Home Remodeling and Whitewashed Tombs

(Warning: Graphic Content. Do not read while you are eating.)

A little over a year ago we bought a new home! (see: St. Joseph answers prayers). We knew it was going to be a bit of a fixer upper, but we had no idea how bad it was going to be until the smells starting getting worse and we started to tear down walls.

One of the first things we did was gut the basement bedroom where the kids were to sleep. The walls weren’t even made out of drywall but some smelly cardboard material and the insides were filled with spiderwebs galore – like out of a Halloween movie. Then we found water pooling in our laundry room because a hose wasn’t connecting to the drain, but just squirting water into the wall where we found black mold.

Recently we remodeled our upstairs main/master bath. It was the second most disgusting bath Nathan has ever remodeled, due to the leaky pipes behind the shower wall. See more black mold (and rotting subfloor) here:

IMG_0847 IMG_1980

Then we started to gut the basement. This is where the majority of the smells come from. Dead mice. Actually, at least 3 dead mice, 2 rotting mice nests, and thousands of tiny turds line all the studs and ceiling of our basement living room. I’m sure they’ve been here for years. It is so disgusting I want to vomit just writing about it, but here are a few pics in case you are morbidly curious.


this nest fell from the ceiling and smelled the worst because it actually had a dead mouse in it, discernible only by the long, black tail…


mmm, yummy. All the studs looked like this.


this nest is still in the ceiling and has treasures waiting to behold.








Before we looked at the house in person, the pictures online made it seem not too bad. Before we bought the house, we knew from seeing it in person that it needed a little bit of work, but as we lived here the signs became more noticeable that something was wrong. It had made me think of what Jesus has to say about whitewashed tombstones:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.” Matthew 23:27-28

The previous owners of the house knew about the smell because they kept the basement doors closed and had no furniture in there. Instead of gutting it, they slapped some paint on the walls and called it “remodeled.” But there was no life in that room; nothing could survive in there with dead mice rotting in the walls.

So many times it seems easier to try and cover up our sins and wounds instead of trying to get to the root of the problem and deal with them. What we really need to do is tear down the drywall around our hearts and get to the smell, to the rotting wounds of sin and go to Confession! Perhaps an apology or forgiveness are also in order to bring healing.

And now, by tearing it out and rebuilding, we’ve built something way more beautiful than what was there before. That’s what grace does to our souls.

 bathroom before

bathroom before*

bathroom after*










So whatever you do, don’t let the smell of your sins turn you into a whitewashed tomb full of dead bones and filth. Let our house be a lesson for your interior house life.

“So many people come up to me and say, ‘But I’m a good person.’ Sin doesn’t make us bad. The wages of sin is death. Sin makes us dead. Only God can bring the dead to life.” -Louie Giglio, pastor, quoted from our worship night at Red Rocks.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

*you can see all of the bathroom before and after photos at: www.facebook.com/SuperiorHomeRemodel

Put your baby down and worship!

A few days ago I went to a concert at Red Rocks with my mom. It was headlined by Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and Matt Maher and my mom was going to be in town and I could tell she really wanted to go. So I told her I would go with her.

But as it drew closer, I wasn’t getting any more excited. Although I often put Christian music on in the car, I felt out of the music loop that I used to be in with my mom. Back in high school and college, my mom and I were Christian concert-goers extraordinaire.

You see, I grew up in Charismatic prayer groups. I learned how to worship through praise music. I taught people to open up their hands as a sign of openness and to reach out to God. But I’ve been holding a baby in my arms for the last 4 years, or doing dishes, or folding laundry, and I feel like that’s all my hands know how to do anymore.

So I kept my hands in my pockets as the music started and people began to worship and sing. As I kept my hands in my pockets, the wind picked up and I started to chill.  And I realized that wind is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit. And I really felt that the wind was the work of the Holy Spirit moving in the thousands gathered, especially me.


At one point they asked us to kneel. Catholics know how to do that well, we understand that kneeling and genuflecting and bowing our heads are outward symbols of respect and submission to God. But opening our hands is a little more uncomfortable.

I realized that sometimes I need to put the baby down and worship. My arms have been so full of day-to-day life that I miss out on stepping back and seeing the bigger picture. Because I have forgotten to set aside time to worship. Not just say a quick prayer here or there, but really enter into worship.


Recently my husband and I started alternating weeks for a holy hour. The time has been spent doing religious reading, praying a rosary, and offering up some intentions. But I have been lacking in worship; in starting out with acknowledging the greatness of God, and opening my hands and heart to God, and saying, “Okay, Holy Spirit. Move in me. Draw me closer to you.”

Because when we worship, we put God first. We praise him for who he is. There are lots of ways to worship. I do enjoy great modern praise and worship songs. You can simply speak all the names of Jesus. You can pray many of the Psalms that are praise. And of course the Liturgy is an act of public worship. But when we put God in his rightful place, all else comes into order. Perspective on his greatness and our need for him permeate into the other areas of our life where we make choices.

Even in today’s second reading (for the 20th Sunday of ordinary time) from Ephesians, St. Paul writes:  “… addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.”

So it’s time to put the baby down and get my hands out of my pockets and open them towards God. Maybe your children are all grown or you don’t have children yet, so what is your figurative baby that’s holding you back from opening up to God?

Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to help us worship God and put our life back in right order.

CCC 2086: When we say ‘God’ we confess a constant, unchangeable being, always the same, faithful and just, without any evil.  He is almighty, merciful, and infinitely beneficent. Who could not place all hope in him? Who could not love him when contemplating the treasures of goodness and love he has poured out on us?