2.28 2011

The Story Behind Stories of a House


The other day I was thinking about how 9 months ago I had no idea what to expect when I started blogging. There is a lot of time to think, dream, reflect, plan, etc. when working on furniture. I didn’t expect anything from blogging other than to post some before and afters, share paint colors, and have a little memory for my kids to look at one day.

***First I need to say that I asked Kevin permission to share our story, and in NO way do any of these circumstances reflect on him as a man or as a provider. He would have done anything to change our situation, along with hundreds of  thousands of other men and women in our country. ***

8 months prior to writing my first post, Kevin closed his business and accepted a position at a local architecture firm. The 18 months preceding that were incredibly uncertain. He had worked out of our home for the previous 5 years building his own firm, and established a very good name for himself. But when the economy tanked, so did his industry. He was especially hit hard because he mainly designed custom homes, so when the banks stopped lending, people either couldn’t build or were afraid to build in the AZ market. We were one of the states worst hit by the real estate crisis. On top of that, the successful home based business I had built for several years was leveled. Along with many of our fellow Americans, our faith was tested daily and some days our ability to take things one day at a time seemed impossible. During that 18 months we lost everything – our savings, our equity, everything monetary we had built for a decade was gone. But, we still had each other and that was what mattered to us most. It is true that when you lose everything you realize that our actual needs are very basic, and relationships are everything.

I returned to what I had trained for in college, and was lucky to find a great nursing job that I loved, and still love. I worked as much as I could. Kevin and I sat down often with pencil to paper and cut out every possible expense. We got pretty creative. But as the weeks turned into months and the economy continued to spiral, our savings eventually depleted. Our basic expenses were more than I was making, so I started taking night and weekend call at another hospital for extra income. Getting called in at all hours of the night for surgeries that couldn’t wait until morning eventually took an enormous toll on Kevin and me, so after several months I had to stop. The good thing that came of that time period was that we learned to be frugal and to do without.

Our 3 girls were old enough (and wise beyond their years) that we couldn’t shelter them from the reality of what was happening. We taught them that the best thing to do in our circumstance is pray for our needs to be met, and for the needs of others. They were faithful to it every single day, even on the days we were too tired, or struggling with fear and bitterness to do so ourselves. We watched the government frivolously spend taxpayer’s money while the majority of Americans were forced to tighten their belt in order to rebuild their financial house. We eventually reached a point where we could no longer afford to be angry about what we could not control. There was no more agonizing, no more arguing. We were too tired and had given up the fight.

One afternoon those prayers were boldly answered when Kevin received a call from a company hiring for a project management position at a firm close to home. We were in disbelief that he even received a call in an economy when companies in a position to hire are flooded with qualified resumes, but we were cautiously optimistic. Come to find out later, they already had over 100 resumes, and had interviewed many good candidates. Everything quickly fell into place; the interview process went smoothly, and he got the job. I still get goose bumps. Something much bigger than us was in control of the whole situation the entire time, and we did emerge from our trial stronger and wiser.

Things were ready to change again. We decided I would cut back to 2 days a week to reestablish some balance in our family and home. I envisioned a life of bliss. There was a brief honeymoon period of nesting and reorganizing, but it lasted about a month. Not having Kevin around the house to touch base with, and having all three girls in school for the first time was a huge adjustment. I found myself wandering the house like I was in a foreign country. I was lonely, bored, not coping well, and I eventually slipped into a pretty deep depression. I got a glimpse of what empty nesting might be like, and I sure didn’t like it.

I kept telling myself, “snap out of it!” When that approach didn’t work I sought counsel. One wise person asked me whether or not I had a passion. That seemed like a ridiculous idea when I wasn’t even passionate about getting out of bed. It did get me thinking, though, about the things I used to enjoy that lifetime ago before the economy turned our lives upside down. One day I decided to pick my pathetic self up, dust off an old interest, and I refinished my first piece of furniture in 3 years. It brought me joy, and continues to today.

This chapter of my life – only scratching the surface of what I’ve overcome – has been hard for me to write, but I hope it will encourage someone going through a difficult time.  Change and uncertainty can be a great catalyst to put us on a new and better path. We still have a lot of uncertainty with our housing situation, but we are at peace. [Edit: we are downsizing and closing on a house 5 doors down from my folks soon!] I don’t believe we can change God’s will, but if we ask to be conformed to it, listen and take action, we will experience peace and joy no matter what our circumstances: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phillipians 4:13).

My little business continues to change and evolve, but I’m enjoying the ride this time. I am very thankful for you all to enjoy it with.

46 thoughts on “The Story Behind Stories of a House

  1. first of all, the blog looks great. secondly, i am really glad you shared your story. i think it is inspirational and a testament that we can't do anything without relationships, having inspiration… those are the things that matter and get us through the day. chris and i don't have much, we can't afford much. but we have a family, and we have each other and our kids and i find my passion in my art. my family and my art are what bring me joy. and i may have said this to you before, but after living through katrina, i have come to realize that the rest is just stuff. it may bear meaning tous, yes, but it is just stuff. the important things are intangible- love, passion, friendship, relationships. thanks, christa- a beautiful story from a beautiful soul.

  2. So sorry you had to go through that! Everything happens to for a reason, sometimes I wish we could get the blueprint. I have been telling people that painting and redoing items and furniture is the best therapy. Thank goodness you looked to the Lord through your valley in life. He will and is rewarding your for that.

  3. I love this post. I started my blog as an escape from a devastating infertility fight. It has saved me from wallowing in sadness. It has opened a passion in me that I didn't know I had. It's what I look forward to when I wake up. So thanks for posting this and continue doing it, you are ab inspiration.

  4. Thanks for sharing Christa. We have all had setbacks in life, and if you learn from the experience, I think you become a smarter, more empathetic and compassionate human being as a result. Change is scary, but it can also be good! Thanks again.

  5. Christa,
    Thank you for opening up like that and telling your story. I love you furniture redo's and some days wish I lived close to you to purchase some of your furniture.
    I tell my girls every day to believe in yourself and things will follow. To which I see they are doing for you.
    Keep it up.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story Christa! It is inspiring! You know I really admire your work and always enjoy spending time here. Little by little, it's nice to get to know some of my favorite bloggers better. Wishing you continued success and all good things! … And I love the new look!

  7. My husband and I are experiencing a really rough time and have been for the past 2+ years. It was encouraging to read your story…that God is still listening and that He still works miracles. We recently moved to Phx as part of the massive change our lives have taken and even though it didn't make sense, we know that we know that God moved us here and that it is better to be right here, broke, in His will than it is to be anywhere else, rich. I LOVE your blog and your projects! Thank you for sharing

  8. Christa,
    It sounds like you and your lovely family have come through a difficult time in flying colors! Isn't it wonderful to have something that you are passionate about? I think a person is truly living in the moment when they are joyfully immersed doing something that they love!
    Kim :)

  9. A beautiful and powerful testimony of your life. I love how He works things out. Just when we have turned over our last "idea"…bang!!! A solution presents itself. Sometimes it seems to good to be true! I am so glad for all of you!
    What a blessing!

  10. Without a test you don't have a testimony, as I heard someone say. You just passed on encouragement to someone who needed to hear it. I love you blog and look how out of that situation you began turning old worn furniture into pieces of art! You are inspiring others!

  11. Thanks so much for sharing your story Christa. This economy just stinks for so many, us included. I don't live with uncertainty very well. I was in a major funk when we moved here. Leaving my older boys behind and a home I loved was a lot for me to deal with. My youngest was miserable as well which really brought me down on the inside. On the outside I tried to fake it and keep the facade that everything was great. That's not easy to do! Blogging helped get me out of that funk and for that I am grateful.

    Your blog looks great,I'm loving that springy green color!

  12. As you know, my husband likes to poke fun at me about my "bloggy" friends, but I've really been so blessed by the friendships I've made blogging, you among the best! You are beautiful and inspiring person with great talent in this area! I'm so glad you've found furniture refinishing as a passion, and so glad that it's a passion that I can share with you. Hugs!

  13. Did you write that for me? :) You are such an inspiration Christa… and I am so happy to call you my friend. Thank you for sharing your personal story as I am sure it was not easy. I love hopping over here to see your masterpieces, read your words, and be inspired. Keep on keeping on.

  14. that is truly an inspiring testimony, thank-you (and your husband) for sharing your heart and something so personal. so many things you went thru strike a cord w/ me. the financial hardships, the depression, the PASSION to re'make,re-paint, pe-invent anything i can get my hands on…all of made me think "hey, i'm not alone out here, and we're a little alike or a lot!" thanks~deanna @cottageromance.blogspot.com

  15. Christa , your story has touched my heart as I can really relate.thank you so much for sharing your heart. I could make this comment three paragraphs long but I won't. Love your blog and you are an inspiration!

  16. Thank you for sharing your story – I'm guessing you probably had some reservations about doing so. Its good to hear that your passion found you and I love seeing what you've created. Thank you.

  17. Christa, thank you for sharing your heart with us all. That took courage. I truly love the connections I've made through blogging. Some dumb commentors, but hey that's life. Especially when you put your creative self out there! Huge hugs for all you've been through the last couple of years. I love the new blog design. :)

  18. Thanks for sharing. Although you have had some rough times, you are blessed with the most important thing in life… a wonderful family. I think you are an intelligent, interesting and talented person and I am so glad to have met you here in Blogland! :)

    Love, Lori

    P.S. LOVE your new blog design.

  19. Christa-Thanks for sharing your inspirational story! I know sharing intimate details of your personal life can be scary but I know it's inspired many, including me! Have you ever thought of selling your pieces at stores and not just on Craigslist? I sell at a store in Phoenix called Everything Goes. It's really helped to supplement my income and your talent waaay exceeds mine! They don't have spots open but if you get on a waiting list…anyways, just a thought. Email me if you have questions about it…thanks again for your blog…I love it:)

  20. Hello, Christa
    Thank you so much for posting your testimony to God’s faithfulness. It is during the trying times that we become truly aware of what really matters in life and that is God and our family. Your work is beautiful (the furniture) . I, too, am a tired CCU RN now working in an outpatient service area of a hospital where most everyone is a “walkie-talkie” (you know what I mean – no vents!). I, too, love to “dabble” with paint and old furniture from the second hand store. I will definitely consider your book before I take on anymore projects in the near future. God Bless you and your sweet family and may He continue to provide for your spiritual and physical needs.

  21. Hi Christa

    I really can appreciate you life story. I was a single mom ( he is now 36) and ad many struggles. Still single and have been doing some projects to try to make a little extra money. I have done a few little trial and error pieces of furniture but have not got the process down yet. Your e book sounds like what I have been looking for. I am going to download it soon. Thanks for you story, it is very inspirational .

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