My roots grow strong…and deep

My children often tell me that the reason I love vintage so much is because I AM vintage….but it’s more than that really. I have roots that I happily embrace. Roots that take me back to simpler days…farmland days…sitting and visiting days…tromping through the woods days. No wonder, then, that I embrace things such as…

Old typewriters – like this one that I first learned how to type on and my love of the written word…

Sunset walks through forest woods…

Farm plows, and remembrances of my grandfather smoking his cigar as he walked behind his –

And enamelware washtubs and washboards….for practical use, and for music!

Walk back in time with me to my youth…sometime around age 8. The day is sunny….the wind whistles through the trees…the moss is soft beneath my feet as we tumble from the car barefoot and make our way to her front porch. And there she stands to greet us…the plump woman smelling of warm, baked bread and fried okra…but it was the shoes and rolled down stockings that I think I loved best. As I recall, her ankles were swollen from hot days on hard floors, baking in her kitchen. And oh – the apron. She always wore the apron, and I think she was likely always in the kitchen…baking those amazing apple pies that cooled in her kitchen window. Except maybe on Sundays. This picture was likely taken on that day.

She had a water pump off the back porch where we were allowed to take a sip or wash our hands after playing in the dirt around her home. Don’t misunderstand me…running water had come to her home by the time I was old enough to visit, but the pump remained…as did the ladel for dipping the coolness from the well. No wonder as an adult I wanted this reminder in my own yard….sweetness of days gone by.

My great-grandfather was as slim as my great-grandmother was round. He was, as I recall him, always in what we now call a “wife-beater” undershirt. His was usually wet with sweat, as he had been out on the farmland doing some odd job or another. Always overalls, but on Sunday they were clean and he wore them with a starched white shirt. But truth be told, I remember the twinkle in his eyes the most. My grandfather wore the same twinkle in his…

So those were my great-grandparents on my mom’s side of the family. Sadly, I don’t have memories of my great-grands on my dad’s side of the family. I’m not sure I ever knew them honestly. Best I can remember, they died before I was born.

Now skip forward with me to my grandparents. Growing up as a child of parents who were both “only children”, my grandparents were more like playmates to me. I didn’t have cousins, but we spent every weekend with one or both sets of grandparents. And from both sets, I learned a lot about love, loyalty, laughter and heritage.

This was my Nanny, Dad’s mom. Not until recently did I discover this photo! She was “a looker”…. gorgeous legs, beautiful skin, and always doning the loveliest of shoes! She married my Papaw, a handsome man himself! Papaw spent his career days working for Belk Store Services.

Nanny and Papaw were, to me growing up, the “serious” grandparents. Oh sure, I remember having fun with them….Old Maid card games with Nanny and shoveling mulch in the yard with her as well, gardening with Papaw and being hoisted to his shoulders when we went into the Belk Warehouse after hours to check out the displays that were created that day. But they both had a silly side to them that I didn’t see until after they were gone and I discovered the pictures left behind…

Their love for each other, and for God, was strong. I’m thankful for those roots.

And now for Mom’s parents…Papaw had a dog as a child, served in the Army as a young man, then worked his career around selling commercial kitchen equipment. Nanny worked in the shell factory during WWII, was a fabulous hairdresser as well as an amazing homemaker and golfer in her latter years, not to mention artist! From her I learned my love of crafts and art. They enjoyed the NC mountains with her parents (something I didn’t learn until these pics surfaced!), and they taught me much about laughter, bearing through heartaching situations and about forgiveness.

Roots. We all have them. Some of us don’t get a chance to learn about them. Parents pre-decease us, or adopt us or otherwise neglect to help us know our foundation. Others of us may not appreciate the support those roots have given us. But sooner or later, we all realize that roots are necessary. Think about it. When a tree is uprooted, it falls, and dies. When a plant is uprooted, it does the same. What does that say to me? We need to stay rooted! I have chosen the Root that gives me growth and life….Jesus Christ. If I am not rooted in Him, I die. Literally.

May I be so bold as to ask you to search your heart and discover the roots in your life? The search will be worth the findings and I dare say you will discover something about yourself in the process.

~Blessings,

Connie

Roots growing deep

IMG_1244Winter and I have never been friends.  But I have come to realize that without Winter the roots couldn’t reach deep into the soil to gain nourishment and to push forth those early Spring buds.  I recently tried my hand at  planting some curly willow from a cutting.  When I saw the buds bursting forth it gave me such a thrill!  And I pondered this…when we allow God to work in us and our roots are in Him, do you think He thrills when we burst forth new life from what He has sown in us?  I like to think that He does.

My life seems to have been going through a very long winter season of late.  And truthfully?  I have been complaining about it….a LOT!  Now I’m pretty sure that my complaints are not at all the right nourishment for my soul, and I know too that nothing good will grow from those groans.  So today, I decided to look to my Source and ask forgiveness.  Faithful as He always is, God has provided exactly the encouragement I have needed today.  I am beyond words.  So humbled.  So thankful.  So blessed.

IMG_1252On the outside I often look like this old tin….rusty, bent out of shape a bit and worn out.  And then…..sprouts of life burst out of that old worn out vessel and offer hope for the days ahead.  Thank you, Father.

IMG_1249As the sun streamed in the upstairs window of the shop this morning, I  felt a renewal in my spirit.  And again, I breathe out my thanksgiving to the One Who always hears our cries and meets our every need.  You hear that?  Our every need.

IMG_1247Rusty?  Yes.  But look again….life springing out of the old.  Turn your gaze outdoors a moment.  Lift your eyes off the screen.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait for you.  What do you see?  Anything springing forth new life today?  It’s there if you look for it. God will use the old, rusty, worn out and fatigued and skillfully bring forth a beauty you might not realize you possessed.  Let Him do His creative work in you.  I’m giving in to Him as well today.  Why?  Because I personally know His faithfulness.  Even working against my stubborn and occasionally hard heart.

IMG_1243May you find joy in your journey today, my friend.  God loves you so much.

~Blessings,

Connie

Obedience is better than sacrifice…

IMG_6730It was my starting place….the desire of my heart being fulfilled.  And coming out of a well-paying job to take on my own business was quite a stretch.  But one thing I was certain of…..God’s direction in it for me.  And if I’ve learned anything in this life, it is that to obey sometimes costs you, but to disobey costs you so much more.  And so in January of 2017 the decision was made to open a brick and mortar retail space.  And God faithfully provided the first 500 SF location….an office space on Osborne Road in Brevard, NC. The lease was signed and the doors opened in March.  But close behind that 6 month lease came the fulfillment of the rest of the dream….a vintage home complete with gardens and more space to house Burlap & Lace.  IMG_8385

I would suggest reading back through old blogs for how this story has panned out thus far, but let me suffice it to say….I have learned so much already.  And in that learning, I realize some things that I absolutely have gotten away from while trying to grow this sweet little shop.  And therein lies my lesson of obedience.  May I just say here that God is so faithful?  He will let us “go our own way” for a time, but as a gentle shepherd, he takes that crook around my neck and leads me back to the right path…..again and again and again.

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Since opening the doors of Burlap & Lace, a lot has happened….both good things and not so good things.  My husband and I have been through 2 Vintage Market Days as vendors, we have “opened shop” twice in two different locations simultaneously while doing the market (which proved to be both exhausting and exhilarating), we have lost a parent to death after a five plus year stent of Alzheimer’s (the meanest disease I have ever witnessed), I got shingles, then broke my foot doing laundry….a break that put me in a walking boot for 4 months.  I have undergone Physical Therapy for the results of  wearing the boot for so long, and am still doing so.  That has kept me from doing my “normal” rearranging of the shop weekly, not to mention the set back of not being able to go bargain hunting like normal! Today, I am pleased to say, I saw the surgeon for what I hope to be the last time and have been released to begin normal activities slowwwwwly again. (That will be challenging!  I’m not sure I have a slow gear in my possession.)  To continue my saga, we are battling through the last few months of watching a second parent lose the battle to cancer.  And somewhere along this journey, I decided I should be open 5 days each week which I find has been impossible to do consistently.   I am having to close more than stay open in order to travel, take care of PT appointments and doctor appointments, and just “do normal life”.  Which leads me back to the beginning of this long story….obedience.

I clearly knew from the beginning of Burlap & Lace that I was to be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but when things began to slow down , I felt I could add more days. So I did.  And God has allowed me to “go my own way” once again, all the while prompting my spirit to slow down, breathe and enjoy what and who He has given me daily.  My confession?  I have begun not enjoying much of anything lately for the frenzy of it all.

Having taken time out this morning for a doctor’s appointment, I so appreciated the drive time to be still and to listen to what I knew God was instructing me to do.  To coin a phrase from my earthly father, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”  And that is what I have tried to do…”fix” something that wasn’t broken to begin with.

I had begun listening to people asking me how I could stay open during the winter months if I was only open 3 days/week.  I panicked.  And I shouldn’t have.  God is faithful!  Shame on me for forgetting His promises to me and getting off track….even for a little while.  So with that being confessed, hear this:  I am going back to my regular schedule of Thursday – Saturday 10:00 – 5:30 beginning next week.   And this week?  I will only be open Thursday and Friday, as we again are traveling Saturday and Sunday.  Sigh….

IMG_0825As these gorgeous flowers bravely poked through the debris of winter, I was delighted to see their pink faces gazing up at me.  Winter is passing….and spring will come.  But we must wait for it.  We are not in control.  Am I the only one realizing that?!?

So if you wander in to Burlap & Lace this week, wander in on  Thursday or Friday.  And I will be here (God willing!) to greet you.  Let’s take a quick peek at a few things you will find when you visit next…

 

New furniture pieces, tote bags and fun new wall pieces, plus so much more.  Thanks for being a part of my journey…..and until we meet again,

~Blessings,

Connie

 

 

My greatest blessings

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Meet my greatest blessings….my children!  Britt is our oldest son (on the left) and Andrea is his amazing wife of 5 years.  Separated by 5 years, Mitch is our youngest son.

God’s word is clear:  There is no greater joy that to hear that my children walk in truth.  3 John 4  How blessed I am that my children know the Lord and live their lives for Him!

Likely you will hear tales that involve them in the future, so I wanted you to see their smiling faces.  They are the joy of my days, and an answered prayer of my heart long ago.  I thank God for each of them!