Summer Changes – Part 3: The Reason

Summer Changes

Part 1 – The Campsite Shuffle

Part 2 – Stubborn Takes Over

Part 3 – The Reason – you are HERE

Renovations are expensive! Having renovated for the past year and a half, even with all the generous help I received from the reno team, I tapped out all my own resources in an attempt to get things done.

So after the renos on my home were complete, there were no funds left to decorate my home. Top that off with a weird illness, and add in having to stay home with no place to go for a long time to come, I had to get creative if I wanted my newly beautiful home to show and function well.

I started up my curb side and thrift store hunts again which had laid dormant for many years. (Raising a baby, then living through a failed marriage, then finally learning how to start over does that to you.) I’ve always had a thing for decorating with ready made antiques as I wasn’t a builder, so finding nice yet rustic things was a long lost love of mine.

BUT… I wasn’t in a position to buy ‘nice’ things this round. So I started to venture into thrifts with other ideas in mind. I had started to read decorating blogs, which awakened my senses to seeing things differently than how most saw them.

I quickly discovered that I was capable of visualizing all kinds of cool things for any given item I brought home. It was right then that I knew, I had to start a blog about decorating a little differently. I named it Funky Junk Interiors with the premise being, Creative Decorating with Unique Elements. It felt right and it fit for what I had in mind.

At this point, staying home all summer had finally settled in. Taking my swimming head condition with me, I wandered outside into the bright sunshine. It was a beautiful day but I couldn’t help feeling gloomy. My son was at his Dad’s and I had nothing to do except look at an ugly yard, empty-ish house and the weirdo firewood stuffed greenhouse that wasn’t ‘me.’

Yearning for the beach in the worst way, I wandered the neglected yard in search of… something.

And then I happened by a pile of wood I had captured from someone’s burnpile plans.

A flick of interest kicked in.  I picked up a board, glanced at the greenhouse, made an effort to find my cordless drill and one screw, and proceeded to mount the board on the framework of the greenhouse.

Would this work?

All it took was one board. Something clicked. I tore off all the greenhouse plastic, giddy with my new plan. All the boards were pulled out onto the lawn and scrubbed down.

A neighbor showed me how to use my circular miter saw and I got to work.

Common sense just kicked in. A window was first mounted to the greenhouse structure as is,

… then the rest of the boards on the existing framework followed. I wasn’t building a house to LIVE in after all. πŸ™‚

My creative fire was officially lit. The next day I couldn’t WAIT to continue. I ended up creating this cool door. Me. Building a door?!? Unheard of!

Well, let me tell you, my view of the world as I knew it started to change. Yes, I was still in mourning of where I couldn’t be, feeling like crap, however I was lit with passion on the creative process of outputting something that had lived in my head for far too long.

And while creating, I forgot about my wonky head condition. 

You see, for years I imagined all these things on what I’d like built, but didn’t have the know how to even turn on a tool, let alone use it. In my past, I left myself in a place of complete and utter NEED never having learned how to use tools. So when I pushed away the fear factor and just got on with it, the sun literally shone down.

Imagine… if we make the effort, we get rewarded.

2009, my first building project

garden shed 2014-3115
And where it is today in 2015.

garden shed 2014-3133
garden shed 2014-3142
garden shed 2014-3136
garden shed 2014-3134

Where it is today. (summer 2015)
Visit the shed’s full story HERE.

In no time, I was proudly displaying my first ever building project I had done myself from start to finish. And all it cost me was a little creativity.

All the things I built the shed with were free. Lovingly collecting over time, I had all I needed on hand to create, in my eyes, something wonderful. All that was left to do was to get busy and just do it. 

I was forever hooked from that day on!

After that project was over, I couldn’t WAIT to get back out in the backyard and tinker around some more. The place was starting to feel like I lived there for the first time. The transformation process outdoors was also taken indoors. And the more I did, the more I loved it, and the more I blogged about it.

Blogging about my stuff was scary! My projects and style were indeed ‘different’, so how would it be received? I held my breath with each PUBLISH click and watched your reactions unfold. To my amazement, you grasped what I was doing. You validated me.

Still on a mission for the yard enhancement program, when my son’s pool sprouted a leak, knowing we’d be home for the summer, I allowed an upgrade. I scoured the newspapers in search of a good deal. I found this one in a store that had them on for 50% off with just this one left. SOLD!

summer 2009

The new bigger pool sealed the deal. Our yard was officially being enjoyed and appreciated. But not just by us. We ended up with a summer heat wave. My son’s backyard pool was always filled to the brim with happy friends and neighbors. And we went for many hot summer night midnight swims under the yard light during the intense heat.

Honestly? It was one of the greatest summers I’ve personally ever had. We had our privacy (mingling in crowds wasn’t something I was well enough for), all the comforts of home, I could create upon will, and if we were hot, we could go for a swim in our own private quarters. With a pretty cool view of a funky building to boot. πŸ™‚

But the summer didn’t come without bumps. My health took some weird turns. I had the symptoms for a good half a year straight, got some specialized neck treatments and gradually, things started to improve. I worked, played, built and carried on with life despite of my new limitations.

As for the rest of the summer,  we bonded with our newly renovated home and starting-to-get-nice yard. I continued on with other flowerbeds but not having a dime for new plants, kept them pretty empty. But empty was better than weeds! The plants could come next year.

And that is why you’re seeing so many recent garden posts on my blog lately. Next year is here. πŸ™‚ I’m in the midst of completing another mission in reclaiming a beautiful yard, one plant at a time.

And, it looks as if we’re home to stay for another summer. My health is not 100%. I have nagging symptoms that flare up and am yet again seeking some new treatment. But there IS  improvement from last year. The debt I was dealing with is being delt with slowly. It’s simply not time to spend wads of money on playtime.

And I also know, the reasoning is right to stay put again. I accept it, will make the best of it and while still mourn what was, I look forward to seeing what’s in store.

For it feels like it’s time to build towards other more important things while still capturing a lazy summer with my son. And so that is exactly what we are doing…

white ektorp Ikea sofas in a winter living room-001

… in the comforts of our getting there beautiful home

… and our nearly there awesome garden. πŸ™‚

We will be ok. Because we’ll make it so.  With His help.

Edited to add: This story needs an update. I’ll work on that soon! Donna – 2015

~ ~ ~ ~

One can question why something happens to them. And be angry and upset and mourn. But at the end of the day, do you ever stop and really think about why? And I don’t mean in the sense of, why me. But more, in search of the bigger picture?

I can now see that this came about because I would have been too stubborn to change my life on my own. Poor health stopped me dead in my current tracks and forced me to work on my home in order to love it. 

I resented this house and all the reasons I landed here. Running away out of habit was just easier. But someone had better plans for me.

Only when I stopped fighting the changes, but rather embraced them, did I see progress in myself. Resigning to the fact that this was most indeed planned, I started to invent and create and try new things. And with practice, I am now capable of implementing many ideas I use to only be able to visualize a short year ago. I admit I have a long way to go building wise, but idea wise? There’s simply no shortage any time soon. I will figure out how to build what’s inside my head yet!


Part 4?

I’m living my part 4 right now. I’m busy inventing, creating, building, sharing, learning and writing about it. What happens next is your guess as well as mine. And I have a feeling you’ll be right in the thick of it alongside me.

All I know is, this feels right.  1 hour feels like 1 minute. That speaks volumes.

I’ve had alot of help from others getting where I am today.  I often reflect all the good that came upon me, and how can I give back. That is why I give what I can here, in an effort to help others going through similar trials.


Can’t build? 

Learn along with me. Watch, then try. You CAN do it if I can!


Got some bumpy life situations that are hard to live through?

It isn’t easy sharing the unglossy areas of my life. But I’m sharing mine in order to give you hope for your own life’s quirks.


Have no funds to do things with?

Watch how I decorate my home with no funds and give it a whirl yourself.


Can’t see a junk object as anything beautiful? 

I’ll keep showing you what I do with normal schnormal, turning them into must haves. All on a dime.


This blog isn’t about popularity or fame. I don’t feel a need to compete with anyone. I don’t even copy anyone. This blog derived out of pure need, and became so much more… a place to share creativity that will help inspire your own home situation, whether it be personal or DIY related.

Thanks for your interest in this story and what I do here on FJI. It’s my sincerest hope that by sharing what I love to do and what transpires in my life, you can attribute it to yours in some small way.

And know, without a shadow of a doubt, by putting your faith where it belongs, you too shall receive. In His time.

Summer Changes

Part 1 – The Campsite Shuffle

Part 2 – Stubborn Takes Over

Part 3 – The Reason

All about me – a story of hope / it all starts here.

Aug 2015 – update

Hello friends! You’ve done a LOT of reading to get to this point! But there’s so much good news, I don’t even know where to start.

So I’ll be busy updating this story to showcase what happened next… stay tuned!


Updated Jan 2020

My last truck

How to work your dayjob while you build your dream job

Current health posts

How I got addicted to my current bike habit (that changed my life)

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Categories: About me, Inspiration, Personal
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176 thoughts on “Summer Changes – Part 3: The Reason

  1. Wow! I started reading this thinking it was going to be a cutesy story about how you redecorated your campsite with old cast iron cookware and a rusted hatchet head.

    Boy was I ever wrong! I felt like when you pick up a really good book and can’t put it down.

    Since my accident I have had to learn how to do so many things a new way, at a different pace, and in doing so I have developed a whole new appreciation for so many things I took for granted.

    Your story made me reflect back over the last five years and the changes in my own life.

    What an inspiration, I can’t wait now, to see what you do with your garden.

    And I hope you saved the picture of the cows, that was a cool picture!

  2. Donna, It is because of your 3 part story that I blogged about my garden/yard today. It is about your gitter done, project that I missed out on, that I blogged today. My gitter done turned into a mess that I will be working on for a very long time. I too have had life unfold on me in a way that leaves you on your knees, praying for something good to happen. And it does. I so appreciate what you have said and how you have inspired me and others to do more inspite of life. My hat is off to you! And I just about died when you first looked at my blog. Serioulsy, my heart skipped. Look again, and chuckle, (hopefully) because you know as well as I that laughter is everything even when you drop your drill bit into the grass.

  3. I found your blog when it was just a baby and wrote a really long post about your junk for all my viewers (which was many at the time.) I knew when I saw your blog that you had a talent that was rare, natural and outstanding. I’m sure that 100’s of “junk” blog have started because of your blog. Not only have you inspired me, you have literally changed the blogging world. THANK YOU for sharing yourself with all of us! You are refreshing and beautiful!

  4. Michelle, I remember that day VERY well. You thrilled me beyond belief! πŸ™‚ I was so excited that everyone that commented on my feature post got featured themselves. πŸ™‚ Great memory!

    To the rest, thanks so much for the kind words. You make this little blogging trip worthwhile. πŸ™‚


  5. His time is never our time and what a blessing to see what happens to those who wait! Your story is refreshing and inspiring!
    I love your work and your blog! I always enjoy coming here to visit. Even the coffee is good! Ha! And I believe too you should do what you love..the trick is finding out what you love…then look fear in the face and say…”I am going to do it!!”
    Thank you so much for sharing your love and life with me!! I do so appreciate that!
    Hugging you

  6. Your post was so inspirational!!! I have had a difficult year healthwise myself. I looked at your profile and you are probably waaay too young to be experiencing peri/menopause type symptoms, but I just wanted to say I have had the weird head symptoms the last year and have attributed mine to changing hormones. Thought that info might help you. I found a message board that other women had posted on about the weird head feelings and it was very enlightening! Thanks again for sharing such personal thoughts with us!

  7. I’m about a month new to your blog… absolutely LOVE it! Awesome ideas, superb photos and beautiful writings! This latest post is so inspirational, I can’t begin to describe the energy you have given from your words! I’m looking forward to today being the first genuinely happy day I’ve had in years! Thanks much and big hugs to you!

  8. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

    About 2 yrs ago, I went thru a rough patch, months and months worth of pointless testing, all kinds of medicine and in the end, accepting changes that I didn’t want. It was hard. Still is. I don’t like change that isn’t of my choosing. That’s the bottom line. But, I’m learning to accept that I am NOT in control, no one can live up to the perfection of Christ and that I am ME. Loving myself as I am is hard sometimes. But I am doing it.

    And I’ve slowly been bitten by the frugal decorating bug! I’m not sure if I’ll be brave enough to build but I have all kinds of plans saved!

  9. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles: they shall run and not be weary: and they shall walk and not faint”. ISA 40:31

    God’s word is true and perfect. You waited for Him to unveil the plan he had for you, and now you are indeed soaring like the eagle.

    Isn’t it amazing how God reveals our own talents to us, and then how He continues to work them for good. He had to get you to a place where you could be accepting of your own talents, and my oh my, what a work He’s done in you. He must be truly proud.

    You ARE an inspiration to so many people, and not just those who have been down and out in their life. You inspire people daily to push beyond their normal boundaries. I remember when I first discovered your blog how it drew me in because you were so “everyday” and yet so fun. I knew everytime I came here I would find yet another new and creative idea. You never disappoint.

    I bet you never thought you’d have people lining up to see inside that little house you once resented, huh? Look how far you’ve come Donna. You never cease to amaze me. You know how I feel about your talents.

    I can’t waitt o see the new things you have in store. I can’t imagine it getting any better than what it is, which makes me excited for you that you know it can.

    Big hugs and blessings to you my friend. I wanna be like you when I grow up. :):) (squeeze)

  10. You are just so amazing! I just knew part 3 was going to be about the turnaround from despair to delight and how unexpected loss created beyond-your-dreams gain, because it is written between the lines in all your posts. Now only are your projects over the top creative, they are spiritual in a way too because you never brag and that is what keeps me coming back… I need to be more like you and be amazed at what can be instead of trying so hard to create something that says, “look at me!” When we first moved out here I had grand plans for fixing up this place. Then the grandkids came and put a leash on the plans, financially and with time to devote to projects too. Then I found your blog. Seriously, it opened my eyes to all the junk we had laying around out here. Instead of piling them up for the landfill, I started screaming, “save it!” (they still think I’m a bit touched, but I don’t care!). Because of you, my style went from new and beautiful to eclectic and awesome. I have a long way to go. There are time and money restraints, but I’m soooooo happy for every ounce of homemade progress I make. I cannot thank you enough for the inspiration.

  11. I want to thank you for sharing your story with us. Change is not always easy. Okay, it’s rarely easy. But I have learned that fighting it just makes it worse. For you and for everyone around you. Once I let go of the fight, accepted that it was here and then worked within it, things started to feel right again. Coming here and reading all of your positive energy has helped push me to do more. Getting back to doing things that I have always loved doing. So, thank you!

  12. Donna, I have found that when life leaves you struggling that if you look hard enough there is something in it that will change and mold you for the better if you look for the positive. I have had many struggles and I will tell you that in the depths of them it was hard at times but as I looked outside of myself I found I could help others around me who were struggling. God bless you for sharing. You never know just how many lives you have and will touch!

  13. Oh Donna! Your story thrilled me to no end! I know all about the plans we make for ourselves and debt that comes from playtime that helps to escape hardships and I, too, am finding that letting HIM show me the plans HE has for me, is by far, the most amazing! You are so talented! You have the ability to make something out of seemingly nothing and that is very God like! HIS paths for us also bring peace, don’t they?!

  14. WOW! You have only been doing this for a year?!?! You are one amazing lady ! Your blog was one of the very first that I added to my blog roll not only because I think you are extremely talented but I absolutely love the positive attitude that comes through in every one of your posts.

    I have never been crazy about distressed/shabby style until I started following your blog. Now I incorporate some of it in to my own decorating.

    You are awesome!! Thank you so much!

  15. Donna, I am filled with joy having read your story πŸ˜€ It is amazing what you have discovered, and once you do, aren’t you so glad? You truly inspire me, I am getting misty writing this(I am not a crier). I love reading your blog for many reasons(aesthetics, ideas, triumphs), but the biggest reason is YOU. You put yourself in this wholeheartedly and it is inspiring and motivating to see the things you go into and come out victorious. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for embracing your life and sharing it with us! Hugs to you(check out CranioSacral therapy!!!) and your family.

  16. a very old lady I knew said to s when we were very young and we wasted time and materials ” have you not lived during wartime?”.. and we laughed.. because we didn’t..
    now that I am a middle aged woman myself, not lived during war still but experienced many hard times of my countryof the world and of the economy.. I truly understand her..

    you are doing great what you are doing and you are a warrior of a woman =).. I like so much all your crafts.. and know I do respect the story behind these crafts..

    I am a regular reader / non commenting but always admiring.. I wrote today because of one thing .. the mentioned “health condition..
    I am a physiatrist and a pain management medical doctor.. I do work professionally in my country.. I am very much interested in patients who have ambitions about gardening crafting as I love to do it as well and enjoy so much if I can give them some comfort.. therefore I study a lot about activities of daily living and ergonomics simple but comfort providing modifications and would like very much to help you .. if I could.. I used to blog about my crafts some years ago but stopped now.. still craft and read craft blogs but cannot finde the time to blog and answer and all things to keep a blog alive.. my e- mail adress is..
    my e- mail adress please write me an email about your neck problem ..
    I wish you go on doing those beautiful things for ever.. =)



  17. sorry for all the stupid spelling errors I made.. my english is better than the comment above =)


  18. Donna, a wonderful testimony and inspiration to others. Pray for you that your health continues to improve. The week before the SYTYD contest began I woke with paralyzing neck/shoulder pain. Could not lift my head from the pillow. Through many tests, nothing conclusive has been found. Started seeing a doctor who uses laser treatments and it is working wonders. Still far from normal, but so much better. At least I am back to driving.
    God is so amazing to show us what we need to see. The house you wanted to run from is now a home that hundreds if not thousands want to see. The inspiration you bring to others is amazing. Keep on Keeping On! Love you girl!

  19. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s nice to be able to put a history to your blog and see all you’ve accomplished. I’m sure you are inspiring lots of women now and maybe that is part of HIS plan too.

    I can only imagine what you must go through…..I had a friend with Meniere’s (sp) disease.

  20. At first, I read your blog for decorating ideas and pretty pictures and to say wow, look what she did with this or that. But now I find myself coming back for inspiration in my own life. Your story has inspired me to write down my own story and see where I can go next with hope and not fear. You’ll never know how much your story has touched me, I thank you for that.

  21. Donna, your story is inspiring. There are thousands of women who need to hear your message. God is using you mightily…you just reached well over two thousand of them. You have been through the refiner’s fire, the dross has been burned away…and you are pure gold. Does God have a purpose for our pain?…Oh yeah.

  22. What brings tears to my own eyes is seeing someone absorb what’s written here to the point of making good changes for themselves. YES!!

    Thank-YOU for sharing what this has done for you. I am smiling. πŸ™‚


  23. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I too have vertigo, a side effect of infertility treatments 8 years ago. I struggle to be happy with the new me. Many of my friends and family think that vertigo is being a “little dizzy” and don’t understand how debilitating and exhausting this can be. Thank you again for sharing your story; I do not feel so alone.

    PS. Would the person who painted your cow painting consider doing one to sell?

  24. No two situations are alike, but I have the feeling that we share similar experiences. To make a long story short, I lost my husband some years ago and I had to move from our home into a flat. Last year I managed to buy a little house in the countryside where I had planned to spend my weekends and my summers. This is my first summer and I don’t know what to do first because the house hadn’t been lived in for four years when I bought it. But, it’s going to be ok! I, too, love junk hunting, decorating thriftily and doing things by myself as much as I can.
    I’m so glad I found your blog!
    Keep in touch!

  25. Donna,
    These have been amazing stories, and have hit home to me in many ways. (like, I am a runner too. Easier to try to avoid, tan deal with. That only works for so long.)

    I love your positive attitude, and know it does not come over night.

    Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself, and for encouraging and inspiring us to make the best of things, trust He knows what He is doing, and keep moving forward.

    Blessings sweet girl!!

    barbara jean

  26. Thank you so much for sharing your story Donna. I love every one of your posts and it was your character building that drew me to you and here I stayed! Happy Canada Day to you ~ enjoy that back yard and kick back and enjoy the haven you have created in that yard of yours. xo

  27. I just want to say congratulations…sounds like you have made leaps and bounds advances in all areas of your life….it brought a tear to my eye and an appreciation for things I take for granted….thank you. πŸ™‚

  28. Wow, thanks for opening up your heart and sharing! What a courageous thing to do. I too have had personal and physical struggles that at times I feel can paralyze me. We were hit by a drunk driver 2 years ago and I had spinal injuries (so I can relate to on going neck pain) then with the downturn in the US economy our family made the painful decision to uproot our family from a most wonderful life we were living in Virginia and move back to Canada. We went from living in a 5 bedroom colonial on a acre to a 5000 sq ft lot rental home the Lower Mainland. It has been such a struggle not to get sucked into having my home look new and renovated with the latest floor, etc. I started my blog to help me and to hopefully inspire others that our homes don’t have to be perfect in order to make it a home for our families. I try to be resouceful and creative. It is your blog that I stumbled across and it was you who inspired me to start my own and to keep on holding my head high! Thank you for sharing and inspiring others along the way.

  29. Donna, Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your story! I have enjoyed following your blog for months now because of your talent. But getting to know you through your personal posts has allowed me to enjoy it even more. (There may be more than one lesson here!) The sharing of your journey is blesing to us all!
    May the Lord richly Bless you and your son!

  30. Thanks for the inspiration! I love what you did to the shed and while you were at it your worked on yourself….what a great job…it is a struggle but if you just keep working on it everyday, it gets better. Congrats on a great come back.

  31. Donna, I’m beginning to think you should write a book!!! You are so inspirational and you have a way with words that keeps a person wanting to read more!!!

    Can I move in with you? Just so I can wake up in the morning and step out into your back yard and enjoy the beautiful view? lol πŸ˜‰

  32. Thank you for sharing your heart. I’ve heard that a difficult situation will bring forth a person’s true character. You have courage and hope. That will also feed your son’s character as he watches his mom triumph. Follow your heart and we will all go along for the ride. Blessings!

  33. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Your blog, along with a handful of others, has served to wake up my creative side while home with three boys, one with special needs, on a very tight pastor’s budget! As a result I am setting off on new adventure’s and taking risks I wouldn’t have taken a year ago. I attribute much of that motivation to you/your blog!

  34. Donna…I have enjoyed the short time I have been following your blog. There are so many great things that you have accomplished and I’m sure there are many more in your future. Keep up the junk creating!

  35. Donna, I have said this more than once and I’ll say it again, you are such an inspiration and I’m so glad I found your blog months ago.

  36. Donna,

    I have said it before and will say it again… You truly are in inspiration. I know it probably took a lot of courage to tell this story, but I know it will help a lot of people in many ways. I have had to make several major life changes in my adult life and it is very true that when one door closes another one opens. We just need to be receptive to going through it. Sometimes we have to be brought down in order to soar.

    What did you do with the picture of the cows? I was so drawn to it and kept looking for it throughout the remainder of the story. I would really love to know more about the picture, artist, etc.

    Warnest regards,

  37. I love your greenhouse/firewood house, it’s amazing, as are you! Your talent is something to inspire others and I for one am really glad that I found your blog a while back. I loved reading your post, I too struggle with daily demons, but as you say, we just have to keep moving forward and thinking positively. I have always believed that there must be a reason or everything. πŸ™‚

  38. Thanks for telling the whole story. I am in the middle right now, with my retired hubby using all our money for a run down farmhouse on 2 acres. He is thriving, I was kicking! I am resolved to do the cleaning/priming/painting which is 80% of it. I am suffering with neck/back ongoing pains, & seriously painful sinus woes that just won’t quit. So I can relate to illness slowing us down. But I know God has a plan with changing our plans, so I am keeping on, albeit slowly. I really appreciate your sharing your journey – and wish i had a partial shed on my land…but do have a plain barn so all is not lost. Let’s all pray for each other so we can follow the road the Lord has set before us! I have so much to learn!

  39. What doesnt kill us makes us stronger, right? I appreciate your story and coming from someone who has been in your exact shoes….it can only get better. Hang in there, you sound like a pretty tough chick!

  40. You’ve inspired me to start a blog of my own. Thank you for sharing your story. I found myself in tears as I finished reading Part 3. I’m in the very beginning stages of my own personal Part 3; can’t wait to see what He has in store! If you ever need a free place to stay if you find yourself visiting our nation’s capitol, c’mon! My guestroom is always ready πŸ™‚

  41. Donna, as I read part three I realized that it was just as you started the wood shed transformation that I started following your blog. You are so inspirational. I am glad you are heading in the direction of your dreams now. Hopefully your health issues will clear up soon too.
    Thanks for the inspiration

  42. You are amazing. Your clarity of vision is remarkable as is the depth of your talent and your will to dream. Thank you for reminding me lemonade truly does come from lemons.

  43. I have enjoyed your posts on renovations and decorating, as well as your guest posts. Today I so enjoyed hearing your story and the insight it brought.
    It is so true that Someone is guiding us through a designed plan of our life. Maturity is giving up on our own will and listening to the master plan.

  44. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

    I often reflect on the fact that very small decisions determine the direction you go in life. It is amazing to think about how my life would be if just one thing had been different.

    Even though there are things I regret or wish had not happened early on in my life, the fact is that none of my children would even be here if things did not go exactly as they did. They are a once in a lifetime creation. And I wouldn’t have missed out being their mom for anything.

    God’s ways are not our ways, and the sooner we accept and rejoice in that the better we are. Thanks for sharing more of your story. You are my hero! BTW, I still think you should repost your skunk story. It is a classic. πŸ™‚

    Love ya!

  45. Donna – I love your post. God stopped me in my tracks about 22 years ago – with a medical situation. It turned our whole family around – not that we were doing anything bad – but just did not truly know the Lord though we would have said that we did. I now work in full time ministry with my husband – something we would have never thought and our daughter Miss Mustard Seed is married to a Youth Pastor and serves in full time ministry. God has been there every step of the way – the hard times and the good times and we can see His footprint in it all. We are waiting to see how He uses my son and his wife. You have obviously touched a chord – by all the responses. May He bring you full healing and may you continue to follow His leading. Life is a gift. Your love of your son shines so clearly through your pictures and your blog – know that many are walking this journey with you. You touch our hearts. Keep writing – it brings us joy :).

  46. What a great story, you have an amazing talent and I for one, am so glad you are sharing it with us. God always has a way, different than we expect to bring us to our best. I love every idea I see here, thanks for the inspiration.

  47. Thank you for opening up and sharing your story. I’m relatively new to the blogging world; your blog was one of the first I found and my jaw dropped at your innovation, unique style and how CAPABLE you seemed. I had no idea that this was all new to you too! You’re amazing, and I think you’ve found your niche!

  48. I’m so glad that you had the courage to share your story. Your blog is one of my very favorites and I truly enjoy your ideas and ingenuity. Now that I know more about you and your struggles, I am even more inspired, knowing that the beautiful things you create are really do-able and I can have those beautiful things in my home too. I don’t know if I said that very well, but basically I want to say “way to go, girl”… “keep it up, girl”… and “hang in there with the One Who Can”… and I can’t wait to see what you are up to next!!

  49. I haven’t been here in so long….that the whole place has changed. ‘Cept YOU!

    I can’t even express what I want to about these posts.

    I just simply love you and am inspired by YOU over and over and over again.

    Good luck opening that box tomorrow…the MAC angels will be singing!!! hehehe


  50. I really don’t know that I’ve EVER been so awestruck by a story before, until I read this…Junkologie sent me over to get into your Saturday Night event; but that idea was quickly blindsided by this beautiful “heart” story of yours! I’ve had a really rough year (lost my precious Mom to cancer). So I can relate to a lot you’ve said…But God has made a lot of changes in my heart and passion, which I share on my blog too. Just starting out, I have a long way to go. I always thought I decorated in a weird, different way. But since blogging I’ve found sooo many people like myself. Just want you to know that I feel like I know you and you are truly an inspiration not just in your creative work, but as a person. I’m thankful I came across your site today. Changed my life like you’ll never know.
    Becky C
    Buckets of Burlap

  51. My friend, Anne, always reminds me to bring my pain to God and sit there with Him, until I hear from Him. Sounds like you have done just this. Blessings on you, Donna, and your son as you continue this crazy journey called life.

  52. I think it is no accident that I was referred to your story and blog from another blogsite. I read the three parts of your story, and am so impressed and inspired by you. This has been a really hard day for me today, and I have been trying to keep my head up. I have experienced more than a few major life events in the last three years starting with the sudden death of my dear husband at the young age of 51. Since then, I have downsized my home, moved away from my wonderful neighbors (but am fortunately still close enough to visit them), went from full time to part time at the job I had been at for over 13 years, only to be let go with the other support personnel in November. Finding another job at this point in history has been tough, and the setback I experienced today was job related. I am going to be fine – I know that, but I had to have an uncharacteristic “pity party” for myself today. The end of the day has definitely been better than the start, and I can’t believe I am writing this all to someone I don’t know, but I think I was led to your story for a reason. You are inspirational and I hope that your health improves every day. I personally love what you are doing with your home. I have always loved uncommon things used in decoration, and you have such flair! Take care of yourself and keep on following your heart in everything you do. And thanks for the time and space on your blog. I feel a little bit better, again.

  53. Donna, you are truly an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story. You’ve made my day. May God bless you and your son on this incredible journey.

  54. You have no idea how this ministers to me. Yesterday I was hit with a brand new set of limitations and I felt so angry, hurt, and trapped. I prayed, “Lord, please, please, please encourage me.” He used you to do it.

    I love seeing your transformation. I love seeing how you created hope where there wasn’t much before. I love how you grew in spite of everything. And I love that you shared your journey with us and helped us grow too.

    I feel a glimmer of hope that God can work even in the midst of my current circumstances. And He might even make something beautiful from it just as He has done for you.

    By the way, your blog is one of my absolute most favorite decorating blogs because I sense your sincerity, that you’re not in a popularity contest, and I appreciate the way you take junk and create something wonderful with it. And I’m not just saying that because I’m your manager either. haha

  55. I’m sitting here in complete awe. I’m reading and rereading your comments. I want you to know, YOUR comments are helping me in such a big way.

    I’m reminded of what was given to me. And it continues. I’m still getting and this time it’s from all of you.

    Thank-you for sharing your thoughts with me, and for the benefit of everyone else! This is so amazing.


  56. I’ve been an occasional visitor to your blog over the last 10 mths or so; due only to spreading myself too thin amongst the dozens of blogs I subscribe to. I am in the process of whittling that number down to a select few. Yours is certainly amongst those few that will be part of my daily read.

    You have decorated your life in ways that go way beyond prettying a space! I look forward to your continued sharing of the spirit and talents that grace you.

  57. This is my first visit & this is awesome. I’ve also been thinking about doing a blog but haven’t gotten started. Congratulations on your accomplishments. UR site is bookmarked.

  58. I’m teary eyed reading all of this. Thank you for being such an inspiration and putting it all out there. I’m going to use that saw in the garage today and stop waiting for what I would like done! Pray I don’t cut my hand off. JenT

  59. Along with all the other things you do so well, you are also an excellent writer, and I believe you have a book in you.

    There are so many, many women struggling out there with different things and so many of us who have no idea what others are going through. Women are such strong beings and capable of doing so much.

    I enjoy your blog because its inspiring, creative, fun, witty and personal.

    We are all blessed to have you to “follow.”


  60. Donna, There is little else I can say but well said! You are an inspiration to me and my life and I am glad I stumbled upon your blog long ago! -Karen

  61. Thank you so much for how you spoke to my heart today. I have been blessed by following you all along, but now just hearing your story has made me respect you all the more. I love how you got out of bed and went to church in anticipation of something happening. God tells us to expect and even when things don’t go exactly as we want, we still can be assured that He has a plan and His plan is PERFECTION. Even if we don’t understand what’s happening, it’s wonderful to know that we are in the palm of His hands. I heard a quote one time that said, “We may not know what God will do, but we do know what He CAN do.” You keep on keeping on, my sister. Keep doing what you are doing and others (like me) will continue to be blessed. As for your style, I think it is incredibly awesome and unique. I’m thinking that your style is just like you…God bless.

  62. I’m truly inspired by your energy… And I so needed this inspiration this week… with work being tuff and home even tuffer… Some weeks are just… just!!!

    Awesome.. awesome..!! I’m here from the Inspired room.. and I cant tell you how happy I am to find you… Thanks a ton!

  63. Donna~
    Just wanted to say that I will be praying for you and all that you are dealing with. I didn’t get to read it thoroughly as I a am taking care of my 2 year old and 9 month old grand babies!! I will be back though!! Just know that God is in control! You are such an inspiration to so many others, myself included!!
    Have a wonderful day!!
    ~ Michella ~
    ~ ~ xoxo ~ ~

  64. I needed this today. I read parts 1 and 2 yesterday. But set aside part 3 to continue with my original task that I had become distracted from. I got back to it today.

    I want that Joy that you found. Somedays I have it. Today I haven’t. Yet.

    Several factors led to an emotional attack today. I came home and cried on my poor husband who was laid up in bed with back pain.

    After all that I sat down with my laptop and found part 3 waiting for me. Seeing another’s fight for a better home and life was unexpectedly therapeutic.

    I had expected to love part 3. I didn’t expect to find the means to make peace with the emotions that stormed through me earlier. You reminded me that God is taking care of us and provides hope for our futures.

    I’m still learning why I deal with the mental health issues I have. But in this moment, I look forward to finding out. Thank you so much for this.

    I intend to mention (and link to) your story on my blog. It’s small and still in a ‘new’ state, even though I opened it in February. I want anyone who comes through mine to find you and your story.

    Again, Thank You.

  65. Donna… I’m so sorry that God did not heal you that day in church (at least not yet!). But sometimes when we are weak (He is strong) and finding strength in the middle of adversity has its reward…

    You my friend have pushed through your set back and have created some amazing pieces and a wonderful network of caring friends and admirers. People find inspiration through you, your work and your story…

    I am so glad I found your blog and please know that you have inspired me to create my own unique pieces… so glad you found strength to create in the midst of your circumstances and share your work and your story with all of us! Thank you!! πŸ™‚


  66. I am glad you shared your story. It is so encouraging and real.

    I had the same vertigo situation two times in my life. Definitely hormone related. Weirdest feeling ever. Felt like gravity was pulling my right side to the floor.

    I love your style. Why buy new when you can create something that holds meaning and looks personal.

    Our camper is your campers twin. We plunk down too, but like you, we have had to create our own fun here at home as well.

    I am glad you never gave up and kept on creating. It gives me hope.

  67. What a beautiful post. I will continue praying for healing! I know that it can come miraculously and also through skilled doctors, I’ll pray for both, because I believe in both. I love all the things you’ve done…how inspiring. I can’t wait to read more.

  68. Thank you Donna, for sharing so much of yourself here. Words can not express how much your story meant to me. I hope the Universe offers you all you can imagine!


  69. Your life story is beautiful and inspiring! Please continue with sharing your experiences and projects πŸ™‚

  70. Donna, I have been following your blog for a long time but just now took time to read this story. How inspiring you are and how brave! Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to many years of enjoying your junk finds and new treasures you build. You and your son will be in my prayers. You have brought joy to so many thru your “junk”. I know when I have an idea but can’t quite get it from my head to actually doing it, I can come here and find inspiration…………thank you!

  71. Wow! I can’t believe I happened upon your blog today. I agree with the many who said you should write a book. When (not if) you do, please post the info in your blog so I can be the first in town to buy it. You are such an inspiration. I am a believer but I am not a very religious person. Over the years I have often felt that faith is what I am lacking. I too have one son and raised him on my own. He is now 25 and together we are dealing with the suicide of his father.

    You have given me hope! I have the use of probably every power tool I could ever need and I never thought I could do it. Now I know that anything is possible.

    I absolutely love the window treatment in your living room. It would be absolutely perfect in the rustic house my son’s father left him. (My son cannot live here as this is where he found his dad and there are too many painful memories. I moved in here rather than rent somewhere else, I thought it could help us both.) His dad did many upgrades to the outside of the house but the inside is in shambles. The livingroom and kitchen floors are concrete. There is so much to do, but I told my son that his dad did the work to the outside of the house and it was my turn to complete the inside.

    I have no budget as I am living on unemployment. There is, however, an abundance of “building materials” in the yard if I can learn to look at things differently.

    I will follow your blog and look for more great ideas. You truly are an inspiration and I want you to know that you are helping others in ways you could not have imagined. You have found your calling!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!


    PS I am such a newbie to this blog thing that I have no idea what to set the “Comment as” to. I guess I will use anonymous for safety reasons.

  72. Donna, Thank you so much for sharing this and for all your encouragement. I really needed this right now. God bless you and your terrific son! Mary

  73. Donna, I have been checking into your site alot after linking to it from another.. thanks for sharing your story. I can somewhat relate, as I raised a son, and thru the years it was hard as a single mom. I recently started thrift shopping again and am loving the furniture redos. Dont have a blog yet, but love reading yours and others. Also, dont know what you have had going on physically, but, have you ever tried cranio-sacral therapy? Blessings, Karen

  74. wow !! you truly are an inspiration….i am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason…i have come to the autumn of my life and, in retrospect, can see how every event led to creating the person that i have become….

    in this life, we can either rise above every challenge or fall in defeat. you are a survivor. whether your life’s journey is meant to inspire others or take you on an unknown adventure is in the hands of the creator. thank you for sharing your story.

    i found you thru a collage of other sites and really can’t single out the one that led me to you. i have recently acquired a love for “junque” as well. i am learning from you, dear donna….thank you again.

  75. That is one hell of a journey you’ve been on. I completely agree with you – if we are in danger of not following a path we were meant to take then a door will be slammed shut right in front of us, forcing us onto the alternate path that will eventually lead us to some kind of contentment and peace.
    I have Narcolepsy & chronic fatigue so I understand completely the fight you were undertaking every waking moment. Depression unfortunately is often an inevitable side effect of such debilitation but once you come out the other side you realise you can actually survive and flourish despite your life having changed so dramatically.

    Have you ever had a diagnosis of your symptoms? There are many illnesses with such symptoms but I suspect you may have come to a physical and emotional deadlock and your body simply could not take any more, forcing you to take the rest you so needed and rethink where you wanted life to take you.

    I’ve followed your blog for a while now and I think I was drawn to your love of tool useage lol. I too am an avid fan of ladies having a go with those tools we tend to think are beyond our ability and there’s now nothing I wouldn’t or haven’t used (except for the table saw, I hate them for some reason).

    Just know that your blog, your life story and your projects are an inspiration to many others in blogland. Such a shame we live opposite ends of the earth as I feel we would have so much in common.

    Take care and I look forward to reading more of your projects.

  76. I am so thankful to have “stumbled” upon your blog. I just read you whole story. WOW! You are being used in a way that I am sure you can sometimes feel, as people who are vessels for the Lord must. I have been struggling in my own life with a very great loss and health. I often find myself asking why, not in the why me but as you said what is the purpose. I have yet to find that. So I still am not sure where this is all going to take me. We are in the process of buying out first home. Its a little out-dated and still belongs to the first person to ever lay their things here, as no one how lived here as put their mark on it. There are so many plans in my head, so many pictures of how great this could be as our home. Just no founds to really make this all happen. So that lead me to looking for inspiration, where I found diy blogs on home decor. Where I found you. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your life story….may it help me to see where I am going and inspire me, not only with things but life.

    Misty K, WV USA

  77. I would like to say to many women going through the stuggle of a broken marriage. The mountain that you are climbing is so high..but the view from the top is amazing. I cannot imagine my life without the triumph of a horrible marriage. I am so blessed to have found the strength to put one foot in front of the other, even when you cannot see the road ahead.I am a better mother, friend, daughter, for walking, sometimes crawling, sometimes running, up that mountain.

    Tammee RI

  78. I have just finished reading about you first and then about the 3 reasons. You are amazing, inspiring and you have given me back something I’ve lost – HOPE.
    I am years older than you and my circumstances are not exactly the same. But sinking just the same. Thank you for sharing all that you’ve gone through.

  79. I did not know your Extreme Makeover story or any of the twists and turns your story has taken. I so enjoyed reading your story and getting to know you a bit better. You are such a positive person and an incredible help on blogtalk. I love that it feels like I could just sit down and chat with you any time. That’s a great gift. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Marty@Marty’s Musings

  80. donna – i really enjoyed reading your story. we have a lot in common, in more ways then one. i look forward to meeting you at luckett’s next month. your story, (as mine and many others, i’m sure) – reminds me of the song, “thank god for unanswered prayers”.

    happy spring!, hope you are feeling well,

    kathy ward

  81. Thank you! Thank you for sharing a part of you that I may never have known and giving me another opportunity to admire you, your strength and your open heart. Thank you for giving me a new perspective on the difficulties we have been living through for the last four years, and the hope that everything will work out in the end. Thank you for giving me the courage to continue doing what I love without fear of failure or rejection, just when I was feeling like maybe I wasn’t doing the right thing. We have are slowly rebuilding our life after nearly 4 years of no work and no money. We are facing retirement now with nothing (having used our retirement money to hold on to our home these last few years)except whatever value we have in our house. You have reminded me that it’s all part of his plan. I needed to be reminded of that–I admit i have been feeling very abandoned, like my prayers were useless, not heard, or just answered with a resounding NO! You have no idea how badly I needed to read your story and how much hope you have given me, personally and with my blog. I can look at the opportunity in this whole mess, where before all I could see was what I was losing. I wish you were around the corner so I could run over there and give you a hug. You and your outlook are a gift. I hope your health improves and that you and your son are happy always! Love Karen

  82. Thank you for sharing, Donna. I am in an “unglossy” part of my life right now, and your story has given me comfort, hope, and inspiration. ((hugs))

  83. Thank you for your story and for all the inspiration! You are truly an amazing person with such a gift. I have been inspired to make my own fun and exciting projects. I wish you continued success and happiness.
    best regards,

    • Hello Donna . . .

      I read most of your story and when you said you “woke” with your illness and the symptoms . . . I had a feeling I knew what you had. Ive ready only about 75% of your story only because my computer has been beach balling for months now :-/ then it crashes but Im guessing its Menieres. I have it myself and have had it since 2000. I also woke one morning and my head went swirling with bright lights and it felt like I was falling fast in a dark hole but I was sitting up in bed. I had to grab on to my nightstand as I didnt know what was happening to me. I actually thought at that moment, I had a stroke at 40.

      I am an antique dealer, designer and upscale junker myself. I had 3 stores in the area I live; northern California . . . a 1894 Victorian house that needed about 10 years of renovation that I was doing, a husband, a dog and 7 cats and YES, a real life. Like you, I was in shock and basically called my hubs who works in the midwest and said PLEASE COME HOME ASAP! I THINK IM DYING. Needless to say, I was not and am not 13 yrs later. But I live w/the disease and some months Im very very good with little or no symptoms; then a month will come that I live with the feeling Im hanging upside down by my ankles πŸ™‚ (the fall months for me seem to be the worse over the years) No, I dont like it but I cope pretty well. There is in fact, if you have this or Vestilbulis, several remedies out there. It is not rare and many famous and infamous have it. Once you have Menieres, you always pretty much do. It is a virus.

      I would love to know if this is what you have but many doctors cannot diagnose it or take years to do it. It takes an expert in Menieres, a specialty Ear, Nose, Throat. Im anxious to read the rest of your story and hopefully if I fix this contraption, I will.

      I wish the best for you and your son. It sounded like you have a handle on your life and that you really do enjoy it. All of us have something in our life and when you look around, you may say, “oh what a life this person has” but really, its very arrogant of one to think that everyone else has a life easier than yours. The difference is that YOU DONNA, are a testament to what a very strong determined woman will and can can do!

      I always loved the title Warrior Princess because thats really who you are! I consider myself one too. (that title comes from the Ukrainian women on the Stepps of Russia). My cousin told me of the story because it is where my ancestors come from. I love it but it fits all women who continue to forge ahead and still find love and joy in their lives even under the most pressing life events.

      Best wishes and good health!
      most sincerely,

  84. What an interesting story.

    Curious though but don’t mean to pry… were you ever diagnosed with Meniere’s disease or Labyrinithitis? Both cause vertigo, dizziness, even just head movements, loss of balance,moderate to severe nausea, ringing in ears…

    Why I ask? Because I have severe bout of Labyrinithitis last year and couldn’t work for 2 weeks and took months to fully recover only to be told it is also suspected I have Meniere’s (which my sister has and both my parents suffer vertigo). Everything you mentioned about being ill sounded exactly like Menieres disease.

    Hope you are doing well. I have had many of the same types of ups and downs in life and your story gave me strenght too…

  85. I just “discovered” your blog and enjoyed reading your in-depth story. I also have periodic bouts of dizziness…interesting what others have replied regarding same. In addition, like you, I have an adopted child whom I dearly love and “gave up” my career to raise. Thank you for your testimony. It is so difficult at times to remember that God is in control. As a control freak, I try desperately to hold on to the steering wheel myself. My Grandma always said “Let go and let God” — easy to say, hard to do. May He continue to show you the way…His way. Peace.

  86. Donna, brave is the word that comes to mind…only brave in what you did..sometimes it is bravery and sometimes it’s the instinct to survive, I believe it was both with you, but brave in what you continue to do. I know it can’t be easy being a single mom. I love how this touches me and my life in so many ways..I have a wonderful marriage and family. I am a wife, mother, grandmother and great fulfilling, yet I didn’t just get here over night. Marriages have their ups and downs and so does raising a family and I felt every ounce of it. I to have struggled with my health…chronic fatigue syndrome,OK they now don’t poo poo it and recognize it, but no cure either. A heart condition that they name but don’t claim to know much about and without insurance, they don’t really care to. That’s just the truth of the matter. I just go with the flow most days. I believe God brought you through your struggles and continues to not just for you but for others also. I am one of those others. I buy, grab, fix and sell like many others all the while reading your blog and being so much a part of yourfunkyjunk…oh what a breath of fresh air that site is to me. I feel like what church and God do to me, it gave me another instant family different in it’s own way and yet
    still a family. It feeds this other side of me that is different than the wife,mother,grandmother and yes great grandmother , the side that yells, hey world this is what I can contribute other than the part that made me what I am today. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your life struggles and how you got to where you are. Thank you for sharing and thank your for pressing on to be who you are. See you around all of your sites and posts. Thanks for being here for all of us. My prayers are with you. β™₯ Judy Voelz

  87. So interesting. We all have such bumps in the road. Things that change who we are are what we are doing.
    I was writing a post for tomorrow about being anointed. It is so interesting that you also wrote about that. I am doing the 31 days of living my dream…and on Oct 18 and 19 I am opening a business…my dream. It has been a terrible journey to get here…I wish I could go back..but..we move forward.
    God bless you and your health! Dianntha

  88. I just found you on fb! I love this story, so inspiring! I love your ‘look’ and ideas and outlook on life! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m looking forward to following you!!!

  89. Wow. I just had the incredible good luck to read your story, and I am inspired. I’ve been following your blog for several months, but somehow had never read your life story until I bumped into it today. Thank you for sharing – that’s a difficult thing to do, especially to share the downs in your life and to reveal your own self doubts. I’ve always looked forward to your daily blog post in my email, but now will read it as if I am reading something a good friend has written, a daily letter to be enjoyed and inspired by.

  90. If you’ve ever had a life changing experience, try asking yourself… Why did this happen? Reading this question made me cry. For a long time and very often, I had to ask myself, “Why did this happen to me?”. Seven years ago, illness stopped me dead in my tracks too. It’s taken me almost six years to recover and I’ll never be the same. Finding your blog was meant to be…Like you, I was very successful and lost my career. I’m lucky I didn’t lose my husband, but it has not been easy. I’ve had to reinvent myself at the ripe old age of 50, which I never thought I would have to do.

    Now, I’m an entrepreneur and no one tells me when to come to go. I learned to live with not being well and everyday I try to find something positive about my “new” life. If I’m tired, I rest. If I don’t feel well, I no longer feel guilty. In the past, I would work myself to the point of exhaustion, hide that I didn’t feel well and always felt compiled to work or attend social events even when I didn’t feel well.

    I’m on a budget too, so I’ll look forward to your DIY tips…

  91. I LOOOVE your story Donna! I too know how scary it is to have children and have circumstances out of your control change your life forever!
    My husband broke his back 2 weeks before I had our daughter (our second child) and I lost my job soon after…It was really scary. We didn’t know our future, my hubby was out of work for 3 1/2 years. I quickly started up a small daycare which helped and our landlord lowered our rent $150 a month during that time (he was an angel from heaven…a grumpy one but I love him for it!) It was still very difficult financially. But we learned so much from it all…how important our bond with family is, What we needed vs. what we wanted. “Keeping up with the Jones'” was not an option, living frugally was.
    Thanks for sharing your story…you are so special and so talented! karen….

  92. I thoroughly enjoyed your story. I,too, am having extreme financial difficulty. And I’m disabled so I’m unable to work. It’s only very recently that i’ve started to create again. My forte is sewing and painting. I love to refinish furniture but can’t find any to refinish around where I live. No case goods are available in thrift stores and all the ‘antique’ stores have expensive pieces that have already been redone. Very frustrating. I like ugly pieces that I can make nicer. Anyway, your Funky Junk things are wonderful. I applaud your creativity. My vision is still a bit rusty but the more I create, the better it gets. I hope you don’t mind if I copy some of your ideas. They’re just to good not to. Keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to reading more about you. Thanks for sharing. lisa

  93. do you have any favourite thrift stores for finding furniture to refinish? i ‘m new to the Charlotte area and don’t know of any good places. thank you for your response. lisa

  94. Hi Donna,
    I just came across your blog today while looking at Pintrest and I must tell you I am so glad I did. I have read your story and am blessed by what you have shared regarding the different aspects of your life and how you have grown in the way you are handling things. I know what you wrote is dated and am wondering if I have missed current posts, but I trust you are doing much better, even fully healed by His perfect timing and will. There are some difficult things in my life right now and you have been an inspiration to me. Would love to chat with you by email or whatever if that works out. Thanks you so much, oh, by the way, what you do with “junk” is right up my alley. I don’t do it to the level you do but I love finding things for free that I can re-purpose. May God continue to bless and use you. Gary

  95. I think the Lord knew this was the right time to read your story. You have really inspired me and I am so glad I just read your story. I has increased my faith in living in a mobile home for 15 years when my husband said it would be 2 years! Raising 5 children and putting all of them thru private school and college and now trying to build our dream home! I could not understand why everyone else had a house but me, but I knew God had a plan and I know He loves me. I would rather have Him then all the gold in the world. I have a degree in dietitics but am obsessed with decorating and on a budget!!! I am a dumpster diver and a thrift store junkie and love the things I drag home as if they were gold. Would love to do something full time with this obsession but like your story do not know how to blog, and not to computer savy but I am willing to learn. We have a wood shop and I just got a new band saw so excited. I would rather buy something for my house than shoes, clothes, or jewelry!!! Thank you so much for your story, it is so inspiring and uplifting and gives me more courage to keep praying for whatever God has in store for me and my family!!! God Bless you and your precious son!!!

  96. Wow, your story sounds like mine except you have money. πŸ™‚ God seems to have been pushing me hard to do pretty much what you are, right down to the health issues. I just quit my job about 8 minutes ago, and need a new lease on life. My bf has about every power tool known to man, so I decided after reading your story, it’s TIME, I have the opportunity I need to learn and create, and help make lives better and more beautiful through my experience and abilities. Praise God for your story, you’ve been a tremendous inspiration. God Bless and Happy, Productive New Year! Cris

  97. Hello Donna, just read your story, thank you for sharing. I found you when I discovered PInterest 1/1/2 ago. So I started following you, love your creativity, and the way you arrange in such a way to decorate. You are so inspiring even before your story. I follow others, but I am not an avid blog follower so I don’t read up on all, simply I don’t have the time to read all the bloggers.
    I have to say that your story is very touching and yes, we all have our own stories and all this time I just figured you as a perfect blog , no offense please, but I didn’t have the know how, nor use tools, nor do I have a husband that can teach me these traits or have one that can build them a shed, etc.
    My story is just as sad as yours, but my journey is on going. My husband suffers from a brain disease that is called Fronto temporal Degeneration aka early onset dementia under 60. He was only 45 years young when this happened and served in the USAF. Story short, he was medically retired and now we moved back home in SA, TX where we bought a dream house of ours, well mine, since I knew that we wouldn’t travel anymore so I would work on our new home of 30 yrs ole. House has many imperfections but one project at a time. I hire out since I don’t have the wonderful help you have. FTD scares people away. Please if you have time to read up on this dreadful disease go to I just wanted to say, that this New Year’s Eve I was feeling so down, so un happy cause I miss my husband of over 20 years of marriage, but now I fully care for a man that looks like my husband. I read your post and decided I will make time to get inspired only to read up on your inspiring story that you were so much more inspiring then just a talented decorator and DIYer. There was a reason you were made to be this talented blogger. This gives me even more reason to get our of my slump and ready to start the new year with a whole lotta DIY projects that are just waiting for me to get at them. I just got me a small miter saw, don’t how to use it, and my son gave me a new lithium drill. I will go and get me a brad nailer as I have 2 bathrooms to do.
    So Donna as I rambled on, I just want you to know that you have given me a much needed kick in my behind and start my year as best as I can.
    Also, you have given me an inside of your illness, as I have been experiencing some symptoms as yours,minor compare to yours, but neck problems along with wonky headaches, etc. I may look into it as I am sole caregiver for my husband.
    Happy New Year and I look forward to all your creativity and works of art.

    • Oh Anna, I’m really sorry for all that you are going through. But just know, your comment about my post giving you just the right kick made me smile ear to ear! I knew there was a reason to share what I did and I keep continuing to get blessed from stories like yours. Go get’tem Anna! Yes, you CAN do it! No matter what.

      Thank-you for taking the time to visit and read!

  98. I just read your whole entire story. Just a boring evening and decided to delve a little further into what made you you. I am so glad that I did! You have a very inspiring story. I also went through a divorce and have a story that I share on my blog about it. It is not the same story as yours, by far, and it is not even close to finished. I only write about this topic when I feel inspired to. But it is definitely a big part of who I am today. Thank you for sharing your story! Happy New Year!

  99. Thank you for sharing your truly, inspiring story. You have given me a lot of hope and inspiration for the new year. I just found your blog but will continue to follow it and pray that you will be blessed in 2014.

  100. hi donna. i found your blog on miss mustardseed’s blog list. what a Godsend it has been to read your story. thank you so much for allowing your story to be a testimony to overcoming adversity and holding on to faith. it helps so much to have a real life story to lean on whilst in the middle of my own challenges.

    i look forward to enjoying more of your creativity.

  101. WONDERFUL…..!!!! Oh my goodness, I’m sorry you are experienceing health issues but you have come along way, pushing yourself through it to do what you love…!!! I too would love to “build” stuff but never push myself for fear of failure maybe just maybe reading all of these blogs I’ve come across lately were here for me to get my butt motivated..!!
    Hope things continue to get better for you..Thanks for sharing..Keep up the wonderful job now I’m more inspired…!!!

    • Donna, you never will know what this has done for me. Words cannot even express but HIS will was for me to read your story today! I too have a similar story that I was beginning to wonder if it would ever make sense. I know now that where I have been “planted” is where I need to bloom….after much heartache and sickness. All along I have had this artistic passion with so many mediums and reading your story makes me realize that I need to continue to pursue that…while waiting on HIS timing. I was about to give up. Your story convinced me to stay the course and believe that it will happen. I can’t tell you how similar our stories are but that’s for another day. Thank you for sharing your heart and your life. I am inspired and truly touched. God bless you young lady. You’re a true gift.

  102. I know this word is way OVERused, but Wow!

    Just read “all about you” and your amazing journey to your current life. Wow.

    Inspiration is what you are.

    I have to admit something to you here… I look at a lot of decorating blogs. They all seem like they are made by rich housewives with handy rich husbands nearby to do all the heavy work and paying of bills, lots of splashy items around the house, and I just never think I can even start to accomplish what they have due to my own restrictions – both physical and monetary.

    But you? You have changed all that thinking… I applaud you, Donna, for coming through such a tough time and blooming like a rose on the other side of it. You have given me much to ponder and a hope that, before I read this section of your blog, I did not have. Thank you – truly.

  103. I just found your website and blog via Hooked on Houses. I’m emotionally drained after reading your story and I keep asking myself if I have the willpower like you do. I do agree with everything you have said and you have obviously been open to looking at life with a new perspective which is a HUGE stumbling block for most people.

    Congratulations; I hope your life now (2014) has morphed into one of harmony and peace. I will make an effort to think about you and your wisdom and strength when I find the need to.

  104. I just read your story and it touched me. The past 2 years for me have not been good – house fire, laid off from work, loss of mother, dog and son. Some days you just want to bury yourself under the covers and think “why me, what is the reason for this.” But as you said, thinking positive brings positive. It has taken me a really long time to figure that our, but being creative with little to no money is inspiring, especially when the end result looks and feels better than something you would have bought from a store.

    I Thank You for your honesty, beautiful words and creativity, and wished you lived around WI because I know we would be good friends, inspiring each other. I hope you do continue to follow your dreams of being happy and doing what you love. We are here for such a short time on this beautiful earth which you capture in your photos, and life is so very precious. If I had a crystal ball, so many things I would have changed, but you can’t, so forgive yourself for the negative things, think positive and keep moving forward.

  105. Donna, what an inspiration. Perhaps the point of allowing others to pray for your healing wasn’t that it would “work,” but simply to allow others to be part? New adventures this year? Press on!

  106. Hi Donna,

    I was so touched and inspired by your story. I am so sorry to hear about your health issues. Sometimes God uses the worst things in our lives to draw us closer to Him. I recently found your site while fooling around on Pinterest and I love what you do. I love your artistic eye and it has given me the desire to try doing some things on my own. To look at things in a new way and find ways to repurpose old things. I love art and have always wished I could find a “job” that would allow me to be artistic but that never came to pass. Recently I lost my job of 16 years and I was so unhappy all those years that it was bittersweet when that happened. I was scared to have no job but relieved to not have the stress that I had while working there. It has been 4 months now and I spent the winter crocheting and selling things I crocheted to help with my loss of income. But winter has turned into spring and we do not need scarves and warm stuff now. So I am trying to look for other ways to make a living. Your story has inspired me to go after my dreams. I Thank you for the inspiration. God has led me here and He isn’t going to abandon me now. I know that eventually something will “come my way.” I just have to be strong in my faith and wait for His lead. I pray that your health has improved and I love reading your blog.



  107. I guess I’m a little late (4 years) at reading this part of your blog. Anyway, it is my belief that when hard times or difficult situations hit us hard, it is God’s way of moulding us into the person He sees fit. After I went through my divorce, I realized what a jewel my 4 year old son was. (Maybe boys look at this part of our lives as an adventure) I know I was so sad and at the same time angry at what happened to me, that I too had to sell a larger home for a 700 sq ft run down shack which took me 10 years to get the inside and outside the way I had envisioned it and I learned a lot of home improvement skills along the way. When I look back at that time in my life, my son (who is now 19) and I laugh at some of the stuff he tried to help me with and some of his little boy ideas were wonderful. God does have a sense of humor too, just when I got to the point where my little house and little yard were where I wanted it to be, I met my current husband! Trials and tribulations have their time and purpose. It would be no fun if people stayed exactly the same all of their life. You may not have started your journey knowing what an inspiration to so many others you would become, but I adore your blog and your creativity; so I for one am glad you were put on this journey!

  108. Wow, your story is incredible! I just finished reading your story. I love your house and the view is spectacular! You are blessed. Thank you for inspiring me. I lost my job at the end of 2013 and at 60 yrs old, employers are not interested in you, so I decided to pursue my passion and open my Etsy shop. I love working at home!

    Please checkout my Etsy shop at: Thanks!

    Good luck to you and your son!

  109. Wow. Just wow!!! How you have touched me with your story. You are a courageous woman and inspiring me on this very day. God bless you, Donna and your precious son.



  110. I am so inspired by your story! Well done! You have accomplished more than most people have in a lifetime. I know it is not always knowingly about not being prepared to give up, but so worth it getting through in one piece πŸ™‚

  111. All I can say is WOW after reading your story….kindred to mine. I will follow your journey and I know I will be inspired, by your words, your projects, your determination and your spirit. Thank you for sharing and recognizing your purpose in your trials that will enlighten so many others along your way. So many choose to just live in the negative and are never enlightened as to the why because they never attempt heartfelt prayer, a prayer that never gives up – only goes up…I look forward to our kinship…

  112. Dear Donna,
    I have been following your facebook and consequently your blog for about a year now. I am a working wife and mother so mostly I skim the pictures and think “oh how cool”. I never took the time to read and especially not your “story”. I have been home with the flu, feeling guilty for not accomplishing anything, but not physically able. I truly enjoyed your story. How your first response to your neighbor was yes, I’d love to help with this home reno………..It sounds as if you deserved all the help you received and have made the very best of what life has thrown at you. Keep posting, I’ll keep looking, only now, I will find time to read more. Thanks for the inspiration. God looks after his own. I am a firm believer. πŸ™‚
    Kind regards,
    Piper Ward Woodring

  113. Wow. I’m simply amazed, blown away and a bunch of other words. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us. God will never give us more than we can handle and with Him, all things are possible. Amen.

  114. Your testimony is the beginning of answers to questions I have asked and prayers I have lifted to heaven over the past 13 months.

    You lost your marriage. I “lost” my husband. Well, he’s not lost; I know exactly where he is – in heaven with our Savior Jesus Christ! God has filled me with peace from the moment of his sudden death February 25, 2014. I cherish the 12 years and 3 months we had together.

    Since December 2014 I have been ill with bronchitis, pneumonia, and bronchitis again. For 10 weeks I was confined to my home with frequent visits to my doctor, two trips to the ER and an overnight hospital stay. Numerous chest x-rays and tests didn’t reveal why I wasn’t getting better. A few weeks ago I was at the point of giving up; resigning myself to going home to be with the Lord. Not suicidal, yet saying, “okay, Lord, I am ready.” When I gave up, He began to whisper, “I am in control. Wait on me. I have plans for you. Plans not to harm you. Plans for your future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

    I decided to wait (was it really ‘my’ decision?).

    My health has gradually inproved over the past week. I am about 75% well. At 66 years old and survivor of a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery on/after my 60th birthday, I’m no spring chicken; however, there is still living to do! And 14 grandchildren to love on!

    Reading your story confirmed what God has been telling me. He has work for me to do; people for me to serve, and most importantly–lives for me to touch for His glory.

    If I never get back to 100% I will still push forward to the mark God has established for me. That will bring Him immeasurably more glory than if He simply heals me.

    Thank you for opening your heart. God bless you!

    • wow. so inspiring. I love your work and your ideas, and love that you shared your journey so far. It gives me hope that God has a plan for each one of us, and that dreams can come true πŸ™‚

  115. Hello Donna, Reading your story has been very encouraging. As I have also decorated on dime. And at the moment I’m in school taking Graphic Design , have always done craft fairs,while my kids were growing up. I have been a single mom
    for 21 yrs.I ‘m working but only part time as I’m school full time and its very stressful at times.

    Your home is really cool. love your signs in your kitchen and the coffee sign.

    Be Blessed

  116. As a young child fifty five years ago my Dad always told me ‘ never say I can’t’. I had forgotten this till now. For months I have lived in self-pity, negativity, fought boredom and the life change of retirement. Reading your story my eyes have been opened – thank you so much. My journey is about to begin.

  117. Donna, I live in New Zealand – a long way from anywhere.. and I am always on the net scouring “ideas” for a simple “beautiful” life- Your Blog is amazing and I just LOVE ALL your ideas – reading Your story is truly touching.. thank you for the gift of your blog and mind : ) You are an inspiration..
    Keep it up and I hope you stay well.


  118. Donna thank you for sharing your story and all that you do, I will ponder on some of your thoughts and words of wisdom. Sincerely Karen

  119. Thank you for sharing your story, I share a similar story so this truly touched my heart and encouraged me so much. I don’t ask why anymore I am stubborn and know that there is healing in my future so I press on doing the things i love (which is also a lot of diy) even though I am still scared of my power tools. All things are possible right? Thank you again its always comforting knowing i’m not alone in this.

    • So glad you stopped by Renae. You truly are not alone… everyone has a story. Thing is, we are all mid-story… rather exciting when you view each day as a new unknown chapter! Start small with the power tool thing and find a friend that can help you. Small steps…

  120. Wow! Now, during the winter, start putting your writing into a book.
    I am an avid reader,that has been where you are (on my own with two sons etc.) Your story is one of inspiration,motivation and creativity.
    Please share it with more people than those who have access to a computer. Yes, it is ongoing, you will know when to publish.
    When one book ends another is just beginning.

  121. Wow! I have been visiting your blog for the last year or so. I just love what you do and how you create beautiful things out of “junk”. Today I have read your story for the first time I can so relate to a lot of it. You inspire me and give me hope.


  122. I always enjoy your approach to the challenges you face in life. I was looking for a way to repurpose pallets. You have helped me find the inspiration to repurpose the challenges I face in my own life. What I read this morning was the best sermon I have ever received on all the Sunday’s in the past 58 years of my life. It’s the unexpected treasures we accidently find we enjoy most in life. You are one of those gems . Thank you.

  123. Thanks so much for sharing! I can identify with a lot of your story. I am divorced and raised my two children alone. I had a woodworking business at that time. I had to close my business, sell my house and get a “real” job. Eventually, I went back to college and got my master’s degree and have been a therapist for the last 20 yrs. My kids are adults now but I always wanted to continue my business. It’s where I find peace. I had to take early retirement due to changes in our retirement plan. I’ve had CFS and Fibromyalgia for 20 yrs. I will be 61 next month and as I get older, it gets worse. I have had times in the past where I was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted and once had to leave my job and take a month off work. Always struggling financially is exhausting even though I am very frugal. I’m a junker too. I have been self employed again for the last year. I was finally able to buy a house 9 yrs. ago and am close to losing it. It’s funny that I feel a sense of peace. I just cannot go “get another job” I just don’t have it in me. My world is ready to crash and burn financially, but I just cannot panic. I have a weird sense of calm and I don’t know why. Well I do know, it’s from God, but I have no idea what’s going to happen. I live in the city, and have known for a while that it’s time for me to move to a small town. I crave a simple life but haven’t found the location yet. My kids and others think I’m crazy, but I feel as if I’m walking away from the insanity. I can identify with your journey so much. You have given me hope. For that, I thank you. I used to tell my clients, if you’re riding the merry-go-round and it’s going to fast, you may have to jump off. You will skin your knees and elbows, but you will heal. The best part is, you can stand back and watch the others ride but you don’t have to. Blessings to you Donna and remember to take care of you!

    • Hey Debbie,

      The roughest times of my life have proven to be life changing for the better… I have a feeling you’re well on your way too… sounds as if you’re ready for a change. Keep the faith and all the best!

    • At a very tough time in my life also…I came across your story Donna. I have not had the internet for 2yrs so just getting back to things. I also am sick….my husband is sick….lost my job 2yrs ago. He unable to work now for 10yrs! Doctor’s can’t figure out what’s wrong with him. Me I KNOW…heart…fibromyalgia…Colon Cancer. Surgery 1yr ago YESTERDAY!!!! So far cancer free. But 4 more years to go to be considered a survivor.
      We are about to be homeless…I pray not as we are way to sick. We will definitely die on the streets.
      See our rental foreclosed. Old owners didn’t have us pay rent for some time now. But home sold-auction. So no clue just how much time we have? I am desperately trying to find work. But I have to have another surgery.
      I wasn’t going to respond….just read….listen…learn….
      But then I read Debbies story above. Sounds so much like us….TWINS.
      I’ve been wanting for years to meat another couple….you know “like us” because there are no friends when you are poor….sick….in trouble….
      Wishing to help each other…share experiences and expenses and live together. Like a commune…? sounds kinda silly, but could work.
      I would love to hear your update….
      AND Debbies .
      Love….life…hugs….God Bless

      • Ohhh Karen, I’m so very sorry to hear of all your hardships. I know it seems impossible now. But know, God is indeed watching over your every step. Keep asking for guidance. He will deliver! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as well.

        As for my update, I’ve tried to continue the story so many times, but truth be told, it keeps changing. But I will keep your request in mind!

  124. Enjoyed reading your story! I love to create with junk too. Looking forward to visiting your site. Maybe I can share some of my ideas with you too! Peggy

  125. You are my inspiration! I’ve read your story before and have again and will continue to read it. You and I have faced difficult challenges. We’ve been in the refiner’s fire. As I try to pursue new things, or get in touch with what I’ve always loved as you did, no one else’s story speaks to me like yours does. It reminds me that the resources are there and I can turn dreams to goals and accomplish them. May our Heavenly Father bless you with health, I pray. Thank you for sharing your story.

  126. Thank you for sharing your story. God is so faithful!! I stumbled on your site as I was looking to redo my kitchen window. My son who is a contractor is building it for me. Every time I reflect on it’s beauty I will think of you and say a prayer. Your Christmas creations are beautiful! Blessing sister !


  127. Donna, what a beautiful story of trials, grit, determination, hope, help, fellowship and God’s love! You are truly inspirational! I enjoy your blog so much, especially when you add your true-to-life experiences to it! Look forward to reading more!
    Blessings, Cindy

  128. Donna, little did I know that I have been looking at your creativity through the internet and eventually Penterest. I am going, here is a girl after my own heart. Making something out of somethingnothing (new word).

    Thank you for telling your story. Felt like I was reading my own and once again affirming… happy where you are at and make lemonade out of lemons.

    I too have had several health issues working through divorce, raise children alone, work and put creativity on the side. Now I am a Nana, soon 66, of 11 Grandkids and 1 Great-grand child. Forced to retire and I said well if you don’t want me I will take my marbles and go play somewhere else. I did. I get to help with 3 of my Grandchildren AND WE get to be creative together. I get to show them and see how their little minds work to create. I have another reason though, it gets them away from electronics and get their little minds working.

    I see things you do and I am going…..that is cool never thought of that but I think I can do this.

    Bless your heart. Keep doing what you are doing. We are never too old to learn or create.

  129. What a touching and inspiring story of great inner strength! Thank you for sharing something so personal πŸ™‚

  130. Hi Donna,
    I just wanted to say that I am blessed that I came across your blog today. I can go on and on about our similarities (mainly illness, mine different, but the struggle is all the same) but I figured I wanted to focus on the positive and simply say Thank You. It’s people like you that make a difference in this world for so many reasons, and I am so glad that you have decided to share your life and talents with all of us. I can’t even imagine how many people you have made an impact on, as over 170 comments is absolutely amazing! (I find most people don’t comment on blogger’s personal posts, or posts at all) Once again, thanks for being you, for being real, for being honest, and for always staying true to yourself. You have inspired me in so many ways by reading your story. It has served as a good reminder to me that while we all deal with our own struggles, that we tend to forget that others deal with their own struggles too, and that I need to remember that when I am feeling down or helpless, or that no one else could possibly understand what I deal with on a day to day basis, that I need to stop feeling sorry for myself, get up, and do something positive….. and that it might not be as easy and saying “go” to get it right the first time, but as long as I continue to try to move forward, eventually I will =)
    Anyways, that’s my “short” version of my comment. HAHA!!
    Now I will go back and continue to check out your posts for inspiration and motivation.
    Thank you, again,

  131. So glad i found your blog. I am broke and on my own. I strive to be creative and can’t. My health sucks but I get up and go to work in a Corporate office everyday and go home and paint furniture to make extra money. Your style just calls out to me. I can’t explain it. I will keep you in my prayers.

    • Hi Cheryl, I’m so sorry to hear of your hardships.

      But I’m also a firm believer that when things go wrong, it’s because something needs change. Our bodies and health can only work against us for so long.

      Please be sure to be in touch with your doctor first, then possibly therapist.

      Being creative is SO hard when you don’t feel well, so it sounds as if your health needs to take priority. Ask me how I know!

      And yes, keep doing the things you LOVE. They will eventually push away the things you no longer love…

      My story continues to change so I’m going to add a few more links at the bottom of this post for its continuation…

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