Sunday, May 06, 2018

Sunday Afternoon Tea - What does your bookshelf and your house say about you?


I was watching the Kentucky Derby yesterday as Justify crossed the finish line on a muddy track, seemingly with no effort at all.  His jockey thanked his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the win and while I'm certain there were people who rolled their eyes... we can rest assured it was a combination of his God given abilities and the horse that brought about the victory.

That horse was born to run.  No doubt about it.  Even on a muddy, sloppy track... Justify ran like the wind and his jockey knew exactly the time to hold back and then to let him fly (so to speak).

It has been said that to really know the interests of a person, look through the books on their shelves at home.  I would also say that for someone who thinks they have no gifts... look through your book shelves.  What do they say about you?

I expect both the owner and jockey of a million dollar Derby horse have quite a lot of books about horses.  They have artwork of horses on their walls.  Their friends are most likely horse people... and horses.  We could walk through the front door and know instantly that these people lived with and for horses.

My personal library has changed a little through the years but some books have remained the same.  For instance, I have had shelves full of parenting books, homeschooling books, quilting books, and other interests which no longer take front and center.  My kids are grown, my homeschooling books have been passed on, as were quilting books when I decided that interest was in the past.

The fact that I continue to have numerous bookshelves throughout the house will tell you that a passionate reader continues to make this house a home.  Which can often be a hint that perhaps someone who writes also resides in the home as writers tend to be readers.

Numerous cookbooks indicate a love of cooking although honestly... I have cookbooks I love to read that have never been in any danger of food stains as I never actually cook from them.  Some cookbooks these days read like novels about cooks and cooking.

The ratio of nonfiction to fiction used to show a primary interest in nonfiction but that has changed throughout the years.  Although I do think nonfiction books still come out ahead in the total count.  If one cared to take the time to actually count books.

I still have a lot of books about history, especially 18th Century America, biographies of interesting people, books about theology and the Christian life, books about Great Britain and customs from the Mother Country, books about gardening, and even books about crafting and making art.

If you were to look through my novels, you would find very few modern authors.  Instead many of the novels are from the mid-20th century and earlier.  I like well written stories by those who love putting together words.  Those novelists whose prose can be considered poetry and who create images of Beauty in people and places.

My bookshelves tell a story of who I am, perhaps not a true snapshot of today as there are books left over from past interests and passions that were left behind for many reasons... from simply the passage of time to the lack of health today.  However, these interests are still in the story of one's life.

If I were to walk in your home having never met you... what would it tells me?  Is your home a true reflection of who you are?  Would there be any hints of where you have been and where you are going?  Would your home be a reflection of His Beauty?

I don't think it is all about money, either. I have been in very expensive homes that are not at all warm and cozy even though the owners could afford just about anything to add warmth.  I have wondered if they were completely decorated by a professional to make the house look stylish... with no hints of the personality of the people who lived there.

I like houses that when one walks through the front door, they know they are in a home where life is being lived... where His Story is in process for each individual.  I like houses cluttered with bookshelves and stacks of books and books on side tables ready to be picked up when time permits.

I like houses where the making of art is in process and pet hair needs to be brushed off before a guest can sit down (a warning to allergy suffers in my house).  I love it when my house is clean and decluttered but I also have to remind myself that people are actually living their allotted days in these rooms.  People tend to make messes.

Have you ever walked or driven by a house many times and been curious about the people who live there?  There is a house on the way to campus that is painted periwinkle.  There is another house near it that has a perennial English garden as a front yard.  Each time I drive past these houses, I am curious as to their inhabitants.

What kind of person paints their home a bright periwinkle and who plants an English garden instead of a lawn? It makes me curious as to their bookshelves and their kitchens and do they have pets and what the days of their lives look like.  Interesting houses... interesting people.

I admit when company is coming, I am very happy to get my house in order and have it look uncluttered and pretty.  I loved it when I would visit my daughter, who has such a gift of decorating (she even has a degree in interior design).  She would open the door and show me around the house and how pretty everything would look.  Then she let life happen as usual and with five children, it didn't stay that way.  Although it may have become cluttered but the Beauty remained.

So... what would your house say about you if we came to visit?  Does it give a glimpse of the person God created you to become?  Would we be able to guess your passions, what makes you wake up each morning?  Besides a teething baby?

Is there an organic garden in the backyard or a chicken coop... even in an urban area?  Do you grow lots of flowers to cut for bouquets?  Are there red geraniums on the porch or pots of herbs? Perhaps you prefer the excitement of city living and you have filled your apartment with books and art and a big table to show hospitality?

I have talked to people who have said they don't know that God has gifted them with anything.  I would say your bookshelves and the way you decorate your home probably contain hints of your God given gifts and interests.

Not to mention, if you painted your house periwinkle, I'd love to meet you someday. Just curious about the creative person who lives there.

Image:  Time for Reading by Judy Gibson

11 comments:

Vee said...

If you were Linda at Linda's Life Journal, you'd march right up to Mrs. Periwinkle's door and introduce yourself saying, "We may be kindred spirits." Then you'd get the tour! I loved that post of Linda's...May 1, 2018...if you're interested.

Well my house is making me ill so I can't imagine what it would say to a guest. Ha!

Amy Marie said...

This is lovely! I agree with you that lived in with personality are the best sort of house!

Deanna Rabe said...

I love houses with books especially. Mine would show you a home with a big fat cat, three busy teenagers, a home business, and a welcoming spirit! My book shelves would show you my interests in knitting, gardening, family life, parenting, home education. Lots of fiction and Christian life books.

Sandi said...

I pray that everyone who comes through my door feels the peace of God. I believe they do.

Gretchen said...

When I was homeschooling my kids I had hundreds more books than I do now. The books we have held on to tend to be classics or hard to find books. I also have a few cookbooks and Biblical reference books. I love to read, but get most of the books I read from the library. I realized that having so many unread books on my shelf felt like a burden. For some reason, once I bought a book to read some day, I never got around to reading it! So, I enjoy allowing the library to house unread books for me.

becky said...

Loved this post! I live in a log cabin down in the woods with my hubby. Have a huge garden and chickens. I have painted all our furniture white & our outdoor furniture yellow and blue with hints of pink. to say I am quite odd would be correct. No one has usually seen a shabby chic log cabin before so they get quite a kick out of it!!Especially my grandkids. My daughter-in-law painted watermelons on my big log stumps for seating around our firepit the other day. Thank you for this post!
Becky

GrammaGrits said...

I'm in total agreement with you on a home or a perfectly decorated home! I love my home and lots of books - ha, ha! While decorating is fun, the gift of making a home hospitable and welcoming is so much more important. Enjoyed this post greatly. Blessings . . .

Anonymous said...

I love homes with books..!! I am always trying to read tiles of books caught in the background of pictures people post ! 50 years ago as a babysitter ,I was very excited to be asked by married teachers to babysit for a late night , I had big plans on finding their best books to read after I put the baby to bed , can you believe these teachers had not ONE book in their house ,except a few DRY textbooks from college days ? Such shock and disbelief !!
Karen Jones

Little Penpen said...

I love this post and I love homes with crafty people and lots of books! I tire of seeing all the "decorator" homes on Instagram and have started unfollowing most of them. They all start to look the same..... straight out of Hobby Lobby. I like unique and treasured items; things that mean something to the owner, not just another copycat. I like the idea of finding your gifts through looking at the books you acquire and read.

C Starkey said...

We have 2 large bookshelves in the master bedroom, one large cupboard in the family great room filled with books and a whole ROOM in the basement known as the "Book Room" (2 walls floor to ceiling, end to end of books). Granted I've homeschooled 4 kids (#3 graduating this week and #4 with 2 years to go) but they are not all books for school. Some are on gardening, adoption, travel, an extensive collection of Louis L'Amour westerns and one huge section of anything related to God. And yes, we've read nearly every one. While books tell alot of about a person, so does checking their YouTube subscriptions!! Mine are full-time RV living, gardening and nature photography.

Mary Sorensen said...

So true, Brenda! And SO interesting to think about. I look around and see cookbooks, organizational books, kids books, reference books, Grace Livingston Hill books, Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Louisa May Alcott books, Gene Stratton Porter books, L.M. Montgomery books, history books, crafting books, Bible study books, camping books, gardening books, nature books, sewing books, books on nutrition...... So fun to think that God has put within each of us these special interests. Also fun to find someone with the same kind of books so as to have someone to share with! A kindred spirit. : )