Deb Rumpel recently added a chicken coop to her home in the suburbs, just one of many creative endeavors she has undertaken. A homeschooling mom, adoptive and biological parent of three boys and spouse of 27 years, Deb is inspiring to know.
Q) As a homeschooling parent of three full-throttle sons, how did you manage to maintain let alone stay creative amidst home life?
A) I don’t know that I was very successful at this. I think my creativity came out in different ways through different seasons. When we adopted our oldest son I wrote a lot of poems. I was finishing my English degree at that point and this was a good reflective release alongside of working toward that Bachelor’s degree. When we had our second son and discovered that our eldest had special needs, creativity was more hands on with the two of them. We did painting and clay projects. Creativity was geared to the two boys and then the three of them.
Now that the two oldest have graduated from high school and I am working with our sophomore in high school, I find that I have a little more wiggle room for expressing creativity. I want to get out the sewing machine as well as spend a lot of time dreaming on Pinterest. Last year my son and I got a Groupon for pottery throwing. I really enjoyed that. I would like to try glass blowing next.
Creativity can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Whether it is trying out a new recipe or changing your table decorations, it is creative expression that can turn black and white into technicolor! I love to change the decorations on my kitchen table or find a new set of towels for the bathroom. I dream about different ways of making my garden more sanctuary like and look forward to spring when I can go to the nursery and pick out a new perennial to add into the landscape. God is the ultimate Creator and I feel like I am reflecting His character when I create.
Q) I met you 6 years ago and life has really changed for you since then. What is the most impacting change you’ve experienced so far?
A) I think what has made the most impact is working on my own personal growth, figuring out why I fall back into the same patterns. It has been a very intimate journey and one that has been gut wrenchingly beautiful. The Lord continues to teach me about His grace and His care for me. He is giving me eyes to see that He wastes nothing. No matter how hard life gets, it is not meaningless. It all works toward a purpose.
I think the most impacting change has been learning to speak the truth in love rather than being a people pleaser and avoiding the hard discussions. I have lived my life not putting much value on myself. I have desperately tried to measure up. I have come to realize that I love others best when I love myself as well. I have come to know that my heavenly Father has given me value and worth. That fact has made it possible for me to love myself and others with pure motives.
Q) You’ve made an amazing amount of creative additions to your home. Has life always been like this for you?
A) This has certainly been a year of changes. We have recently replaced our uneven cement sidewalk and stoop with a beautiful brick one. It looks so wonderful. We also had ceramic, hardwood looking tile installed over the cement in our basement. In total Rumpel style, we didn’t stop there. We then ended up replacing the paneling with drywall and installing canned lighting in the ceiling. The basement has had an amazing facelift. It has become a place we are all enjoying. In the middle of all that we started the chicken adventure. I think this is normal for us.
I love being creative but it is tricky to try and fit it in. I get frustrated by the stops and starts because life circumstances barge in unexpectedly and force a break in my own agenda. I bring out my creativity only to have to put it back into a box and hide it in a room until there is space for it again. Sometimes, though, I can’t hide it and I must write or create. There is no holding back the dam when that surge comes forth.
Q) When and why did your chicken coop come about?
A) I love my chickens! I put a lot of other projects on hold to take this on. It was a lot bigger than I expected, but I don’t regret doing it. At first it was just my desire to have eggs and meat that came from healthy chickens (as organic as possible rather than raised on corn). Thankfully, my hubby came alongside of me and we did this together. We built a lean-to on our shed and a little run out of a dog kennel purchased from Craigslist. We are still in our first year and learning the ropes. There is still much to learn and fine tune in our little flock but we are moving forward. It is so wonderful to bring in fresh eggs every day and know that they are chock full of vitamins and protein. I am so thankful for all my neighbors who have agreed to let me explore this chicken craziness and have even chased them back into their pen if they get loose. I have the best neighbors!
Q) What were some solutions to the tricky problems you’ve faced?
A) Prayer is huge. I need to remember that God is the one in control and not me. I am totally dependent on Him. He is the one to meet my deepest needs. It is so important for me to draw near to Him and remember that none of what I face is happening without His knowledge. I am comforted in knowing that I am not alone and whatever I face, it is not wasted. He redeems everything!
Having a close support system is crucial. Having a couple of people who know you well and you can text, “Pray,” reminds you that you are not alone. Hiding when you are in trouble or struggling is not good. Seeking out a counselor when appropriate is not a weakness but a strength. Being in a life-giving church is important as well.
Q) Where did you find the strength and innovation to keep your marriage alive?
A) I won’t lie. We have had some pretty dark years. Being in the ministry, having three small children and huge medical bills really stressed our marriage. We kept putting “our stuff” on the back burner in order to put out every day fires. It caught up with us when we were both absolutely empty. We talked with a trusted counselor and worked through our own stuff and our together stuff.
We still don’t go on dates much but have learned how to listen to each other. We have “eyeball time” and go through our “highs and lows” from the day. We ask each other questions like, “What do you need from me in this situation?” We are more in love than ever before. Our relationship has grown so deep. It is far from perfect but we are committed to our covenant with one other.
We seriously like being together. We love making memories. We have fun quoting movies, VeggieTales, and random sayings from our kids. We love laughing together and do it a lot but not as an escape from talking through the hard things.
Q) Who was the most influential person in your creativity?
A) My mom was the one who really encouraged my creativity. She was always doing crafts and selling them at shows during my growing up years. She was a seamstress and artist at whatever she did. She made banners, vestments, and candles for her church. She was always trying new things. She did so much, even without the help of Pinterest.
When I went to college I had no idea what to focus on. She encouraged me to try my hand at art. I didn’t understand this. Even though I enjoyed crafts, I in no way considered myself an artist. I had never even taken an art class before. She took art classes at the same time. We both drew and painted. I thought she was much better than I was. Her encouragement tapped into me, though. I had my own artistic style and she nurtured that as much as she could.
When I was 24, my mom died of cancer. I lost not only my best friend but also my biggest encourager. Before she died, she tried to give me a crash sewing course on her machines. I never really got the knack for the whole making clothing thing but I stitch straight lines for crafty projects on the machine. I also love to write, especially if I have inspiration. I love to take pictures and create memories with them. Most of my creativity bends towards encouraging and blessing others. That is where my inspiration comes from now. It is so worth it to make a cape for a little girl or collage together some old pics to email to a friend. It is a blessing to my own heart to see a smile or hear, “I really needed that today.” I pray that the Lord will continue to use my gifts as an instrument for His glory. May I reflect the Father’s heart to those around me. “That all may see the good that I do and give glory to God!”
Are you an extraordinary ordinary creative like Deb? You can find her Pinterest wall and discover the 300 other projects she has going: https://www.pinterest.com/chicknhens/
Thank you for coming to the Extraordinary Ordinary blog here at lookandbe.blogspot.com, where ordinary folks with extraordinary stories tell their tales!