Skip to main content

Beautiful Things



I grew up with a mom who loves beautiful things. Her room is a treasure trove of drawers lined with velvet boxes of sparkling things to wear, mirrored trays of delicious perfumes to dab on wrists, a bed of feathered pillows to sink into, and a walk-in closet lined neatly with every kind of shoe imaginable. Growing up with her was like growing up with a queen in a castle. 

As I grew into a teenager, a lot of the wonder of my mom's way of life began to lose its appeal. I saw how hard she worked to own all the things she wanted. I saw how much time it took to clean silver, and wool, and delicate hand-painted porcelain. And I started to feel that I wanted to spend my life doing other things with my time. 

My first experience with what I now know is called a minimalist lifestyle, was when I nannied for a toddler whose parents were missionaries. They slept on mattresses on the floor, had only one bowl, one cup, and a set of silverware for each person in the family, and they bought rice and beans in bulk. But their home was full of pictures and pinned maps of all the places they had been. Their fridge was a giant collage of notes and letters from friends all around the world. And best of all their job was sharing the joy of Jesus with people in desolate places. 

I was hooked. Their way of life struck a chord with me. Up until this point, I had done very little traveling and had only a couple of friends. The idea of living more simply so I could live life more fully was new and exhilarating. So I went about putting it into practice. 

I was a good student and had merited a full scholarship to any college in the southeast, so I chose a Bible college. I wanted to learn how to share my love for the Lord anywhere I went.  I bought a tiny but gas-efficient car in cash. A bought the cheapest flip-phone I could find. And I traveled--missions trips, conferences, and camping trips in Texas, Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, the Dominican Republic...anywhere my part-time college job could afford me to go. I made new friends and learned new things and most of all I grew up. I matured and got a better understanding of the evils and wonders of the world. 

I will forever be grateful that my mom gave me such a beautiful home to grow up in, especially because she did so as a single parent. I'm especially glad she taught me to take pride in and take care of my belongings and the belongings of others. And I'm happy to have learned the value of working for everything I want.

But the minimalist lifestyle that I had a taste of as a teenager has stayed with me. I am rekindling my passion for it. I'm working toward giving the gift of myself to people--my presence, my listening ear, my support, my encouragement, and my time--instead of gifting things. I'm investing time and money into things I want to do: classes, books, crafts, and taking care of my body and my mind, instead of looking for that next basket or throw rug at the store. And it's been so freeing to enjoy the things I love with the people I love. I am still surrounding myself with beautiful things, they are just in the form of memories and experiences shared. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

I fell on the bed exhausted. Thoughts I had never dreamed I'd have had been bombarding me for months. And for the first time in years I felt the pangs of an old foe...guilt. I turned on some worship music and cried. I told the Lord how awful and dirty I felt. I lay there arms outstretched and let his love flow over me until I fell asleep. 
This was the turning point for me.
You see, I absolutely adore my husband. For the first four years of our marriage, no matter what financial problem, personal tragedy, or health issue came up, we were a team!  
But this past year I found myself thinking about another guy while I was with him...
Yeah, this was not like me. 
Yeah, I was completely ashamed of it. 
And it didn't just suddenly happen one day. It was far more subtle than that.
It started with something Joe would fail to do or something rude he would say, and immediately I'd hear the lie...he doesn't think you're lovable anymore.
And then he'd be too tired to do anything w…

Komorebi

Komorebi.
It is a Japanese word that translated means "sunlight filtered through the leaves of a tree."
A word that encompasses all the wonder and beauty of one of my most beloved images. 
In the spring, the leaves are new and bright green and the light that filters through them is fresh and vibrant and whispers promises of new things to come. 
In the summer, the green, filtered light is a rest from the heat and the bustle of life. 
In the fall, the chill in the air and the array of a thousand colors invite us to come and play and be a child again. 
In the winter, the cold breeze blows unhindered through the naked trees, but their absence gives an unhindered view of the layout of the land.
Komorebi in each season of nature is a symbol of a season of my own life. 
Not too long ago I was missing those leaves and missing that sun. Anxiety, insomnia, depression, and awful physical symptoms plagued me until some days I couldn't even get out of bed. It was winter in my life and the ch…

Body Image

I remember being 6 years old in my dance class. My mom walked out of the parent waiting area and offered me a sip of her Sprite. Two sips in I heard the teacher say from the front of the room, "That's enough. She doesn't need any more sweets. She's big enough." Some of the other girls snickered. After we finished our winter show later that month, I never went back to dance lessons again. 

I remember being 8 years old and my parents had friends over for dinner. The youngest was my age so upstairs we went to play. I sat on the edge of my bed while she ransacked my room. I told her she was being too rough with my stuff. She turned around, poked me in the stomach, and out of nowhere said,"Well at least I'm not chubby." I had no words for her statement but I spent the rest of the evening avoiding her by pretending to help in the kitchen. 

At 13 years old, my best guy friend told me that he would be interested in dating me if my legs were a little leaner an…