Precious feet

Beyond ecstatic, I hung up the phone overcome with gratitude.

After seventeen years in our home, the home with five children (four teenagers), three dogs, and two cats tearing up the same worn carpet and ripped vinyl floors, one of my favorite flooring brands invited me into a partnership to replace those nasty things (the floors, not the kids.)

Sure, it was an absolute “want,” not a “need,” but since we’re committed to paying cash for all our purchases, it felt like a hug from above that skyrocketed this superficial purchase housed at the bottom of our “To Do” list right to the top.

Told that they wanted our flooring done within two weeks, I spent the next few days pondering all the laminate and hard wood flooring choices. Wow, I had no idea there were so many options. How does one make such first-world decisions?

Dreams of sleek floors filled my thoughts. Thoughts that no longer included positioning furniture over nail polish spills, coffee stains and dog accident residual allowed the creative juices to flow.

I hosted a large gathering later that weekend, and as I shared my plans for new flooring, a close relative exclaimed her excitement, “I am just thrilled for you. You deserve it, plus these floors look so tacky now.”

As the evening continued, my eyes gravitated toward those tacky floors.

Those tacky floors that welcomed guests from cities and countries around the world. Those tacky floors that invited children to wrestle and giggle and build forts. Those tacky floors that told stories of a life well spent.

It’s been nearly one year now since that pivotal week. The week I spent dreaming about my new floors. That same week my old floors screamed “tacky.”

Throughout this past year, not a month goes by that our ten-year-old daughter doesn’t ask, “Do you think that company will ever follow through with their promise about our floors? They shouldn’t break a promise like that.”

“You’re right. They shouldn’t, honey, but it happens, and our floors are just fine.”

“No mom, they are tacky. You know they are.”

The last time she reminded me of this fact, I pulled her down on the sofa and began to reminisce.

“Do you see that stain? Remember when Lola got into the chocolate and we thought she might die? But she didn’t.  The Lord took care of your special puppy and that stain reminds us of that.

And the tears in the kitchen vinyl? You crawled for the first time in that spot and took your first steps right by that crack. Now you are ten years old and dropping cookie dough that you’ve made from scratch, all by yourself, on that same tacky floor.

This coffee spot? I smile every time I see it because women shared life together that evening. We cried and giggled and assured each other that we will make it through the exhausting days. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and it’s a joy to welcome them into our home and remind them of that regularly.

Sweetie, I know you don’t like these floors, and it’s OK to think about buying new ones,  but for now, I want you to love them and all that they symbolize. LIFE. Life to the fullest.”

As we cuddled together reminiscing, contentment covered us. Our home life flows from God’s abundance.

Yes,  worn carpets stare back at us. Yes, ripped flooring is still a reality, but they are ours.

Our home, our memories, our reminder of God’s faithfulness throughout a decade of uncertainty.

Sometimes, all we need is a perspective change and this time the Lord used a seemingly insignificant and superficial disappointment to remind us of His goodness.

Don’t let this moment fool you. I’m still saving my pennies to replace those floors, but for now, I’m embracing each moment that we have left with them.

So, let’s give three cheers for my tacky floors.

Floors where thousands of feet have walked during hundreds of gatherings. Floors that have celebrated new life and floors where mourners lay grieving from death too early.  Floors that witnessed grace in action and floors that still hold secrets from foolish decisions. Floors that have shared Life – a life well spent.

Thank you, Lord, for my tacky floors.

They are messy,  just like me, and there’s something awfully beautiful in that.

Do you have your own “tacky floor” story?

Why don’t you join me in the comments to celebrate our perspective change?

Shared by: Jen Schmidt, author behind Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and 10 Minute Dinners

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  • EH

    Thank you for this post! I am guilty of being ashamed to invite guests into my home because I’m afraid of being judged that it’s not fancy enough. There are definitely some “tacky” floors here! But they also reflect the love and life that has gone through this house. :)

    • http://www.beautyandbedlam.com Jennifer Schmidt

      I just know that when guests are invited, the “floors” don’t even bother anyone. They just love that we extended the invitation.

  • Andrea

    Where is the “like button”? This is great! Thanks for the smile! We are in a new home (again… Life of a “I’m being transferred again” family)….but as a kid I remember sitting at home remembering the oops we made and even hearing my grandmother say to my mom “see that….remember when…..” And the giggles it brought on. Happy times. Thanks!

    • http://www.beautyandbedlam.com Jennifer Schmidt

      Oh how fun. What a great memory. I will have to make sure and make for lots of those giggles before we do get our new floors. ;)

  • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    Jennifer,
    I am reminded, by your story, of a wise woman who once explained the difference between “entertaining” and “hospitality” to me. Entertaining focuses on the person doing the hosting (come see my pristine house with lovely hardwood floors). Hospitality focuses on the person being hosted (come on in; pull up a chair; let me get you a cup of coffee, and don’t worry if you spill some on my tacky floor!). Obviously you have a home filled with hospitality! Wonderful post!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • http://www.beautyandbedlam.com Jennifer Schmidt

      Thank you , Bev – we are a home that desires each person that comes through the to have that “pull up a chair feeling.” When that woman spilled her coffee, she was mortified and I honestly could say to her, really, it’s just no big deal.

  • http://www.kathycheek.com Kathy

    A home is where life is lived and wear and tear are signs of life, not a showroom! Your home sounds full of life and love and blessings!

    • http://www.beautyandbedlam.com Jennifer Schmidt

      Yes, tears are a sign of life both literally and figuratively, right? :)

  • http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com Linda@Creekside

    You’ve brave! And pretty wise, too! More than a few of us will resonate with your story …

    • http://www.beautyandbedlam.com Jennifer Schmidt

      Thank you so much, Linda. We all have something “tacky” in our home, even if it’s not specifically our floors, right? :)

  • http://www.chrismalkemes.com Chris Malkemes

    Jennifer. What a nice little piece of wisdom here. We’ve grown from the Velveteen Rabbit to the Tacky Floor. The difference is always in the love. He loved us when we were unlovely. I wonder what memories He sees in the broken places of our heart? I hope He see our smiles and open arms as He touches those places with His love. Thanks for such a beautiful message. I look forward to meeting you someday. Will you be at Allume this year? If so I will look for you.

  • http://www.juliesunne.com Julie Sunne

    I love your perspective, Jen! Just what we all need to hear … and incorporate into our own lives.

  • http://countrycomestotown1.blogspot.com/ Lulu James

    Forget the tacky floors and do what you are doing a good job of–living and enjoying the joy of life. The time will come soon enough–when the floors will be the latest and greatest–and so clean you can eat off them–but with that comes the quietness of an empty nest. For this season—you are doing the right thing.

  • Penny

    Jen,I absolutely love this. I am going to look at our floors in a whole new light.

    Thank-you,

    Penny

  • http://www.jollynotes.com Bomi

    Oh! This made me cry! Good tears:)! Still in tears as I type – Thank you Lord for our tacky floors! Thank you Lord for being with us through it all! Thank you sister for sharing this:)!Sending you and your family big hugs:)! Thanks again for sharing.. Thank you Lord!!!

  • Hampgal

    My tacky floors are just starting to be redone after 26 years. I’m hoping for grandkids to break in the newly refinished wood and stretched carpets!! Another cycle of memories coming…

  • julie

    Although my floors aren’t tacky, I have longed for several years to move into a home which requires less maintenance. My cozy, warm, log home holds many memories also. We renewed our broken relationship here. We raised our children into adulthood here. We entertained young people whom our daughter had a heart to “bring to Jesus”, here. And now , we are helping nurture grandchildren, so mom and dad can have time together, here. Thank you for reminding me of the stories my home holds.

  • http://emmadunnam.blogspot.com Christy

    Thank you for your perspective…how beautiful! I’m glad I clicked and read this today. <3

  • Lucinda

    Thank you, thank you!..your post brought me to tears! I have been troubled with my “tacky” floors. But you are so right… a sign of a lot of living, a lot of loving,a lot of memories.

  • http://martysmoosetracks.blogspot.com Marty

    I LOVE this! Thank you for sharing!

  • Belinda Bryan

    We lived for years in 1000 square feet with 4 children. Their friends came through the house in great numbers. I often felt embarrassed about the shabbiness, but it never seemed to bother all those boys who ate biscuits and drank gallons of iced tea. We were able to move to a larger, nicer house, but I took those lessons with me. No concern about people making messes, an open door and plenty of food draw people in and make it possible to live in vibrant, life-giving community that affirms people and allows them to find acceptance and healing. So, enjoy the floors/memories and welcome life.

  • susan

    You hit the nail on the head… floors, we just walk on them. What matters is WHO walks on them and how they are greeted, welcomed, loved, encouraged.

  • Beth Williams

    Jennifer,

    You nailed it exactly! God would love to come into your home–tacky floors and all. He never cared how things looked on the outside–it was what’s on the inside that matters to Him. :) You have a great perspective on a Christian life well lived with plenty of hospitality & love!

    Thanks for a great perspective and post!!

  • Karen Teasdale

    We live in a 130 year old farmhouse that we love, but is in constant renovation. Our families and friends love to visit and enjoy bonfires and gatherings because what is important is sharing together and not worrying if something spills. It makes for a relaxed home and my opinion is that if you are coming to visit my home, don’t bother, but if you are coming to visit me, come on over!

  • http://www.yournourishings.com Beth Chapman

    Thank you soo much….I have a tacky bathroom upstairs which is the only shower for family , friends and over night guests. Great reminder of all the “refreshing and renewing” that has taken place there !

  • Ruth

    Thank you for this, am reminded that God looks at the heart not the tacky floor and He loves what He sees. Our visitors also look at the heart of our home and love to see the generous welcome we extend

  • Janice

    13 years of three boys and a dog have certainly left us with tacky floors. What a blessing! Thanks for the reminder. :)

  • http://www.kristinwithani.wordpress.com Kristin S

    Jen, this post kinda made me laugh because I spent hours in your home and never once noticed “tacky floors”. Your home screams “love”!

    • http://www.beautyandbedlam.com Jen (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam)

      Thanks so much, Kristen – there were probably just too many feet on it for you to notice. Just how I like it. :)

  • Marinalva Sickler

    Jennifer!

    I’m crying with the good-bye of a family member as I open my emails and I found your Tacky Floor message. I thank God for my ragged carpet. Many steps it has held including the paramedics taking my husband away on February of 2012. It’s mine for now. I thank heavens for allowing me to drag myself on days that are not so pleasant and to share and enjoy on other times when His joy is more tangible to me. Love you.

  • Christen

    This is too funny. I was thinking this was going to be a post on what to do when you spill an entire 2 liter bottle of pop on the kitchen floor. Not that anyone around here has ever done that. Ok, maybe that once. Thanks for the unexpected remininscences.

  • http://www.thekirkathens.com Jessica Kirk

    My house! We have for a solid year been living in my parents guest house. We moved across the state for my husbands job, our house is still forsale in former town I cry every day about it but know I must wait
    On The Lord

  • Gwen

    I love my laminate HARD good quality that we got because friends overbought and sold to us for so reasonable. Our two year old grandson plays blocks. I don’t worry when they tumble. I’m disabled and have needed food. I love having a solid surface for this family of four children from 18 mos. to nine years to each have a space to play– doing a puzzle, throwing a ball, building with magn-tiles! None of this would have been done on my old flooring. Another brought her two year old who likes to play in the tiny hallway where the linen closet is and the toys are in tubs that just slide out. Oh such fun to watch all these little ones have fun on my floor! And my greatest reward last Sunday? A little three year old cried when he had to go home. I’m so very blessed to have no tripping hazards. And easy to maintain flooring that’s great for new fun times already happening on these floors :-)

  • Becky

    I loved your message about “tacky” floors. Sound like there has been, and will be, a lot of living and loving in your home. I applaud your decision to always pay cash. We are in debt up to our eyeballs, and each time we say no to credit we are triumphant. So I guess it’s time to thank God for my old gray carpet, that was here when we arrived 6 years ago, andI can only guess how long it was here before we arrived. It keeps us warm in the winter and makes our house cozy. So thankful for our little home and for the ability to buy our first home in all of our married life (35 years!). After living in one home, raising our two sons, leaving memories behind with out old home, not once have we felt disoriented or that we didn’t belong here. We both have always felt, since we moved in, that this was our home. Amazing, and a miracle in itself. Thank you God for preparing a place for us!

  • Amanda

    I sway between loving my ‘tacky’ garden, ‘tacky’ kitchen, ‘tacky’ bathroom and wishing I could just change everything and make it brand new. After reading your post, I can sit firmly in the love that I feel for my home despite its tackiness. I can remember that I invite people into my home to offer them hospitality, love and togetherness rather than spotless and brand new surroundings. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Carol

    Thanks so much for your post! When I read, “Sometimes, all we need is a perspective change and this time the Lord used a seemingly insignificant and superficial disappointment to remind us of His goodness.” tears began to flow. Yesterday I participated in a church yard sale. I had worked hard for two weeks gathering “treasures” to sell to make some extra money. I know I heard the voice of God to participate in this endeavor. It was full of the right stuff: uncluttering our “tacky” home, sharing our abundance with those less fortunate perhaps and making money to boot. However at the end of that long, hot day, I only made $11.25. I kept reminding myself that all of the good stuff still happened, I uncluttered a bit, I shared out abundance and I made some money. So this superficial disappointment is helping me to learn to be content in all things. Thanks again!

  • Danielle

    What a beautiful way to think about things. It was nice to read this before starting my Sunday. Thanks for sharing

  • http://talkthetalkkh@blogspot.com Karen Thompson

    I am not a mum, but I live with my mum in the home we moved to 23 years ago. All the flooring, carpets apart from the one in the front room, and attic room, are what was here when we arrived in 1990. The kitchen tiles are tacky, dangerous when wet, so we brought two commercial supermarket style rugs which get washed and dried during hot sunny weather each year. But it is home and God planted us here, that is what matters, and we love the place it is because of the garden. So yes our floors could be seen as tacky, but life both sad and happy has been lived on those floors.

  • Melissa

    Since most of our furniture is either hand me down, or mismatched, this post really encouraged me. We have five children and the lesson you shared here is one that I have tried to teach my chilren also. (Well, two lessons really.) First, if you really want something, save up for it and pay cash. Second, your value and self worth is not tied to the stuff you own. Focus instead on the blessings and memories that have been made with our family here in this home.

  • Sevender

    My 9 year old brother recently dumped a newly-loaded plate of spaghetti onto the area rug below the dining room table during supper. My dad was quick to assure him it was okay, an accident, and he got down on his knees to wipe the sauce off of the carpet.

    There is a giant nasty-looking splatter on the carpet; we’ll probably get a new one soon (this wasn’t the first stain), but it is a reminder of how far our family has come over the years. There was no “why weren’t you being more careful” or “come on, that’s what happens when you’re rushing or being foolish.” There was only grace and love and shame-absent care.

  • Judy

    Your messages never cease to inspire. You are a generation younger that me yet you are wise beyond measure. I always take something from your posts. I hope you will consider compiling your messages in a book. What a beautiful bridal or baby shower or any occasion gift!
    Flooring: such a simple object yet such a profound message to share. Thank you for your gentle and gracious spirit in reminding us all of the beauty and perfection in the imperfect – just like us!

  • http://www.identityingod.blogspot.com Tristi

    I so appreciate and relate to your post! We’ve been saying for years and years that we will not replace our flooring until the kids are older and the dog has died. This past week we said goodbye to our dog of fourteen years. My oldest asked when we are going to replace the carpets. We informed her that it costs money and it won’t be today. As I sit here, I miss our dog. I think of all the people we invite into our home. Just this past weekend a little boy entertained himself with moon dough while us adults talked. When it was time for our company to go home, the floor was covered in moon dough. I said it didn’t matter. It doesn’t. Telling my friend it vacuums right up, I did so. My carpet is still a little slippery from the sandy substance. Yet I love that friends can be comfortable letting their kids play in our home because I don’t have to be worried about material things like flooring. I tell myself over and over again that there are people in this world whose floors truly are dirt. It doesn’t matter than mine feel dirty to me. Your post was awesome. I wish I could articulate it all that well!

  • Janel

    I love this! Just today I was explaining to a weekend guest that I recently hurt my back and hadn’t been able to clean as well as I prefer for company. He replied that my home’s “lived-in look” made him feel comfortable! I laughed and laughed again when I read your post. I guess I’m a member of the tacky club too. :) And I’m okay with that. Thanks for the lovely reminder, Jen!

  • Suzanne

    This is a beautifully written reflection, thank you for sharing this with us today. I pray you get a new floor soon :)