I am always somewhat disappointed to read a home article showcasing an amazing reno or a dream house, only to find a list of credits at the end... landscaping by... interior decorating by... furniture sourced by.... etc. Such offerings leave me a bit flat because it makes me think the amazing picture up front with the home owners grabbing the glory, was somewhat of a deception.
Move over Martha Stewarts of the world... Ana White has arrived... and she does not require an invisible crowd of designers and fabricators behind the scenes to accomplish her goals. Ana White really is doing it herself.
Ana White writes books and runs a website from her hand-made home in rural Alaska, where she is building a house from the ground up. She is working with her husband to make a life together under somewhat primitive conditions far from home stores and supermarkets. As a matter of practical necessity, she started to create do-it-your furniture using local materials on a shoe-string budget. When she started to blog about her furniture projects, she discovered that she had an audience out there. Hers is a time-worn and universal mission... how best to set up home.
Let’s just say that Ana White is wife material. She is resourceful and as such, is a keeper. When you put a man and a woman together, they start out looking at the world like two pioneers in Eden equipped with some basic ingredients but no survival manual. Thrown into this situation, most people end up mixing their various talents to arrive at some kind of practical equilibrium for who-does-what. Strengths surface. When I got married I was a babe in arms, I realized my wife had very keen survival instincts, she just knew what to do. When we had a baby, I was terrified. Where did she learn how to feed it, swaddle, it, and all that came after?
My wife is Christian Arabic, and when we have guests, a benediction accompanies dinner when they can see all of your tribe sitting at the table, present and accounted for. They say, “AMAR” which means literally “building”. They are expressing their pleasure to see your family life and your lineage on the increase.
If you are fortunate and around long enough, you will get to see how your household IS building over time. First it is two people, then one more, soon the previous generation gets added back again, all under one roof. Of course the thing we may observe by this point, is that while “do it yourself” may have been the means, it was not the destination. Do It Yourself is only a roadmap where the good will and talents of many members must come together for the destination to be accomplished. A family is an organic blend of personalities that only thrives on a combination of faith and vision. It combines what is with what if. Imagination plus elbow grease, and depending on the people the recipe is always a bit different.
Looking at life in this light, I can see that people who pretend to do-it-themselves, cheat the gratuity of life, the serendipity of situations, and the graciousness of friends. This includes people born to the silver spoon, who were not required to think too hard because money paves the way. They never had to wait-and-see for those kind of miracles which only come about in community. The best of family life, always falls into that category, somewhat of a miracle that should give pause for thanks.
You see, true do it yourself, while it involves effort, is never accomplished on your own. It comes in the form of a blessing. If we are smart we will not stand front and centre like the people in the home magazines, hogging the praise for what was accomplished with the help of others.
King David had it about right in the old Testament (2 Samuel Chapter 7) when he was apprised by the prophet Samuel, about the future of his lineage.
King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? You have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ Sovereign Lord, your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”
My own “Ana White” at home.