The Herald Bulletin

March 23, 2013

‘Blessed to live here’

Mannings loved house's white woodwork, nice neighbors and climbing tree

By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — When Matt and Libby Manning left Tennessee to settle closer to family, their eyes landed on Anderson. With a strong love of the outdoors, they were careful to choose a home that would suit their needs both inside and out.

“We were looking for a nice yard — and this one has three-fourths of an acre — mature trees and nice neighbors,” said Libby, pastor at Christ the Savior Lutheran Church in Fishers. “The basement was nice for the kids. But the sunroom really sold the house. Matt loves plants.”

Even in this cold spring, the sunroom retains a cheery and pleasant look. Gazing at it through the sliding glass doors, a visitor can easily believe that warm weather is just around the corner.

“We have good views to the garden and the trees that we have planted,” she continued. “The best part of the house is the lightness. In the middle of Indiana, on winter days, there is not a lot of sunshine. But we get a lot of light in here.”

“We have the best climbing tree in the world,” said Ben, 11. “You have to flip around to get up in it.”

With a strong love of nature, the family purchased six acres in the Lapel school district — where Ben and his twin siblings, Tommy and Ellie, 9, attend. Referring to it as their “farm”, they have taken up an unusual hobby — beekeeping.

“That has been our favorite project,” said Libby. “We have two hives and it is fascinating to learn about bees and how they work together in the hive and how they communicate.”

Looking forward to another new experience, her sons recently acquired five chickens each. Excited about becoming involved with 4-H activities, the boys are about to learn as much about chickens as they already know about bees.

Lego masters

As much as the Mannings love spending time in their yard, eventually they do have to come inside. In an effort to lighten the rooms, Libby has painted all the woodwork white to give the space a fresh, bright look. By lightening the color on the walls, she has brought a cheery air into the home.

A spacious finished basement has provided the children plenty of space to expend energy in those cold months when the climbing tree was off limits. When they were smaller, they even managed to ride bicycles around the open area.

Although they replaced carpeting upstairs and remodeled the master bathroom, Libby’s favorite projects have been decorating the children’s rooms. With green walls dotted by white circles, Ellie’s room is accented with pink. Small, elegant lights hang on either side of her bed.

Masculine colors explode in the rooms of Ben and Tommy — but it is hard to see past the intricate Lego figures on display. Both are clearly masters of the medium and have all kinds of projects to inspire them the next time they pull out their blocks.

Even though the family has only been in the area for nine years, they have settled in quite well. Matt grew up in Richmond and Libby was raised in Ashland, Ohio. Meeting at seminary school, they have forged a marriage of two pastors. Matt is the pastor of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Anderson.

“We love Madison County,” said Libby. “We love the people. I appreciate the change the county has to make to move forward. Change is hard and I appreciate the leaders in the community who are committed to making a stronger economy and a stronger community.”

As more and more outdoor activities call their name, they have decided to place their home on the market and build a home on the “farm.” Ben is particularly going to miss his favored tree.

“I hope another family is going to be as blessed to live here as we have been,” said Libby. “This is a great house.”

Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an email to