Sunday, January 27, 2013

“I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is a step forward.”
~Thomas Edison~     
 The Inventory

How many of us reach that point in time where we begin to take inventory? Or perhaps the question is better asked, how many times in life do we reach that point where we begin to take inventory? What is our inventory? Is it striking off the items on the checklist of life? Is it numbering our successes? Is it counting our failures? Are we inclined to take inventory at the appropriate passing on a timeline, or when life becomes too much to bear without evaluating why we are where we are? Perhaps our timing and our definition of inventory labels our character and gives a small glimpse into our hearts. 
It is the start of another year, a slow start, and yet fast at the same time. The wheels of progress, pertaining to business, have screeched to a halt. I am sure it is temporary, so I busy myself and wait. Wait on work, wait on new projects and adventures. Wait. On. God. 
The weeks pass and the light dims. With each new day, I am hopeful and sure that things will turn around, and with each new day I am proven wrong over and over. So it begins, the inventory. 
I suppose that most of us would begin to assess our victories and failures and spend more time looking at our journeys when we are still. I haven’t been still in several years, always pushing forward to the next thing. I would imagine it is as good a time as any for an assessment. My heart aches over my many failures and lost battles. How many of us have the courage to look back and stare at our defeats, to peel them apart and analyze them? It is essential to growing. It is essential to gaining wisdom. I don’t believe our battles define us. Or that our failures define us. They are given to us as opportunities to overcome and increase in character. The choices we make in who we become as we leave those battles and failures are what define us, and those are exactly that....choices.
My entire journey has been a battle, every year, every turn on my path. With every good has come bad. Every success has been with much failure. God has worked on my heart and mind for many years. This season, like a few others, has me asking those questions, you know the ones....Why am I here? Is there any purpose for me? Will it always be like this? Where is the good in people? My heart has been so heavy, so weary. It’s the part of me I try to keep hidden. I don’t like exposure and I really don’t like being vulnerable. I am supposed to be strong, stable, steady, unwavering, and sure....sure of everything. Right? Ugh. I’m a mess. I’m not even certain what others’ perceptions of me might be, but most certainly, I am none of those things. The only thing unwavering is my love for God. Right now, I am just trying to figure out what has brought me to this very place. Is this the place I’m supposed to be? Have I wondered so far off the path intended that I am hopelessly lost? 

God. Please. Help. Me.

I had dreams fulfilled in a mighty way this year. God was so faithful to me in a time that I was wildly unfaithful to Him. I hadn’t shared with anyone that I had awoken from a dream, excited. It was one of those dreams that you don’t want to leave. A few days following that dream, I received a phone call that started one of the most amazing projects I’ve ever been a part of. I had just dreamed this.....does that really happen?? I was amazed, it was something I had hoped and prayed to be a part of for many years. Some people dream of winning marathons or becoming a celebrity. I ached for the opportunity to be a part of this project for so long. I was so shocked and humbled to have been invited into the inner workings that I cried, like a girl, for several days. If I’m being totally honest, tears still stream down my cheeks, even now, as I thank God for fulfilling a dream and giving me a desire of my heart. I was beyond excited. For the first time in my life, I fit. I could look around and see people who shared the same passion, who wanted the same things. Of course we had our unspoken differences, but to experience a moment in time where everything is good and everything is right, where you just fit in and have something to offer that is needed, not taken advantage of or used, and every other person is sharing their talents, gifts, knowledge, and is incredible. 
I suppose that could go on the checklist. For an instant I fit. I felt needed. I had purpose. Then, it was done. So, now what? These people have dispersed themselves back to normal living. Reality is a hard pill to swallow. Who made up that saying, and why the analogy of a pill? is truth, and I didn’t want the pill.
The irony of it all was that on the outside, I looked successful. My life appeared to be exciting, fun, and well mapped. The actual reality was that I was going back home to a structure far worse that what had just been deemed as “unlivable” and then replaced with beauty. Home for us was still just an idea that we were trying desperately to wrap our heads around. You see, in our most recent battle, at that time, we had just lost our home. That loss came during an entire season of loss for my family. When it rains it pours....and for us, it usually means hail. 
For many years I’ve had this idea that seems to flow along the lines of a fairytale. I never had any clear mentoring or teaching to prepare me for the ugliness of life. My mind would reassure my heart by preaching that ‘whatever is fair, whatever is right, is what will win’. My expectations in life, love, and business had been wrapped around this beautifully stated fallacy. Oh, the pain I could have avoided if I had understood earlier in life that good doesn’t always win in the battle with evil. Damn you Walt Disney. Sometimes.... a lot of the time.... evil wins. 
Currently we have waged war against the evil that illegally stole our home and our security from us. Are my expectations realistic? I am working on coming to terms with the fact that things may not end according to what is just, but I am trusting God for the outcome. 
Our year catapulted forwarded with tremendous speed before I had much time to dwell on missing my new friendships. Business tripled in the blink of an eye and we were running to keep up. Let me just say that when good business triples, so does crazy business. *Sigh* 
I now know why so few females are contractors. I’ve heard so many different opinions, and they’ve all got it wrong. My background is in business. I have run a few different establishments, and while my experience isn’t that of someone who has many accomplishments at the top of the corporate ladder, I have gotten my feet wet in enough areas to determine that business itself, and the greed and corruption that comes with it, isn’t enough to scare away a woman with determination. However, the relentless pursuit of ridiculous demands on time, perfection, skill, and communication in a world filled with minimum wage, a lack of education, deceit, false promises and expectations, and bids won based only on the lowest dollar, are what drives women out of this industry.  In this business, no matter the circumstances, the contractor is always the villain, and women have too much heart to be the bad guy of the story. 
I have an unfailing passion for design and building. It is in every home I pass on the road, every foyer I enter, every kitchen I eat in. I am constantly looking, examining, and determining what I love and what could be improved. It is a drive, an artistry that lives in my very soul. I long to touch every home that begs for a facelift with its worn-down bands and corner-boards, its pediments that are in great need of scraping and painting, and the history and stories that are peeking out from under the layers of obvious DIY repairs. The moment I am introduced to a structure I visualize the changes in a completed state. I see it only for its potential.
Unfortunately, here I stand, after yet another year in this business....broken. I have dealt with too many dishonest homeowners and subcontractors, too many people out for number one, employees you believe in and invest in only to have them cheat and swindle their way in and then out of your business, taking your spirit of hope with them. I have reached out to those trying to rebuild their lives after being controlled by substance abuse, only to watch them fall again. The darkness of so many dangerous lifestyles is prevalent in this business. I was sure I had already been exposed to so much in life, but this, my job, has only brought me face-to-face with more. Oddly enough, the one intangible act that churns my soul far into despair is deceit. Where is the good? Where are the honest people? I have lost faith in people and business.

God, please tell me how I am supposed to keep living and giving my passion to restore homes when I cannot take the heartache of the people behind the walls?

We spent the year moving as quickly as the business was, only trying to keep up with its demands. We made so many hasty and stupid mistakes. I made so many hasty and stupid mistakes. For a spring, summer, and fall where so many things seemed to come so easy, we would soon face the winter where nothing would come easy. Winter brought with it the cold truth. All the lushness of the kinder seasons was gone leaving behind the bareness of everything. 
I was forced to face the fact that I had put a few events and people on a pedestal that year. I thought so highly of some who had helped to bring my dreams to life. I was so sure they were accomplished, perfect, and sincere. I then received an accusation, riddled with guile and defamation that rocked my little world in late fall early winter, starting off my downhill roll to meet Jack Frost appropriately. Ugh. I was heartbroken for many weeks. I couldn’t understand why someone would be motivated to just outright lie. It’s a question I’m sure we will never understand. At the root of the answer is selfishness. Perhaps someone craves attention or a desire to be heard and trusted even if the subject matter or statements don’t have an ounce of truth in them. Even understanding the “why’s” are not going to repair my heart or hurt. It’s one of those things that will require time and The Almighty for healing. I tore myself away from the situation also bearing the burden of complete humiliation. I had let my shell crack. I broke down in those conversations. I let them see my pain. I cried. 
At each new year, when I look back on the past 365 days, I determine what was the best part and what was the worst. Which two events of the entire year affected me in the most positive and the most negative way. Well, that fun bit of accusation followed up with my cracking, was by far and most definitely the lowlight of those twelve months. I should have expected an attack on something most precious to me. We know that the enemy is constantly seeking whom he may devour. I have; however, determined to remain thankful, to stay engaged, and not withdraw as I have been known to do. The highlight of the year was, of course, the project that began the new year.
I have hated beyond hate and loved beyond love the quiet moments and revealing these weeks have brought me. I have been given time to review our records and bookkeeping, time to fast and pray, time to evaluate where we are as a company and as a family. We have had more business than we’ve ever had, and we’ve been taken advantage of and lost more than we ever have, putting us in a position I have never wanted to be in.  So, what happens from here? I really don’t know. At the end of it all no matter what tomorrow brings, I can only trust God to pave my path and give me the strength to walk it. As long as I resolve to take each step for Him, I won’t give up.

I suppose, all that being said, my 2012 inventory looks something like this:

Madly in love with my little family.                            Check
I fit.                                                                              Check
Dream fulfilled.                                                           Check
Healthy beautiful husband and daughter. Check
Awesomest dog for a pet.                                           Check
Worked for some amazing clients.                             Check
Worked for some crazy-azz clients          Check
Made some money                                                      Check
Lost a lot of money                                                      Check
Started cooking (God help my family)                        Check
Got my heart broken                                                    Check
Evil-eyed the kid that’s a snot to my daughter            Check
Got cheated out of a lot of money by one of our own Check
Reached out to those in need                                       Check
Got taken advantage of                                               Check
Reached 10 out of 12 professional goals                     Check
Learned that life doesn’t get to the point of easy Check
Watch less Disney movies                                           Check
Learned how to play poker                                         Check
Cracked under pressure                                              Check
Utterly disappointed with myself over mistakes Check
Strengthened my relationship with God                      Check
Still madly in love with Jesus                                          Check

Do we feel like we have a real home again Nope
Am I satisfied with where we are in life                       Not even close
Making new dreams and goals                                     Working on it
Waiting on God to lead the way                                    Definitely

I'm not about to wrap this up without any pics. Here are a few of my favorite photos from this year's projects:

The Watson House BEFORE

The New Watson Home

Scott & Christi Branscom of Grace Construction,
 lead contractors for the EMHE Knoxville build,
pictured with the production crew

Myself and Scott Rainey of Keystone Construction pictured
immediately following my epic wipeout from the ice-covered walk board.
Lakefront renovation BEFORE
Lakefront renovation AFTER
built and finished to homeowner specifications
Kitchen BEFORE
Kitchen AFTER

Master Bedroom BEFORE
I combined two rooms into one and removed a bathroom that separated them
in order to create the new master bedroom
Master Bedroom AFTER
You guessed it....this one's mine :)


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Raised In A Barn

I saw the angel in the marble
and carved until I set him free.

My cousin, Jennie, was having her first baby. She was everything a first-time mother is, excited, nervous, and anxiously awaiting the face-to-face introduction with her precious baby. She was also having a hard time deciding exactly how she wanted to decorate the nursery. When she called me with a decision, I was ready to jump in.

Jennie had graduated and was now officially a veterinarian. She had come up with the idea of a Charlotte's Web nursery. I loved that! I get the most excited about childrens' rooms. There is no holding back, I get to go all out with the imagination and creativity. Oh but there was one small problem, the budget. She wanted only to spend $400 - $500. Wow, I wasn't so sure I was going to be able to pull that off. But, once I get a creative spark going, there is NO turning back. Nothing is more frustrating than being inspired and having all these ideas and then not being able to follow through. It's the frustration of an artist with a vision and no canvas to be found. I had to have the canvas.

The Canvas

Once I had a plan in place and we were able to clear our schedule for a weekend, we loaded up the truck with tools and the car with my purchases and headed to the exciting country town of Shelby, NC. I might be from Tennessee, but I am not a country girl. I can appreciate the beauty and the calm for a bit, but then I'm ready to go.

Jennie and her husband had decided that they wanted to be surprised by the sex of the baby. Of course that does not make my job any easier. The type-A planning sort of person I am did not relate to this at all. Do I dare mention the baby name fiasco? Jennie shared with me that if they had a girl they wanted to name her Madeline and if it was a boy they wanted to name him Harry. She wasn't so sure about the name Harry but it was a family name and it was special. They also liked the name Peter. So they were thinking of Harry for the first name and Peter for the middle name. Now, maybe I'm just terrible or maybe it has been too many years in the construction business around all those men, but I was pretty sure Harry Peter would have a few issues growing up with that name and I was shocked that Jennie or her husband didn't understand this. Needless to say, that was an interesting conversation I had not planned on having.

 Before we left for Shelby I spent some time watching a few different versions of Charlotte's Web and even as an adult, I still love that movie. After feeling inspired by the movie, I was able to come up with a neutral plan that I was anxious to get started on.

When I design a child's room I never bring in the cartoon side of the theme. That's just my preference. I think it might be fun to do a classic cartoon themed room, but I usually stick to a realistic application of whatever the theme might be.

Now, with the tiniest budget I've ever worked with, I had to decide what materials would be the most inexpensive, and of course the answer is standard building lumber. It just so happens that it was perfect for this. I was going to build my soft interpretation of an indoor barn in neutral colors.

If this was going to be a Charlotte's Web nursery then Charlotte was going to have to make a permanent appearance. I mean, who can watch Charlotte's Web and not fall in love with that spider? And just so we're clear, if it were real life and Charlotte was the real deal, I would be screaming and squishing.

On a Saturday afternoon as I was leaving construction class, I decided to run through the Habitat ReStore and see if there were any goodies. There are always some fun items, but this time I found Charlotte. She was upside-down and a little too brassy, but I had a plan for this old chandelier. No worries Charlotte, I will have you turned over, painted, and feeling like yourself in no time. And the best part...she was only $10 and she was in the car headed to her new home.


It ended up taking two weekends to finish this nursery. We built the toy trough, barn shutters, ceiling and wall details, and made some frames. We rewired Charlotte upside-down, painted her and made her web, sewed the bedskirt and pillows and painted the room.

 I even had time to take some photos of the expectant couple to use in the room
and left one frame blank to add a photo of the newest family member.

 Favorite photo

Beautiful Jennie

Jennie learned that sewing is not at all like suturing an animal (information I'm pretty sure I didn't need to know), taping stripes feels like a prison sentence, and why exactly it's a bad idea to name your child Harry Peter.

 I will admit that I did a little fundraising within the family to make sure I could get the last of what I needed to finish the nursery. I got paid with home-cooked meals, and for those of you that know me and my seriously deficient cooking skills that was a pretty good deal. All in all we still only spent around $600 and I happen to think it turned out pretty fabulous.

The finished nursery

So as we packed up and pulled out I felt good knowing that Jennie could continue to add her own touches to this room as her budget allowed. "I love you Jennie. Thanks for the food and the good times! I can't wait to see the baby!"

But wait....We had barely pulled out of the neighborhood when we came up on a road block. Really? A road block? In Shelby on a two lane road... a road that was a dirt road less than a mile back. You're kidding me right?! Sadly, no. Deputy Fife took his job very seriously and Jonathan got a ticket for having an expired license. We headed back to Tennessee and I would love to say that I then considered the project cost to be $750 ($600 for the room and $150 for the ticket) however, it seems that we overlooked paying for that ticket. Jennie called some months later to give us an update on beautiful baby boy Preston (he will thank me when he gets older) and to also tell us that Jonathan had made the local newspaper. Jonathan was officially named Shelby's most wanted out of state offender for a traffic violation. I always knew he was an overachiever and, of course, he was rather proud of his new title and even requested a copy of the newspaper.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Saving The World One House At A Time

Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.
~Oprah Winfrey~

I am working on my fourth year of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and while I give a small amount of design input, most of my time is spent on the construction side of things. I love this organization. I love it because it helps people who want to help themselves. It isn't a free home, it's a interest free mortgage. These homeowners have to qualify with good credit, budget classes, a steady job history, and hours spent working on their new home. The overall cost of the home is greatly reduced because of the time and donations given by local people and businesses. I happen to think it's pretty fantastic.

Teaching Construction Class

May 2010 was an exciting month for me. I was looking forward to filming two short stories for HGTV, I was participating in my first ever Habitat Women Build, and I would be celebrating my 10 year wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband. Wow, looking back, God was giving us some pretty awesome blessings before some of the most difficult months of my life....for now I'm just going to pretend 2010 had only the months of Jan - June.
May 8th was our Women Build floor system day. We would be working with women volunteers during the morning shift installing I-joists, and that afternoon we had the fun of laying the subfloor with the Tennessee Lady Vols. As much as I love Habitat, I fell even more in love with Women Build.

 Installing the first I-joist May 8, 2010

This house was for Elfa.
She is an amazing single mother of three. Her youngest, Jake, is handicapped. Elfa, like most of the homeowners in the program, was a single mom that had worked hard for many years trying to do the best she could for her family. When I think of Habitat I think of Elfa. I also think of one of the first homeowners I met in the program. She was so tiny and fragile...and single. I drove her home after class one evening to the projects. I was terrified for her. Could she protect herself where she was living until her home was ready? Each time I would see her she was excited to tell me the exact number of days until her house was ready. She wanted to be home, she wanted to feel safe.

Elfa working on her new home

When Dad was in the hospital, following his terrible accident, he remained in a level one trauma unit. I could only spend time with him in his "room" during certain shifts throughout the day and night. The rest of the time I was stuck waiting in a private lobby that was meant for families of those who had suffered terrible brain injuries. After several days, I was shocked and honestly pretty irritated when in walked an entire group that I was sure had come out of a less-than-desirable neighborhood. They were loud and obnoxious, carrying their bags of Kentucky Fried Chicken, cursing and slapping each other on the backside. Seriously?? I mean the people in this lobby are scared and grieving for their loved ones, they can't even think about food, they are sleeping for a couple of hours in between visitations and bouts of tears. What are you people doing in here acting like this!?

I went back to visit Dad for the precious 25 minutes I was allowed during that shift. I talked to him a lot.
~In case you're wondering, I did tell him about the little table saw accident and he kicked his legs. I'm pretty sure that was his way of yelling at me.~

 During one of those short visits I was startled by alarms going off. Each room was separated only by curtains and you had more of a view than you ever wanted into other rooms. A young man two curtains over had "crashed". I watched as more nurses than I've ever seen in one place came rushing in. Then there were doctors and more doctors and parts of the bed were literally flying through the air as they tore apart everything in their way to try desperately and revive this man. I get chill bumps every time I think about it. He was young and he lived in the projects. He had been shot seven times in the back during a drive-by as he was walking into his apartment. Those people that had irritated me so much were his support system. They grieved for him as I grieved for Dad. When I think of Habitat I think of that young man.

Women Build 2010

What most everyone knew on the morning of May 8th was that I was going to renew my wedding vows the next afternoon. My husband and I eloped when we got married and we were determined to have a small ceremony with a dress and tux and pictures, and we were excited to do it on our 10 yr anniversary. What no one knew on the morning of May 8th was that when about the fourth I-joist was being brought down the line, one of the volunteers dropped it. It landed on my left ring finger. Ouch! I wasn't about to say anything. I knew we had the whole day in front of us. I knew they were counting on me to lead crews. I knew Elfa needed this house.
As the work day came to an end, I finished up and got in the car with my Mom. I took my glove off for the first time that day and I looked at Mom and said "I think I've broken my finger". Instead of galloping off with Prince Charming to renew our vows, I was on my way to the hospital to have my finger x-rayed.
You know, I don't think it's a big deal to break a finger; but, I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me that this was the timing of it all.
Really? The left ring finger? Today? Come on!
The meltdown did come when the doctor and nurses said they were going to have to cut my wedding band off. Yep, that is, apparently, my breaking point. I cried.

May 9, 2010

One of the only photos that shows THE finger. I
had the ring cut in two places. With vaseline and
a lot of maneuvering I got the ring back on long
enough for the ceremony.

Absolutely one of my favorite wedding photos

I was honored to keep going for Elfa. I was inspired by her discovery of herself during that build.
She began to realize just how strong she really is.

Elfa's completed house June 2010

This year during our 2011 multi-house blitz, I will be building a home for LaTravia. She currently lives in Western Heights, some of the worst projects in this area. I am beyond excited to help this single mom get her family into good, safe, affordable housing. It is a priviledge to help her become a home owner.

Why do I build? I build because God has given me the talent and ability to do it. I build because I can be creative. I build because it makes a difference in the lives of people. If this is the strength that I have, my way of saving the world, then I will do it one house at a time.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Healing Kitchen

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it
~Helen Keller

A couple of years ago I began working for a new client that had a wonderfully conservative home in an older area of town. The house had been built in 1920 and along with its age came many challenging characteristics unique to the home. After completely renovating the master bathroom, and exterior front entry, the client was ready to look at having some new kitchen countertops installed. I loved this little cape cod home and I loved this client, I was excited to work with her on our next project.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before

As I met with her to discuss what she was looking for, she soon decided it wasn't just the countertops she was unhappy with...come to think of it, she didn't like the layout or the lighting, and could some of the cabinetry be changed? Oh, and then there's that dreadful back door that enters into a laundry closet and then into the house...can we fix that? Needless to say, it was out with the simple countertop plan and in with an entire kitchen remodel. Did I mention that I love this client?!?!

The client quickly decided on a new layout from three options I presented her with. In this odd shaped kitchen with three exterior walls, there was not much to choose from. After making her selections she packed up the family and headed out of town, well actually, they left the country. They apparently don't think kitchen renovations are as much fun as I think they are. 

Kitchen After Demo

Back of Kitchen and Laundry Closet After Demo

We ran into the typical 1920s surprises with this project such as the floors rolling so much we had to customize the trim on all of the base cabinets to hide it, the fun of plaster, and bit of mold.  Nothing was going to slow us down though, that is until my very minor table saw incident that made my father's voice echo in my ears, followed up with that phone call no one ever wants to receive.

As we were heading into the final stages of this reno, I was installing the crown and base for the cabinetry. I fully admit that I am terrible about using my glasses for more than just a forehead accessory. I ran outside to make a quick cut on the tablesaw and the small oak piece I was cutting got caught in the blade of the saw and flew back at me with so much force that it took a bit of time for me to be able to think clearly. It had hit me high on my cheekbone missing my eye by about 1/2 an inch. I would be just fine after the couple of weeks it took for the egg sized knot on my face to go down. Oh, but I could hear my dad clear as day "you take care of your eyes and always wear safety glasses when you're working".  He wasn't a construction safety enthusiast. He was an eye enthusiast. Dad had only one eye. He lost his left eye after battling a malignant brain tumor. Following eight brain surgeries 30 yrs ago he won the battle, but his eye didn't. I was dreading the moment he would find out about my little accident.

That moment never came. My phone rang at 6:00am and my dad's number showed up. I knew immediately something was wrong. Dad was never an early riser. It was his fiance calling to tell me he was in the hospital in a level one trauma unit. He had fallen down the brick stairs outside of his house and hit his head at the weakest point (where his skull had been operated on so many times). I put the kitchen renovation on hold and spent every hour I could at the hospital. Dad never woke up. He had been in a coma since he was brought in and we had to make the awful decision, after watching him decline, to take him off of life support.

I slowly went back to work, back to that kitchen I had started. It seemed like a lifetime since I'd been there. I cried and worked for hours and days until it was finished. The tile I installed was a tedious project that helped me focus and allowed me to think. This kitchen helped me to heal and will always remind me of my dad.

Kitchen After

Kitchen After

Back of Kitchen and Laundry Closet After

Pot Filler Shelf Tile

This kitchen remodel finally finished very much behind schedule.
We are constantly changing to move forward in our journeys. I have missed my dad so much. I will forever cherish my memories of him. He may not have taught me my construction skills, but he is the reason I started in this business. Thanks to our stubborn personalities and his determination to tell me I couldn't remodel my first little house that had been destroyed by renters when I was young and inexperienced, I was that much more determined to prove him wrong.
Look what he started!
I love you Dad

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An Introduction

Seven years of part time construction
 plus eight years of full time construction
equals a lot of experience, a lot of amazing clients, and a whole lot of stories.

I have been working in the construction industry for all of my adult life. Yes, I am a woman. Yes, I am young. And yes, I can do the work myself. Most of the new people I meet make many assumptions, I am the proverbial book with the very misleading cover. So, to start things off, let's look over the facts:

1. My father was not in construction and he did not teach me what I know....actually he was TERRIBLE at both driving a car and working on home improvement projects
(I will; however, give him full credit for igniting my career...a story I plan to share)

2. My husband did not "get me into" construction. It was, in fact, me that pulled him
into this business. He has been working in this field for 10 years.

3. I am not the secretary or the payroll lady in this company. You can talk to me about
issues on the jobsite rather than having to wait and find one of the guys.

I LOVE this job!
Design and building runs through my veins. I am very passionate about my work. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the needs of a client, designing a plan to fit those needs, and then following through with the building of that plan. After it's all! I've just completed my own form of art that will out live me, something that will be a backdrop to the lives of others for years and years to come.

I work in new construction, floorplan design, interior design, and remodeling.
Home renovations are my favorite projects. I love seeing a structure and immediately looking through the years of wear, and the changes in how families have functioned over the decades, to recognize the potential. I can see it finished already. My mind becomes a flurry of ideas. I'm overwhelmed with excitement, I can see through the bad, through the mess of the upcoming construction, through the obstacles,
and I can see the beauty of what will be.

All of my talents and abilities are a gift from God.
He is THE designer and builder. I often think that He must view us much like a renovation - originally designed with a great purpose, weathered from the years of storms, having layers that will be peeled back to restore the original beauty, and seeing some changes that will take place in order to bring it to its full potential. Renovations are very symbolic of my relationship with my God.

I have had many opportunities to work on some great projects. I am looking forward to keeping a journal of those projects from the past along with current jobs we are working on. My hope is to share my experiences, photos, and stories, and to encourage other women to try those things
 they are sure they can't do.