#8 Amazing Grace


I gave her a hard time yesterday. I pushed her to work harder, she didn’t really understand what to do. So, she piddled around, lifting up a stick here, a piece of garbage there. She asked me if I was annoyed, I said, “I don’t like whining. We’re picking up trash and yard debris, and that’s it. Just work, and keep working.”

Well, she did. She kept on working. #ellaforthewin

Ella Grace was the hero today. She worked hard hauling metal to the metal pile. And she took it upon herself to move an incredibly heavy piece of metal that was some sort of feeding trough that Tom pulled out of muck yesterday, but was left in the field. Needless to say, it was highly impressive. All I had to do was hold on to the edge of the cart so she could shove it on all the way. She’s working to earn money to dye her hair a crazy ombre blue situation as soon as school gets out. (It’s against dress code.)  She was pretty excited when we told her she’d earned $40 this weekend.

Ella and I focused on hauling all the metal we could find still on the property to the metal pile. A guy Tom found on Craigslist is coming tomorrow to haul all the metal off. Pretty soon all of the junk is going to be gone!

Tom left at 7 am to go work on the walls that will go behind the siding. He had been working for hours before Ella and I arrived after church. But he got the plywood and vapor barrier on.

Now that he’s taken the HVAC unit out so he could remove the rot, (and routed the electrical for the said unit into the wall, removing an external conduit that was an eyesore! LIKE A BOSS!) I suggested that we move the unit to the wall in front of the bedroom (picture to the left above, with green vapor barrier next to new window) so that we can install a front porch deck that goes from the wall to the edge of the house. It would be a much more substantial look than this:


Imagine this little portico growing to a full sized deck spanning the whole area Tom is standing in (as seen in the photo above). We have to price it out, but here’s me hoping. I’ve already argued for keeping the big octagon window (it’s rotten, he has to doctor it up pretty good to keep it) and for a “nostalgic screen door.”

*If you missed the dialogue about the screen door, eventually I’ll have archives on the blog so I can link to different posts. For now, I’m a newbie and just trying to figure this out day by day.

I’m not allowed to post the adorable picture of him putting his tool belt on. It’s pretty cute, his sweet ways of doing the things he does while he’s working. I love listening to him talk to himself as he works out problems and troubleshoots. It’s usually something like “How would a person do _____________?” “Why would a guy do_________?”

Anyway, the tool belt picture is a sweet moment I get to keep for myself. #itslove

Ella and I weren’t there long today. I hauled metal and helped Tom and took pictures for the blog. And I burned things in our burn pile, kind of people’s favorite thing to do when they come. It’s peaceful in the field, sitting by a warm fire, listening to it crackle while we listen to birds sing and the wind in the trees.


This morning before church I was researching the word “grace.” I have a theme for this year, based on instructions from a women’s course I took in December and plan to take again this December. My theme for 2017 is Grace and Serenity. Grace meaning to find the joy and the spirit and the love in life and let that guide all my decisions. Serenity to help me remember that peace and balance are my center and my goal. The concept of grace has become more and more meaningful and special to me over the last 6 months, and I’ve decided that I want to tattoo a reminder about grace on my arm.

And then today in church, our pastor gave a sermon about grace. He started by thanking the congregation for finding the things in our own lives that our God calls us to do, for finding and living grace ourselves. .

And then he told us this story. It really happened and it made my heart lurch.

He joined the Wesley Center as pastor, (a Methodist program at UO)  many years ago, when the church had a particularly good year and a healthy endowment. He was told by the board it wouldn’t last but to enjoy it. Members (UO students) of the Wesley Center kept bringing up how lovely a free yoga class would be. Since he had the money to do it in the budget, he asked the donor if he could spend $50 a week to hire a yoga teacher. They held classes every Monday, and in the beginning it was popular and very full. They had almost 26 students at one point. And then by November, it started decreasing and by January, it was down to one student. He went back to his donor to apologize and see if he should cut the program. The donor said, no, because one person is participating and it’s okay. Warren still felt bad, feeling like it was not the best use of money.

That one student kept coming, and at the end of the spring term she went to Warren’s office to thank him for the class and to tell him she really appreciated it. She started to leave, got to the door, turned around and sat back down.

“My mom committed suicide this year,” she said. “I was in a lot of pain. The doctors gave me some anti-depressants and also sleeping pills due to insomnia. I didn’t take the sleeping pills but held on to them. Almost every day I took them out and lined them up and thought, ‘I could take all of these right now, and then I could see my mom.’ But then I thought of my yoga teacher. On Monday she’d be there, and she’d be alone if I didn’t show up. And I couldn’t do that to her.”

With tears in his eyes, Warren reminded us that God is personal. God is what you need God to be. Miracles like this happen every day.

“God reveals grace to us,” he said. “God gives grace to us. Grace is real.”



2 thoughts on “#8 Amazing Grace

  1. Boy, I can relate to that story. I’ve never been so far as to line up pills or make a plan but Seeing Io sounds like a really good thing. And the person that I have to not disappoint every day is Will (and Geoff too). They keep me solidly here. But it does prove the point that one person can make a difference between life and death. That’s why anytime that I think something nice about anybody family, stranger, or even myself I say it out loud. What if that’s the only difference between life and death for that person that day? I never want to question whether or not I could have made a difference. I make sure to make the difference instead .

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s beautiful, Angie. I don’t know at all how hard it is to have lost a child, all I can do is love. I can’t imagine it, it’s unimaginable. And yet it happened to you and my friend Amary. It’s just wrong.

      Grace is hugely real. Every moment we might be that change for someone.


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