Monday, August 2, 2010

Unfinished Business

Sometimes when you see the same thing every day, you stop noticing it anymore.
Like how sweet a boy looks conked out on a dog pillow.

Or how goofy a dog looks when he's trying to make you love him again after he's stolen the peanut butter off the counter, sneaked it out the dog door, and hidden out under the grapevines, licking out every last bit of goodness with his alarmingly long tongue.

Or how gorgeous muscadine grapes look as they get big and juicy in your backyard.

Wait a second.
Flip back to that first pic.

Yep, that's the one.
Talk about not noticing things anymore. How embarrassing!
See that couch? If you've been around here for a while, you may remember that I found it two and a half years ago at a yard sale. Back then it was all blue and flowery, but the moment I laid eyes on it, I heard the angels sing. See, we have an itsy bitsy television in our bedroom, and for some reason my kids always ended up in there to watch movies and plant popcorn kernels between our sheets. A comfy couch would get them out of our bed. Plus, it was only $25!

Two seconds after we lugged it through the door, I downed a pot of coffee for strength and began hopping all over it, measuring and sketching and calculating how I'd make the slipcover. Twenty-one yards would be enough. I sped to the fabric store and returned with red denim.

For the next day and a half, I turned my dining room into a sweat shop, hunched over my sewing machine, turning out pillow slipcovers. I'd done this before with the couch in the den, so I kind of knew what I was doing.
Finally it came time to tackle the couch itself, the reupholstery part. The part I dread.

The couch in the den had straight, easy arms. This one had rolled arms, arms that whispered I'm too hard. You can't do it. Who do you think you are, Martha Stewart?
I stared at the couch and drew things and measured some more.
I struggled and gave myself brain cramps and a Medusa hairdo, and finally decided just to sleep on it. Maybe the solution would come to me. Maybe I'd feel braver tomorrow.

When I woke the next morning, I took a long look at my couch.
Then I decided to start a blog.
It's two and a half years later and I'm still loving my blog. Unfortunately, however, the couch still looks like this.

I've grown so used to the look that I hardly even see it anymore.

Does this ever happen to you?
You get attracted by a new project, and you dive in full force. Then you get to the part that feels strange and scary, and you abandon it for something more comfortable. Something that looks easier or more fun. Like making a skirt for your dog or a dress for your daughter. Starting a blog or a novel. Or just rearranging your silverware drawer.

Pretty soon you forget about what you've left undone. That is, until your parents come to visit and you catch them looking funny at it, running their fingers along the cardboard strip that's stapled on the outside, wondering if you did that on purpose.

You meant to get back to the couch. You really did. It's just that there are always other things to tackle. Other things that seem more doable and fun.

Do you do this in your inner life too?
I'm guilty.
Maybe someone's hurt us or we've hurt someone else. Maybe there's a weakness we know we need to work on, something we've done or haven't done and we regret it. But instead of dealing with it head on, we move on to other things, things that are easier and suck out less emotional energy. We'll get back to it another day. We'll tackle it when we're not so tired, when we have more time.
Soon, we don't even think about it anymore.

Today I'm praying that God will reveal to me all my unfinished business. (Not in one fell swoop, mind you! That vision would surely send me galloping back to bed, squeezing shut my eyeballs and burying myself under pillows for a week!)
One issue at a time, please, God!

I know that God will do it if I ask. After all,
He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.
Daniel 2: 21 NIV

And God won't just leave me there, quaking at my mammoth To Do list.
He'll work with me all the way.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4: 13, New Living Translation
Thank goodness! Thank God!

What about you?
Do you have unfinished business, DIY and otherwise? What gives you strength to get back to the list?

I've found that sometimes accountability can help, so here goes:
I'm determined to fix that couch before school starts, so I hereby promise you a photo of a finished couch by August 16!
Fifty lashes with a wet noodle for me if I don't post it!

Have a wonder-full Monday, y'all!
Love, Becky


Meredith said...

I've been catching up on your old posts, and I love your writing--this post especially. You've given me a lot to think about and pray on today!

Sarah @From Tolstoy to Tinkerbell said...

First, I marvel at ANYONE who can sew because I have tried and can't. Secondly, I've realized that it is August and all the things I was going to do this summer are no where close to being finished--revising writing samples, personal statement, studying for the GRE. After spending three years in grad school, I think this summer has been more about recovering from self-inflicted stress. With no one hovering over me with a deadline, I procrastinate. Lovely post!

Laura said...

Oh, I want to see that finished couch. I'm still amazed at anyone who could craft the cushions, let alone the arms!!

Love Sarah's comment up there -- that is me, too. I have a project, too -- and a week to get it done. I'll pray for you if you'll pray for me!

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

loved your taking a look at the couch and deciding to start a blog (: yes !
God's ways and means can be so 'by the back door' !
and we're glad you did!

have just discovered how to add your button to my blog, so i'm cookin'!
and it looks so cute(:
great idea - now..
to figure out how to create one myself!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey Meredith, I'm glad to add a log to your fire. It's one of the best parts of blogging--getting my brain kindled by other people's thoughts!

Sarah, I never wanted to learn to sew--being domestic was never really a goal. But then we got a house and needed curtains & I had a baby girl the same year and smocked dressess were so expensive, so I took sewing lessons and they got me started. (It's really cheapness that fuels my sewing! :))
I say give yourself the rest of the summer to recover from your stress. Healing is important! You'll be happier and do better if you can return to those other goals completely refreshed!

Laura, I promise you a photo. I'm trying to make a couple of skirts for Sarah before she heads back to school, but then it's on to the couch. And now I HAVE TO get to it! I've told you people!
So, yes, I'll pray!

Faith Hope Cherrytea,
Thanks, friend! I guess that couch did press me into going ahead with the blog. I hadn't thought of it like that!
You're so sweet to add the button. You made my day!

Daricia said...

you've made me laugh and then tear up today! boy does this post hit close to home. when i'm off track, eventually i will remember that god has given me work to do, not my husband, mother, kids or anyone else, and that i do it for him. if only i could always keep that at the forefront of my mind! anyway, thanks for the post - your blog is a joy to read, and an inspiration.

lynnmosher said...

LOL! I have a couple of projects that still yell at me! Unfortunately, my fibro keeps holding me back. I still need to complete them...umm...maybe by Christmas? Thanks for the great post!

Amy Sullivan said...

Oh list-smist...what list? Oh...the tile in my bathroom that has been screaming for grout for the last TWO WEEKS!

I love the pics of your dog! He looks like our Max, and from the sounds of it, acts like him too.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

The thing I love most about this is the fact that you've had this daily reminder of the thing you abandoned (the couch project) ... in order to pursue the thing you loved (the writing).

Write on, sister.

However, I WILL be checking back to see the finished product. ;-)

Rev. Sharon said...

That's just marvelous... the pictures are so wonderfully expressive, your adorable dog has such an incredible face--and your son reminds me of mine at that age. Sweet memories.... :)

That couch is uniquely yours. No one else could ever have one like it. It is Your Couch. Thus it is perfect. :) Thank you for your words!

Marcus Goodyear said...

Wait a minute. Under what circumstances did you make a skirt for your dog? I want to see a picture of that!

Kathryn Neff Perry said...

Becky, I have been working on the "LAST" afghan for almost a year. I love Swedish Weaving, but I live in Florida---who works on an afghan on the beach?????
Great blog

Glynn said...

Is there something wrong with the couch?

Graceful said...

I have to say, the couch cracks me up. Boy can I relate. I blame it on my HGTV addiction. I always get inspired to launch a project when I watch that channel...then I get about halfway through some laborious project and I want to quit. My Triple Type A personality usually prohibits me from bailing out altogether (although I can't sew one bit, so I would never tackle anything as ambitious as this!)

Like your connection with unfinished projects and faith -- can sure relate to that, too. I always make big promises -- and fall so far short. Thank God for grace.

By the way...wicked jealous you have GRAPES growing in your backyard. That rocks!

revkjarla said...

awesome post...I giggled at the couch, because I have four unfinished knitting projects that just got stashed away...oh, years ago!!!

lovely way of writing, too. thank you.

Barb said...

Hi Becky,
As usual, you hit it girl! Is that Sam on the couch?
I pray that God will reveal any unfinished business but please God- do it SLOWLY. One small issue at a time.

Big hugs,

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Love y'all's thoughts.
Hugs and kisses to you!

Cheryl Smith said...

YEARS ago I started a cross stitch project for my (then) husband's grandmother. It was a bust of Lottie Moon, a deceased Southern Baptist missionary to China, for whom an annual foreign missions offering is named.

Long story short, there were a million colors of peach in her face.

Ommy Pat met Lottie Moon in heaven. I threw the cross stitch away, no shame at all.

And Jennifer is right. Write on!

(love the sofa, by the way)

Silicon Valley Diva said...

Oh I've got so much unfinished business. I tend to read novels and other blogs when i'm stuck in the middle of a challenging project.

You capture Tanner's personality so wonderfully. I love that profile pic of him. He looks so innocent lol.