Chief meets Chestnut

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands..” 1 Thessalonians 4:11

The Master Carpenter, Dexter, at The Chapel Market

He is a quiet servant but outgoing and loves people.  He focuses on the business God has given him to tend to.  He has hardworking hands, cut up, calloused, strong, yet gentle.  This is Chief, who most of you know as Dexter.  He got the nickname “Chief Thor” at youth camp while leading a construction team consisting of teenage boys.  I guess he liked it because he wants his grand kids to call him Chief!

He is your carpenter at Acres of Hope, the creative mind and gifted hands behind all the treasures we build!  Come join us today as I walk you through the steps he takes transforming an old pile of chestnut that appears to be useless and dead and turns it into a beautiful treasure full of LIFE!


So, we received this pile of chestnut from a couple who live here part time and in North Carolina.  They needed another table for their Montgomery home that did not take up much space.   Their idea was to have a custom table that had drop leaves which could function as a sofa table, and when they have company it could become a farm table for dining.  When I first saw the pile of wood, I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out.  There you have it, secrets out, I’m not the creative genius behind Acres of Hope 🙂

chestnut10 I learned working with salvaged wood is very time consuming, and there is an art to it.  Old nails must be removed, each board must be cut to size, and then everything must go through the planer.  This sounds pretty simple, but I gave up on removing the nails after a few short minutes because it was way too hard! I’ll stick to staining, finishing, posting pictures and talking to you!

Chief then fashions the feet and trestle legs using a variety of tools I am not qualified to touch. Let’s not forget that back in November I shot myself with the nail gun 😦     Some stretchers and braces are then added, and voila, you have a trestle base!

He then takes some wide boards and joins them together, and as far as how he made them drop like that, well that explanation is above my pay grade.

We then sealed it with some Linseed oil and let that cure for a few days.  Now our favorite part of the process, delivery day!!!!!  Our clients were very pleased with how it turned out, and it fit the space perfectly!  Chief never ceases to amaze me with his ability to build these treasures! So I guess the moral of the story is, one man’s burn pile could be another man’s treasure!

A Return to Family Dinners Part 2

So I left off last week with your menu planned, shopping done, and prep work done.  The table we were building was in the final stages, just awaiting staining and sealing.

As you begin your “plan”, I also said that the being flexible was key.  You see so many times we can get caught up in the plan and miss the journey.  For us in our business, if we get too busy we don’t enjoy the project or take the time to pray for the family who is receiving the treasure.  You don’t want family dinner time to be life threatening if your plan fails:) No “We will sit down together if it kills us” attitudes. I think for me, my desire is to connect with my family in as many ways as possible during the day.  Most of the time that is with individuals at various times throughout the day. So, dinner time is the time we can all be together.  Also dinner time can be a time when we work together.  Our kids have jobs at dinner time so mom is not exhausted by the time we all sit down.  Sometimes they even like to play “restaurant” and take orders and serve each other.  You’ve seen some pictures of our youngest daughter Maggie Mae “helping” daddy build stuff.  Well, when we finally delivered the 14ft Farm Table, he hired on 2 new helpers!

Delivery time was sweet! With much anticipation, we finally arrived Saturday evening at the Godwin’s new home to set up the table.  Due to its size, we had some assembling to do, and like I said, Dexter had some amazing help from those 2 princesses pictured above!  Dexter made the necessary adjustments and …….

14ft Farm Table

Here it is!!!! We are so excited and a bit in awe that the Lord enabled us to do this.  A large table like this will allow at least 16-18 people to gather around and fellowship.  It’s the only piece of furniture you will purchase that encourages spending quality time together focusing on each other and not the things of this world.  You see, without the Godwin family gathering around eating, playing games, making projects with the kids, etc., it is just wood fashioned together into a very large rectangle.  Their time spent at the table is what makes it special.  Someone commented on Facebook after seeing the table and said, “Would love to hear this table talk in 10 years.”  I would too!  So I guess I will leave you with this thought, what would your table say if it could talk?

A Return to Family Dinners Part 1

As Dexter and I were down in the shop building the other night, he shared with me some of his thoughts about building tables.  We got into a discussion about Family Dinners or the lack of families sitting down together eating dinner.  Has life gotten so busy and complicated that we can’t seem to find time to sit, be still, and fellowship with one another around the table?  The dinner table is the one place where our family has our most treasured conversations.  We get to find out about each others’ day, share what we feel the Lord is teaching us, talk about what’s coming up on our calendar, and quite frankly, just look at one another and give each other our full attention.  Now this is not always a “Hallmark” experience.  There are those times when some don’t want to talk, or want to talk about things that shouldn’t be discussed at the table.  And yes, with 5 kids, we ALWAYS end up with some kind of “potty talk”, as we call it.  It used to bother me when our conversations would digress, but now, I just have to laugh because they just can’t help it:) Somehow, some way they end up there!

So can you see why Dexter is motivated to want to handcraft tables for families. It’s the memories! As he is building them, he truly is thinking about all the food that will be eaten, the conversations that will be had, the games that will be played, and the projects that will be completed on them.  He thinks about how many generations will enjoy the table.  Most importantly, how many lives will be blessed around the table.  The 14ft. table we are building now makes us think about all the children, both biological and adopted, that will gather around it, and the Mom and Dad who are faithfully following the Lord as they raise them.

If you are yearning for this experience in your home, let’s look at some ways you can get started!  I’ll correlate it with what we did when we received an order for a 14ft table that we didn’t know how we were going to build! First you make a plan.  Look at your calendar for the week and plan your meals according to your schedule and how much prep time you have.  If you are not a planner, I promise, if you will just try this, you will save time and money and family dinners will be a legacy in your home! Then you make your shopping list, or for building the table, Dexter makes a cut list.

When you come home from the store, put together what you can for the meals ahead.  For instance, put marinade and chicken in a bag before you put it in the freezer, so all you have to do is thaw it!  You can also wash and cut up vegetables before you put them in the refrigerator to cut down on prep time when you need them.  When we have more than one table order, Dexter likes to cut and assemble all the legs at one time….

Now that your meals are planned, the shopping is done, and everything is put away, you can begin to enjoy it one meal at a time.  The key words are BE FLEXIBLE because….

blessed are the flexibleThis sits in my kitchen as a constant reminder that LIFE HAPPENS! It’s much easier to be flexible and move with the changes than swim upstream and fight the current!  Remember, the whole point is to have a time during the day when your family can get together!  More to come in a few days. I will share how you can add some special touches to the table and your dining environment! Also, the big reveal of the 14ft Farm Table!

Small Town, Big Events

Our cup overflows!  It’s been one year since we started Acres of Hope, and it has been an incredible journey.  This past month, by far, has exceeded our expectations, not only in orders received, but in building relationships with new friends.  We started out October a little discouraged to be honest.  We were all caught up  and had no pending orders.  Dexter used his time very wisely and began to get ready for the annual Pike Road Arts and Crafts Fair.  In keeping it real, I have to say, I was not as optimistic.

But with the encouragement of a few sweet friends, I picked up my bottom lip and was reminded  that this whole business is about God’s perfect plan, not mine and to trust Him.  So I headed to the shed to make myself useful.  My sweet, patient, husband taught me how to build boxes, knowing that he could have probably gotten it done a lot faster himself.  Sound familiar to you mommies out there with “little helpers” at home.  All was going well until…….

Nail Gun Injury

Yep, you guessed it, or maybe you didn’t 🙂  I shot my finger with the nail gun!  Remember a few weeks ago when I shared with you about Uncharted Woods.  Well, once again, I was traveling through them and didn’t realize that when a nail hits a knot, it changes direction.  The direction this one went in was the joint of my index finger.  I’m not even sure there is a word to describe how that felt, so I’m not even going to try.  Needless to say, I was not allowed in the shed for a few days!  BUT in my stillness, there was much activity going on in the heavenlies.  I received a Facebook message from Layla Palmer over at  inviting us to come and join some other incredibly gifted women at The Chapel Market in The Waters.

Excited about The Chapel MarketThis was my reaction to seeing the awesome space we were blessed with.  Yes I’m a goof ball, and yes I used to be a cheerleader, but at 46, my form is a little rusty!  We worked fast and furiously to complete as many projects as we could in 2 days.  We were welcomed by so many that did not know who we were.  We met people from all over the country and learned a lot about the blog world.  Thank the Lord, our friend Colby was visiting for the weekend. We could not have accomplished what we did without him, and you would not be reading this blog he created for us!  With only two weeks until the Pike Road Arts and Crafts Fair, we had a lot of work to do.

It was all hands on deck in the Watts’ house.  Let me just say, our children are amazingly flexible.  Sometimes dinner was on the table late, laundry got left in the washer, our 16 year had to be the taxi driver, but they never complained.  They understand that this business is what allows mom to stay at home and be available for them!  Dexter and I are in awe at the children the Lord has given us!

Pike Road Arts & Crafts 2013We made it! All set up and ready to bless many people with our hand crafted treasures!  It was a beautiful day in Pike Road, AL.  It was estimated over 12,000 people came out.  We sold our tables and most of our specialty items.  In addition, I have been quite busy this week taking custom orders from clients we met on Saturday!  Our hearts are overflowing with thankfulness for how God has provided for us once again.  He sees the big picture!

We thank Him for guiding us each step of the way.  Our prayer is that we will be  followers that “can be trusted with very little and in return trusted with much” Luke 16:10  We are a small business in a small town, but we serve a Big God!  “Who dares despise the day of small beginnings…” Zechariah 4:10.