Excuse me while I dust off the cobwebs from the blog… it’s been sitting vacant for awhile. It’s not the only thing sitting…waiting..being neglected. My studio, my class schedule, and more have taken a back seat as of this summer. Life gets busy. Life is full. Full in the good, your kids are thriving and going 10 directions, lots of family and friends doing great things full. And bad full, the unexpected trials of this life that show up unannounced and take up so much emotional fortitude and not much is left for things like paint and crafts. I am going to venture where not very many retailer owners/diy bloggers/painting pros dare to go. I am going to say:

“I. Can’t. Do. It. All.”

With the growing rate of stores, blogs, and pinterest-worthy pinning masters, it seems that the super woman cape is being sold at mega stores, and I just can’t ever find it in my size.

Lets go back a bit

I started painting about 5 years ago, while I was nesting for my daughters arrival. Painted rockers, side tables, and homemade mobiles were all on the diy list. A few months after she was born, we were faced with a trial that crippled us. More than we could handle, the dear love of God, through the hands and feet of dear family and friends, we moved on.. and began to breathe once again.

I started painting during that time. It was a beautiful gift from God. A visible way to see how He makes “all things new.”


The Cottage was born out of that- then this little store grew, and we couldn’t keep up.

We moved to Kechi and were open 1/month.

Did I mention in between there my son almost lost his hand, and had 8 surgeries in less than a month? And I began to get seriously ill with a rare and aggressive disease that gave me crippling joint pain and significant hair loss?


Oh yeah. There was that. BUT… because of that- I found Milk Paint. (Here’s more on that amazing story )

Not just any milk paint,-but Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint.

AS-2 copy

And I loved it.

And they loved what I did. I loved using it.

In the midst of painting, owning a store, and raising three busy kids. I became THE primary educator. What? I know. This self taught girl in Kansas was the go-to-girl for all things mmsmp.


I was traveling, teaching at my new fabulous 1200 sq foot painting studio, and having monthly sales.

And I was tired. Allot.

Every month- ” just.one.more.week.” I would tell myself. The weeks of the sale I was renewed and invigorated by the energy the customers and vendors brought to the store. It was the best kind of high. Then Sunday would roll around and it would take me a whole week to recover… then in the back of my mind I would hear, “you need to get a class on the schedule….”

I love teaching paint. I love laughing with the girls.


If you could run on laughter and joy alone.. my tank would always be full and I could bust out so much more that the huge amount I was already undertaking. But let’s get real. We all need physical and emotional resources to keep going in anything.

The passions of my life became the pressures of my life…. and my body, my family, my faith, all started to take the hit.

My sweet friend (and therapist..yes… I call her a friend! She is really that great!) said words that a 34 year old really need to head as a warning.

“You are enduring your life, not living it.”

I want to live my life. Don’t you? During this time other things have jumped up and slapped me with shock and pain… new waters that take all I have to tread. I have only so much energy to give, and this summer, and early fall, I proudly chose to give them to my family- and not my business.


pic via Miss Mustard Seed

“If I can’t do it with 100%, I would rather not do it at all. I need to step down.”

About 6 weeks ago I resigned as the Miss Mustard Seeds Primary Educator. My dream role. I mean, I am in the first look book, and have columns titled “Abbe’s Tricks.” Come on! What self taught furniture painter would ever have that kind of opportunity? It was a dream. I have had a lot of big girl conversations with God. “but what if I _________?” “what if you________?” Fill in the blank. I was negotiating like a 9 year old trying to play video games on a school night. It wasn’t pretty. I knew in my heart. I had to step down. It was the right job, at the wrong time. So it was the right choice to say no. Marian (AKA Miss Mustard Seed) was gracious and kind, a true woman of Jesus who knows what is important in life.

But I’ll hold on to this little piece….


I convinced my team, and myself that I could remain just the regional trainer for my area, and teach MMSMP retailers how to sell and use the paint. It’s just fine, I can do that.


I just can’t.

There will be times to do things like this again. If God can bring the opportunity now, I believe He is able to do it again.

I will be teaching my last class for MMSMP retailers as the Regional Trainer at the end of this month.

Another big step

The month of October I am not painting for the Cottage. I have always provided ALL the furniture for each of our sales. (Some of you are shaking your head at me, I know, thinking, That’s allot of furniture!) I like control, and knowing what the foundation of the store would be every month, was my driving force. I have enlisted the help of trustworthy furniture painters, and letting the furniture go in the hands of other repurposers this month.

I have also decided to close the studio, and step away from that space.

Because God is so faithful, he showed me how much he loves me, and how proud he was of my choices, and brought a fabulous woman who is anxious to start her own vintage boutique. (You Cottage shoppers are going to have a ball having 2 spaces to shop in Artisan lane!!!)

And we will now be neighbors! She is taking over my studio space. Where God displaces, he replaces.

No more classes from me for awhile. Just a breather of sorts. My creativity and energy was running on fumes, and I am taking a big crafter/do-it-yourselfer no-no and stepping away for a bit. It will not be a popular choice I am sure, but I believe it is right. I can pick up teaching again, in the forms of private in-home painting parties, etc…. things always have a way of working out. I may possibly take on custom painting jobs when I am ready. We will see.

I can do that any time.


But I don’t get any more time with her home. This it. The last year. She will be in school next year and I will NEVER get this year back with my crazy little Mags.

What I am doing:

I will still run the Cottage Collective 1/month sales

I will still paint- just in a smaller capacity (You can contact me about vending furniture if you are a professional furniture painter)

I will still vend MMS Milk Paint at Country Bumpkins in Wichita, Ks.

I will spend more time resting. Laughing. Healing. Playing. Taking care of me. Taking care of my family.


I have so much peace. So much confidence that this is the right choice for right now. As I pack up the studio, and remember all the classes I taught there, all the furniture I transformed there, and the friendships I formed there, I will be sad. It wil be a battle of tears I am sure. But I am confident that you can’t have Victory without a Battle

Who knows. Maybe I’ll start a new trend. A trend of women who aren’t afraid of boundaries. Who can say “not now” with no quilt. And a trend of women who are prouder of the minutes shared with family and friends are greater than the likes on their facebook pages.

Grab some bubbles. And Run through them. It’s good stuff.


Here’s to something new…and a God who can do it.




16 thoughts on “Trust, and a Big Announcement

  1. Pam

    I say Good for you!, Abbe! And thanks for sharing your heart, who knows how many others are struggling with the same issues! I’m sure it has been a very tough decision! You will never regret time spent with your family. My children are grown and I still struggle with finding enough time to paint! and now there are grandbabies! Enjoy your kiddos!


  2. TKraft Art & Interiors

    Abbe, so true – F A M I L Y time is the best medicine for the entire family, enjoy the new memories. xoxoT


  3. Nancy

    Abbe, so happy that you have clarity on all of this. A great point about “enduring” v. living. Enjoy the special time with your family and rekindling your creative juices. I can’t do it all either and I do wonder how so many do so much. What a beautiful family and rich life that you have, I am glad you are taking the time to slow down a bit and enjoy it. I am sure the road that you continue to travel will bring many blessings. Best wishes to you and your family.


  4. Teresa Kohl

    I have been wanting to take a class from you!!!! I have furniture in my garage just waiting!!!! But I totally get it. I haven’t had time to learn to paint my furniture because I have been busy being a mom. Furniture can wait, kids can’t. I remember when I quit my job to stay home with the kids I knew we were giving up a lot of extra income we could really use. We went out to dinner that night and the kids said “This is like a hero party!” (from a Pooh video I think) and someone asked “Who is the hero?”. And out of the blue the kids said, “you are mom!”. Priceless. So, you’re decision may not be popular with the majority of the people, but I am sure it is with those who matter the most to you!!!! This is one of the most beautiful blog posts I have read in a long time! You have a beautiful heart! You got it right! God Bless! And I will attempt the painting myself! :0)


  5. Kimberly ~ Serendipity Refined

    Congrat’s to you, Abbe, for having the faith (and common sense) to know that the most important thing in life is to spend time with your children while they are still young and to recognize that things like painting furniture and teaching classes can wait. Time won’t stand still. Your babies will grow up and be gone before you know it (trust me, I’m “there”). No one can do it all. There are always compromises and choices to be made. So happy for you that you chose what’s important and that you listened with your heart as well as your head. Enjoy every moment! xo


  6. R Clark

    You will never regret this choice, Abbe – thank you for sharing about it. You and your family are absolutely beautiful – taking the time to live that and enjoy it is the most important thing, hard, but important. God’s richest blessing and most especially His Peace be upon you.


  7. Jill Flory

    Good for you Abbe. It’s so hard to say no to the things we love. I have found though that when I do something much better and much more rewarding was just waiting for me around the next bend. You will never regret spending the time with your daughter before she starts school.
    As for health issues I highly recommend the book Trim Healthy Mama. It is a lifechanger and the lifestyle has healed so many women and I just love it! Check it out online if you have a chance.


    1. Marilyn

      Abbe, you are one of the bravest women I know. You have been faced with so many difficult times and decisions since I first met you. Your faith in God has seen you through it all. You have been an inspiration to more people than you can image…God planted you in our lives and we are all richer for it. Taking the time with your husband and children is the right thing to do. Other things come and go, but family is forever. Enjoy all those precious moments with Mags, this next year will go quickly. Know that I wish the best for you and you will always have a special place in my heart!


  8. Elaine

    Thank you for sharing your heart…..it seems it may be time for me to do the same in a much smaller capacity. I have been promising to give workshops on painting….and just can not find the time, or energy!!! I love my little store and what I do, but it takes all I can do to keep it going and have a life, too!! I am 64 years young, and just started this dream last year…..so, I don’t have all the family issues that you do, but God has been saying to slow down. I too, made deals with God….saying if you will just bless me til I get this off the ground, I will slow down!! He has been true to His word and blessed me and given me favor that I am in awe of, but I still am going at a crazy pace…..my body has finally said “STOP!!!”……..sometimes God has to get me by the scruff of the neck and take me down! Nothing serious, just normal aches and pains that come when you don’t take care of yourself!!! I am stepping back and giving it to others who are just as capable and God will bring in those who are suppose to be here….pride has risen it’s ugly head and shown me that I am not the only one who can do this!!!! Bless you on your journey and God does have your future planned…..He always knows best, we can trust Him completely!!! xoxoxo~~~Elaine


  9. Madie

    I read your post this morning in the midst of running crazy to get the kiddos to school. Funny how God put that for me to read. I’ve been dealing with some tough decisions and struggling with my faith to make the right ones. I’ve prayed to God to take control of the situation…I was let go from my job today. It seems like an unfair situation but I prayed for God to take control and He did. You inspired me this morning and after reading your post was filled with peace that surely God knows best. I take this as a sign that He listens and leads the way. Thank you, thank you for your heart, your faith and your testimony that trusting God is the best choice we can make. Many blessings to you and your family…enjoy them and make some great memories. Thank you again, Madie


  10. Micki Coles

    abbe, I admire you and your honesty and courage ! I read this and it touched me so much. As the owner of my company I can so relate to all that you said. Bless you and always hold dear to what your heart tells you. Enjoy your family and breathe in life! We go back to the early MMS days and I always loved reading and seeing what you were doing. You have touched and inspired so many people and shared your gift of teaching. The painting world is better because of you. I want to give you a hug!


  11. Denise Griffith

    Abbe – I was so lucky to have been able to take that first retailer training from you in MD. I think you have a gift…for painting and teaching and inspiring – and that will still be there when your little ones are older. I’m a grandmother this year and find that while I thought when my two girls were older I would have more time, I feel like they still “need” me as much and as new mothers themselves I want to be there for them and my granddaughters as much as possible. You are so right, you can’t get those years back. I have been fortunate over the last 14 years of owning a shop to have my girls work with me so it was a lot of family time. now with their own families growing, its more just me and I’ve pulled back to doing once a month and shows, then pulled back from doing shows and now seriously thinking of doing just 5 events a year…I don’t want to say “no” to my family in order to be painting and decorating for others. I TOTALLY get how you are feeling and am glad for you that you were able to make that decision to pull back and let go of some of your accomplishments…just for now =) hugs


  12. Lizette Arce

    Abbe, You touch me so much with your last post. I admire you for listening to The Lord, your family and your body. Women sometimes don’t stop and take care us first, we need to do so to be able to take care of others and succeed on our dreams. Last year I found your website and used as inspiration in a two friend adventure to paint and sale furniture, it was hard work a lot of hours away from my family, we decided not to do it again, we enjoyed and learn a lot from the experience. I have a lot of respect for your craftsmanship, creativity and dedication. God Bless you.


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