Healing from Kneeling

For months I pretended not to notice, but last week there was no denying it.

As I vacuumed the den, the late afternoon sun poured through the windows, highlighting the scratches in our pine floors.

Our floors had been through hard times.

Life had beaten them up.

The next day at Home Depot, I found special markers called Rejuvenate. They came in different shades of brown, and the package said they repaired wood furniture and floors.

Why not give it a try?

Rejuvenate did a fine job covering the scratches, but something even more remarkable happened.

My soul was rejuvenated. 

I knelt down and began covering marks in the floor and thought about the scratches in my heart.

My life.

My journey.

My choices.

My history.

My mistakes.

The times I’d allowed fear to consume me.

Times I’d tried to please people rather than please God.

Times I’d run from Him.

All the time I’d wasting by comparing myself to others.

I wondered if there was a parallel between restoring my floors and restoring my heart.

Kneeling over my bedroom floor, I thought~

Lord, You’re only a breath away.

Nothing is hidden from You.

Everything is laid bare.

You know me.

You know my heart.

My story.

My past.

My future.

My weaknesses.

My strengths.

As I covered each mark in the floor, I considered the marks in my life and imagined Jesus kneeling with me. Side by side. 

He didn’t say, “Julie, pay attention! You missed a spot. Why didn’t you take care of your floors to start with? Are you ever going to learn? When are you going to get it right?” 

I felt no condemnation.

None.

Only Love.

He loves us. Oh, how He loves us. 

As I restored my worn floors, God restored the worn places in my heart. (click to tweet)

Lord, You are intimately acquainted with all my ways, and still, You love me. From Ps. 139:3 (click to tweet)

There’s something powerful about kneeling when we pray.

Have you experienced healing when kneeling?

What scratches has God restored in your life?

So much love,

Julie  

 

 

 

 

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  saw past 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Heart of Christmas

This year, the heart of Christmas tiptoed in unexpectedly. Does that ever happen to you? You’re hurrying through your day, checking things off your list, and something soft and gentle happens. And you remember.

Three weeks ago, my mother called and made an announcement.

“I’m not putting up a tree this year. I hung my red wreath on the front door and tied a bow on the mailbox. And I’m perfectly content.”

She’s said this before and changed her mind.

“Oh, come on. I’ll help you. We can decorate it together. It’ll be fun.”

“That’s real sweet, but no thanks. I remember when my mother stopped putting up a tree. There comes a time when you–”

She kept talking, and I couldn’t decide how I feltMy thoughts scrambled back and forth from the past to the present.

Bittersweet. 

I remembered Mother’s beautiful Christmas tree. Gold decorations and angels. So many angels.

But I could hear it in her voice.

She wasn’t changing her mind. So I probably needed to let it go, too.

A few days later, I ran to Home Depot for a string of lights. A certain tree caught my attention. Tiny. Pre-decorated. A simple tree.

Definitely not my mother’s style but it was portable. Light-weight.

I brought it home with me.

It looked even smaller in my kitchen. 

I’d bought my mother a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

No glitter. No sparkle. No gold.

What was I thinking? How could she possibly like it? 

It’s so…plain. 

No turning back now.

I called her. “Hi. I’m bringing you a little something.”

Please don’t ask what it is. 

When she saw me coming in her back door, she took a deep breath to say something.

Then she paused.

“I know it’s small, but it’s not heavy. You can lift it. We’ll put it on the front porch if you want to. We can hang some of your gold–”

“Oh, Julie.” She touched one of the pine cones. “I absolutely love it. Let’s put it in the den by my chair.”

“Wish you could’ve seen your expression when you came in with it,” she said. “You looked like you were five years old bringing me your hand-print from kindergarten.”

Fifty years flies by in an instant. 

She called me this morning. “My tree grows sweeter every day. I can’t imagine Christmas without it.”

I’m so glad I decided to get it. 

When you’re not sure what to do, you can’t go wrong with kindness. Click to tweet.

Kindness is at the heart of Christmas. Pastor Kevin Myers. Click to tweet.

Is God whispering someone’s name to you?

Has an unexpected act of kindness ever melted your heart?

Love,

Julie

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Building a Relationship…With Love

Sometimes, even after 36 years of marriage, I forget that my husband and I express love differently. I show it verbally. Rick creates things with his hands.

In February, our daughter Katie married and became a stepmom to a beautiful little girl named Rilynn who turned four this month. In April, Rick offered to build her a dollhouse for her birthday.

Katie and Rilynn picked this one from Hobby Lobby’s website.

After putting it together, Rick stained the shingles and glued them in place one a time. 

He painted the toothpick-sized banisters the same way–one by one. 

“Can’t you dump just everything into a bucket and paint it all at once?” I said, late one night.

“Nope.”

“Aren’t you tired?”

“Nope. I like doing this.”

For days he deliberated about what color to paint the steps. Finally, he decided on pink and purple and made another trip to Home Depot for an itty-bitty can of pink paint.

He even installed hardwoods.

I couldn’t identify with his steady determination, but I was fascinated. 

This past Saturday, we had a small birthday party for Rilynn.

She loves Frozen and anything princess related.

And purple. 🙂

Saturday morning, Rick added the finishing touches and covered the dollhouse with a sheet.

Later, after cake and ice cream,

Long drum roll ..……………

He slowly unveiled his gift.

Ta-da!

Rilynn twirled around and clapped her hands. Bending close to miniature front porch, she carefully touched the window panes.

“Let her have fun with it,” Rick said. “If she breaks anything, I’ll fix it.”

Smiling, she ran her finger along the railing.

(Her daddy and my mom are on the left.)

Then I had quite a moment.

Rilynn walked her little fingers up the steps and started setting up her new home.

Just like me. 

Almost 12 years ago, Rick led me up the stairs of the log house that he’d built for us. Pausing on the top step, he said, “Open your eyes.”

He made me a writing loft.

With his own hands.

Thank You, Father. What love!

“Your hands have made me and fashioned me” Psalm 119:73  ESV.

How do you express love?

(For more about Katie’s story, click here.)

Love,

Julie

 

 

What Wives Wish Husbands Knew

Some things about marriage take years to discover.

Our porch party conversation Saturday morning:

“I know this probably sounds silly,” I said. “But I need a place to spread out the scenes of my novel. In color. I scotch-taped sticky notes to the wall, but they fell off.”

My husband kept rocking. Didn’t say anything.

How do I speak his language?

“When you were a little boy, didn’t you play in tree forts?”

He nodded.

“I bet you wanted all your G.I. Joes in the same spot, right? I need a place to play with all my words.”

“You need a whiteboard.”

“Yes! That’s it! A whiteboard with colored markers. That would work.”

Our next porch party…

“I checked prices. Whiteboards are expensive,” I said. “Big ones are about $300.”

“I can build you one.”

“Really? Would you?”

This is going to happen. Today. Wo-hoo!

He bought a whiteboard and trim from Home Depot. “Don’t worry about staining the trim. It’s fine the way it is,” I said.

He peered over his glasses at me and opened the stain.

I wasn’t in awe because he knew how to build something. Or even because he was doing it the right way.

My appreciation went deeper.

He hung his masterpiece.

And attached the trim.

He even put up a basket for my eraser and markers.

I ran my fingers over the smooth white surface.

“Feels like I’m a little girl again playing school–when anything was possible. It’s perfect. Thank you.”

“Glad you like it.”

After 35 years of marriage, I fell in love all over again because…

He listened.

He cared.

He put me first.  

I couldn’t wait to do the same things for him.

“…serve one another in love.” Gal 5:13 NLT

Praying this post will inspire creativity.

P.S. If you’d like a whiteboard of your very own, I found a great tutorial.


Love,

Julie

 

 

Just a Strand of Broken Christmas Lights

Every Christmas, we decorate the banisters of my little loft office with multi-colored lights. I like to think it makes me more creative. 🙂 Saturday, I plugged in the lights we always use. Only half of them worked. “Let’s just toss these and buy new ones.”

“I’ll fix them,” my husband said.

“We don’t have enough replacement bulbs.”

“I only need one.”

“How’s one bulb going to fix all these broken lights?”

Rick stretched out in the floor and removed the last working bulb. A blue one. Middle of the strand.

“This one works,” he said, “so when I find the broken bulb, they’ll all work.”

“Are you sure?”

He moved so quickly, I couldn’t figure out his magic trick.

“Isn’t that a lot of trouble?”

He didn’t answer me.

“Wouldn’t it be easier to run to Home Depot?”

He kept working.

I didn’t see any way his plan could possibly work.

One single bulb fix a strand of broken Christmas lights.

All of a sudden–ta-dah— they lit up. Every single one.

After he wrapped lights around the banisters, I sat downstairs in the den looking at my new office.

My transformed world.

 Maybe there’s a Christmas message buried in the strand of broken lights.

Lights I wanted to throw away.

Useless lights.

No-hope-lights.

What is it, Lord?

My Son was the One and only Light Who could save a broken world.

I sat there, still and quiet, thanking Him in my heart.

This is what Christmas is all about.

“…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 18:12 NIV 

Have you had a sparkly Christmas moment lately? Tell me about it.

Love,

Julie