Slight disclaimer: I struggled to decide whether this was the story I wanted to tell or just talk about the mural. After much thought, this mural is more than a painting to me. It represents ownership of the wall that I can paint on because it’s mine and the journey we took to get here was not easy or quick, but it was surprising in many ways. So I decided to go ahead and tell that story even though it may be a little long, I hope you enjoy it. I look forward to your comments!
I used Camtasia after becoming giving up on Adobe Premier Rush. The sound effects and music are attribution-free.
In 2013 we sold everything we owned in Oklahoma and moved into our RV with our two small children, to live in Kansas City. We took the step on faith and worked at a church for free living only on our savings. After 3 years, things didn’t turn out the way I had expected. I had suffered two miscariages. Then, we actually lost a baby girl who was born too early and didn’t survive the NICU. In 2016, I found myself pregnant again and we needed health insurance.
The church we were working for wasn’t able to hire us or provide insurance, so we had to get real jobs. No one would hire me, because they could clearly see I was pregnant and my availability was sure to change in a matter of months. We were at our lowest point. Having suffered so much loss, leaving the church we had worked at, having no jobs or insurance and no clear direction, we just didn’t know what to do.
My husband got a horrible job he hated just so we could have a paycheck and insurance. I had to get injections every week to ensure my body would carry the baby to term. We rented a tiny two bedroom house that was nothing more than a kitchen, a living room, a bathroom and two bedrooms. It was tight, but it worked.
After our baby was born, I almost immediately got hired at the job I currently have which I absolutely love. It was a HUGE blessing. But my husband has always wanted to be a pastor and we just didn’t see where or how that would happen. I knew it didn’t look possible, but I knew it wasn’t impossible. I began praying for a way out of our current house and into ministry. Some how, some way.
Then, out of the blue, my mother-in-law announced that she was moving to Eudora. We thought she was crazy! What in the world could be out in Eudora? She said it was to be closer to one of my husband’s sisters who had recently moved to Lawrence. We decided to move too. What could it hurt? We hoped it would be better than our current situation. In a strange, almost miraculous turn of events, the ENTIRE family moved to Eudora in the same month! I’m talking, my husband’s parents and his two other sisters and their families – not counting the sister already living in Lawrence.
Now, I don’t know if you know the housing scene in Eudora, but it’s insane. If you don’t instantly make an offer or put in your rental application the second the listing goes online, it gets snapped up in a matter of minutes and you missed it. So for all of us – our family, his mom’s family, and two sisters with their families, to get housing in the same month in Eudora is a down right miracle.
Once we were in Eudora, we visited this tiny little church on Main street that had a grand total of 9 in service that Sunday. We kept it to ourselves that we had been in ministry and were looking for a place to serve. But the next Sunday when we visited, the pastor shared with us that he was actually pastoring in Tonganoxie and would drive down to Eudora to preach after his other church service…. And that they were needing a pastor in Eudora.
Long story short, we started pastoring at Eudora in 2017. We continued to rent in Eudora just waiting for that right house to become available. Then, late in 2019 we found it. We put an offer on it immediately! You can’t mess around if you actually want to get it! My husband went next door to talk to the neighbor and ask about the street and see if he had any insight to the house. It was funny because the neighbor thought my husband was the realtor and when he said no, we want to buy it, he said, “Oh! Let me tell you then!” So turns out, the neighbor owned the house and fixed it up to sell and he was actually a pastor of a church in Lawrence! So even though he got tons of offers that day, he accepted ours and we were able to move in in January of 2020.
This was such a long road to get to this home, this place of belonging both in our residence and in our vocation. Not at all where I thought we would end up when we left Oklahoma more than seven years ago. So while many people see all of the negative things that happened in 2020, and don’t get me wrong, some bad stuff did happen, we see it as a good year for us because we found the right place.
We used being in quarantine as an opportunity to fix up our home. We planted a garden, we raised chickens in the backyard, my husband loves a manicured lawn, and I painted this mural. I have always loved this deep bluegreen peacock color and I had actually picked out the pillows before I ever painted the wall. It was just a plain grey wall and I had been considering painting a large canvas to hang there above the sofa, but after feeling a little stircrazy on lockdown, and not having painted anything in such a long time, I decided I just had to paint the whole wall. There’s no other option. So I chose the peacock color to be a bold contrast to the lighter walls around it and I got metallic gold paint for the lines. I wanted something graphic with bold contrast. I searched pinterest for inspiration and kept seeing large botanicals as a theme so I chose the palm leaf because we started pastoring in Eudora on Easter Sunday, and the monstera leaf because it just looks cool. Then I filled in the rest according to my whims. It only took 2 days to paint. I’ve painted so many murals in my life I’ve actually lost count. But I know for sure, this one was the fastest and I’m most pleased with how this one turned out.