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
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
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.