Kathy's New Book:
Life is a Kaleidoscope
Photo: Life is A Kaleidoscope

Building On Our Blessings

For twenty-three out of the thirty years my dear husband and I have been married, we've happily lived in the old gray and white frame home on Albany avenue. We took one look at the two-bedroom starter home, ripe with old age, and immediately fell in love with its cozy, lived in charm. We looked passed the windows that needed to be replaced and the falling shingles that seemed to be crumbling from the passage of time. Romantics at heart, we turned our attention to the cherry tree in the back yard, which was in full bloom, awash in the beauty of fluffy white buds on that long ago Spring day when we moved in.
It was a few weeks after the papers were signed, and reality set in, that we resigned ourselves to make the best of our home buying predicament. The lived in charm quickly translated into lots and lots of repair work, no doubt about it.
The old plaster walls were cracking, in desperate need of a coat of paint. The floors were warped, the metal kitchen cabinets were beginning to show signs of rust, and the bathtub faucet produced such a fine stream of water it was barely more than a dribble. I can remember hooking up a hose to the kitchen faucet and dragging it into the tub just to take a bath.

We were young and so naive back then but we were sure of two things. We knew that, together, our love for each other, along with God's blessing, would be all we needed. We raised two daughters; made necessary repairs as we went along, and promised ourselves that someday we'd find a way to rehab the old frame house we came to love, despite its gently distressed demeanor.

As a writer and daycare provider, I sometimes felt as if the walls of my tiny front room would swallow me up. By day, it was magically transformed into Romper Room; a place for my little pals to play and pass the time while parents went to work. By night, my front room doubled as an office where I'd sit and write my family life newspaper columns from the comfort of my Lazy Boy. Though I named one column 'Kathy's Kaleidoscope', I've often thought I should've called it 'The Armchair Columnist', because that's where they were created--in the middle of an overcrowded living room.

And then the time came for us to dare to dream as we talked about a home renovation. I had my sights set on space for a playroom for the diaper brigade I entertain on a daily basis. A home office would also be nice. A special retreat; a quiet place to work on my columns and other writing projects. Before we knew it our little pipe dream was gaining momentum.

One day I excitedly mentioned our plans to a mom of one of the children I care for. Heather and I have an easygoing friendship, and I enjoy making small talk with her when she comes to pick up her daughter. She suggested we talk to her husband if we needed any advice since being in that line of work he'd be able to possibly point us in the right direction. We were aware that Eddie worked in the field of construction, but that's about all we knew about him. He stopped by one day to pick up Alexandra and we explained our big plans to him. It was then that we found out he was actually a building contractor.

Our idea for our dream home seemed to unravel when Eddie flat out informed us the foundation of our home could not support the major construction we had in mind. A friend of his had a new home for sale in the area. He offered to give us a tour of the place in case we wanted to explore the possibility of selling our home and moving.

I cannot explain my reaction when Eddie led us through the back door of this house. Room for room its layout was almost identical to the mental sketches we created of our own renovations--right down to the location of the basement door, which happened to be right off the family room -- the perfect spot for my playroom. I could see it so clearly--'Kathy's Kids At Play' - open for business! Another room off the family room -- a perfect place for my office.

Something told me we were meant to be there; that this was all happening for a reason but I had yet to figure it out. This particular home was out of our price range, but it didn't matter. We had no intentions from moving from the spot we had called home for over two decades.

Just when I was about to wonder why God would lead us down this road of hope only to have us reach a dead end, Eddie called with an option that would change our lives forever. First, he reiterated our predicament. Our current home would not withstand the makeover we had imagined. The house with the style we wanted we couldn't afford, and even if we could we did not want to move form where our roots were planted. What to do? Eddie had an answer.

With the nonchalance of youth, at its most exuberant, he matter of factly said: "Why don't I tear down your old house and build you the one you want?"
Never in my forty-seven years on this earth have I felt such overwhelming contentment in the conviction that we were absolutely doing the right thing.
Thanks to Eddie's optimism and enthusiasm, we have been given a whole new outlook on life.

God does indeed touch our lives in mysterious ways, always giving us exactly what He wants us to have - even sometimes when it seems a million miles away from our wildest dreams. Through the generosity of a handsome young Irishman who responded to a call to action and found a way to make a difference, not only with bricks, mortar and wood, but with matters of the heart, I am reminded that God answers prayers through His angels on earth, empowering them with His grace.

We've recently celebrated our three-year anniversary in our new home. After 30 years of marriage, home sweet home is born anew for this grateful middle-aged couple.

Eddie is truly an angel on earth, but not of the immortal, winged variety.
His earthly wings are in the form of a tool belt worn around his waist with a mission to make a difference in the lives of those fortunate enough to know him.