What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Random Journal Day: Vanity, Oh Vanity! (not what you think)

Today is "Random Journal Day", when many of us old journalers look back through the dusty volumes of our past and randomly choose something to share with the rest of the world.  You never know what you are going to get on Random Journal Day!  It could be something sweet, or something sad. It may even be profound, or words written from a struggling soul...or like mine today, just some pleasant memories that were meaningful to me and I hope will have some lasting value for you as well.  So here we go...

I thought I would look for something written around this same time of year, so I landed upon a journal entry written on October 30, 1990 at 8:21 p.m.  However, in my first paragraph of this particular journal entry I referred to a previous entry, written a couple of months earlier, but referring to this same topic..."My Vanity".  So, in order to help this little story make sense, I must go back to the previous writing and go from there...please bear with me...this may be a long post!

August 4, 1990:

My bedroom at the time of this writing, 1990.
(Remember to click on pictures to enlarge for viewing)
"Right now I'm sitting in our bedroom on our lovely country blue and white bed and comforter, enjoying the freshly finished mahogany vanity.  I have a blue candle and sconce (chimney) centered in front of the mirror, and it's so lovely to watch the reflections of the flickering candle. It gives off such a soft glow which reflects on the shine of the rich wood and the many glass bottles of perfume and jars of pot pourri on the vanity.  Such a warm, cozy feeling it gives!  It helps me to enjoy and appreciate this little corner of my room.  I also have the lovely cut glass vanity lamps lit on my Grandma Tedlie's dresser~and they add a romantic and nostalgic aura to the room.  Someday perhaps my granddaughter (?) will enjoy and appreciate these links to the past!  I hope whoever receives them will feel a kindred spirit with the author of this book!  It would be fun to watch and see!  I wonder if we'll have that privilege from heaven?  Perhaps heaven will be too full of glory to be concerned with such things.  I hope to leave more of a heritage than just old furniture. Perhaps a love for the Lord."

Move ahead to October 30, 1990:

"After re-reading page 80 about my corner of the bedroom, I see I failed to give the details of the history of my newly-refinished vanity.  So, just for the record~the lovely mahogany vanity was given to me by my Dad for my 18th birthday~my last birthday at home before I got married!  Only when Daddy gave it to me he had "antiqued" it in the popular style of the day~a sort of light avocado green antiquing.  It was lovely, he did a wonderful job of finishing it.  I was so proud of that gift~the only piece of furniture I was to take with me from my old home to my new home.  The only gift I can really remember that my Dad prepared especially for me.  I remember the day he bought it.  We were shopping at a used furniture and antique store in the little town of Eustis.  I bought a special old fashioned plaque for my Mother...to give to her on Mother's Day.  It still hangs in her bedroom (at the time of this original writing...I have it back with me now.)

Anyway, as we were browsing around through the dusty, dark storage rooms of used furniture, Daddy discovered this vanity, and called it to my attention.  It was rather worn and faded looking, somewhat forlorn among all the cast-off furnishings of days gone by.  But it had a "regal" look~a graceful beauty that beckoned to me.  I'd never owned a "real" piece of furniture before~my room at home was rather simple~2 twin beds with no headboards, a large desk Daddy had made for my sister Doris and me to share~and a built-in dresser and closet. Neat, but plain.  The vanity had curves and style~I loved it~it made me feel like a princess.  Daddy bought it.  I don't remember how we got it home, but he set to work on it right away~smoothing down the rough edges and scratches~and then the finish~it was beautiful!  What a happy birthday it was for me!  18!! I don't remember anything else about that birthday, but about 12 days later I met my husband to be...and less than one year later~we transferred that vanity in a U-Haul trailer from my old home to our new apartment~our first home together!  It really didn't match any of our other furnishings, but then, none of our other furniture matched anything else!  We set up housekeeping with odds and ends of used furniture~which is another story in itself.  My Dad again came to the rescue in seeking out "good sturdy furniture" at a low price!  But the vanity stayed with us~through some 24 moves (then...many more now)...from house to house, apartment to house, state to state and back again!

For 21 years it sat in my room and held my jewelry, scarves, perfume, knicknacks and other special memories.  The right top drawer had bits of rice that was from our wedding day...

It sustained many knicks and bumps~the antiqued finish began to chip and peel off.  The mirror frame sustained a major injury and lost one of its Queen Anne curves~but I held on to it in hopes of someday restoring it.

Finally, after realizing it had become quite an eyesore, I determined to refinish it to its natural beauty.  So I began the process of stripping off the green antiquing~under that was a white coat of base paint more stubborn to remove, and under that a coat of varnish-and finally the original mahogany veneer.  During the stripping process I accidentally splashed some stripper into my eye and had an awful time waiting for it to heal.  You can believe I wore safety goggles after that!

Then we moved again~I had only finished the vanity table...not the mirror or stool.  So once again we move it, careful not to put any new scratches on it's freshly stained and tung-oiled surface. It sat in the corner of our new bedroom about eight months without its mirror or stool.  Finally during the summer I made up my mind to get it finished once and for all.  I took the mirror and stool to a professional stripper to remove the finish.  Then I brought it home and stained and oiled it to match the rest.  I covered the cushion of the stool to match our new bedspread and drapes, and then I stood back to admire this "old" friend who had become like new again! Transformed into a thing of beauty and pleasure to behold!
The Refinished Vanity, as she looked at the time of this
original journal entry in 1990

Oh, I know an antique dealer would probably snicker at the "value" of this piece of furniture~it's really not that old, or that good, but to me it is a treasure chest of memories--an old friend who's been by my bedside now for 22 years (add another 23 to that today!)...a precious link to my past...and my Dad."



 Well, today, this vanity has been with me for about 45 years!  (I really was only one year old when I first got it! Ha!!!!)  It has a few more scratches and bumps and lots of dust.  It has traveled quite a journey with me...and I still hope to pass it down along with my Grandma Tedlie's dresser to a granddaughter someday...if I ever get one...(I currently have one wonderful grandson, and he just may have to take it someday)  or maybe to a great-granddaughter or niece.   I hope this little story will go with it wherever it goes...and that the recipient of this inheritance will possess something even more precious than this story:

1 Peter 3:3-4- A gentle and quiet spirit
"And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. "
Proverbs 31:30- Fear of the Lord
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
This is how my vanity looks today...a bit cluttered...and
the bench disappeared sometime ago, and I think I
finally cleaned all the wedding rice out of the drawers.
I also have added an antique chamber pot...just in case...

I know that my Daddy, who is now up in heaven, would be pleased to know that I still treasure this gift and honor his memory by sharing this story.  I know my Heavenly Father, Who is also up in heaven, would be pleased to know that I treasure His gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ...and that I honor HIS memory by sharing His Story every chance I get!

I hope you have enjoyed this little journey back into my past.  What kind of special treasures and memories do YOU have to share?  Perhaps you should go over to "Beneath the Surface, Breath of Faith" and link up with us and share YOUR story! I can't wait to read it!

Here's a link to another story on restoration that you may find interesting as well: "Cracks in My Soul"

12 comments:

  1. Taking a small break today and came to read this wonderful post Pam! I certainly hope you print this out and tuck it deep into one of those drawers so it will always be with this lovely vanity. Susie

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    1. I feel honored to be one of the posts you took time to read in the middle of your busy day! :) That is a great idea...printing and putting in the drawer. Actually, the original journal with this story is already IN the drawer of the vanity, but I think this printed variety may be easier to read than my handwriting! I'm so glad you came over for a visit...now back to work! :) Love ya girlfriend...Pam.

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  2. Such a precious story you've shared with us, Pam. I love how you carried those pieces with you wherever you went. Your dad was a special man to take you antique shopping and giving you such treasures. I can relate to the "antiquing" technique" of those days. My mother bought me a beautiful rocking chair with all of the carving on the headrest part of the chair...and did the "antiquing" in blue. :)

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    1. Thank you, Dianna! Funny how old furniture can be such a connection to our past and to our future generations as well. Yes, My Dad was very special, as was my Mother. They are both missed every day...but I look forward to seeing them again someday. In the meantime, I will remember them with much love. Thank you for coming by for a little visit today!

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  3. I so enjoyed reading your post about your vanity, I could feel the love that you have for your father. What a special relationship you had with him. My mother gave me her wash stand that once belonged to her mother after I was married, I still have it today. I have loved it, painted it several times and used it for differant things. I took the top part off that was once used to hang a hand towel on and have regrated doing that. It now sits by my front door. Precious memories and I do believe our loved ones are watching down over us!

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    1. Oh yes...I feel that close connection with my sweet parents...I miss them so, but I really don't think heaven is all that far away. I've made some mistakes with other special antiques that are family "heirlooms" as well that I regret, but I have to keep things in perspective...as special as it is, it is still only wood that decays. Thank you for stopping by today and sharing this time with me.

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  4. This reminds me of the important old pieces we have in our home--ones we haven't lavished quite the love you have on your vanity. You encourage me to get going and return them to their original glory. Even in their dinged and tarnished state, they are greatly loved, but your post reminds me what they are beneath. Also what WE are beneath our dings and blemishes. Good stuff. Thanks.

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    1. Ah yes...you saw the underlying message that I didn't really capitalize upon in this post, but it was running around in the background of my mind. I was thinking I may have to expand this for another time, although I sort of already did in one on restoration http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com/2012/05/cracks-in-my-soul.html Thank you, Carolyn, for visiting today. I've had you on my heart and mind...praying for your healing and "restoration" of body.

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  5. Pam: I have a couple of pieces of antique furniture. My grandmother's cedar chest and my great-grandmother's small library table. I have given my son instructions that if anything happens to me, the cedar chest (hope chest) goes to him. The library table goes to my dad's youngest first cousin. It belonged to her grandmother. This table was in my home as I grew up. The cedar chest was at the foot of my parents' bed. Someone made it for my grandmother who died as a result of childbirth complications a few days after my dad was born.

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    1. Oh, that must be a very special cedar chest. Such a treasure especially it must have been for your father. A connection to his mother who apparently didn't live to enjoy and raise her precious son. Wow. I love knowing the history of special pieces of furniture. That's why I wanted my future heirs to know why this vanity was so special to me. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  6. Pam: I'm on a blogging sabbatical, but I couldn't miss out on the great posts from the faithful RJD crew...so glad I stopped by...I got wrapped up in your story and just enjoyed the journey! All the special memories...I love that God gave you this "altar of remembrance" to carry His faithfulness to you through the gift of a earthly father and your family moving around, yet clinging to Jesus all these years...you give me courage to keep walking with Him!

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    1. Thank you Kel, for stopping by even during your sabbatical! I feel honored by your presence here! Yes, we need to keep walking with Christ no matter where He leads us, because with Christ as our guide, we cannot go astray. Even if we try to...He will gently pull us back on track. There is no better path to follow than that! I'm glad you enjoyed this story. It is one of my favorite memories of my Dad here on earth. My Father in heaven continues to create special things for me every day...I've been truly blessed by both.

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Thank you for visiting here today. I would love for you to sign my guestbook and let me know you stopped by. I always enjoy reading your comments and words of encouragement! May you be blessed as you go on your way. Please come back and visit again soon.