this broken down house...

which is the title of an AWESOME book that i am rereading. i could read it once a month and it would always remind me of things i need to remember about this fallen world that we live in with our fallen selves...

Well, sin has ravaged the beautiful house that God created. This world bears only the faintest resemblance to what it was built to be. It sits in slumped and disheveled pain, groaning for the restoration that can only be accomplished by the hands of him who built it in the first place. The Bible clearly tells us that the divine Builder cannot and will not leave his house in its present pitiful condition. He has instituted a plan of restoration, and he will not relent until everything about His house is made totally new again. That is the good news.
The bad news is that you and I are a living right in the middle of the restoration. We live each day in a house that is terribly broken, where nothing works exactly as intended. But we do not live in the house by ourselves. Emmanuel lives here as well, and he is at work returning his house to its former beauty. Often it doesn’t look like any real restoration is going on at all. Things seem to get messier, uglier, and less functional all the time. But that’s the way it is with restoration; things generally get worse before they get better.

from broken down house by paul david tripp

and God likes to let me live out this in very real ways sometimes...

like with my own actual broken down house. we live in a 1960 mostly un-renovated 2000-ish square foot ranch house. we have done some new appliances and paint. but nothing really reconstructive. God has made me (through a lot of time. and circumstances.) very grateful and in love with its quirky retro-ness. funky laminate counters and all. 

a few years ago we repainted the bathroom a lovely grey/gray (what is up with the two spellings?) shade to go with the yellow tile. and i loved the color combo. i was even kind of ahead of the HUGE gray/yellow trend that is in full swing now. and i felt good about my trendiness...


we didn't realize until recently that we had a leak under that lovely yellow tile. the shower pan is leaking and the plumbing up higher in the shower wall may be leaking also. so now all that yellow tile has to go. floor, shower, and walls. we could try to take out the floor only but with the size of the bathroom being only 25 square feet it would be VERY hard to redo the floor and the shower without harming the wall tile. as in more time and $$$$. and did we mention we have a child going to college next year?

we have lived without using the bathroom for a few months now to save up some $$$. to explore our options. get bids. wait for $$$ to fall out of the sky (which didn't happen.) and to scour for the cheapest tile, countertops, cabinets, shower options, etc...

it also gave me time to create a lovely pinterest board of bathroom things that i think might work in our space and with the 1960's time period of the rest of our home. i tried not to pin bathrooms that were HUGE and $$$$$ because i wanted to have a realistic vision for what we needed to do (not wanted) to make it fit with the look of the house. our needs (again, not our wants), and something sellable for wayyyyyy down the road. the bathroom is tiny. it isn't going to get any larger with this remodel. but i would like to make it seem light and airy.

the worst part is that my husband (in a move of brilliance on his part) has scheduled this work to be done while i am out of town later this week. WHAT?!?!?!? because not all of the decisions about the bathroom have been made. we are waiting to see what the demo reveals. will it all has to go? or can the countertop and cabinets stay? do we have to take the entire shower wall out to get to the leak? so a lot of the design decisions will be made by my husband as we know what all stays and what has to go. which means that even though i am hoping to wind up with a bathroom that looks something like this (from my pinterest board "bathtastic")...

i would like the bathroom to retain a look of the 1960's with a little more space (if we can work the glass shower in on our budget IF we have to take the entire shower wall down.).

however i am thinking it might end up more like this with adam being in charge of all the choices (from googling "single guy bathroom)...

i was talking to someone about this whole bathroom remodel thing and how i really wanted certain things (like a glass shower. open shelving under the sink. white subway tile. etc....) but then i had to take a step back and say that my #1 goal at the end of any home project is to STILL BE MARRIED. whatever the bathroom looks like is much less important than my marriage reconstruction project that goes on daily here. the bathroom doesn't speak the gospel message to our children. but living in a marriage that reflects a covenantal relationship (as opposed to a convenience based relationship) speaks. louder than a glass shower. though i really want that glass shower...

so await the after photos next week. or whenever it is finished. it won't look pinterest worthy. but it will be set on a firm foundation. a lot like our marriage...

23 years of marriage...

Love Poem No.6

by john blase thebeautifuldue

Life is so short

you want to remember all of it.

Yet memory was not

born so one could see it all

but rather that you

and I would take our

threads and together weave

a life, a blanket rough

and warm that covers

where we’ve been so

in the time that remains

we might know where to go.


i suppose that it is almost fitting that on today, our 23rd anniversary, we realized that our master bathroom has had a continual leak underneath the shower for quite awhile and has rotted away a lot of the supporting beams that hold it up and keep us from falling into the crawl space (which is really more like "stand up almost upright" space) when we traverse across the floor. that 1960's yellow tile may not survive much longer. and just when i had made peace with it and had learned to love it and appreciate its yellowness in my life.

we will be moving into the kids bathroom for a period of time (5 people, 3 of who are teenagers, sharing one bathroom. stayed tuned for that excitement) while we have some people look at our bathroom and determine the most cost efficient route to keeping up from falling into the abyss. it is a small bathroom (3 feet by 5 feet) but when we looked at having it redone a few years ago it was more $$$$ than we wanted to spend. home projects are fun when you have the $ but not so much fun when you HAVE to do them and don't have a budget for them. and you have three children heading off to college in rapid successsion. sigh.

so it kind of put a damper on today. as the most exciting activity that we are doing for our anniversary is taking everything out of our bathroom so that it is ready for what may have to happen to it in the next few weeks. 

for anniversaries... some couples take trips. some have spa days. parties. exotic meals. jewelry and gift exchanges. 

but we clean out our 3x5 bathroom and pray that the repairs can be done cheaply. at least we are doing it together. worrying together. praying together. cleaning up messes and toothpaste and hair brushes together. and planning to spend kids to college. and it looks like we might still have each other after they are all gone. 

after 23 years of marriage that is not to be taken lightly. that we are still together. weaving a blanket of memories. rough and warm. rough yet warm...

my strongest suit...

why take all the trouble and expense to go to nyc and see a musical ON broadway? when you can see the same musical in a year or two touring in a venue closer to home. or catch a high school production of a musical? or a community theater production?

i don’t know. (which is my favorite thing to say about almost all subjects these days. just ask my friend, debbie. she will tell you that i say that on a pretty regular basis to her.) but this i do know...

i saw the musical, aida, in previews in atlanta. i was teaching some classes at the alliance theater and sir elton john (who lives in atlanta) was working on his new musica, aida, and i was able to sit in on some workshops for it. the songs were catchy. the story was epic. but i didn’t love the musical. it seemed flat to me. not all put together.

fast forward a few years and adam and i went to NYC to a wedding. no biggie, just our good friend tony hale. a wedding attended by saturday night live stars. and us. we attend celebrity weddings all the time. if “once in our life” means the same thing as “all the time”. one of the shows we saw during that trip (because our nyc motto is “a play a day and sometimes two”) was “aida”. and seeing it on the broadway stage made me fall in love with that play. it had expanded. become something of substance. of style. of strength. and glory.

a good story is a good thing. an essential thing. but add into it some incredible voices. a spectacular setting. some special effects. and clever over the top costuming. and then you have the full package. and it is rare to have that full package unless you are seeing a show broadway.

this is one of those numbers that just didn’t have the sheer awe factor without all the bells as whistles. dress has always been my strongest suit sung here on broadway by idina menzel. who was featured earlier in may in my blog in a photo with millie. maybe we do hob nob with more than just the hoi palloi. the over the top fashion show during this number was a stunner. breathtaking and witty.

then there was the showstopper number. again, i am a huge sucker for the showstopper number. this one wasthe gods love nubia. and we saw it with the original cast and the amazing heather headley. i love a good gospel style number. 

i remember that we had really bad seats for this show. we bought the tickets at tkts at the last minute. i had “seen” the musical in atlanta and was curious about how it was in its completion on broadway. but not enough to pay full price. i went in as a skeptic and a critic. but left singing the praises of aida and with nothing to complain about. the bad seats didn’t matter once the curtain rose and we saw the show with all the pieces put together. not just the epic story. but all the bells and whistles. and the bells and whistles made it a broadway play. 

the whole concept of “all the bells and whistles” reminded me of something tim keller writes about in his book the meaning of marriage (he also mentions it in this talk on the book that he gave at google.) 

Have you ever traveled to a mountainous part of the world when it was cloudy and rainy? You look out your windows and you can see almost nothing but the ground.  Then the rain stops and the clouds part and you catch your breath because there, towering right over you, is this magnificent peak.  But a couple of hours later the clouds roll in and it has vanished, and you don’t see it again for a good while.  That is what it is like to get to know a Christian.  You have an old self and a new self (Ephesians 4:24).  The old self is crippled with anxieties, the need to prove yourself, bad habits you can’t break, and many besetting sins and entrenched character flaws.  The new self is still you, but liberated from all your sins and flaws.  This new self is always a work in progress, and sometimes the clouds of the old self make it almost completely invisible.  But sometimes the clouds really part, and you see the wisdom, courage, and love of which you are capable.  It is a glimpse of where you are going.
Within this Christian vision for marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love.  It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of the person God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me!  I want to be part of that.  I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne.  And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!’”  Each spouse should see the great things that Jesus is doing int he life of their mate through the Word, the gospel.  Each spouse then should give him- or herself to be a vehicle for that work and envision the day that you will stand together before God, seeing each other presented in spotless beauty and glory.
tim keller, the meaning of marriage

i am the story part. hopefully a good story. though some days, i doubt even that part. but like the musical that i saw in atlanta, i fall hopelessly short of a“broadway quality” production (for instance my costuming budget is wayyyyyy too small.) but i hope that every now and then someone (especially my husband and my children) get to see me with a few of the bells and whistles. that the clouds clear and you can catch a fleeting a glimpse of the totality, of the perfection that one day i will achieve when i stand before the Throne. 

the musical that saved my marriage...

which may be a slight exaggeration, but it is a musical that i actually think about all the time and use this one line in my head on almost a weekly basis....


“don’t pimpernel this.”

i am referring in my head (and here) to the musical, the scarlet pimpernel. based on the book of the same name. did you know it was the first “superhero” genre book? where the superhero disguises himself as a mild mannered guy so that no one will think he is a superhero. yup. the first one. 

in the play the two main characters meet in france (right before the “reign of terror” of the french revolution. i have a thing for plays on the cusp of the french revolution), fall in love (over the course of one song), marry, and move to the guy’s palatial estate in england (he is a member of the english aristocracy, of course). then the reign of terror happens in france. there is an actual song sung about the guillotine. the guy and his guy pals want to help the french people so they start going over and messing with the beheadings with trickery and hijinks. they sing a GREAT song,into the fire (that has become the theme song for one of the armed services elite groups, i think the navy seals.) so in their free time (which they have a lot of. they are rich aristocrats.) they go into france on excursions under disguise to help the french people and using a “scarlet pimpernel” as their sign (the guy’s signet ring and family symbol.) back at home in jolly ole england they all decide to act really really interested in silly things like fashion to divert suspicions that they could be the uber manly scarlet pimpernel. which leads to one of the funniest songs (and costumes) of the show (the french revolution has such few light moments to sing about), the creation of man. they claim to only be visiting france so often to buy fabric and frufru for their clothing needs. and man, do they ever sell that ruse. 

meanwhile the wife is a bit confused about her husband and his “friends”. and she is in a bit of trouble herself. seems her family is in the beheading queue back home in france. her old boyfriend (who is the chief head chopper in france) is making clandestine visits to her palatial estate and blackmailing her. forcing her to spy for him and find out who this dastardly pimpernel might be. all to save her brother. of course now her husband finds some proof that seems to suggest that she is french spy and cheating on him with guillotine happy old boyfriend. all the while he is acting all interested in clothing and gone all the time with all his male friends. he seems not quite not the man she married. she seems not the innocent gal he married. all seems awry. but yet it isn’t...

now, this storyline doesn’t really resemble my marriage. adam has NEVER faked an interest in fashion and frufru-ary. and i have had so few relatives guillotined. but at the time that i saw the musical we had been married 10 years and i found myself “pimpernel”ing a lot of situations. jumping to conclusions when he was late home from work. “he doesn’t want to be home with me” kind of thoughts. but really he was just out fighting the french revolution/saving people from the guillotine. sort of. the characters are each exactly what the other person needs IF only they would communicate and tell the truth this would become evident. 

during the play i kept thinking, “she should just tell him about the blackmail, he could handle it.” and “he should confide in her about the missions to france. she could help him.” of course that would have made the play a lot shorter and more boring. but i have tried to remember to be a bit more forthcoming about my feelings and my motives in my marriage (to make it shorter and not so boring. well, actually in real life it might help to make it last longer and be more exciting.) not hide things that i think he won’t want to know/or can’t handle. because usually he can handle them better than i am handling them. he is helping fight the french revolution in his spare time after all. and when i start assigning motives to him (ones that are negative and leaps of my imagination) i remind myself not to pimpernel. see how good musicals can be for your life.

the showstopper from this play is a good one. the three main characters all sing about  who is fooling who in the riddle.

my favorite song from the show is a solo by the female lead called only love. i actually wrote a skit for our church for mother’s day about adoption and had this song sung at the end. beautiful song.

another musical moment (or a few musical moments if you follow all the links) for today in may. 

and i leave you with this quote from the baroness orczy who wrote the novel, the scarlet pimpernel...

I have so often been asked the question: "But how did you come to think of The Scarlet Pimpernel?" And my answer has always been: "It was God's will that I should." 

And to you moderns, who perhaps do not believe as I do, I will say, "In the chain of my life, there were so many links, all of which tended towards bringing me to the fulfillment of my destiny."

how GREAT is that quote! sounds like the baroness will be attending my heavenly performance in which i star in the eternally wonderful revival of the scarlet pimpernel. can’t wait to see the costumes in that production. i will be playing the female lead in this one. and i think the baroness will LOVE my rendition of “only love”...