I was in the car with my college roommate, whose name would be changed if she were innocent, but she wasn't...neither was I, but that's not the point. Her name was Kelcey. We were driving back to school, I'm not sure from where, but my guess is that we were just visiting her hometown. We attended the University of Kansas. Anyone who drives back to school from their hometown in Kansas is likely to drive by farm fields. Like...100% likely.
Kelcey was full of helpful Kansas knowledge. Like how the longest curved road (as of 1994) in the US could be found on the way to Iola (not to be confused with Iowa). On this particular trip, I learned about how farmers planted an extra row around the perimeter of their fields knowing that the outer edges were prone to theft. Hence Thieves Row.
It's odd how some things, like that memory, will stick with you. When driving by a ripe field of oranges, my husband and I will look longingly and say with drool on our lips "mmmm...thieves row...."
Anyway, I got this flashback as I was reading Leviticus 19:9-10:
9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest.10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God."
Of course, then I had some other thoughts. My first was how God's word can get so convoluted. God told us to leave some of our harvest for the poor. There's such a stark difference in seeing something as "prone to theft" versus "planted with the intent to feed those in need".
Then I thought of how I could apply that to myself. Am I the farmer that plants knowing that some of my "fruits" might not end up in my harvest? Or am I intentionally planting extra in anticipation of feeding those in need?
Lord, keep me from greed, so that your harvest is plentiful.
So, a few hours after Close Encounters Of The Gator Kind, I was due to pick up The Taz from school. Maggie and I rolled up to school and a mother from the neighborhood shouts "Hey Nikki, Heard you spent some time on top of your car today!" And she doesn't even know about this blog. (Hard to believe, I know.)
For sure this made me giggle, because now I am famous. And people for blocks and blocks will know me. Sure it's not really cool like "oh she's the mom that always makes the coolest treats for the kids at school." Or being referred to as "you know, that mom that runs behind her kids to school, and have you seen her arms, she must do cross fit." But it's something. "Yeah. That Mom who was on the roof of her car because she saw a baby gator."
Anyway, thanks to my kind neighbor (whose husband made sure the gator was not under my car, so I could climb down) I now have better pictures to show you of the beast.
Here she comes just a walking down the street.
Singin' "Doo wha diddy, it's your dog that I will eat."
There's me. In the garage. Minding my own business. I'm cleaning up my work space. I'm sanding. I'm sweating.
Then I hear something strange. Like a small animal. I see something out of the corner of my eye.
Let me zoom in to show you what I was looking at.
That's right. It's a gator. Only about 4 feet long. Only my baby is just about 4 feet long. Luckily she was at school when this went down.
So I did what anyone would do, and I turned around, grabbed my phone and then jumped on the hood of the car to call my husband (right after I got a couple of photos, of course). Upon viewing the phone photos, and getting no answer from Troy, I did what anyone else would do next. I ran inside to grab my real camera. I did have the wherewithal to lock the door behind me...just in case gators grew opposable thumbs since last I studied them. After grabbing the good camera, I ran back outside and jumped back on the hood of the car.
That's when the neighbor saw me. On the hood of the car. Crouching kind of weird like; trying not to leave a dent in my go-getter. He had a weed whip, so I shouted to him "THERE'S A GATOR IN MY YARD!" As a disclaimer, I did not actually see if the gator came into our yard. because by the time I got back into position, it was gone. Lucky for me, said neighbor had seen the gator cross the street before it got to our house. So I only looked kind of crazy, and not straight-up-heat-has-fried-her-brain crazy.
The story is really anti-climactic from here. The neighbor and I did a hot lap around our house- he carrying the weed whip and a brick from a different neighbor's house; and I with my camera - and we found no trace of the gator. All in all, a very exciting thirteen minutes.
Last weekend I was perusing Craigslist for nothing in particular when I saw a post for a solid wood hutch. It was advertised as being a fun "project" or tool storage for your garage. I already had "the bug" to re-do more furniture after my last project. So, I quickly snatch that hutch up.
The owner before me had gotten this from her parents. A momma, just like me, with hopes of restoring it to it's natural beauty. I got my power sander out right away. I hadn't done a project this big before, so I was nervous about messing it up; especially knowing it had come from someone who was hoping to see it restored. I knew I was going to learn a lesson with this piece. What I didn't know, was that the lesson wouldn't be about furniture, and sandpaper, and stain.
Recently, I have been wondering about what my "gifts" are. "Lord, open my eyes to what you would have me do when both my babies are in school. Lord, once the laundry has been folded, and the kitchen cleaned, what would I do to fulfill both our heart's desires." As I loaded the paper on my sander, I remembered Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's handiwork, Created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Someone one explained that verse to me like this: It's like a chef's kitchen. All of the mixing bowls, and spoons, and spices and ingredients are there. God's given you the tools, you just have to use them. Start cooking.
I looked at my actual tools. A sander. Sandpaper. Sanding block. Some paint brushes. A can of stain. And the most important tool - the desire. And I started cooking....errr....sanding.
When I finished sanding, I was in awe of what was under the gumpy residue of being a tool storage bench in a garage for 15 years.
About the same time, Troy found a dresser at his storage unit. It was just sitting out, waiting for someone to take it home.
When I started sanding this piece, I realized that God was going to talk some more. He told me that even when I was this dark, scratched up piece, He wanted me. He knows my beauty. He knows my worth. He also told me I needed some work.
At times there were spots that were very hard to get the paint, and stain and varnish off. When it would get too hard, I would put on a fresh piece of sandpaper. God told me that I had to use the right tools. And to keep them sharp. My tools are my faith, my desire, and the word of God. I kept on sanding. The more I got rid of the old, the more beautiful this piece became.
I ended up finishing the hutch first and putting it on Craigslist to sell. The woman who picked it up said she was going to use it to display art work that kids complete at her summer camp. My heart swelled. If you know me, you know I have a soft spot for the arts.
And when I finished the dresser, I was once again reminded of 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old things passed away, new things have come."
So my prayer is no longer - Open my eyes Lord; rather, Sand me, stain me, prepare me that I might be ready to display Your artwork.
Last week I spent all of my free time giving some of our furniture a face lift. I was inspired by a headboard that we found. A small little secret - some storage facilities have an area for people to leave things that other people might want. You can find some sweet treasures. So, as My Chef and I were on a very romantic trip to his work's storage unit last Valentine's Day, we happened upon this beauty:
It had some stickers on it, a few scratches, and didn't really match the other furniture.
But that was fine by me, because I had two things on my side: a can of primer, and a can of paint.
In fact, they had been burning a hole in my proverbial pocket; waiting for the perfect project.
I was going to take the lead from my friend over at White Butterfly who snazzes things up
with new hardware. But I was on the cheap. So I picked up myself some metallic silver spray paint for the trim pieces and, if you're asking me, I made a pretty good choice.
Now that I have a little confidence that I can successfully paint furniture, my next project is to find a free piece that I can clean up during Lentsgiving and donate to a local organization that serve people getting back on their feet and need furniture.