Open house, check

And we didn’t take a single picture.

This time last week, Tyler and I were recovering our breaths from our open house, which can only be described as a spectacular success.

After two years of planning, demolition and reconstruction, we were racing to the finish to get the church into show shape. My dad hung a thousand pictures on Saturday (he says a thousand, I think it was more like 22), and Tyler sent a lot of time making the lawn look presentable. Mom arranged a half dozen flower vases with fresh flowers gifted to us by a friend, so we had fragrant blooms in almost every room. As for me, I emptied all the trash cans as my last act before accepting guests; the message, of course, is that we have functional things like garbage cans, but we don’t actually use them (it’s a joke). 

Tyler estimates we had 250 people drop by in the two-plus hours we opened our doors to neighbors, contractors, former members of the church and interested onlookers. We had 105 sign our guest book. So I guess we had somewhere between 105 and 250 come to take a look at our church-house renovation. It felt like 250, for sure.

All four of us–me, Tyler, Mom and Dad– talked non-stop for two hours, and we ran the church bell a hundred times, at least. It was so nice to see people ooh and aah and to hear people say nice things about the church and our work. Among our visitors were three former pastors at the church, which was a fun and enlightening surprise.

We were so preoccupied, we didn’t take a single picture, though I know some people took a lot of them. If you’re willing to share, please let me know.

The best part was the booty we collected. We asked visitors to bring a non-perishable foot item for the Loaves & Fishes food pantry, which got its start in our basement when it was a functioning church, and our guests came through for the charity. More than 600 pounds of food was collected! Wow! Thank you!

If you attended our open house, thank you for being here, for contributing and for saying nice things (at least in earshot, ha, ha).

As for my regular readers who didn’t have the opportunity to be here, I will try to share some of the projects we finished this summer during the next couple weeks. The biggest project I finished that I’m excited to tell you about is the book I wrote about renovating the church. Much more to come on that subject, I assure you.

Everything wrong with the church

Our story so far: My husband Tyler and I bought a 126-year-old Methodist church, and we spent nine months transforming the first and second floors into our dream home. We began to see the finished results of our efforts.

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Chapter 39

Chapter 39As the months wore on, and we encountered challenges small and big, we talked about them. Constantly. We were a one-note two-man band.

Early on, our wry son-in-law joked he was going to start a competing blog called “Everything Wrong With the Church” and reveal all our mistakes we didn’t want to share with the world. Then I think he realized how little I left out when I was broadcasting our every move to the world. This chapter is for him.

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Tomorrow: Another one bites the dust. Read about it here.

Time out

28w0fpDear Readers,

It’s a big week at Church Sweet Home. The drywallers are coming! The drywallers are coming! This means we’ve entered Phase Three of construction: Drywall, Paint & Flooring. Tyler and I are so excited, we can’t sleep (well, that may be just a symptom of middle age, but you get the picture). A building really begins taking shape when Sheetrocked walls cover the studded ones.

I’ve also caught up to reality in the stories on this blog. When I started the blog back in late November, the posts were a month or so ahead of what was actually happening at the old Methodist church we’re turning into our dream home. But we don’t work on the church every single day, so reality inevitably caught up. I have a handful of vignettes in the vault awaiting publication, but let me tell you, I scrambled last week, writing blog posts day by day. Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed I changed my mind about the “tomorrow” installment more than once.

Meanwhile, I’ve run across a few odds and ends along the way, news that occurred after I wrote about the subject initially. Like, whatever happened to that bat that appeared out of nowhere and flew into the furnace room? And how were those sixteen-foot-long faux beams delivered to the church? (Hint: Not in an Amazon Prime cardboard box). That’s how it goes with a real-time memoir. Sometimes stuff happens after publication.

So for the next week or so, I’ll be sharing a few little stories that will ultimately be integrated into the relevant location in the memoir. Think of this as the time in the novel—especially a mystery novel—when you page back to reread a few passages to remind yourself about what’s going on.

Also, it might be a good time to show some love. If you’re a fan of Church Sweet Home, I’d love it if you told your friends about it, especially the ones who like to read real-life stories or the DIYers who binge-watch HGTV or the aficionados who appreciate historical restoration (and rubberneckers who are obsessed with real-time accidents—we welcome them, too).

To share on social media networks, just mention The best place for a new reader to start is here:

And, I learned a new trick: You can save Church Sweet Home right on the home screen of your phone, like an app. Here’s how on an Apple device: Just type into the search bar on Safari and then look for the icon on the bottom of the screen that looks like a box with an up arrow. box with arrow Click it and scroll through the options until you find “Add to Home Screen.” (This is also how you might share the webpage with a friend via text (“Message”) or email (“Mail”) or Facebook (Facebook icon).) Now you have a short cut on your Home Screen that gets you right to to read the latest.

In any case, I’m grateful to those of you who’ve come along for the ride and who offer words of encouragement. After working on the church for five months and a hundred years of winter, we appreciate it!

after the long winter
After the long winter, green finds a way.

Tomorrow: An oil-burning air conditioner? Read about it here.