The wait

Such a beautiful day- billowing clouds and a fanatical wind kept her cool and content as the sun beat warm upon her upturned face. This was not the day she had imagined herself having.

Earlier that morning, she had loaded their 12 year old lab into the back seat of the truck for what she told him would be “an adventure “. His tail wagged excitedly as he attempted the short jump upward. As had been the usual of late, he missed his determined landing point, falling backwards to the pavement. “It’s okay”, she told him. “Let’s try again.” He so wanted to please her and she knew she couldn’t lift his 60 pound body adequately. So he lunged up and forward again, this time making it as she gave his backside a gentle push, creating the confidence he needed.

Rides were among his favorite things and this would possibly be the longest he had ever had. Rolling down all the windows and turning up the music for her sake more than for his, the journey began. As the 40 degree morning air made its way onto her body, she shivered. He, on the other hand, couldn’t be happier. With his head out the window, he sniffed the ever-new scents as they passed cow pastures then highway trucks and finally the all-too-mouthwatering smell of fast food chains baking their morning biscuits. He had not been allowed food since last night’s supper.

Settling into the curbside parking space, he watched with her as animal after animal came and went through one of four office doors. Silent he was- until one of “his kind” limped out onto the sidewalk. A handsome male he was. Roughly 3 years old by his size. His front leg was in a splint and his tail wove itself down and under his body. He was scared. And it showed. A very loud bark erupted from Wilson’s throat. And the puppy stopped dead in its tracks, turned and whimpered at him. Reaching over the seat to rub his head, I whispered, “That could be you being afraid! Show him how to be brave”. Wilson quieted himself and I rewarded him the privilege of lapping up the water I had brought for him straight from the bottle rather than from his bowl. How delighted he was to receive his reward!

All too soon, it was his turn. And to the technician’s delight, he waited appropriately while I fastened his leash onto his harness, then jumped out and went willingly with her.

The doctor came out to tell me that the physical exam had been done. As we knew, the infection was bad and without help through medication. Surgery, if deemed appropriate, would be needed. Or it could be cancer raging in his bladder. The only way to know would be the ultrasound we came for.

The doctor then asked me about his wheezing which had also been a concern of ours. I learned that it is actually a genetic condition in older labs whereby the phalangeal tube begins to narrow. She informed me that due to his current condition whereby his wheezing was advanced he might not be able to make it through surgery even if we decided to go that route. His breathing tube had basically narrowed to the size of a small straw. Our options were narrowing rapidly.

Hating to ask the inevitable question, I probed for other answers. Was an ultrasound even necessary? She comforted me to assure that we would have answers if we proceeded. But her major comfort was in telling me , “He’s a lab. He wants to please you so he rallies. But no matter the outcome of the tests he only has a few weeks to perhaps a couple months ahead where he will continue to deteriorate. “

I had to make the call. As per my conversation earlier that morning with my husband, I asked for the ultrasound to be performed along with a needle biopsy of the fluid in his prostate and his bladder. Then came the wait. Four plus hours to second guess my decision. Four plus hours to tell myself he was likely not going home with me. Four plus hours to pray for peace and for God’s wisdom rather than the wisdom of the world.

The wait began.

Six hours passed. And then the hardest moment ever came. Results of his ultrasound showed that further tests were needed. And surgery – which he likely would not live through due to his phalangeal paralysis. The decision was being made for us and I didn’t know what to do except the obvious.

While I really don’t need to relay more details, suffice it to say we miss him immensely. And I clearly have no way to end this post except with pictures of our memories with Wilson.

If you have lost a pet, believe me when I say that I know some of how you feel. Loss is loss. And pets become loyal companions. So now I’m smiling. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we need companions until they are gone.

We are blessed to have had him with us for 12 years. 12 GOOD years.

May God meet you where you are today. He surely has met us.

❤️

~Blessings,

Connie

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

When you’ve done all you know to do –

Stand.  That’s what Scripture says.

Ephesians 6:13:  Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

IMG_2625Babies grow in the womb for 9 months (some shorter times, some longer).  And I’ve been told that businesses take a minimum of 3 years to experience growth.  As I approached the end of my first year, I found myself in a place where I truly questioned if I’d done all I knew to do.  Had I succeeded in blessing people in all situations as they walked through the door?  Had I helped anyone along the way?  Or was it all for naught.

I have had absolutely no doubts about starting this business, or about the locations I have been in.  If you read back over my blogs you will agree with me that God opened up each specific place for me in His specific way and time.  But there came a time when I wondered…..Am I trying to push open doors that God has firmly shut by staying on after my first year in my brick and morter shop?  Without sales, a business cannot survive.   Neither can it survive without the help of others along the way.  And yet I know that God kept me in that brick and morter shop until He said clearly,  “Child, you’re done here”.  So I stood then, and so I still stand – because I’ve done all I know to do.

Tell me, am I the only struggling warrior out there?

This business…..Burlap & Lace…..has been more than a shop or a store front to me.  And I in no way want to kick open doors to make my dream live on.  Seasons are again changing, and while I don’t know exactly what the next season will look like, I can tell you this:  It will be good!  

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I’m heading back solely into the first space I longed for and eventually moved into at Marketplace on Locust, giving up my second space.  The upcoming designs will still reflect my style of decorating, much as they do now, but I hope you will find new and creative additions flowing out of a heart of gratitude (and perhaps a few more blog posts!). God has led me through some thick and difficult waters in my past, but He has continuously been faithful to me. 

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To have landed in Ilse’s shop 4 years ago was no thoughtless meandering on my part.  God opened up a place for me there and has held my heart in it these four years.  I have gone beyond the normal “booth space mentality” to understand the thing I wanted most of all in opening up my own brick and morter….to be with and enjoy the people He puts in my path daily.  I thought that would only be possible in my own shop, but not so.  Ilse has been gracious to allow me to hang out at Marketplace more often than I ever imagined she would….and when I’m not working in my own space, she graciously allows me to help her customers find things in her shop that have them leaving with new goodies and a smile on their faces.  And my joy is fulfilled….I’ve done what I love to do and been in a place where I love doing it.  

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It may sound a bit simplistic, but this first sign I ever made really does say it all….Love…is all you need.

So you see, standing, when I didn’t know what else to do, WAS something to do. And it kept me from falling, except to my knees, even now, to thank God for His merciful kindness to me….in it all, and through it….all. To Him be the glory forever. Amen (so be it).

~Blessings,

Connie

Leave something to the imagination…

img_4817Anyone else out there ever have a car that looks like this?!?  And get this….rainy days usually end up being my shopping days….what’s up with that?!?  Of course, if you live in Transylvania County you have quickly learned that “Land of the Waterfalls” translates easily into “Land WHERE the water falls”!

But take a closer look…other than a few visible items, you would never know what was for dinner, much less what was in all those bags!

Furniture is no different….on first glance you might think “what a worthless piece of junk!”, but then, someone takes that discarded heap and turns it into a one of a kind beauty.  Ever think that God does the same thing with us?

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  1 Corn. 6:9-11

Not too long ago I was at a Chamber event and was given the opportunity to make my 30 second “elevator speech”.  Not expecting such, I told the name of my business, then proceeded to tell how I like to take unwanted, forgotten pieces and turn them into treasures by giving them a new purpose.  After the words left my lips, I thought that I will never again tell someone that I “re-purpose”.  Why?  Because quite honestly I believe that  God has given each of us a purpose and equipped us fully to carry it out.  BUT, until we come to know Him as our Savior, we quite possibly look for ways to “re-purpose” and reconstruct our lives to do what we want instead of what He intended us to do.  We look for ways to bring purpose to our lives without ever realizing that we have already been given purpose…we just need to know the Creator and we will come to understand our specific purpose!  So how cool that the very thing God has given me to do totally speaks of all that He has done IN me! You could easily say that God took the unwanted, forgotten Connie and turned her into his precious treasure.  Ah….that absolutely humbles me to think of it.  How thankful I am!

Speaking of treasures, let’s see what special finds await you as we leave February and merge happily into March at Marketplace on Locust.   Mirror, mirror on the wall…..So many to choose from at Burlap & Lace! From small to large, don’t miss a single one!

From farmhouse style to cottage living spaces, nothing speaks better than cows! But if that’s not your thing, don’t overlook metal pieces. This hanging scale would be great in a kitchen to hold potatoes. Or in the laundry room to toss in unmatched socks while they await their mate! Add a touch of cottage style to your bathroom by rolling up handtowels and putting them inside the scale for an easy grab. The possibilities are endless!

I’m always on the lookout for that different piece that will add a bit of rustic charm to your home. I nailed it with this antique hotel lobby cubby! Can’t you just imagine getting off the stagecoach, heading for that hot bath at the hotel and stopping at the front desk for your room key and any mail you may have received while en route to this dusty little town? I believe this is the perfect piece for your art studio…fill those cubbies with your paints and brushes…easy to find what you need but keeping everything neatly tucked away when not in use. Or what about the kids’ room? Fill the cubbies with shoes, hats, gloves, you name it. Perfect also for the mudd room, holding gardening tools, the dog’s leash, the gym weights you keep stumbling over….

While you are drooling over the PO cubby, take a look at the art work sitting on top! Local artist, Erin Jones, does more than paint. Every piece she does has a unique story….check her out on FB and see more!

Just added this week is this newly upholstered bench. Come on in and take a gaze around my space as you take a load off your feet. Bet ya you will not want to leave without it! Dressing up a bedroom? See the lovely blue chest of drawers behind the bench? Update a bedroom with the bench at the foot of your bed, the chest of drawers snuggled into the room with the throw (nestled inside the chest) tossed over the foot of the bed. Add the matching bedside table (pictured below) and you have just updated the room in one big sweep! Well done you!

From desks (secretary or more modern), dressers, benches, tables, chairs and bedside tables, take your pick! As February ends, pieces will be going out in order to bring in new for March in preparation for our Spring Open House coming up March 31-April 2. Even the rugs are for sale as I bring in new ones in two weeks!

As you imagine one (or many!) of these pieces within the walls of your home space, don’t forget to linger a moment over the purpose of the piece(s) you choose, and to dwell on the purpose God has for you. There is a purpose for your life….seek for it. You will find it, I’m sure of it.

~Blessings,

Connie

Remember to laugh, and take notice….

It was quite a year for us – 2021 – and if we are not careful, 2022 will take on sourness as we groan over Covid still lingering with us, having to wear masks, argue over whether vaccinations work or they don’t….and half a dozen other “worldly” things that take our attention away from the enjoyment of every day life.

Don’t get me wrong….I realize all too well that those things take our focus sometimes. But I want to encourage you to step away from the ho-hum drum of life, the anxieties of things you may have missed out on while quarantining, and step back, breathe a fresh breath, and find joy….in THIS year’s journey. To do so, I wanted to step back in time to last year in my own life, and share with you a few things that make me want to enjoy THIS year to the full. And in doing so, I pray you will take a stroll through your own memories of 2021 and look ahead to this year with a new anticipation of joy.

We were blessed to have our children and grandchildren come for a visit last June. We hadn’t seen them in two years, so you can imagine at their young ages what a refreshment this was to us! During their visit, our old dog wouldn’t eat….until our granddaughter figured she could hand-feed him and he would nibble from her hands. The trick for her was getting his food from the can that was nearly as big as she was! No worries there…she found a way. And I laughed at the sight of her.

Back at their home, they kept the moods light as they mused….Covid keeps us quaranatined and you and daddy can’t go on that date? We’ve got you covered! At home theater! And again, I laugh.

We all need to find some joy, some laughter and some smiles with all that is happening around us these days. Perhaps, like me, you just need a moment to remember what makes your heart happy…

Spring flowers blooming late into Fall….
Celebrations that happened from our own back deck….
Grandchildren painting birdhouses for my gardens so that I will remember them, even when they have returned home…

God’s glory displayed in the early morning sunrise as I walked out my front door…

Hikes with my hubby….

Sunsets and quiet nights….
Finding the beauty in things that otherwise would be a nusance….and lingering to realize that we are not alone in this world of wonder.

I pray each of us will step into a new rhythm this year. May God give you eyes to see, ears to listen and a heart to love your way through every day He gives you.

~Blessings,

Connie

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing…

My husband is a very smart man. He knows me so well, and when I get to the end of my rope, he knows how to grab hold and pull me back to get my footing stabilized again. Like now…

In my quiet time this morning, I was reading in a book by Kevin Deyoung, Crazy Busy, and stumbled (quite purposefully, I’m sure) across these words: “…busyness can ruin our joy.” He first described busyness as this, “…we are distracted. We are preoccupied. We can’t focus on the task in front of us. We don’t follow through. We don’t keep our commitments. We are so busy with a million pursuits that we don’t even notice the most important things slipping away.”

Ouch. Mr. Deyoung just described my life of late. And although the description was dead-on accurate, it didn’t make me feel any better. He had just put onto paper exactly what is happening to me at present….I am allowing my joy to be ruined.

This is how most weeks look in my world….a truck full of furniture and “fun” things heading into my spaces at the Marketplace on Locust. It is in this space of time each week that I am content in the moment. I love designing spaces that people can wander through, finding joy for their own day perhaps by being in a place that offers smiles, friendship, good deals and lots of home decor items just waiting to be discovered. But when I get worn down, worn out and simply worn to shreds (due to my own doing/overdoing), my joy flits away as fast as it came. And then I go searching for how to create more time in my days….to do what I love to do.

Like baking – (and oh, by the way, take notice of that cake plate! I bought it from a vendor at The Marketplace on Locust!). I used to stop my “work” everyday around 3:00 and head to the kitchen where I would begin prepping dinner, making desserts and getting ready to entertain friends or family.

And it was never ONLY about the food! Notice the dishes those delicious goodies are settled on….items hand-picked from antiquing with my sister, or shopping on my own at thrift stores. I love a good find, whether I’m bringing it to the shop for you or taking it home for myself!

And then there’s that “other” thing I’ve come to enjoy…upholstery! I see fabric now as an opportunity to move my design skills to a different level. Not only do I like coming up with the perfect pieces for my spaces, but my brain starts flowing in colors, patterns and setting the perfect scene for you to come explore at The Marketplace on Locust. Which then involves shopping, which then leads to painting furniture to go with the fabric I’ve just discovered. The cycle of busyness is moving rapidly in a downhill motion, picking up momentum….

Until I head outdoors into our yard and catch a glimpse of a quieter kind of beauty. B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Breathe deeply child. You’re about to have your joy unraveled by all the things you love doing. And you. Don’t. Even. Realize. It.

Relationships are being put on the back burner. And for what gain? More fatigue? More money? More accolades of your creativity? More exhaustion of mind, body and soul?

That web was spun overnight in our yard. With one swift sweep of my broom, it was gone. All that hard work, yet some spider was suddenly homeless. (I know, just writing that makes me feel bad all over again.)

So maybe all my hard work won’t be swept away overnight, but….it could be. And then what do I have left? Broken relationships? Unmet friends? Bruises on my arms and legs from carrying furniture too heavy to be lifted by a little ‘ol lady (me)?

And his voice comes back to me, ever so gently…”It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, Connie.” And then I pick up my book from my morning quiet time and read: “Margin is the space between our load and our limits. Planning for margin means planning for the unplannable. It means we understand what’s possible for us as finite creatures and then we schedule for less than that.”

Me? Schedule LESS? (I need some air, a paper bag to breathe in, anything!) “Yes, Child,” my Father assures me.

The view was something I could not have planned. But I was still enough last night to notice it. And to breathe it in.

So here is my declaration, the way I purpose in my heart to get back to the things God has given me to do instead of doing all the things this world expects me to do….

  1. Spend time with God daily. He is my life. It is because of Him that I have breath in my lungs and can create anything from a good home to a good booth space. And in my busyness, I have neglected the Giver of Life.
  2. Spend time with the people I love….my husband and children first of all, because THEY are the first gift God gave me when He gave me the desire of my heart to be a wife and mom.
  3. Spend time cultivating relationships I have abandoned. My parents, my siblings, my friends. They matter.
  4. Write, write, write. Not because I think I have anything important that the world needs to hear but rather because by writing I often tell myself things I need to hear. I have pushed that creative and God-given outlet off the stove altogether (never mind putting it on the back burner!).
  5. Keep creating the spaces I love with zeal and new insight, but stop letting those spaces “take on a life of their own”, as my husband knows all too well that I can do. When that creative outlet comes before the first 4 things on this list, I have flung my joy totally away. I crash. And others get caught in my spinning out of control. Nobody wins that race. But we all get hurt in the crash.
  6. Last, I am giving up social media altogether. (It’s okay, really.) I have let other people’s comments (or lack of comments) drive me to places I would rather not admit that I’ve gone. I won’t miss my own rants, and truthfully, you likely won’t miss me! If you enjoy my blog posts, then subscribe at the bottom of this one. You will be notified whenever I write. And my writing will still include the pictures and stories of my time at The Marketplace on Locust, but I pray it will also include far more important things that awaken your senses to the hope we all have available to us by a life with Jesus as your Savior.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. But margin is important (that space between our load and our limits).

My load has become too great, and my limits have been met. I am turning back to the Source of my strength and my creativity. In that place, I will find again my joy in this journey. And be sure I will be sharing that with you.

~Blessings,

Connie

Accepting the challenge

February has been a cold, wet and dreary month. As a result, I have caught up on some reading of other’s blogs which has prompted me to accept the challenge of a “no spend February” from Miss Mustard Seed’s blog (love her!), using my time to declutter our home rather than spend more money on things I don’t need. That being said, I’ve spent the first two weeks of February sprucing up my Marketplace at Locust space and planning for our Spring Open House upcoming, so now it’s time I got a schedule together and joined others inspired to “take the plunge” and get organized this month! Needless to say, my organizational efforts will be carried into March since I am getting a late start!

Those were the days, my friends!

I’ve always been a pretty organized person, but probably like you, sometimes I need a specified schedule to “deep clean” my home. I learned the most about deep cleaning in my employ at Bed & Breakfast on Tiffany Hill, located in Mills River, NC. For me, that was absolutely a dream job. As a three year old girl, all I wanted was to be a mommy and a homemaker (my mom did it so well and I wanted to be just like her!). In late 2013 I met Selena Einwechter, proprietor of said B&B, while interviewing for a job. Every year she left her B&B in the capable hands of her staff and headed to Florida while we closed the Bed & Breakfast for a month and a half and did our Spring Cleaning. I still incorporate that learned habit into my own home cleaning. No better time than now to pick a couple of weeks and dive in! (Next year I will totally have to take the full month to do this properly!)

We moved into a new home (four doors down from our old home) in July of 2020. Suffice it to say that much of my time since that move has simply been in painting and doing some remodeling, all the while maintaining my space at Marketplace on Locust, so I haven’t had a lot of desire to spring clean when I didn’t even have all the boxes unpacked! COVID helped with that as I have literally been organizing as I go! But as I was painting yesterday, I realized I really could use some days for organization….

So to my “list” of items yet to wade through…

  • Basement Workroom
    • Go thru fabrics and toss/donate items that will not be used
    • Organize scrapbook materials/send unwanted stickers to grandkids
    • Clean out paints/toss old or dried up cans
  • Kitchen
    • Clean and organize all cabinets inside
    • Clean outside of cabinet doors
    • Go thru pantry items (spices, etc)/toss out of date items
    • Clean out refrigerator/magic eraser!
  • Laundry room
    • Go thru cleaning supplies/Recirculate cleaning supplies throughout house
    • Organize batteries/lightbulbs/sliders/lunch boxes
  • Dining room
    • Organize napkins, table linens
    • Organize tablescape items and decor
  • Downstairs deck area
    • Build/relocate potting shed area
    • Wash pots to be ready for spring planting (should have done this at season’s end but we had just moved!)
  • Front deck
    • Pots organized for spring plants
    • Windows cleaned
  • Screened porch
    • Scrub down furniture
    • Replace rugs
    • Wash windows/screens
    • Stock pie safe with outdoor candles and table linens
  • Front gardens
    • Add yard art
    • Add mulch/prune and spruce up
  • Screened porch
    • Scrub down furniture
    • Replace rugs
    • Wash windows/screens
    • Stock pie safe with outdoor candles and table linens
  • Master BR closet
    • Weed out clothes not worn in a year
    • Clean out purses and bags/donate
    • Move ironed table linens to linen closet
    • Donate unworn shoes
  • Master Bath
    • Clean windows and blinds
  • C3’s office
    • Organize greeting cards and journals
    • Donate unwanted organizers, notebooks, etc.

Ambitious, aren’t I? Let’s get busy and get organized! Spring is on the way!!!

~Blessings,

Connie

Reflections…on 2020

The truth of the matter is, we’ve been masking ourselves – our true selves, our inner selves – to the world for quite some time.  But in March of 2020, COVID-19 hit our world, and the masks we began to wear were no longer hidden masks of our hearts.  They became (to me) a physical reminder of the deeper heart wounds that we try to hide everyday.

Four months into the virus, I found myself (probably like the rest of you) needing a haircut.  It was in that pandemic struggle that I found a person who was willing to share not only her skills in hairdressing, but she bore her heart, and I found something so precious and so refreshing that I sought her out more than once in the months that followed.

As I sat in her small one room salon, Erin shared many truths with me.  My heart sang at having found a sister in Christ to talk with…someone that shared my faith and love of Jesus, and who was unashamed to speak of that love.

On the wall across from us was this painting.  As I inquired about it, I learned that Erin was indeed an artist in more than one form!  This piece, called “Caged Beauty” spoke a story to my heart as she unfolded what she had painted, and why.  She practically breathed life into the creation as she recounted her affection and heartache for children caught in sex trafficking.  As she described this piece to me, I could envision clearly her portrayal of the children’s’ beauty, but the tragedy of them being trapped behind a world of lies, deceit and fear.  The story spoke so personally to me that it became my first purchased piece of true art for our new home.

As months passed, I learned of Erin’s new art studio space in downtown Brevard.  It was in my visit with her there that I felt a tug on my heart to purchase Erin’s pieces and to sell them at Burlap & Lace’s space within the Marketplace on Locust in Hendersonville, NC.  I loved her heart that was sketched into every piece, and I wanted to help expose her work to others.  In that vein, I asked Erin if I might video her telling of her work in her own words, and she was readily agreeable.  I also took notes (so glad I did!) in case my videoing skills were lacking.  As it turns out, my skills didn’t fail me, but this blog site has.  Video additions are not part of my “free” package.  So to the best of my ability, I will share Erin’s paintings and her stories behind them with you. My words of description will be as much hers as mine, as I wrote down exact quotes from her. And just so you know, her work will be offered for sale in my space after Christmas so spread the word by sharing this blog with your friends and on your personal pages.  And please understand….these are not Hobby Lobby reproductions and will not be priced as such.  They are creative, expressive, works of Erin’s heart.  Galleries will soon be promoting her work, and I am more than ecstatic to have her pieces gracing the walls of Burlap & Lace!

On the day I visited Erin in her studio, I knew I wanted to purchase all that she had available.  Above was the last piece I purchased from Erin that day, but the first to share with you here.  She calls it “Most Cunning”.

Many things struck me about this piece, the first being that it is entirely finger painted!  Erin told me that she painted this during the beginning of the quarantine period of the pandemic, having no foreknowledge when she began of what she would paint.  As she swirled her fingers on the canvas, she was meditating on the truth, the fear, the confusion and the heaviness of 2020.  That the serpent manifested itself was NOT her plan.   As she prayed and painted , she began to see the manifestation of the serpent and was shocked, as she didn’t want to paint something scary.  She remembered at once that although Satan is the most cunning of all creatures, yet the promise to every believer in Jesus Christ is that he, the serpent, is under the heel of the believer, and that God is ultimately in control of all that has been happening this Covid year.

This acrylic and mixed medium canvas painting is $895.

The above piece is called “Sanctuary”.  How often have you longed for a place of retreat?   A place where you could fall on your face and feel no condemnation, no shame, only comfort?  Erin found such a place at a time when she was not a believer.  Her Catholic grandmother, she remembers vividly, would always take her to church when she was a young child.  And although she laughingly (and somewhat fondly) remembers those cathedrals as much “greater” than what she has painted, the portrayal for her was the peace she felt when in that place.  It was as if somehow she knew when she was inside the church she was on holy ground.  Later, she explains, in some of the darkest times of her life, she would get down on her knees and pray, even though she didn’t believe.  Her faith began to grow through those hard times, and she stated that she began to paint a series of church paintings, always white and always bright.  Although painted some years ago, I’m so thankful she had this one left for me to purchase!  As with most of her pieces, this is an acrylic/mixed medium on canvas.  And with all of her canvas paintings, they are perfect stand-alone pieces, or would be stunningly attractive encompassed by a frame of your choosing.  This piece sells for $225.

Look closely at this next painting…I had to!  It’s called “Love Wins” and is again an acrylic/mixed medium on canvas.  When at a local art show, Erin saw a bronze bust with a glass rose coming out of the chest.  Erin was drawn to the bust, and explained that at the time, she was going through a divorce, which to her was the equivalence of a huge death that lasted several years.  It was during this time that she first began to paint, and to feel her grandmother’s gift of painting being passed on to her.   She wanted to paint a rendition of the sculpture she had seen….this is her first bust painting.  She indicates that the rose symbolized to her something beautiful….that she was going to recover and come through the darkest time of her life, all the while honoring her Father in heaven and remembering that love ultimately always wins.  Thus, the naming of her piece, which sells for $425.

Called “Grateful”, Erin’s most recently painted work came about as an excited, bright, happy and hopeful circumstance occurred in her life….the rental of the art space studio that she now occupies in downtown Brevard.  Erin recalled to me such an explosion of joy from her heart over having a designated space in which to do her art.  With my own love of flowers, and with the brightness of this work, it will be a favorite to display in my shop.  This acrylic/mixed media canvas painting will be offered at $395.

Unlike all the other purchased pieces that day, this gorgeous painting, done on wood, is likely the one that draws me in most to the story behind it.  And I might add here, that this is the video clip I hope to put on my IG or FB page soon, so look for it.  Erin’s heart speaks so clearly that I really want you to hear her words from her own mouth.  But until such a time, I will do my best to recount her story of this painting to you….

Being outside in her yard, setting up her easel, she had a birds eye view of the church that rents her home to her.  She unashamedly admits that on that particular day, she was dealing with her own emotions and feelings of anger, frustration and fear.  For a long time, she had been praying for a home that no one would be able to take from her.  She was angry at her circumstances, afraid of the church and feeling very frustrated as she began to paint.  What she felt  flowing outward from her heavy heart was nothing like what was unfolding onto the wood before her.  Erin very clearly recanted to me how God began to show her that she was to be aware of her feelings, but that she was to let her reflection be one of beauty and light, not darkness and fear.  Selling for $795,  I might add that when you buy Erin’s art, you are witness to a piece of her heart that is woven into every creation that pours forth from her fingertips, or from her brushes.

There are two more paintings that I walked away from Erin’s studio with that day.  Suffice it to say, neither will be seen at Burlap & Lace as they are now gracing the walls of our own home.  As you visit Burlap & Lace in 2021, my hope is that you will come to gaze upon these pieces (and hopefully more!), celebrating as I have that something so clearly speaks to your heart that it then becomes a timeless focal piece for your home.

May you be blessed as you spend time in the Reflections of 2020, understanding that God has gifted each of us in different ways.  Let’s choose to celebrate those differences as we move into the new year of 2021, sharing what we have to offer with those we meet along our journey.

~Blessings,

Connie

Changing your view…

Am I the only one who finds comfort in the familiar? We have been blessed with this view for the past 15 years….and though it changes daily, there is consistency in it as well….like when the clouds begin forming over the mountains and the fog sets in, we know the rain is not far behind. Or when the morning begins with heavy fog, we know that soon it will lift and we can see all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Consistency brings comfort.

When God appointed a new leader for the Israelites, He instructed them: “Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be afraid of (the enemies in the new land); for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deut. 31:6

I would do well to remember that. New lands can be both exciting, and discomforting. Why? Because of the loss of familiarity and our own uncertainty about what may lie ahead.

A new table is being set for us….one of anticipation, celebration and freedom. We are entering a new time in our lives….

We are approaching a date set for celebrating our country’s freedom; yet, there seems to be so much unrest and uncertainly all around us. What can we do to keep our focus in the midst of the changes we are undergoing?

Remember that in the end…it will be worth it. Everything we are going through is causing us to determine where we put our hope, our faith, our trust. We have opportunities like never before to be kind, to think of others more than of ourselves, to love unselfishly.

This was the first sign I ever made, and it hangs worn and scuffed on the door of our shed. It will go with us to our next destination because it’s a daily reminder to me of truth. Love….is perceived as many things. But for me, it’s simply this: “For the love of Christ compels us (it leaves us no choice), because we judge thus: that if One (Jesus) died for all, then all died; and He died for all that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corn. 5:14-15

Love IS all I need. God is love (I John 4:8). And because He has loved me so much, I want to live my life for Him and not for myself. And I choose to celebrate the freedom I have in Him….everyday!

What in your life is worth celebrating today, even in the midst of the world pandemic, even in the midst of the riots and injustice, even in the midst of pain? God is not surprised by any of this. In fact, I dare say He wants to get our attention. Perhaps we’ve been living too long for ourselves, wanting what we want, when we want it, without consideration of how our wants may affect someone else’s comfort.

Life really is a dance you learn as you go. Who can boast that they have done everything perfectly? Who can honestly say they haven’t made a mistake or two, or treated others poorly?

My husband and I took dance lessons before our eldest son’s wedding. And I learned pretty quickly a couple of things: (1) Trust the one who has the lead (and oh, by the way, it’s not me!) and (2) Don’t look at your feet! Looking down always makes you stumble. You have to keep your eyes on the one who is leading you, lest you stumble and fall. and (3) You will make mistakes and maybe even fall. But you have to get right back up and try again. “For a righteous man may fall seven times, and rise again…” Proverbs 24: 16

“…don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Eph 4:26

At the end of the day, changing circumstances may be causing us to change our perspective a bit. I’m putting myself up for the challenge….to be a sweeter spouse, a more loving friend, a more empathetic person. If I haven’t yet walked in your shoes, or you in mine, we just might be called to one day. I pray we walk wisely, and kindly.

~Blessings,

Connie

Celebrate Life

It’s a new day in your life….the life you are writing in invisible script. So how will your story unfold….today? For eternity?

I’ve pondered the same question, more since this pandemic began than ever before. For suddenly, I don’t go….anywhere! Or see….anyone! For this extroverted person, I have at times felt I was literally going stir-crazy! So I have decided to get back to some basics…things I used to enjoy but have stopped doing, and I also decided to learn some new skills during this stay-at-home time.

And what of putting some things of meaning in our lives?

The sign above is made from my dad’s old drafting board and then covered with the pages of an antique book: Tom Sawyer. Seemed fitting for me….between Tom’s story and that of his friend, Huckleberry Finn, I would say that I often think of my life as a huge adventure, much the same as those two had! And then I ran across this quote….and it fit. I’m hoping to hang this in our loft space when it gets remodeled (soon, I hope!)

If it’s in our home, it’s because it means something to me and my husband. I have been spending hours with Joanna Gaines’ book Homebody, drawing out one room at a time as we are beginning to remodel our home. The book is perched upon my great-grandfather’s old tool trunk, turned upright and nestled in behind our loveseat. The small sign is a reminder to me of two things: (1) that God commands us to be still (Psalm 46:10) and to know Him and (2) that my friend, Melissa Ward, took a chance on me a long time ago and invited me to set up a booth space within her shop. Thank you, friend!

So since we are home more these days, I decided to start learning some upholstery skills. This sewing stool was a gift from my parents upon my college graduation. As I tore off the old, fading fabric, it wasn’t without finally seeing the labor my mom underwent in upholstering it for me some 30 years ago! And she didn’t have the tools we have today, so indeed it was a labor of love! I hope to use it also in our loft space.

Another love I have is to refinish old furniture pieces to sell in my booth space at Marketplace on Locust in Hendersonville. That was my intent with this sideboard/buffet, but it may just stay at home with me a while longer!

Can you say that your home has always been a gathering place? Ours has been….from our family, to our son and his friends during college, to home group gatherings to neighbors stopping by. We miss those days, but truly believe “there’s no place like home”. Soon, we will get back to the gatherings. Until then, stop in and shop my space at Marketplace on Locust and start getting your own home space ready to receive friends and family soon too!

Years ago my husband and I put together this sign depicting places we or our kids had lived, or places we might as well have lived as we’ve traveled there so often. During this season in our lives, it felt good to paint it again and bring it back to life. And to give thanks for all those places, and the people that we met there.

We might be getting older, but also getting wiser! We have chosen to enjoy nature so much more during this pandemic time! Our oldest son built this birdhouse with his grandfather (my dad) years ago. And every year since he was about 11 (he’s 35 now!), we have hung it and had birds nest in it. This particular year, we watched the parents feed their babies nightly and were present to watch the fledglings leave the nest. Had we been in our normal crazy routine of life, we would have missed that! What have you witnessed during this time that you otherwise would have paid no attention to?

Except for the newly sprouting buds and those sweet chirps from the birds, we would have thought that Spring had passed us by. Sad to say, but in a way I always gauged Spring by my merchandise at Marketplace! It is absolutely my favorite time of year, and I missed not decorating there, but I chose to use the time to decorate and enjoy our home instead.

I’ve had my own struggles during this time….just ask those closest to me. But as always has been the case in my life, God has proven to be more faithful than any trial I feel I am passing through.

Businesses are beginning to open back up, and I have to admit there’s a part of me that is ecstatic and a part of me that is mournful of that fact. The obvious exciting part (if you know me, you get this) is to see people again and to get out and about. But the mournful part of that is not being able to hug them, and just be who God created me to be in that way. That part will come, but bear with me as I do my best to refrain that part of my personality. It’s just not like me to see you and not squeal and let a hug pass between us.

In the days and months that follow, I pray we will all be kind to one another, enjoy the smallest of moments as they come, embrace the one(s) we share a home with and don’t be afraid to offer up a smile. I’m looking forward to when we can be together again (so brace yourself for that hug!). Until then –

~Blessings,

Connie