Building Oak Haven – a bit of stress

The past week and a half presented a bit of stress.  More so than the typical stress of building. A few months ago, our oldest son’s girlfriend invited us to her commencement ceremonies in Maryland where she would receive her master’s degree. Knowing we would be nearing the end of the building process, we gave a tentative maybe, not really expecting to be able to attend, but hoping that we could.

My parents live about five and half hours away from Baltimore, an easy day’s drive. When my mom was taken to the hospital yet again, this time from the rehab facility, and put back on the ventilator, Jon and I felt a strong nudge to make the trip. She has been in and out of the hospital, on and off the ventilator so many times since January we’ve lost count. We decided it was worth the crazy trip. Thankfully, she was able to be taken off the ventilator and before we left she returned to the rehab facility. The weekend of our visit just so happened to fall on Mother’s day weekend and my parent’s anniversary.

Unfortunately, the stress started the weekend before. While Jon was at a men’s retreat with Journey Fellowship, I caught up on house building paperwork and one of Juve’s tile guys worked on the master bath.  I’m not sure why it clicked when it did, but when I was checking out the work he was doing on the master tub, I suddenly had a horrible sinking feeling. We had measured to make sure the tub we selected/purchased would fit length and width, but we never measured height. And we had purchased a deep tub. I ran and grabbed the measuring tape. Yep. It was standard height of twenty-two inches, four inches shorter than our new tub.  I broke the news to Jon when he returned and made a frantic phone call to Ferguson’s where we purchased the tub. Unfortunately it was Saturday so the best we could do was order a template for a tub that might fit the cutout. I had hoped it would arrive before we left so we would know if the shorter tub was an option. It did not arrive and we’re waiting until we get home to find out. I realized as the master shower was being tiled that I never asked to have the niche shelves put in the guest bath. I always love having a little extra space when I travel and visit and wanted the same comforts for our guests. But I had forgotten. Now I’m exploring possible options for the same function. We also ran out of some of the decorative tile in our master bath, about two and a half feet short. Another minor inconvenience waiting to be finished once the extra tile arrives.

Jon and I spent the week leading up to the trip frantically getting as much done as possible.
Hollywood Crawford installed the garage door two days before we left and we were able to finally lock up the house. We installed crown molding and trim to all the cabinets so they’d be ready when Fernando comes to stain them.  San Antonio Granite Works and Universal Form Tops came out to measure templates for our counters.

Fortress also showed up and set up the forms for our driveway, sidewalk and AC pad. They were poured while we were gone.


Our youngest son has plans to work at Baylor over the summer, however, the apartment he’ll live in was not available until a week after he had to be out of the dorm. So he joined us for the road trip, driving home the day before we left.

We put in long days, driving from Texas to Alabama the first day then on to Virginia the second. I was very disappointed when we arrived too late to to visit with our daughter, her husband and our sweet grandbaby. We made the decision to press on for Maryland the following morning and didn’t get to see them then either. They would follow us that evening. Unfortunately rain and D.C. traffic turned a four hour drive into seven. We did have the chance to see our oldest son during dinner and then visit with his girlfriend’s family that evening. It was fun getting to know them.

The next day we attended the commencement and were blessed to spend the afternoon and evening with the kids and grandbaby. We had a great dinner at a steak and seafood restaurant.  It made the whole drive one hundred percent worth it. An awesome way to spend Mother’s Day eve.


On Mother’s Day we headed to Pennsylvania to visit my family. We met my dad and sister then surprised my mom at the place where she is staying for rehab. The surprise and joy on her face made the trip even more worth it. Priceless. She and I spent the following day together and Jon and I took her and my dad out to dinner for their anniversary, joined by my sister, aunt, and cousin and her husband.



Then we made the long trek home. During the long hours on the road both ways, we had interesting discussions with our son and entertained ourselves with the audio version of Words of Radiance, book two of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive. When we finished that, our son read to us from Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection by Sanderson.

Now that we’re home, we have more work and meetings scheduled, more shopping planned and problem solving to tackle.

Grace & Peace


About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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1 Response to Building Oak Haven – a bit of stress

  1. Raquel M Martinez says:

    Your home will be amazing when finished. You will be able to tell stories about each room as you show it off. Your house building is as amazing as your story telling.


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