My plea for love like God's is that it gets broader and more transcendent and less like me, less boxy, less denominational, less logical and measured... more passionate, more graceful, more open, more extravagant and more COMPLETE. Just more.Read More
A few weeks ago we had gift of hearing Rob Bell speak in our hometown on his BIBLE BELT TOUR (how fantastic is that tour name and how am I, a New Englander, a resident of the Bible belt?). Although some find him polarizing or even worth protesting (at least in our city, sigh), we find him a poetic, Big Mitten-y bundle of Divine joy and disarming authenticity. He said so many SOO GOOD things about the Bible that night but one reference he made to the book of Luke brought to mind a post I had written last year and given the circumstances of the past month, it's something of which I needed to be reminded. Rob, in his talk What Is The Bible?, told the crowd that in case missed it in Luke 8, Jesus had a girl named Joanna traveling with him paying his bills. How come no one ever hears about Joanna?! Rob said...
"Do you belong to a church that says women cannot be priests or pastors?
Any church that does so betrays the example of Jesus, who treated women as equals. Women in Jesus' times couldn't even testify as witnesses in court.
Yet all the gospels have women as the first witnesses to Jesus' resurrection."
There were some cheers from the audience, in our section for sure.
I don't know if you go to church, or used to go to church, or like me, have been working for or in the church. I have now for over half my life (I won't say the number because that makes me feel older than the sight of myself up close, pre-coffee in the morning). And for so many of those years I felt like I was there to set the table but not really sit at it, you know? Like sit with the important people. The people who did the vital stuff, mostly the male people. But Rob's recalling of this passage in Luke 8 was sort of one of those "hey let me just put my arms around ALL of you and pull you in just a little bit closer because you ALL have a seat at the table and you ALL matter" was just the thing I needed to hear. Because just that very week I told my husband, who also happens to pastor our church, quite dejectedly that I'm not sure I can do this church thing a day longer. I've reached the pinnacle (although I thought I had in the past but little did I know) of feeling kicked in the gut and I just couldn't set that table once more.
But then Rob. And of course, Jesus.
It didn't hurt that the theater we were in that night was filled with so many people for our church community (where women are pastors and are in leadership, thankfully, btw). We cheered and sighed and yes'd together.
So here it is. Re-encapsulated a bit.
In the book of Luke after Jesus had shared what is referred to as the Beatitudes or The Sermon On The Mount (“blessed are the poor”, etc.) with a large crowd who had gathered to hear Him and be healed he headed to another town called Nain. After what I can only imagine was an exahusting day for Jesus he noticed, at the town gate, a Widow weeping as her dead only son was being carried out and the passage says:
When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”. The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. Luke 7
So what was the news? That Jesus can bring people back to life at their funerals? Or that, as the passage says, God has come to help.
Next Jesus is having dinner at a Pharisee’s house and a woman considered slutty by her fellow citizens hears that Jesus is there and shows up in the middle of the meal with a jar of her best and most expensive perfume. She proceeds to wash his feet at the dinner table with her tears mingled with a jar of her most precious perfume and kisses his feet and dries them with her hair. She’s touching him, and crying on Him and covering him in a womanly scent and when the host objects, again Jesus reminds those at the table that none of them have showed him this kind of uninhibited, beautiful, unadulterated love. You can imagine the collective gasp.
As Jesus continues on in his travels, most likely reeking like a jar full of women’s perfume, and as the good news of GOD HAS COME TO HELP spreads, his wingmen have a bit of a new look…
The Twelve (His disciples) were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. Luke 8:1-3
Jesus had a woman posse traveling city to city with him and the news was spreading like wildfire. And not just any women: formerly possessed women, important women, formerly sick women, women named Susanna, women who knew how to pay bills and comfort the sick and God-knows-what-else everyday kind of women.
Make some room, Simon Peter... Joanna IN THE HOUSE.
The passage says a man named Jairus who knew about this good news begged Jesus to come to his house and bring that good news of healing to his daughter who was on her deathbed, but the crowds were so large they almost crushed Jesus on the way.
Yet, Jesus stops in the middle of all the commotion and notices that someone had touched Him (I’m sure lots of people had touched him in the crushing crowd). But this touch was the kind that Jesus said caused power to go out from Him. And who had done it?
Crawling on the ground because she had been sick so many years that she couldn’t walk.
Someone who had been bleeding for 12 years, yet no one had been able to help her.
TWELVE YEARS OF NOT BEING HELPED.
TWELVE, as in twelve disciples who were the men noted for helping Jesus carry the good news... but they weren’t the only ones. There were other people around that table even if the Last Supper painting cropped them out.
She couldn’t just stand and ask for Jesus’ help like the man Jairus had done so she writhed and wriggled her way to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment because SHE had heard of this good news.
God has come to help.
Help the single mom losing her only child.
Help the slutty perfumed foot washer.
Help the formerly possessed, diseased and checkbook balancing rag-tag female Jesus posse.
SHE knew if she could just get close, close enough to the good news that God has come to help and CARES ABOUT WOMEN AND HOW THEY SUFFER, then maybe healing could be hers as well.
Maybe she was important enough to be a stop on Jesus’ tour.
She needed some Good News.
And when Jesus sees that she is trembling on the ground, not only does He heal her, he calls her “DAUGHTER.”
Then, yes, he headed onto Jairus’ house and was too late, but it didn’t matter, He brought that daughter back to life as well.
SO LET ME JUST REMIND YOU...
So my friends, my lady comrades, let me tell you something that the church might have failed to let you know: God isn’t into boys’ clubs.
The GOOD NEWS is so much more than heaven and hell talk, which sadly might be what you were told.
THE GOOD NEWS isn’t a black, red, white, blue, green and yellow bead bracelet like you made in Sunday School. They forgot the pink beads (and a lot of other colors, might I add).
THE GOOD NEWS has less to do with repeat this prayer after me and steeples and much more to do with Jesus doused in perfume, lacking judgment, hitting the road with a rag tag group of lady folk and being God-coming-to-help in human form.
THE GOOD NEWS, in case you missed it or no one told you, is that the very eyes of God see you in your mourning or your singleness or loss or brokenness or situation and the very heart of God is WITH AND FOR YOU. In your awkwardness at the table where everyone sits and rolls their eyes. In your despair when you're carrying your only son in your arms. In your being ignored and barely able to crawl another inch.
Stretchmarks and cellulite, single and married, young and old. L, G, B, T and Q.
WITH AND FOR YOU.
You have a seat at that table no matter how many people gasp.
You are heard, you are known, you are valued and you are as much a part of His posse as your male counterparts.
Made equally in the image of God.
You're made to sit at the table not just set it.
That’s the GOOD NEWS.
Thanks for reminding me, Rob.
And if, like me, you find yourself a hem holder in this season, we'll heal. I know it.
A prayer I prayed over the women in our Watershed community. May it remind you, too.
Once a month, one of the staff members of our church, Watershed, writes a post for our blog for a series called POUR OVER. It's sort of a "what would we say to you face to face over a great cup of coffee if we had the chance" kind of conversation. This month, I wrote our November (and very first) POUR OVER and wanted to share it with you. It's something that's been kind of brewing in me for quite some time but something that I shared back in October on a Sunday (the video) in one of our church gatherings.
HERE IS THE POST. I hope it brings some healing your way this season.
Here's what I know for sure and is my 3rd little #40at40 bomb I want to drop on you:
Faith is complicated, God is unfathomable and I've never held the answer...I just make overtures toward having a relationship with the Almighty.
A few years ago our church was doing a series I was invited to name which we called FAREWELL ALBATROSS (you can listen here - episodes 112-120). It was a teaching series all about letting go of baggage, embracing a whole relationship with God and realizing that from the beginning of humanity we have looked at God through a contractual lens rather than a covenantal one as He has extended to us. That one point alone was the impetus for writing this song and my good friend and one of my favorite musicians, Matt Shaughnessy played it with me at our show at The Muse a few summers ago.
Watershed is celebrating it's 10th anniversary in September and I'm thinking maybe Matt and I can revive this song that day (what do you think, Watershed/Charlotte friends?). I have questioned many things the past few years.
But I if I could tell you one thing about God it's that He's an evening walks in the garden, long talks over coffee, water-wine revising just to prolong the feast kind of God.
He wants to be with you. Really. Where you are in what you're doing on all the other days but Sunday too.
Also, this video definitely spurred me on to add yoga to my exercise regimen. Arms don't seemed to get toned while running I guess (regretting the sleeveless shirt while playing keys. That's another #40at40 post, perhaps?). Thank you Courtney for your constant encouragement and for booking us at The Muse that evening and to all the friends and family who filled the room...it was magical.
INK & BLOOD | Taryn Hofert 2013
I am bottom lines.
And signatures on dotted lines.
And contracts that bind.
You’re evening walks in a Garden
Long talks over coffee
Water-Wine revising just to prolong the feast.
I am ink and You are blood
I am lines and You are love
Still You fold Yourself into this caged heart
I’m the ancient mariner
with albatross neck-bound
And even with the blade in hand
I cannot cut the rope
You’re the Noose Unloosener
Bird like lead sinks in the sea
You think grace is never wasted on a captive heart like me
I am ink and You are blood
I am lines and You are love
Still You fold Yourself into this caged heart
I am fixated on boundaries
I am no forest and all trees.
Pedestrian, and questioning and rushing through the meal
You’re an Unrequited Lover
Unencumbered by my numbness
Unrelenting despite rejection and my disbelief.
I am ink and You are blood
I am lines and You are love
Still You fold Yourself into this caged heart
I wrote this post exactly 3 years ago while at the beach with family. After just spending a week at the beach with my crew and reflecting on so much that has taken place since then I wanted to re-share it with you with a few additional thoughts. For anyone who puts themselves out there and wrestles with people-pleasing, insecurity and comparison, this is for you...even if you've never been involved in church.
I once dated a pre-seminary student when I was in college. The thought of possibly one day being a pastor’s wife was, honestly, rash inducing. Really. The pastors’ wives I knew growing up sat in the front pew, had a flair for casserole preparation and were really nice. I was never going to be any of those things. Ever.
And I'd be lying if I told you that I didn't break up with him because I had no interest in pastor wifery or following him to Grand Rapids. I had plans. Music plans. Non-potluck plans. Nashville moving plans with one of my best friends. Songs to write and places to go other than sanctuaries or narthexes. Church people, you know what I'm talking about.
So, years later when I met my husband who was not a pastor when I first met him, and was more of a church staff member than pastor when I dated him, I had no idea what I was really getting into. Nashville turned into Virginia for me after college. Then India. Then, wait for it, MICHIGAN-- where my husband and I dated and married. Isn't it ironic.
But something was shifting in my systems loving, support staff, managerial husband. He loved speaking, studying, leading people. He had fallen in love with the local church and even though his wife sat in the back row, loathes casseroles and is inappropriately and hopelessly sarcastic, he wanted to become a pastor. A lead pastor much like the lead pastor for whom we worked and who had started that church from scratch over the course of many long, tumultuous years alongside and with the immense support of a fierce, generous, kind hearted wife and mother. Tremendously huge shoes to fill.
Scott wanted to be not just any pastor….but a church-planting pastor.
Starting from scratch. Moving to a new city and building a community from the ground up. The penniless kind of pastoring.
And I...still with no desire to be a pastor's wife, with tiny feet not meant for big shoe filling, wanted to be with him in it. That's all I knew. Also, escaping Michigan winter (aka 90% of the year).
There’s no man with whom I’d rather take on such a challenge…but 8 years ago when we moved to Charlotte, NC to start Watershed we really had no idea how PERSONALLY hard it is to start a church. It’s fabulously rewarding. It’s missional. And it’s tough on your marriage because it’s tough on your heart. At least at first. Until you work on heart-maintenance in this role.
And in those early years of our move to Charlotte, I'd look across the table with a baby on my shoulder at my husband who returned home covered in dust from installing countertops with his brother all evening to "make some money on the side" after I had worked at a preschool all day changing poopy diapers to also supplement our "income" and think WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?!
Have you ever seen one of these BYE BYE BUGGIES? I used to push one while working at the preschool. In the heat, stuffed with 6 of the chunkiest babies (including my son) you have ever seen. I can remember while pushing it one day around Myers Park thinking... I have a degree....I had a senior recital...I lived abroad...I was going to do things. Things with an income or at least EXCITING THINGS. I DRIVE A DODGE STRATUS (any 90's Will Ferrell fans out there?)! Well, look at me now.
I felt defeated before we even started. And I felt like God had forgotten about the desires of my heart.
You see, when we were just staff members at a church, we took ownership in the church, but at a different level. I was a worship leader, he was a small groups and leadership development pastor. People would come in droves and sometimes leave in packs, but you move on. You do your job.
But when you start a church, person by person, family by family, each exit, each beef someone has with you, each “issue” and criticism can feel as though they’re calling your baby ugly. Your Facebook feed is filled with people who "used to" be a part of your church who now have moved on or haven't moved on at all and it's a constant, stinging reminder for which I was not prepared.
When people come to our church I always hope that they either just moved to town or that they never went to church before this. Because, if they left another church to be part of ours, usually we’ll hear their criticism of their former church. Which often means that we’ll be next on their list of letdowns and failure to please. I cried when a couple whom we valued deeply left our church and took several couples with them because we weren’t doing things the way they wanted. I lost sleep over our children’s volunteer who one day decided she and her family no longer needed a church community and just stopped being part of anything to do with us.
I sighed with disappointment when people sent email or letters or voicemails stating how we’re not “meaty” enough spiritually or too deep, or too concerned with poverty and we don’t have enough programs, why don’t we own a building, we’re too gay, we’re not gay enough, we’re too loud, we’re too soft, we’re not as flashy as the church down the street…what my husband takes in stride, I take terribly personally.
After all...a lot of countertop installations, dipaer changes, moving trucks, sweat, missing of special events in friends'/family's lives (Matt & Rachael's wedding, my grandfather's funeral just to name a few), selling of our precious Harley, instruments and other things were involved to make this thing happen. That's all I could see but what most people probably couldn't.
I remember a few years after we started Watershed a young pastor moved to town to also plant a church but in the suburbs of Charlotte. They needed a place for their band to rehearse and we gladly shared our small, humble rehearsal space with them. We were happy to partner with them. A few years later, as they were exploding by the thousands and that same worship band who shared our rehearsal room was topping the iTunes charts, they decided to open what must have been their 10th campus only a block from where we meet on Sundays and never mentioned it. It’s not that we owned Uptown, it was just that it would have been nice to “partner” rather than all bark up the same tree on the same block. It hurt my heart. I understood that we were a small fish and all that,
but every time I’d see a sticker from that church on someone’s car I wanted to throw a casserole at it.
And somewhere in this process, as people come and “stick” and grow and go deep and we watch God transform people from “hey, what can I get out of this” to “hey, God, how can I be your hands and feet in this city”, we fall to our knees in gratitude that we get to have a front row seat to this taking place. One baptism in our makeshift tank ruins me and reminds me.
I began to start praying the prayer “God, give me a soft heart and thick skin.”
That’s the only prayer I can think of some days. It's an honest prayer and one of survival. It’s the prayer I’d implore any pastor’s wife to utter. Or anyone.
I’m so unfit for my role. I’m not sweet enough or southern enough or pastory enough most of the time (or ever). I make the wrong comment on Facebook. My nose gets out of joint with frequency. I talk too much when I should be listening. I am easily swallowed up by my fear of us not measuring up or meeting expectations.
But God’s soft heart overcomes my casserole aversion and rough edges and He toughens me for this people pleaser’s undoing called leading the local church.
My husband calls church planting “sexy”: I’d call it skin-thickening. But either way, I’m admitting to you and asking God to help me have a heart not only for those homeless students and their families in the school where we work down the street but also for the churchgoers who I felt belittled by or made me feel defensive of my husband and our church. Remember, this whole church is irrevocably entwined with our family and the mama bear will come out sometimes. But...
Soft hearts don’t grudge hold. And thick skinned get over it.
Soft hearts tell their spouse "I'm in" and support them in their dreams even if the pay sucks and even if it involves pushing sweaty chunky babies around nice neighborhoods you'll never live in.
Thick skinned move on from the constant comparison to local mega churches, Nashville musicians who song write instead of juggling sweaty babies and those who seem to be "making it" when you feel you're hanging on by a thread. Blessed are those who handle staff transitions and disgruntled staff spouses, continual parting of ways of congregants, and constant location moves because you don't own a building.
Soft heartedness finds contentedness with and gratitude for what I DO HAVE and where I AM RIGHT NOW..no matter who approves, stays or leaves. Blessed are those who can embrace entrances and departures. As Ingrid so beautifully wrote..... "open hands are hard to hold onto". It's true. I have to let stuff AND PEOPLE go.
The SOFT HEART/THICK SKIN combo carries the mantra of NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE.
Dreams dashed or realized, Dodge Stratuses and all.
That's how the kingdom comes, you guys.
So, on Sundays, I have inched my way up to sitting in the second or third row (we don’t have pews) but the whole being considered “nice” thing, well, like I said, I’m in process.
So, not all of the things my 40 year old self would tell my much younger self are life-changing, epiphanic wisdom bombs. But if I'm older than you and you're reading this or, no matter your age, if you're planning on getting married and/or starting a new life with someone,
let me share this one very essential little nugget with you that no one shared with me:
Back in the year 2000 I was in love and newly engaged and excitedly hit the stores with a very unenthused- to-be-registering, minimalist fiancé to scan gun the daylights out of home essentials for our wedding registry. Weddings have changed a lot since Y2K and honestly, for the better.
I salute you, barn wedding having, non-tux renting, cooler people with digital wedding albums. None of that was around back then so we had it all: the over posed non-digital photos, the red rose bouquets instead of a handful of wheat and artichokes, audrey hepburn gloves for inexplicable reasons, the formal attire and unity candle, yada yada. I wouldn't change any of it because it was beautiful day, we were surrounded by friends and family, I married THE ONE and everything about it screams the era in which we were married (which will give our boys something to tease us about for decades to come). I mean, at 5 ft. tall maybe I could have worn a little puffier dress and veil? Ok, maybe I'd change that....
If I had that scan gun (or mouse) in my hand today, I'd scan much differently. So please, younger and/or soon to be married friends, learn from our mistakes. Since it's Spring, and wedding bells are in the air, and both my sister and sister-in-law are booked solid through the end of summer, please take note of point 2 on my list of 40 things I've learned at 40:
2. REGISTER FOR NEUTRAL TOWELS (and plates, while you're at it)
I don't care if your bathroom pinterest board is chevron, charcoal and jadeite...I'm telling ya, think of the future you, in your bathroom and don't fall for the classic blunder. I thought we nailed it with our sage and salmon selections circa early 2000's combo (see our linen cabinet photo above) and now, as I fold those blasted sage and salmon towels weekly (or pick them up off the floor because my sons are immune to hanging them up after showering) I want to go back in time and scan my own eyeballs. The towels are nice. They're good quality. They've held up for almost 15 years so we have a hard time justifying replacing them. But they're so so dumb.
Pretend like you're dressing for a safari and then choose towels in the shade of the pants you'd wear on said safari. A nice pale camel color. A subtle linen gray. Imagine a honey caramel Indiana Jones hat and scan THOSE towels. And let me tell you something: don't fall for stark white no matter how awesome they look next to white subway tile in the west elm catalog: you'll think you can bleach them but they'll only fade to a sad yellow with mascara stains and Lord knows what else in a few years. Go click on that killer egyptian cotton, non-attention drawing, thick, absorbent neutrally shaded towel and enjoy it for years to come in every bathroom, through every trend, in the laundry basket, on the floor, next to every shower curtain. Trust me. This is a mountain I'll die on.
Emily Henderson, as always, has good advice on this as well. For years engaged couples have had hopes of people just giving them honeymoon funds. Or gift cards. But most people want to leave that stuff up to you and want to possibly give you something you can enjoy for years to come- something wedding gifty. And if you don't point them in a general direction then inevitably they will give you crystal. The kind of crystal you never wanted, like heart shaped crystal wedding frames or obviously re-gifted lavender colored pillar candles. Even if you register they're still going to give you those things (or at least they did in 2001) but you might actually score a few killer bath towels that you'll have to look at for a long time and might still like.
CREATE A CANVAS RATHER THAN MAKE A BIG STATEMENT
I guess what I'm trying to say is that if people are going to spend money on you, the things you'll still love, keep, use and appreciate will most likely be the very classic, basic things you chose. My now husband was so disinterested by the wedding registry process he proceeded to scan every wall clock he could find (none of which we still have or still work) and our first condo looked like we were running a clock shop after our wedding- even in the half bath, we knew what time it was. We registered for most things at Target and a few things from a nice store (Crate & Barrel) that we worried, back in the days when people didn't really shop online, most people would not be able to access. And while we were so appreciative of people throwing us showers and giving us gifts we became a little overwhelmed in all that registering and ended up with choosing a lot of quantity over quality. A lot of wall clocks and who knows whats. You can actually tell a lot about a couple by their registry. He loves keeping time, I love salmon and sage apparently.
GUESS WHICH THINGS WE STILL HAVE?
When I reach in our cabinet for our set of champagne flutes from Crate & Barrel that our good friends and co-workers Amy & Norma gave us, I think of them and toast to them and their thoughtfulness and friendship. From the photo you can tell a few fell victim to our over exuberant toasting. When we serve dinner nightly to our family on the very basic white diner style plates, also from Crate & Barrel, that my wise college roommate Amber urged me to select (she also helped me choose the puffy dress, but ya win some ya lose some) I can imagine us continuing to share meals on them (with all the chips and scratches) for life. Instead of scanning so many wall clocks and getting carried away in the towel department, making a super basic but long haul kind of list would have served us much better. So what if we had to flip burgers with a fork and didn't get 4 spatulas....one full nice set of 8 million thread count sheets would rock. Quality over quantity. Basic over bold in the beginning. Foundations.
But really, this is about much more than wedding bell paper wrapped gifts and cabinet filling and wedding planning. Everything is spiritual. As Rob likes to say "This isn't always about this". Your home, no matter how humble, out of style or hip, rented or owned, is sacred. And you are beginning to create a sacred space...TOGETHER.
MY MOTHER IN LAW'S HOUSE IS COMPLETELY STARK WHITE Not just white person white, yes, that, but I mean like white carpet, white sofas, white walls- white everything, white. The first time she poured me a glass of cabernet there I was afraid to drink it inside. But the reason she loves the snowy color palette is that each season she adds a different accent color to the house. A springy set of throw pillows and flowers in April, kelly green taper candles on her fireplace and coordinating hand knitted blankets over the backs of chairs and sofas to match in the winter. Yes, she's Martha Stewart, not intimidating at all. (She's also one of the top selling realtors in Charlotte so she knows a thing or two about making a home more inviting). What I found very shockingly stark the first time I saw it I now view as pretty genius because it allows her to reinvent her space, express herself and make it new and exciting throughout the year. Although I'm still afraid to sip vino in her living room I love the versatility and variety the environment she has created offers....
THE FIRST FEW YEARS OF MARRIAGE CAN FEEL VANILLA And guess, what? That's ok. You're most likely doing something really right if it does... It can feel like all power bills and grocery lists and toothpaste tube debates. Perhaps it even feels a little sterile and nothing like you both imagined. But with every argument you work through and every counseling session you make the effort to attend together you are stretching and sweating to build that blank canvas. You can do this. And at only 14 years of marriage we are learning that the most romantic, most heart stopping and amazing moments haven't been found in our wedding album, exotic vacations or times when anyone was around to capture them.... they were on a Thursday, in our first year of marriage, when I spent the night on the bathroom floor because my birth control pills sent me there and awoke in the morning to find Scott had brought in pillows and spent the night there with me. Or on a hot summer's Michigan evening when we laughed (and almost cried) ourselves to sleep on a mattress in the basement of an old fixer upper that needed so much work we couldn't even live in it for months and wondered together what on earth we had gotten ourselves into as we stared at the spiderwebby floorboards and water pipes above our heads. Or one early morning over coffee when we heard our younger son with a speech delay actually say a few words strung together that made sense. No one else was there. There are no photographs of that moment. And we welled up with tears and raised our coffee mugs in a toast. And that toast wouldn't have happened without the basement dwelling and bathroom floor sleeping. It's incremental. It's bland before bold. It's a slow, slow burn, baby. I think if we spent more time on canvas construction than statement making in the early years more marriages would survive...
I'll leave you with this, one of Jack Handey's deep thoughts:
If you ever teach a yodeling class, probably the hardest thing is to keep the students from just trying to yodel right off. You see, we BUILD to that.
Stretch that canvas and embrace it's vanilla-ness. For the love of all things, don't register for bold colored/print towels. And take your sweet time before you try to yodel. This is what I shall write in every wedding card from henceforth.
Now, who wants to trade some sage and salmon Target bath towels for some caramel colored fluffy ones?
Well friends, since my childhood I've been digging through other people's thrown out, used belongings and loving it. My mother, sister and I consider ourselves ninja thrifters. My mom owned a children's consignment store when I was growing up in Connecticut and I worked there with her and we werecontinually surprised at how so few people know how to dig for used quality over brand new "not quality". We spent our weekends hitting up tag sales (garage sales to everyone who isn't from the north), consignment sales, thrift stores and stuff we found at the dump or on the side of the road.
Most of my house is furnished in either things I literally hauled off the curb on trash day or discovered in a dusty Salvation Army corner. In fact the very chair I'm sitting in while I type this on my front porch was at the curb/trash in a neighborhood near my boys' baseball fields and the homeowner who was moving said I could take them. I'm a craigslist and Ebay fan as well but nothing beats hands on hunting. Being that my job has been in the non-profit sector since the day I graduated from college I've learned a thing or two about stretching a dollar and have clothed my sons in hand-me-downs and thrifting scores since their births.
While I may not be an EXPERT in thrifting, per se, I do have a few tips I can share and since so many friends ask me where we got certain things in our home or ask me to help them find things for theirs I thought I'd get a few more of you to visit my blog by randomly posting things I see around town (and elsewhere) and cast a vision for you to abandon your Value City Furniture and Mall only ways and go digging!
One of my all time favorite designers and thrifters, Emily Henderson, does a piece on a her blog where she scans craigslist in different cities and gives her two cents on what she'd buy if she lived there and why it's so great. So here' my tribute to Emily (no, I'm not a designer, just a cheapskate and vintage lover with a lamp problem) and I hope that it'll be your gateway to some great other people's trash discoveries. I also have to give a shout out to TV star and Charlotte local Mr. Rashon Carraway who inspires me daily with his killer taste and mad thrifting skills!
HABITAT RESTORE ROUNDUP 3.25.15
If you're looking for home furnishings, the ReStore is your place. They have several locations around Charlotte and the Wendover location is the one I hit up with some frequency due to its proximity to my house. You won't find clothing here but you will find piles of furniture, frames, lamps, cabinetry, doors, windows, etc. I have been to the Wilkinson Blvd. location a few times and it doesn't seem as big but does have some great finds as well.
Usually the price is set at the ReStore, but if you are looking to a buy a few things or you discover something drastically flawed about an item, you can always talk to one of the sweet volunteers who run the place to see if there's anything they can do for you. I once purchase a pile of old doors to make room dividers for an office and the manager cut me a great deal for buying so many! What a great guy. And, you're making a great investment in our community when you make a purchase at the ReStore- so what's not to love?
I can't believe I'm telling you this, but TUESDAY is the day to hit the ReStore
They're closed on Mondays and all the stuff that was donated over the weekend seems to be hitting the floor on Tuesdays. They don't open until 10am so if you're an early bird trying to swing by on your way to work, fuhgeddaboudit. This location is often hit or miss for me but thrifting is all about just carving out a little time to walk the space and get ideas...as my husband too often reminds me, YOU DON'T HAVE TO LEAVE THE STORE WITH A PURCHASE. I repeat this to myself in the lamp section sometimes to no avail.
Usually the price is set at the ReStore, but if you are looking to a buy a few things or you discover something drastically flawed about an item, you can always talk to one of the sweet volunteers who run the place to see if there's anything they can do for you. I once purchase a pile of old doors to make room dividers for an office and the manager cut me a great deal for buying so many! What a great guy. And, you're making a great investment in our community when you make a purchase at the ReStore- so what's not to love? Just a note, I know no measurements nor do I know if these items are still at the store...go or call and check them out (these pics were from yesterday afternoon!)
Ok, enough of my yapping. Here's the Restore Roundup
1. VINTAGE SET OF PATIO GLIDERS - $200
Don't be sad, but these are SOLD already. I posted them on my instagram account yesterday and my very wise friend Rachel scooped them up instantly. This price is a steal and LOOK WHAT PEOPLE HAVE DONE WITH THESE GLIDERS (just please don't paint them all one color and try to make them look modern). Similar sets sell for the $1500+ range restored! This set would take any porch from sad to brilliant. Someone said they saw this set there last Saturday...how were they not already taken?! Oh, Charlotte, I so don't get you. The mint green. They both still glide and only one really needs some TLC (looks to me like one had been on a covered porch and the other not so much.
2. VINTAGE MUSTARD/GOLD MID CENTURY SOFA $650
The only reason this sofa might be here a little while is the price. While a place in town that buys all this stuff up and resells it for a fortune (they also overfill craigslist with their listings), aka Midcentury Salvage (don't get me wrong, they have great stuff, but I like my mid century on a smaller budget, Habitat usually doesn't ask these prices. BUT, this sofa is BAD TO THE BONE.
I could see this in a stark white room with dark wood floors and fiddle leaf fig tree in the corner. GAH. The pattern is amazing, the condition is FANTASTIC (no rips or tears that I could see) and it's LONG! Your whole family could sit on this thing and drink madmen drinks and look fabulous. And look at THE LEGS ON THIS THING!!!! And that cute little round matching pillow. Really, I was made to lounge on this thing. I heart it.
I'm spatially challenged, as my husband often reminds me, but I'm gonna say this bad boy is at least 8 ft. long? These pics don't even do it justice. I feel like Anthropologie would throw one of these in their home goods section and price it at a frillion dollars plus shipping. Am I right? Let's keep moving...
3. VINTAGE BRASS OVAL MIRROR - $50 (note: if you like my blog, buy this for me I want it so bad)
Ok, I must really love you, because I almost didn't post this because I want to drop everything and drive over and get this mirror and hang it on the wall in our room and possibly paint the brass black or another color and love it forever. This thing weights a ton, has no cracks or scratches that I could see on the mirror, is ovally delicious and it is pretty cool in old brass but I think could look even better in a shiny black finish. Or possibly green. Ok, now I really want it. I think it's about 4ft. or so long and I'm pretty convinced it's old. How amazing would this be over your sofa? Or dresser? or if you had a skinny wall hanging it vertically over a small console table? it could be flanked by sconces for the ultimate entryway. Oh the possibilities are endless. If I had $50 in the budget I'd get it. But still, Target sells way lower quality mirrors for even more, so this is a great deal. Again, Anthropologie would paint this thing pale turquoise, hang it betwixt $900 curtain panels and you'd be swooning.
4. VINTAGE SET OF GREEN DRESSERS - $250
Attention parents of boys: this is a killer set. For girls too, but I guess since I only have boys, I tend to envision them in a son of any age's room. Whoever painted them did a great job...and I love the shade. It's not hunter and it's not kelly...it's right in the middle and it's subtle without being 90's. I also love the lines of these dressers. No funny stuff...just nice sleek lines with a tiny pit of retro rounding on the edges.
I think these dressers are from the 50's or 60's and I think perhaps a handle replacement is in order here, but up close, these aren't too bad...I'm just not for the monochromatic look with the hardware. Some oil rubbed bronze pulls could be cute on these. Also, check out the two cabinet doors on long low dresser...hello, storage! Slap a changing pad on that long dresser for a baby boy and hold on to this set as they grow into stinky, bigger clothes having teenagers.
Please don't buy a changing table/dresser set at Babies 'R Us made out of particleboard. I beg of you expectant parents.
5. SET OF LOCKERS - $170
I love lockers and if I had a mudroom or enough room in my laundry room, I would so install some of these. Love the color of these. With a little elbow grease and heart sticker removal (hey, they're authentic) they could look great. Good price. They also have a set of gray metal lockers (to right) that are in the $200 range. I am not sure if they are able to be separated but if they could, wouldn't that be great? If you live in an old house and don't have a coat closet, how much cooler would this look than a big old Ikea take-2-years-to-put-it-together wardrobe? What about for a playroom? My kids have piles of swords, bows and arrows, light sabers...imagine a playroom line with these instead of stuff sticking out of toy boxes all over the floor? You could use these in an art/craft room and organize all your goodies and make it look cute at the same time. Bottom line, if you need storage, this is a cool way to do it. Now I'm thinking of getting rid of one of my boys shelves or dresser in their rooms to use this...hmmmm. I'm gonna say they're about 5ft (my height) tall.
5. RUSTIC DARK WOOD DROP LEAF TABLE - $195
In the grand scheme of craigslist, this isn't the greatest price, but for the ReStore, this is pretty good. This table looks really great up close, has good patina and would be great for a tight space where the drop leaf would enable you to have more guests but not take up too much time on a daily basis. Would be great in a kitchen nook or even in a play room for special projects. I could also imagine this on a cute screened in porch with some cute rattan or wicker chairs? It's cute and with some mismatched industrial chairs I think you could make a very Restoration Hardwarey look for less than what an Ikea set would cost you.
6. VINTAGE RED LAMP - $15
As I mentioned earlier, I have a serious vintage lamp problem and longingly inspected this and its fabulousness. My son has a lot of red in his room and I considered it for a brief second then thought of my marriage first and foremost, the vintage eagle lamp he already has on his nightstand and reconsidered. But the velvet piping on the drum shade.....LOOOOVE. It's pretty cool. You should get it. It's $15 and you can test it out there to make sure it works.
Did I mention the ReStore gives you a 30 day return period in case something doesn't work properly? Seriously. I actually did buy a lamp there yesterday, but don't tell Scott.
Wanna see it? I'll try to post it soon.
7. PINE DROP LEAF TABLE WITH 2 EXTRA LEAVES - $45
Whoever priced this was smoking something, but hey, good for you. We don't have a really long table so when we have a lot of people over for dinner I'm always using random things from our house to make our table longer. I actually considered using this as a side/console table just so that I could then use it with or without its leaves for when we need a really long table. I am not a huge pine lover so I think i'd probably paint this (Annie Sloan paint would be cute) but a table this convertible with 2 leaves for under $50: this is the stuff thrifting is made of.
Whoever priced this was smoking something, but hey, good for you. We don't have a really long table so when we have a lot of people over for dinner I'm always using random things from our house to make our table longer. I actually considered using this as a side/console table just so that I could then use it with or without its leaves for when we need a really long table. I am not a huge pine lover (but this pine seems pretty quality and almost has a rustic/cabiny feel so I kinda like it) but I think i'd probably paint this (Annie Sloan paint would be cute) but a table this convertible with 2 leaves for under $50: this is the stuff thrifting is made of.
8. VINTAGE BRASS SOLID LAMP - $45 I think?
Not a fan of the price (too high) but am a fan of this cool solid, nice quality aged brass (not shiny gold) lamp. The price seemed a bit steep to me and the shade was so cheesy I spared you the sight of it. I wonder if you could ask for a better price in comparison to other lamps there. This lamp could feel 80's in the bad way, but with a nice shade you'd have yourself a really nice piece.
Personally if you had a room with navy in it, I think this would pair really well with it...maybe a nice linen drum shade? Oh you could get creative. I'd say the the big part of base is at least 2 ft. tall. Good sized lamp.
LOVE VINTAGE STUFF BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR SPACE?
As I mentioned before, I'm not a designer, just a cheapskate, but I do have a friend who is a designer, fellow cheapskate and talented thrifter. So here's a shout out to my friend Wendy Fennell of Bohemian Bungalow Design who can not only help you reinvent your space but also has a knack for repurposing what you already have. Check out her site for all kinds of ideas, goods, tips and info on how she can help you!
I'd love to hear about your thrifting tips and if any of you purchased any of these items how you used them!
PEACE OUT & MAY THE THRIFT GODS BE WITH YOU.