It is fitting that my first official blog post on my new website be about my youngest daughter, Olivia. For it is because of her that the vision for Three French Hens came about, along with my love of all things vintage, especially furniture and using paint and specialty products to refurbish and revive them.
I have always been able to recognize the potential in an old house, an old piece of furniture, an architectural relic and appreciate their imperfections for the character that it gives them and then imagine the possibilities of how it can be used, restored, redesigned or refreshed so that others can see how wonderful they are and appreciate them too.
I now have a similar vision of recognizing the potential for those with special needs, and want to give them an opportunity that will help others understand and appreciate their character, their abilities, their determination, and to help others see that what may appear to some as imperfections is actually the very thing that makes them unique and special and for others to begin to recognize that those with special needs have so much to offer.
Olivia, my fourth and last-born child, was born with Down Syndrome, however it is not who she is for it does not define her. It is simply a diagnosis. Who she is, is a thirteen year old with the greatest determination of anyone I’ve ever met! Some may call it stubbornness and yes, it feels that way at times, but it is what has helped her to overcome all of the obstacles that she has faced. It’s way too long to go into all of it here, but lets just suffice it to say, that for the last thirteen years we have had a life filled with acronyms, therapists, physicians, uncertainty at times, but mostly hugs, unconditional love, a forgiving heart full of compassion, and a little ham that loves to laugh and make you laugh, gives hugs and loves to be hugged!!
Over the years, I have often pondered what Olivia would be doing as an adult with special needs feeling certain that God had a plan for her life the same as He did for all of my children. For it was God that “formed her inward parts and covered her in my womb” Psalm 139:13, and even “before He formed her in my womb, He knew her” Jeremiah 1:5.
As it came about, when I first discovered chalk paint and the ease of using this type of paint, my first thought was how easy it would be for Olivia or someone with special needs to learn how to use. In the future, and as Olivia gets older, I have plans for my business to reach out to the community of special needs adults and start a non-profit organization.
The organization will offer monthly free workshops to special needs adults teaching them to paint gently used furniture for them to sell, which will not only allow them a small income, but also give them a fulfilling and productive occupation. The non-profit funds would pay for paint and supplies, and we would request locals to donate gently used furniture and specific items to the non-profit organization rather than taking it to a local thrift store.
By doing this, those adults with special needs will be given a unique opportunity and an alternative way of making an extra income, while at the same time allowing them to do something productive and creative, which will give them a purpose and empower them in a positive way. In a lot of ways, individuals with special needs are seen as imperfect and therefore, a lot of the time, considered not much use to society. Like vintage furniture, someone with special needs may seem imperfect on the surface, but give them the opportunity to express himself or herself and you will expose their charming character, thus affirming what God sees as beautiful and perfect!
When what is imperfect is recognized for its potential, the possibilities are great!! It is a comparison that hits close to home for me, and I am so excited for the possibilities of what is to come and the opportunities that continue to open up for those with special needs. As society is made more aware and begins to recognize their potential, and the blessing and gift that they have to offer society for their unconditional love and acceptance of others and their nature that is so quick to forgive, then people will begin to see how vital a part of society they truly are regardless of their capabilities in the work place!! A scripture that has encouraged and empowered me along the way with this endeavor is, “Truly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40
Because of my daughter, Olivia, being born with Down Syndrome, she has become my inspiration for this vision. The name of my business came from this vision and was inspired by Olivia. I heard her listening to her favorite Christmas DVD one day in May of 2012 and the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was playing when my ear suddenly tuned into the lyrics, “three French hens”… I proceeded to look online to see what it meant and discovered that those lyrics come from the verse, “And now abides, faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” 1 Corinthians 13:13. Thus the name for my business and future non-profit was born.
“And now these three remain; faith, hope, love, but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
Faith – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Hope – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Love – “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
My prayer for you is that you share this love, find your God given calling and become a good steward of the gifts and talents given you.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised GOD HAS CHOSEN, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
Inspiring your vintage lifestyle,
Now I just have to share some pictures of my sweet angel Olivia!
Olivia and my husband Jeff!
The whole family getting a Christmas tree!