Monday, August 29, 2011

I am becoming "one of them."

We have lived in our current house now for 7 years this past July. Ever since we have been here, there has been a man down the highway whose house I drive by almost daily. This guy is always out in his garage...fixing things, building things, rummaging through his heaps of stuff....and just being busy. I have never talked to him. But have now gotten in the habit of always looking over at him in his garage when I am driving by to see what he is up to that particular day.

So lately, as I have started this painting adventure, I have noticed my neighbors doing the same thing with me. Whether they are driving, walking, or riding a bike, I often get a smile or a wave, or sometimes just a stare. Most of the time I am full of paint, wearing my typical cut off jeans and old t-shirt, and by 4 PM it is safe to say my hair is twice the size it was when I tried to calm it down earlier that morning. Which reminded me of the man in his garage. He has big, fuzzy hair too. Hmmm.

So I decided to sell an old antique stained glass window I had on Craigslist. The young woman that wanted it got her days mixed up and her and her boyfriend came a day early. As they pulled in the driveway in their shiny red car, I glanced a quick look in the mirror, shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes, and went outside to greet them.

They were a sweet young couple. Cute, dressed nice, and I think I could even smell the young man's after shave. I apologized for the strewn toys all over the garage and porch, as I stood in front of a big pile of old furniture waiting to be rescued. I straightened my dirty painters shirt a bit as I showed them the window which they loved immediately and not less than 5 minutes later, were pulling out of the driveway with.

I tried striking up some fun conversation with the couple, though...asking them about what they planned to do with the window, telling them a little about it...but it was clear they were just wanting a quick transaction. Talking to an older lady with Thrift Shop soot on her clothes and paint marks in her big hair wasn't a priority. I couldn't help but laugh to myself as I held the 50 dollars in my hand while they drove away. And I thought of that man in his garage.

The next morning while driving Alison to soccer practice, I came across another garage sale sign pointing me in it's direction. I looked back at Belle, her hair wasn't combed yet, and because we were running late I wound up putting her in the car with just a diaper and tank top on, and her dirty pink Nikes were on the wrong feet.

So there I was with Miss Belle, walking around this garage sale, and again, I couldn't help but laugh in my conviction. I was that mom with the disheveled toddler. I was the person I used to shake my head at.

I think pushing 40, and having a better grasp on the Gospel than I have had in the past, has caused me to realize how much I don't have it together. How I never really will. How that's okay! Because I serve a God who does have it all together...and who knows how weak I am.

My filthy shirt, messy hair, overstuffed garage, and little girl with shoes on the wrong feet are all just outward things that point to the fact that I really AM that needy. I am that strange man in his garage. Always busy, dirty, maybe even too focused on things in there that don't really matter all too much. Yet, I can have hope. Because ultimately, that isn't my identity anyway. I can rest in my mess, knowing I am accepted.

One day I was driving home from a Thrift Shop stop. I had a truck load of old, ugly, dirty furniture. But all I saw as I glanced back at what was someone else's trash, was beautiful, fresh, valuable treasure. I had a great vision for every one of those items. I saw what all of it would look like restored. And it gave me a lot of joy.

I had a small glimpse into what God sees in His children because of Christ.

Beauty from the ash heap.

So I guess it is safe to say, I am becoming 'one of them' the dirty old man busy in his garage with all of his projects....the mom who has the haphazardly dressed kids. It's probably safer to say I am not becoming one of them. I have just realized more and more I always WAS one of them. But God loves rescuing the ugly, the filthy, and making them beautiful for His glory.

And every trip home from Thrift Shop reminds me of that.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Toy Blocks

A box of the kid's old blocks got me inspired to do some Fall decor items...

Autumn: 12.00
Pumpkins: 14.00
Shabby Orange Chalkboard: 8.00
Rustic Yellow Chalkboard: 6.00

An unexpected little treasure...

A friend of mine gave me this cute little piece yesterday. I couldn't help but think that it actually looked a little scared of me as it sat there waiting out it's fate. It sat in my garage for a couple of hours as I brainstormed how to dress it up. Then I couldn't help myself any longer and the beautiful day called me outside to start painting. There isn't going to be too many days like this left, after all.

Initially, both my friend and I were thinking a pretty light pink. And it would fit right in, in Miss Belle's room. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to put it in a place where we all could enjoy it. Yet, I wanted to pick a color I haven't really worked with that much, something soft.
It was the first time I mixed my own paint to get this pretty gray...and I really love the way it turned out...

I think if this piece had a thought bubble above it, it would be saying,
"Now what was I so scared of? I like my new look! And all thanks to that crazy blond woman and her paint brush."

Friday, August 19, 2011

My First Investor

As with any new business, it is always wise to have an investor, right? Someone who is willing to take a risk on you.

Well, today I found my first investor. It all started about a month ago when I was at my favorite Thrift Shop. I saw this table. I knew it had some great potential but it was priced a little higher than I was comfortable spending. So I let it go, hoping someone else who appreciated it and it's potential would soon find it.

Fast forward 3 weeks I started wondering about that table. Was it still there? Had it found a home?

So after some hard thinking on how I could afford to purchase such a piece, knowing I could surely sell it again and make a profit, I decided to call the person who might be able to help me. It was none other than, my Dad. After explaining my story, he happily agreed to front me the money to buy the table if it was still there. My first real investor.

I heard somewhere that it's important to have people supporting you like this when you are starting out. It really is no surprise that my parents are the first ones (next to my hubby) standing behind me.

Thanks, Dad....

I initially thought that this piece would just need a few light touches and some freshening up. But after bringing her home, it was becoming obvious to me that she needed a new look to really capture the attention I wanted.

I thought that the top of the table looked a lot like a stall door in a barn. And with the Christmas shopping season coming up and all the rich colors that go along with that, I picked red. It seemed most appropriate.


And after....

I also heard somewhere, Miss Mustard Seed, I believe, that sometimes it might hurt to let go of a piece, but it's just part of the business. This is certainly the case with this pretty barn red table. I wish I had the room to keep her.

But I picture her in a big kitchen or dining room somewhere this December...filled with trays of goodies and presents...and people all around laughing and glasses clinking.

That makes me happy just picturing it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I bought this little telephone table, otherwise known as, a "gossip bench", at an antique store last winter. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but I knew it had a place somewhere.

My Mom came up to visit a couple of weeks ago, and she saw it stashed in my pile of furniture in our garage and it caught her eye.

Who better to have my telephone table..than the person I like to talk most with on the phone!

It turned out beautiful I think...

I gave it special TLC since it was going to my Mommy of all people.

I am picturing her sitting here on her cell phone now, talking to me.

Oh, who am I kidding...
she'll be on her comfy couch or driving somewhere as usual the next time we talk.

Miss Mustard Seed~ Furniture Friday Party

I didn't plan on joining Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Friday Party this week, but really felt excited about sharing this incredibly generous gift I received from a friend recently...
for free!

I love this hutch and table set because they meant just as much to my friend
who gave them to me.
I think of how she could have sold these pieces and made some great money,
but instead she chose to bless me with them at no cost.
And these are pieces that really, would be something I could never financially be able to buy anytime in the near future.

What a beautiful gift and loving friend.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Songs from long ago...

The past couple of days...
In between laundry,
shopping for school supplies,
running to Alison's soccer practices and back,
changing diapers,
sipping coffee with the hubby,
painting my Mom's vintage telephone table she is buying from me,
trying on new school shoes with the boys (Yes, I got a pair, too.),
running after Belle down the road as she sneaked away in the
motorized Gator truck,
retrieving the Gator truck from the woods,
getting my teeth cleaned,
helping Sam try on his first pair of school jeans,
making mac and cheese and peanut butter and jelly,
and shopping for cheap old picture frames...

I have also had a chance to experiment with an idea that has been brewing in my head for the past couple of weeks.

I am so happy to say, I am very pleased with the outcome...

Though I have no musical ability whatsoever, I have always felt a special connection to song writing and especially the hymns of the past. Probably because I do enjoy writing, and am always wondering about the heart of the person behind the words they wrote.

It wasn't until the past couple of years that I really appreciated these hymns. Namely, the people who wrote them and their stories that drove them to write the words we sing at my church today. And how God is still using those words today to encourage, give joy to, and strengthen so many people.

If you click on the pictures, you will be able to see an up close shot,
which really helps to see the detail.

William Cowper, wrote this, my very favorite hymn of all time. His words spoke to me and gave me strength during a time I was really questioning my faith and was struggling with depression.

I was so encouraged knowing he too struggled with believing the Gospel, yet the words he wrote were so strong and so assuring, even as he questioned how God loved him.

A few facts about the man, William Cowper:

He was born in 1731 and was the fourth child of his family.

His three older siblings died.

His Mom died while giving birth to her fifth child when William was 6 years old.

He never recovered from that.

He was sent to a boarding school where he was terrorized by a bully.

He loved literature and poetry but his father wanted him to be an attorney.

Preparing for the bar exam, he experienced runaway anxiety, threw his Bible away
and attempted suicide.

He was put under the care of Dr. Nathanial Cotton, a Christian man who ran an asylum.

He slowly recovered and in 1764 in the asylum, God rescued him.

In the book, "Then Sings My Soul", author Robert J. Morgan says,

"William Cowper is one of God's gracious gifts to those suffering from depression. Cowper shows us that our emotional struggles often give us heightened sensitivity to the heart of God and to the needs of others."

Morgan also goes on to say in his book, "His depression was never far away, and it intensified as he aged. In this melancholia, William died on April 25th, 1800. There is a report, however, that on his deathbed his face suddenly lit up as he exclaimed,
"I am not shut out of heaven after all!"

So I can't help but be so thankful for this man, and how God used his life, full of sorrow and fear, to encourage so many other brothers and sisters like me.

He is one of my top 10 people I want to see first when I get to Heaven.

I look forward to that conversation.


And here's a couple more favorites...

All of these framed hymns are for sale. You can find the prices under the tab,
"Kaboodles for Sale" on the top of this page.