(Adding: in the last 18 months, this little “Cottage that Could” as I call, it has hosted over 1000 people and the property is far from being finished. Never assume you have to have a big beautiful place that’s finally finished to welcome others in and point them to God’s goodness. We still have a long way to go and are in the process of raising funds to add a bathroom since the “barn” doesn’t have any running water, as well as a necessary privacy fence. If you’d love to help, please reach out.”

In April we did a crazy thing. Yes, we did. An exciting, overwhelming, life giving, “How have I gotten myself
in so far over my head,” kind of God thing.

In February and March, we rode a chaotic roller coaster of whether or not this purchase would happen, but many months later, I can now officially declare, “Welcome to the Becoming Cottage.” I first posted this on Instagram on April 1, 2021, and yes, the fact it happened on April Fools Day is not lost on me. Some people have thought we were foolish for this purchase, but with that I’m reminded of my own words during our long God Watch season of unemployment,

I watch. I wait. I wonder.
Some call it courage. Some call it foolish.
I call it faith.

I have faith that in the midst of all this bedlam, this is the first chapter in a page turner about a little foreclosed brick house purchased “As Is” to use as a ministry, hospitality house because you know how I feel about gathering. #Justopenthedoor.

For over a decade, many of you have followed my dream to build a barn on our property to use for ministry events, small retreats and #hospitality functions. #bbbdreambarn In fact, you’ve heard me talk about it for years at my Becoming Conference. Starting the Becoming Conference was a way I could gather, but I never planned on hosting a huge conference for a decade. What a blessings it’s been and Becoming Ministries is finally a 501C3 tax exempt status. (Since I’ve run the Becoming conference basically as a non profit for the last many years, I should have done this sooner.)

I’ve written about my dream for this barn a bunch (Dreaming Big). Behind the scenes, I’ve actively worked many little side hustle jobs to make it happen. I’ve baked scones and flipped furniture, worked $10/hour catering jobs because every ounce of me has desired to link arms with women and call them up right where they are, but  I wanted a set gathering place (aside from our home) to do this.

Over the years, we’ve had setbacks and had to rethink our financial goals, but I kept pressing on. Right before the world shut down, I started getting quotes and then C-19 hit. Wood prices skyrocketed, I became unemployed since conferences/speaking stopped and honestly, it’s my income that needs to fund this dream.

My hubby and I knew that financially it wouldn’t be wise to build anymore so we pivoted and decided to add a tiny house or 2 here at Huckleberry Haven since our house was packed all of quarantine. (We were going to turn large sheds into tiny houses.) It felt a little like the death of a dream, but since it’s a first world problem kind of dream, I held it loosely.  I am living proof that we often have to wait and wonder and watch for decades to see how the Lord might open doors.

When this foreclosure property came up for sale RIGHT DOWN THE STREET from our house/land, with the low interest rates and unlimited potential (just wait), we put in an offer on this foreclosure. Since we aren’t investors with deep pockets like most house flippers, we went in eyes wide open, but here in rural NC, this was a steal.

Friends,  my husband didn’t even walk through it before we put in the bid. That’s trust in me and quite scary since I have no clue what I am doing. 😂 In fact, the pictures you are seeing are the very “pretty”, almost doctored ones that were posted for the house sale. They don’t show anything up close and definitely don’t highlight the incredible amount of work needed.

We didn’t go into this blindly. We had money set aside for the roof (yes, the tarp showed us worked needed to be done.) We also knew there were water issues in the basement but had no idea just how bad they were. So the money we set aside to fix up any cosmetic portions of the cottage is unfortunately going towards things we didn’t count on.

I call it the “underwear money.” We have to spend on the necessities you won’t ever see. As per the bank, we immediately had to add new roofs and few items we didn’t plan on right away, So the rest? We will renovate on #secondhand donations (thank you for those who’ve already helped), volunteers and a thrift store budget. If you’re following along on Instagram, you are already being taken along for the ride (@becomingcottage or @jenschmidt_beautyandbedlam).

The vision I saw in this property wasn’t because of the small ranch house. I bought it because of all the things others didn’t see.

1. A 25×40 foot detached workshop that I am turning into my hospitality “barn.” It might look very basic to you, but I have great plans for this little white box and should be able to hold about 75 people. 🙂 Granted it’s nothing like what I envisioned for all these years, but there’s something cozy and attainable in those ugly walls. (Stain tuned for the inside or see them on IG.) When the budget allows, I’ll remove the garage door, add beautiful glass sliding french doors and then add a simple front porch and side porch for additional gathering space. Praying to do this in the next year or two.

Inspiration pictures

2. This huge cement slab will house will be repaired in time and I envision twinkly white lights, a beautiful tent or pavilion and since it overlooks a pond (that unfortunately we don’t own it), the setting sun view is spectacular. There’s already a cement shed that we will fix up and will be the “bar” area for gatherings. And since I’ve spent my life writing about beauty and bedlam, check out the video. Of course this would happen to us. We will need privacy fencing on small areas of both sides of the property once building supply prices go down.  This is a view from the cement slab looking at the hospitality barn.


3. A 1500 square foot unfinished basement with both a door and window to the outside. Yes, that was water standing in there. This is prime square footage to finish off, but first the majority of our budget is going to fix the basement issues. Our first quote was $20K and I about cried on the spot since we are paying cash for all renovations and can’t come close to affording that. But look at this week’s instagram stories. We are hoping this less expensive fix can work.

This post has gotten LONG. So sorry. We’ve been so busy behind the scenes and lots has happened since I started writing this three months ago.

It’s been the hardest manual labor I’ve ever done in my life (and I’ve done a lot). My husband and I keep chuckling that we decided to wait until we were in our 50’s to attempt a project like this when all our hard working kids have left the nest. What were we thinking? 🙂 I was thinking that I can’t wait to hear the stories of all the people who will be welcomed through these doors and find a respite to call home (if even for a night.)

Our desire for this Everyday hospitality house is that the doors will swing wide open for all to use. In a season of isolation and loneliness, I can’t wait to welcome and remind you of how much you are loved.❤️

I’m always looking for people to partner with our Ministry. I’d love to welcome you, link arms with you, host you or give you a place to use your gifts to point others to His goodness. Please reach out. Also if you’re looking for a counter cultural ministry for your year end donation, we’d welcome the gift. Everything is tax deductible under our 501 C3. Every dollar makes a difference. Reach out or our venmo is: @jenschmidtbecoming