1… 2… 3… [RE]start!

**So, I’ve left this corner of the world untouched for a bit….I’m feeling a bit sick with stage fright knowing this is my first time to post in a while. but here goes… 1… 2… 3… it’s time to REstart**

Last year was an amazing, miraculous, horrific, full to overflowing, and yet an incredibly lean year – all wrapped in one. I didn’t blog much because I couldn’t gather all of my thoughts and get them to line up in a way to even narrow them down, let alone try to write them out so anyone could make sense of what I thought I was trying to say – most of all I figured your time was more valuable than reading my rambling. However, bits of this processing will be recorded here as more time passes and it makes more sense… Life lessons don’t just go away because it’s a new year. :-)

I’ve done lots of processing with the help of paper | notebooks | journals and pens | colored sharpies | and colored pencils; and have been guided while reading some amazing books! It’s been good. But I’m so ready to blog here again.

While I would think of writing here often, there has just been so much life all around me [and with my laptop out of commission right now] I couldn’t quite make it to posting. There is only so much sitting in front of the big computer I can handle in a day.

To ease into my space again, I am going to share many recent house projects. To start things off we’re going to look at the dresser.

Dresser before

Dresser drawer handleBackground: I’ve had Mr. Dresser for …. uh, 10 years! This dresser was purchased for $25 at a garage sale/thrift store (don’t remember which – but not the point) and you could see the ‘potential’, but that potential was never uncovered. I have lived with this horrible looking dresser in various places of our physical space because:

  • it is solid, real wood. [which means it is incredibly HEAVY to move!]
  • it is almost as tall as me [= a great room divider].
  • all of the drawers work.
  • mostly though – because it had ‘potential’.

So, when we were working on Christine’s room there was the given house project avalanche of side effects. A lot like, “if you give a mouse a cookie/a moose a muffin/a mom a moment…” type of side effect. (she was moving out of our bedroom, so my office was moving into that space, so our living room was changing)

It was time to either get rid of the dresser. or attack it with paint and see if I liked it.

I attacked it. wholeheartedly and clueless to what I was doing. In the end, I love the way it looks! and I’m finally going to share it here :-).

Here are a couple photos of the stripping process. That is some NASTY stuff! It stinks, it burns, it’s hard to get rid of, but it made the wood so much prettier – on the drawers at least. The sun hitting it directly made it not look so nice – but it painted over fine (phew!).

dresser NASTY stripping

Dresser stripped

Dresser drawers stripped

At this point I was wondering if I should just work harder on stripping the main part and just oil the wood – but it was still pretty dark. My living room walls are dark’ish blue so I didn’t want a huge, obvious, dark brown dresser in my living room. Not really the look I was going for, I wanted it to blend in more. Besides, I knew I had my grandma’s old singer sewing machine to sit on the top – and it is dark brown.

I wasn’t sure what to do with the hardware. I knew I couldn’t afford to buy anything, but hadn’t painted metal before. and I wasn’t sure how well it would hold up.

It was simple. [and has held up find]

I spray painted the hardware a flat gray color.

dresser handles painted

Then with a dark charcoal craft paint I sponge daubed paint on, then rubbed across with a rag to make horizontal streaks. Way simple! [and FREE!]dresser handles final

With some more craft paint and a bit of mis-tint paint I went at the wood parts. I did an ‘April version’ of dry brushing [ie: I read an idea, then do my own thing. I don’t follow directions real well – they confuse me :-)]. It worked!

dresser paint

I love the end result!

dresser final

This project accomplished many side-goals I had in mind too!

  • it blends with my wall. but still holds its own.
  • it houses an enormous amount of stuff. (top 2 drawers are most used office/school supplies, 3rd & 4th drawers are for Christine’s school stuff, and the bottom is DVDs)
  • & in addition, now instead of the chair you see on the left, it is a protective corner for Mr. C.

cost of project:

  • a high estimate on paint = $5
  • wood stripper = uh…don’t have a clue, I got it from my dad’s shop {sheepishly grinning}
  • time = a couple days


While thinking about posting again. and about the dresser. and taking into account all I’ve learned over the last year. I couldn’t help but think of the dresser as an example [of sorts] of me. us. people in general.

God has been opening my eyes to my value in Him. not as I perceive myself, but how He sees me. I have been dinged by life and the results are scratches & dents; I’m still useful and practical, but I haven’t necessarily appreciated who I am in Christ – my potential has been kept covered, by me.

I have allowed fear to hold me back. a lot. I’ve chosen recently to be proactive in not letting fear win. It is getting easier, but I still forget too often. Anyway, I was afraid of making a mess of the dresser for 10 years (10 years I lived with it ugly because it worked and I was afraid!).

I was trying to avoid failure. Early in life I made the childish decision to not make mistakes in life. I would listen, learn from others, then only do the “right” thing. [For the record, I failed daily even while stressing myself out trying to accomplish the impossible.] I have held myself to that ridiculous standard and hung onto the resulting shame for way too many years.

There isn’t a day I don’t notice the dresser (that is my bedroom/office just past it on the right and the bathroom door is on the other side of my bedroom doorway) and am so very thankful I finally chose to try. I suspect as time goes on and Christ continues His work work in me (Philippians 1:6), I will come to love this end product too :-).

How does any of this tie in to a dresser makeover? Just like I see the ugly dresser differently, I’m starting to see myself a little more differently each day too, more the way God sees me.

I’m still the same me. Just like it’s still the same dresser.
I still have the same story, with just a bit more memories added; just like he dresser still has all its nicks, dings, and dents (+ a few more added in the refurb process).

Remember what I said about the wood stripper – it stinks, it burns, it’s hard to get rid of, but it made the wood so much prettier. It is much like the process of removing the ick I’ve allowed to hang on me. It stinks, it burns, it’s hard to get rid of, but I hope it has made more of Christ shine through me. For some reason it’s really touching my heart that the wood stripper came from my dad’s shop – just like the only way I can be stripped of the ick in my life is for my Heavenly Father to take me to His shop.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 [ESV]

What do you think? Are you kind of like a dresser needing to be refurbished? Is it time to get past your fears and failures, your fear of failure, and go through the pain?


  1. says

    Welcome back! Your first project turned out beautiful, I absolutely love it.
    Not too long ago I heard Beth Moore give a talk about the “scars” that life leaves us with. It was an amazing talk but the take away is that Jesus’ name is written over each and every one of them. I hope that as you lean on him you will let him write his name on yours too. God Bless

    • says

      Angela – I think I heard the same talk :-), it’s probably what made me even think of the dresser in this way. I found it so relieving and refreshing to think how His Name covers each “ding”/scar; I don’t need to try to cover them. They make me who I am in Him.

  2. says

    It’s amazing that all of the supplies (including what you got from the shop) would put your bill at under $40 dollars. For such a solid and large piece of furniture, this is impressive. The results look great.

    • says

      Pamela – I was pretty excited. Especially since spending money wasn’t an option – but to get a whole “new” piece was so much fun! Sometimes I look at it and think it’s almost hard to believe it’s the same piece.

  3. says

    WOW! I’m so impressed. I have several “potential” items in my garage that I have new hope for now. I’ve always been too overwhelmed by the stripping process, but you’ve inspired me! :)

    • says

      Do it Yolanda! It’s so much fun to see it in the end. There were moments in the middle I wondered what I’d gotten myself into, but I just kept going. :-)

  4. says

    Beautiful job on the dresser! It looks so nice in the photo. Isn’t it funny how we can take everyday things and circumstances and see how they relate to us personally. I love how you made the dresser an analogy of how God is working in your life too. Nice post.

  5. says

    Love the project. You did a great job! I think it was very brave to take the stripped project on but i’ve thought about doing that. Love to see how it worked and hopefully it will be inspirational for me and my projects. Thanks.

    • says

      Tawnee – Thank you. Thankfully we had a long stretch of nice weather. I didn’t want to move it off the deck & back up into my place again. I didn’t have very high hopes either, I expected to hate it when I got done :-).

  6. says

    I thoroughly enjoyed your transparency about blogging and relationship to Christ in this post… I love how you used your project to show us how He strips things from us, and yes it does stink! I love how He makes us new.

    P.S. I would love if you did a step by step some time with details on how what you used and how you stripped the wood. I really want to do this someday!
    Amanda Espinoza recently posted..Red Clover Herb ~ How it Aides Weight Loss and Helps Detox Your Body

    • says

      Amanda – Thank you for your kind encouragement. I’m so thankful He makes me new, and gives me new grace each day!

      I’m sorry, I can’t do a step-by-step with details. I thought I took enough pictures, my original plan was to do that….however, I didn’t get enough documented at the time and now too much time and too many events have happened since July/August and now I don’t remember. (!) Mostly, I read the directions on the back of the can and used a sheetrock flat spatula thing to scrap the ice off.

  7. says

    Welcome back to blogging! You certainly (re)started with a bang. I love the handles, and the new dresser is amazing! I think my Mom has one exactly like this, and should read this post too! Keep up the good work! We do lots of “April versions” over on our blog too!

    • says

      Audrey – thank you for your encouragement on my (re)starting. The handles have held up amazingly well. I expected the paint to chip &/or flake off. They haven’t. Are you sure your’s aren’t “Audrey versions”? :-D

    • says

      Joleen – Thanks. I actually didn’t do any distressing. I was afraid the sandpaper would make my paint peel off. It’s just mixed colors of paint, and not painting with full coverage.

    • says

      Shelah – Thank you. I was stoked to do it essentially free! Everything I used, was here already. I realize I bought it at some point, but nothing specific for just this project.

  8. says

    That’s me! I, too, have been allowing fear to hold me back and I’ve been afraid of failure – in HUGE areas of my life! 2014 is supposed to be different. Thanks for reminding me to let God be the One to refurbish me. Instead of me trying to do things on my own strength. =)

    • says

      Oh, Jasmine! I understand, it makes it easier knowing I’m not the alone in this, thanks for joining me in this fight and “seeing” what I was saying. My ‘one word’ for 2014 is TRUST. It is time for life to be different, I’m trusting this year is it. “Working hard” to let Him do the refurbishing, as you said.

  9. Jill says

    I LOVE what you did with the dresser and yes, I’ve too been working on stripping away and cleaning and clear my junk for the better part of 3 years, letting go of SO MUCH STUFF and choosing to do what scares me as opposed to what’s safe. Great post, pretty dresser and welcome back to blogging! :)

    • says

      Jill – Thanks for your kind words on the dresser. Doesn’t it feel so good to clean things out and let everything have its own space – besides the ‘consequence’ of easy of cleaning up. :-) Isn’t it interesting how making a personal choice has equally, if not better, long-term results as cleaning out junk in our living spaces?

  10. says

    I totally get your point about allowing fear (of failure) to hold us back. I’d love to know the books that you worked with during the past year. I’ve gone through a lot of stuff myself (and backed off of my main blog and am just starting in on a new endeavor to continue to work through the stuff). Had a lot of books on my nightstand. Some that I’ve gone back to, some I couldn’t quite start and still others that I’m just getting around to. Welcome back to blog land.

    • says

      Bernadette – I’d love to share with you the books…in no particular order :-). By Emily P. Freeman: Grace for the Goodgirl and A Million Little Ways; By Holley Gerth: You’re Already Amazing and You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream; By Angie Smith: Mended. (okay, I lied. I guess they’re in author alpha order :-D…) Most of these I read/skimmed through with lots of crying, then I re-read again while journaling through each one. Some days I could only make it through a page or two. I’d love to know which books you’ve read. Thanks for the welcome back.

  11. says

    YES! I was/am a dresser that needed refurbished! :-) I have been feeling blue about not achieving my dream of writing and publishing a novel. Then I realize that I am the only thing that is holding me back! So I set a goal in 2014 of writing for 15min every day… and I am well on my way to completing a novel! “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13
    Amy recently posted..Submission

    • says

      Amy – I’m so excited for you! So very, very thankful my strength comes from Him. I look forward to someday hearing about your book launch :-).

  12. says

    I love the dresser! It looks amazing! I love the analogy of the dresser and us as people. I feel like I am going through the wood stripper stage right now. I hope I come out better in the end. I need to get rid of some fears of failure.

    • says

      Heather – I’m sorry you feel you’re in the wood stripper stage. It’s not fun, it is painful. There is new color in store for you though – when you remove something, it will have to be replaced with something else.

  13. says

    Kudos to you for finally tackling the project of refurbishing your chest. I am of a different faith but still enjoyed the analogy between the chest and the journey of life and self improvement. Thank you for sharing. :)

    • says

      Aishah – Thanks for the encouragement. You are correct, regardless of our faith we can appreciate the analogy between refurbishing furniture and self improvement.

  14. says

    I think the dresser looks amazing…very shabby chic! Sometimes it takes years for the right moment to arrive; I have found that often in life you have to wait for the moment of inspiration to strike, when you can devote your passion for the project and the end result is so worth it. Wonderful and inspiring!

    • says

      Finch – Thanks for the encouragement to appreciate the waiting for the moment of inspiration. I do work best that way, but often feel as if I’m just being lazy to “not get around to it”.

    • says

      Safiyyah – Thanks, but I wouldn’t consider myself to have a lot of patience. I am stubborn, so my flopped homemade milk paint recipe should have done me in :-D… but I just turned to the paint that wasn’t “supposed to work” :-).

    • says

      Corinna – Thank you! Yes, little money was a key factor. Funny how when I could have just gone and bought whatever – I never did. Perspective certainly changes with life experiences.

    • says

      Rachel – Thank you. From the looks of it, you’re doing well with your business – you’re ahead of me by leaps and bounds there.

  15. says

    Thanks for sharing your story! I too have been held back by fear a lot, but starting my blog seemed to be the first step in moving out of that comfort zone. God has opened many doors, and He has brought me way beyond where I was a year ago. It is so cool to see what He sees in us when we give Him control of our lives.
    Lori recently posted..Kellogg’s Free Breakfast Share + $15 in coupons

    • says

      Lori – so true! I wish I was quicker to jump out of my comfort zone and into His control. I know in my head I’m best off in His control, but I get tangled up in “what is my responsibility?”.

  16. says

    The dresser looks nice! Just like you , there was a point in my life when I was really afraid of failure. I was trying to please everyone but myself. I was not happy at all. I had to go through the stripping process and it hurt, but the result made me happier and I felt free. Thanks for sharing!
    MommyLES recently posted..Teenage Marriage: Yes or No?

    • says

      You’re right – even though it hurts, it does make us happier in the end and there is a new feeling of freedom. I realize daily how much fear influences my day-to-day decisions, big and small.

    • says

      Sabrina – I was concerned when I finished painting and hadn’t put it against the wall yet, I thought it might be too much blue. In the end I really like it – it’s there but doesn’t stand out too much.

  17. says

    Very creative…..Sometimes it just takes getting out all those crafty ideas & getting something accomplished to feel better. Once you get it done you feel great & it can be very therapeutic. I love those moments.
    Missy recently posted..Amazon Coupons

  18. says

    The dresser looks great! I love your transparency….I too have had to overcome the crippling effects of perfectionism that kept me from taking action because I’m afraid to do it wrong.
    This project was a nice representation of how we transform from glory to glory in Christ :)

    • says

      Carol – Thank you. Transparency is hard for me, especially on a public platform :-). Have you by any chance read Emily Freeman’s book A Million Little Ways? It helped me see even more how crippling perfectionism really is.

  19. says

    The dresser looks fabulous! And just as that came to its own – so will you. Continue blogging and doing what feels right! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

  20. says

    I am a dresser that is about to get a makeover. Our family is moving from being a school-attending to a home schooling family. I’m entering this new phase this fall with nervousness, anxiety, and excitement. I know the combination seems odd, but I really do have mixed emotions. I am a work in progress as I learn my children and how to best educate them on this journey of life.

    • says

      Tracy – that isn’t an odd combination at all, but a very wise combo. We absolutely LOVE home schooling. Feel free to email if you ever need encouragement, vent, or even just ideas on what we’ve done – I’d love to share. The biggest things to remember: you know your children better than anyone (no matter what anyone tells you) and it will never matter in 5 years from now if you don’t get the whole list done today :-). I look forward to hearing about your adventures.

  21. says

    That dresser was such a great haul for $25! Wish I could find one like that. It has a character of its own. I love what you did with the paint, especially on the handles. You’re right, it blends well with your existing wall color. But I think the loveliest thing of all was how you were able to reflect about your life through this project. It’s amazing how much you’ve discovered about yourself in the process. Job well done! :)
    Ces recently posted..Doomed to Fail? Introvert Mom, Extrovert Child

  22. says

    I love DIY projects! Your chest of drawers turned out GREAT!!! I have a few pieces of furniture that could definitely use a facelift. You’ve inspired me to do something crafty this weekend. :)
    I’m glad you’re blogging, again. It’s difficult to put things out here on the internet. (It does feel like a stage.)
    Gina Elder recently posted..The Invisible Mom

  23. says

    Although I was impressed by your dresser project, I’m even more impressed by your personal reflections. I love your perspective that God will help you strip away the “ick” and reveal the beauty of what lies beneath.
    Corinne recently posted..Healthy Gumbo Recipe

  24. says

    I’m looking forward to the weather turning so I can refinish some furniture around the house. I have a bookcase and a china cabinet that would easily return to the 80’s lol Thanks for some tips. Your dresser looks great.
    Val recently posted..Favorite Recipes from 2013