Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quotes and pictures

How's that for a to-the-point subject line? No need for you to wonder what's included. No need for me to use my limited creative-title brain cells.

A couple of weeks ago, during a brief bout of Uber-Optimism, I checked out as many decorating books as I could carry. Most decorating books are oversized and heavy. They look great stacked in a pile on your living room floor... or casually tossed onto the seats of your van (amidst the fries and honey mustard packets from Chick-Fil-A.)
They shout, "I'm thinking of ways to beautify my surroundings. I am creative. I have energy. I am not just surviving, I want to thrive!"

Or they could whimper, "I have a problem with coveting. I'm discontent. I'm sick of living in this trashpit of a house."

It totally depends on the time of the month.
You KNOW I'm right.

Your library books speak volumes about just Who You Are. (Get it? ...library books ...Volumes....? You know I'm funny. Just go ahead and admit it!)
Really, you may want to think about this next time you walk out of the library with an armful of Disney DVD's or a couple of Grisham novels. What are they saying about you?

The least you could do is to sandwich the inferior materials between a Pottery Barn Bedrooms or A Guide to Creating Comfortable, Stylish Living Spaces - (both of which I have checked out right now, so you'll have to pick something else.....)

So anyway, I had all these great, heavy, huge decorating books stacked artfully beside my bed, and I was "studying" - as I tell my kids - looking at the pictures, which is where I plagiarize so many of my best ideas, - when this weird idea came over me and I actually began to Read The Text . You know what I'm talking about ...those typed letters that surround the pictures. The black and white parts.
Those are actual words surrounding those gorgeous photos! Who knew?

And you know what else? I found great writing. Not exactly a page-turner, but enough to hold my attention and keep me interested. For example, I found this quote at the beginning of a book by Chris Madden, called "A Room of Her Own, women's personal spaces".

"What is the answer? There is no easy answer, no complete answer. I have only clues, shells from the sea. The bare beauty of the channeled whelk tells me that one answer, and perhaps a first step, is in simplification of life, in cutting out some of the distractions. But how? Total retirement is not possible. I cannot shed my responsibilities. I cannot permanently inhabit a desert island. I cannot be a nun in the midst of a family life. I would not want to be. The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. In my periods of retreat, perhaps I can learn something to carry back into my worldly life, as a beginning. I can follow this superficial clue, and see where it leads."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gifts from the Sea

And by the author herself,
"In speaking with many women across the country, I have discovered that as much as we revel in creating loving relationships, many of us long to find the time in our busy schedules to relax and refresh ourselves, body and spirit. All the requisite aspects of life in a new century have made it difficult to have some time alone, especially if we have others who depend on us."

Ms. Madden says that 46% of American women say that their favorite mode of relaxation is to take a bath. But she's convinced that women retreat to the tub to "savor a few quiet moments -however brief - of sanctuary and personal time. Baths are about quietude as much as they are about cleanliness. Here we can, if only momentarily, shut out the world and all its demands."

And lastly, another quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh, again from Madden's book -

"The problem is how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel. For to be a woman is to have interests and duties, ranging out in all directions from the central mother-core, like spokes from the hub of a wheel."

That reminds me of what Anna from Pleasant View Schoolhouse says when people inquire about her children's diverse talents and hobbies. She tells them if you want an interesting child, you need to be an interesting mother.

Lindbergh's words suggest that we would not be spoiling ourselves if we gave ourselves the gifts of time and space, those elements that create the balance in our lives. At the risk of sounding like Oprah, I think Lindbergh and Madden may be onto something.

"I firmly believe that in order to give back to our relationships, families, and passions, we must pull in for short moments to take care of ourselves; then we can return to the people and places of our lives renewed, refreshed, and ready to continue the drama of our days with all the joys, sorrows, and stresses that go with it. The simplicity of listening to a favorite CD, the calmness of soaking in a hot bath, the ease of resting on a bench at the edge of a garden; these personal spaces feed our souls, allowing us to restore our spirits and enjoy our lives."
"Although Virginia Wolfe writes that a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction, I believe a woman today must have a space of her own if she is to survive and thrive."

Well, what do you think, dear readers? Do you have a place, preferably in your own home, where you can be surrounded with things that bring calmness, serenity and refreshment to your mind, body, and soul?
Personally, I love my bedroom for some serious (closed-eyes) refreshment. A beautiful bed is a gift, to you and to your husband. And I'm not necessarily talking about an expensive headboard (the one pictured is my husband's great-grandmother's). I mean the way it feels and looks. The softness, the crispness, the inviting-ness.

And a pile of books next to your bed is like icing on the cake, filling in the doughnut, feathers in the pillow, Boars Head roast beef in the sandwich. Well...You get my point.

And if you can squeeze in a chair or chaise to do some pre-bed relaxing, well that's like a Lexus in the garage, a lemon-curd scone with your plain tea, some chocolate chips in your vanilla ice cream, clean flannel-clad kids asleep in their beds. In other words, it's an unexpected luxury.

That's a huge part of what decorating is all about for me. And it doesn't have to cost a lot of money, or take a certain amount of square footage. It can be as simple as a "view" out a window - or something to gaze upon that charms your eyes and quiets your soul. My house is made up of many of these little "delights". Certainly it's about function and usability, but if we take the extra care and attention to go the second mile in our home decorating - we will enjoy our service there just a little bit more.

Our guest room was already painted this plum color, and
although I'd never choose it myself - it was very calming
and peaceful. So, we went ahead and moved our black and white furnishings from our previous guest room into the plum room - and it is perfect. The curtains are a lined, black and white jacquard print, which makes the room nice and dark, and serene.
I added some golden yellow touches to brighten the room up a tad.

Pictures of my family line the hall.
These remind me of God's faithfulness to us in filling our quiver - and in allowing us to come out of it alive (!)

Speaking of views, I love the view from our dining room. I like to nail birdhouses to trees, or put out a birdbath that I can see from my chair at the table. These are small delights, but I believe that's what Chris Madden was getting out when she spoke of "personal spaces".
Whoops! How did this picture of Thomas, my new Grandson, get in here.... again?! You have to agree, there's nothing more inspiring than a new baby!


Laurel said...

LOVE this post!

We are much alike ... and not just by the fact that we have extra-large families.

While I don't have room for a chair in my bedroom, I have MANY pillows on my bed.

I have a wall FILLED with family pictures.

I don't have a guest room, but I have PLUM living room and I LOVE it!

And ... my husband fully appreciates my need for "Mommy Time" and supports me by giving me time for creative endeavors (scrapbooking), reading, and days away by myself every now and then.



busymomof10 said...

I love your pictures! I was tagged and now I'v tagged you!

jax said...

Mom, I am leaving this link here so other people can see it, too! This is the main page of Ella Bella Baby -- click the links on the left side to see the actual bags, shirts, etc. Really cute stuff!

lea said...

ummm, i don't think you can actually claim to have "survived" your quiver full family... yet.

but i like the way that you are thinking positively...

how did you find the time to blog when you had all of MY new blog entries to read????

mom2dixiechirps said...

Oh, you've inspired me to go and light some candles, put on some Christmas music...find/make some more pillows to stack! Keeping a house is a luxury; isn't it?

Have you any tips on laundry organization....maybe I can stack some pretty pillows in front of all of my baskets of clean, un put-away laundry!

P.S. I sent you an email, but it was returned to you have a new email address?

Kelley said...

Wow, great pictures! Your home looks very inviting. You've put a lot of time and energy into getting it so homey!

jodi said...

i'm still waiting for you to answer my question email about the martha stewart baby magazine for brite, but i should've taken it with me today since i saw bo at p.t. and winston and mf at panera (oh, to have kids in a classical school....) and i was only in the car from 10-1 and 2-6. i gassed up the van this morning for our trip and it's already less than 3/4 full. i'm not kidding. maybe we can wave to each other on 75 tomorrow. have a great trip--know that prayers are being sent via interstate travel for your newest sweet grandbaby--

jessica said...

beautiful home, beautiful quotes, beautiful friend, you are a blessing

praying you are able to find moments of peace in your thanksgiving holiday.

Thomas is beautiful, we have been praying for him and the family.

Eva said...

I’m a bit ashamed to admit this, but I’ve been visiting CBTBD almost daily, hoping for new insight into The Princess Deb and the rest of the beloved Pittman family. Thanksgiving in Chattanooga? Nope. Work on the world-famous Pittman post-Christmas letter? Nope. Gratuitous pictures of the new grandson? Nope. Come back to blogging…

Meg in Tally said...

Can't wait till the morning to visit the Princess IN PERSON! I'll have to check out all your nooks...maybe I can de-clutter enough to find a nook of my own!

I've been catching up on BloggyWorld and am happy to know I wasn't TOO far behind...

See you in the AM!