What we don’t have… and that’s ok

Pallet sofa patio / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Saturday started off much like any other Saturday. I took my first coffee over to the computer, and started to aimlessly scroll my Facebook feed.

What I soon found was how many directions it took me where I would normally have not spent time. Quickly realizing I was getting sucked into a time vortex that wasn’t going to be productive, I flicked off the switch, and made my way to the patio instead.

patio before

It was a gorgeous sunny day. And although cool, I gathered up the sponge padding from my travel trailer, and a few puffy pillows and cozy blanket, and just sat on my very undecorated patio.

MY LATEST VIDEOS

My mind quickly reverted back to my life, and the things it needed attending to.

While I did a 360 around my own yard, I felt this overwhelming… nothingness. Like… my yard needed so much work. So much. It needs the things my own hands couldn’t do on their own. 

Rustic garden shed / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

shed before
Shed story

So I got up and started to wander. After walking into a flowerbed with overgrown stalks that needed pulling, and trying not to feel overwhemled with the weeds underfoot, something suddenly clicked.

As I pulled the dried stalks, it hit me. It hit me hard.

I didn’t have it all. And the last thing I ever want to portray online is that I do. Because I truly don’t.

Route 66 storage cabinet in workshop / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
workshop before

Workshop story

Yes, I have a home, but it needs lots of work.

I have a son, but he needs constant guidance.

I have a yard, but it needs an enormouse amount of attending.

And on the list grows.

Paint studio reveal / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
paint studio before
paint studio during
Paint studio reveal / FunkyJunkInteriors.net

Paint studio story

Thing is, there is so much we do have, which is a wonderful focus. I could take fancy pictures of all the nice things I DO have that would make you want them too. But how about we focus for today on things you may not normally see on my blog? Things I don’t have?

But not in a negative way.

Not having it all is the spice of life. It’s an opportunity to achieve things with our own two hands, in order to gain experience and wealth, in many ways.

It’s easy to spend a bunch of money to buy the things we need and desire. But learning from nothing and making it something has so much more value, don’t you think?

A friend and I had a conversation once. I was whining about doing everything on my own and having no one to help me figure things out. He quickly pointed out, “It’s a really good thing you don’t have the perfect guy on your arm. What would you blog about?”

I had to laugh… because I new exactly what he meant. It made me realize it was perfectly fine to not have it all. And actually a bonus.

My son loves to suggest I buy lottery tickets at the store at every given chance. I suppose you can’t win if you don’t try… but it’s never been my goal to win anything. I feel what we need and desire can be achieved with our own two hands and time well spent.

It’s easy to just want it done. And want it all.

But it’s really better to have less.

Otherwise… what would we have left to learn and discover on our own?

My home is exactly the same as yours. There are areas that are ok, and others that are overwhelmingly bad. It’s just that when I portray my home on the blog, I don’t always wish to show you its worst. It’s like company coming over. You tend to portray its best.

But that can lead to a false sense of reality. Because the reality is the before pictures. I face those harsh realities in every single room everyday. Even the rooms I’ve already redone. 

We LIVE in our homes, so picture perfect isn’t accurate. The perfect pictures are meant to inspire you to get out of your chairs, and offer empowerment to change your equally imperfect home into one that you can appreciate and love.

Kitchen windows / FunkyJunkInteriors.net
kitchen before

Kitchen story HERE

If you’ve EVER felt like you’ve had to go without when looking at my after pictures, please focus on the befores today. I am just a 50ish year old girl, hacking my way through life every single day. Some days are fabulous, full of good things and sunshine. And other days are full of pain, anguish and sorrow. Because that’s just life. And it’s how you deal with life that really counts, not so much what you do and don’t have.

It’s easy to envy a beautiful picture. But just remember… that after use to be a before at some point. That after took a LOT of hard work.

And in my case, my after looks like a before again in a matter of an hour. πŸ™‚

Today, I’m challenging you to focus on what you don’t have. And rejoice!

Then let’s roll up our sleeves and see what we can learn from it.

What’s your best ‘don’t have but now do’ story? I’d love to hear it!

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  1. Wow, awesome article. Love it! Exactly what I needed and exactly how I feel. Overwhelmed sometimes with all there is to do to get things “right”. Truthfully, I’m blessed. We have to stop looking at what others have and what they think and learn to love and be “me”. Thank you for this open, honest article that was much needed.

  2. Donna, I am a roll-up-your sleeves and get going kind of person. I have had to start over so many times. Each time, I have learned to be more self-sufficient and thankful. There are a lot of things I don’t have, but there are a lot of things I do have. I have been given the simple pleasures of life. With that, I have been given something more. That is peace and tranquility.

    Take care.
    Emily

  3. You used the words “spice of life” and that’s what my post is about today. I focused on the “little things” that make me a blessed wife, Mommma and Nannie! God has truly blessed you with such awesome talent….thank you for sharing the realness of your life!! HOPE you have a great day!

  4. wonderful post! I don’t have the career I once had prior to my move to NC, however, I have a small business that both excites and scares me….now I can’t imagine having it any other way. As far as weeds…I have plenty!!

  5. This just screamed at me today as THIS IS ME!!!! I too can spend too much time looking at Facebook or Pinterest for all these cool ideas and then spend too much time looking and NOT doing!! Just have had that revelation as of recent but still old habits are hard to break…..sigh…. Most of the time I feel like everyone is really in the same boat this way until I visit my brother and sister in law’s house and everything seems perfect. Yard is manicured and my sister in law decorates inside and out like pages out of a magazine!! And yet they don’t actually have more than we do but she seems to have it all together…….that’s when I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Then have to pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again! πŸ˜‰

    • That’s a tough one Joy. Some folks do appear to have it all together all the time.

      But that’s when I look at their personal passions. For some it’s tending their gardens. For other’s it’s keeping up with a home with little clutter.

      And then there’s me… I’m always creating something new. THAT is my passion.

      We all have the same hours in a day. How we use them is personal choice. I suppose the only answer is to divide up your time so each area gets hit!

      I’ll let you know when I figure it out! hahah

  6. Thanks Donna– I follow your blog and so enjoy many of your projects. I’m afraid that I too very often point the eye of the camera at the already done stuff, at what I have staged or just finished the project on. But, when I look around I mostly see the to-do’s and all I haven’t kept up with. We need to remember that life is just a process, and that it will never be all pretty pictures and blog perfection.

    I love that you pointed this out.
    All the best,
    Gwen

  7. I LOVED this post Donna! We moved into an old proverbial money pit 6 months ago. Every room requires a major project. Since I am going to school full time in addition to working house projects are last on the list.
    At least once a week I find myself reading blogs and then feeling unfulfilled instead of grateful that I have a home.

    How about a “show us your worst” linky party? I have several areas I could showcase. πŸ™‚

    • I like the sounds of that Laura…”Show Us your Worst” link party..!!
      Donna we all have those moments where we wished we had it all but who really does… the ones with loads of money are probably wishing they had a more simple life like ours…
      Love your blog and how you write…!!

  8. This is a wonderful post and so very true. I’m a 60ish woman that was also a single mother of one son living in a 80 year old bungalow. After I learned to embrace the imperfections of an old house we learned to love it. It was and is still referred to as the “Happy Home.” On each piece of trimwork I stripped, sanded and painted I added something about our family on the back before nailing back into place. And I love your blog…:)

  9. I think a lot of people get to a point in their lives wanting not to have much, it’s simpler and creates a bit of peace too. That’s where I’m getting, because I crave order. Thanks for the gentle reminder to give thanks for everything and nothing, it’s all in God’s hands, we are the stewards.

  10. Love this post…it is all soooo true! I miss the drive and competition of daily business work, (now retired), but I do love the calm that I have gained.
    I’m afraid I have adopted the “I can do it tomorrow” thoughts. I am grateful for all I have achieved in my career and family life but I still would love to continue or have a do-over!! It’s crazy but that is what we all need….how to re-do or do better.

  11. What an incredibly, honest, and refreshing post. I’ve been so stymied in working on starting a new blog,(still not up). Why?–because of all the perfect–professionals out there with their perfect camera shots-incredibly well lit-(how do they do that!) posts of the perfect homes, family and talents.

    Really, the journey is the important thing—and you have reinforced that Donna—YOU ARE REAL! and thank-you, because I’m back to constructing my blog, with my imperfect words, slightly crooked pictures and my DIY-60s-self.

    When and if its up and running https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=3181238201239847317

    • “How do they do that?”

      It took me 7 long years to get those perfect shots, Sandi. Perfecting how to take a picture, upgrading camera gear, working on things that didn’t work out until they DO work out, learning how to stage for a picture (not necessarily for real life).

      Time, patience, and the willingness to learn more until we reach a point where we are happy with what we see.

      So. Much. Time.

      But… also so very worth every second!

  12. This is why I love before & after pics, repurposing post, decluttering, using what you have, ect…….they all help me focus on looking at my home in a new way. I lookf at what bothers me most & the first thing I do is clean & declutter, reorganize. That is often enough to help me be content with the space.

    And by the way, having the good man on your arm or ‘perfect’ children does not ensure contentment. We all have to learn how to live with just ourselves, what we have & how we spend our time. There is no perfect family or home. anyone who reads Facebook or blogs & sees only perfection is fooling themselves. We can never see the whole picture – even in those we know intimately. There are always things inside of each of us that we deal with that no one else knows about.

    Good for you to do your walk throughs, appreciate what you & allow the gaps to motivate you to improve yourself & your home. πŸ™‚

  13. I feel this post was just for me. I’m 47 years old, divorced and 6 months out of a bad relationship. I purchased a 2 b/r 1940’s cottage home in July of last year. There were many things that needed to be done before I could move in( no hvac duct work and every pipe in and under the place leaked). It took me until the end of Nov before I moved in. There is still so much to do that, like you, my own 2 hands just can’t do. I feel so discouraged some days. I know I’m lucky to have this house. So I’ll mope around a while and then figure out how to do it myself (not necessarily the right way) but I’m sure you know about that too. Seeing your undone makes me feel better. My daughter and I also redo, relove and recycle and the garage.., er workshop is one of my undone jobs and we are painting on the kitchen table or on the porch right now. Here’s to the undone. May they spark our creativeness and fill us with joy and pride when they are complete.

  14. Love this post. I’m so glad I am not the only one that gets a little overwhelmed sometimes by my list of to do, and my desire of creativity getting ahead of my storage space and capabilities. Have found so many do not understand my ‘upcycling’ tendencies:) However, I am so glad I am able to step back, sip a cup of coffee, dream and assess and try to do better. This ‘make something out of junk’ mentality has been with me now for years, also with fabric, but I cannot seem to organize myself into a business, as I should. Husband and I have had 2 businesses before retirement. Donna, so love your business, your honesty, and your products. Thank you.

  15. Thank you! sometimes I get down in the dumps believing all should be “done, put away, perfect…” as a creative, junk loving person that never happens! we need more of the “real” life blogs to keep us grounded Bless you for the honesty. You made my day better.
    Linda

  16. I love this. I have discovered nothing like getting a house ready to sell to discover just how inadequate and not perfect my house is. Oh, I have let it go too often I think. And while we have made many improvements, I am wallowing in the inadequacies this week :(.

  17. I LOVED your post and as I read it I began to feel better about myself and my place in my life. I raised two children on my own. There was a time when I had a man in my life, but he was not willing to commit to my children or eventually my grandchildren. So…….I am on my own and have been for a number of years. There were many years that I felt let down and jealous of my friends and other family members. They all had husbands, took their kids on nice vacations, remodeled their homes etc. etc. I made most things on my own, learned how to do woodworking, painting etc. I do not have a fancy home, expensive things or even the most recent fads. I do however have two great children, married and independent. Seven beautiful grandchildren and if you asked my friends they would say my house is comfy, smells good and they are jealous of some of my homemade items. Guess I did ok. Thanks for the reminder to be thankful for what I have and proud of what I have accomplished.

    • Ohhh Karen… just yesterday I took a walk in my backyard and felt soooo inadequate. Then I reminded myself I HAVE a yard. And it’s amazing! Even if it’s far from perfect.

      The rest is up to me. But having the bones to start? I’m trying hard to focus on that today!

  18. This is just what I needed today! I have followed your blog for awhile now and know your back story. You live in the real world and selflessly share the good and the bad, and, the haves and have nots.

    The greatest examples of the indomitable human spirit are folks who take stock, acknowledge failure and give credit to the highs and lows for forming their character and resilience. You inspire me!

    I have been whining about what I don’t have. Not material possessions; rather the knowledge, ability, and skill to accomplish more. I’m afraid of the power tools still in their boxes sitting in my “studio” aka shed. I fear not being able to complete turning my small shed into a play house for my granddaughter. The one thing I lack that is holding me back is confidence. What I have taken away from your blog and life story is this; it is not necessary to have enough confidence to do everything. Tis far better for me to have confidence to analyze the situation, identify the next logical step, and confidently take it.

    How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

    How do I transform that shed into a play house? Take it one step at a time.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Maggie, with that kinda attitude, you can do anything!

      Ask me how I know. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for the kind words. Now rip those tool boxes open and place them where you see them all the time. Then knock on a few doors to see if anyone can help you learn how to use them safely.

      That’s how I started building too!

  19. It makes you appreciate what you get done when you do get it done! It is all part of the journey. Some days I look at how much there is to do and can not believe how depressed it can make me. There is so much to be grateful for! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. It is progress.

    You always give us a shot in the arm when we need it! Thank you!

  20. Thank you for “keeping it real”. Blogs are a new thing for me the last year or so and I have signed up for several. However, I have recently found myself in a funk because my house is not “picture perfect” and I was getting depressed because I could not keep up with all the blogs. I appreciate you showing the “real” side of your life.

  21. Just this past Sunday I heard someone quote one of their favorite things from AA meetings: You know why the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence? Because that guy stays home and works on his lawn.

    He doesn’t waste time looking over his fence at everyone else’s yard, he gets busy on his own.

    The Internet is filled with well-polished images that look like someone’s ‘normal’ life…which confuses us as to why ours doesn’t look as perfect as theirs. It is bloggers like you who help us remember that we each have a story. We each have hard places. We each have closed-door rooms.

    Thank you for your transparency and gentle reminder…
    g

  22. I appreciate your open honest self πŸ™‚ Thank you!!! I was just walking around our big yard and little house today looking at all of the little things I like about it…and all of the work that still needs to be done…in little bites πŸ™‚ How can it be that we live in a house with rooms that have been partial painted…for 7 years! Can’t help that knee and neck surgeries happened and set me back…and make me move slower… but that’s OK! I love checking out your site and really needed to read what you posted today πŸ™‚ Take care!

  23. Hi Donna, Thank you! This entry was so wonderful, I read it aloud to my husband who felt that you spoke many truths. I loved it. Onward!

  24. Thank you Donna… it is all too easy to become overwhelmed with our to do lists.
    After 18 years we have finally got around to renovating our kitchen… read rising damp, rotten floor boards, sharing with rats, mice, frogs and slugs etc.
    Now we have a beautiful kitchen with new walls and timber floor, fresh cabinetry. We have recycled many beautiful old windows and would never part with the old wood combustion stove (my husband stripped it apart completely and rebuilt it) that is the heart of the kitchen. It is truly a delight! Although still just as messy as the old one!!
    BUT I still find myself looking at the abandoned vegie patch and garden and berating myself for not having done more for their upkeep. Never mind that just about every waking minute of the last 18 months has seen me nailing, scrubbing, demolishing, painting, sanding, planning, procuring materials and being the ‘lacky’ for our builder etc.
    Thank you for making me stop and look at what we have achieved (which is enormous) instead of focusing on what is still to be done. <3

  25. Thanks for not always making your posts about ‘things’ and projects. Most of us have too many things anyway. We need to be reminded of the very points you shared today. It is great that you are real with us and share what is in your heart and your own life’s lessons.

    You know sometimes I have really, really wanted something…I thought. Until I got it….and then realized it just wasn’t that big a deal.
    In some cases it was actually more of a hindrance than a blessing. I am glad for those lessons, because it has caused me to think longer and harder about what is truly important. And usually it isn’t the tangible things at all.

  26. Ohhhh the picture of the cows! I loooove it! I just have to know where it came from!
    Thanks for all the inspiration you give!

  27. I loved this post. I could relate to it far better than a post with beautiful photos and seemingly perfect lives, which is shown on most DIY/design blogs. I completely agree with what you said here, that by not having everything, it’s an “opportunity to achieve things with our own two hands”. I <3 that.

  28. While I love to look at all of your pretty pictures what I get most from your blog is inspiration. Of course the pretty pictures are inspiring, but the inspiration is more that that. It is the inspiration to get up, go outside (where I do 99% of my projects) and try something new. Thanks to you I now know it does not have to be perfect the first time. But as my skills and confidence grow so does my inspiration for projects. So I have to say thank you very much.

  29. I love reading your blog and this is right. I try not to wine about the if only`s because it can be depressing. My house is clean but cluttered, I don’t turn away company if they just show up and my house isn’t “staged” and looks like no one lives here. My home is inviting and my kids like to have friends over and their friends want to come over. We all have tweeks in our houses we would like to do but financially can’t. But it’s ok, I can live with that. I can sit on my front porch and listen to my peacocks squawk and other wildlife noises, but I’m not in the city and I’m where I want to be.

  30. You have no idea how badly I needed to hear that. Thank you for being the inspiration you are. Not just for our homes but also our hearts.

  31. Beautiful post Donna. Thank you for your authenticity. It’s always hard to avoid the “grass is always greener” mentality, but true joy is found in contentment. Thank you for reminding us of that.

  32. Good read. What I don’t have and am just fine (95% of the time) with is help. Like you, I’m a Momma raising a young person in need of constant guidance. When I see something, say on the side of the road, it is my muscles and sweat that get it into the truck, out of the truck, into the garage, etc… I whine occasionally, not too much. Mostly I tell myself how great it is that I am so independent and strong. I took a leap of faith a couple of years ago. A leap that I could have taken a lot earlier but I figure, I took it so that’s a good thing. Thankfully there are women like you Donna Williams who inspire and encourage. Thank you for that. What I do have…..I have it all. πŸ™‚

    Teresa Gunn
    2nddoorontheright

  33. It was 10 years ago that my wife decided she wanted to get her master’s degree. She was 35. We moved our fairly cruddy, but serviceable, furniture and stuff to North Carolina so she could go to school. Then, she went for her PhD. After that, we moved further south for her first teaching job. She was an adjunct, working from semester to semester knowing that her job was not secure. Luckily, she has worked every semester for the past 4 years. All the while, she looked for a full-time position, preferably east of the Mississippi and south of Ohio (where we are from and we know cold). After about 175 applications and 5 interviews, she remains at her current community college because a full-time position opened and she was hired! When she was fairly sure she would get that job, we put an offer in on a house, and it was accepted BEFORE she got the official word that she was hired (knowing we could back out if we needed to). Her pay will increase two-fold, and our mortgage will be less than what we have been paying in rent. That is what we have.

    What we don’t have is pretty furniture. We are laying our hands on every single thing we have, and we have found some pretty ugly things. We have two mismatched settees and little else to fill the seemingly huge living room. We don’t have anything for the dining room.

    Ever since our last move, there have been more decor things left in boxes than weren’t. We thought this leg of our journey would only last a year at the most. It dragged on. Those things stayed in boxes, because this isn’t where we’re supposed to be. The decor was all wrong, but I saved it for the house we would eventually purchase. Now that we have that house, I’m still not sure it will work there.

    I am slightly embarrassed that we are moving our ugly belongings to a new house 26 miles more to the south. I don’t suppose the men who will be moving us care much one way or the other. Most of it is in boxes anyway. I don’t have a vision about what our stuff in the new place looks like. I keep thinking of other places and other people’s things, not the BEIGE house that is ours. BEIGE. We don’t have any color to work with. BEIGE walls. BEIGE kitchen cabinets. BEIGE floors β€” carpet, linoleum, laminate. BEIGE. It’s all BEIGE.

    Well…we can’t have it all, and to make decisions about what to buy is difficult. After all, we haven’t lived in our house. AND my wife hasn’t even received her first paycheck! We have decided to haul it all down there, set it all up and decide later β€” after we have lived in the house for awhile β€” what to keep and what doesn’t stay. We will use what we have to figure out what we need. We are considering them place holders, not the final product.

    Thank you for letting me tell my story.