Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are excited about the upcoming year!

Now that 2017 is here, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting upon 2016 and setting goals and dreams for this year. You probably have too. I wanted to share with you one of my highlights from 2016 and what I learned from it:

I love watching HGTV and DIY shows. I love to see something transformed, whether it’s a house, room or a piece of furniture. These shows always give me great ideas of things I’d like to do in my own home. Then there’s always Pinterest, where I find many more ideas of things I’d like to do.

But it’s not often that the ideas spur me to action. I’m intimidated by power tools and trying something I’ve never done before.

Until 2016.

When we moved to Arizona in 2006, my parents gave us their dining room table and chairs, which they had since I was a teenager. Although I’d never been a fan of the southwestern upholstery on the chairs, I was happy to have the set. It’s solid wood and sturdy and loved having the physical reminder of the wonderful meals we ate around the table while I grew up.

Fast forward ten years and the set was showing its age. The top coat on the table was starting to flake off and the chair fabric was disgusting. It had probably taken hundreds of spills from our two babes over the past eight years. Here's some before pictures:

Again, I had talked about having it refinished for a long time. Finally, Will said to me one day, “You watch enough HGTV, why don’t you finally do it yourself?”

So, I went through my Pinterest pins and found what I wanted the refinished set to look like. I wanted to use chalk paint, but was intimidated by sealing it with wax. So I found a class where I would learn to use it and got further instructions for how to stain the tabletop.

I started over Memorial Day weekend and finished around Veteran’s Day. It took so long for various reasons, but I am so excited and proud of the finished product!

Here’s what I learned throughout the process:

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back
I think this is especially timely for us as we’re starting 2017. Fear can so often rob us of change, achievement, connection and more because it deceives us into thinking we’d be better off without taking a risk. But it’s a lie!

So cast away your fear as you walk into 2017 and remember:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind.”
– 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

Any Process of Refinishing Takes Time and Perseverance
It took me just shy of six months to do the whole project, a lot longer than I thought it would take! Working on this project required patience and time to turn it from a dream into a reality.

There were some setbacks:

  • On the first day, I tried to use a broken sander I didn’t know was broken, which required a trip to Home Depot for a new one. With my kids.
  • Having stains come through the chalk paint, which required extra steps.
  • Figuring out how to reupholster the chairs. I tried using a hand staple gun, but had to buy a pneumatic because the manual was too difficult for me.
  • I made many many trips to Hobby Lobby and JoAnn because I didn’t buy enough fabric or needed additional items.
Lasting change happens slowly and over time. It requires perseverance to keep going despite the challenges along the way.

“Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
– James 1:2-4 NIV (1984)

Throughout the project, I kept thinking about how God refines and refinishes us. He could do it instantly because He’s all-powerful, but I appreciate that He changes us patiently and slowly over time.

Transformation Can Be Painful
Refinishing my dining set was painful at times: my knees, wrist and neck hurt from leaning low, squatting down, sanding and painting. It also required getting dirty, something I do not enjoy. But I pushed through the pain and discomfort and something beautiful came from it.

“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.”
– Psalm 126:5-6 NLT

There’s Beauty in Imperfection
I wanted my table to be a rustic farm table, so I distressed it. Isn’t there something beautiful about things that are old and have stood the test of time?
Even though I wanted it to look vintage, there are a few spots I messed up on both the table and the chairs that I know are there, scars of the learning process if you will.

But as I stand back and look at it, I’m so glad my refinished table isn’t perfect because it reminds me of all I learned through the process and how I grew. I’ll continue to cherish that refinished dining set for all its beauty and all its flaws.

I think it’s kind of how God designed us. Had He made us perfectly, we’d have no need for Him. So I’m going to remember that my imperfection is beautiful because it demonstrates my dependence on Him.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV (1984)

Here’s to a wonderful 2017, friends! I’d love to hear about the dreams you turn into reality this year. Send me an e-mail as you accomplish awesome things. I'm cheering for you!


  1. I love this! Just everything about it - I love before and after messages, and especially what you said about imperfections. I can relate with the "old things that have stood the test of time" line... :) Personally, I'm trying a couple new things this year, finally starting the blog I've been talking about forever, as well as getting healthy (ongoing challenge for me!) Keep up the good work, my friend! I love you!

  2. Thank you, Beth! I'm excited you're starting out this year working on things you care about! Love and miss you! XOXO