Tag Archives: 2nd story designs

Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?


Although, today I am to list three things for which I am grateful, the first is the only one that will get any lengthy discussion. In total, I am grateful for mentors, air conditioning, and Tempur pedic pillows & beds. The last two are pretty self-explanatory, don’t you think? I live in Houston, Texas, where summer lasts waaaaayyyyy the hell longer than it should and the humidity can be oppressive for nearly as long. We celebrate Mr. Carrier’s birthday down here (or we should)! Who is that, you ask? Check out this terrific video on “cold” to learn about this genius inventor. As for Tempur material… thank you, NASA for the research that lead to the development of this back-saving viscoelastic miracle. You rock! We had our first knock-off Tempur bed for 15 years, and just sprang for a new one. I can’t imagine sleeping on anything else long-term. Anytime we car travel, the Tempur pillows come, too. Now, about those mentors…

A hymn I have known since childhood entitled “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today,” has a first verse that reads:

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

Mentors are or should be an important part of each of our lives, as they render assistance in a myriad of areas. For the sake of brevity and focus, I’ll narrow my gratitude down to those who make my business world go ’round. Being largely self taught in my current field as a #tinycontractor, wherein I do murals, (some) faux finishes, backsplashes, fireplace updates, and increasingly, banister, cabinet, and furniture refinishing, I rely heavily on mentors. Gratefully, fortuitously, God has seen fit to place a number of such souls in my path, and I can say without reservation that each and every one of them have, at one time or another, in one way or another, helped me, cheered me, lifted my burdens, and shared their knowledge without request for compensation. For me, they have been the epitome of blessings.

When I first started painting (and watching copious amounts of HGTV) in 1999, I discovered a few paint gurus at our local Home Depot. One gentleman, Jim, a wise old codger, always had answers to my questions and advice to make jobs easier. Upon moving to Nashville from Ft. Worth in 2008, then to Houston in 2009, I rarely needed someone like him, but when I did, our local Lowe’s had a couple of employees ready to fill the gap. In 2017, my life as a stay at home and homeschooling mom drew to a close. With Brownie heading off to private school and Blondie going to university, I went back to the only thing I knew I could do to help cover their expenses without costly (and sometimes completely unnecessary) credentialing: painting.

Funny how quickly things change in a decade. Marketing, expectations, trends, materials- all different. In what felt like a blink in “mother time,” everything changed about my business. Going from Mural Mama (my first business) to 2nd Story Designs (my current business) was, and hasn’t been, smooth or easy. Yet, at every turn, people, teachers, have been there to act as guides to help me through projects of every shape and size.

Since restarting my business, I am doing things I never imagined, like wallpapering a 16′ high wall on scaffolding, tiling kitchen backsplashes, replacing the veneers on a family heirloom, and creating a board and batten wall with flex molding on an 18′ high curved staircase wall! It’s been nuts! But Alan, David and the rest of the guys at our local Rockler store are always there to answer my 875th question about something. Bill, a neighborhood woodworker extraordinaire, whom I just happened to run into one day in the early summer while spraying cabinet doors in my front yard, has become an amazing resource. Rebecca, the Faux Effects lady in Dallas who so willingly gives of her time and energy to travel and teach, and then continue to teach and reach out, well beyond the scope of her classes, is a blessing I knew I needed in order to progress my business. Steven, Daniel, Bo, Justin, Rocky, and William, my Benjamin Store and Sherwin Williams friends who guide and direct me to the best products for my projects when I’m stumped. Locally, my fellow contractors, such as Dave Cole, owner of Coastal Painting, whom I met through an on-line referral website when I desperately needed some one to paint my new (and filthy) house 3 years ago, is always willing to assist. Several months after Dave painted our house and I had restarted 2nd Story, Dave and I became fast friends and resources for each other, drawing on our individual strengths and pooling our collective know-how, depending on the job requirements. Candace Roberts of Painted Luxury, with whom I attended a color certification class, gave me direction when I started branching into cabinetry, and helped me keep from jumping off a cliff after a particularly trying client last year.

Indeed, John Donne is proven correct, yet again, in that no man or woman is an island. We have little choice but to learn from others, but we must be open to giving and receiving assistance with an understanding of how much a seemingly simply act of generosity can mean to another. ‘Thank you’ to all who have so willingly imparted of their time and knowledge to help a crazy little (former) red head further along the road of business success. You’re the best!