FAQ | HOW RESTORATION HOUSE BOOK STARTED | PART ONE

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GOD DID IT.

It’s not a cop-out. It’s not overly spiritual. It’s just the truth. He did.

I’ll do my best here to paint a picture as to why and how I know that to be true but I will honestly do absolutely no justice to what it was and has been like to walk out this truth and watch His hand move in ways I couldn’t even imagine not only in the process of writing this book and now launching it but in my life in its entirety.

I’ll have to break this up into a two to three part series as it’s late, I’m tired and honestly I just need some of this to sink in a bit more as I am still processing so much of it myself.

Over the past couple of years I’ve had a lot of questions about this book process and how it al began and, even more recently, as I am interviewing, most folks wanna know how in the world I ended up with a book deal, how I didn’t self-publish and how I went about achieving what many perceive as success.

DISCLAIMER: I have to say, before I really begin to lay all of this out, that I do not intend to take on an air of ungratefulness or sound as though I do not appreciate the opportunity to share my voice, gifts and talents with the world. It is an honor and even more, a blessing to be able to do so. My intention here is that you will get a “behind the curtain” peek at what life has been like for me, the real and raw emotions I’ve dealt with as we close in on release for the book and how I am choosing each and every day to believe in what I have been called to and have full faith that I will see tangible fruit from the journey. This is not a ploy for self-deprication or sympathy in any way but my hope is that by sharing just a bit of my journey, I will aid in encouraging some of you out there to dive head first into your own. Now that we have that out of the way…

Many of you know that I lost my mama almost five years ago and, needless to say, it was a devastatingly dark time for me. If you’ve followed my journey since that time you’ll remember my writing about it and how much that loss affected me in both a very natural but also a very spiritual way.

One thing that I haven’t shared here is something that happened on that day that would, at the time, seem pretty trivial and downright inconsiderate to me but, in time, I learned that it was just the intentional and relentless pursuit of God in and over my life, once again.

As I lay there, within minutes of receiving the news that my mama had passed away, I heard God speak something to me that I decided I should tuck away for a more convenient time. I heard Him say, “ This is part of your story. You are going to write a book.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it was just me. You’re thinking I totally thought to myself that I was going to write a book and that it would be about my mama and her passing and I’d talk about the day and I’d rehearse all of the memories and how the brokenness of my story collides with the beauty and the grace of God.

If you’re thinking that, it’s okay. I understand because I, too, vacillated between believing that I’d truly heard from God and that I was making things up in my head.

The truth of the matter is that, deep down, I knew it was Him.

It was a voice that was familiar to me. I knew what it felt like to have His nudges quake every fiber of my being and leave behind the visual evidence of the resonation. It happened that day for me. There was no denying that in the darkest moment I have ever experienced, God met me there.

While I didn’t understand at the time just how impactful or significant this would be, little by little , the memory of that day began to slowly fade in as time passed and, even more, that moment of promise.

I’d get stuck in traffic and I was reminded. I was triggered by something and prompted to start notes or write about it in my journal. I’d get caught up with a line of song in my head while showering and He’d tell me that the verse had deeper impact and that would lead me to a scripture or passage that reminded me and I’d have this burning to desire to WRITE ABOUT IT. These desires increased and instead of running away from them as I’d so often wanted to before; I ran toward them. I leaned in.

Approximately 3 years after my mom’s death, some shedding away of what Restoration House had looked like and what I thought it would be, I got an email. Wanna hear something even more wild? I ‘just happened’ to be checking an old address that I had and ‘just happened‘ to see it.

The email was from someone at my now publisher Harper/Zondervan inquiring about whether I’d ever thought about writing a book. She went on to explain how she’d followed my blog for a while and thought I had great potential. She even complimented me saying she loved my writing and that she’d love to follow-up with a phone call.

I’d love to say that I was SO excited and that it just confirmed what I’d been waiting for my entire life but it didn’t. I shoved my laptop away in disbelief thinking that it was a hoax or prank and that someone had to be fooling me. I can’t really explain why I responded that way.

Maybe it was partly because, if you’re like me, somehow we’re always shocked when God actually does what He says He is gonna do. Go figure.

I think an even bigger part of me didn’t want anything to do with any parts of writing a book but there was a teeny tiny part of me that was intrigued and wondered what it would be like to say yes to this and so, as you now know, I responded in kind. We set up a call to speak with one another within the following days and the details get blurry from there but, well, here we are.

Listen, friends, this isn’t something that I’d dreamt of my entire life. I started a blog because I wanted to sell refurbished furniture pieces and somehow it transformed into my sharing stories of hope and encouragement and tying it all into home. I’m being so candid here but if I am SUPER honest (and I want to be) I don’t even know how this happened.

We hear so much about hustling and working and striving and going for what we want and I’m all for those things in doses but throughout this process it has become more and more apparent to me that if God wants to open a door, He is going to do it and I can work my fingers to the bone to make something happen or make a connection or open up an opportunity but all of that pales in comparison to just striving to listen to him, hustling to position myself to hear His voice and working WITH Him to accomplish whatever seasonal goals I may have for HIS glory, not mine. It just has to be that way. Otherwise, I just get in the way and we all know that’s a disaster. I’ve been there way too many times to count.

I don’t want to say, “I did it!” “Look at what I did!”

I want to be able to say I did what He asked me to do, moved out of the way and that He did the rest.

Hear my heart, there’s something to be said for hard work and goal setting and planning and all the things (I come from a long line of hard workers) and yes, so many people succeed in this world doing just that but I’d like to imagine what it would be like to just do what He asks and nothing more.

I am curious and intrigued, even, by the thought of what my idea of success would be or what it would look like to set old ways of thinking about success and toxic mindsets to the side and dedicate my every move in all of this to Him. What does would it look like to truly acknowledge Him in all my ways and allow Him to fully and completely direct my path?

I’ve been called a free spirit more times than I’d probably like to be honest but in this case, I think I’m ok with that.

Join me for part two on Monday (the day before book release…eek!). I can’t wait to share more of this with you and some practicals of how you may be able to walk out some hard things that you’re working for in your own journey right now.

Tune in, tomorrow, as we explore Erin Francois’s sweet retreat (@francois_et_moi)

xo,

Kennesha

 

A CHICAGO ENTREPRENEUR SEES BEYOND THE FOUR WALLS IN HER FIXER UPPER

Name: Charlotte Betts

Business Name/Social Handle @milknhonee and @pintsizefaith

City of Residence ( south suburbs ) Near Chicago IL

Number of years in current home: 3 years

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Tell us the story of your home.

It’s funny, because before moving to our current neighborhood, my husband and I would often drive to this area and go to Chili’s ( we’re super fancy). 

Unbeknownst to us at the time, we would be buying the house down the street. I never wanted to move outside of the city. I loved the convenience of being 25-30 min from Chicago. Plus, I had imagined getting a home that was move in ready.

When I came to my senses and realized that buying a house in the city was not in our budget I finally gave in. We looked at a few houses and decided to purchase it. We ended up buying a much bigger house than anticipated for almost half the price of my initial choice in the city. Funny thing is, the house we purchased belonged to a member of our current church home, which we didn’t know she even attended our church. I love how God is always in the details.  The house itself, had a good foundation, but I want a fan of the the aesthetics. Thankfully, everything that needed work was cosmetic. What sets it apart for me is how my husband could see beyond what I could see. He knew that this house was to be  our home. I couldn’t see past the cream colored carpet, the unfinished laundry room ( first world problems) and a number of other things that were extremely superficial. But he saw beyond the house.... he saw our home and though it still needs some work, I hate to even admit this so far down the line, but I can finally see what he saw 3 years ago.

 
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How would you describe your personal home style? 

I’ve always had such a hard time answering that question, because I like so many different styles. Plus, my husband has given me creative control when it comes to our home decor... which is great because if it was up to him, we would most likely have a pool table and bar stools as our dining set. 

However, it makes it a bit of a daunting task for me, because I’m left with the responsibility of ensuring that my choices when it comes to decor are also a reflection of his personality. But if I had to choose one, I take more of a minimalist approach. 

I also believe that because I like so many different styles, it’s taken me longer to decorate our house. I want to be sure that whatever we decide , it’s something we’ll be happy with for a long time. Definitely hoping to complete that by the end of this year.

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What is your favorite space in your home and why? 

My dining room. It’s such a peaceful space for me. I love it for so many reasons. For one, I get to gather with my husband and daughters daily to share meals which is something that means so much to me considering I didn’t really experience that growing up. Both of my parents worked long hours and it just wasn’t something We did. Having the ability to share that with my daughters and my husband means the world. It’s such a bonding experience, there’s something about breaking bread with those you love, a bonding experience that establishes a foundation for my daughters to do the same with their family when the time comes. But most importantly creating memories for myself, and them.

I also love the dining room area because, while the rest of the house sleeps, I wake up early and  sit there to meditate on the Word. It is there that I “ break bread” with The Lord, waiting for Him to speak to me. Both my body and my spirit get fed here. It’s filling.

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If you could share one thing about yourself with readers that you've perhaps never shared publicly or via social media, what would it be?  

I come from humble beginnings, never in a million years did I ever for one second think that I would get married, have kids and a house. Not for one second. It may not be much for some, but for me... it’s a testament to God’s goodness. 

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What was life like for you growing up in your childhood home?

It was pretty good. My parents bought their first house in 1991. We lived in appartements most of our lives. My brothers and I have fond memories in our house. I also remember having my own bedroom for the first time. Though the purchase of the house was exciting, it only felt like a home for a short period of time. A few years down the road, my parents went their separate ways, and although  the house was still there, I remember feeling like it didn’t feel much like a home. What was that song by Luther Vandross? A house is not a home ... lol - but yeah those were my feelings at the time. As years went by, the house was restored into a home... thanks to my wonderful mother.

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What does home mean to you?

Home to me is being in a space surrounded by people you love, a place where peace is almost tangible. A retreat of some sort. A home is not a house, a home can be a shack, as long as the people you share it with genuinely love, care for you. Home is where your heart is, cliché but so very true.

What do you want others to feel when they enter/spend time in your home?

I truly believe that your home is a reflection of who you are and  it goes beyond style. A home carries energy and often times that energy comes from what is allowed inside. We make an effort to keep a positive energy so that we can maintain a peaceful environment not only for ourselves but for those who come see us.  

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Proudest DIY?

Not sure if that falls into that category, but being able to apply 70% of  the peel and stick

wallpaper myself was quite an accomplishment lol.

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Do you think you've learned to embrace your story?

I absolutely do. I went from wanting a house in the city, to creating a home in the suburbs. My neighbors have horses and roosters. I went from being minutes to the city to seeing ponies when I pick up my daughter from school, I’ve come a long way.... and the  funny thing is you couldn’t pay me enough to go back.

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If there was one piece of advice that you could give to others as to how to embrace their home and their story, what would that sound like? 

We are the ones responsible for creating our environment, especially when it comes to the type of energy you want in your home. Just like good eating habits are conducive to good health, Filtering what and who you allow in your home is just as important.




How does what you do currently in your professional life tie into this idea that home is "more than just a place we live" but that it holds much more of a redemptive and restorative power than we may currently embrace culturally? 

Home, for me, is definitely more than a place I live. I’m home 80% of the time. I run a business out of my home and a good chunk of my day is spent working in the house, so it’s important for it to be a place that helps me create freely. Which brings me back to the importance of creating an environment that will allow you to thrive. 












A LAYERED BEDROOM REFRESH WITH REVIVAL VINTAGE RUGS | PART ONE

Recently I partnered with Revival Rugs and decided to give the one rug that I chose a try in our bedroom.

First, I guess I should start with the beginning: I have seen Revival and others touting the brand for a while and I loved what I saw. They offer wide range of vintage rugs in an array of sizes, colorways, and styles.

With all the selection I was able to square in on one that haunted me (quite literally) until I put it in my cart the next day.

Some of you may remember that we currently rent so flooring options for us are pretty slim. Rugs are a simple way in a temporary space to ground the space and to make it feel more cozy and like home.

Enter, the Aspasia.

Originally, I thought this rug would be a great addition to our family room but when I unrolled it, I realized it needed a place to show off in our bedroom against the moss green linen duvet that I recently replaced our white cotton IKEA duvet with.

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First impressions really are everything and I was so impressed with the attention and detail given to packaging and the branding of everything before I even unboxed the rug. It came in an easy to carry and access package and was neatly folded inside with a cute, thoughtful note from the folks over at Revival.

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I’m not sure about you all and how you see your bedroom, but I really want this space to feel like a bit of a retreat. Most days it’s stuffed full of things like laundry and books and magazines (only on my side—Larry keeps his side tip-top) scattered all over the place.

Initially I thought the rug was a bit more of taupe/beige from the site but then saw that it really presents as more of a lavender and thought that it would work well with the neutral tones of our upholstered bed which actually carries some purple and lavender/grey tones as well. I loved it.

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I love how the colors transition from grey to tan to lavender and that it pulls colors I’d really not ever noticed out of what could be a very boring upholstered bed.

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So, what do you think? Stay tuned for more of our bedroom refresh reveal next week! Can’t wait to talk more about how I’m using what I have but also mixed in a lot of fun new (old) things to build character in this special space.