Gratitude Day 143 – Hand-crafted

Sat., Oct. 27, 2018 

Mark 6:3 – Isn’t he the carpenter, the son of Mary? Aren’t James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon his brothers? 

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Please say, “Hello” to the newest piece of furniture in the Vielhuber household. This gorgeous grey table.

Would you like to hear a little bit of the table’s story?

Good. Here it is.

After we began arranging furniture in our 110-year-old Victorian Farmhouse, I couldn’t find the right rhythm for the front parlor. Initially, I tried putting the piano in there. After four failed positions with the piano and four guys huffing and puffing from moving said piano, it was moved into the dining room. Hubby Rick proclaimed, “It ain’t being moved again … ever.” Someday we may not live in this house and it will find its way out the door, but that’s another post for another day.

Arrangement two in the parlor had furniture tucked in each corner. I am not an interior designer, but I knew this arrangement wasn’t user-friendly. How can you have a conversation when each person is across the room? At a neighborhood gathering, our retired neighborhood ladies gently moved the furniture into spots where they could converse. Clearly, they didn’t want to shout across the room to each other. I got the hint. I knew it was time for a new arrangement.

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Arrangement three is pictured here. Actually, this is arrangement four because I used to have a different chair in the parlor. This chair was desperately needed in the master bedroom where we are nearing a complete room overall. So, the tall, straight back chair came down from the attic and found a new home. This chair was my Mom’s. It is missing a spindle. But doesn’t this give it character?

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After I had the seating arranged this way, something was missing. Who can ever sit here and have a cup of coffee unless there is a table in the center? Shopping my house, the best solution I could find was this old crate. Actually, I think it’s a cool crate. See the old stamping on the side.

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The crate worked for a few months, but I knew that I wanted something a little more formal for the official “parlor” of our house.

trayEnter nephew Ben. Ben works best with his hands. He inherited a couple saws that were my Grandpa Deaton’s, which he used to build things. I have one item my Grandpa Deaton built: this tray. He built it for my Grandma. They had a screened-in back porch and often ate here. She used this tray to take meals to the porch. I, too, have a screened-in porch. I, too, use this tray to take meals to the porch.

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And so, Ben began to build. Furniture. He has built a variety of items: desks, tables, end tables, etc. He has built several items for my sister Debbie. I too, wanted a hand-crafted item from Ben. Wanting a round table in this space, I found a table similar to what I wanted, sent a picture to Ben with a few instructions about dimensions and color and waited.

This past weekend when we had a cousin get-together at our house, my table arrived. I love it. The grey color fits in with the rest of my house. The dimensions are just what I anticipated.

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What do you think? How do you think the table fits into the parlor?

I’m super proud of Ben and his passion for making furniture. He’s been inspired by my Grandpa and his Great-Grandpa to develop this trade. For his day job, he pours concrete. Many of Ben’s furniture pieces combine wood and concrete, which makes his work unique from other furniture makers.

While sitting in the parlor recently and admiring this table, and my mind drifted. We know very little about Jesus’ dad, Joseph. We do know he was a carpenter. For some reason, I’ve always felt he was more of a furniture builder than a house builder. I envision Joseph teaching Jesus how to make things with his hands, using the simple tools of his day. One reason I feel Jesus was so approachable and common is because he grew up in a home where he was encouraged to develop a trade and use his hands.

My trade is not the same as Ben’s trade. I use my hands in a different way, most often on a keyboard. But our inspiration is the same. Last weekend, Ben and I shared how we will work and work at something to make it perfect. Ben could easily point out the errors in his work, rather than letting me appreciate the great details he puts into his pieces. For example, he has these little plugs on the bottom of each leg of the table. Knowing that we live in an old house that does not have even floors, we can simply sand the plugs to level out the table. How cool is that?

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A bit of a perfectionist myself, I reminded Ben … and reminded myself … that being perfect isn’t what is important. If we only accept ourselves if we were “perfect,” then we mistake ourselves for being divine. I believe only God and God’s son, Jesus, can truly be divine. My spot is not in the divine chair but the chair in which God can use me as a tool within God’s kingdom. This means I’m not going to be perfect. And thank goodness God accepts me this way!

Can I accept my non-perfect nature? Wow, some days this is hard. Rather than being perfect, maybe I just need to see myself as hand-made by God. Unique, special, imperfect but perfectly perfect in the eyes of the one who loves me. (My perfectionist side wasn’t sure I should post these pictures with the make-shift rug I have under the table … but the table is to beautiful to keep silent while I try to figure a rug out!)

Just like the little table Ben made me. It maybe imperfect to the person who made it. But to me? It’s a perfect addition to our parlor. It will be a hand-crafted item I will treasure deeply, just as God treasures each of us deeply.

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My favorite part of the table? I didn’t discover this until we moved the table, so we could take some photos … Ben’s signature on the flipside of the table. I’ll always know who made this table for me. I’ll always know it was made with love and care just for Rick and I and our home.

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For a perfectly imperfect handmade table, I am grateful.

Dear God – thank you for handcrafting each one of us. For making us unique, different and special. And loving us even when we aren’t perfect and make mistakes. Help us to allow our imperfections to help us grow in grace daily. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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