By Lyna Farkas
D o you remember the movie “Pay it Forward”? I love its message: if you help someone in some way and ask only for that person to help someone else (pay it forward), a beautiful flow of heartfelt energy will eventually circle the world. Idealistic? Perhaps. Yet when I asked Laine Discepoli and Jane Drew (my cohorts in The House That Faux Built, NOLA Habitat House project), what prompted them to step up to the plate and take on hours of phone calls, emails, meetings, brainstorm sessions and being ambassadors for this event – while still managing their business’ and families? Lane simply said: “I want to pay it forward.”
While helping her husband battle a serious illness this past year, Laine was touched by the endless support and offerings shown to them by others. Even the simplest act of kindness was huge. So when Adrienne Vandooren put the word out that the proceeds of the book The House That Faux Built had raised enough money to build a Habitat House for a Katrina victim, Laine contacted her and said she wanted to help. After all, she just may be the biggest fan of the book. Since it’s been published, Laine has constantly used it to help get ideas for jobs, as well as to help educate her clients and students of the endless possibilities our craft has. Not sure if she could pull it off or not, Laine took the responsibility of Sponsor chair. Can you imagine asking for donations without knowing what materials are needed because the client has not made any decisions? And yet Laine has done a remarkable job.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, Jane and her family had been living in New Orleans for 24 years and her Decorative Arts business Creative Finishes was well established. I can only imagine the devastation she felt when the place she calls home was destroyed. Yet in the short time I’ve known her, Jane has been upbeat, positive and filled with gratitude for all the help and support others have shown in efforts to rebuild New Orleans. When she learned of the desire for the PDCA to come and create beautiful finishes in some New Orleans buildings last year, she volunteered to find some locations to do so, and became their project manager. Despite the long hours and hard work, Jane found this experience so rewarding, that she jumped on the chance to be the Local coordinator for the Habitat project. Her passion is to turn others on to the magic that New Orleans has, and without her energy and commitment, it would have been almost impossible to coordinate the finishes we will be doing in the house or to be prepared to do a mural in the SPCA. If it weren’t for Jane’s contacts and tenacity, we wouldn’t have been offered a charming historic B&B in which to stay for such an affordable rate – nor would we have tools, drop cloths, ladders, etc. ready to use when we arrive. Just think -this busy mom with a full time business took a Saturday, assembled a group of teens, the Habitat home owner and even Habitat office personnel – and they spent the day prepping and base coating all the surfaces on which we will be fauxing . This is invaluable as we have much to do in a short amount of time.
And so my first column is written to acknowledge these two beautiful, amazing ladies who exude the energy of giving back. Me? A friend of mine asked what I was possibly thinking, taking on such a big responsibility when I am so busy I can barely keep weekends free to go hiking or just hang out with my fiancé. I thought a moment and realized that I NEED to give back in some significant and creative way in order to stay balanced. And I am honored that Rebecca Parsons, the founder of Artistically Speaking, has asked me to write on a regular basis the column I am calling “The Heart of Faux”. It is a way that I can pay it forward to others.
Read this column and then POST a comment – Lyna will be reading these comments herself, so speak directly TO her and other readers and let her know what you got out of this article!