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creativity Furniture

Small Flips: Side Table Edition

In the midst of the BIG navy credenza, I picked up some free pieces here and there and worked on them when I needed a quick project that brought the satisfaction of completion.

The easiest one was the telephone table. It just required some gluing, a sanding, and then fresh stain and poly. Pretty simple but definitely looks much better!

Next up was a little table that took way more time than it was worth. It had a slightly bent leg. After cutting some of the bottom off, the bend still showed. I did everything…soaked it in water and then used clamps to bend it back into place. In the end, it’s not perfect, but it was the best I could do. I re-stained and sealed the top with Minwax Dark Walnut and replaced the knob with this cute one from Amazon.

And finally. My favorite quick flip. Unfortunately I forgot to take a before of this one. I so wish I did. It was an orangey wood color with an old formica laminate top. But it had these really cool legs on it. I ditched the top and got Jeremy to help me replace it with a piece of walnut we had. I painted it white and updated the pulls. And then I polished up the legs and painted the bottom of the leg gold to match the pulls.

There’s a lot of free furniture out there. I’m so glad I was able to rescue these pieces!

creativity Furniture

The Navy Credenza

I think when you are starting something new, you should start small because 1. It’s less overwhelming and 2. It lets you try the waters and accomplish something faster to see if you really like it. I was unwise and started big with my first furniture redo. I was a gifted a solid wood credenza that had been stripped of some paint. I hate unfinished projects, so I wanted to finish it and also free up the space in my garage. It took me about 8 months to finish this thing. It was my first project to start but not my first one to finish. I got slightly overwhelmed along the way and would pause and work on something that had a faster return. The day we moved this piece into the house was a happy day indeed.

Here’s what I did to breathe new life into this piece…

  1. I had Jeremy trim the edge of the top piece to give it a slightly more modern look. I had to do some repair after the trim. I got frustrated with wood filler and switched to Bondo. That stuff is amazing.
  2. I ordered short 3″ legs for the piece from Amazon. I love legs on furniture and these did not disappoint. That little lift was perfect.
  3. I wanted a monochrome look, so I painted the whole thing navy. I wanted a nice look without the lines that come from a paintbrush, so I got the bright idea to use spray paint…Rustoleum Ultra Matte in True Navy to be exact. While I LOVE the look it gave, it was not economical for this big piece. Realizing, though, that I loved the finish prompted me to buy a paint sprayer for future projects, so I guess it was a win in that way.
  4. Finally I updated the handles to a gold pull. Perfection.

I love the little updates that gave this piece a more modern look. It’s perfect for the record player and vinyl collection!

creativity Thoughts

The Importance of Creativity

I used to be the first person to declare that I was not creative. To be fair, there’s been many seasons in my life that I’ve been surrounded by highly creative people whether it be in the area of music, drawing, painting, etc. I would compare my talents (or lack thereof) with others, which left me frustrated and believing that God did not grace me with creativity. I took this stance so hard that, when we started Ten Thousand Homes, I made my case that creativity could not be a value of the organization.

I wonder if God was sitting in heaven laughing at my absurdity, because absurd it was. I’m not exactly sure when things started to shift, but thankfully they did. As I dabbled in photography, knitting, sewing, and interior design, I realized that creativity takes on many different forms. I also realized that my Enneagram 1 self didn’t have to do creative things perfectly. The wise words of Ira Glass transformed and inspired me to just do, because the more you do, the better you actually get.

After years of trying my hand at various creative outlets, not only did I realize that I was creative but that I needed creativity in my life. I went from stating that creativity could not be one of our organizational values to being one of the biggest advocates for it and incorporating it into our training programs. I realized just how life giving it was.

As seasons have ebbed and flowed, so have my creative ventures. I love learning new things (although I want to be perfect from the get go), so I recently decided to try my hand at refinishing furniture. It’s hot. It’s dirty. It’s a lot of work. But I love it. I think it’s the transformative process of taking something that’s seen better days and breathing new life into it that has me hooked. I still have a lot to learn, but I think I’m getting better every day!

Africa Community creativity Hospitality Ministry Travel

reverie guesthouse


In the beginning of last year, I started a new little venture in the world of guesthouse businesses. I never really aspired to do something like this, but I’m so glad I did. I realized how much I love creating inviting spaces filled with beautiful things that make people smile. One of my favorite things is to see people’s reaction as they walk in and {positively} comment on the space.

January 2016, I listed BEAUTIFUL ARTSY AFRICAN RETREAT on Airbnb. I was ready for business! We didn’t get a booking until March. I wondered if this was a good idea after all. I didn’t get into this for my own sake.

I did it to provide an income for others while at the same time teaching business skills and imparting my high standard for excellence in everything you do.


I did it to invite people of all walks of life to come to this place where we invite Jesus to abide. Our strict policy from the beginning has been that we don’t discriminate against ANYONE.

And, unashamedly, I did it to make money. Is a business successful if it doesn’t make any money? We have a beautiful property here in S. Africa. It’s a win win to use our space to make a little extra rands for running costs.

I guess all we needed was a booking to get the momentum going.

By July, because of the number of trips we had hosted and our excellent ratings, we had risen to Superhost status (and have maintained it since).


In October, we added our second listing, BEAUTIFUL OASIS IN THE AFRICAN BUSH (these photos are a glimpse of that space).

Sometime, in the last quarter of 2016, our two listings made it to the top two spots when you google top White River Airbnb accommodations.

By December 31st, 2016, we had hosted 130 guests from 20 nations!

As I review my reasons for getting into this, I’m pleased that I’m right on track as we enter our second year. I’m so glad I get to do this guesthouse thing with this lovely lady who constantly makes me laugh and amazes me with her growth posture and shared drive to make a space that is clean, clean, clean.


We’ve certainly hosted people from all walks of life! One night we had a husband and wife Muslim couple staying with us who said one of the best things they loved about staying at our place was the people (we do have a pretty spectacular bunch) and how it’s always great to meet people like us. The very next night we had a gay Jewish couple stay with us who thanked us for our warm hospitality. I believe Jesus calls us to be a lover of people, and I’m so glad that people who meet us for the first time feel that when they sleep in our beds.

And we did make money! It’s always nice to recoup your startup costs AND make money on top of that.

Here’s to a successful 2016 and an even better 2017!

Community creativity Fun

a bar of a party

The beginning of April we celebrated our interns who had been with us for a year and who were now moving on to the next season of their lives. Because of their incredible investment, we knew we wanted to celebrate BIG. That’s when the idea of “bars” all around came into being. We had a pizza bar, soda bar, and cupcake bar. It.was.a.blast.

Pizza Bar

Pizza Bar

We sealed pizza dough in plastic baggies and had everything prepped and sliced. The fun part about the pizza bar was that we baked our pies on the fire. They tasted amazing. Here’s how we did it.

  1. Grab a wooden cutting board and oil it down with olive oil.
  2. Plop your dough down on it, and work it into a pizza crust.
  3. Slide it onto the fire, and let it cook for a few minutes.
  4. Take it off the fire, sliding it back onto your cutting board, cooked side up.
  5. Load the cooked side up with your toppings.
  6. Slide it back onto the fire and let it cook another few minutes.
  7. Eat and enjoy.

Pizza Bar Toppings

Soda Bar

Soda Bar

Soda Bar Instructions

For drinks we put together a soda bar. We had Coke and Coke Zero and homemade Cream Soda. THEN people had the option of adding cherry, vanilla, orange, or lemon simple syrup to it. We also had lemons and limes that you could squeeze in for extra measure.


Cream Soda

Cupcake Bar

Pimp Your Cupcake

Finally, for dessert, we offered a cupcake bar where everyone could pimp out their own cupcake. We had chocolate, vanilla, Italian creme, and red velvet cupcakes with vanilla, chocolate, cream cheese, and mocha frostings. Not only that but we had sprinkles, coconut, and nuts for more pimping!

This party was such fun. The best part about it was that everyone cooked their own food!