This is sort of a hodgepodge letter about family life. Nothing particularly wise or profound, so read on at your own risk.

We are working hard at fixing up our house in hopes of moving in a few weeks. This past week we worked on wiring, insulating, and sheet rock. These days have been long and hard–mornings I wake up aching all over. But Will and I enjoy working together to transform an old, ugly house to a comfortable, cozy one. He has been teaching me some new skills!


Will’s brother Levi volunteered his labor for two days. That was an incredible boost! Levi is a hard worker and has a killing sense of humor–a great combination for perking up our weary souls! We’re trying to soak up all the time possible with Levi’s family before they go to the other side of the world on a Bible translating team.

Levi and Will hanging sheet rock while Keane watches.

Levi brought Louis along to play. I hardly heard anything out of the children all day. They were too busy in the dirt pile.

Louis, Keane, and Desiree playing in the dirt. Excuse Keane’s bare state–he got his clothes sopping wet so I hung them up to dry.

Picking out paint colors for our house is such a painful process. I want to be done with it, and see nice paint on our walls. I know from experience how deflating it is to paint a room with what I thought looked like a lovely color, only to realize that it looks terrible.

This picture doesn’t show the colors very well. Do you like the aqua on the page best, or the greener tint on the counter beside it? (I know, they both look blue here. They look more grayish in real life.) The big background swatch is Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, but I think I will use Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray or Behr Burnished Clay instead because Revere Pewter seems too dark for our smallish, darkish house. Greige for the living room, dining room, kitchen, and laundry room. Cream for the master bedroom, darker aqua for the master bath. Tan for the boys room, gray for the girls room. White or cream for the second bath. Kitchen cabinets are gray and white, and I’m thinking accents in a lighter aqua. Not sure how I will do it–paint the outside door? Bar stool covers? A couple pieces of pottery? What ideas do you have? 🙂 Please tell me!

Seeing that remodeling and decisions pertaining to that are so difficult, I made the most delicious dairy-free chocolate a few days ago. Elijah is on a gluten-and-dairy-free diet, so I’ve had to learn a new way of cooking. Overall I like it because we eat healthier (but we aren’t perfect granola-heads). Even though we always liked vegetables and healthful food, doing this diet took it to a new level. But yes, sometimes I crave chocolate. What’s not to love about chocolate?

Homemade chocolate–the best ever!

This recipe is super easy. Over medium heat, melt together 3/4 cup organic unrefined coconut oil (use refined coconut oil if you don’t want any coconut flavor), 3/4 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup local raw honey, 1/2-1 tsp vanilla, and 1/4 tsp salt. Whisk until smooth and pour into a 9×9 or similar baking dish and chill. Cut into squares. This chocolate is less heat-stable than store-bought chocolate bars, so it needs to be stored in the fridge. But the flavor is fabulous!

When we move, we are going to miss our neighbors! Kevin gets bombarded by children when he comes home from work. Our kids love Kevin and Cindy, and we couldn’t ask for better neighbors.


But we are already making friends with our new neighbors-to-be, and our old neighbors will be only a few blocks away.

This morning we learned that Willis Nisly died. Willis was a second dad to Will in Will’s growing-up years. Will spent summers with their family and helped with everything from hoeing thistles to training horses. Willis was a gentle, humble man who truly had a shepherd’s heart for people. (And he preached at our wedding!) I’m sad to see him go, and yet it’s so wonderful to think of him being in God’s presence, hearing God tell him “Well done!”

It’s sort of strange to talk about family, remodeling, paint, chocolate, and death all at once, but that’s how life is. A mix of mundane and sacred, and more often than we realize, the ground we tread is sacred.

Recently an email discussion had me thinking about living life out of who God created us to be. Just a question–how many of you think that most of what you do is a good fit for who you are? In many ways, our lives felt hugely uprooted in the last year and a half, but now I see that in much of our former lives we functioned by expectations, not by who we were created to be. The uprooting has actually freed us to be much more true to our God-given design. Do people sometimes need to try a different lifestyle to see how they really function best? Hmm, I’ll be thinking about this more…

I have six out of seven posts on hearing God written, so maybe I can work on that later today. (Sunday afternoon is my writing time!) After the rough drafts are all written, I have to let them cool, then go back and do the painful work of editing. Usually that means adding a little and discarding a lot! And it always makes me realize how little I know, how little I have to say, how much I need God and others to help me on my faith-journey.

Keane is getting into mischief, so I’ll close with a picture I love of Stuart. He was our faithful helper with wiring the house, and I think his gap-toothed grin is especially cute these days. You can’t see it on the picture, but trust me, it’s cute! 🙂


Have a happy Sunday!

19 thoughts on “hodgepodge

  1. Zonya Gingrich

    I feel your pain about the paint colors. 🙂 We got the little color sample containers of paint in the colors we were thinking of using, and painted swatches on the walls. It helped a lot, although even with doing that we were a little surprised how it turned out sometimes.


    1. Painting samples sounds like a good idea! Some of the colors I’ve used before, so I have a good idea of how they’ll look. But the aqua scares me a little! Are you pleased with how your house turned out?


  2. I stopped at the picture of Louis, Keane, and Desiree and totally forgot to read the rest of this post until now! I like that your blog is the same sort of “mix of mundane and sacred” as life.


  3. Love the hodgepodge 🙂 I had big ideas of using more color in our new house, rather than my usual ‘neutral everywhere’ but I think I’m giving in and just being who I really am after all….which is maybe mostly just lazy! 😉


    1. I’m a big fan of neutrals because I think it keeps a house light and airy, and you can always add color in decorating (which I don’t do much of, ha!). But sometimes I see a colorful house and think it looks so nice, and I wish I was braver. 🙂


  4. This brought back so many memories for me. Our house was a tear-down job and we remodeled it while living there. My fondest not-so-fond memories include pulling electrical wire, hauling and holding sheet rock into position, and pulling nails out of boards. By the time I got to pick out paint colors, it was like pay day. A lot of the grays that were popular were far too dark for our small rooms. I picked the lightest neutrals that I could, but chose a bolder color for the kitchen and bathroom so it would contrast with the white cabinetry. The bolder color (in my case, a light blue) looks great as a back splash, so there’s an accent idea for you. On your swatches, I lean towards the aqua more than the green.
    As for what I do being a good fit for who I am, that changes all the time. Sometimes hour by hour. There are things I’d be a better fit for, but those things might only benefit me, and that’s not good.


    1. Yes, it’s hard work, but so rewarding to see the end product! I’m glad someone else likes the aqua best. 🙂 I love light blue and have used it in two houses already, so that will be my go-to in the bathroom if the aqua fails. I’m thinking of doing what Zonya recommended, and trying out samples on the walls before we do the real work of painting it all. My reason for including some light tan/gray in the children’s rooms is to hide DIRT! 🙂 Three boys in a room–it’s bound to get dirty faster than I can clean it up!

      On the other subject, I’m wondering if what we do needs to be determined first of all by the question, “How can I love/serve God and others best?” Sometimes that means doing things I’m not good at simply because it needs to be done. Other times it may mean saying no to some opportunities so that I can serve in other ways. It takes a constant reliance on the Holy Spirit to guide, and I know I don’t always get it right! But I’m surprised how many things I’ve just done because I was expected to, and I never really asked God what He thought about it.


      1. This makes me think of our use of spiritual gifts, and how discerning what those are and moving in that direction helps me to make wise decisions about serving others. I’ll give one example: I could teach a class if I had to, but I’m a terrible teacher. However, if you need someone to help clean or organize something, it will amount to a bigger blessing for all concerned. 🙂 Not that I’ve got it all figured out, and many times it is effective to step out of our comfort zones in a spirit of service. One of my continuous prayers is for the Lord to use me however He sees fit.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Murrey

    Rosina, Here’s an idea for you. It wouldn’t work on our chocolate brown and sunflower yellow rental house, but I think it’s so beautiful and daring. http://www.iheartorganizing.com/2013/06/june-monthly-challenge-we-painted-front.html.

    I am very happy with my just-painted kitchen in pale blue-green Airy by Olympic, although if I had the time to do things more perfectly, I would have chosen something a tweensy more blue. White cabinets, black counter tops. Now for a good deep scratch in the taco-soup-vomit-colored linoleum tile, with a nice windfall of cash to make possible some hardwood-looking laminate . . .


    1. Ooooh I love that door! Maybe that’s what I should do on the inside of the door in the kitchen!

      I think Airy is a very pretty color. I might pick up a sample if I have a chance. Your kitchen colors are lovely!

      Sorry about the indestructible floor. I’m very thankful the floors in our house were so bad they needed to be replaced. But I sure wish they would come out easier! Old linoleum is terribly stubborn.


  6. Rachel G

    Reading about your life makes me tired, so I pray for strength for you! I love that chocolate recipe; mine has a dash of peanut butter added to it, too. As for the paint, I’d recommend samples. We had the terrible experience of buying a big can of lovely light gray, only to have it turn lavender on our walls:(. I’m really excited about reading your posts on hearing God. Blessings to you today!


    1. Peanut butter sounds yummy! How much do you add?

      I once painted a room what I thought was going to be a soft neutral tan. The paint turned out to be a horrible bandaid color. I had to repaint the room. 😦

      Every time I sit down to write about hearing God, I think, “who am I to be writing about this?!” But I want to keep growing in my ability to hear Him, and I hope to hear others share their experiences too!


  7. Rachel G

    My chocolate recipe substitutes 1/4 cup peanut butter for coconut oil. So it’s 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup peanut butter. You’ll probably want to skip the salt if you do the peanut butter. Thinking of you!


  8. Rosina,
    I’m looking to start an online Mennonite blog directory –nothing fancy (nor would it take a lot of time to participate). If you have any interest in joining, you can go http://goo.gl/6xesBK for more information or email me a short bio of your blog and photo at ultimatemetaphor.blogspot.com. Thanks for considering it! Tabitha


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