Uninvited: The Assignment of Loneliness

One of the very special parts of my recent trip to She Speaks was hearing Lysa TerKeurst's first message from her new book Uninvited. She poured her soul out to us and the whispers of "me too" could be felt all through the room. 

(This post is part of a blog tour for the new book and you can learn more or join here.)

I remember the first time I spoke of it. As a young teenager I contemplated how a girl like me with a big smile, good grades and often surrounded by friends could feel so lost - disconnected from the crowd and longing for the close friendships it seemed so many others enjoyed. What was wrong with me?

In sharing my struggle with a counselor and mentor she encouraged me that maybe God had a plan for my life that would make this time useful. She proposed that perhaps one day I would be a preacher's wife and need to be content with many friends but not find those close and thriving friendships I was craving. I began to accept that feeling of loneliness as God’s will for me.

Through my teen years, my parents once thriving marriage crumbled, and I looked for anything to fill the void. I entered a marriage of my own fresh out of high school and accepted that even in marriage, loneliness was my lot.

God did have plan. He did want to use my lonely feelings. But, if you know my Cowboy, it was not for me to be a preacher’s wife! Loneliness was not some special assignment from God. No. We all feel desperate for relationship, connection and love. Those feelings of longing and wanting are part of His plan to draw us to Him. His will and was for me to fall deeply and completely in love with Him because He first loved me. He made me to want. He wants me to find that life giving fulfilling friendship with Him.

I had the privilege this year of attending She Speaks. While I was there I was challenged to ask others to describe me in one word. The words came pouring in and I was astounded by the encouraging words and then I saw it. My Sunday school teacher from high school wrote one word.


Tears poured down my cheeks. As I sat among hundreds and hundreds of women in a beautiful setting, taking in the best teaching and worshipping with incredible music and sincerity, there it was -- one simple comment. Loved.

That’s His will for our loneliness and rejection and hurts. To be loved by the only One who can fill our love cups and heal our hearts.

 As a Proverbs 31 volunteer I knew I would soon receive the #Uninvited book, but I couldn’t wait to dive in and start reading on the plane home.
“Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love”

So I invite you to join me this fall as I reread the #Uninvitedbook and unwrap this truth. 
"Even when you're overlooked by others, your are handpicked by God." - Lysa TerKeurst

You can learn more and get a free chapter here
You can join the online Bible study and request my small group (#82 )here.

And...I'm giving away a FREE copy of the book so follow me on Facebook or Instagram to enter!

From R7 to  you --
Be a blessing.

Pickin' Part One: Clues and Tips for Flea Market Shopping

Where do you find stuff? That is absolutely the most commonly asked question when we share R7 Reclaimed Vintage. It's a tough question to answer because the answer is everywhere
Nothing is off limits.
Flea markets, garage sales, thrift stores, estate sales, auctions, burn piles and trash day!

But...there is a better question to ask that I think might help...
HOW do you find your stuff?


It's a little like looking for treasure. 
The clues you find along the way will guide you to where to start digging.

After a little practice you will be able to sniff out the bargains...

So the first step to gatherer clues is to understand the lay of the land. 
In other words know the kind of shop, event, or market... 
    • Is it a "vetted" or "juried" event? These usually have fancier names, lots of online advertising, vendors styled beautifully and made to be an experience. At this sort of market you are likely to fall in love with many items. Prices will be mid-range with many custom pieces but also similar items among vendors. At this type of market do a quick scan around looking for the most unique vendors with one of a kind items that catch your eye and then come back to shop signs, furniture, pallet goods and such. 
    • Is it an old fashioned flea market? This may look like junk piles, animals might be sold, and the rows and rows of tables might be easy to look past. Prices will range greatly at this kind of market....from true antique show prices down to garage sale prices. At this kind of market you need the most strategy and it's not such a good idea to browse because most items are one of a kind.
    • Is it an antiques show or shop? These can be presented in so many different ways from carefully curated to borderline hoarder style. The items are typically authentic and prices well researched. Theses are becoming unique treasures and splurging for something and learning all you can is well worth it from time to time. 

So once you have clues about where you are it's time to pay attention to more specific details.
I think the best way to describe what I do next is "sorting" -- not physically but mentally.
  • Dishes, glassware and collectibles are quickly scanned and price range noted. These take a little more time to browse through and because it has to match each person's individual taste or collection it's more likely to be there when I come back through. The exception would be if I note especially good prices and then I will shop right away.
  • At all times, I keep my eyes alert to really unique items or very functional furniture.
  •  I also sort out by textures and materials...such as enamels here, galvanized there, wood over there and so on. (I take a quick peek at prices too just to get an idea in my head.)
  • I also note unique handmade or really inspiring pieces

*Note -- this isn't a long process, just something I do quickly in my head.*
As an example with these pieces I would quickly categorize galvanized farmhouse (the feeder), barn wood primitive (the gate), shabby chic vintage (wicker), personalized (custom letters)  

And this chair is an example of something that I would stop in my tracks and ask about because I know if it's a good price it will go quickly.

So once I have a map in my mind I begin gathering the next set of clues.
  • I move through a booth seeing what is really unique. If I was writing an article about the vendor what would I say? Whatever makes them special -- that's probably what I want from them.
  • I make friendly conversation. Understanding one's personality makes it easier to have a conversation and sealing the deal. Most vendors WANT to talk with you.
  • I don't dwell. If I'm not instantly intrigued or in love with it. I move on. 
  • Does it have a place and a purpose?
  • Have I seen one before? If so how does the price and condition compare?
  • Does it have a purpose? Could it be used to store or organize or is it strictly decorative?
If I'm stuck I try to imagine a place where it would look great. For example this feeder is easy to instantly think of a Jo-Jo style "Fixer Upper." Once I have one of those rooms in my mind then I see it --- perhaps files or papers in the upright section and pencils or pens in the tray. Little magnets on the front to hold a memo. Now I know....in a kitchen, office, playroom -- it has potential!

This is first in a series, so come back and I will give more tips on treasure hunting including how to pick a hoarders pile, how to negotiate respectfully, and how to bring home the right mix!

Follow me on Instagram?
Enter my GIVEAWAY this week!

Check out Pinterest and Facebook to see what projects we are working on next...

From R7 to you --
Be a blessing.

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Love. Purpose. Story.

From time to time people ask, "What is R7?"
R7 symbolizes many things like our land, our name, and our family,  
but what it really represents is a Dream. a Belief. a Hope.

While we were dating, Cowboy took me to an abandoned home in the country and told me how he dreamed of someday finding a place like that and making it a home. Right then, in a house we probably weren't supposed to be in with a terrible odor lingering and broken shards of glass all around, we made a commitment. Although we didn't know when, where or how, we promised that if we were ever blessed with a home like that, we would use it to give back and bless others.

I think that's the real meaning of the word hospitality. 
Using whatever home God has given you to invite others into a place of welcome rest.
It doesn't matter if you live in a hut with a dirt floor, a family sized home with subfloors (I may be speaking from experience on that) or in a mansion set on a perfect hillside.

We can all open our doors and say come in.

So when I received a call asking if we would be interested in hosting a group of teen girls and their moms at the Vintage Studio and speaking to them. I said absolutely --YES! 

Although the weather was hot to start the evening, popsicles and lemonade kept the heat bearable so that photos could be taken in the photo booth, horses could be rode, and they could enjoy the treasures of our vintage studio.

And then the evening cooled, the lanterns came on and we settled in for a time of sharing.


It's what we do with our Vintage studio, but it's also how we live.
I had three words that I wanted them to remember when they think of reclaiming whether that's reclaiming an old metal pan from the garbage, furniture from their favorite thrift store, 
or restoring friendships, their families or love.

Love. Purpose. Story.

Each piece that I choose to haul home is because I love it! 
I can't ever predict what I will love about something. It might be its angles and lines. It might be its curves and odd shape. It might be its dents and scratches, but there must be an attraction!

We must remember that God looks at us with the same gleaming eye. He loves us.
He knows every single flaw we have and He not only loves us anyway but chooses us!
“For we know...loved by God, that he has chosen you…" 1 Thessalonians 1:4

This love and desire He has for us isn't the kind of love that just wants to own something and put it on a shelf for safe-keeping to make sure we are never scratched or dented. 
No...He wants to use us for a purpose.

We will enjoy the treasures we bring home every single day if we find a purpose for them. 
Rather than how can this add to my collection...ask how can this add to my home? to my life? 
Where can it inspire me or help me in some way?
And then ask what about me?
"But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purpose of his heart through all generations" Ps. 33:11

Purpose changes with the season. The same antique bowl that serves cold refreshing watermelon in the heat of summer offers warm pine branches to make the home more festive in the middle of winter.

Our purpose changes many times in our seasons of life,
with each season and its purposes leaving behind it marks. 
Literally -- leaving behind marks...can I get an amen??

But each line in the wood, each dent and scratch on our treasures and in our lives tells the story of where we've been and how God has used us in each season.

So fill your home and fill your life with three things.
Love. Purpose. Stories.

After our time of chatting, we headed into the kitchen (and air conditioning!) to enjoy s'mores ice cream sundaes (too hot for a campfire!) 

and a tour of our R7 home (well what's done so far!)

I enjoy speaking to and hosting groups of all ages, so if I can join you at an event or if you would like to bring a group here to R7 I would love to hear from you!

Do you follow me on Instagram?
I'm giving away Uninvited newly released by Lysa TerKeurst.
and request small group #82 to join me!

From R7 to you --
Be a blessing.

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Real Life Everyday Kitchen Tour

  1. 1.
    a room or area where food is prepared and cooked.
  2. 2.
    the percussion section of an orchestra.

Did you catch that??
The percussion section of an orchestra is called a kitchen.
I love that. Here's why.

The kitchen keeps the rhythm and beat for the home.
We know this and so unlike ever before the expectations for a beautiful kitchen have never been higher and let's face it --- it's the most difficult and expensive room in the home too.

So this  post is part of a REAL LIFE EVERY DAY KITCHEN tour.
Our kitchen really is the heartbeat of our home for our family and guests alike.

It is literally right in the center of our home too. Like you walk in the door and boom --
you're right there in the midst of it. Might as well pull up a seat and grab a spoon.

We've done a lot of work opening up walls and adding a white "shiplap" plank wall.

Originally the dining room was a living room and it was strictly an eat-in kitchen.

The DIY butcherblock island really transformed the kitchen and gave us the perk of a dishwasher!! 
 We still hope to update above the range, light fixtures and making a more built-in look for the fridge.

Every inch of our kitchen works hard! 

I'm always looking for ways to make keeping up easier. Rather than all of the empty water bottles, we used our mason jars for water and used Expo to jot names on the glasses.

The little station by the backdoor entrway  has been a life changer for organizing our family.

 Our kitchen is open on three sides so it is HIGH traffic!

But there is no better place to gather around and spend time together than where the 
heart of the home beats -- the kitchen.

PS...my house was clean for a special event when I took these pics --- this is NOT the usual. 
But I wouldn't have it any other way!

"Better is a dinner of herbs where love is..."
Proverbs 15:17

From R7 to you --
Be a blessing.

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Coffee table charm: Farmhouse style outdoor dining

The addiction begin at seventeen....when I bought my first dining room table.
Tables are my weakness. I love the symbolism.
The idea of gathering around and sharing decadent food and good company.

You might remember this little haul of rescued junk from a burn pile on a nearby farm.

What looked to be around five feet tall from the road turned out to be around eight feet tall.
My cowboys were not intimidated though. They showed off their muscles and brought it back to R7.

Where it sat shamefully in the driveway for too long...
Until last night when we made the call and cut it in half.

As soon as we put it on end I was in L-O-ve!!!

So much farmhouse charm and the oversized tabletop is just imply inviting.

It would make an incredible coffee table in a large great room. 

It's also a great place for a casual picnic.

Such a unique piece. 

It would have kept birds or small animals at one time.

Eventually I might do a little touch up work on it, but for now I'm having fun with it!

Tomorrow we are having a group visit the vintage studio and R7 ranch, and I hope this makes their visit just a little more fun! 

 I like to welcome each group in a unique way, so that no two experiences are the same.

I just know if each of you could join me at the table that we would visit for hours sharing stories, laughs, and making my table dreams come true!

From R7 to you --
Be a blessing!

Do you follow me on Instagram?
I'm having a book giveaway...

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