Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dancing With God As We Dug Through Dirt

Dana and I sat across from each other covered head to toe in dust, dirt, and probably asbestos; eating taco bell, drinking pepsi, and grinning from ear to ear! It had been a day you dream of (well I would dream of) and we were both finding it hard to believe that the entire morning and early afternoon had passed without us realizing it.  Let’s back track a little and fill you in on the adventure…

Dana and I have been hanging out, dreaming, and conspiring together for some time.  Dana is one of the most exquisite designers I know and collaborating together is always inspiring.  So the two of us grab coffee from time to time discussing projects and goals for our art.  Recently we decided to take on a project together up at the church, repurposing a room into a conference room/meeting area.  We’ve both expressed our desire to make this room the anti-conference table type room, fighting the boring standards of commercial design, and creating a space that evokes creativity and life!  Since both of us are avid hunters of beautiful found objects that to the average person would be considered junk, we hashed out an amazing design using found pieces.  Over the last several days I had stalked craigslist looking for objects that someone was selling for a quick buck.  Until I came across THIS!

“Tearing down an old house on Monday, come get whatever you want”

So last Friday, Bright and early, 8:30am (well bright for me) Dana and I met at my house with a rusted hammer and pink screwdriver in hand.  The house just so happened to be only a mile from my home, so we arrived quickly to a street full of cars. We laughed as we realized we were the only females insight.  Surrounded by workers of all sorts we stepped inside the cute little house with high hopes!  Boy were we disappointed.  This beautiful old farmhouse was all but completely disassembled, even the windows were gone.  Since we are scavengers we automatically spread out looking in every nook, cranny, and, closet.  We squealed with delight as we discovered that these boys had looked over the vintage ceramic light fixtures located in all the closets.  Crap! No ladder!  No worries, I spun around to see Dana flipping over an empty paint bucket and quickly going to work with my pink screwdriver.  We spent a good 30 minutes grabbing every ceramic fixture we could find in the house, yes including two lids to the back of a toilet that we plan on using as funky shelves.  Marking the morning as a semi success we began packing up our finds and I mentioned to Dana, “hey I’m just going to go peak in the attic and see if there’s anything good up there.”  Borrowing a ladder from the sweet little worker outside I hoisted myself up through exposed beams in the ceiling. 

As I peered through the attic I was shocked.  It was as if the family who moved out and the buyer of the current project hadn’t even bothered to investigate up here.   I quickly and quietly (don’t want the other workers to know what’s up here) found Dana and got her up to the attic as quickly as possible.  Appearing to have been undisturbed for over 40 yrs, this was the stuff you dream of finding; an entire attic filled with boxes, bottles, old doors, and even two ginormous stacks of vintage penthouse magazines.  (we did not take that collection, don’t worry).  

This marked the start of a 4-hour dig!!!! 

Up there in that attic, Dana and I lost time.  As weird as it may sound, we were two souls, dancing with God as we dug through dirt.  Like pro’s, we hopped from beam to beam sifting through piles of discarded treasures. With each vintage Avon bottle that I held up, every old retro Christmas ornament that Dana discovered, and all the porcelain electrical outlets we pulled from 2x4’s you could see us both completely lost in the moment.  Around hour 3 we stopped to discuss the possibility of asbestos being in all the air particles we were breathing, but you know what, who cares!  We were creating!!!

Our adventure came to a close around 2pm when our bodies couldn’t squat another second and our stomachs were leading revolts.  Dana passed down all of our new found possessions through the exposed hole in the ceiling as I stood below catching them.  It was fun to see the faces of all the random workers realizing that two women had been up in the attic all day.  They stared at us filled with confusion and jealousy as we began to pass down our collection through the ceiling. In total we had become the proud owners of 3 rusted and fabulous doors, a collection of vintage Avon bottles, old Christmas ornaments, a laundry load full of pearl snap western shirts, 20 porcelain knobs, a dusty old globe, wood coat hangers, lampshades made from burlap, Barnium and Balley posters, old black and white photos,  and so much more!

Recently I’ve begun to put words behind why the process of creating feels like LIFE to me.  When I am creating, scavenging, finding, dreaming, I find myself truly in the moment.  It’s one of the very few places where I feel like I exist outside of time.  In these moments I feel so close to God it’s unexplainable, and I’m coming to realize maybe that’s because God exists in the present moment.  The present moment seems to be the only place where both He and I exist in the same place and thus creating ushers me into a space where WE ARE, together!

In short, I realize that responding to a craigslist ad, digging through an old dusty attic, collecting junk may not be everyones idea of "Dancing with God", but my prayer is that you find the thing that leads you into the dance.  I think it starts with allowing your ears to hear the music, and putting aside the voices of those who tell you you're crazy, weird, or abnormal.  Do what you love, however unconventional it may seem, it's where you might find God saving a dance for you!


  1. I loved reading this and can just picture the two of you, giddy with delight, finding the most amazing treasures!

  2. I loved this post! I totally agree that can be a dancing with God experience! I want to do this sometime!!

  3. Keep dancing! I saw the house this week. It reminded me of when a whale washes up on the beach and after time passes all that is left is the bones and the baleen.

    I'm so glad you know how to find the "present" . . . it really is a present don't you think :)

  4. I felt like a pirate discovering a lost treasure.! I'm so glad we got to experience this together. I think I blew black crud out of my nose for two days!!! Let's dance again soon! :)

  5. Oh my goodness!! That sounds SOOO fun!! Love this post!

  6. Well reported!! I enjoyed the read:)