I’m a guy who has always enjoyed getting something accomplished. There’s something about getting dirty, figuring out how to transform a space or vehicle, about learning a new skill. Side benefit-this saves serious coin at times.
And, on top of all of that, we learn about how we are made. We are created by a very big, strong God, and God is creative. And since we’re made in God’s image [Genesis 1:26-28], we also flourish when we ourselves create.
Ok, here are some little things I’ve done over the years.
Here’s my mom and me making paint footprints at our 1917 bungalow house in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s cute and all, but notice the paint. I scraped and painted the whole house, inside and out, and did a host of other repairs that ended up making it a great little place to inhabit.
Here’s the place from the street. Those columns, right? We never thought we’d score this house, but by the grace of God, we did. And it was unbelievably cheap. This shot shows the fresh paint and a little bit of the gardening work I did with Kaile.
Here’s a picture from inside. Come on, it’s gorgeous, right? The built-ins! My drum set was in the living room only because I had some volunteers from our church over to do some training and collaborating.
Here’s a project that made me really tired and stressed. With my brother and a family friend, we refinished the floors at our bungalow [affectionately known as Willard, eponymously named with its street]. I finished the project just a couple days before our first son was born, hence the stress. Plus, my forearms and back were ruined.
This is my dad and me out at his 80 acre farm in Northwest Michigan, so this project is not mine at all-and yet, from a young age, my two brothers and I did my fair share of work here. We planted the trees you see to the right, and trimmed the ones you see on the left, and also planted somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 white and red pine, oak, and maple trees throughout the parcel.
This is a fun one-we picked up this old ’05 Volvo V50 back in Michigan. I kept her alive with all that I had in me, and never had a problem. Except for brakes-they wore out, so I did new rotors and pads for all four. She also needed tires, so I just found a set of wheels online. I mean, it sort of needed that too. And it’s a good look.
We couldn’t get away from Volvo, so we down/up-graded to an ’04 V70, Volvo’s biggest wagon. It has those little jump-seats in the very back that flip up and face backward, so our boys and friends will hopefully have some delightful childhood memories staring out the back window. She’s gorgeous, gray and clean, but needs struts and shocks [cheap-but a hassle]. I’m doing that project soon, along with a couple very minor other details.
Since I was five, I’ve had a bike. It’s pretty much always a different bike, depending on my setting, anything from an old road bike to my ’06 Kona Dawg. I have always done my own repairs, and I’ve got all the bike-specific tools to boot. Here is my current ride-a Linus Scout. It’s a three-speed internal hub, which is perfect for urban commuting, my current biggest need. I rode a fixie back in the Midwest, but these Californian mountains had me crying for some gears.
Once we moved out west, we purged about 93.2% of our belongings. Below, you see what is left. My wife is still amazing, and my plants survived. But notice the apartment too-we have done just a few small things to make our 1150 square feet workable-painting, mainly. Kaile and I always have not-serious [ok, sometimes serious] arguments about how to arrange things. What a silly thing to argue about, right? or not?!
This is no project, but it has taken about all of Kaile and me to be parents. It is hard work being a daddy! This is Maelin, our second son, born on September 30th, 2016. He had just come out in the tub. And now he’s almost walking. Wow.