Mindy Obenhaus
Renovating the Big House Part One – Out with the Old
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A couple of weeks ago I shared about our recent move from the suburbs of Dallas-Ft. Worth to our family ranch in south central Texas. Now that we’re officially transplanted, it’s time for phase two of the Obi’s big move to commence.

Renovating the big house.

Now I completely understand why Chip Gaines gets so excited about demo day.It’s gratifying in so many ways.

One swing of the sledgehammer and you know you’re on your way to bigger and better things.From the moment the thought entered our minds to renovate my in-laws’ house instead of building new, there were certain things my husband and I couldn’t wait to see gone. Such as this brick wall that not only kept things darker inside the house, it also blocked our view of the beautiful countryside.

When my in-laws  built the house in 1975, they wanted a Mexican-style hacienda, so the wall was there to create a courtyard that was once beautifully and lovingly landscaped by my mother-in-law.

But the lush foliage is long gone and we want an open Texas-style ranch house. So, where there once was a rather drab brick wall…  It’s now open and inviting. Best of all, we can watch the cattle and deer as they wander by.Next on our list of must-go’s was the 70’s era kitchen with it’s dark cabinets, dropped ceilings and orange countertops. We also wanted to remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room and vault the ceiling in the kitchen to match the den for one big open space.So with the help of our contractor and his crew…

Wow! These two rooms have been transformed already and we’ve barely gotten started. The third thing we wanted gone were the arches in the living room.While they may have worked in the Mexican-style hacienda, they aren’t quite right for a Texas ranch house. Besides, they, too, were blocking part of our view.

Now the space is wide open, save for the much-small support columns. And would you look at that view.The last and probably number one thing, next to the kitchen, that we couldn’t wait to change was the master bathroom. The already small space had been broken into two smaller rooms, so our goal was to open everything up and start fresh.

When we did, we discovered the backside of the fireplace. Just look at the perfectly good brick that’s been covered all these years. Okay, so it’s not that good looking and it doesn’t all match, but we can still paint it and add some great texture to the space. Not to mention removing the wall bought us an extra ten inches of space. That’s a snapshot of what’s happened so far. Flooring is still being removedAnd the sheetrock continues to come down.

But it’s all a part of the process.

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever tackled your own renovation/remodel? Or do you prefer to sit back and watch shows like Fixer Upper on TV? If you were going to redo one room in your home, what would it be?


Where is Your Focus?
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God is so good.

He truly is.

Standing at the kitchen sink today, up to my elbows in soapy dishwater, I stared out at the rain, suddenly and overwhelmingly struck by His graciousness. It was a humbling moment because, so often, I fail to consider all that God has done for me.

Instead, I focus on me, complaining when things don’t go my way or focusing on the bad, even when that one small imperfection is surrounded by massive amounts of good.

Why do I do that?

Because of me.

Seriously, at those times it is all about me.

And therein lies the problem.

Life isn’t about me. Not today, not ever. It’s about Him. Jesus. And just like Peter who dared to walk on water, when we take our eyes off of God, we’re pulled under by the waves of discontent, discord and despair.

Yes, this world is wrought with struggles and strife. Yet even in the midst of our greatest storms, there’s always hope. If we would only look up.Now it’s your turn.

How do you stay focused on God? Or are you like me and often make things all about you? How do you stay focused on the good things in life instead of dwelling on the bad as so many are prone to do?


Big Changes
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Change is inevitable, or so they say. Yet, many times, we try to avoid change. We like the status quo, even if it’s not perfect, because change is usually accompanied by uncertainty and the unknown is always scary.

Well, recently my family made one really big change. Actually, it was the fulfillment of a dream. You see, since before my husband and I married, we’ve been coming to his family’s ranch in south-central Texas. It was our getaway. A respite from the craziness of life in the city. A place to relax and regroup.For years, decades even, we’ve dreamed of how nice it would be to live here. But there were jobs and the kids schooling to consider, so those dreams were set aside.

Until last month.My husband retired and our youngest child graduated from high school. We were free to act on our dream of leaving the suburbs to go rural. Though we definitely had our fair share of trepidation.

Still, we pressed on.Once the moving truck showed up, there was no turning back.Welcome to the camphouse. Have you ever tried to cram 2000 square feet worth of stuff into 900 square feet? Of course, the welcoming committee was here to greet us when we arrived.Not all of which were that inviting.We don’t have snakes like this one in the burbs.

Luckily, our oldest boy did not inherit his mother’s fear of snakes.But he’s not the only one having fun. The four-legged members of our family are having the time of their lives.However, all of that exploring can be very exhausting.I suppose it’s a small price to pay for another day in paradise.Oh, but this is not where the story ends. This is just the beginning of the Obi’s Big Move to the Country. You know that 900 square foot camphouse I mentioned? That’s only temporary. And we hadn’t even settled in before we were on to phase two.This house was built by my in-laws back in 1975. It was their dream house.

Now it’s time to make it ours.

Over the next few months, we’ll be turning this Mexican-style hacienda into the Texas ranch house of our dreams. And I’ll be chronically the transformation right here. So I hope you’ll grab a glass of ice tea, put your feet up and join us on this journey.

Until next time…


How Does Your Garden Grow?
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I’m not much of a gardener. My thumb is definitely not green. Yet every spring, I get the urge to plant something. I mean, who can resist all those pretty flowers at the garden center. Not to mention the promise of veggies planted with care.

Over time, though, I have learned my limits. Flowers in the front yard are relatively easy. The sprinkler waters them and a hefty layer of mulch tends to keep the weeds away. And while I’m enamored with annuals, I also plant a lot of perennials that will bloom at different times of the year.flower bed

In the backyard, we tend to stick to container gardening. My husband loves hibiscus.Hibiscus

But I like herbs. Especially basil. basil(Confession time. This is my second round of basil this year. The first round died over spring break because no one was home to water them. Silly me, expecting it to rain in March. 🙂 )

Most herbs are relatively easy to grow. That is, assuming you actually  remember to water them. I always plant basil because I like to cook with it and caprese salad is a summer favorite. I also use it to make pesto, which I can freeze and use any time of year.

Now it’s your turn. I want to hear about your garden. Are you gardener extraordinaire? Does the thought of working the earth and growing your own food thrill you to no end? Or are you convinced you have a black thumb and that any plant you touch will die?


Springtime
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bluebonnets1 (800x600)Bluebonnets. A sure sign that spring has sprung in Texas. They adorn roadsides and pastures. And the aroma is pure heaven.

I love spring. It’s when nature awakens after a long winter’s rest. The colors are more vibrant because everything is new.

Spring means crisp mornings.IMG_1184 (800x600)Storms.Storm cloudsWhich can make for a plethora of mud.bogged down polaris (800x600)mud-covered bootsSpring is also about new beginnings. These ducks are looking for a place to start their new family.DucksAnd spring always means lots of babies at the ranch076 (800x533)babies

Has spring sprung where you are? What’s your favorite part of spring?