Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Story, My Worth, and a Furniture Makeover

Warning:  The makeover is at the end of this post.  If you're just here for pics then you can skip to the end. ;)


I'm a pretty private person.  I don't share a whole lot about myself with very many people.  I have walls and I have to trust you pretty well to let you breach them (and trust me when I say I am standing at the top, in a fortified tower, with my AK47 in hand, guarding them!).  I'm not really proud of this, and many times wish I wasn't this way, but I am.

BUT, I do believe we are here to help each other and sharing our experiences is one way we can do that.  So, here goes nothin'.  

 I've had the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom for the last 16 years.  I know God knows me perfectly and knew this is what would be best for me.  Just like any mom, I had ups and downs, and times I didn't know how in the world I could keep going for one more day.  Looking back now I know there were times I suffered from mild/moderate depression and didn't recognize it (not that I would have done anything about it anyway), but life went on and so did I.  I had a job, and that job was taking care of my house and my kids (I have three and they are truly, fantastically good kids).  That was my purpose. That is what I did.  

Three years ago my youngest started all day kindergarten and I was suddenly out of a day job--you know what I mean ;).   I went into panic mode.  What in the world was I going to do with myself?  After agonizing and praying about how I was going to fill my day I finally decided to go back to school and finish my degree.  I had enough credits, just not in the right classes, and I never finished because I left school to serve a mission for my church, came home and immediately got married, and then 10 months later had a baby! 

I took classes for a year and, at first, it was ok.  I was working towards something worthwhile, right?  It was a good goal and I believe in getting a good education (I've always loved school and learning), so all should have been well.  When it came time to enroll for classes for the fall semester again I was feeling very unsettled, but not knowing why I went ahead and did it.   About the same time I accidentally happened upon a blog.  I didn't even know what a blog was!  

It was Sausha from Sweet Pickins.

  I spent hours looking through her blog and my heart was beating like a drum the whole time.  When I finished looking at every piece she had worked her magic on, I knew, in my heart of hearts, that I just had to try it for myself.  I was so inspired!
*Thank you from the depths of my heart, Sausha, for sharing your incredible talent and vision!  I don't believe in coincidences and know you sharing your gifts set me on a different course. 

 It took me a few months to get started (we own our own business and our budget was very tight at the time), but by the time school started in the fall I was attempting my first piece.  I fell in love!  It was fulfilling, I discovered I was good at it, and it made me HaPpY. :) 

 The problem.  School. 

 I was so stressed out with my classes, homework, trying to maintain my house and kids the way I was used to, my church calling (which was a big one at the time), AND doing furniture.  It was proving to be a little too much for my little-too-small plate.  Yep, I'm admitting it.  My plate is not a serving platter!  It's more like a pie plate or a saucer!  Something had to give.  I had to make the decision what.  I cut out my kids...

JUST KIDDING--ok, really bad joke! :)  

Of course, I wasn't going to cut out my kids ;), because I am a total and complete clean freak cutting out housework was not an option (oh, how I wish I had a laundry fairy!!), and I couldn't abandon the youth I was over at church.  That left furniture or school.  What helped me make the decision?  I finally asked myself, "What makes me happy?"  Why do we think it is a sin to ask ourselves what makes us happy and then follow our hearts?  (As if we believe the things we should be doing are meant to be hard and make us miserable or they aren't worthwhile.)  I'm not saying I didn't have mass amounts of guilt at first (it's just in my nature).  But, I knew God's hand was in my finding Sausha's blog and the feelings I was having, so I decided to put my fear of being a "quitter" (of school) aside and go with what my gut was telling me. 

Now, I should be able to say "And she painted happily ever after." right?  If only it could be that easy!! :)


This is the hard part.

  I grew up being taught (and I absolutely, unequivocally believe) that I am a daughter of God.  I know, as His daughter, I am of infinite worth.  I don't know how it is for you, but for me there are things I know with my head and things I know with my heart.  Sadly, I have struggled my whole life with this concept of worth.  It is something I know in my head, but have a harder time really internalizing and feeling it in my heart.  Doing furniture has helped me feel more of my own worth.  Does that make sense?  

Do I think God cares how I redo a piece of furniture?  No, not really (although Duck Egg has got to be one of His favorite colors, right??).  Do I think God cares about me finding something that helps me develop my talents, thus helping me feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.  Yes!  

The problem.  Human nature.  

When I first started painting I was so excited about everything--finding the perfect piece, picking out the color, the process, the final product, taking pictures, writing a blog post.  I loved it all!  Then, actually marketing myself and selling my things entered the picture.  

Big fat raindrops on my happy parade!! 

 I was scared. I was so unsure of myself.  I was concerned people wouldn't like what I did. There are so many talented ladies out there doing what I do and I was so afraid of being compared to them.  See, there's just this thing about sharing something that you've created, that comes from your soul (and I truly feel like my painting does).  It's hard to put it out there for others to criticize or critique.  It feels so personal when they don't like it (and have the guts to tell you!).

Painting started to be about how many "followers" I had, or how many views I had, or how many likes I was getting on FB (that damn Facebook!), or how quickly I could sell a piece.

It stopped being about what makes me love what I am doing (the feel of sanding dust under my fingertips, the way the first stroke goes on, how color can become fluid and make you want to touch it), and became about what other people think about what I am doing.  

So, it was time to stop, evaluate, and have a little conversation with myself.
 Yep, I talk to myself.  A lot.  Out loud.

My worth is not defined by how creatively Suzy paints her buffet, or how much Jane is willing to pay for my absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful vanity ;)  (that was a joke), or the fact that Ms Big Name Blogger has 40 gazillion likes on her FB page.  My worth is not defined by how many pieces I can kick out in a week, or that it takes 9 months for a piece to sell at the consignment shop.  My worth is not defined by how my house is decorated or if I can make a total piece of junk into something magazine worthy (there are some seriously gifted people out there!).  

My worth is not defined by how well my kids do in sports, what grades they get, or if they can sing like an angel (Ania is out of tune, and although painful sometimes, I love that she does it with gusto!).  My worth is not defined by what I drive, what I wear, which degree I have, how much money I make, how well I can organize a church/school activity, what most people say about or think of me, or what size jeans I can fit into.  

I'm not saying none of these things are important or that they can't bring happiness or pride.  I'm just saying they don't determine how valuable I am.  

My worth IS defined by how I treat people, getting up after making the biggest mistake of my life,  giving the benefit of the doubt, always seeking and extending forgiveness,  appreciating what the Lord has given me, 

and  LOVING like God does.  

I'm not perfect at these things.  Heck, I'm not even good at them most of the time, but I am 

We all have intrinsic value because our Father is God!  And, just like we inherit attributes from our earthly parents we have inherited divine attributes from Him.  It's our job to develop them, not to stunt our own growth through lack of confidence in ourselves and lack of faith that He can help us become more than what we are.  

My promise to myself:  I will not be preoccupied with my weaknesses, inadequacies, or insecurities, and will have faith in the Lord’s ability to use my weaknesses for my good.

In the words of Stuart Smalley: 

"I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!"

Well, I'm not sure if they like me, but

I know God (and my amazing hubby) loves me 

and that's enough for this girl!!

*stepping off soap box 

Well, kudos to you if you made it this far!!!  And, since you were so dedicated to read all my blather I will show you what I've been up to this week!! :)

This is a custom set for a little girl's room.  I never get over the power of white paint.  I love color.  But, there is just something about a clean, pure white piece of furniture.  It's classic and never gets old.  


bad, bad vinyl 


 Before (dresser in background)


The bleed through on this set was so stinking bad I had to give it multiple coats of everything.  I told my mom it was like painting 4 bedroom sets!  I think I will stay away from white for a while now. ;)

When I picked this fabric up I was thinking it might be a little wild, but when I paired with all that simple white and the pink knobs I loved it!  It's so fun for a little girl!

The question I get asked the most is how I get my finish.  I wish there were some secret (a magic wand perhaps?), but really it is all about sanding!  The more you sand the better your finish.  Go figure the best results come with more work! :)  It doesn't matter if you brush, roll, or spray.  Sanding is the only way to get it silky and super smooth! 

I sanded, sanded, and sanded some more on this set.  It was worth it!
Beeaauutiful! :)

I think this will be one she will enjoy for years to come! 

I'm starting my weekend off with a project of my own.  How about you?

Linked up here:








  1. Loved this post! And I agree about white paint, I always have the worst time with bleed through even after priming, so I stay away :)

  2. Bless your heart! Thank you for sharing your story. Most of us have internal conflicts to you are not alone.
    Ditto what Reeves said about bleed through...except I'm too stubborn to stay away from white, so I just battle through it and vow not paint anything white again...until next time! :)

  3. I read every word. And I completely understand - and am GLAD you found something you love - you create beautiful pieces (be still my heart on this girl set, it is FABULUS!)

    I adore you give all your thanks to God.

    You have the right attitude, just keep thinking like that - worry less, love more and you will be at peace - which to me sounds like you are already anyway.

    I love your blog and LIKE YOU VERY MUCH! : - )


  4. I read everything that you wrote. I think your amazing. I love that your being open. I am a firm believer we are better in NUMBERS my friend. I think your heart and soul is in the right place and your not experiencing anything that a MOM hasn't felt. I Love the painting you have done and the projects and most of all I love your love for christ and your soul. JUST be true to yourself and do what you love and if you can make money at it HEY that is a blessing too and I have to agree ..GOD probably loves the DUCK EGG BLUE LOL WHO DOESNT .. Blessings my friend Sherry @ The Rusty Pearl

  5. I also read every word. I haven't had a chance to do much of any painting yet; although I love the idea. This post was one of the most inspirational testimonies I have ever read. Keep it up, I have you bookmarked and check for updates 5 days a week.

  6. I also was very inspired by Sausha, and had always had crafty inside of me but always felt it was a hobby. Until I took the plunge and started selling my things, and painting furniture for myself and others. Now I'm 2 years into my company and so glad I followed my heart as well. Great Blog Post, your not the only one out there. ;)

  7. Thanks for sharing your story!! I think that furniture restoration is the best hobby to have. I love working on furniture for family and friends, and myself of course! It makes me and my clients happy, and that's what counts! LOVE your blog and all of the furniture you have done. You're an inspiration to me and I check your blog everyday. Please keep up with the great work you do. All things meant to be will fall into place. :)

  8. I DID read your whole post, and I am so glad I found your blog... Ironically, through a post on Sausha's FB page. I was the same way, pouring over her blog. One of her posts even reconfirmed for me the reasons I don't think I want to take the step in having my own shop. Anyway, I love your honesty and your spirit!! Thanks for sharing your story with us. "Us" being the-so-many-of-us-who-are-in-the-same-boat!
    P.S. I thought I was the only one who still quotes Stuart Smalley <3
    Sherri @ Painted Vintage

  9. Kudos to you for sharing. Many parts rang true in my life as well.
    Beautiful job on the bedroom set. The problem you are having is the type of wood. It's mahogany.
    and the tannins cause it to bleed. The simplest thing to do is get a wax free shellac. Zinsser has on called
    Seal Coat. It's clear, easy to brush on (there is a spray as well) and dries fast. Best of all, prevents the bleed through!! And since it seals the wood, your paint goes on beautifully. Usually only two coats with white. I talk about it on this desk I redid. You can find it here,

  10. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a fabulously talented artist and I am so glad you share your work for us to drool over. I just wish you lived a little bit closer to me -- I have a couple of pieces that I would have you redo in a heartbeat. Keep making the world more beautiful! And not just with furniture....

  11. I totally relate to just about everything you wrote about. The kids all going off to school and what am I going to do next. I picked the same road with painting furniture and Sweet Pickins was part of my inspiration also. And I also relate my worth to how many likes and how many have joined my blog. It has been particularly hard for me the last few months with trying not to dwell on that and to just know that I'm doing something I love, I'm gaining a clientele and I'm doing just enough that it doesn't get in the way of family time. Thanks for letting us all know we are not the only ones who have felt this way and that we all do have worth.

  12. Gorgeous re-finishes! I only have one child and he is two, so I won't be feeling what you are for a while, but I am so glad to have the opportunity to stay home with my son, as well. I hope you find purpose here, because it is SO important to be your own person and have your own hobbies. You are doing great :)

  13. Who can relate to everything you've written here? MY hand is the first one up in the air! I struggle so with trying to balance everything in my life . . . God, my family, our ministry, creating, blogging, etc. . . . ack! I quit my real job a few years ago and I will never get close to earning what I did in one year if I create and sell furniture for the rest of my life! I feel guilt because my husband works so hard and maybe if I were to go back to work he could retire sooner. I love what I do though and he loves having me happy.

    Enough about me . . . back to you and your worth as a person. You are indeed of infinite worth to God! He created you with an amazing talent to be creative . . . just like Him! And you must know that you stand out from the rest when it comes to creativity. Every time I see a post from you I get excited because I know that it is going to contain something so beautiful and so unique that I am going to, once again, be blown away by your talent. Believe THAT when you question yourself and what in the world you are doing with your life! You are an inspiration to many, many people.

    Thanks for sharing with such authenticity Lisa and have a great weekend.


  14. Thanks so much for sharing - I loved this post and enjoyed the whole thing. Those are some of the same lessons I need myself!
    PS I love Sausha also!!!

  15. Wow! You are one awesome and talented gal! Loved your story! Thanks for sharing and linking up this amazing redo at the DIY Sunday Showcase!
    A lucky little girl will go ga-ga over that set for sure!
    Cheers to you and yours,
    Therese @ Fresh Idea Studio

  16. Just as you were inspired by Sausha, you have most certainly inspired me. Sometimes the lord uses others to re-direct our paths in life. To take us where he needs us most and where we can use our talents in the best way. The furniture is so cute, I love the pink knobs. They really make the piece!

  17. Lisa - Amen Sista!!!
    I have a feeling you bravely put to paper (keyboard) the journey of many of us DIY Bloggers...well it certainly parallels mine. It takes a lot of courage and Trust to listen and follow what you are being guided to do and I give you a thumbs up!

    The proof that you're on the right path is in the beauty and talent of your this one for example. Gorgeous! Those pink knobs are so perfect and the fabric for the stool compliments all three pieces. Lucky is the little girl who gets to have these in her room.

    Thanks for sharing today - it was inspiring like Sausha was to you!

  18. Hi Lisa...I can relate to a lot of what you shared. When I found blogging I felt as though a part of me was wakening from a very long silence. It's inspired me to find buried creative juices I didn't know existed! I am so happy you stumbled upon Saush's blog. I hope we can become friends...I look forward to reading more :) I found your post today at our party "Inspiration Monday" party...I'm heading over now to share your beautiful set on my FB page...I just love it all! ~ Julie

  19. Wow, that was quite a heartfelt and honest post about yourself. I've gone through phases as I've moved along in my 35 years of marriage. For a while I crafted soft sculpture items and had them in resale shops. I just go with the flow and do what I feel works for me at the time. These days I don't do that DIY's projects as much anymore, but I enjoy seeing what others come up with. The furniture you just finished looks just like a set my neighbor had when we were kids. I think it was from the 1940's. I think you made it look very up to date and very desirable for anyone to want.

  20. This is my first visit, and yes, I read ever word you wrote. Quite happily I might add. You're so right about self worth. It's easy to compare ourselves to others. It's not only easy, but normal. Bit I think we all know ( or should) that there is so very much more than our projects, our recipes, our homes.

    I agree about white. It always has been and probably always will be classic. You did a fabulous job on that stool. So pretty!

  21. I am so happy that you were able to find and value yourself. Life is so hard and to be able to be happy and do things you love is truly amazing. Not only to do it, but recognize it! You have a gift and I am thankful you share it on your blog because you are such an inspiration to me!

  22. Love this post! And the project isn't so bad, either, :0)

    Glad to have found your blog.

  23. Holy Buckets did you ever just speak to me! I have had a pretty rough few months at work. And my hubby keeps telling me to quit. That the person that comes home from work isn't the wife he knows and loves. The wife he knows and loves is out in the garage painting, sanding, and creating something from nothing. He tells me that even though he pokes fun at me for not being able to park a car in our garage anymore. He loves coming home and seeing the look on my face, and the excitement to show him what I had made that day! And for some reason I just can't pull the trigger and do it. Scared! Fear of the unknown, fear of truly being proud my projects and nobody thinks they are as great as I do. It's coming to the point of choosing a path and I know that something is gonna give here soon. Your story was truly inspirational! I think I was meant to read this tonight. Thank you for your honesty, and the guts that took you to write about it! Seriously THANK YOU!

    And I hafta add that the dresser and vanity turned out beautiful!! I love white also!! Thanks for sharing on DIY Sunday Showcase!! I'm gonna pin this project to our talent board!


  24. I'm a reader and read and enjoyed every word. There are many lessons for us all in this.

    Your work is beautiful and I'd be curious to know what grade sandpaper you use? I'm working on a piece right now and am not getting the finish I desire. I'm using a super-fine grade but wondered if it's too fine. I just worry about sanding off the paint if I use a higher grade.

    Would appreciate your feedback. You can email me, if that's easier.

  25. Thank you so much for sharing so much about yourself and your life. I love how your pieces came out. Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays! x

  26. What a wonderfully worded post, perfectly stated. I can so relate to everything you said. It is so hard not to get caught up on the "numbers". It is enough to drive yourself crazy if you let it. It is a battle I still struggle with at times. I remind myself daily that it does not matter how many "likes" I have or how many "followers" I have, the only thing that matters is that I am using the gifts God gave me to make someone happy. God has blessed you with an incredible gift. Thank you for sharing your awesome work!


    P.S. If you have time perhaps you'd like to read my "self-worth story" - here's the link:

  27. I'm cruising through and looking at some of your older posts before I "knew" you and dangit girl...YOU MAKE ME CRY!!! Seriously. I love this post, and I love you. :)


  28. Hello Lisa,

    Just found out your amazing blog today, and guess what? I got to his very post.
    My name is Susana, I'm a mother of a 3 year old toddler and two 10 months beautiful twin girls. I'm Portuguese... from very far :)
    I just wanted to let you now that your work is absolutely amazing, and that I'm sure you inspire tons of people just like you and me.
    For quite some time now I've been struggling to decide the route of my life. I actually am a working mom (in a very boring consultancy job) and lately i'm realizing that being a mom is what full fills me. I have a food blog which is my escape and my husband and I started a small business of wedding photography that is going really well. So we're planning to move to a bigger house away from the city in the next months (if God permits) and I'm hopping that sometime sooner than latter I'll be devoting 100% to our photography and to being a mom. I found your blog because I'm planning on doing some vintage furniture makeovers myself for our new home and I came to cross this written words.
    And I just wanted to tell you that I honestly feel exactly the way you felt when you read Sausha's blog. I feel inspired to just grab with my heart what makes me happy and I truly believe that in by doing so I will be able to become a better person and above all to give my family the most of me which ultimately will lead to their happiness to.

    So thank you from the bottom of my heart for inspiring me (and I'm sure lots of others like me and you) and please don't ever stop sharing the beautiful things you do.

    And being a mom of two little girl, I must say that this set is so wonderfull, I'm sure my ballerinas would love to have something like this.

    A big kiss from a portuguese mother and woman.

  29. Thank you so much for sharing, your words brought tears to my eyes. We have so many things in common.


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