According to, five of the top life stressors are:

Whitehurst marci
Freelance Writer
Marci Whitehurst is a freelance writer, ranch wife and the mother of three children. You can foll...
  1. Death
  2. Divorce
  3. Moving
  4. Illness
  5. Job loss

These all make sense. These are tough things that people go through, and I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. Unless you want to move; in that case, be free.

However, I would argue that remodeling might be number 6. If you live in the remodel while you’re doing it, then it’s numbers 6 and 7!

Although … we’ve discovered one of our core values is restoration. Do you know how we learned this?

By default.


By experience.

By moving into homes that needed a lot of TLC.

As we’ve built a cow herd and moved around to increase opportunities, almost every time we’ve moved, we’ve moved into a fixer-upper. And I’m sorry, but it doesn’t go nearly as fast as TV would like for us to think it does – and no crew came to help, although some friends did come to roll a paintbrush or help knock out a wall. While we are truly grateful for the moments they gave, there was still so much to do.

We moved to one fixer-upper when our son was 8. We discovered that he had a real knack for using a sledgehammer. He loved watching broken paneling come down in pieces. He’d laugh and yell, “Whoa, I got a big piece here!” when a particularly large chunk came down and didn’t shatter.

Perhaps the most fun part of fixing up a house is the demolition. That’s where the excitement begins. You’re in the early stages of the project and, by golly, things are going to go so well! You can almost see the new sheetrock and texture, ready to roll with paint.

But then you blink.

You open your eyes and there’s a tornado of a mess around you. Dust, nails, bits of glue. Your shop vac gets a workout. Over and over and over again.

The thing about a remodel is, at the beginning, everything seems like a good idea: Yes, let’s fix that odd edge. Yes, let’s put in a new window. Yes, let’s repaint the deck.

But by the time you’ve finished one room, you want to call it good and hang pictures all over the walls that aren’t finished. No one will notice, right?

When Billy and I first got married, we redid a bathroom in the first home we purchased. We loved each other very much until we textured a bathroom together. Taping and texturing makes you say things you wouldn’t even say in the corral. We weren’t mean; we just really thought it would be easier, faster. And there’s no bovine to blame it on.

Oh, no. It’s more like, “Why is there a drip there? Don’t you see this piece of tape showing through?”

After that first bathroom, we promised we would never fix up anything together again.

You’re laughing, aren’t you?

You should be – I’m not going to tell you the number of fix-it projects we’ve done or complete house remodels we’ve finished. We do get help with big jobs, like plumbing and windows. However, all the other aspects of remodeling made us tired!

Here’s the deal: We can see what the land and the house ought to look like. We can see it as if it were a living entity asking us to set it free from its entrapment. We can see what it’ll look like after it’s finished.

The crazy part is this: We forget the pain of restoration when we are giddy with possibilities. When you see in your mind what a piece of property could be, of course it’s possible to do anything. But when you’re in the middle of things, it can be pretty hard.

Writers call the middle of books when they are drafting and revising “the messy middle.” Remodels have a messy middle, too. It’s the part in between day one and the end.

However, the one thing that remodels are good for is visual progress. It’s hard to ignore the beauty of a hardwood floor that’s been freed from its shag carpet overlay, then sanded, stained and varnished. When a wall has a giant hole and you patch it and paint the room fresh, it is like the room was always shiny and new.

Our latest remodel had me repainting the entire interior of our house. It needed TSP, along with TLC and three coats of paint to cover everything. But now, when the fireplace is going and the walls are clean and crisp, I’m grateful that I took the time to do it.

Sometimes life itself feels like a remodel, where we are stuck in the messy middle. However, even if we’ve experienced a top life stressor, or a remodel, it’s good to know it won’t last forever.