Monday, April 22, 2013

There are so many things I have learned from this experience. One of those things is how important volunteers are to Habitat. Every day I have been on the construction site, there have been more volunteers than anyone else. This week is National Volunteer Week; a time to be thankful for the amazing things volunteers do for families like mine.

I am extremely grateful for all the volunteers I have met during this adventure of building my house. There is one in particular, though, that stands out in my mind because of his constant presence and uplifting personality. His name is Ed Lindler. He was there the first day I volunteered, and has been there every other time since. He volunteers for the program at least 4 days a week. To me, that is amazing! He is retired and instead of sitting at home, or golfing, he is working almost as much as when he got paid for it! He also helps with the Mobile Meals program and with several church ministries.

I think God uses Ed to help families through the program as well. He is always asking me how many sweat equity hours I have. He tells me, “Just keep whittling away at them,” to keep getting a few hours here and there so I can finally be done, and in my new home. I don’t know if he realizes how much those words of constant encouragement mean to families. It keeps me going.

So I just want to say thank you to all of the awesome volunteers, including Ed Lindler, for making this experience of receiving a new home a possibility.

Monday, April 8, 2013

These past few months have been such a whirlwind. Sometimes I wonder if I’m taking enough time to enjoy all the awesome things that are happening. In the middle of this chaotic time there has been a day I have been looking forward to. The building and putting up walls is a big day in building a house. It takes a stack of concrete and turns it into a building. I know God has been with me on this whole journey, but I cannot thank him enough for the blessing he gave me Saturday.


My schedule has been so booked lately; I didn’t even realize the walls of my house were going up the same day I planned on running (or walking, for the most part) my first 5K. Both were important to me. Obviously putting up walls was a little more important, but I had already made a commitment to 6 other people and I couldn’t let them down. I wanted to do both, and put it in God’s hands to make it happen. I was hoping I would be at my house to put up at least one of the big walls.


Saturday morning came and I prayed to God that I wouldn’t stress all day about making it to my house on time. I decided He would put me at the right places at the right time. So we did the 5K, and then I headed straight to my new neighborhood. I was trying not to stress, but was hoping and praying I could put up at least one wall with the wonderful church (First Baptist Tellico Village) sponsoring my house.


And wouldn’t you know God delivered (as He always does)! I got there at the perfect time. The volunteers were just about to put up the first wall when I arrived. Doing this was a very emotional thing. Building our future home is emotional for me anyway, but this was the first sign of an actual house!


I also wanted to savor this moment with my boys. Since they can’t be there while the construction was happening, I took the advice of Ed, one of the volunteers. I decided to have a picnic with them in our new house so they could enjoy the day, too. I think letting them see all of the different stages, and explaining to them everything that is going on in the house helps them feel like they’re a part of everything. This also helped me feel like I was taking the time to rejoice in the blessing.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I cannot believe it has been a month since my last blog post. So many blessings have happened, the time has just flew by. I have so much to talk about so here it goes:

My house is being built! I am so excited! I had hoped for a certain section of the property for my house to be built on. It has the most beautiful view of a field, and an old barn behind it. It’s also at the edge of the property so I will get to be somewhat off to myself. I hadn’t really told anyone but a few of my friends of my wishful thinking about the placement of my house.

On Saturday February 13, I was helping paint one of the houses to earn some of my sweat equity hours and Angela, the Habitat Communications Coordinator, was taking there taking pictures, as she does regularly. By the way, I am not the best painter in the world. I had paint all over me! I have now noted that it is never a good idea to touch your hair while painting a house. It took me a week to get all of it out. But I digress; Angela and I started having a conversation about where I wanted my house. I told her about my thoughts of the property I would want, and we both decided “God would put me where I needed to be.”

Later that same day, Shauna, the Executive Director at our Habitat came to the construction site. She gave me the great news, and I’m tearing up just thinking about this, that they knew where my house would soon be built. And guess where it was? The exact place I wanted it to be!

I also got surprised the day they actually started on my house. I was volunteering last Saturday, and saw that they had started on a house but I didn’t think it was mine. I didn’t realize they were pouring the foundation for OUR house until someone told me. I really love that I can see it being built from the ground up. I even got to pick colors the other day for my siding, roof, countertops, carpet, and tile.

It is just so amazing how the grace of God works. I give Him all the glory for all of these wonderful things that are happening in my life. The place they are building for my family has ownership of our future inside, and I can’t wait to see what it holds!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Imagine the prettiest sunrise you’ve ever seen. You can picture it in your mind because it was so beautiful. A sunrise like that lights up the whole sky, and makes it almost every color of the rainbow. You never thought that the sky could be that beautiful color of pink, orange, or even purple. I saw one of these the other day and looking at it made me thank God for how beautiful it was. I mean how many of those do you see in a lifetime? If we actually took the time to stop and pay attention the number would probably escalate drastically. It’s hard to just stop your life and pay attention to the little things. The things that we should be thanking Him for every day.

Canvas Church, the church I attend, has just ended a two week fast, and I feel so much closer to God because of it. I think one of the many things that I was supposed to look at during this fast was how much closer I have become with Him during the last year. I am such a different person than I was. Better, happier, NEW. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”      (2 Cor 5:17)

It’s amazing how things work out. I am starting this new chapter in my life, and now I get to work for a house on top of it! I cannot stop attesting to how incredible the Habitat for Humanity organization is. I started working construction a few Saturdays ago. It just warms my heart knowing that I am helping someone else reach their goal while I am working on mine. I am volunteering to work on my sweat equity hours, but at the same time I am helping put other people’s houses together. And these people will be my neighbors eventually. Can you imagine what kind of community that builds? To know that the people living next to you helped build your house with their own two hands.

And the volunteers are wonderful too. A lot of them are retired, and have been for years. They either help nearly every week, or every time they are doing a project (such as siding.) The hours of work they do just to help are astonishing. They make all of this possible, and I could not possibly thank them enough. I love asking them a lot of questions so I can find out how they started volunteering for Habitat, and other things like what occupation they retired from.

The most emotional thing I have seen yet has to be the two home dedications that I attended yesterday. I loved being able to see two families receive their beautiful homes. It also made the experience very real. That is going to be me one day soon! The two families were just so thankful and happy. And it all goes back to starting a new life. As the executive director Shauna said during the dedications, this is a new life for both of these families. A new sunrise in their lives.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I love the holidays! Christmas is full of great times together for my family, and the New Year is a time of renewal.

I am starting this new year with a new journey in the Habitat program. It just makes me so happy that my little boys and I have the chance to take this adventure together.

We had many visitors in December. My daddy was telling everyone about the news I am working toward getting a house. One of his friends comes to Knoxville every year to visit family, but lives in Hawaii. He actually told me that he is willing to come all the way back over here when the building starts just to help with construction. It is amazing how many helpful people God will put in your life. And I have had many more offers for helpfulness as well. My parents have offered to watch the kids every Saturday I have to volunteer. 

Since my last entry I have gone to orientation and started my sweat equity hours. Doing these things have just made this journey so much more exciting! 

In the orientation we got to meet many of the people who will assist us through the process. Everyone who works for Loudon County Habitat for Humanity is so nice and helpful. They explained all of the hours we would have to work, and many other things about the program.

I have started working in the Habitat Store to earn my sweat equity hours. Ms. Sandi is the manager of the store and has helped to accommodate my hours. I am going at least two days a week during my lunch hour.

This organization is very good about working with your schedule to help you accomplish your goal of buying a house. I can't wait to work with them even more, and to start working on the construction side of things!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Can you think of ten things you are truthfully thankful for?

Things you actually thank God for, or someone you thank on a constant basis because they have helped you so much. Maybe they have even made you who you are today.

The month of November was about thankfulness. Everyone on Facebook was posting things they were thankful for. One thing a day for every day that month. Then I saw a trend: after Thanksgiving most
people stopped posting things they are thankful for. This example just proves how hard it can be to continue being thankful if we do not give ourselves a constant reminder.

There is so much in my life to be thankful for. My newly-found, close relationship with God, my two amazing children, a great family that loves and supports me through everything and an incredible church family, are just a few.

This coming year I will have one more thing to add on that list as well: a home to call my own.

On October 20, I walked to my mailbox to check the mail, as I do every other day. I noticed I had a letter from Loudon County Habitat for Humanity. I was expecting it but didn’t know when it would come. This letter was going to affect a huge part of my family’s life. It told me whether or not we would be receiving the chance to buy our own home, or if we had been found ineligible. I had prayed about it for weeks, since they came to do our home visit (I will explain what that is in a minute). It took me a few minutes to open it because I was so nervous about the outcome. “You have been invited to participate in our program.” It actually took a minute to register that sentence! I was expecting more of a huge red stamp like in the movies, “Approved” or “Denied.” I started literally jumping for joy when I read what it said.

I have told every person who will listen for two seconds that I am able to participate in a program that will help me build my own home with a mortgage my family can afford. I am asked a lot how the process works. Therefore, I have decided to explain it.

The first thing you have to do is fill out an application, and turn it in on the date specified. It might sound easy, but it’s actually more complex than you think. There are a lot of the things Habitat has to go through to find out if you are the right candidate. They ask for a lot of information, but it’s totally worth it, I promise! I always tell people who are thinking about applying to go ahead and apply because, “the worst they can do is say no.” Like I said earlier though, it takes a lot of things to be approved. You have to be financially able to afford a home, have a need for housing and be willing to partner with Habitat. There is a lot of paperwork involved, but don't let that scare you. Habitat has to be sure you are right for the program.

If you pass all of these requirements, they will then decide to do a home visit. This just consists of coming to your home to see where you live, and talk about your living situation. They also talk to you more about the program, and what is expected of you if you are approved.

You then wait for a letter to see if you have been chosen to participate.

Hope this helps with any of the questions you have! If you have any more, leave me a comment, and I will answer it :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I planned to write my first blog post about the application process you go through to get a Habitat home. Because of the service my pastor had this morning, I want to start on a different subject first.

Faith. Faith is a word used by many people to tell what they believe. Being of Christian faith to most people means that they believe in God, and that his son Jesus died on the cross so God would forgive our sins. Other people have faith that there is no God. That is not what I believe, but to each his own.

Now, you may think, “What does this have to do with getting a Habitat home?” I promise I have a point! Just keep reading ;)

Back to Jesus dying on the cross. How much faith do you think He had to have in our Father to be able to come to terms with the fact He was going to die just so everyone else could live in sin? And His followers who got beaten, put in prison, or died? They had to have a lot of faith in this man to be okay with that.

If you prayed to God that you could pay your bills, and He didn’t answer, would it make you doubt Him? I have a special needs child and have prayed so many times that God touch him and heal him. It happens every day all over the world. Surely if God thinks I am on the right path, He would bless my son with this healing! But the healing hasn’t come. You might think that this would make me think less of my God, but it doesn’t. God wants to see endurance so I just pray for it every day, and if he is never healed, that’s ok because I still have faith that God will use it instead of healing it.

Building a Habitat home is going to take faith. Lots of it. Working 250-500 hours is a lot of time to put on top of the things such as work, school, and children that I already have going on. But I know I can do it because God is walking with me through this journey. He is helping me every day work through all my battles. He wants me to endure through this process! Earning the opportunity to purchase a house is such a blessing! I will always have somewhere to call home. The thing about earning a home that makes me the most happy is that I won’t have to worry about moving my children around from school to school every time we rent a new place, and I will have something to give them when I pass away.

So have faith! If you have enough of it, you can endure anything.