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

My home: the good, the bad, and the beautiful

Recently this post on Momastery called “Give me Gratitude or Give Me Debt” was floating around. After several people had shared it, I decided to read it.  On the one hand, I’m glad I did.  After recently buying a house, I was looking with a critical eye at every crack and piece of dirt, lamenting about what poor shape our new purchase is in.  I still believe parts of it, in its current shape, are a potential health hazard. But I have a house. Not a condo or an apartment, but a house. It has running water, a gas stove, and a huge fridge. It has 4 bedrooms and multiple living areas. It has a deck and a yard for the kids to run around and a shop in the back so my husband can still work yet be close to his family.  When I look at what I can be grateful for, my house is amazing.

So on the one hand I see the importance of needing to be grateful for what I have. But on the other hand, I find nothing wrong with wanting to update your house and make it a place of beauty. My husband remodels homes for a living and he is the best at it. Yet for him it’s more than a job; it’s a work of art. My husband is truly an artist and people’s houses are his canvas. He makes homes beautiful, and beauty is a reflection of God. Whether you have resources to hire someone,  or to put a little DIY effort into it yourself, you are making your house into a home and a place where you want to raise your family.


Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Because I am a stay at home mother, 90% of my life is spent in my house. The whole point of starting this blog was to find holiness at home in my vocation as a mother. And since the family is the “domestic church,” then our family is raised in our domestic church building of a home. Many riches and some of the greatest talent on the earth has been spent building the most beautiful cathedrals to raise our eyes to heaven. To point us to God and cause us to pause and reflect on the good, true, and beautiful.  So my house is like the cathedral that my domestic church is being raised in. And I should be able to wake up and spend my day with my thoughts pointing to the good, the true, and the beautiful. If my home is a place that I’m proud of, a place of beauty that I can fulfill my vocation in, then I see nothing wrong with a little updating.

Granted, fashions and fads change. Things become outdated. Possessions fade away. And the most important thing is to be grateful for what we do have and to not be envious of the things others have that we don’t.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t be inspired by Houzz or Pinterest and put a little work into making our house beautiful and something we can feel proud of.  Something that can lift our eyes and our spirits to the heavens.

But of course, if you love the 70’s look in your kitchen, roll with it! You never know when laminate and linoleum will make a comeback:-)

final kitchen_Fotor_Collage_Fotor

St. Joseph Answers Prayers!

Authors note: A few weeks ago I started to write a serious piece on prenatal testing and kids with disabilities. I had a great vision for it, but I won’t post something serious that’s not well thought out, – and these days with my mushy pregnancy brain, nothing is well thought out – so I move to some lighter topics.

St. Joseph’s feast day – solemnity, actually – was last week. I had been very much looking forward to it. One reason is we were having a big feast with all the families from my mom’s group, which was definitely fun. But as his feast approached, I had some serious requests for his intercession, and nine days before March 19th we started a novena to him.Image

Now, I have had a deeper love for St. Joseph since I read John Paul II’s “Redemptoris Custos” in college. I had prayed a novena to him after college and I got offered the job in Denver the day I finished that novena. My husband is a quiet, hardworking woodworker who took St. Joseph as his confirmation saint. He is currently in the residential remodeling business but wants to focus more on woodworking.

So, we prayed the novena for 3 things: to sell a table he had built (which we had been trying to sell for almost 2 months), to grow his business, and to find a new house for us with shop space to grow his business in. Since he is the patron saint of woodworkers, house hunters, families, and happy deaths (hopefully that last one is a ways off), we felt he was the perfect person to ask for some help!

From the time we started the novena, we found a house, put an offer on it, and on St. Joseph’s feast day we received the counter offer which a day later we accepted.  Our new house will have 4 bedrooms for our growing family and a 1200 square foot shop in the back yard for my husband to work out of. It had been on the market for several months, and I believe it was just waiting for us to find it!

Also, we had been in touch with several people over the last two months about the table he had built, but on St. Joseph’s feast day a woman contacted us who ended up buying it today, almost a week later. He now has three more tables to build, and we haven’t even put up the rest of his work on Etsy yet!

Nathan is trying to keep up with his busy workload, but we are overjoyed and thankful that God has seen it fit to answer our requests. It has given me a little insight into petitions, particularly into how they may be answered.

I know a lot of times when I pray for something, it’s more like my son Timothy who says, “I want this, and I want it NOW!” Patience is a hard thing to teach a two year old. And a twenty-eight year old, I guess. Sometimes when we think our prayers aren’t heard, it’s just because it’s not time for them to be answered. The table didn’t sell on his feast like I was hoping, but the pieces were put in place for it to sell at a later time. Sometimes things have to fall in place before we can see the results, and God can be working through people before we even know what’s happening. Like a good parent, God wants to give us things that are good for us, but only when we need them, and when it’s the right time. And sometimes it helps to have the right people asking on your behalf. I’m thankful, though, that this time I could see the prayers being answered and worked out right in front of me. To God be the glory that he provides for his children! Thank you St. Joseph for your faithful and powerful intercession!