I love the diarrhea pool!!!!!!!!!! Potty humor is always funny.

  • http://www.marybonner.net Mary

    I love this…truly I do! He meets us in the mess. Thank you for sharing your heart

  • http://laughter-redemption.blogspot.com Sarah Silvester

    Oh wow, I so get this. We have been deep in renovations for 8 years. Recently we got offered money to finally finish our kitchen and we said no. Which seems like utter madness. But for us, before God and in prayer, it just didn’t feel right. So I sit here typing at my dining table while to the right of me is a wall with wires hanging out of it where the kitchen will one day be. And my current kitchen is housed in what is meant to be my master bedroom, complete with pretty much NO light, retro maroon vinyl flooring, an old sink unit our builder salvaged from some other poor persons falling apart house, a stove where only 2 of 4 elements work, and a new fridge which opens to the wall so we have to squeeze into a very small space to get into it. Oh, and our only bathroom comes directly off it (one day = ensuite). It’s just so charming. Not. So I hope you get some comfort knowing that you’re not alone in the filthiness, and that your writing and adventure with this house will provide people like me with a lot of relief. “I’m not the only one!” Thanks Nester :) xo

    • http://thenester.com The Nester

      actually, that is very comforting. thank you for sharing Sarah

  • Cassandra

    Thank you for sharing. My husband and I have rented for the 9 years we have been married. We have so many high hopes of getting our debt paid off to one day own and say goodbye to overpowering landlords and homes we have no say in the decor in. Some days I lose all hope that we will ever own a home. We are 30 and the debt is pretty much where it was 5 years ago ( with some added interest I’m sure!). Your post first of all reminded me to see any home I’m in to be a blessing and also to see there is hope that I will one day own a home !

  • http://chasingblueskies.net/ Kristen Strong

    I hope I get to see your hot mess of an amazing house one day! :)

    Just adore this, Myquillyn. And you too. Much love.

    • http://thenester.com The Nester

      Me too!!!

  • http://poofingthepillows.blogspot.com Stacey

    Amen is right! I can’t tell you how happy we all are for you and your family. You have taught us all so much in your process over the last few years.

  • Crystal

    Thank you!! I’m currently without a house living with family after moving our family across country at hopes of a better life, something we’ve long dreamed of. Every day it feels hard and scary and impossible but then I remember this is all a blessing and one day I will be in my own home and be able to look back and remember how hard we worked and how much “comfort” we gave up to get there. This is Gods plan for us and he does not disappoint!

  • Sharyl

    Oh I so hear you….we started by gutting our 1907 home. Then we both got laid off out of the blue..nightmare. but we made it. new jibs later that year..we got toneork. We have two rooms to go…it’s been 9 years! But it’s wonderful. You will do it and do it the way you can!

    God bless….enjoy the ride! Sharyl

  • Katy

    I think you’re doing a great job. Your spirits are high and you are moving in the right direction for you. Can’t wait to see it finished.

  • Marinalva Sickler

    It’s a work in progress not only in the house. He’s perfecting us through messes that are hard to fix. I’ll pray for you to not get too mad at the kids. Laugh like nuts and everything will be fine. Poor doggy! He’ll get better! Love

  • http://beandkeepbeing.blogspot.com Jenny Barker

    I’ve been on a similar journey… leaving a rental, buying a new home, moving in and making it our own. I also was “so over staying where I was” and the change, though quite difficult at times (I’m positive I yelled at my husband and was short with my kids and probably even the dog too) has been incredibly liberating and life-giving. This new house… this new season of life that God has brought us to has truly been a gift. I can’t wait to see what else he has in store! I hope the same will be true for you… I look forward to following your journey and seeing how it unfolds, and of course, seeing what fabulous things you do to your new home!

  • http://omega57.wordpress.com linda @ bushel and a pickle

    Well, after 10 plus years in our old farmhouse, a treasure from God in our hunt, I have a love hate relationship. Still so much to do. Time to paint…again. Still no fireplace. But the plumbing works in the old and newer bathrooms and we have AC! Yes! I do have to remind myself to remember the tresure given at discouraging times over my not quite there dream house. Keep on hangin in there and one thing at a time…:) Have a good day.

    • http://thenester.com The Nester

      Plumbing!! yippie for you, I forgot how much I take that for granted!

  • http://www.nspjarch.com/ Timothy Homburg

    I think you will for sure grow to love this house and all the work you have to do will make it that much better.

  • http://eabussey.com/blog EA Bussey

    We went through a similar experience several years ago. It’s all good, The Lord is always good and His provisions continue to amaze. It will be fine and your blog rant will be a good Ebenezer stone for the future.

  • http://www.allthiscrazygrace.com Lani

    I have been attempting to make this house mine (it was my mil’s) for six years now. But I have to admit that I haven’t thought of it as a gift…perhaps if I change my mind, maybe I can see it for what it is…a gift of grace, big enough for our big brood, keeping us warm and covered…

  • kells

    I have to say about two years ago YOU posted a picture of a saying that said something to the effect of “do not wish away what you have today because at one point is was all you ever wanted” I, too, was in a rental and before that was living with my husband, dog and baby in my parents house (purgatory as I like to call it) and there I was reading your blog in my rental (have to admit wishing I had my own house) and then I read that saying you posted and it clicked with me. I put that saying as my computer wall paper and decided to be thankful for my rental. And the moment I became content was when we were eligible to buy our house (MAJOR FIXER UPPER CRAZY STINKY SMOKE INFESTED HOUSE) and Here I sit this morning nodding to everything you are saying and saying THANK YOU! again for making me realize this is all I ever wanted. And now I have it er…I will have it…eventually …it’s in the 10 year plan. But either way thanks for keeping it in prospective for me. GOD BLESS YOU and your water pressure!

    • http://thenester.com The Nester

      awww, good stuff!!! xoxoxoox

  • Beth Williams

    Great post! “I hope I remember what a wonderful gift this house is”–that phrase resonates with every fiber of my being. I must remember that my job, house, life are all gifts of love from God!

    My hubby and his ex-wife bought the house we live in. It needed tons of renovations like yours & it sill does. But we are taking it one day at a time & enjoying the ride along the way.

  • charlie

    Boy do i hear you. We have moved 7 times in 11 years, and i am so over a “house”. No that is a lie. I love making a house a home. I love imagining what ‘could be” if we “moved that wall”, took out the closet that sits in the middle of the kitchen… (who does that??) If we painted the walls this or that… planted a garden here… or there… So even though I am exhausted – sometimes yell at my husband for his career choices and having to make these moves…. (while secretly I know we made these decisions together) and would love to just BE in one place for the next 20 years… with everything “perfect”… I know that will never be. Because deep down, I am a home-maker. Home-maker. So whatever that entails… and how ever long it takes… I will succeed in making a home… where what is important… is WHO is in it with me. Family that enjoys it with us. Holidays In it. Memories made In it. Everything else? It’s just gravy. Or groovy. Depending upon the day.