Love Lessons from an Artist–Part Two

“Real creativity means listening to your heart,” my friend Yvette said. (I began sharing her story last week here.)

“Tell me more.” We entered her kitchen.

“This rug, for instance. I found it at a flea market. It was six dollars.”

“Did you know for sure it would match?”

“I didn’t care if it matched. I loved it.”


“Creativity isn’t about matching or being perfect.”

Incredible! Yvette’s teaching me the same things God’s been showing me. 

“This was my grandfather’s pipe. And my grandmother’s snuff.” 🙂

We laughed.

“I love it! You keep your grandmother’s snuff on the kitchen counter. You’re breaking so many rules.”

“That’s what art’s all about. Being free. Being yourself.”

Maybe that’s what good writing’s about, too.

“How long have you known this secret?”

“It started when I was a little girl. I discovered treasures under my grandmother’s house–all sorts of bottles and tiny trinkets. I decorate with them because I loved my grandmother.” 

Wow! Sounds so SIMPLE–my word for the year. 

“Oh, look. Christmas candles and it’s not even December!”

Which takes a lot courage. To be different. Christmas candles in September.

We walked into her den.

“When I was nine,” she said, “I found my uncle’s miniature bronze horse–small enough to fit inside my palm. Love at first sight. I took it home with me.  A few years ago, I felt a nudge to give the horse to my cousin. It should’ve been hers all along. I didn’t want to, but I knew I was supposed to. Does that make sense?”

I nodded.

“A few days after I gave it to her, I found this horse at a flea market. Can you believe it?”

“Julie, it’s an exact replica of the horse I gave away. Only a lot bigger.”

“It’s a miracle.”

“I know. In all my  years of flea-marketing, I’ve never seen another horse like the one I gave away. Except for this one.”

Yvette had just given me another love lesson:

If God asks you to give something away, obey Him. Quickly. Blessings follow obedience. 

Has God ever asked you to give away something you dearly loved? 

Have you discovered art and decorating have nothing to do with being perfect? 

You can find Yvette here:

The Charm House  on Facebook.

The Charm House on Pinterest.

The Charm House in Instagram.

The Charm House website.

The Charm House on Twitter.




  1. Patricia Martin says:

    Happy last Wednesday of September, Julie! So glad that you are enjoying fall.(( Still keeping Katie in my heart for hoping that someday she will get a stork visit. Also, Jaime’s job and Thomase’s engagement, and your novel.(; I had a plastic horse that looked like Yvette’s.

    • Oh, that’s right, Patricia! I didn’t realize it was the last Wed of the month (and still hot and sticky in GA).

      Bless your heart, my friend. What you just said–what you’re praying for means more than you can imagine…..

      Ohhhh, big, big, big thank you!

      I’m praying for you in school, your GF world, your family, and your precious kitties.

      So much love!

  2. Anna Haney says:

    Giving away something you love. When I got married 5 years ago, I was positive I would be able to find a teaching job in Knoxville. Heck, I was a great teacher. Any school would be happy to have a teacher like me. I had great letters of reference. When no interviews came, I blamed it on the mixup at the central office with my licensure paperwork and name change. As a year passed, I realized that God was closing that door for some reason. It was hard to understand because I was positive He had steered me into teaching 10 years earlier, leaving a job and returning to school for licensure. Now how could He be asking me to leave. I argued, but He was adamant. It did not make it any easier learning that the young girl who grew up across the street from my parents had just graduated and had gotten a teaching job. I was having a yard sale to get ready to sell my single lady house and among all the merchandise were tubs of teaching materials. I had been thinking I was going to bring them to Knoxville for my new classroom. One night, God told me, clear as day, “You need to give those teaching materials to Sarah.”
    I balked. Told Him that was not possible. I was going to need them. Besides, Sarah’s mom was a teacher. Getting supplemental materials would be a snap for Sarah.
    “I don’t think you heard me,” He said. “Give them to Sarah. You are not going to need them. I will give you exactly what you need.”
    Begrudgingly, I did so. Sarah and her mom were thrilled. Two days later, I got the phone call that led to the job I have now. Starting my fourth year.
    My word for 2015 is LISTEN.
    Thanks for this post!
    Love ya

    • Anna, I promise you….I’M CRYING AS I’M READING THIS.

      It’s such a powerful story! Do you realize it? Do you get the shivers just thinking about it????

      Oh, boy, did you just bless me. Big time. Thank you. You were obedient and look. Just look.

      Thank you for being real and for sharing it. I KNOW this will touch other people’s hearts and lives.

      • Anna Haney says:

        Oh, Julie, you bet I got the shivers when that happened. I was, though, very stubborn. The week before the yard sale, I had laid in bed sobbing. There had been no interviews but I’d gotten on line rejection letters from schools. One was from a school that had even misspelled its own name in the email–a simple typo on their part–but it filled me with more frustration. I’d spent a day crying and pricing yard sale items. That night, He told me to give that stuff to Sarah. I told him no and tried to go back to sleep. He would not let me. It wasn’t until I agreed that I was able to sleep. Then I felt like such a burden was lifted. Shortly thereafter, I got the call.
        Listening is not always easy.

        • Anna, you’re a Wise Woman. I’m SOOOO glad you said yes.

          It all boils down to a battle of our wills, doesn’t it. Never easy, but I do believe it brings blessings. Not always the way we’d expect either.


    • marci says:

      I needed to see what you posted, your story, as I am trying to Listen for God’s voice. I have served in an area for many years, and took pride in serving. Recently, I have wondered if God wants me to do something different. I still don’t have that answer, but reading your comment, makes me know that when the time is right– God will guide me in the right direction and to what He wants me to do– even if I don’t know at this time. I just have to trust. Thank you for your words. Julie was right– this did touh me, my heart and my life.

  3. Mary Wilkins says:

    I have several items around the house that bring back memories of my grandparents. I’m always on the lookout in antique stores. When my cousin turned 60, I gathered a bunch of mementoes that she would appreciate and sent them to her. One was a Dr. Lyons Tooth Powder can that was like what we used as kids. I had searched for one for a long time and finally found it on eBay. And my grandpa had a bronze horse just like the one in the Charm House.

    • Mary! This is amazing. I love it how God’s leading so many of us along this same path–of trusting Him and letting go.

      And look. Your grandfather had a bronze horse too! I hope Yvette is reading this……. 🙂

      So kind of you to give special things (memories actually) to your cousin. And Dr. Lyons Tooth Powder. I’ll have to look that one up. I bet Yvette knows all about it, and my writer friend, Roberta Messner, if she’s reading this. 🙂

  4. What courage Yvette has, what strength to follow her own path. I admire her for doing what she loves to do and for displaying what she loves with such abandon and with not a care in the world for those who wouldn’t like it. Admirable indeed.

    • I know! Me too, B.J.!!

      I’m telling you the truth–and I told her this, I could write a book with all the life/love lessons she taught me. And I only stayed about 2 hours at her house that day.

      Love you. Dearly.

  5. Brenda Greene says:

    Wow…how many memories your blog opened up for me this day, Sweet Julie Girl!! Love Yvette’s carefree way of sharing her special memories. I grinned thru the entire blog as I recall seeing so many of those items from my childhood…even down to “treasures under my grandmother’s house”! Could almost “smell the earth” under that porch!

    My favorite “give-away” memory involved your Mom and I may have written this before. I have read all of your Mom’s books and her latest one (“Praying For My Life”) I had shared with our Pastor who was experiencing many of the challenges your Mom shared in her book. She loved it and asked if she could share with another friend struggling also. Of course! But I was disappointed not to receive it back. Fast forward a few months and I’m browsing in a thrift store when I came across a hard copy (mine had been soft cover) copy of that same book! I snatched it up giggling that I had found one…imagine my sweet surprise and delight to see your Mom had personally signed it with “Blessings!” and her signature. A sweet God Wink for me!

    Looking forward to your novel! Brenda

    • Brenda, there’s SOOOO much I didn’t write about. I mean, every single moment with Yvette, I was learning and growing. I love when our friends do that, don’t you? Teach us and help us grow up?

      She told me all about her grandmother’s junk drawer. Amaaaaazing!

      Ohhh, Brenda. Your precious memory about Mother and what you gave away. And how God replaced it. Such a gift. And we learn to let go each time we give this way.

      Thank you! Love you dearly. Will share this with Mother.

  6. I had to smile when I saw that horse. My brother had on just like it growing up. I remember it was metal and he always kept it on his bureau.

    I tend to look at my decorating and compare it to all those beautiful home blogs and worry because mine isn’t so perfect. I have to remind myself that I decorate the way I like it. I am not a “make everything match” kind of person. I like color and patterns. It’s me being myself.

    Your blog post always touches me in some way, Julie. Thanks for making me realize that being myself is okay. I don’t have to be a copy cat.

    Have a wonderful day, dear friend. xxxooo

    • Ohhhhh my gosh!!! Eileen! I hope Yvette reads these comments. I can’t believe it! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a horse like this. And several of you have.

      That’s exactly what God’s teaching me! It’s okay–even wonderful–not to be perfect. Because, really, there’s no such thing, is there? 🙂

      Your sweet words, once again, I’m tearing up. Because all I’m writing about is the gentle way God’s teaching me and it’s touching your heart.

      Thank you. Thank you. Your pictures do that for me.

  7. Hi Julie, I need to go beyond reading your posts to telling you how much I enjoy your being you! Such an important message for all of us. Loving and accepting God’s special creation; one of a kind. I would suspect even identical twins would say they are each one. Anyway, I love your posts.
    I want to share about giving ~ two things have happened this September. And… looking back on my January 1 word for the year ~ Giving ~ which I had forgotten about until after this second happening.
    1) The Holy Spirit told me that I was to give my loveseat and two rockers I have upstairs in my sitting attic room. I then asked around; first place taken care of, and then a couple months later ~ a lady from church moved and needed furniture for her front room. YaY!
    2) Standing in a grocery check-out line, an older woman (even than me, lol) was at the register. So clearly I heard, “Pay for her gro-… while the checker said $54.–, -ceries.” The lady put her card in and said, “I do not have enough.” I quietly said, “I will pick up the slack.” (I thought that is an odd way to say.) The clerk and lady continued with their transaction and the clerk said, “If you use that card, you have $3.82 left on it.” My eyes got big realizing God had done that! The woman collected her groceries, turned to me, and said, “Thank you.” I said, “You are most welcome!”
    The exciting thing is that in both instances, I heard the Holy Spirit in advance … and was willing. Me, the okay tither, but a little stingy on offerings? I am so thankful God is giving me a giving-heart. Thanks, Julie. <3 Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    • Ohhh wow….how can I respond to such a dear, dear note?

      And the beauty of finally discovering it’s okay to be ourselves, and with God, we’re more than enough.

      GIVING. Now, that’s a beautiful word for the year!

      My heart clinched when I read what the Holy Spirit asked you to give….because I’d have a hard time letting my front porch rocking chairs go, but you did it. And look what happened!

      Katheen, my throat is all warm right now–at how you listening to the Still Small Voice (isn’t is like Him to nudge us to GIVE), and you didn’t argue. You did it quickly.

      On the other hand, you could have reasoned it away and told yourself it was a silly idea.

      How I loved reading about your heart.

      Now, to go check out Lane Hill House!


    • Brenda E. Greene says:

      Kathleen…how kind of you to share God’s love! Your message reminded me of a long forgotten “random act of kindness” God allowed me to be a part of. Checking out at our local grocery store we were behind a lady using a handicap cart. As the cashier rang up her items, she was fumbling with the few bills she had in her hand. When the total was given she asked the cashier to put the carton of sodas back. As they finished the transaction I walked over and picked the carton of sodas up, asked the cashiere to scan them into my items, then placed them in the basket of the lady telling her that God really wanted her to have them! She thanked me and seemed touched, but not as much as I had been that God allowed me to be “His Hands.” Even the cashier commented on the act. For me, the beauty was I soon forgot it!

  8. marci says:

    Oh the lessons here. And the joy that comes from being free to be exactly who we are. Just love Yvette’s way of living, and having the things she truly loves around her. To follow her lead; be a free spirit. I love “The Charm House” The perfect name. Seeing your pics of her home, makes me know why we love those little shops and second hand places. It makes me smile.

    God has nudged me to give away something I wanted to keep. I had held onto it for years, …I drug my feet, I tried to ignore the nudge… but everytime I looked at it—there was that little voice…. I felt good as I packaged it and sent it to her, and never regreted it. It gave me more joy to know she had it, than it would have given me to keep it. I needed the lesson “Do it quickly” .

    Reading this makes me want to decorate with Yvette’s rules. Use what we love, what speaks to us, not worry about the right color, or does it fit in..

    I think God wanted me aware of the “give” lesson .. I just got the DGP, and confess I cheated- by dipping into 2 of your writings. The one that jumped out now is the one about the shoes., and then this – giving something we love away. It is hard to part with things we treasure. So that was twice in 24 hrs that the Lord gave me that message, plus, a dear friend called me yesterday and told me she had something she dearly loved, but could no longer use, and wanted to give it to me. I was so touched. We cannot out give God can we? I think God lead me to your writing about the shoes .. My first thought, was if it were me, would I just go buy a pair of shoes and give them? But I realized that wasn’t the point. This was all such a good lesson. Thank you Julie.

    • I know, I know, I know, Marci’a. Isn’t it just beautiful–how free she is to be herself! I was SO drawn to her–really to God living in her.

      You and I would have so much fun if we had a Saturday to just go antiquing, wouldn’t we?!

      I can feel His Spirit all over what you wrote–you didn’t want to give what was so special away, but you obeyed!

      And I just showed you a snippet of her home. I’m telling you, almost every inch of her house is full of things that matter to her. And everything she decorates has a meaning or she won’t use it. She doesn’t care what anybody thinks (but God) and I believe that’s why her style just blew me away. SHE’S FREE.

      Oh, those shoes…..I’m embarrassed to tell you how hard I struggled. And, really, deep down, it wasn’t about the shoes. It was about my will.

      Once again, here I am tearing up with another comment. Y’all are so amazing. You’re honest and open and moving and growing.

      I never stop learning from you and my faithful readers.

      Thank you, Marcia’–for being you.

    • Oops. I just typed the spelling of your name wrong….but maybe that’s okay, b/c we’re learning we don’t have to be perfect. Which, surely includes typos!

      • marci says:

        Yes, dear Julie, learning we don’t have to be perfect, and that is so freeing! How many times I have clicked “post” for a comment – then saw the typos!

        Oh how wonderful it would be if we could go antiquing some Saturday. I smile just thinking about that! This Saturday a small town near here, (Portland AR) has it’s annual City wide sale. Wish you were near enough that we could go to that. I am hoping to go. .. all this talk, makes me want to go through my trunks and see what special things I have saved in them that I should display and enjoy intead of having them stored out of sight.

        Just thought– it is so simple! Why does it take so long to “get it”? Surround ourselves with things we love and from people we love and who love us,, and how much comfort and care, and strength we can get from that?

        The thing God wanted me to give to a friend, was a leather journal, which I had held on to for quite a while. I stuggled with that like you did with the shoes. It was that journal He wanted me to give her.. and I was so happy once I obeyed. It gave me such joy! And I know she enjoyed having the journal. God has blessed me much for obeying him.

        That horse also brought back an awsome memory – but it’s telling would be long, so I will save it for another time and place.

        The Lord does seem to be knitting us all together here in this place you created.
        JOY! As we learn together.

        God Bless, Dear Julie,

        • Would love that, Marci’a!! Have never been to AR.

          I know, for real! Why does it take us so long, and then we still have to keep reminding ourselves.

          You said it so well–the secret about surrounding ourselves with people/things we love.

          Soooo happy you “let go” of the journal. That’s when the blessings come!!!

          Yep, God’s knitting us (or maybe crocheting!) us together.

          Okay, looking forward to your one more good thing to share! And I owe you an email response!! Been working on writing fiction today. Have been in another world~~~~

  9. Julie Gilleand says:

    I waited awhile to comment because I kept trying to remember something I’d been nudged to give away and couldn’t think of anything. I keep thinking there’s something and I’m not remembering it, or maybe there isn’t and this was a nudge for me to pay more attention! But I love about being yourself and not worrying what’s perfect or what others think. I was a single parent for many years and most everything in our home was either passed along to us from a friend or family member, or found in a second-hand shop or yard sale. But I really did like it that way. I couldn’t go to a furniture store and order a living room or bedroom suite of furniture or matching draperies, so I had lots of odd pieces from here and there and found that while the other way might look nicer, this way was more — me. What I had were things I loved for one reason or another, not things that necessarily worked with everything else. Ecclectic, I’ve heard it called! But to me it is more homey.

    Thanks for the inspiration Julie and for again sharing your friend Yvette with us. And also for this connecting place 🙂

    Leafy Julie

    • Leafy, I already love your decorating style, I can tell. Freedom! Total freedom!!!

      Just waiting for our favorite time of the year…not long now. xoxoxo

      • P.S. Leafy,

        You’re an amazing mother–which means you’re always giving away little pieces of your heart. xo

        • Julie Gilleand says:

          Thanks Julie 🙂 And I did think of one thing. It wasn’t the giving away of something sentimental to me, but of giving away one of the two cups of coffee I’d brought to work with me one morning. I may have shared this with you before, not sure. There was a homeless man who’d warm himself on a heat grate outside our window in the winter. I set my 2 steaming cups of coffee on the window ledge as I settled into my receptionist desk when I saw him, just outside the window, on this cold winter day (which was why I’d wanted TWO cups of coffee, and because I didn’t have a chance to leave my desk to get more from the break room at any point, so I had my supply at the ready! So clearly I heard in my head, the moment I saw that man out the window: “Let he who has two cups of coffee, give to him who has none”. I tried to get out of it. I wanted my two cups. And anyway I was scared to approach him. And what would he think? And what would any coworkers think who saw me do it? I paced the floor, knowing God’s instructions were clear as day and I’d regret it forever if I didn’t do what I was told. I’d always regret it. Finally I went outside, with no coat, into that freezing winter weather. It startled the man when I approached him and I was shaking, myself, partly from the cold but also from nerves. He was grateful for the coffee. I said God bless you to the man, then scurried back inside. I had to go hide in the ladies room for a few minutes because I was so overwhelmed by what had just happened. I knew that I knew that I knew, I had just handed a cup of coffee to Jesus (…”what you do unto the least of these … you do unto me”). I felt faint. I hadn’t just been chosen to bless that poor, cold homeless man, I’d been given the chance to bless Jesus and never knew it until it was done. I just can’t tell you how powerful a feeling it was. I could barely compose myself in order to return to my desk and start working. It all happened so fast but I will never forget that experience. So I gave up something I really wanted. Nothing sentimental like the rest of the stories here, but it was still hard for me to give it up! I do love my coffee! Too much maybe. Saying yes to that firm voice inside me, brought a blessing back to me I could never have imagined. Not tangible, but eternal. I always wonder about that man and wonder if his life got better and if he’d felt God’s love that day. Maybe someday I’ll see him in Heaven 🙂

          Well I guess my story is a little off grid. But thanks for listening 🙂

          Leafy Julie

          • Leafy,
            I’m telling you the absolute truth. I’m sitting here with chills running all over me and tearing up. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL! And the thing is, we (well I do) always try to rationalize, “Nah, that’s not God. That man probably doesn’t even like coffee. I’m just being silly.”

            And it’s SO God. And WE’RE THE ONES WHO ARE BLESSED THE MOST.

            One time, I felt like God was telling me to do sort of the same thing. But not as “big” or scary as what you did. I had to take B12 shots every month and was going to the Dr’s office to have a nurse teach me how. (I’m a medical asst, so I know how but had never given myself a shot). I got a cup of coffee and felt like God said, take the nurse a cup.

            But I don’t even know her. I don’t know how she likes her coffee. And people who love coffee are really picky about how we like our coffee. What if I put sugar and cream in it (like I like it) and she likes it black.

            Take her the coffee.

            So, I did. First thing, the receptionist said, Wow, that coffee smells amazing.

            I told her what I’d done, but I didn’t know how the nurse likes her coffee.

            Oh, don’t worry. She likes sugar and cream and we have plenty in the kitchen.

            When I handed the nurse the coffee, I thought she was going to cry.

            And you walked out in the freezing cold, and were Jesus to a stranger.

            Thank you for sharing this!!!!!!!!!

  10. I love reading your article. It’s full of love and special memories. I loved it when you said you decorate with your grandparents’ stuff because you love them. I believe that art can be more special if there’re memorable stories behind it.

    • I know. Yvette is amazing! I wrote in my prayer journal this morning, “Lord, thank You for bringing us back together.” We went to HS together–hadn’t seen each other in years.

      She has the gentlest, kindest, most humble spirit. Which is not something you can fake!

      Thank you, Heart! Blessings.

  11. Georgia says:

    Juile: Thank you for sharing these past two blogs about Yvette. I decorate the same way she does and I love it! My home is my refuge and I love being surrounded by my “treasures”. My husband loves it too and enjoys my old stuff and going with me to find more old stuff. LOL Looking forward to the day that you announce that your novel is ready! I will be your first customer!

    • Georgia says:

      Julie: Forgive me for transposing letters in your name on the previous email. I saw it the moment I pressed post comment! I am a goof some days. LOL

      • What a relief! You’re in a goof some days. Me too! Most days. And I misspelled Marci’a’s name above and apologized. She reminded me how it’s okay to mess up.

        🙂 🙂

        I have THE BEST READERS.

        Love you all!!!!

    • Such a perfect response, Georgia–well, never mind. We DON’T have to be perfect. 🙂 What a lovely response. And thank you so much for telling us!! I know this will mean a lot to Yvette. Wish I could tour your home!


  1. […] (Parts one and two are here and here.) […]

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