All Things (Re)new(ed): Part 2


My friend Garrett gave me an old wooden and glass cabinet.  He and his family were cleaning out their garage and they were wanting to get rid of the cabinet because they didn’t have any use for it anymore. He said he thought we might like it to put in our business.  He was right.

I love old, vintage, antique things.  Things with history.  Things that have some wear and tear on them… maybe some bumps and dings.  It adds character to them.  

I always wonder what the item was used for, who owned it, and if it could talk, what stories it could tell. (I understand that would be weird if a cabinet could talk—like something out of Beauty and the Beast—but you know what I mean.)

It’s taken me a while to get to the project, but this weekend I finally started attempting to restore it.

My only experience restoring old furniture is watching a few episodes of American Restoration on the History Channel a few years ago… so it is safe to say I have no skills at restoring pieces of furniture.


For Christmas a few years ago, I asked for a tool belt.

But, I didn’t want a new tool belt…

If you have a new tool belt, you don’t look like you know what you are doing.

(Can you imagine hiring someone to work on your house and they show up with a fine leather tool belt—that looks like they just took the tag off—a shiny hammer, and maybe a tape measure that is still in the package?)

So with my old tool belt and nonexistent skills in furniture restoration, I began working on the cabinet.  I knew that this was a simple project for anyone with any skills at all, but for me… this was going to take some hard work.

After months of staring at the cabinet when I walked by it in the garage…
After spending several hours scrolling through Pinterest…

I finally settled on a way I thought I wanted to restore the cabinet.

I made my trip to the home improvement store to get my supplies for the project. And talked to the person at the store like I knew what I was doing when I was picking out my stuff (though I was really seeking advice.)

And then came home and rolled up my sleeves to get to work.

I worked on the cabinet for a few hours over a couple evenings:

I cut a board to replace some glass that had broken some years back.
I removed some dirt and dust.
I unscrewed screws that needed to be moved to different locations.
I screwed in new pieces that needed to be added.
I sanded away rough edges.
I stained parts needed color.
I restained those parts to make them darker.
I cleaned away smudges that had attached themselves to the glass.
I reconditioned wood that had gotten weathered over the years.

I waxed on
I waxed off.

I pushed hard on some parts
I smoothed across other parts.

I took time to step back and observe.
I adjusted my plans and reworked on other parts.
I took a break to let my mind analyze.

It’s all part of the work that goes into any restoration project…

A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog about renewing and restoring relationships.  I mentioned that if you have relationships that are struggling, they may need some renewing… some restoring.

I mentioned that sometimes the key to renewing a relationship is simply putting time into it.  And I do believe that to be true.


Other times it takes hard work.

Restoration is tough.
Restoration is painful.

But also…

Restoration is fulfilling.
Restoration is rewarding.
Restoration is beautiful.

When you finish with a restoration project, like the cabinet I am working on, you are left with something that is new.  

It’s not brand new, however.

Part of the beauty of things that have been restored is that you still see evidence of its history:

It still has the old stories it could tell…
It still shows it has been through bumps and dings…

If you got rid of all that entirely, it would lose its character.


It is new.
It is revitalized.
It is rejuvenated.
It is strengthened.

Shortly after our 15th anniversary, Anna-Marie and I renewed our marriage vows.

We went to one of our favorite places and had private ceremony. (Because sometimes the most holy and sacred things are private.)



We renewed our vows, a symbol of the hard work we’d been doing. A moment in time to mark this new thing we had been building within and between us. This strengthened bond that felt both familiar and new, busted up and repaired, worn down and built up.


I haven’t finished the cabinet yet.

I thought I was done.

But I decided I wanted to change up a little of what I did.


I’ve got to make another trip to the store.
I’ve got to get out my old tool belt again.
I might actually ask for some help on one idea I have for it.


I think I’ve found the Good is in the project…
I think I’ve found the Good is in restoration…

I think I’ve tapped into what God does in the world over and over again…

All images by Nicole D. Thomas




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