The Farm House gets an Update

Sad, isn’t it? This little 800 square foot gem was Superman’s grandparent’s home. They’ve been gone for over 25 years and others have rented it, but since Harry and Rebecca passed away, it just needed some TLC.Poor thing was moldy, chipped and sighing with sadness. Did you notice that there wasn’t a front door? Well, we think that here on the left hand side of the house was the original door. (Notice the ghost of one to the right of the window.)There was a pretty awful chair and sofa resting under the carport.Walking into the kitchen from the carport, you were transported into time with red Formica countertops, stained tiled ceiling and grungy appliances. From the kitchen, we walk into a long living room with old stained green carpet, and dusty, dirty fabric shades.Lets hang a right into the next room. Now, Harry And Becky used this as their T.V. Room. I remember coming to visit them back when Superman and I were courtin’ and early in our marriage on Saturday mornings. Harry and Becky would have the room all closed up, folding doors pulled shut, blinds closed and the the two of them ready for wraslin’. You know! WWF…Wahoo McDaniel, Nature Boy Rick Flair, Andre the Giant and Killer Kowalski! By the time I had met Harry, he had had a stroke so his speech was hindered, but his spirit was still in full force! He’d be waving his hands and shouting “UhHuh! UhHuh!” at the tv. Then as Superman and I would be saying our good byes, Grandma Becky would go to the book case, pull out a book, find a few bills where she was hiding them and slip Superman some money. We’d go back to college and treat ourselves to dinner at Quincey’s, a southern steak house with a buffet, yeast rolls and sweet iced tea. (That was fine dining to us.)The bathroom was a strange shade of green, grody tile, a toilet that had seen better days and the world’s smallest sink.It is itty bitty.Lastly, we have the bedroom. It is just big enough for a full size bed and a small dressing table. The closet was ….let’s just say, scary. The floors are original, beautiful hardwood. I love them! I had my fingers crossed that when we pulled up the ugly green carpet that more beautiful hardwood would be there.

The plan for this little house is to turn it into a farm get-away. Farming can get hot…and I mean fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk HOT. After bush hogging and doing a bit of bee work, an air conditioned refuge will be wonderful. There’s also the idea that we could actually spend the night out there every once in a while, but first we have to make it less scary.

In comes Shane of Renew Painting of the Carolinas. Shane was given a very small budget to transform the scary bungalow into a comfy cottage.TA-DAAA!! Khaki paint with white trim and added black shutters. Every wall and ceiling was painted eggshell white. Painting the walls, trim and ceiling the same color and finish saved us lots of money because Shane didn’t have to cut in for different colors. New appliances, light fixtures and faux wood plank flooring installed throughout brought the house into the 21st century. The big ol’ island was taken out, giving the kitchen so much more room. When Shane pulled up the ugly carpet in the living room, there was some floor rot in places, so it made the most economical sense to just have the same flooring throughout the house.Amazing what new paint can do! No more ugly green!! Yay!! And check out that new toilet. A clean, new toilet is something that can just make you feel good. Don’t you think?

Superman and I have spent a few nights here and have loved waking up to the neighbor’s roosters crowing and cows mooing. I can’t wait to share more of this little transformation with you.

Ten Strangers Came For Dinner

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels. Hebrews 13:2

On Friday I had this feeling of fear in my gut and thought “I’m having eight perfect strangers over to my house for dinner tomorrow night! What am I thinking?”

I love to entertain! I loved making the invitations, hanging the balloons and streamers and decorating the cakes for the kids birthday parties. I’ve hosted the big Rauscher Family Thanksgiving HooHa for the last 10 years. I’ve opened my doors to my tennis teams, bible study friends, neighborhood gatherings and large women’s groups. I’ve done surprise parties, office parties, baby and bridal showers and intimate dinners. It may not be magazine worthy, but I’ve always loved opening my home to guests. Have you ever been a part of a group where you just didn’t know the individuals in the group? Many of us go to church every Sunday to not only listen to rich biblical teaching and to worship God through singing and prayer, but also to have relationships with the person sitting next to us and even across the aisle.I have a group of friends that I always have to hug and say hello to each week after the service. But wouldn’t my life be even richer if I knew that person on the other side of the aisle? I have been a part of groups where I have attended meetings for many years and didn’t really know anyone or felt very alone. How do we get to know that person across the aisle, across the room or across the street? My friend, Zina, also staff member at our church, decided to try to do something about this problem. She came up with the idea of “Home Gatherings”. The plan was to have several homes as host sights on different nights. Then people would sign up for a night they would like to attend online. The participants signing up did not know who was hosting or who was attending. Zina then took all the names and placed them in homes. The goal was to have each gathering with a mix of ages, interests, and time been at the church that could fit around your table for a meal.As a host, I did not know who was coming to my table until a week before. It was my responsibility to contact each person to give them the important information like my address and menu, but not reveal who else would be there. It sounds like a crazy idea, right? Well the first Home Gathering I did was with women only. Easy Peasy. It was so fun for me to watch my guests as the doorbell rang each time. “Oouuu! I wonder who it is!” (As good Southern women do, there was lots of squealing and hugs.) As we ate our chicken dinner, we shared funny stories and were shocked at the many different connections we already had to one another. This past weekend, Superman and I hosted another Home Gathering. This time with couples! Again, I love coming up coming up with a menu, decorating, making flower arrangements, lighting candles and thinking of the little things that will make my guests comfortable. But interestingly enough, the day before the dinner I thought “What the heck am I doing?!? I am having eight strangers coming over for dinner tomorrow night!” I guess the “men” part was throwing me. Or maybe satan just wanted to mess this great thing up, which he is prone to do. But with loving and encouraging advice from my sweet daughter, I got my courage again and opened our home to eight wonderful people on Saturday night. With bowls of chili and cornbread, we went around the table sharing stories about ourselves. We made connections, laughed and had learned so much about one another. I tried to make sure that everyone was involved in the conversation by pulling out my Chat Box. Inside the box are cards with conversation starters, like “If you could have 50lbs of anything other than money, what would you want most of all?” It’s a great tool if you have guests that are shy or ones who want to dominate the conversation.

In the end, I know eight more people who are interesting, funny, and kind. I feel blessed by their company. My prayer is that they too felt welcomed and loved that evening.

When’s God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

I hope this gives you the courage to offer hospitality to a stranger.

My door is always open, so Come on over!