John & Paula Oliver
|Oliver Family Updates - 2013|
Copyright © 2017, J & P Oliver
Last Updated on July 30, 2017
November 2013In purchasing our new home, because of its rather small galley kitchen (with not many cabinets), our plan was to combine the kitchen & dining area into a larger eat-in kitchen and hire one of our experienced co-workers to build new cabinets for us. We are delighted that our cabinets have now been installed, our laminate floor is back down, and Paula loves her new kitchen (and so do I)!
Here's a couple shots of the galley kitchen, as it was when we purchased the home:
Now here's what our new kitchen looks like, reconfigured (peninsula replaced with an island, cabinets on two walls instead of one) and with new taller cabinets, built and installed by one of our co-workers (who is an experienced cabinet maker).
With the dining area now combined into the kitchen, it has a much more open feeling, and the additional cabinets and drawers are much appreciated.
Our Hannah, after finishing her online Computing for College and Career class, was selected to attempt the certification exams, and is now a certified Microsoft Office Specialist in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel (at fourteen years old)! We're very proud of her!
In our Computer Services dept., we have a new volunteer who will be using our NTMAA system to track orders (for computers & software for our missionaries worldwide), so I was able to provide some training for our purchasing/inventory/sales subsystem.
Is the name, Bethany Hamilton, familiar to you? Bethany is the Christian young lady, portrayed in the movie, Soul Surfer, whose arm was bit off by a shark while surfing. Bethany lives in Hawaii, but recently spoke at a church in nearby Clermont, Florida, so Paula and our girls drove down and enjoyed her inspirational talk.
October 2013We're enjoying our new home, and finding some additional areas that need attention (a roof leak and a couple plumbing issues). We still needed to move our bikes over, so I built a five-bicycle rack to minimize garage floor space needed for the bikes. We've also started working more on the outside - planting flowers and filling the area around our screen porch with river stones.
In between our weeks of moving, we were able to take a short vacation in Daytona Beach with our usual visits to City Thrift (to take advantage of their 50% off Labor Day sale), Harbor Freight, the library, the chocolate factory (chocolate covered potato chips - yum!), and, of course, the pool, Jacuzzi, and beach.
Paula finished her two weeks of lymphedema therapy, which was successful in reducing the swelling. Thanks for praying!
At NTM, I'm continuing to provide support for our NTMAA accounting & administrative system. A highlight this past month was giving our finance office some training for our query/report tool, which they can use to query information from our database tables, then browse, print, or export (to a spreadsheet) the results.
September 2013As of August 23, we have officially moved into our new home! We appreciated very much our co-workers who helped us move furniture and various boxes on our moving day.
Meanwhile, we've continued to pack and move (in our van) our remaining items (22 years of accumulated stuff!). Now we focus on unpacking, sorting, and storing the mountain of boxes and items sitting in our new storage/workshop room (aka, garage). We've divided part of the living room into a home office (with a bookcase partition), so the kids now each have their own bedroom (which they're enjoying). Meanwhile, Paula is looking forward to her new kitchen cabinets (to, hopefully, be installed in October).
Nicholas and Joy (who is dual-enrolled as a high school junior) have started back with their classes at Seminole State College.
We had asked for prayer regarding Paula's arm. She had started some lymphedema therapy, but had developed a rash (due to the tight bandages that were on 23 hours per day), so after a breather, she has now re-started lymphedema therapy again. Thanks for your continued prayers!
August 2013During July I spent a week at our Waukesha (Wisconsin) Bible Institute, providing our co-workers there (in their finance office, bookstore, and café) with some training in our NTMAA system and helping them transition to using subaccounts for their student and staff accounts - a profitable week and a also nice time of year to visit Wisconsin.
Our girls have been busy - with some archery lessons, a week of basketball camp at a local church, and a week at Camp Kesem (a special camp for kids who’ve had cancer in their family).
Speaking of cancer, Paula had a scare recently when she noticed a couple small lumps under her arm, but (thank the Lord!) they turned out to just be cysts. We would appreciate your prayer for Paula, though, as she recently noticed some swelling (i.e., lymphedema, which she’d rather avoid) in her arm and hand.
We’re continuing to make good progress on our new home. A co-worker has been such a blessing - helping us remove two kitchen soffits and reconfigure our kitchen layout in preparation for new cabinets. We're paying another co-worker (who's been away for the summer) to build the new cabinets for us; he expects to have them ready around the end of September.
Meanwhile, we’ve finished painting the interior, trimmed (on a table saw, because they were too wide and were not closing properly) & spray painted the louvered closet doors, installed mini-blinds on all the windows (thirteen sets), built ten bookcases (two rows of five bookcases each, back to back, formng a partition to convert one end of our rectangular living room into an office area), installed a wireless internet router, and are tentatively planning to move in August 23!
Here are some before and current (not yet final, though, since the new cabinets are not in yet) pictures of the kitchen:
Our galley kitchen with peninsula, as it was when we purchased the home; you can see the two soffits above the upper cabinets. It felt kind of "closed in" and cabinet space was limited.
Our kitchen after reconfiguration for the new kitchen layout.
The soffits are gone, peninsula has been moved against the wall, the old cabinets re-installed temporarily (while we wait for the new cabinets to be built), and a portion of the laminate floor removed (to be re-installed when the new cabinets are in place). Moving the cabinets over to the other wall gives the kitchen a more open feel and allows us to add more cabinets.
July 2013Christmas in July! We realize it's a bit early for Christmas greetings, but it's still a good time to remember Jesus - His birth, His death for our sins, His burial and resurrection, and His gift of eternal life!
Many folks, though, have not yet heard the good tidings of great joy. Thanks for your partnership with us - helping to reach them with the good news of Christ and His free gift of salvation!
During June, I had opportunity to help at our Jackson (Michigan) Bible Institute (where Paula and I met) for a week, providing some additional NTMAA training to their bookstore and finance office staff. While there, I was also able to visit with several friends and also share an update at one of our supporting churches, Skiff Lake Bible Church. Later this month (July 15-19), I plan to make a similar NTMAA training trip to our other Bible Institute in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
June 2013We’re continuing to work on our new home. Last month we painted the living room and the bedroom and hallway closets, purchased and installed a pool pump, built some custom stands and saw horses (for use when spray painting our louvered closet doors), removed more unwanted trees & vines, repaired a bathtub faucet, and finalized kitchen layout plans for some new cabinets.
Even though we haven’t made the big move yet, our house is beginning to fill up. We’ve purchased a sofa, loveseat, dresser, desk, and two patio lounge chairs at our Goodwill store. We were also humbled and blessed by the generosity of a dear family in the process of downsizing (who, in God's providence, we “just happened” to meet, also at our local Goodwill store) who graciously passed on their washer, dryer, and some furniture to us.
In mid-May we also enjoyed a much-needed vacation at Daytona Beach, which included our regular visits to the thrift shop, chocolate factory, library, and now Harbor Freight also (where we purchased a chain saw - to help cut up the trees that we're removing).
In other news, Joy finished her first three SSC dual-enrollment classes (all A’s!) and also played a couple nice pieces during her June 4 piano recital. She’s also excited that we recently found (on Craigslist) and purchased (at a very reasonable price) a nice 1977 upright piano, which is now located in her bedroom in our new home.
May 2013Our new home is continuing to show encouraging progress. During April, with much-appreciated help from several friends, we’ve painted the bedrooms & hallway, removed unwanted vines and a few trees, replaced the doorbell, repaired our shallow well pump, emptied our algae-laden pool, pressure-washed it, sprayed it with chlorine bleach, and and re-filled it with clean water.
Paula and Joy were able to travel to Tucson, AZ, for a few days. They helped Paula’s mom (who’s getting ready to sell her mobile home and move to an apartment), spent time with Paula's sisters and their families, and shared an update at Desert Son Community Church.
Nicholas is excited, as he has recently purchased his first car – a 1999 Toyota Corolla LE that we found on CraigsList for a good price. He’s continuing to work at our Goodwill store and has recently been promoted to part-time cashier (which pays a little more).
At NTM, I had opportunity to provide some NTMAA training to our NTM Bolivia bookkeeper who will be heading back to Bolivia soon. In June, I’m planning to head up to our Jackson, Michigan Bible Institute (where Paula and I met) to provide some NTMAA training for their finance office and bookstore also.
April 2013We're continuing to make progress on our new home. Our garage will be our primary storage area, so we've built storage shelves along one wall and added steps and a plywood floor to utilize the attic space above the garage. Here's are before and after pictures of the garage.
The garage, as it was before we purchased the home. We appreciate the extra eight feet of garage (the raised area), which provides room for a workbench and laundry area.
The garage (aka, our storage and workshop area) currently. (Our cars are outside vehicles, so they don't know what they're missing!)
We've added garage storage shelving along one wall, giving us over 200 cubic feet of garage storage.
For additional storage, we've added some plywood to the floor of the garage attic.
We've added steps to the garage attic to make it more convenient to access.
We're now in painting mode - we've color-matched and touched up the exterior walls; here are some before and after pictures.
The garage door before - it looks like someone had thrown eggs onto the front wall when the house was vacant.
We touched up the wall paint and the paint on the garage door itself.
The west wall of our home had some significant white areas where trellises had been removed since the last painting.
We re-painted all the blocks below the windows. We're now preparing for interior painting. I'm also gaining a little experience in minor electrical and plumbing repairs.
Paula was delighted to find a solid pair of lounge chairs and a nice floral La-Z-Boy sofa and loveseat at Goodwill (where Nicholas works), so we're also starting to get some nice furnishings at a good price.
Our new lounge chairs - to relax and imagine what our pool will eventually/hopefully look like.
In other news, our girls had a very special treat in early March. For years they've wanted to see snow, which is, as you can imagine, a rare commodity here in Sanford. I've explained to them that they can see it on TV or in movies, but they wanted a more "in-person" experience. In any case, Paula, Joy, and Hannah were able to visit some dear friends in Sandown, NH from March 7-11 and had a fantastic time - snowballs, snow angels, snow women (their version of snowmen), a rustic cabin in the woods, a visit to a maple syrup sugar house, snow sledding, and even snow skiing!
March 2013During February, we started making some progress on the many repairs needed to get our new home ready for move-in.
When looking for a home, a pool was certainly not on our "needed" list; it was not even on our "wanted" list, but our home came with a pool (albeit a green pool needing quite a bit of work) and, quite frankly, we didn't have the heart to fill it in.
A big project this past month was pressure washing the pool deck, sidewalks, garage floor, garage door, driveway, and front porch. We pressure washed the pool screen enclosure also, but how to clean the aluminum cross-beams directly over the pool?
Our solution - build a temporary bridge!
The pool deck and screen enclosure cleaned up very nicely. The pool itself is still a lovely (ha!) deep shade of green (from the algae that took over during the 18 months that the home was vacant). During that time, the pool pump and filter were also stolen, so we need to replace those before we can attempt to clean the water. Meanwhile, we've repaired the fence and re-installed the gate to help discourage any further theft or vandalism.
In other news, we had a special opportunity the last weekend of February - to share about NTM and our missionary ministry at a church near Gainesville, Florida. Joy played (and sang) Wonderful Merciful Savior, Hannah quoted I Corinthians 13, and Paula shared briefly about her breast cancer and how God has worked through it, both in her own heart and with opportunities to share His love & grace.
February 2013Housing Update! We are now the excited (but also a bit overwhelmed at times) owners of a 1653 SF 4/2 home here in Sanford (five miles from our current location at NTM headquarters, four miles from the new NTM headquarters building).
It's an older (1965) block home with "good bones", but has been vacant for 18 months, had some vandalism, etc., and thus has a number of repair needs, so it will be some time before we'll be ready and able to actually move in.
Thanks for your prayers over these past months, as we waited to see if our short sale offer would be approved; we were able to buy this home at a good price, for which we are thankful. We appreciate your continued prayers for wisdom & guidance as we seek to accomplish the various repairs and tasks that lie ahead.
Meanwhiile, our girls have started Upwards basketball at a local church again this year. They really enjoy it and even I, who am not much of a sports fan, enjoy their games tremendously; it’s more exciting when your kids are out there playing!
January 2013Greetings! December 30 was our 21st wedding anniversary and Paula's 2nd cancer-versary, two years since Paula's doctor found a cancerous lump in her breast; Paula was told that, without treatment, she would likely only have six months to two years left down here on Earth.
Paula went through those very difficult treatments (mastectomy, chemo, and radiation) and we're thankful and encouraged that she is now doing very well! She's even become somewhat of a breast cancer advocate, recently attending the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
On January 3, we received some exciting news - our short sale offer has been approved! We had the power and water turned on and have now completed our inspections. Lord willing, we'll close later this month; then, there's lots of fixing up to be done before we move in.
Nicholas is continuing to work part-time at our local Goodwill store and also taking classes at Seminole State College (SSC). Joy has started taking some SSC classes as a dual-enrollment student (she receives high school and college credit for the classes); she's also enjoys her weekly piano lessons tremendously.
Here are some of our praise and prayer requests for 2013:
PRAISE & PRAYER REQUESTS
Thanks for your love, prayers, and encouragement!