Invest in Crossroads Transition

The Motel’s Story – If Only I Could Talk


Turning a House, in this case an Historic Motel, into a HOME



It was in May of 2002 when the Lord put it on my heart to go to this old motel and establish a home for homeless or at-risk single mothers and their young children. When I was in my car I had no idea where he was leading me, but, when you follow His lead you will always end up at the right place. And this is where I ended up, in front of a fenced, overgrown old motel that looked as unloved as any place could. However, as I stood there looking at it I never saw what it was, I saw what it could be, a place of safety, love, sanctuary, and most of all a home. I saw the flowers and trees blooming, children playing, mothers visiting, and love abounding. I saw a home, and this is its story.


This is what I looked like when Cora first saw me, unused and unloved since 1989. From now on you will be able to watch my transformation as I come to life to provide a new beginning to at-risk single mothers and their young children in need.


2006  Saturday, August 5

Opening day and the beginning of my new life as a few friends of the ministry put up their sign and the Crossroads Ministry Board pushed open the gate to my new beginning.

putting_sign_up pushing_open_gate

On Saturday, August 12th 2006, the first group that came to work on me were nine boy scouts from Troup 328, led by Scoutmaster Bill Mills and his Assistant Scoutmasters. They worked for hours pulling up, tearing down, and cutting up tons of vines, trees, and overgrown shrubs before settling down to a lunch of Papa Johns delicious pizza. As you can imagine this is not an easy task but the board and I can unanimously say that we have never seen team work such as they showed on this day in such a young group. We had expected them to completely clear away everything from my front building but by lunch time they had not only finished that building but had finished my other longer building in the back. This was a milestone we had not expected but of which we are eternally grateful.

front_building_before_overgrowth_cut front_building_after_overgrowth_cut

2006 The End of an Era

On Thursday, September 14th, 2006 at 4 p.m. the ‘Oak Ridge Motel’ sign, with its atom insignia on top, perched on the peak of the old motel. By 7:45 p.m. it was removed. A new era has begun, for this motel will be the new home of Crossroads Ministry and except for the sign it will be renovated to look almost as it did when built in 1949, when for years it housed many scientists and dignitaries from around the world
Words cannot express how the board feels about the generosity of Barnhart Crane and Rigging Company of Oak Ridge who supplied the crane and bucket machines for the removal of the sign, Tommy Thomasson, Manager of Project Services, who pulled the project together and to the three men who gave of their own time, Roger Griffith and Danny Moore who went up in the bucket to disconnect the sign from the structure and Joey Byrge who guided the sign to the ground from the crane base. It was a fascinating feat to watch and without their expertise it would not have been accomplished so seemingly effortlessly and without mishap.


crane_taking_down_sign crane_moving_sign

Now that was something to watch…..the sign that had been on the manager’s office building for over 50 years being taken down so that work could begin on that little building, which will become the housemother’s residence. Things are a changin!

While Hazmat worked on decontaminating my two buildings that will house the moms and babies in a healthy environment, others began taking down the top floor of the manager’s building. It had been burned by treasure hunters in the 1990’s thinking there was hidden money in the old safe. Of course, there wasn’t, but that was the rumor and since they couldn’t open it their anger got the best of them and they set fire, probably thinking that would melt the safe, who knows. In any case, a good deal of valuable family heirlooms was destroyed, in addition to the building. This, of course, made the building unsafe and unable to be renovated. It would have to be taken down to the stone and rebuilt. Now that was also something to watch. I could hardly take my eyes (figuratively speaking of course) off the workers. After this work was finished it was time to shut down for the winter.

taking_off_secord_floor_of_house after_second_floor_removed




A Discovery! The next thing that happened to me was that when my front porch enclosures were removed wonderful ironwork between the doors with a metal porch post supporting the roof was discovered. Quite unexpected, except that I knew it all along! I will look so nice when that is repainted and left exposed.




2007 Volunteers Try To Smother Me!


In January a large group of men and women from Kern Memorial Methodist Church in Oak Ridge and Memorial Methodist in Clinton placed plastic sheeting over my roofs for protection from the weather until my two buildings can be renovated. They accomplished this feat with help from Barnhart Crane and Rigging and Roger Griffiths. They were the same ones who took down the sign. It is so nice to have friends in high places! Unfortunately, good ideas don’t always work and in this case the winds come through that area with such force that the plastic was shredded after three months, but that was after most of the bad weather was over.

During the summer a group of women worked weekly trying to clean up the area surrounding the buildings, clearing debris, cutting back overgrowth along the creek and exposing more ‘treasures’, both the flowering kind and stationary kind. Many articles from the early 1950’s have been unearthed from the rubble, one of the original crab orchard stone light posts and a lovely crab orchard stone pond, needing repair, with fountain was discovered in the overgrowth. However, this will be turned into an herb garden with birdbath fountain for safety’s sake.

discovery_of_pond_and_fountain discovered_stone_light_post

The Spring and Summer of 2008 will bring those women back, this time to transform and retake their land. Because the area around the creek was cleared out the birds have begun to return along with frogs, turtles, and lizards. I just love listening to nature, don’t you?

2007 Overrun Again – Will it ever end!


From 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 20th, 2007 the future Crossroads Ministry facility site was overrun by 52 extremely competent, structured, fun loving, dedicated group of men, women, and children who give their all twice a year to help others in need. This wonderful group of people from Faith Promise Church participate in a ministry called “Operation In As Much.” Twice a year, in the Spring and Fall, they send out approximately 800 people, in all directions to take on projects that otherwise might go undone or be put off for a long period of time.  In my case I had a lot of work to be done inside the buildings to ready them for renovation. The last of the ceilings were taken out, walls were removed so the plumber would have access to the bathroom pipes, water pipes in the attic were taken out, walls scraped, flooring pulled up, and nails pulled out. There was something for everyone to do regardless of height or size. And boy did they work! It was even hard to get them to stop for a yummy pizza lunch provided by ‘Endzone Ellie’s’, of course, it helped that its owners were helping with the work. We also had the help of two bobcats, one for the hauling and dumping of debris and the other, donated for the day by John Deere, was used for taking down the fencing and partially dead trees.
The day couldn’t have been better, with no rain, a slight breeze, and a comfortable temperature. Each group of people had a designated leader so that the work went smoothly, with each person concentrating on his or her designated job. Cora Rhew, President was on hand to run back and forth answering questions and frantically running in front of the bobcat driver so he wouldn’t put the wonderful old cedar trees on the burn pile, but save them so we could use two as replacements for the wood inserts above the mantel in the housemother’s residence and the rest as arbor supports in the walkway crossing the creek from the main facility to the garden area.

All in all it was a wonderful day spent with new friends and at the day’s end we were looking forward to our next time together, in smaller groups, to finish up what was started. For the work these people did for us and the work other volunteers did all over this area, these folks deserve a big hand!!

The noise was so deafening I thought they would never leave, but finally I was able to take a deep breath and begin wondering what will happen in 2008. Will they be back and continue cleaning me up again, with all their laughter and hard work. Will I ever have peace again? When will the flowers bloom and trees blossom? When will the moms and babies come to live in my new rooms so I can hear their laughter when they’re happy and share in their tears when sad? Ah, only God knows the answer to those questions, and he’s not telling, yet!


Spring 2008 What a difference a year makes!

Ah, the wild cherry trees are blooming with their soft pink petals, haven’t seen them for many years and there are many wildflowers coming up since the crews have been able to clean up much of the overgrowth in various areas around me. The sycamore and weeping willow trees along side the creek are coming back to life. They almost died because of all the vines choking them and the sycamore was zapped by lightening awhile back so the top half was gone. I am so glad to see them greening up again. Japanese iris, forget-me-nots, and cardinal flowers that were planted in the creek area are beginning to bloom. Oh, how I love to see the flowers come since that brings the butterflies, bees, and birds to my yard. But, we are having a very hot time of it so there hasn’t been a lot of action on cleaning up around the front runoff area or the creek. I know my weekly workers will be back but just when, I don’t know.

Here I thought it might have ended, but boy was I wrong!

It’s November and here they come, the same and, oh, some new noisy people with little ones in tow from Faith Promise Church’s ‘Operation In As Much’, must be over 30 of them running around. It is so nice to hear the laughter and talking going on, life has returned, if only for a little while. And, what is this? A bobcat hightailing it around the grounds like he owned it, hauling trees and brush to the burn pile and dumping trash into the dumpster from cleaning out the rooms. Goodness, the dust and noise is sometimes deafening, sure won’t get any rest on this day. But, that’s ok I would rather see and hear the action than be alone. A wonderful home cooked meal was provided by a small group from the church who weren’t able to participate in the labor work. It was so appreciated and smelled so good.

They are still working on the inside of my back ‘ L’ building. It seems to take a very long time to remove piping from the attic and remove block walls. But, I know it will all be worth it and it has to be done so my moms and babies will be safe.

in_attic_removing_pipes more_cleaning

Again this year, the families divided up and each took a room to work on. It is not many times you see adults, teenagers, and little ones working side by side, each doing what he is able and giving of themselves for the need of others. There is such a variety of work to be done on me so there is something for all ages and sizes. All of the work will make me a better home!

cleaning_out_room kids_time_to_break

The saddest thing that happened is that my front porch roofs had to be removed because they were rotting so bad the workers were afraid of the liability to those coming around, invited and not! They will be rebuilt and the old triangle vents put into place, plus part of the culvert in front of the property had to be extended with piping because the area driven over was collapsing, so the planting area was narrowed a bit. Plants that like wet feet will be put in the remaining culvert area to the creek edge and the walls will be lined with crab orchard stone. Can’t wait!

After a day of dirty and heavy work the grounds finally became quiet again around 4:00 p.m. and I could take a deep breath (if I could) and settle back and wait to see what would happen next.

2009 Gardening and Cleanup

Well, next happened in early 2009 when Cora received the blessing of a helper who enjoyed working in gardens as much as she, doing the heavy stuff before planting. So for two days each week Cora and Sharon are fanatical about how much they accomplish. In 10-foot sections they have almost completely stripped the area on the motel side of the creek. It is cut back, weeded, and round-upped so by the end of the summer they will be able to lay newspaper and topsoil for the fall and winter to kill any remaining seeds. The bank in front of the housemother’s residence was planted with vinca after a particularly wet spring and is doing great and Cora has set aside a planting area at her home and is moving perennials into that area for moving to my yard in the spring.

Then on June 13th I was again inundated with the Boy Scouts of Troop 328 here to cleanup the overgrowth behind the back ‘L’ Building. They worked hard cutting back and hauling overgrowth to the burn pile. It always gives me a lot of satisfaction watching young men working on a service project like this and it reminds me of the first time they came to clear my buildings of all overgrowth. It was like old friends coming back and they always make a difference in my appearance, and only for the good!


Now I am waiting for my next period of excitement. Can’t wait… for now I will enjoy my peace and quiet until once again the sounds of laughter and talking will abound on my land.

Winter came and all was quiet.  We had just a dusting of snow this year but would love to have a ‘real’ winter storm again, like we used to!

So, I just thought it was going to be forever quiet, wrong again!

2010 Spring

Brought a new helper, Sue Bryant, since Sharon went back to school, and she and Cora spend every Friday working in the garden area from either 9 a.m. to noon or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. depending on when they wear out or if it gets too hot.  This spring also brought a way for Crossroads to help out others.  They began working with men and women in the Community Service Program who needed a way to work off community service hours through the Dept. of Probation and Parole.  All together three men and two women came to help Cora and Sue do heavy work in the garden area for two months.  They were good workers but were worn out after a couple of days in the hot sun.  It was funny hearing those young people complain about the heat, their muscles, “are we done yet?”……How times have changed!



After all the work in 2010 the front side of the creek was completed and ready for planting when it cooled down.  Cora and Sue concentrated on the other side of the creek clearing brush, cutting back roots, and building the brush pile (which seems to be overtaking the area).  They had planted cardinal flowers beside the creek and for the first time, in a long time, I saw hummingbirds flitting between the bright red flower heads.  What a joy to behold!

Then in September Cora meets another new friend and Patsy Manzo begins coming to work in the garden.  Now they try to work 9 to 5 on Fridays and since Patsy’s husband gets off at noon on Fridays Tony comes and helps with some of the heavier work.  I love watching the camaraderie between those four…….it is full of talking, laughter, yelling, and lots of grunting, but the work they accomplish makes me so proud to have people bring my home back to life, caring so much about the mission of Crossroads Ministry, and loving every minute of transforming my grounds into a place of beauty.  In the fall they began planting ground cover, bulbs, transplanting from Cora’s house to this area and getting ready to batten down the hatches for winter.

In October they were blessed with another helper.  So for two Friday’s Alex Connelly helped by moving salvaged wood back inside my front building from under the Magnolia Tree in the front of the property and carried crab orchard stone to build a small dam and line the front drainage area to help with stabilizing the sides of the runoff.  Alex chose to work with Crossroads for his church service hours and it was a joy watching a young man work with a heart to serve.  The front of the property is now clear, not completely planted but on its way.


It’s quiet again……..but that’s ok.  We all need a rest now and then but I did hear rumblings that 2011 is going to be a busy year on my property so I will look forward to hearing the laughter, music, and voices coming from those who care.

Yeaaaa!  No more dusting of snow again this year…..nosiree, we had a wonderful snowy winter and the grounds were covered with that beautiful white layer that only the first snow can bring.  It is always breathtaking, especially from my vantage point of looking over the grounds, how clean and peaceful everything can look…….before reality kicks in!

Now I wait until Spring when my friends come back to continue on their quest of beauty in the midst of chaos and I look so forward to seeing what will happen this year to help me get a new start in life.

2011 Slowly But Surely

Well, it took long enough but finally I see Cora and Sue back to working along the creek edge weeding and planting.  I was also blessed with four more pair of hands every Friday in 2011.  Patsy worked all day and husband Tony came by after work on Fridays to spend another four hours doing lots of heavy work to help us.  John Phillips lent a helping hand before the heat took over by weed-eating, but most of the time was spent planting more spring color and cutting back areas they had not been able to get to earlier.

It’s April 30, 2011 and, oh my gosh, here come the troops……loud and laughing.  What an unruly group.  I sure hope they aren’t laughing at me!  That would hurt my feelings.  It looks like this is Y-12 Volunteer Day and Tony brought his department to work on the beginning of our attic infrastructure and roofing repair.  But, of course, what we thought would be an easy repair turned out to be much more as more wood had rotted and mildewed than we had seen from the inside looking up, but once the roofing and sheathing was taken off we could really see what needed to be done.  I would watch the men grouping, as they always do, to discuss the unseen issues and I was really scared for a while there but the problem was solved.  After being inspected by a structural engineer and his recommendations given they started working on the roof area.  Whew!!  I didn’t want anything to stop the progress on having my roof repaired so I could be dry inside.

It was a hot, dirty job but the men covered one and a half apartments along the bottom three feet, where most of the leaking was coming from.  They repaired trusses, beams, and replaced the cinderblock topper before putting new sheathing on then a moisture barrier.  A lot was accomplished but there was still a lot to be done.  And the quiet began!


It was only quiet for two weeks then on May 13, 2011 Tony and Patsy’s Small Group spent another hot Saturday working on the next section of roof area.  While the men did their dirty work, the ladies did their own dirty work while working in the garden area beside the creek cutting back overgrowth next to the back “L” Building


The rest of the year was spent watching Cora and Sue diligently work on the areas around the creek in the front.  More flowers were blooming and it was so nice looking down on lots of color, watching the birds flit around and hummingbirds at the red cardinal flowers at the creek edge.  Most of what they had been planting were perennials so each year I will see more color.  Such a gorgeous sight!  As fall arrived Tony and Patsy moved to Canada so I lost my four new hands, but I will always remember the time they gave to make my grounds a feast to behold and the time they spent working on my roof area to make my front building weather tight.

Of course it is taking a lot longer to do than initially thought, but, thankfully the groups worked hard in the hot weather of 2012.  The last group to work in April was from Kern United Methodist Church and they were lucky to have a woman, Angi Agle, there to help crawl on the inside rafters while they worked from the outside on ladders.  Sometimes it just takes a woman!



They were such a blessing and my thanks go out to each group for their faithfulness!  It has been so much fun watching everyone scurrying around, laughing and sometimes muttering to themselves, but I am so excited to see that work is beginning and soon my insides will be dry during storms, I hope!

I was also blessed with the capable hands of John and Steve Whitaker who mowed and edged my grounds this year and will continue whenever the rain stops.

I don’t know what 2013 will bring but I do know that I will see my gardener out working in my gardens again and I am pretty sure there will be more than last year.  Spring should bring many more flowers which also invite the butterflies and birds to congregate, feed, and drink the cool water from the creek.  Oh, it will be so nice to see my friends again, and many new ones as they come to help me become the place where I can house the young, single mothers and their children so they can begin a new life with love, safety, and security.

Well, as often happens, things didn’t work out as planned.  It was a very hot Spring, then Cora had to have surgery which kept her from working in my gardens, or even her own, all summer, and then we had a very wet fall and winter so my gardens were very full of beautiful flowers and some unruly weeds and, unfortunately, my roof wasn’t worked on either.

I was looking forward to 2014 with lots of workers but that didn’t happen either.  We had a long winter, then a hot icky summer, Sue had to have surgery and could no longer help out so my gardeners fell away, except for a couple of times when Cora came in the early evening, and my gardens languished in the heat but were colorful anyway.  I think some Loves-a-Busting took over, but wildflowers are nice to look at too!

It was really quiet for a while then one day I heard it again, cars rolling in, people running about, measuring and cutting going on, lots of loud noise.  For a while I couldn’t figure out what was going on then I heard that my mower, John, was going to build a bridge over the creek connecting my front garden area and the larger garden area on the other side of the creek for his Eagle Scout Project.  Now, this was realy exciting because I could see what was going on and listen to all the talk.  There was a large crew of leaders and troops working hard and this continued for a few weeks while I watched the creation of a beautiful wooden bridge take place.  I was  proud of the young men doing the work and it turned out to be a work of art.  This was the end to a year-long project where John had to write his idea down, get it approved, design the bridge, build the bridge, and finish by putting all of his information and pictures together to actually receive his Eagle Scout Badge at a special ceremony.  The pictures speak for themselves but you really need to come see and walk on the finished product to appreciate all the work that went into it.



Whoa, what did I see but Cora and another new friend, Etta, working in the garden area.  Etta also helps with the grants so we can get my buildings all restored and looking beautiful again, actually even better than before.  Oh, I am so glad they are here and they worked so hard to get my garden area cleaned out and in order again.  It took a while but finally I could see my flowers and all my butterflies and birds, plus a few frogs came back to reclaim their territory.  The runoff is getting overgrown with water loving iris so there will be some moving around to bring color to other areas that could use it, and that I have a lot of!

Fall came and with it the rain so the work stopped but I do hope to see lots of activity next year so that I can get my roof fixed.  It has been open to the weather for way too long!

2015  Came in with a Bang

And I got what I wished for…….lots of beautiful snow and a very, very cold winter.  Luckily the freeze didn’t hurt me as far as I can see but if there are many more before my roof gets on there could be damage to my walls that otherwise are in good shape.  I love looking out over my garden areas with the white blanket of snow without a footprint but so look forward to seeing lots of boot prints from the moms and children living with me and knowing what it is like to be in a place of love and security.  It has been way too long for me to stand unfinished and empty when there is so much need in my county.  I am cold inside when I should be warm, and dull and dreary outside when I should have more flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees growing in the large garden area that also sits empty and waiting for loving hands to begin bringing new life to my grounds.

Spring was hardly here but it brought me a bit of trouble, a beaver, who decided the small dam behind my building wasn’t large enough for him so began building it higher, actually about 2 feet above the rim and over the strip of land to my walls.  When he did this it also made the pond expand,which also made it to my walls.  Two people had tried to remove him and couldn’t but finally one of the trappers broke down the dam to the bottom of the creek which then emptied the pond and now it is a sorry mess, but the beaver is gone, thank goodness,  and my workers plan on cleaning up that area in 2016 along with all the other areas needing work.  This will be a year of heavy, but productive work.  It will need lots of hands, a bobcat, and chainsaws to really clean it up but I can’t wait to hear it all begin again.



Summer came hot and sticky again and being mowed and edged was about all that was mainly accomplished.  I saw Cora working the garden area a couple of times but with the heat and humidity the time was short.  She was able to clean off a bank area, again, so next spring the vinca will be able to bloom in the open and not be hidden by overgrowth, which had already been removed once before.

Unfortunately I heard Cora and a friend talking and looking at my roof on the back building and it will need to be taken down instead of being repaired.  It has just been exposed to the weather for too long.  She is hoping the front building’s roof will still be able to be repaired when money becomes available and, hopefully, that will be in early 2016.  God willing it will happen!!

Summer 2015 came hot and sticky again and being mowed and edged was about all that was mainly accomplished.  I saw Cora working in the garden area a couple of times but with the heat and humidity the time was short.  She was able to clean off a bank area, again, so next spring the vinca will be able to bloom in the open and not be hidden by overgrowth.

Ha! and didn’t we hope that would happen!  The weeds have grown so fast that she was never able to catch up so another summer has come and gone, but that too shall pass, and eventually all will be back in order, just takes time.  I so want to see all my flowers again!

2016 Brings Big Changes!

Oh NO!  I heard Cora and a friend talking and looking at my roof on the back building and, unfortunately, it will need to be taken down instead of being repaired since Crossroads did not receive a grant to do that work.   It has just been exposed to the weather for too long.  So, after a very long time of trying to find someone to come take the roof off, it happened!!



Whoa!!  Here I was lamenting about losing one of my roofs when on a cold Saturday morning in December who shows up but many beautiful, young women and their photographers.  Cora had a photographer, Jeff Smith of Jeffery G. Photography, call and ask if he could have a photo shoot out at Crossroads Center of Hope and at the same time they would all donate to our Building Fund.  He is always looking for unusual places to shoot and they donate back to the group donating the space.  So, if I could have, I would have jumped up and down, as who doesn’t like beautiful women posing around them.  Cora arrived with homemade brownies and hot chocolate, and that was so appreciated since it was one of our colder days.  Mmmm, for five hours I heard the talking, laughter, and clicking of the shutters as memories were made for the young women and their future in modeling.

To top all that off, the taking down of the back building’s roof, everyone was hoping we would only need to repair the roof on my front building, but, like the back one, it had been too long open to the elements and it, too, needs to be taken off.  The back half was ok but the front was so bad that there was no way to stabilize it while working on it.  They were hoping to slip new trusses in against the original trusses and take out only the rotted portion but it turned out that since the original trusses were stick built, on sight, and additional bracing was added alongside the trusses, they couldn’t be attached as originally planned.  Now it’s back to square one again and all the hard work already done on it was for naught!



As in the beginning, it has taken time, because contractors only want to tear down buildings, not restore them, even though they were told the circumstances and that I am an historical structure, No. 23 on the Oak Ridge Historical Association List, and I only need fixing, not tearing down and taking history away.  So, after much consternation in trying to find someone to help, we have finally received two estimates on the work to be done.  One includes everything and one only labor, but my Structural Engineer, Lynn, told Cora that Crossroads would save on the cost of building supplies if she did the gathering of prices and since we have a grant to help cover part of the work that is her next step.  Of course, now we have a structural issue.  Since I was built in 1949 the codes were near non-existent so now after the old roof and infrastructure is removed the workers need to go around the building, actually all the buildings as they are worked on, every four feet and install 8’ rebar and mortar down the cinderblock middle opening.  Being old the existing cinderblock has three holes not two, like now.  This all adds cost and time to the job but will also stabilize the structure for the new trusses and roof.  This will also need to be done on the other two buildings to make them all safer and structurally sound.  The roof will be put on by the original roofing company’s estimate and install granite impregnated metal with a lifetime warranty.  This is important because I am situated in an open area and would be open to lots of damage if there were a heavy hailstorm and with asphalt shingle roofing, which is easily damaged, the cost to fix would add up.  As in many cases the cost upfront outweighed what could happen later and save money in the long run!

2017 Will Be The Beginning to Bring Life Back

I am so excited that I can hardly speak!  I just found out that work will begin on my front building in September and this is something I have been looking forward to for a long time…..With one grant Crossroads received, the gifts received from the fundraising teas, and additional gifts from those wanting to see Crossroads Center of Hope up and running to help the homeless, at-risk single mothers and their small children, the work to remove the old roof and infrastructure, making my walls structurally sound, and putting up new trusses, sheathing and moisture protector, can finally begin.  Some funds will be left after this first work is completed but a bit more will be needed to be able to put on the roofing material and I know there are lots of hearts out there wanting to see this first step completed.  Of course, this is just the beginning of a long project but one that is so needed in Anderson County and I want to see mothers and children finding a new purpose in their lives and hear the song and laughter that happiness can bring.


October and It Has Begun!!

Oh my goodness!  The work has started again and I was just getting used to the silence…………and in my case, it does not mean golden but sadness because nothing is being done.  But, that has changed and I am becoming alive again.  I have so missed the noise!  So, here comes the rumbling of a dumpster truck and pickup trucks with the men ready to begin making me topless….however, this time I believe I will look better because the men are doing the work by themselves to avoid any mishaps!

Taking off the front half of the old roof.                                                                                                                      First days work!

This was just the beginning because all of this area was rotted and falling down so to prevent any accidents that was the first part of the roof the men removed.

All old roofing material removed.

End pieces removed.

It took all week to remove the roofing material off the old trusses on the front half of the building while also making certain it was supported enough so what was left wouldn’t collapse.  And with two men and lots of slow, safe work the old roof is beginning to leave my front building.  What was especially nice is that after removing old ‘stuff’ the men cleaned out each room in the building.  I know that this time I won’t be hurt by rushing to get something completed!  So nice!!

Front shot showing rotten area removed.

The second week began when the rotten area was removed and the men were able to begin on the rest of the building, in between the raindrops.

Working from the inside also to cut the boards and supports


Taking down old attic walkway.








The next step was to removed the first half of the building.

Working from both the inside and outside the men were able to keep the old trusses and sheathing stabilized.  Whew…..I got a haircut and it is cool now!  These guys always had the radio playing music and when Cora came by to take pictures they were always ready to answer any of her questions and hide from the camera.

Work begins on the final half.









I’ll be so glad when all the works is finished, the noise stops, and I can rest for a while.  So glad the men clean up the grounds before leaving.  It really make my area look so much better.  I hear them talking and it looks like one more day and they will be finished!  Yea, am so glad!

Last section removed and before cleanup.

Final cleanup on back area.








The last day and final cleanup and oh, how nice I look now!  I heard they are going to begin on the structural work in a couple of weeks and then the trusses and sheathing and, hopefully, my new roof!  It will be so nice to have at least one building completely in the dry….it has been so long and I have been so cold in the winters!


On my way!

And so, the next step has begun!

It is November and it is cold but that doesn’t stop Jeremy and his crew from continuing work on my front building.  The final step before putting on the new trusses and roofing is to stabilize my walls.  You see, I was built in 1949 when things were very different and material was not the same.  So, for me it meant that all of my cinderblock walls need additional internal support and that means rebar and cement down the center of each cinderblock every four feet around my whole building with cement in every cinderblock over the doorways and window openings.  The men also did any repair work on the back wall that occurred during the roof removal.  Music was playing all day while they were there, and since it was the beginning of the holidays, it was Christmas music, and I have really missed those sounds of celebration leading up to our Lords birth!  What a wonderful time of the year!!

Front View Stabilizing


Back View Stabilizing and Repair

The men worked on the stabilizing from the top so they could be certain the cement went down all 9 ft.  It was a slow process but so worth the effort.  Jeremy always went the extra mile to ensure the safety of the mothers and children who will live there.


The final work was to put the fallen cinderblock back on the building and add cement to each of its holes, there were three with this old cinderblock.  That work was done from the ladder!  After all the cement and rebar was added to all four walls Jeremy went around and plugged every single hole he found on the outside of that back area so when we are ready to apply a fiberglass impregnated stucco as a finish it will be ready.

Final Work being done

Finishing Up!










All cleaned up and lookin good!

Now I am ready for my new roof which will happen in 2018 as new doors open and new work begins!  So excited because I heard Cora telling Jeremy that Crossroads wants to have a ‘Raise The Roof’ Fundraiser on my grounds after the roof is on so people can see, first hand, what is being done, what needs to be done, and why it needs to be Crossroads Center of Hope!  As the words go, “God is in this place”, and I feel it first hand every day!

2018 Spring Break

Ah, Spring is in the air, even though there is snow! But, the best thing is I hear laughter, talking, lots of talking and I see work beginning!  It turns out that two youth groups are working here the first two days of their spring break!  Now, how sweet is that!

Kids from Trinity United Methodist Church led by Donald Balcom and Kern United Methodist Church led by Alisha Balcom are working their little hearts out on projects Cora just hasn’t had time to get to. 








It was snowing in the early morning on the first day, Monday, but even then they teamed up and scraped and sanded the large metal poles that will hold up the individual porch roofs.











Then they began working on clearing out the overgrowth in the front runoff and along the creek, while the wooden bridge that had been built a few years ago was getting a wonderful, needed pressure washing!









But, no they weren’t finished yet, so on Tuesday, since the sun was out but still cold, some did the final sanding and then painted the poles with a rust-preventive.  Others worked on the final sanding and preventive staining of the bridge.  And others finished up the cutting back and weeding and then the dead brush was burned in the old pond, which Cora wants to have rebuilt into an herb garden.  Oh, there are such plans for my buildings and grounds and it is so much fun seeing activity again!


Some of the youth decided on their own that they wanted to clean up a part of the back building, which needs lots of repair, so began sorting the cinder block into piles to save and dispose of and sweeping up other ‘stuff’.


I was just so delighted watching these young people work so hard in such cold, yucky weather that, if I could have, I would have cried with happy tears because there are so many good kids that do good things but you only hear about the ones that do the bad things.  I even had a young man come into the small house building, push over the dividing wall between the living area and bathroom and try to have a fire with painted wood, and thinking it was such a ‘big’ thing to do put it on his Face Book page.  Just sorry I don’t have arms when things like that happen.  Now, it has to be rebuilt which adds time and cost to the work!

But, besides having these great kids come work on my grounds and on my buildings, I had neighbors come by to admire the work being done. How thankful they must have been to see everything coming to life!  Then, the next week I heard Cora and Jess talking about the new roof work to be done on the front apartment building.  I am so excited to see work beginning and the thought of having a roof on at least one building makes me jump for joy, or at least shiver a bit.  Then I won’t be completely topless!! 🙂   So, April will be the beginning and then Cora will have an open house so people can see the vision God put on her heart for single mother families in Anderson County.  I’m very proud to know that I will be the first such facility here and they will love this area with the quiet that surrounds me!

Sprumer 2018 (the mixture of Spring and Summer)  Strange weather we have been having lately!

Oh, I am so excited I could do a happy dance, if I could, because the roof work has begun!  I have waited so long for this, so has Cora, that the wait is finally over and restoration has finally begun!

Day 1 – Framing

The framer thought that he and his men could install the trusses like they usually do, but then after seeing them he realized that they needed a crane for the lifting…..sooooo, along comes a huge crane with a cab that turned and a huge hook that lifted the trusses and placed them on the walls so the men could stabilize them.  And, boy, were they heavy!   I thought I would tip until little by little the trusses were put on and the building was completely covered and I felt like I could stand tall again, which I did!  What a great feeling….we were beginning a new life and, if I could talk, I would scream from the roof top how wonderful this is!

Moving Center Trusses


All Trusses On

End Gables


One interesting change made was to have the center trusses made with the capability of having them floored so the moms would have a place to store extra things.  Since the new code is that each apartment needs to have a pull down stair to an attic space the thought was why waste it, lets make it useful, so it was done!

Day 2 – Sheathing Installed and Moisture Shield applied

The next project was to have the OSB Sheathing put on and then the Ice and Water Moisture Shield applied.  This was a longer process and it rained in between so it took two days.  It also required another team of men, the roofers.  So, the framers and roofers worked together to see that all was put together as it should be.  After the sheathing was installed the framers began building the dormers that would be over the front porches.  It was so nice seeing two different team work together to see the work come together at the right time, and trying to beat the weather!  Actually with just the trusses I could feel the breeze through my top, but I know it is only temporary as soon I will be in one piece again, as I should be!


Beginning Sheathing on Back Side


Finishing Sheathing on Back





Building the Dormers for the Front Porches











After my dormers were put on then the roofers could continue with the moisture protector.  I am finally beginning to ‘look good again’ and be as I have wanted since this project was started!  It is so exciting to have all the sounds of cutting, pounding, and the occasional grunting being heard!  Then I know work is being done and I am coming together!

Almost finished dormer!

Dormer sheathing in and protector begun!

Beginning moisture protector on front

Now it is beginning to look even better than new!  Still waiting until the dormer and gable vents are installed and the finishing work completed.  Then all the raw wood will need to be painted and I heard Cora talking about having an Open House/Fundraiser later this summer so money can be raised to put the granite impregnated metal roof on!  It’s a process….but there are many single mother families in Anderson County who could use what Crossroads Center of Hope will be offering.

All roofing work completed! Finish work to begin when the rain stops!

I also heard that the youth are anxious to get back and begin cleaning up the grounds and buildings!  Lot to do before people can come visit and feel what God has planned for this beautiful place!  So let the fun, whoops, work begin!!

All ready and waiting for the permanent roofing when the weather decides to behave.  It has been so hard sitting here alone and waiting for the fun to begin again.  At least I am partially cute and looking forward to having my special hat put on.  Can’t wait!!

Ready for my finish work to be done. Can’t wait!

2019 – I am ready for a busy time, lots of cleanup, lots of noise, fun and laughter again!

And so it begins….Cora had lots of people out here looking at the little house and I am so excited that it will be the next major project.  Finally I may have a live person out here in between the groups of contractors and volunteers.  It will be so much fun having someone to talk to……whoops, I need to remember no one can hear me, bummer, but I bet they can feel my heart cause it is bursting with excitement that things are moving and people care about all the single mothers and children that will be living within my walls.

Future Screened-in Porch with Dormer over


Then last weekend, on March 2, I watched Cora out here beginning to clean out the back building, which is in the worse shape of all three, but, it too is a process and will be the final largest project on my buildings.  So glad it wasn’t hot but, as usual, she persisted and was able to get a lot accomplished and two of the ‘L’ rooms look a bit more presentable.  I hear I will have a large group of volunteers working on March 16 so expect great things to take shape and look so much better!

Dumpster After Work


And, they came, Wow, Our focus was preparing for the ‘Raise the Roof’ Builders Bash on Saturday, March 30 and that took a lot of time and energy!  With three loads of dumpster trash and many strong backs, cleanup of the back building and little house was accomplished the Thursday before by five young people from the College and Young Adult Sunday School Classes of First Baptist Church Clinton, their two leaders and a mom who wanted to help plus another young mother who helped me begin the cleanup before the group arrived. 














And, it is finished, 4 hours later!

‘Raise the Roof’ Builders Bash!

The Builders Bash didn’t quite meet our expectations but out of the group that worked we have a potential new board member, after his life slows down a bit, ideas for the apartments from the young mom who is studying Interior Design at UT, and kitchen ideas from an attendee who also took an enlarged grounds sketch and is putting it into CAD so changes can be made easily, oh, and he also does carpentry!  Consider all that a plus!  In spite of everything, those that attended heard some great music by Elza Gate and And A One, ate fantastic chili, and just enjoyed the time!  

Elza Gate

And A One


Vintage Metal Desks and Vanities to be sold



My volunteers are the best!  Oh, what would I do if people didn’t come to my gardens and lend a helping hand!  On a warm Thursday evening a wonderful family showed up to help get my garden in shape again!  Oh goodness, every year they get it looking great, then it gets cold, work stops, gets warm and the weeds begin popping up again!  Will be so glad when Cora and her teams can get everything covered so that doesn’t happen again next year!      The Bradford Family, Kevin, Julie, Ella, Stephen, and Zane!  Two hours of back breaking work but they accomplished so much and their work was so appreciated!  And I really appreciate being able to look out at the beginning of my pretty gardens again!  Found flowers that were hidden, now blooming in the sun, which brings back my butterflies, bees, and birds!

The process!

The Bradford Family project!

Finishing up!

Big difference!

Wonderful, hardworking, family!








Now it is November and it was extremely quiet and boring around here and I was getting pretty lonesome……………until it cooled down and I had two extremely talented friends of Crossroads, Bob Johnson and Zary Luke descend on the grounds.  Well, actually they told Cora that they were adopting Crossroads Center of Hope as their project, and boy did they!  If I was bothered by noise then what they were doing would have certainly made me want to cover my ears, if I had any!

They began by removing a wall in the last bathroom so the plumbing would be accessible and what a mess that was!

Still Working

Removing wall behind tub

Whoa……they took turns with the sledgehammer but the sound was the same no matter who was using it!  Team work!

Zary and Bob

Final Results

And, this was just the beginning!  From here they went to removing all of the window frames that were still there and in the midst, discovered a nest of yellow jackets under one of the sills…………what a surprise that was, to all of us!!  Their demise was taken care of the next day and it was cleaned out.  The nest was the depth of one cinder block and very active!  Imagine, I could have been stung!!

Yellow Jacket Nest

All of the Nest










Their next project was scraping all of the loose paint and cement covering off the cinder block walls, which in itself was a big project because it was dirty and back breaking!  But, thanks to their strong backs, the inside is ready to be worked on.

Bob beginning scraping

Zary top to bottom


For the longest time I had a large bush growing up on the end of the front building and it was going to be in the way of work that needed to be done on the area below the roof preparing for the permanent roof.  Sooooo, cutting back was started and little by little it was gone and now work can begin!  When the new year arrives for lots of beginnings!

The beginning

The end – vines and tree

And the tree is down and out

2020 A Year of New Beginnings

Oh, I was so excited about the new year and all the work that would be done, but, as 2020 began so did the rain and cold, on and on and on!  I thought it would never end and I was so cold and so excited about my new beginning!  And, it finally arrived in April, my new beginning!  Marvin Hatcher’s crew from Hatcher Siding and Gutters worked on all the trim for the building!  What a crew of fine workers!  I am so excited that they will be doing all the same work on my other two buildings when they are ready.  Can’t wait for that!!

Working on Soffits and Porches



Finished Soffit and Facia

Porch ceiling finishing

Front Bldg Gable End


Finished Gable


Crew Leaving




And a job well done

Now, I am ready for my new permanent roof!  So, can’t wait!  It will be beautiful and then the metal porch support will be painted to match, a deep green like my original roof many years ago, and the wrought iron design repainted!  It could be a long, hot summer for more reasons than the heat from what I hear!  Luckily work can be done on me because of being in the fresh air and sunlight…so necessary now!  And then COVID-19 hit and all of what was planned disappeared, almost!

Another reason to be excited is that work is supposed to begin, before summer, but now fall, with the roofing infrastructure on the little house and that is going to be such a special place!  This will be the Housemothers residence so there will always be support and a safe place for the moms and children living at Crossroads Center of Hope 24/7.  Until the back building is fixed this will be the gathering place for special get-together’s and bonding between all of the families.  I am so looking forward to the laughter, sounds, and life that will be happening when this first phase is completed!

Side View from Apartment Building

Front View










And here I was looking forward to more excitement of workers, hammers, saws, and lots of laughter, I hoped, while work began on this little house!

When WELCOME COVID-19 big time – Boy did that change things out at Crossroads Center of Hope!  Pricing changed so the cost went up, time frame changed so it takes way longer to receive product!  Needless to say all was at a standstill while Cora looked for a new contractor to do the renovation work and getting all the new changes in order.  But, she persevered, as she always has, and found a great contractor, Johnson and Longee Construction LLC, in Oak Ridge!  Unfortunately, first my grounds had to be fenced because some teenagers were just going too crazy being cooped-up with COVID that they thought, what better thing to do than go to the old motel and do some decorating on my interior walls, and much to my dismay most was not for public consumption so Cora has been painting over all the walls before people come to visit.  Such a shame, bet their mama’s would be proud!  But, thankfully, National Construction Rental came immediately and put up fencing and gates. So far, so good!! except for three pieces of lumber that appeared at the back building, think it came from a closer place!

Starting at a corner


Installed with gate


The process

It has been so lonesome being by myself and waiting for the work to be started is such a chore!  The only time recently I have seen people is on Friday’s when Cora has her Nurturing Parenting class, then I can hear them laughing, crying, and talking but only for two hours!  Sure have missed that!

November 2020 – Things are happening again!

So, with the fencing being finished more work is able to be done!  I am so excited because the workers are back and so is the laughing, talking, and machinery noise!  So, so glad!  Now the cement work is being done, but first there is the breaking up of the old front porch and digging out for the back cement pad which will be the screened-in porch so the moms and children will have a covered area in hot or cold weather to visit!


Breaking by Hand


More Work



Future Screened-in Porch

Digging for slab

Still digging


Creating new slope for runoff


A lot of work was accomplished for this first day and the men from A Plus Concrete were great.  My grounds shook with all of this being done, but, oh boy, am I glad it has started!  Love hearing all of the noise!



The next days were filled, literally, with cement, lots of noise and so much accomplished!

Porch framing


Front Porch Framed and new gravel put in


Pad for back







Cement day today and boy were the guys busy!  Up to their knees in cement and lots of spreading going on, both in the front and back!

Pouring the cement


Screened-in porch slab

Poured porch and step slab

This all sat for a day then they came back and brushed middle and smoothed the edges for another day or two and complete drying.

Front Porch with form removed


Front Porch with step slab

Back Slab







And now I am ready for the trusses and roofing to be put on and will be ready for winter.  But, first I heard that the permanent roof will be installed on my front apartment building within the next two weeks, then the house work begun!  I am so excited because it will show that everyone has been working hard to accomplish this feat, with rising prices and extended delivery, it has been so hard on everyone and I have ulcers to prove it!  Well, I would have if I could!  I can’t wait until I hear the laughter and excitement of the first three single mother families living within my walls, and it needs to happen next year!  It cannot wait any longer because the need is there and I want to help by providing a safe place for at-risk single mother families!

Another project completed and many more to go!

Crossroads is salvaging everything they can that was used in my beginning and two items I knew just had to be fixed and used, the two vintage and very heavy wrought iron corner posts that held up the front porch roof on the managers house. Since that area now will be storage there will also be six inch round metal posts like was used in the apartment buildings to hold up the porch roofs, but these now beautiful corner posts will be surrounding the new round posts. Production Components, Inc. in Clinton did a fantastic job and they look like new. They even straightened some of the decorative elements and one of the feet that goes into the cement porch on one post. They went above and beyond!

Refinished and Ready

Cast Iron Corner Supports – Before work



Sand blasted then powder coated!  Beautiful job!






December 2020 – And the outside work begins again

And it has begun! I am so excited I could dance, if only I could!  Music, laughter, talking and all that goes on when people begin working to achieve a wonderful end so I can look good again!  So much accomplished and fantastic workers! Way more to go but such a beginning! So glad I and Crossroads Board believe in miracles and God’s grace to making this happen before CHRISTmas! I have been blessed many times over and can’t wait until Christmas when my roofs will be finished and I can get warm again! ❤

Organizing Trusses before beginning work


First row of main room trusses



Putting on the top plate before the trusses can be placed

Front Dormer for storage and closet

Back of house before dormer/office put on







Day 2 –

Now we can really see the creation of our housemothers residence! So much work going into this and with our 16/12 pitch roof I held my breathe a couple of times while they worked on putting the OSB on. It is coming together but a few more days before our permanent roof will be installed. They are trying to work it so both this roof and the roof on the front apartment building will be done one after the other! Blessed again!!

Both porches ready for OSB


End of Day


Back roof OSB began

Day 2-1/2 –

So, of course, it had to rain on my parade, the second day of work had to be put off, they were going to work on Saturday too! 🙁 Installation of the roofs will probably move into next week, but still a blessing! Good news though! Yesterday Cora received a call from the man who does our mowing, Jeremy Webb, who does lots of other kinds of outside work, that since he had the machine that would really clean up the overgrowth from next door in the garden area, in addition to roots, plus reroute the runoff from next door to the creek so it wouldn’t pool any longer, he suggested getting it done before the rain again. So as the work was done, he drove the loaded dump truck and in no time it was completed! Next, we will have a block wall installed along that property line to keep the overgrowth out and help the area look more inviting! We have lots of ideas for turning it into a place of beauty and usefulness, with the organic gardens, potting shed/workshop, greenhouse/lath house, chickens and ………. 🙂 Day

From overgrowth – 20 ft. in some places

                                                  After overgrowth removed

Day 3 –

Ah, the sun came out and so did the workers! What a day of accomplishment to finish the OSB before our next rain tonight and maybe tomorrow! The men installing our permanent roofs, from Advanced Systems in GA, are arriving tomorrow and will begin work on Thursday, so expect to see the beginning of a beautiful green granite impregnated steel roof on the front apartment building! So excited to see this! Seems like we have been waiting forever…….. well, we kinda have and with COVID it took a lot longer to get the material then setting up installation! But, we have been blessed so if we had to wait, it will be worth the wait! 😏

Almost done on back dormer and back side of building

EOD – Bathroom, both Dormers

Front of building

Day 3-1/2

Of course it rained again, but the 2×2 battens were delivered for the roofs, then the material tomorrow! So can’t wait to see that! This building will be done first since it is ready with the ice shield/weather watch, the house probably next week since there is finish work that needs to be done first! Work begins tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. Hope I’m awake by then! 😎

2×2 Battens for roofing to be attached to

Day 4 –

Finishing up on the Weather Watch on the little house then installing the 2 x 2 battens on the roof before the permanent roofing is put on! A long process especially on at 16×12 pitch roof! So glad it isn’t me! Of course I doubt they would even let me try! 😉  Two men putting on the battens and one putting on the roofing material! They only stop for lunch and work until it is dark, which drives me crazy…..too dark to see well on the roof! But, they have one goal and that is to finish early next week!  Battens put on apartment building and beginning with roofing material!

Ice Shield/Weather Watch on House

2×2 Battens being installed on House


Timing was crucial because there were two different teams working!  One for framing and one for the roofing.  But it all was done in a timely manner because they knew how much I wanted to be in the dry before Christmas!




Battens on, ready for roofing on back of apartment building


EOD Finishing up on House


Back of Building roofing began

Day 5 –

Both of these final processes take a long time because of the pitch of the roof and these men are very careful when working at that height so don’t take chances but do a great job! The front apartment building roof will be completed tomorrow, then work on the little house begins! It has certainly been a process! 😃🙏❤

Back of building almost finished


EOD roofing installed, trim to come next

Battens on ready for final roofing

Day 6 –

Getting near the end! Whew, what a process but so excited to see the roof finished! Apartment building done, house almost done! I can feel the warmth already! 🥳

Apartment Building roof completed, trim and all


EOD House Roof Dormers almost done

Beginning House Roof on Front

Day 7 –

So, of course there would have to be another glitch!  Some of the ridge finish pieces have not been received, should be here tomorrow or should I say, “they had better be here tomorrow”. No one wants to work on Christmas Eve and the men have a long drive back to Texas where they had just finished a job to come to TN. Just one crew of many! The fascia and soffits were late in getting started, Cora’s fault since she gets too busy, but because the roof is taking a bit longer it all worked out, whew!! 😎

Backside and house, valley and ridges

First day of trim work while roof finished is being done

Front of House and Porch

                                                                                                                                                                        Day 7-1/2-

Waiting for more roof venting, which by the way hasn’t shown up yet, but, it turns out it also wasn’t needed! So, that, if it ever comes, will be put into storage along with the extra roofing, nails, trim, etc. for the roof on the back building! Bit of a head start there and cost already paid will be credited! Matt Jones is good that way and the owner of Advanced Systems of GA so can make those wonderful decisions!

One edge on house left by fireplace

Finishing Roof on Back Side

Finishing front edge

Day 8 –

Wow, it was close but the roof on both the apartment building and little house were finished at 3:00 on Wednesday! Prayed for it to be finished by Christmas and the men worked hard to get it done! A fantastic job and it looks great!  Two jobs being done at the same time! Fascia and Soffits had to be installed so the trim of the roofing could be put on to seal the edges! As soon as the men finished one side of the gable or dormer, the roofers took over! It was team work at its finest! Marvin Hatchers men began their work in the morning and began other areas in the afternoon! That team of men will begin again on Monday with the dormer and gable finishing and installing the original vents! A great job done by all! ❤🙏😃

House Roof Finished, ready to begin Siding and Vents on Dormers and Gables

Beginning Back Porch Ceiling

Ceiling Finished

Christmas Eve

Merry White Christmas – Ready to start Monday

Day 9 –

Soooo, now they are at some finishing phases! Porch posts, front and back but different, and crab orchard stone fixing on the house and fireplace where it was either taken down or fell down! Great stonemason! Loved watching a master at work! I have been so blessed with great craftsmen in all aspects of the work, who want to make me look good again, and I am looking forward to the inside work being done, after I get doors and windows! Right now it is a bit drafty in my lower extremities!  😍

Before permanent posts are installed


Front Porch Posts – Will be painted to match roof then the original cast iron corners will be put up!


After installation!

First step in repairing all the crab orchard stone on fireplace

 Day 10 –

Today was all stone masons on the building! Slow but so worth it! Tomorrow will begin with the fireplace. Originally it had two large wood pieces set in on either side but it was decided to put the stone to the ceiling! I think it will be fantastic! Can’t wait to be warmed inside with a wood stove! 🔥👨‍👧‍👦❤

Beginning of setting stone on front side of fireplace.

Getting ready to work on fireplace


Finishing stone on fireplace

Day 11 –

Armando came on this dreary day and worked inside taking the fireplace to the ceiling. Saturday the hearth will be fixed and sides of the fireplace to reinforce it to the block wall and a few stones on the very top of the walls of both porches by his men. He will be building our wonderful curved stone step onto the front porch! So excited to see that! 🙏❤

Adding stone to ceiling

Brushed and ready to completely dry

Letting the cement dry before brushing

Day 12 –

I was watching Armondo finish the fireplace and hearth today and then the final course of stone under the front porch roof, making me all cozy and warmer!  Thank goodness he is taking Sunday off, I need the break, but will work on the front step on Monday, if the weather is nice!  Today we were blessed with a perfect working outdoor day so Cora worked cutting back some more in the area by one of my culverts exposing the beautiful rocks and plants! 💥


Finished Face of Fireplace


Completed Fireplace and Hearth

Setting the hearth stones


Cleaned up vine and and exposing stones







Day 13 –

Even though it was a bit chilly today Armondo came to continue working!  His main focus was on the front step, which turned out gorgeous!  He also started fixing the window sill that wasn’t set correctly another time!  And typical for him there areas of stone that he wants to add a bit of cement to, just to stabilize, since it had been exposed to the elements for so long!  That, in my humble estimation of watching him work, is a master stonemason who is proud of his work and will go the extra mile to make sure all stone is firmly set!  Blessed again I am!

Beginning Step


Finished and Curing








Day 14 –

So, it was cold and yucky but Armondo persevered!  Finished all of the work he began the day before and readied the platforms to work on finishing the chimney outside stonework!  Hoping his guys come along to help today as he does not need to be going up to the top without someone below and I would be a lousy catcher! 😂

Preparing to work


Last stone fixing on front side



Last stone fixing on back side

Day 15 –

Wow, another very cold day but it didn’t stop my workers!  Armondo was ready to begin on the chimney top and is even recementing any loose stones!  That is what I call a top-notch worker, plus he is very proud of his work so not doing the little extra things is not something he would consider!  Marvin’s men began on their finishing work on the trim and fascia and the front porch ceiling.  All will be back on Saturday, if not too wet, to finish what they started today!  I have been so blessed with great workers who care about what they do! 🙂

Ready to start working


Covering top of chimney to protect it from rain


Chimney ready to be fixed


Progress on front porch ceiling

Trim on bathroom end gable


Day 16 –

Wow again!  Today was dedicated to finishing a job that was started when it was warmer!  It was so cold I had a hard time watching what the men were doing since my stones weren’t as flexible!  🙂  What beautiful work and what a craftsman!  Armondo and his assistant even took all the leftover stone and put it in my back building where it will be ready to fix the areas there that fell when the roof was taken down!  The stone that had been donated, and has been under the front Magnolia Tree, will also be put there when it warms up!  And to top it off, they cleaned up the area so it will be ready when Marvin’s men can come back, when it is warmer!  Team work is so important especially when there are many different ones working at separate times.  The poles holding up the front porch roof will be painted when it warms up.  Have the paint and Gabby is ready!  ❤

Beginning on the front of the fireplace

Back side of the fireplace finished


All stone work finished.

Day 17 – 2021 and a Year of Waiting and Working

Well, you know what happens when it is a warm, sunny day! You go out to Crossroads Center of Hope and paint and work in the garden. So, that is what Gabby and I did this afternoon. She did the painting ❤ and after removing the temporary porch roof supports I worked in the front garden area visiting with the weeds and uncovering many potentially beautiful spring flowers! 🌺

Gabby painting the first pole                                                                                                                              Finishing second pole.                                         

Ready for the corner posts

Day 18 –

Today David Weaver, another fantastic worker of Johnson-Longee Contractors, finished all of the preliminary work so we have safe access to the second floor, rather than my extension ladder, and we can actually see what the interior will look like, kinda!! 🤣 What you see was the beginning of a circular staircase, but luckily, we were able to make it like designed in the beginning!  The bathroom and kitchen area, to the left of the stairs, will need a lot of work because none of the electrical or plumbing can be used, so new will be installed! A big, costly job coming up in the future! 😅                                                                                                                                     

Looking towards LR

Before work began

The start of the staircase


From Front Porch to Back

LR towards dining & kit



Beginning in August –

Doors and Windows in the house and front apartment building…..Well, actually because of the delivery schedules that now are very iffy, my first windows weren’t delivered until August 5 to fit the upstairs windows in bathroom and bedroom!  Wrong size came for the double ‘escape’ window in the office so it is open and waiting!  But, my house is warmer and things are coming together.  Cora began trimming of the Magnolia Tree in the future Organic Garden area! Would love to see a children’s play area underneath, out of the sun and cooler!  I love to hear the laughter of children playing…………so excited for it to begin!

Organic Garden Magnolia needs trimming

First trimming – more to go!








I was so excited to see a few of my house windows delivered and inserted….. it has been such a long time!  If I had arms I would be there helping get some work accomplished so my new home could open and help the many moms and children living in unsafe situations!  My place will be safe!

Before new windows!


Windows installed and siding will be ordered!







Bedroom window spots!


Bedroom windows installed and ready for siding!

Office window area all ready waiting! Extra large for new code and safety glass on bottom!

A window was delivered for this opening but, it was too wide, not deep enough according to code, and the bottom glass wasn’t safety glass!  Now, I wait again!  As soon as the interior trim work is done on the cinderblock then my bottom half can be installed!  But, again there is work to be done before that can be accomplished!

So many steps to getting my buildings ready for the moms and children Crossroads Center of Hope wants to help!  And, it hasn’t helped since the cost of product has gone up quite a bit and was not counted on when budgeting!  Everyone is feeling the pinch!!

August 7, 8, 9 – Work days to clear the grounds

The beginning of cleanup with Michelle and Denee’. Ladder made for roofers but now rotten!



Magnolia all trimmed and area cleaned out!

Old wood & branches covered by leaves to be taken out and dumped!

So deep that only a small amount of weed eating could be done at this point, more to come!

Karen weed eating the future herb garden.  Lots of large brush had to be removed first!








Dup up cement and asphalt from area of new screened-in porch pad!


Yeah! Another mess gone!

The cement needed to be sledge hammered and broken up to lift!

Before front Magnolia (my very best climbing tree) is cleaned out!


What was revealed and moved to be used in fixing back building if needed and planting beds around apartments!

After crab orchard stone removed so tree can be trimmed!

Another area where wood panels were moved from!


Three good days work accomplished!  Front Magnolia is trimmed and area needs to be weeded and finished raking to look really good, but it all is time consuming and tiring!  Cora hopes to finish cutting up the trimmings on Saturday!  So wish I could help, but all I can do is give encouragement and watch my grounds and buildings become a beautiful place for healing and full of love!


Last piles of leaves and twigs for dumpster

All Finished!



And she did!!  Sweeping, cutting wood, and dumping un-needed clippings in the dumpster!  I was watching from my ‘strategic place’ and it is full to the brim and a bit!!




Branches ready to be cut up!


For the wood stove in the house. A cozy winter!


Work Day Inside the House – Old Tile Removal

One project the group was hoping to not have to do was remove the vintage tile from the walls and floor of the house!  But, as things sometime go, to be able to cut and run a sewer line for the house the best way is straight through the living room to the downstairs half bath and kitchen, and to do that it meant ‘take it out’…..And so it began, three capable ladies took turns working on the floor which really wasn’t so bad, but exhausting!  The walls were another story and the tile didn’t budge a bit, so it was back to the drawing board and maybe rent an electric scraper to help with that.  Of course, that didn’t turn out as expected since Cora couldn’t lift the machine and it was decided to have it done by someone who, actually, knows what they are doing!  And so it began…again…

Sharon Dowdy helping to remove floor tile


Three days of labor and all that was done

Still working on tile removal.

Some large pieces to be salvaged

Since they were able to salvage some large pieces of the floor everyone is hoping to be able to use it outside in someway, maybe as stepping stones or who knows!   Other pieces will be kept for craft projects and others to sell!

Great connector from porch to patio??

 And then comes, the man with the machine and strength to do the work!!  Dudley Wright lays and removes tile and even with the machine it took twelve hours to do the house and the old linoleum in one kitchen area in the front apartment building!  He wore me out watching and wish I could help but right now I am hurting inside because of all that beautiful tile being removed, but, I know pieces will be used again, in a different way, so part of my history will still be intact, just different! 🙂

All floor tile removed and saved



Rotary Hammer to remove

Pondering how to start taking down the wall tiles

60’s linoleum in one kitchen area


Finished and swept to the side



Bit by Bit

All cleaned up

Swept onto a tarp and taken to the dumpster







September – The beginning of a time for inside work and continuation of outside cleanup

So now I am waiting for my replacement window in the house then Marvin and his men can finish the siding on the dormers and gables, then the framers will be coming in to frame the doors and windows downstairs and in the apartment building!  So much inside work to do but I am so excited to see it all finished and operating!