"During the week, Dad goes to his job in town, on the weekend he starts up Willys (our pickup truck) and everyone jumps in. We go to buy stacks of lumber from the sawmill… We bring loads of sand… We gather supplies with Willys…"
We're book folk and library-goers; new books are forever cycling through our house -- shelf to couch to floor to (sometimes) lost under the bed. It's not too often, though, that I sit and read one with my kids that really moves me, especially one we've grabbed sporadically off the shelf as we often do. But Building our House, by Jonathan Bean, really did. It's the true-life story of his parents, who built a timber-frame house in an empty field, during the same season of life he and sisters were born.
I found myself loving the story - its clarity and simplicity, the realness of its drawings, the nobility of the task this family undertook. And the family's matter-of-fact teamwork in meeting their goal: their hand-built home. I felt a quiet resonance with them by the time we got to the last page, and a thankfulness for all that the book's child characters shared with my own children.
The author's note at the end stirred me: "My parents thought of themselves as homesteaders and brought to house-builder a pioneering spirit of ingenuity and independence… I have vague memories of ladders and a cement mixer… A homestead would not be complete without a large garden, fruit trees, pets, woodland, and a stream flowing through mysterious marshland. Add to that the wise love of two parents, the companionship of three sisters, and a practically lived faith, and it's hard for me to think of a better place to have grown up."
I read it twice and felt my heart relax and grow a little in those words.
I'm very thankful - have always been thankful - for my husband's extraordinary and far-reaching skills in carpentry and all things related. His giftings are unique and comprehensive. But this book roused me to new levels of vision of all that we're imparting to our children, and the gift God's given us in our homestead-renovation-type lifestyle. It's a beautiful and instructive life, even in the midst of the inconveniences and late nights, the sawdust and the studs. What skills and diligence my husband is teaching us all, and what a legacy he's enabling us to leave to our kids.
This book cheers the spirit of anyone with a young family who's significantly engaged in the DIY lifestyle.