Remembering the Starting Point

Good snowy Sunday night to you.  Our little corner of northwest Illinois just got 5 beautiful inches of snow, and this 32-week pregnant lady couldn't be happier about it.  I love blizzards in all their inconvenient glory.  If nothing else, it's nice to have an excuse to slow down.

On the music front, I've had a good time preparing to record my annual fan list holiday gift this Thursday.  This year's gift is going to be just as much fun to make as it'll be to give.  More on that soon.

But on the building front, I've had a hard week.  Or to put it more correctly: I've made things hard on myself this week.

This week's project was my back stairwell.  For several decades, the back stairs have been covered with a layer of rotting laminate.  A few weeks ago, I tore off the laminate to find the original maple stairs were still in tact.  After a lot of sanding, oiling, varnishing, and painting, they seemed to be coming back to life...

Until I got in my head.  Damn my head.

I get stuck in my head far too often.  This weekend was no exception.  I spent hours holed away on the staircase, painting feverishly and driving myself crazy. I even broke down crying at one point. I just couldn't pin down the right way to finish these steps.  I felt like nothing was good enough.  I changed my varnish approach twice.  I changed paint color 3 times.  I changed brushes 4 times.  

What I needed to change was my perspective.  

Stepping back is incredibly underrated.  I had been working so non-stop that it seriously impaired my ability to see clearly.  So today--halfway through my hasty decision to change paint colors yet again--I stopped.  I took 10 minutes to look out the window at the snow falling.  After I felt a little calmer, I scrolled through old photos on my phone to see what the stairwell used to look like.  Which is when it dawned on me.

Compared to what they used to look like, the stairs look great.  And no matter how I finish them, they'll look infinitely better than they ever did before.  Huh.

In our daily quest for improvement, it's so easy to get down on ourselves. I'm guilty of this.  But taking the time to remember where we started is a nice reminder that we've come a lot farther than what we've accomplished on an hour-by-hour, day-by-day basis.

Reader, I hope you have a great week ahead, remembering how far you've come to get where you are at this moment.  I'll see you next Sunday. -Em



  • Tom & Sheri
    Tom & Sheri Rockford
    Stairway looks great! You are such a hard worker! Is your little baby girl due about Christmas????

    Stairway looks great! You are such a hard worker! Is your little baby girl due about Christmas????

  • Emily Hurd
    Emily Hurd
    Mid-to-late January, Tom!!

    Mid-to-late January, Tom!!

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