The Carmody's Home Chapel by Chris

This is the "before" picture of what the space
looked like when I heard, "Build a chapel"
While we were driving around Puerto Rico trying to find a place to live, we traveled through the town we live now.  When we passed by on one of the main roads in Aguada, we saw a place that had a sign that said for sale or rent.  You can read about the details of that adventure by clicking on this link to the blog post that our son, Michael wrote which is called, "Finding a Home in Puerto Rico".  When we stopped to look at what would be our house, we saw an area between the house and the building behind it and I remarked to Karen at the time, "This could be our chapel."

Not since we left our home in Allen Park in 2015 have we had a dedicated chapel space in the other places we have lived.  We did have a corner of a certain room or some small area that became our "chapel-like" space.  This time, I felt like The Lord was telling me, "Build a chapel'.

So, as you can see by the "before" picture on the left, the space was rough and was in need of some work.  I think you can click on the photos and they open up even bigger so you can see that there were sizable plants growing in places.  Nevertheless, with some paint and as we used to say back when I worked at Flexitech, "creativity before capital" it would spring to life.  There were also spaces setup that seemed perfect places for Jesus and Mary.  I could see it all in my mind even amidst the dreary, overgrown mess that was there.

What it looked like around the time we moved in
When we returned to move in we were surprised to find that the landlord's handyman, Jimmy, came and painted part of the area with the same bright yellow paint as the rest of the house.  On the right is a photo of what that looked like.  You can even see the gas tank that we have to cook with that was installed at that time too.  The plants had grown quite a bit in the few weeks between our first visit and when we moved in due to all of the rain during the hurricane season.  Praise the Lord, we are past that now!  

So, our next step was to clean the place up and to cut out all of those plants/weeds.  So this next few photos show what that looked like.

Katelyn worked hard alongside of me to clean the place up

We took the opportunity to clean out the "almacén" or warehouse in English which is like a storeroom.

So, next up was to paint and to search for some paver bricks and driftwood on the beach to fill up the space.  Next up are some photos of us painting followed by an interesting discovery while we were searching the beach for driftwood.  We happened upon a crazy sideways building that sort of slid into the ocean during the earthquakes earlier this year.  Enjoy the photos!

Karen and Anna painting the pretty sky blue color on the walls.
Katelyn...always happy to help out!
It is not everyday that you happen to come upon a house being swallowed up by the ocean!

Not the kind of ocean view you want out your front door!!!

I remember going to Mystery Hill in Irish Hills, MI a long time ago, this was the same thing but free!
What a wacky feeling walking around....the amazing force of gravity!!!

Next step was to come back and start assembling the driftwood pieces and laying the paver stones we picked up at a local place.  Karen came up with this great idea to use bamboo as "legs" or supports for some of the driftwood benches to get them up off the ground a little bit.

Karen sawing the bamboo we picked up off the beach to use as our legs for our driftwood benches
Karen snapped this photo of me working to lay the paver stones

As we continued with the work, we were waiting on a few statues to come together as a local artisan makes all of these great statues of Jesus and Mary.  So we chose one statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with his hands spread out and one of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The family run business has molds of these and many others and he pours the cement himself and his wife paints them when they are dry.  He even offered to deliver them to us for free...we are so blessed!
Anna helping to put some pea gravel pebbles in between the paving stones.

Next we added some plants and continued waiting for the statues.

Finally, the statues arrived and we added them along with the finishing touches of Karen painting a virtue tree behind Jesus and a rosary behind Mary's little grotto.  I hope you enjoy the last photos and I would urge all of you to set aside a little space in your home to call your "chapel".  I know it made a ton of difference in our family life in the past to have a quiet space in our home dedicated to prayer and this new chapel has blessed us all immensely.  So go ahead and make a New Year's resolution to "Build a chapel!"

Here is the finished product!

Here is Mary's little grotto that came built into the place we are renting...can you say "meant to be!"

A close-up of the statue of The Sacred Heart of Jesus with the virtue tree behind it...great job Karen!

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