Saturday, April 30, 2011

Let there be light!

Almost five years ago, when we were looking to buy our first place, we were really discouraged. It was a seller's market and everything in our price range was the size of a shoe box and/or needed TONS of cosmetic work that we didn't have time for. The first day we looked at the place we now own, I was really drawn to the character it had and the fact that there wasn't any ugly wallpaper to remove or linoleum to rip up. I remember thinking that if we were to buy it, the only things I'd need to do would be to paint and change out the lighting. So here we are 4 1/2 years later. We've built an addition, replaced the windows, put in a brick walkway, etc etc. But have I painted or changed the lighting? No! Paint and lighting had become those things on my to-do list that I just became complacent about. But this week, thanks to our handy, make-it-happen friend Brian, dreams have finally become reality!

The lighting situation in our dining room had gotten really bad. I forgot to take a "before" picture of the old fixture while it was still hanging but here it is sitting by my trash can.

Not only is it gold and gaudy (and because I tried to pretend it didn't exist, it was also covered in dust and cobwebs), it didn't even work. It worked for maybe the first year we lived here and the day it stopped I just stuck a lamp on the dining room table "until we replace it." But this is how we've lit the dining room for the last few years.

I had to browse through photo archives to find this. I tried to crop out most the random kids, but you get the gist.
It's fine for just us but when we host company its kind of embarrasing. I'd move the lamp to the corner of the table, blocking people's view of each other, or place it on a stool in the corner of the room and bring in floor lamps to light the other side of the room. Even my mom had gotten to the point where every few months she'd ask if I'd called an electrician yet. And its not even like I had to buy a new light. About 6 or 7 years ago I had picked up a brushed nickle chandelier with black shades a thrift shop for $3 because "some day I might need this." (That was back when I had a finished third floor just for storage.)

Soon after we moved to this place my intention was to replace the gaudy light in the dining room with my thrift-shop light I'd kept in storage. I gave this chandelier to an electrian friend of ours so he could test it and see if it even worked. He confirmed it did but I never bothered to get it back. A few times a year when I'd considering getting someone to hooking it up, I'd ask if he still had it and he continued to hold on to it for me.

At some point I'd sold or tossed the black shades knowing I wouldn't use them; meanwhile I picked up a couple sets of replacement shades at yard sales.  Not having the fixture with me I couldn't remember how big it was or even how many lights it had. I was very inspired by these shades that I found at a yard sale first.
I can't imagine I paid more than a few bucks. The colors are right up my alley and coordinate well with what I already have. Then last summer I came across these for $2 and picked them up in case the fixture  required something smaller or if I decided I didn't want a patterned shade.

So FINALLY, with get-it-done Brian at our house painting and asking about anything else he could check off my honey-do list, I asked my "keeper of the light" friend for my light back and was delighted to have him deliver it to my house the next day. I thought I remembered it being bigger and its not what I would pick out new now, but I still like it, it matches the room, it actually works and the price was right so I was determined to use it. While Brian worked on installing it I ran out to get new light bulbs. Half an hour later I had overhead light in my dining room!!! If only you knew how happy this makes me! I ran to the basement to get my sets of shades and quickly discovered the patterned set was far too big. Bummer. But the other ones fit and looked just fine. All for under $10 and I'm kicking myself for not doing this sooner.

That night as I was putting Katherine to bed, she grabbed her bedside Bible and asked me to find some new things we can praise God for during prayer. I randomly opened up to Psalm 33 where we read that God is true, fair and right, that he created our hearts and understands everything we do, and that he collected up the waters in a heap and made the sea. In describing this and other elements of creation, in verse 9 it says, "He spoke, and it happened. He commanded, and it appeared."  Of course I was instantly reminded of Genesis 1:3-4a: "Then God said, 'Let there be light!' And there was light. God saw that the light was good." Only He was able to create light for our world with the mere power of his words. 1 John 1:5 tell us that "God is light and in him there is no darkness at all." and  in John 8:12 Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

It's amazing how we love and crave light. While I'm so thankful for the new light over my head, I'm most thankful for Jesus' light that dispels the darkness in my life and his word, the Bible, that is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).

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