I have no problem believing mankind was created in a garden. For God gave us five senses in which to enjoy this world and when one is in a beautiful garden, we do tend to feel more at peace. After all, there are no PBS shows about recreating the back alleys of the cities.
I am more a veggie gardener (if I can call myself a gardener at all) although I do enjoy planting flowers in containers each spring. Especially on the deck where I can view them from the family room and kitchen... and on the front porch where people enter my home.
It seems to me that the darker the world is portrayed on the news, the more my five senses absolutely need a refuge that encompasses my house and acre of land. For only in my little part of the universe can I tweak the stuff of life to bring peace.
I need a sanctuary.
I need a place of refuge.
I need a home.
Now, I am not saying you can completely rid yourself of the troubles of life by purchasing a couple of green plants to bring life to your rooms. I know what it is like to walk through trials so difficult you must remind yourself to breathe... years upon years of painful memories.
I wrote about it more in the beginning years of Coffee Tea Books & Me. I still struggle every day, making the choice to trust God and remembering "this isn't Heaven, yet". And I must say, part of the way I do find peace in the midst of the storms of life is because I have created a refuge.
These days with no children living at home, it is easier to tweak the entire house. However, I remember a very long season of time when the only place I could make mine was the end of the sofa. There I would often place a small bookshelf within sight that held my most beloved books, a side table for my Bible and beverages, and quite often a favorite throw. That is the place where I would retreat at the end of a long day. My space. My refuge.
I have been a miracle away from being homeless not once... but twice. Purchasing the house we now live in was a real gift from God, a combination of the USDA granting loans to people on Disability (my husband was at the time) and living in a part of the country where housing is still very reasonable, especially in rural areas.
The kitchen wherever we lived was often a place I took refuge. For even when I worked full time, we needed dinner on the table. When we were looking at this home for the first time, my Realtor was remarking how dated the kitchen was and what I could do to upgrade it all. But I loved it just as it was, flaws and all. For it was real... Velveteen Rabbit real.
The previous owner had painted the cabinets a shade that resembles butter yellow (she told me they liked color) and had put up wall paper here and there. I loved it immediately and added my own furniture and accessories to make it more of a vintage style 1940s or 1950s era kitchen. I added some artwork (for I always need wall art in case you haven't noticed), my cookbook collection, my red mixer... and it was a refuge.
The room that was once Christopher's bedroom is now my Study. The first room in all of these years that is truly all mine. A gift of God in exchange for the Empty Nest. And while I love the Cath Kidson colors on accessories, I find my actual surroundings that bring peace are the earth tones.
Sometimes on a cloudy day, I keep the corner lamp on even if I am not in the room. Which for an energy saver like me is usually something I do not do. But I love walking by that room and knowing it is there, waiting for me when I have finished the household chores of the day. A room full of favorite books and teacups and the stuff I use to create with and that feel of an old fashioned parlor.
It is my refuge. It is my sanctuary. Although plants, wall art, and aromas (and a cat) are at the top of my list of items which relax me, music is a close third. I borrowed the CD player from our bedroom to listen to my favorite Christmas music. It is taking awhile to return to its' original home. ;)
I find it important in creating a refuge to embrace what colors bring me peace. I adore my daughter's home, she not only has a four year degree in Interior Design but she has always had a good instinct for all visual arts.
Although her house is lovely, it is also a real home for a family of seven people and it becomes Velveteen Rabbit real. And while we share a love for accessories of deep red and such, her home makes one feel of a light and bright cottage by the sea while I prefer that look of an autumn forest.
Before this blog post becomes a book... what is my point? It is that a house needs someone thinking of ways to make it a home. Not with a credit card and a trip to the mall. Neither going out and buying a house full of furniture. For it is in the little by little adding to rooms that we create a home and not a show house. That is not our intent.
I remember telling people when I purchased a sofa at one time, I chose a color and pattern the same as a little boys shoe print. Stephanie's sofas are a sturdy leather and a very dark color, after trying to keep a white slipcover bleached clean. One does learn through the years what works and what doesn't but that is part of the fun of home making.
My prayer for you is this... that you pray and hear from God what you can next do to make your home a place of refuge, a sanctuary for you alone or with those you live with. It doesn't matter if it is one room, a corner of a room, or a very big house. It is yours. God blessed you with that space. It is where He wants you at this moment in time so make it comfy and cozy and peaceful.
You can ask him for He is the ultimate Designer... and He knows where to find the good bargains. Trust me. He cares.