Monday, April 20, 2009

Papa-God, Dave Ramsey, and My "New" Couch

Well, if you read my blog last week, you already know about the Great Couch Caper, or perhaps more appropriately, the Sad Sofa Sage -- OR as one sista-friend called it, my "God Field Trip." And, yes, I guess I need to explain that one.

As I may have mentioned in another posting, I've been sitting in Casa St. Michael for the past seven-going-on-eight weeks now with a broken ankle. Yep, just sitting. Sitting, sitting, and more sitting. On one hand, that's a lot of time to get rested up, plot out some strategies for getting organized and clearing out clutter once I'm back on my feet (both of them!), and even making some plans for a few future decorating projects. Okay. That took up the first afternoon.  (The planning part, that is.)

On the other hand, that's a lot of time for someone like me to get into trouble. (Trust me, that's something that I can still do even on one leg -- or with both legs propped up and just plain ol' sittin' around on my rear end!) You see, the more I had to sit here, the more I began to find fault with everything around me (let me hasten to say, excluding St. Michael!).

Let's be honest here, we all know our houses look tons better when they're shiney-clean and picked up, fluffed and feathered, but since I couldn't do any of that, it just became easier to sit back and nit-pick -- especially the more I watched HGTV, flipped through my decorating magazines, and discovered and pored over all of the incredibly creative, inspiring home-oriented blogs out there on the 'net. Now, there is not a thing wrong with any of those activities -- I can hear your collective sighs of relief! -- unless you're already in a mind funk like I was, and then, well, it's not pretty.

You see, I began to compare. And then I began to let my contentment slip away. As I let my contentment slip away, I left the door wide open for discontentment to sidle right on in. (Duh! Y'think!) And, let me tell you if you don't already know, Discontentment is a blind ol' bitty for sure! NOTHING looked right anymore in my house! I just knew that all of my notebooks and textbooks from school (teachers who are out with broken bones still have to do lesson plans for their guest teachers) wouldn't look nearly so bad strewn all over a new couch. (And for those of you who don't know me, when I say "new," I simply mean new and different to me; Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey would be proud to know that I never pay brand-new-retail prices for anything because almost everything in Casa St. Michael was in someone else's house first.)

I became convinced that the crossword puzzles from three of last week's newspapers, my datebook, the not-yet-responded-to mail, and all the magazines-to-be-recycled would probably look downright charming on any chair other than St. Michael's current recliner (which, doesn't look like a recliner at all unless he's stretched out in it, which I mention only to let you know that I really have no excuse to bad-mouth it). And surely, a chair much smaller in scale would look better over by the window than the big ol' overstuffed most-recently-purchased-from-Craigslist chair that currently fills that space so abundantly. Of course, I also knew that if I got all "new" furniture, I'd have to do away with the current rug that anchors the coffee table in the center of the room and find one more suitable in color and style . . .

I began to plot. (Never a good thing for me.) And then I began to search Craigslist for sometimes hours at a time. (I even hit up the "Outlet/Clearance!" spots on J. C. Penney's website looking at rugs.) I became a woman obsessed! Surely if I found something that was such a bargain that I just couldn't afford to not buy it, then I could get it. (I was just going to start with a new couch, mind you.)

By now, you are sure I was suffering from some sort of mental breakdown, right? I mean, I am the primary bread-winner in our family, as St. Michael is old [smile, Honey!] and semi-retired , and having not worked in lo' these many weeks and having pretty early on gone through all of what few "sick days I had" and having not even yet received my about-half-my-regular-salary short-term disability check AND being right in the middle of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course -- GASP! -- I think I'd have to agree with you!

(Dave Ramsey, Christian Financial Guru, who actually looks a lot like St. Michael!)

What in the world was wrong with me?!

Well, according to the Bible study lesson I prepared to teach (and then did teach) last weekend, I'd lost my focus. Yeah, imagine spending hours, and then days, in the plotting-mindset-mode and then picking up your new Bible study material from church and having the first lesson's title read, "CONTENTMENT." Whoa.

And I did. (Whoa, I mean.) Yup, I stopped dead in my tracks. And then I had to have a little come-to-Jesus meeting with that part of me that Joanna Weaver (Having a Mary Spirit) calls "Flesh Woman" and her gal pal I'll call "MissContent." (Actually makes more sense to me in some ways than discontent, y'know?) Yup, had to send them packin'. No room for them here at Casa St. Michael, seeing as we are already pretty full with this big ol' overstuffed, sink-into-comfy chair by the window, St. Michael's fits-him-like-a-glove recliner, and the looks-like-new Century sofa that first blessed someone else's home but now blesses mine.

I began to pay closer attention to the words in so many of the God-sent sista-blogs I've found: Use what you have (Like Merchant Ships) . . . It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful (Nesting Place) . . . doing my best each day to grow closer to God (Reinvented) and so many others. And I went and soaked up the words of my brother, Paul: Finally, [sister], whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praise worthy -- think about such things (Philippians 4:8).

And I've reminded myself that I will be back on my feet soon (maybe even Friday!) and then I can begin in earnest to get organized, clear out the clutter, and clean! And things will look different! (Heck, even I look better after a little clean up!)

Meanwhile, about that sofa? Well, come June, I'm going to attempt to make slipcovers out of painters' drop cloths! (For the recliner, too!) Yesterday I snagged 40 yards of 100% natural cotton, washable, 1-1/4"-wide brush fringe off E-bay for $10.49 (amazing!) to trim them out with. And I bought one piece of vintage floral barkcloth as my inspiration piece for the cottage tone I want the family room to take ($12.99 for a 45" x 3 yd piece, also from E-bay).

Then I think I will probably have to find time to paint something on a board or maybe directly onto a wall . . . He has made everything beautiful in its time . . . (Ecclesiastes 3:11a)


  1. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! I hope you get your cast off soon. Enjoy your time off!

  2. Oh I do this at times...loose my contentment...what a God Thing that you were teaching that Bible study...

  3. I hope you can get up and around soon! That is not fun.

    How often I can loose my focus. This was a great reminder.

  4. Oh my have a WAY with words! I so wish I had that gift. :-) I feel like I've just had a wonderful visit with you. HILARIOUS.....and I think we've all had those moments.......and God does send us clear messages, doesn't He? I'm constantly amazed by that.

    I hope your ankle is healing quickly and you'll be up and zipping around soon...I'm planning on sharing my "story" one of these days.

    Thank you so much for praying for my girl. You'll never know how much I appreciate it.

    Hugs and blessings!


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