Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Turning a cave into a refuge!

It's been 6.5 years since we moved into Steve's grandparents' house. Because of the layout of the house, we decided it was best for us to take their old bedroom as our own. I wasn't excited about the paneled walls, but Steve didn't want to paint over them, either. We cleaned them with lavender oil and Murphy's Wood Oil Soap in water, and they began to shine.

We pulled up the nasty green shag carpet and pulled down the dusty gold drapes. The wood floors were also dark-colored, but they were in decent condition. We ordered light-colored insulated drapes, but the room was still really dark with only two small wall-mounted lights, and nothing overhead. I've tried to fill it with light colors, to brighten up the darkness of the room, and we've added three lamps to help brighten the  room.

I have to admit that it's become one of my favorite places now. I love to slip in there during the day for a few moments of peace. It's small.  There is just enough room to walk around our king-size bed, and we share it with our baby.  But I have tried to make it a place of beauty and peace. 

Above the bed is a print of Ruth 1:16 - "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." It's a good reminder that my husband and I are a team, sharing the journey of our life together.

Beside the bed we have a print that belonged to Steve's Mom.  It's a Ron DiCianni print of the prodigal son returning to his father's loving embrace.  She had bought a print to represent each of her children, and technically this one isn't Steve's. It's been in my closet since his Mom went in the nursing home, since getting it across the country is a bit complicated. I finally took it out of my closet and hung it on the wall a few months ago, until we can get it to Steve's brother. In the meantime, it reminds me to pray for my children who are launching into the world.

The shelf beside our bed has one of Steve's family heirloom quilts on it, folded up since it isn't in good enough shape to hang.  We store the practical items like tissues, lip balm, lotion, and a lamp within easy reach.  We also have a Bible and a stack of devotional books tucked on a lower shelf you can't actually see.

There is another shelf along the wall at the bottom of the bed, which holds three more folded quilts, diaper supplies, some of Steve's shoes, and another lamp.  The art print on the wall is one that was actually given to me in college, by my roommate.  I fell in love with the gentle image of the baby painted by Bessie Peace Gutmann. Early in our marriage, Steve had it framed for me as a gift, and it has hung in our bedroom ever since.  It reminds me to pray for our littlest children, treasure their baby days, and pray for our future grandchildren.

Above my dresser, hangs another Ron DiCianni print from Steve's Mom. This one was meant for my husband, and it features a father praying over a sleeping boy. I only hung it a few months ago. Before that, the Gutmann baby print was above my dresser, and this was also in my closet while I decided what to do with it. When I look at it, I am reminded to pray for our children ... more fervently than just a nightly bedtime prayer. All three of the prints in our room remind me of our children in all their different ages, and that I need to be more consistent in praying for them.

On top of my dresser is a suitcase I bought at a yard sale. I loved the red toile lining and have used it to organize my jewelry, makeup, lotions, and hair supplies. It's a cluttered mess right now. Our small room is wall-to-wall furniture. You can see the edge of our overflowing laundry hamper to the left of my dresser, and Steve's clothes hanging on a rack to the right of my dresser.

Some day I will have a chair beside our bed, so I can sit in here to read, do my devotions, or pray. At the moment, we have our toddler bed squeezed in between our bed and the door. Our 1 yo son naps here and starts his nights here, before he wakes up and joins me in our bed. (Note the bed rail on my side of the bed for him, and the artwork his 7 year old sister hung above his bed.) He'll probably be sleeping there until he's three, as most of his siblings have done before him. In the meantime I climb up into my bed to sit and read when the living room is too loud. 

I still can't believe that the room I used to dread moving into and complained was a dark cave has become a soothing place of refuge to Steve and myself. Adding lights, meaningful artwork, and a colorful quilt to brighten the room definitely helped. Now I see it as warm, cozy, peaceful, inviting room, and I don't sit in there dreaming of painting over the paneling anymore. It's taken six years of gradual changes to reach this point, though.

(Note: I didn't clean my room very well. I should have straightened up the shelves and my dresser if I was going to take pictures. Just know that there's a reason you didn't see pictures of Steve's dresser or the inside of my closet. Creating order out of the chaos in my closet is a quarterly project.)

I don't know what inspired me to share my room with you.  It's certainly not pinterest-worthy or Better Homes and Garden style. But it does show how time, patience, and love can make even a small, dark room in a small house, full of people, into a refuge.

April E.

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