That old house smell, created from a cold, dark basement and walls that have stood for over 108 years, has been temporarily displaced. When I walk in the back door of my house in Potlatch, I breathe in fresh paint, wood shavings, and progress. The house has stood empty for almost a year now and I’m longing to walk in the back door, lay my keys on the little table – which doesn’t currently exist – and say to no one but God, “I’m home.”
Before moving back to my “happy place” I need to make a few changes. With a teeny-tiny budget and a willingness to work hard, I started on the kitchen. The cabinets and drawers are all the originals, handmade, and in really great shape, except for a few corners eaten away by a very large puppy with a bit of separation anxiety. Despite their sturdiness, the cabinets and drawers needed a face lift, so I’m adding shaker-style trim, bead board wallpaper, fresh white paint and new hardware. The backsplash and counters were beyond retro – old, old, old linoleum with a metal trim. The pattern on the linoleum was fading and thinning in small patches and long past being lovely. It’s been replaced by faux-brick hardwood primed and soon-to-be painted glossy white to look like subway tile. The flooring – an ugly, gray linoleum with a felt and tar backing – covers hardwood floors. Uncovering the hardwood is not within my skill set so I’ve opted for painting and stenciling it back to life.
There’s a limited amount of DIY experience in my skill portfolio: drilling holes, using a tile saw, tiling, hanging drywall, mudding and taping, painting, and demolition. In the last few weeks, I’ve learned how to use a jig saw, a nail gun, a random orbital hand sander, and a miter saw. The tool area of Home Depot is my new favorite place. I’ve graduated from a tool drawer to a real tool box, left behind by the previous owner of the house. Thank you, Mr. Bailey.
This project has provided lots of alone time: time for reflection and inspection. The last few months have been emotionally overwhelming and this small escape has helped me to stay sane and focused on serving God. Kitchen renovating is a lot like helping broken people. You gently tear away the old surface, wash away all the dirt and grime, sand all the rough parts, prime the surface, do some more sanding, prime again, and sand again. Cleaning, priming and sanding ensures that the new coat of paint will stick and last. If you hurry the process and don’t leave enough time for the paint to cure, or you leave out any steps, there’s a good chance you’ll have to start over or, even worse, spend years looking at peeling paint – wishing you’d done it right the first time. Hopefully, you’ll learn from your mistakes.
I’ve spent quite a few years helping to repair broken people but I’m still not an expert. Each person comes with their own set of problems and they often don’t want to remove their old surface to expose the cracks and areas that have been damaged by hurt and pain. Instead they choose to slap a smile and a new vocabulary on the surface and continue to hide behind layers of old stuff and just pretend they’re new. Life has a way of testing our durability and if you’re unwilling to be primed and sanded by a loving God, through accountability to His people, you will face some tough challenges which you won’t be strong enough to withstand.
I am thankful for Laura Storm and the Saturday afternoons she spends with me on this kitchen project. We are more than DIY buddies – I am accountable to her and she knows the best and worst of me. I am thankful to Matt Becker who always finds a way to point out the areas in my life that need to be sanded. Thank you, Bekah, for teaching me how to use the miter saw.
I sit on the kitchen floor admiring the progress. The drawers stand in a row awaiting the next step. They have new trim, the cracks are caulked and now they need to be sanded, primed, sanded, primed, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, sealed, and accessorized with new hardware. The cabinet doors lean against the wall, from biggest to smallest, awaiting new bead board and trim, layers of primer and paint, intermittent sanding, and cabinet jewelry.
Soon, very soon, my kitchen will be a more lovely place. It’s going to take more work than I once anticipated, but it’ll be worth it. Similarly, my relationship with Jesus is a huge project filled with little details and many do-overs. I can’t imagine a life without Him and I am so thankful He writes people in to my story that leave a dent, shake my foundation, and cause me to run to Him for comfort. This is life and loving people hurts. A little bit of sanding, some time to cure, and I’ll be good as new.
A year ago today the doctor told me I had cancer. In that moment, I had no idea I would still be alive today. I am thankful for God’s mercy and for all the things I’ve re-learned about His love. I’m celebrating today! When I celebrate I remember His goodness in my life. Must needs be I celebrate more often.
Weeehooo! It’s taken me two months, but I’ve finally managed to take dominion over my Gmail inbox. The task, as I initially saw it, was nothing short of monumental. However, communication via email is necessary in my life and it’s been well worth the effort.
In 1993, I got my first email address from AOL. Then, four years later, a colleague introduced me freedom of an email.com address and I gladly abandoned my AOL account. A few years later I got to know Eudora. Good things happened when I got my welcome letter from the Gmail team on March 23, 2005, and since then I’ve incorporated more than twelve different accounts into Gmail – from numerous providers. I still have my email.com address, though the customer service is deplorable and the cost of maintaining it is rising.
Soooo…I know where to find stuff. Well, there are times when Gmail’s overzealous spam filters bury people in between hair loss remedies, medical miracle drugs, nursing school opportunities, and hey…I have friends in Kenya who want to borrow money. Nevertheless, I feel oddly comforted that something in my life is uncomplicated. And I’m thankful.
A brilliant little quote from Dr. Mimi Haddad from the article, “Fifty Shades of Grey: A Trilogy of Deceit, Collusion, and Domination.”
The collective suffering of women worldwide is the result of abuses of power, pervasive in many different cultures. Patriarchy–male dominance, is entrenched within the major faith traditions, including Christianity. The “he will rule over you” of Genesis 3:16 was one of the first consequences of sin in the garden. But unlike death, toil, and work, or even pain in child-birth–all the effects of sin–male rule has been elevated and advanced as a biblical ideal by Christian leaders throughout history. Christians resist death; we oppose the thorns and thistles of labor through technology and agriculture just as we work to improve the experiences of childbearing. Yet, male authority and rule receive an enduring endorsement from the church, making it harder to question and challenge without the fear of opposing God as well.
You can read the full article here.
Dr. Mimi Haddad is president of Christians for Biblical Equality. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. She holds a PhD in historical theology from the University of Durham, England. She and her husband, Dale, live in the Twin Cities. Follow her on Twitter @Mimi_CBE.
I heard the rabbi say, “Stop arguing on facebook.” I took him seriously.
I have a self-imposed ban in place to avoid reading blogs where the main purpose of the blog post is to sensationalize issues and thereby draw a great amount of attention to the author. Fame is one of those things that few are able to manage without a great deal of sin. It does things, creeps up on us slowly, and before we know it, we think more highly of ourselves than we should. The need to be greater and have power over others is a temptation few can pass up.
When an author adores the sight of his/her own words, rather than displaying a concern for the people s/he’s reaching with the words, it’s usually difficult for me to cut through all the crap to find a purpose in the post. The sharpness of his/her tongue (or in this case, fingers) and the little bits and pieces s/he leaves in place of a person, takes my breath away and leaves me speechless. What ensues, after the multi-paragraph rant, is usually a flood of comments from people who get caught up in the frenzy and lose their way and forget to love their neighbor. And I feel defeated and embarrassed, and even angry for letting my eyes and mind participate.
I heard the rabbi say, “Love your neighbor.” That is proving to be a more difficult than I imagined. I took Him seriously.