Wednesday, August 12, 2015

This Old Church - The Library

Y'all!!!!!! We have a room that is finished!!!!

You have no idea how happy this makes me!

If you've known me for any period of time, you more then likely know that I have a love for old things. One of the very first treasures I found when I was 10 years old, was a book that I still have to this day.

I love old books! There is something secret, sacred, and magical, about an old book. It's like diving into the imagination of someone 150 years ago. It's fun to imagine all the hands that this book has passed through, and the places and lands one can only go to in their own world of imagination. Not to mention, books are beautiful!

Therefore, we have a lot of books! And a good majority of them are very old or unique. Josh and I always thought it would be fun to have a library, and now that we have the space, we have one! Plus, there was this one little room in the corner of the old sanctuary that was just begging to be a library... and how could we say no?!?! This will also be Josh's music room in the future, but all of his instruments are at his parents house where we had to store them.

This was the room before:

We're assuming that it was the church secretaries office or something of the sort. It had this gigantic metal desk that we had to remove the door frame just to get out. It was also the heaviest thing you could possibly imagine. I think I gave myself a hernia just helping Josh get the darn thing out! This is also why I'm assuming that they left the beast behind.

Around the windows was this super special flower wallpaper...

Kinda makes you cringe a little, doesn't it? Creepy! I mean, who knew flowers could be creepy, but seriously, these are a wee bit much.

The first order of business was to remove the wallpaper. We picked and scratched that stuff off like nobodies business! There was still a lot of paper stuck to the wall after we pulled off the pattern, but after some water and a rough sponge, we were able to scrub it all off.

We got the carpet pulled up, and yours truly discovered that vent pipes can literally fall through the floor to the room below. So we may have had a gapping hole in our floor for a few days until we were able to put it all back together again.

Also, nothing quite freaks out your husband like hearing your wife scream and things crashing down into the basement below... just sayin'.

Next was painting! I wanted the room to feel cozy. I wanted it to say 'come in, relax, read a book' and have a warm feeling. I had purchased paint for the main room, and then after getting it all home, had realized that the lighting in home depot had played horrible tricks on my eyes, and the color I had picked out was not really what I wanted. Alas, the colors just so happened to be perfect for other parts of my house! I decided to paint the ceiling a dark color, and the walls a stone gray. We took the trim from the bottom of the room, and after painting it white, we moved it up to the top of the wall. We then stole trim from what is going to be our bedroom, and used it to trim the bottom of the walls.

Then Josh laid the flooring in the room, which I must say, he did an amazing job!

It only took us two days to do these renovations, but to me, the room still wasn't 'done'. It's a library after all, where are all the books?!?

During our stint at my sisters house, where all of our things were stored in a garage that turned out to be far more moist then we thought, our previous bookshelves were no longer usable for books. We may be able to use them in another part of the house for other things, but we couldn't stack them, and the shelves were loose or saggy. So I had to come up with another idea for a bookshelf. We couldn't afford to just go buy floor to ceiling bookshelves for the whole room, and we had nothing else that would really work, so I decided to get creative.

I decided to make some rope shelves. Brackets, at least nice decorative ones, are like $8 a pop, and when you're going to need 3 for each shelf, that starts to add of quick! So I decided to go with rope! My husband that I was nuts, but I think that only made me more determined that it would work ;) I'm only slightly stubborn... ahem.

So I went to work. I bought some handles from Hobby Lobby that were 50% off, that would normally be used to dressers or cabinets, but I had other plans. Instead, I drilled them into the studs in the wall.

It didn't look like much at first, and even I was a little worried at this point that maybe this wasn't a good idea, but I had high hopes that this was going to work.

*FYI, this only works with completely metal/iron handles. If you ever decide to try this, not just any handle will work. Books are heavy, you have to make sure you get a solid and sturdy handle. I also used extra long screws, and made sure to hit the studs in the wall.

We went to the store, picked up some 6ft boards, and I got to more painting and drilling holes in the wood. I also picked up some beautiful white rope, and figured I'd use 3 ft of rope per handle. Then I got my handy dandy hubby to help, and we assembled the shelves!

LOVE IT!!! I think everything really pulled together, and the shelves fit perfectly in the room!

My husband said he was going to 'throw some books on the shelves' now that we had a place to put them... and I about had a heart attack! You can't just 'throw' books on a bookshelf... like, NO! Yep, totally picky about it, but old books gotta look good on a shelf! So this morning, I had way too much fun, and got completely lost, unpacking books, and finding the 'perfect' spot for everything.

Yes, I'm slightly OCD, why do you ask? Tehehe!

The finished project?

Before and After:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Éveiller House - 100 years of history

Ah! I finally have a moment to sit down, with my cup of coffee, and write about our new place! So, as you know, we bought an old church! We finally closed on this place on July 16th, and we've been moving, unpacking, and doing repairs ever since! As we're still in the midst of repairs, and there is no room that is completely 'done,' I, instead, wanted to share the story of our new place with you! That way, as I write more blogs, you can understand my excitement over things, or why things are they way they are in this place. So here we go:

Late 1800's - This place was just an open plot of land, owned by, what I believe, was a couple of brothers. The state of MN wanted to buy over 200k acres of land across the state of Minnesota, to put in a railway line for the mining that was going up north. The state was willing to pay about 4.5 million dollars for these 200k acres, which now days, is dirt cheap. There was a bunch of legal paperwork involved, to acquire this land along with all of the others. Old English, and legal terms, are not my forte, so I didn't completely understand every detail that was written up.

This battle for the land last quite a long time. At some point, the land was either sold, or taken over by another entity, and in the early 1900's there was still no railway built, and the land was still empty. The county decreed that if this particular parcel of land was not used for educational purposes, then it must be returned to the previous owners or a relative or descendant of said owners.

1919 - The school house was built. Now we have had older people stop by, excited to see who has boughten the old building, and would tell us stories of their parents who had attended this place when it had been a schoolhouse. The teacher would come in every morning, and light the wood stove to heat the building before the students would arrive for their lessons. This was a typical old schoolhouse, where it was just one large room, and all the students, regardless of age, would be taught at the same time by the teacher. In three rooms of our house, there is still the really old wood floors that were there when this place was built. You can tell, as in one place, there is the burn marks from where the teacher would light the fire everyday, and over time, darkened the floor.
This is the flooring in three of the rooms.
(This will be my massage office, hence the massage table leaning up against the wall! Super excited to get back to work doing something I love!)

I believe it was in the 1950's when they decided to turn the school into a church. At this point, they placed some very 'special' looking tile over the majority of the floor, which if you look at where some parts have broken up, the old floor is still underneath. (Unfortunately, we need to cover the tile, and aren't able to pull it up, so we can only keep the wood floors in the three rooms it is currently in.) The tile though, as a pattern to it, which we were told the reason why. In the middle of this one large room, there is an aisle about 3 feet wide, of a lighter colored tile, and then the tile on either side is darker. We were told that that used to be the aisle from the old church, and the darker tile is where they would line up the chairs or pews, and the preacher would stand at the front to preach.

We have also discovered at time has gone one, and we dig more into renovations and repairs, that the original building had wood ceiling and wood walls, that had been covered up with ceiling tile and that fake looking plywood walls.

In the 1980's, the church went before the county board to get approval to add onto the church, and so, the second half of the building was born! They more then doubled the size of the original building, adding on the sanctuary, some class rooms, and offices. In most places in our house, you can tell the old building from the new, and where the transitions happened. When they built the newer section of the building, the old Canadian Railway had closed down, therefore abandoning many of their railway beams. So, the church put them to good use, and half of our support beams, are actually steal railway beams from the old railway.

Josh also discovered last night that when the addition had been built onto the old building, they left some of the original siding from the old schoolhouse on, under the new addition. Which I thought rather beautifully old, and there was something almost something magical about it... like I was holding a deep piece of history or something...

Fast forward to 2010's and the church has grown too big for the building! And in 2015, a small family has decided to take on the impossible, and turn this old schoolhouse, turned church, into a house!

We decided to name our house, for a couple of reasons. One, for us, it's not really a house. Yes, we live here, yes, it's our home, and yes, we love it! But for us, we know that God has had his hand over this place for almost a hundred years, and that He will continue to use it for His good and His glory, and we are just vessels of a greater purpose. We know that this place is His, and as we design, and we renovate, we keep His plan in our mind. We've had some glimpses into His plan for this place, and we're excited, nervous, and scared, but His plan is good!

Secondly, I can't really call it a house. Why? Because, well, it's not! I have come up with all sorts of clever things for this place, mainly calling it a 'church-house...' because, that's what it is! But 'church-house' isn't so practical to say... not to mention slightly cheesy. Plus, my husband was making fun of me every time I said it, hehe!

So Josh and I decided to name it. We couldn't decide on a name for awhile. I wanted to go super old fashion and English type for a name, calling it Plumfield or something like that. My husband had a better idea:

Éveiller House

Leveille, our last name, in french, means Awaken. And the french word for Awaken is Éveiller. We're using this house, this church-house, for God's good and His glory, and we are awakening it's potential, and ours as well. We are awakening dreams of adoption, of potential foster care, of helping others. We are awakening, redeeming, the potential of this place, of our hearts, of our callings, and we're all in!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

This Old Church : The Beginning!

Well, we did it! We bought the church! I know, right? SO CRAZY! My husband and boys love the show 'This Old House' and now we get to have our own version of 'This Old Church!'

It's been a super long road since we sold our last house. We closed on our house in Carlton on May 28th. The sale of that place was a huge God thing, and no matter how hectic everything had been trying to get out on time, Josh and I were both at peace leaving that place. Well, you know, besides my hysterical crying because this was our first house, and the land was absolutely amazing. But after the tears had been shed (mainly by me), we said goodbye and were ready for our new adventure.

We were supposed to close on our new place, the church, on June 10th. So we had packed all of our belongings into one of my sisters garages, and camped out in their basement. Unfortunately, soon after we closed on our old house, we realized that the 10th of June closing was not going to be happening.

We stayed positive though, and thought maybe the next week we would close. And then the week after that one, we thought maybe it would be the next week... and this cycle continued for way longer then expected. The title company couldn't get their paperwork together because the property was so old, and apparently when a church sells a property, there are a lot more hoops and jumps to get through. So that part took awhile. THEN, the appraisal was behind because this is the busy season, and apparently all the appraisal companies were behind by about three weeks, so there was that part. Then, when we finally did get the appraisal back, it was ridiculously low, as the bank hadn't gotten all of the info to the appraiser on what we were all going to do to the property. So it had to go back AGAIN.

Super long story, I know. But it has been a super long process. Josh ended up selling his skid steer on a Monday (the 13th) so that we could buy the property (because the appraisal was still low, since it was still classified at a 'church' and not a house). On that Tuesday we got a call saying there might be something wrong with the septic that hadn't been disclosed to us. So we frantically started looking for a new place 'just in case.' On the Wednesday, we learned nothing was 'wrong' with it, but if we want to have copious amounts of children, we'd just need to add an additional holding tank. And on Thursday (the 16th), we bought the place! Yeah, BOOM!

So how has life been since? In the least: crazy! Because we ended up staying at my sisters house for almost 8 weeks instead of 2 weeks, our stuff stayed in the garage for far longer then what we had intended. Meaning, there was a lot of mold. YUCK!

We started to move stuff on Saturday, and the guys found mold on most of our furniture that had been stored in the garage, plus on boxes, ect. We had put it all off of the ground, but it's been a rather wet summer, and the moisture still made it on to everything that was within 3 feet of the floor. So as things got moved into the new place, I was on mold duty.

As the guys unloaded the truck, they put everything that had mold on it off to the side, and I was in charge of wiping it down with bleach. I last about 2 hours before I ended up with an awful headache and a horrible cough. I have asthma, and am allergic to mold, soooo... needless to say, it's been a week and I'm still recovering.

So there is the yuck. The fun? Well... we bought a church! I mean, c'mon! My husband has been in construction heaven, ripping out walls, and buying supplies to redo the bathrooms downstairs. The building didn't have a shower, so we've been washing our hair in the sink, and getting creative with make-shift showers. Maybe not for the faint at heart, but we don't mind so much!

The boys are LOVING their new house! They have the biggest playroom imaginable, and yes, I really do let my kids ride their bikes in the house, haha! Plus, they love to help Daddy rip down walls and tile, and help Mommy paint.

I had spent much of last night painting, and the ceilings are a wee bit higher then I can reach, so we may have to invest in a ladder! I'm hoping this nice subtle green will go nicely with the hardwood floors we are going to put in! (and I just realized I didn't actually take a picture like I thought I did, whoops! I guess you'll just have to imagine ;) )

We have got a super long way to go, and I haven't gotten through all of our boxes. Thankfully, we only lost one or two things from the mold so far, but considering how widespread it was, it's a miracle we didn't lose more!

I can't wait to share more with you, and some fun before and after pictures!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Where we are at...

I'm sure the last you may have heard from us, we were moving out of our house, and buying a church to make into our new home. Well, things have been moving along, but much slower then anticipated. We sold our house to the new owners from the cities on May 28th. Everything had gone smoothly, and we moved into my sisters house in hopes of closing on the church on June 10th.

Things may have not played out as we had hoped. Apparently when a church sells a property, especially one as old as this, there was far more hoops and jumps to go through, and the title company had one heck of a time coming up with all the necessary paperwork to get things finished. But, we survived, and it was on to the appraiser. Unfortunately, the appraisers in the area are about 3 weeks behind, so it took them awhile to turn in their report after they were able to get out there.

 Unfortunately, there was an error in the report, so it had to be sent back to get fixed, which really shouldn't take that long... but, ya know... I'm just not holding my breathe on anything at the moment. Once the appraisal does come back, the banks job is super easy (or so I've been told) and we should be able to close shortly after.... so I'm hoping and praying for the end of this week!

What have we been doing in the mean time? We are still at my sisters house. The kids have been having fun playing with their cousins, and although Josh and I are super anxious to get in to our new place, we've been forced to slow down... which really hasn't been a bad thing, even if we're getting antsy! We were under a ton of pressure selling our house in such a short period of time, and planning the vendor fair, and all the other things of life! There were many sleepless nights, packing boxes, hauling, cleaning, mix and repeat. Just A LOT of stuff going on every day! So to immediately come to a halt, was super hard! I almost felt lost without a million things to do!

So life has been going on, and we're all making the best of what is going on, even though it has been weeks since we were supposed to close. Please keep us in your prayers, that the rest of this process will go by speedily, and smoothly, so we can get into our new place and start working!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


My head is spinning, with thoughts of things that need to be done, that things that should be done, and things that I want to do... My heart is spinning, reeling, aching... what is this thing that You want me to do? Do you want to leap forward, with my eyes close, heart abandon, into the unknown and hope I'm jumping into something amazing? Something hard? Something new? Do you want me to stand still, and see where I am, and wait for those around me to jump first, to be the encourager on the other side? What do I do?

Lord, you know my heart, and where it lies in this world. You know that I am not easy to contain in one place, one space, in one frame of mind. My heart stretches to the East, to the West, to kids I met long ago, to ones I will meet one day, to the ones here in my arms. My heart breaks for the broken, hurts for the hurting, and flies to and fro in this whirlwind of life. I am here with my kids. I am here with my husband. I enjoy their laughter, their smiles, their outlook on life. I love to teach them, to guide them, to care for them... And my heart does not long to be apart from them, no, not at all. My heart aches at the thought... my heart just simply cares deeply for them, but for others as well.

But how? How do I pour my love on my kids, and pour my love on kids that are not mine? How do I care for the broken, when I myself am deeply broken and scarred. Do I turn my eye, my heart, away from those that I cannot see, that I cannot touch... just because it's hard? Do I pretend my heart is not pulled to care for others?

I think not...

Do I step out of my role for a moment, leaving, knowing that it is safe, it is secure, it is good? Or maybe, this is my role...  It's like a mother bird, who knows that a bird has fallen out of it's nest... does she leave the 3 that are safe and sound in the nest to help the one that has fallen... or does she stay? If she goes, her three in the nest will be safe, will be sound, and they will not fall, for the walls of the nest are safe and secure... but the thought is frightening.... it is hard. But if she stays... she will hear, she will see the one that has fallen, the one that is hurting, the one that is alone. The one that is not being helped, the one that will slowly fade away as it lay there helpless. Does she listen to the cry for help, until it diminishes, and then force herself to forget? Or does she go... flying into the unknown? Not because she is the rescuer, not because she knows what she is doing, but because she hears the call, and cannot help but answer, even when the call is sudden and unexpected.

Do I leap? Do I stay? Do I ask for prayer, knowing those who have leapt, will call through the unknown, saying to go? And those who have stayed, or have not thought to go, will ask why, and ask me to stay...

My head is reeling, my heart is aching of things to do, things to get done, and things of the unknown.

Oh this whirlwind of life... overwhelming, always changing... 'His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and the clouds are the dust beneath his feet.' Nahum 1:3....... Yes....