Sunday, August 14, 2011

Extreme Home Makeover, Karla edition

I am sitting in the clean, freshly painted front bedroom of my house. The last time it was freshly painted, Matt was 13. It was about this time of year, and we had just moved Seth to Baylor, and while we were gone, Matt moved into Seth's room. He painted one wall bright red and put up all his sports posters. When we came home from TX, he was happily ensconced, the first time he'd ever a had a room to himself.

Matt repainted the red wall for me after he took down all his posters and trophies and packed them up to go to his new apartment in Mississippi. Yesterday I repainted all the trim and bookshelves. Now it is pristine, ready for the crib and toys that we will move in this week, so that Elliott and Eva have a room at Lala & Granddaddy's house.

This is the third room I have made over this week.

On Monday and Tuesday, we helped Matt settle into his apartment. Except for my cooking, I have never really experienced Matt's open admiration, but he was bowled over by my ability to hang a shower curtain properly and set up a kitchen. Hey, I have been keeping house for over 31 years, buddy. I can make a bed and a chicken casserole with the best of them.

Next, I tackled Ben's room, which is like saying, "Next I tidied up the black hole in the galaxy." It was time. And now he has quite a groovy place to live and entertain his friends and create his mad masterpieces of music.

Finally, this weekend, I moved on to this bedroom. Time to make it a nursery. Again.

When we moved into this house in the summer of 1990, this bedroom was hunter green with a duck border around the ceiling. Understand, this room is 10 x 12 with one window. Painted hunter green, it looked like a closet. I promptly wall-papered it with little stripes and put up a toy soldier border. (Wallpaper was very big then.) It was Matt's nursery. Then it was Ben's nursery. And Ben had the croup a lot, so one night I ran the vaporizer all night and steamed the toy soldiers & stripes right off the wall.

As I was painting trim yesterday, I thought about all the iterations of paint and wall paper and furnishings this house has seen in the 21 years we've lived in it. Dennis built every book shelf in every room of this house. Every room has been something, and then it has been something entirely different. Worleys are big into rearranging.

When we moved into this house, the living room was rust-colored with a red brick fireplace. The kitchen had Roy Rogers-style cabinets and a wagon wheel light fixture. The master bedroom was Pepto Bismol Pink, the front bedroom Hunter Green and the back bedroom Baby Blue. We wondered a great deal about the people who had lived here before us. "Wouldn't you like to see their clothes?" my friend Peggy laughed.

As I painted trim yesterday, I thought about what our house would say to whoever came after us. What would they learn about us? Here are a few things:

- When it comes to home repair, Worleys believe if it's worth doing, it's worth doing quickly. We are not the neatest painters, not sticklers for everything being perfect. We like it done. (Dennis' Dad would not be proud.

- Worleys believe if it's worth having, it's worth having long after it's worn out. While I do dream of "all new," I am most comfortable with lived in and loved on.

- Worleys believe if it's worth doing right, there must be somebody we can hire for that. Which is why a lot of things don't get done around here until it's absolutely necessary.

- Worleys believe the best reason for renovation is the imminent arrival of people. Broken handles do not motivate us. We are not stirred to action by 20-year old toddler fingerprints or out-of-date shower fixtures. Most major renovations and repairs have happened around here because we were getting ready to welcome someone.

For years, I counted on our Fourth of July choir picnics. That's when my kitchen cabinets got painted or my patio chairs got upgraded. I got new dining room furniture and forks that matched when family was coming to town for Seth & Arley's wedding. And this weekend, Matt's room got a makeover because baby Eva has arrived.

Making over these rooms is one thing. Making adjustments to the interior of my heart and mind is another. Change is upon us, big change. And when it comes to the renovation of my heart, mind and emotions, God believes if it's worth doing it's worth doing right. It's worth doing slowly and carefully. It's worth peeling back layers and getting to the bones of things. And there is nobody you can hire to do it for you.

So God is busy in my heart, pulling up rugs and peeling off wallpaper. He is shining his light into dusty corners and opening cupboards I had long closed.

This sweet old house has been resilient over the years. It has adapted to the demands of a lifetime with our family and the family that came before us. It inspires me to endure the make-over underway inside me. I pray that my heart will be as welcoming as the walls of this room, which waits to be filled with the next chapter in the life of this family.

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