Thursday, May 20, 2010

When life is pressing in... day three

I was skimming through one of my scrapbook journals last night, finding joy and peace just looking at the pictures and reading prose.  Taped in the inside of the front cover is an article which touched me long ago, one that got to me where I live... about where I live.  The title is, "My Mother Knew the Secret of..." and the article was about the beauty and peace the author felt in her late mother's home and how she made the decision to make her home a place of peace.

She started thinking of her mother's home and writing down what she found peaceful about it and then incorporated many of these ideas into her own environment (in her own style, of course).  In some ways, that is what is shown in my scrapbook journal as I have dozens and dozens of pictures of homes and gardens which make my heart sing.  I draw on their inspiration for ideas quite often.

Because I had a challenging home life in my late childhood and adolescent years, it has been very important for me to make a cozy nest.  It has always been a joy for me to make a home pretty and peaceful... even when peace was hard to come by. I won't pretend that creating a pretty and peaceful place will take away all the stress that comes when we travel down the hard roads of life.... but it helps a great deal.

We all need a sense of Place, a sanctuary where we can be ourselves and find comfort from the outside world.  Whether a house or one half of a dorm room, a garden or a friendly kitchen... there has to be somewhere in our existence with familiar "stuff"... items which make us smile or remember fondly or cause us to sing for joy just by their beauty.  We were born for Eden and whether we realize it or not, our surroundings affect us deeply.

The first action this author took was to get rid of all clutter by finding ways to organize her papers, magazines, etc.  This was easy when I had a large house with lots of room but much more challenging in a small place.  I can only do this "a little at a time", by being careful what I bring into the house, and scanning the rooms once in awhile to see what can be given away for someone else to love. 

Some "clutter" is pretty much always there but is friendly clutter... like the stack of books on the floor between the bookcase and wing back chair.

The author of the article realized one part of her mother's home which she loved was an abundance of houseplants and flowers.  There is something in certain shades of color which causes the human body to immediately relax, like the greens and blues we find outside in summer.  Just the sight of greenery can have a relaxing affect but live plants are actually good for us by cleaning the air (although I combine them with a spicy vanilla candle).  :)

As I looked through file after file of magazine cutouts, I came to see a pattern of those things which bring me peace and joy... lots of plants, all flowers but especially red geraniums and daisies and sunflowers and roses and violets and Lily of the Valley, beautiful china of all kinds... teacups and teapots and plates and serving pieces, walls lined with books, and artwork.  Not to mention a cat or two here and there.

I love primitive American and English Country... which actually work out quite well together.  Bonnie shares my passion for primitive American furniture and decorating but she mixes them with Victorian items.  A rather unusual marriage of styles but one walks into her small apartment and instantly feels at peace. Her tiny home is proof one must not have a lot of money or space to create a sanctuary.

This past winter when I was sick a lot, my favorite place was the living room sofa for it is truly that room where English Country library meets Americana and their union provides an environment of peace and quiet.  It was a good place for propping pillows behind my head, getting all warm and cozy with a soft throw pulled up to my chin, and keeping my books and a cup of tea on the coffee table.  A place of comfort and healing.

If I am sad but not too fatigued, my small kitchen in all of its' butter yellow glory (with red accessories) can transform a mood to joy in no time. Generations of mothers and grandmothers have found a retreat in their kitchen... and not just women.  I have a nephew who has a busy career but comes home each evening to do most of the family's cooking, he finds getting in the kitchen a way to relax after a stressful day.

As I said before, our surroundings cannot change our circumstances.  They cannot cure cancer, pay the bills that are late, restore a relationship, or bring a loved one back.  However, if we have created a place in which we can walk through the door and immediately feel the sense of Home and Comfort... such a place can restore us.

Should home be a source of conflict and a place we need to escape at times, then we need to find our outside Edens where we can run to for a short time of relief... the quaint coffee shop, the public gardens, an art museum, an hour at a bookstore or thrift shop, hiking the trails or skiing the mountain in winter or fishing the river which runs through town, a flower filled neighborhood in which to walk... somewhere we can talk to The One Who Made Us and absorb that peace that passes understanding.

I truly believe there will come in another Time and in another Place, a home created just for us which will reflect our greatest joys and godly desires.  In the meantime, we can all do something to make our own small sanctuary on this fallen planet.

Picture: Shady Patio;


a8383 said...

Just reading your post makes me feel calmer. Thank you! Angela

Alisa said...

Thank you Brenda! this is once again just what I needed !

Vee said...

This is a post that I shall revisit. I know that we've had these discussions before and will probably have them forever because home and a sense of beauty is important to us because He built it into us. It is therefore important to Him, too. We get a little confused perhaps with the "I have no place to lay my head" verses. Your home sounds delightful and I'd love to visit and have tea with you!

Queen Bee said...

love this

Charlene said...

What a wonderful post! I've been feeling the urge to "put my house in order". I know that I function better in a clutter-free environment, but with pretty things around me--I have a lot of work that needs to be done, but this encourages me to begin.

Manuela@TPOH said...

My first thought was...I wouldn't want my house to be like my mother's house. I too had a very challenging childhood which may explain why I'm very focused on having a lovely, calm and nurturing home. Never gave that much thought!I agree that we can all do something to make our own sanctuary somewhere. I do try to do that for my family.


gail said...

Absolutely beautiful and so true. Bless you dear lady.

Blessings Gail.

Anonymous said...

We were born for Eden... keeps going over and over in my mind. Thank you for the beautiful thought.

Friend Debra

Anonymous said...

Monday when you started this seriesI commented. Then came home the next day and our world had changed and that night I had to remember myself what I wrote to calm myself! I know this big new stress thrust apon us will be but a memory some day but now it is a new mountain. I haven't been able to get on line since then till now. I went back and reread all the series and all the comments. Such a blessing they were to me too. Sorry no time to comment on your part 3 but I did love it very much Brenda... Sarah

Nanna said...

oh my goodness that was a refreshing read!that needs to be printed out & framed LOL LOL

Sandra said...

A wonderful post. Amen!