The Yellow House (part one)

As I have been looking at paint chips, thinking about furniture placement, window shopping online, for my “soon to be” decorating project, my mind wandered way back to some of my first attempts at making  a house a home, way back when I was a young mommy.

It was the somewhere between the mid to late 70’s. We had moved into an old rental house we lovingly called “the yellow house”, for no other reason than it was yellow.

The  yellow house was one of those houses that seemed like home the minute I walked in the door. It was something I could work with. The hardwood floors were already there. And there was a fireplace in the living room.

There was no HGTV for inspiration,(gasp) no Pinterest, or house Reno magazines. If fact, I don’t think the word Reno had been invented.

We moved the big, black, vinyl, yard sale sofa into the living room facing the fireplace.  Two small, white, plastic  parsons table were in front of the sofa to serve as a coffee table. The piano went in the corner. Black and white checked curtains (made out of bedspreads) flanked the double window.

black sofa


black drapes

I now needed chairs. A small town, fifteen miles away, had a few stores on Main St. One was called a Variety Store……and it had…….. a variety of things. One day the girls and I went in, just to browse, and there they were. Chairs for the living room….chairs to coordinate with the black vinyl sofa. And the price was right…clearance …$3 each. Somewhere in my 1970’s decorating mind, I heard director chairs were “chic”. And before my eyes were two Kelly green director chairs similar to this one. They were meant to be mine. The girls agreed and the “chic” chairs went home with us.

green chair

Wow!!! What was I thinking. For the living room??? Really?

My young daughters were eager to help mom fix up the house.

Our next step was to add color to the walls. I don’t know why I thought this was ok in a rental house. Perhaps, I had asked permission. You are not going to believe the walls.

Stay tune for part 2.


Momma’s Gift

It seemed like an ordinary day, when Momma’s piano came to be a fixed piece of furniture in the living room. And isn’t that the way extraordinary things begin….in a quiet manner? I’ve come to understand those events that impact life the most, arrive without a lot of fanfare or drum rolls. They just quietly blend in like they belong.

If mom had many dreams in life, she kept them to herself. You had to be paying attention to read between the lines to know she had a big dream. A dream so big she never thought she deserved it. She struggled with believing she deserved anything special in life. Humble she was. Growing up in a home with little love and lots of discipline, she learned to not expect much and she wouldn’t be disappointed. It was wrong to think she deserved much in life, so she was led to believe.

My five year old self watched, as the old, used, upright piano was placed along one of the walls. I had seen pianos in church and knew what it was……I just didn’t know it was momma’s dream. I didn’t find that out until decades later.

She had six kids and a husband. She had a job at the local cotton mill. And her heart was telling her, there was time for more. There was time for a dream to come true. This was not for selfish reasons, nor for personal gain. It was a dream to serve others and to glorify God, whom she loved with all her heart.

Momma wanted to learned to play the piano. She wanted to be good enough to be the church pianist. A gift she wasn’t sure she was worthy of, but the desire was there. There weren’t too many pianist around and none in our family, on either side.

That may sound strange, but that was way before the electronic keyboards, that stay true  to their advertisements, “anybody can learn to play in a day.”

No…… learning to play that old upright would required many hours of practice. Hours Mom didn’t have.

I know this because, momma never learned to play, momma never became the church pianist but………. I did.

That old upright and I became very good friends. It wasn’t planned, there weren’t any lessons……..the piano was there and it seemed natural for me to sit down and begin the journey. It has spanned decades, many towns and many churches. I’ve heard the compliments and comments “what a gift you have.’’

As we were talking, shortly before mom passed away, I realized I was living the dream she had that day the upright piano came  to our house. Reading between the lines, I was sadden that it was too late for the gift to be hers. She had  watched as she was passed up, and what she wanted was given to her daughter. She never spoke a word of bitterness or self pity. If she ever questioned why, I never heard it.

Perhaps her dream had changed years before. Maybe all that mattered was for the seed in her heart to bloom and she didn’t mind that it was in her child’s life. Every time I play, it is my mom’s dream. Without her dream, there never would have been a piano in the house to catch a little girl’s fascination. Maybe she realized it that day those little fingers sounded out  “Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are.”

Mom’s dream didn’t die, it bloomed somewhere still connected to her heart.