The Blue, Butcher Block Island
The question, ‘Are you a generous person?’, can almost be offensive to some people. Usually our first reaction is, ‘Of course!’. But I think for many of us, especially in today’s ‘me’ centered world, generosity does not come easily. We know we should give, but our long to do list and stress of saving enough to retire early leaves us with anxiety when we think about giving. Now making time for yourself and saving money is important, but are you sharing your, or rather, God’s time, money, words and energy with others?
My sister, Daniella, just moved into my grandfather’s 1920’s house. It is a beautiful house but needs a lot of work and I will have future blog posts about it. For now, she made a really sweet and beautiful studio apartment in about 700 sq ft of the downstairs. She worked hard to make a cozy space for herself before she had to go back to school and face the fear of spreading COVID to our parents and grandparents.
One of her projects was to create a kitchen island using one of the dressers that was passed down to her from our great aunt and uncle. She chose the fun blue color as an accent in her space. She sanded the dresser down, cleaned it, primed it, and painted. To go with her farm, boho style, she distressed the corners a bit and put her Champaign metal hardware on it.
Although the dresser was totally cute, it didn’t leave much space for working. I knew my one coworker, Andy, likes to work with wood and makes cutting boards for gifts. I told him about my sister’s project and that I was thinking of tackling the tall task of making a butcher block for her. He was very interested and offered his help. In fact, he offered to do the whole thing and taught me along the way! My other coworker, Randy, picked up wood from a nearby counter manufacturer and offered to help cut to make the butcher block.
This sounds easy but this was a pretty involved project! The wood slices had to be all the same size and the counter top needed to be a bit bigger so there was an overhang for stool seating. We ended up making it an end grain butcher block. And there was a ton of glue used! My sister and I were filled with joy to think that my coworkers were so willing to tackle this project with us.
In Matthew 5:42, Jesus says, “Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” My coworkers generous gift of time to do this project, without me even really asking, shined Jesus light upon us. My sister and I felt so blessed as we attached the butcher block to the dresser and had the satisfaction of seeing her vision complete. Their generosity made us appreciate Andy’s hard work and Randy’s help.
My sister helped me so much when I was remodeling my house and I was happy to help make her kitchen island. I am excited to help her remodel the whole upstairs of the house. In Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full-pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back”. If we share time and money with our friends, family, co-workers, or even strangers, God is going to bless us until we are overflowing with his love, joy, and peace.
Think of generosity, just like anything else, as a journey. You can start with giving of your tithes and extra offerings. Then, volunteer more time to help those who need help around you. But have you ever thought about really giving your whole reputation or your whole life over to God? In everything you do, do it for the glory of God, and everyone around you will see you as a light in this world. I will close with Matthew 5:15-16, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
The White Window Mirror
There is a lot of junk that we let filter into our lives. Our brains are overwhelmed with social media and the news. Our houses are cluttered with material things we bought and didn’t ever really like or use. Our relationships are bombarded with stereotypes and unrealistic standards. Does this sound familiar? What are we allowing to filter through us and reflect back to others?
I have listened to a few lectures and sermons that explain how we are a product of our environment, both growing up and the one we live in now. 2 Corinthians 3 verse 18 says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit”. I love that verse because it reminds us that we, as children of God, should be a reflection of the Lord’s glory he shines upon us. It also reminds us that this life is a journey and we are not born perfect. Through our lives, we will transform into a better reflection with each blessing and trial we are faced with.
Personally, I do not like to clutter my house. In fact, I get really upset when it looks a bit out of place. But I found it is mostly because my brain is so cluttered that I can’t even think about straightening up the house because there are 15 other things I should be doing! So my house is usually in good shape, but my garage is a different story. As you know from this blog, I like to save ‘junk’. Old chairs, tables, knobs, mirrors, you name it and I have keep it for a project I have in mind. The problem is, I don’t get to these projects very often so the garage starts to get a little piled up after a while.
In July, we went into quarantine for a while because of COVID-19. Luckily, Tyler and I were both healthy and could use the time to get a few things done… one was cleaning out the garage! We stripped it, cleaned it and organized it. I finally had enough with the junk I kept around for the last three years and decided to try and sell some of it (side note: if you are ever interested in what I have, search Kate Ciccozzi in Facebook Marketplace).
One of the mirrors I got for free caught the interest of one of my customers, but they wanted a facelift on it. The mirror was a dated stain color but looked like a window and had cool hardware on it. The space they wanted to use it for was dark so I decided to paint it a bright white and distress the edges to give it that farmhouse look.
I might sound like a broken record at this point, but I just love taking something old, broken and rusty and turning it into something beautiful again. I also love doing that for other people so they can enjoy things they once loved but in a new light. God does this for us, too. In Colossians 3 verse 10, we are reminded to strip off the old, broken self, “and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him”.
If you are feeling cluttered, whether it be mentally, emotionally, or physically, the only way to clear the mess is to remove one piece at a time. Shake off the bad argument you feel really bad about, straighten up the back room that stuff seems to pile in, or forget about the issues at work that you can’t fix when you are with your family. The good news is that God will forgive and forget about all these things if ask him, too. Will you reflect his heart and forgive yourself and those around you who may be facing clutter in their lives? Work on reflecting God’s heart and showing compassion for yourself and those around you.
I am a farm girl through and through. I thought going to school, getting a degree, and moving towards a city would make me happy. You can take the girl off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the girl. You will learn much more about me with each piece of junk I transform into beautiful home decor.