Courage–and Redoing My Kitchen Cabinets

Over the years, I’ve spilled gallons of paint, so I’ve stayed away from painting, but a few weeks ago, I got an idea.

A very brave idea. 

My talented daughter-in-love Brittany rescues old furniture and animals. Chase was a rescue puppy.

She rescued her grandmother’s end table–

The “after” picture comes first. 🙂

Brittany found this piece of furniture on the side of the road.

It was a mess, but she knew it had potential.

My grandmother’s antique dresser–

We gave it to Brittany and Thomas.

Before–

After!

About a month ago, Brittany and I were in their bedroom near the newly restored dresser when an itty-bitty idea tiptoed up my spine.

“Do you think you and I could possibly redo my kitchen cabinets?” I said then started backpedaling. “Never mind. It’s probably not even possible. Painting’s way out of my comfort zone, and my cabinets are red and shiny. It would be too much work, and I have a ton of them. Plus, you’re really busy.”

Her brown eyes twinkled.

No fear whatsoever.

“Of course!”

A few days later, she came over to assess my kitchen. “Tell me how you want this room to feel when we’re finished.”

“Warm and welcoming.”

“What feels warm and welcoming to you?”

“I love anything rustic. Old farmhouses. A beaten-up, rugged look.”

She glanced at my rooster clock. “The colors in this clock will be our palette.”

I took a step closer. “Great idea. A color palette! There’s a tiny bit of blue in his tail.”

“Yep. And green-grass.”

“It’s not that I don’t like red, but the cabinets sort of clash with the color around the windows. I want something brighter. Lighter. Honestly, I want to be brave enough to make a change.”

“We can do this, Julie. I promise. You’ll see.”

We made a trip to Home Depot for supplies.

Back home in my kitchen, Brittany handed me a paint roller. My hands shook.

Like I was stretched out on the operating table awaiting surgery.

“You can do this. Just trust me.”

TRUST is a big word when it involves me and painting.

First, we painted the cabinets white.

I gotta be honest. At this point, I was close to hyperventilating. I did NOT want perfect, white, pristine cabinets.

After Brittany went home that night, I wanted to call her and say, “Come back! Don’t leave! What if this doesn’t work?”

The next day, she turned on music while we painted–which helped me relax and stop asking so many questions. 🙂

She thought it would take three coats of white paint, but we only needed two.

Then came the real fun.

We started our first coat of glaze/stain.

Watching her spread brown on the cabinet door, I thought I might pass out.

Thomas helped with the first coat.

I stood behind them and held my breath.

Brittany handed me a paintbrush and shoved me off the high-dive. “Come on, you can do this.”

I listened very carefully and did exactly what she said.

I brushed on the glaze then wiped it off softly.

Even if you’re terrified, you can still do your job. 

Each coat had to dry for several hours. Then we had to add three coats of protective polyurethane.

At night, I’d get out of bed to take sneak-peeks. 🙂

One day when we were close to finishing, my BFF from All Things Heart and Home called. I told her what we were doing.

“Great idea! You might want new knobs for your cabinets.”

“What kind?”

“Think about what you love.”

Same thing Brittany said when we started.

I remembered a wall-hanging I found at Kirklands–with glass knobs that remind me of my grandmother’s house.

I found glass cabinet knobs on Amazon at Knobs and More Home Décor! ($5.50/each)

And a rug that blended with my color palette at T.J. Maxx. ($59)

My cream and sugar roosters matched the color palette too.

On the final day of the project, I felt so at home in my home. 

“This went much deeper than redoing my kitchen cabinets,” I said. “We redid my heart. You helped me demolish walls of fear and try something new.”

“I knew you could do it. You just needed a little encouragement.”

Brittany looked beyond my fear to my potential and shared her courage with me.

When I redid my kitchen cabinets, my heart got a makeover too! (click to tweet)

Has anyone encouraged you to try something scary and new? Having a cheerleader is a powerful thing, isn’t it?

Can you think of someone who could use a little bit of your courage? 

Share the story in the comments!

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 2016 Word–The Flip Side of Surrender

A couple of weeks ago, one word from a Scripture verse danced off the page, begging for my attention. Can you guess what it was?

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might…” 2 Samuel 6:14 (KJV)

As a child, I loved to dance.

I started taking ballet lessons when I was three. I came alive in the ballet studio–a wide open room with shiny wooden floors and mirrored walls.

But eight years later when I got my first pair of toe shoes, a fearful thought took root.

You’re never going to learn how to dance in these pointy shoes. 

So I quit dancing.

My mother spray-painted my toe shoes red. They hung in my bedroom for years.

Untouched but never forgotten.  

Yesterday while I thought about 2016 word possibilities, my husband dragged the Christmas tree outside and moved my pie safe back into place.

After days of rain the sun came out, and my wedding dishes sparkled. So pretty. Closing the doors to protect my china, I noticed my oldest child’s handprint.

She’s 34 now.

My hands used to be this small–

When I was a tiny ballerina–

Who stopped dancing because of fear.

Can I actually choose a fun word for 2016? Like  Dance

I always pick stoic words like Enough, Simple, Follow, and Surrender

What if the flip side of Surrender is Dance? 

Maybe when we let go of control, we’re free to dance. 

I bet when David danced before the Lord he didn’t say, “Don’t watch me. I’m a terrible dancer.” He probably danced with his heart and soul–with everything inside him. 

That’s when my word came to me with absolute assurance. 

My 2016 word for the year is DANCE.  

I danced to the pie safe, flung open the doors, and grabbed some dishes. 

Breaking all sorts of decorating rules, I mixed wedding china with my grandmother’s depression glass and set up a coffee station.

I filled an antique container with Sour Patch Kids. I love Sour Patch Kids! 🙂

I even lit a pink candle in the middle of the day.

In 2016, I’m going to:

* Use my wedding china.

* Light more candles.

* Bathe with decorative soap.

* Love people with my whole heart. 

* Most of all, I’m going to dance–not just with my feet, but with everything I do. 

When we surrender and live fearlessly, others are set free! Click to Tweet

Do you have a 2016 word? Do tell! 

Are you gonna dance next year?

For the full experience, watch this video below. If you can’t see it, click here.  She’s even redheaded!

** Let’s remember to pray for those in Texas and the Midwest who’ve been affected by the storms. My heart is with them right now.

P.S. Ballet pics from Pixaby. 

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

Three Hallmarks of Divine Friendship

I think sometimes God arranges friendships in heaven. That’s what happened with my friend DiAnn Mills and me. Our paths would never have crossed if it weren’t for His Divine Intervention.

Years ago, I taught writing at a conference in Texas. It was the first time I’d flown out-of-town to teach.

I felt like a poser. A wannabe. Full of insecurity. 

The night I arrived, the entire faculty circled to pray.

Do I really belong here? 

Me? Faculty? 

After the prayer, a gorgeous redhead approached me. “Hi, I’m DiAnn. You look a little shy. Do you need a friend?”

Ohhhhh, if she only knew…

That was the beginning of our Divine Friendship.

Last week, I flew to Houston to visit her.

We went antiquing. Entering this enchanted shop, I felt like a little girl again,

In a land where all things are possible.  

Check out the name of this store.  🙂

Since DiAnn and I are writers, we chose outfits for our characters.

Such fun–to dream!

And the signs–oh, the signs!

Surrounded by creativity, each message seemed to come from God.

 

 

Then on to clothes.

“DiAnn, what about this? I love the material, but the color…”

She answered truthfully. “We can do better.”

And we did.

She found this beautiful  shirt.

And I got this one.

It’s So …. Me!

She surprised me with a homemade gluten-free peach and blueberry cobbler. (I have Celiac.)

Friday afternoon, we noticed the primrose blooming near her pool.

Wide open.

Bright yellow. 

Thriving. 

“Just wait ’til tomorrow morning,” she said. “You won’t believe the difference.”

Sure enough, the next morning they’d all but shriveled up and died. “Watch. They’ll open when the sun shines.”

That’s when I started thinking about our friendship.

During our final porch party, three things occurred to me about Divine Friendships:

1. They help us bloom. (They’re like the sun shining on the primrose.) 

2. They “speak the truth in love” Ephesians 4:15. (The orange shirt.) 

3. They accept us just as we are. (The GF cobbler.)  

What qualities have you noticed about Divine Friendships?

P.S. This happened last year at DiAnn’s.

Love,

Julie

Fear…Get ‘Cha Gone!

This quote is why I blog: “A wonderfully nurturing atmosphere is created when people help other people by being themselves and sharing their own experiences.” Courage to Change–One Day at a time in Al-Anon II

It reminds me of my friendship with Peggy Frezon. Peggy lives in New York and I’m in Georgia, so we only get to see each other at Guideposts’ writers workshops, like this past weekend in Vero Beach

 

Peggy and I battle The Fear Monster. Sometimes she says, “Fear! Get ‘Cha Gone!”

If the two of us gave in to our fears, we’d stay home in our closets. The things that scare Peggy aren’t frightening to me. And vice-versa.

But Fear is Fear. And it doesn’t play nice. 

Peggy’s afraid to travel.

She rode to a Guideposts workshop in 2004 with a jacket over her head. Her husband was driving. She’s afraid of elevators. And flying (at least right now).

But we’re on our way to becoming fearless!

Her husband  rode the train with her from New York to Vero Beach, Florida. They rented a car for part of the trip. She sat in back seat holding Jesus Calling.

I brought Jesus Calling to Vero Beach, too. Not because I’m afraid to travel.

I’m afraid of rejection.

Of being judged. 

Of not measuring up. 

I’d submitted another story about my depression. I wrote about it here years ago. The group would be discussing my story (my second clinical depression!) at the workshop.

The root of my fear?

Pride. What’ll they think of me?

But guess what?

Nothing I was afraid of happened. 

No one judged me!

No condemnation!

After the trip, Peggy and I emailed each other:

“I think God’s calling us to dip our toes into the water,” I wrote. “To go deeper with Him.”

“Look at the pictures I just texted you!” she wrote. “I took them right before we left!”

Peggy at the ocean. 

One step closer.  

Then another.

Peggy’s so courageous–traveling  from New York to Florida. She captured the moment on video–the same kind of joy I experienced when I wrote the truth and no one rejected me. 

If you can’t see the video below, click here

And then Sunday we sang this song at church. A certain phrase won’t let me go.

“And You call me, deeper still…”

If you can’t see the video below, click here.

Do you fight The Mean Fear Monster too?

Maybe God’s calling us to go deeper.

I pray this post helps.

Love,

Julie (and Peggy) 🙂

 

Trusting God and Letting the Pansies Go

Mother called late Thursday afternoon. “Julie, your brother (Jeremy) is making me a pansy garden. You’ve gotta see it. He bought special fertilizer, planted them in a big dirt mound, and covered them in mulch. He even pressure-washed my angel birdbath, and put out my ‘Trust in God’ sign.”

Friday, she met me at her carport door, sad-faced. “Early this morning, a neighbor saw a 10-point buck eating all my pansies!”

She showed me a picture. “I took this before everything was ruined. Jeremy built the wall by hand with a mallet and hammer. All that’s left now is his rock wall and my sign.”

“Can’t he replant your pansies?”

“Well, he could, but I’d have to stand guard and watch for the deer.”

“That’s a lot of work.”

“Yep. I thought about artificial pansies, but Gene (her husband) said no.”

Monday afternoon she called. “Jeremy’s replanting the whole thing. He’s spreading mothballs to repel the deer.”

“You don’t sound excited. Have you seen it?”

“No. I’m afraid to look. I feel so sorry for the pansies. I can’t stand it if they get eaten again.”

“They’re my favorite flower.”

“Mine too.”

“They’re so brave,” I said.

“They’re survivors. They make it through bitter cold winters.”

“Well, you can’t be afraid to look at them. Let me know when you gather your courage.”

Later that day, she called. “I haven’t looked yet, but I visualized each pansy and prayed over them.”

I could feel her peace through the phone.

“Okay, I’m walking to the window now. Oh, Julie. They’re gorgeous. He planted them not once, but twice, so I love them twice as much. I’ll let you know what happens, but I’m trusting God. I can’t live in fear. Not even about my pansies.”

“Wonderful! Now, send me a picture of you smiling.”

P.S. This week the “pansies” in my life are something I’ve been writing for a long time. Soon, I’m pressing send, trusting God, and letting go.

What are your “pansies” right now?

P.S.S. I just talked to Mother. So far, so good. 🙂

Love,
Julie