Salvage Your Dream

Last weekend Gene and I had the privilege of meeting several people living their dreams, pursuing their passions, and still figuring it out as they go.

We visited West End Architectural Salvage. We were introduced to West End Salvage through their HGTV show—West End Salvage. We love the show and since Gene is a picker at heart (if you have to ask you won’t get it) we planned to visit their store in Des Moines, IA.

As soon as we walked in the door we met one of the carpenters who brings Don and Hal’s designs to life. He and Gene talked about saws, planers, wood, and the risks of working with salvaged materials. It was clear he loved his work and was thrilled to be on the West End Salvage team.

Next we talked to the owner, Don Short, whom we had briefly met in the outdoor market in the parking lot. After a brief conversation with Don it’s obvious he is living his passion as he described it on his website—“rescuing craftsmanship from the past and offering it to you for renovations or creative re-purposing. Someone’s trash is always someone else’s treasure!”

We commented to Don on how cool it was that he had the right people in the right places doing what they were made to do. He replied, “Adults shouldn’t have to be supervised.” He went on to say that when people are doing what they’re made to do they don’t need supervision, “Just get of their way and let them go.”

After a quick picture with Don, Gene and I got coffee at their famous coffee bar. We sat at one of their one-of-a-kind creation tables to relax with our snack. Gene noticed Hal behind me. Hal is the interior designer for the store. He designs rooms for their clients using salvaged materials. I was dying to meet him as well, so I introduced myself. He was gracious to talk to us even though we interrupted his breakfast. He shared with us his process of following his dream and figuring out what path is best for him.

We loved talking with each of the guys. They were authentic and gave generously of their time. Each of them inspired me in their own way and for different reasons. Each guy is pursuing the creative nature and passion God put in them.

Following our dreams and our passions is not easy. There is no map or how-to manual. For me it’s been following a breadcrumb trail that sometimes seems to stop, but then picks back up again. No five-year plan for this girl. But that’s part of the adventure—not knowing what comes next, not knowing what to do or when.

I’ve been reading in Acts lately. Paul didn’t have a plan either. Step by step he followed the breadcrumb trail God laid for him. No angel announcing the way, just crumb by crumb doing the next thing God showed him.

What’s your passion? What’s your dream? What are your gifts and talents? Are you using them? It doesn’t have to be in a big way. But when you figure it out and live it, it will fulfill you as nothing else can. You’ll be living life as the woman God made you to be. There’s nothing quite like it.


Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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