Decorating Gift

Today is my friend, Mary Jo’s birthday, I think she is now in her 80s. Mary Jo isn’t in good health now and is living in another state with her children.

For many years Mary Jo and I attended the same church, where we met. Mary Jo was a wonderful decorator, no formal training but gifted with unique talent and an eye for style.
Her house was decorated very nicely but not with expensive furnishings. She arranged and rearranged her decor often, but became tired of decorating her own house and prayed about how to use her talent for the Lord. She soon started a ministry in our church of decorating other people’s homes - free of charge. She always prayed before starting the decorating projects. Eventually she had a crew of volunteers to help her with the decorating. Most people who owned the homes she decorated volunteered to help her redecorate other homes. She did budget decorating using what was already in the house, no purchases were made unless the owner wanted to do something entirely new. Mary Jo was definitely ahead of her time, this was back in the 70s, way before the TV decorating shows and books on redesign “using what you have.”
I was a member of her crew. One of my favorite things to do was rearrange dishes in china cabinets. Sometimes we went “on the road” on weekend trips to family and friends houses in different towns and states. We could redecorate a whole house in just one day. Some women brought their sewing machines and sewed window treatments, table covers and even bedspreads. Inexpensive sheets and fabric were sometimes stapled on walls and looked like wallpaper. She displayed items that had formerly been stored out of sight, such as Grandpa’s walking cane on the wall in a vignette of family photos. Vintage needlework was framed and displayed, the unusual decor was a delight to all. Once a year the church sponsored a Home Tour of about ten of these decorated homes for all to see. My house was on one of the home tours!
Mary Jo’s decorating ministry helped so many people. Some who were depressed felt very uplifted after she redecorated their houses. Mary Jo’s story was published in newspapers and in Guideposts magazine. I’m very thankful to have known and worked with Mary Jo! Thank you for your ministry, Mary Jo, you blessed many, many people!

Photo from the 80s, vintage shawl used to camoflage outdated end table.


La Tea Dah said...

Wow! What an inspirational woman! Thank you for a beautiful post today! You have been very blessed to know Mary Jo! What fun to be a part of her team. Memories were created that will stay with you forever. What a blessing and a ministry of heart!

Anonymous said...

I was so inspired as I read your blog to-day, truly a lady of insight and talent. I pray for a special blessing for Mary Jo on her birthday!!!


Anonymous said...

I agree with La Tea Dah. What an inspiration and what a blessing to not only be her friend but to work with her. There are so many 'amazing' people in the world. Thank you so much for sharing this story.