October 28, 2010

  • Brewing: Beauty Thoughts and Project Irreversible


    Since My Faire Lady and her two festivals are now over [we did a second with a bit more success than the first - yay!], I have a million projects running through my mind for my house. Okay, so not a million. That sounds juvenile. :)

    But a lot. As in, I lie in bed at night,  before I sleep, there visions of interior design projects that run through my mind.  I would love to be an interior designer. At least, that’s what I think from this side. But I’ve never had any formal training other than what I read and observe on my own. So perhaps it’s not as glamorous on the other side as what it seems to be, because I’ve heard interior design is hard work. But I just think it would be so fun to go into someone’s home and beautify it for them.

    The thing of finding beauty has been something God has been teaching me, especially the past four years. My years before that were spent in a geographically gorgeous area; the past four years are really not what one would call gardens of any kind. Sure, there are pockets of geographically beautiful land scattered here and there, but one has to look for it. This subject was just brought up to me again within the past few weeks with a few friends and sisters, the subject of finding beauty.

    I’ve grown up with an appreciation for beauty – whether it’s architecture [my father is a real estate agent, and as a child I remember driving around dramatic neighborhoods admiring the roof pitch, the color scheme chosen, the angles, the details], landscape, wardrobe/accessories, interior design, floral design… And it seemed that I was simply immersed in beauty for much of my life. I have an uncle who is a phenomenal artist who resides in New York City, I have relatives who are so incredibly gifted in creating beautiful atmospheres and homes and dinners…

    Four years ago, when my husband and I moved 800 miles south, I wasn’t prepared for the geographical difference. Where is the beauty?? I would moan to myself. And sometimes I still long for the four dramatic seasons, for an autumn where there is a glorious changing of color, where there is crisp weather for hay rides and barn parties as in my youth. Somehow the 90′ weather of today doesn’t seem too much like autumn. And I really don’t want to run the air conditioner on Christmas day. I really really don’t.

    And yet, God is showing me that there is beauty to be found. Granted, it must be searched for. And no, it wouldn’t win world awards or anything like that. Down by the islands, yes indeed.

    But even more than that, I often think of the quote by Amy Carmichael, who said,

    In acceptance lieth peace.”

    It is true, that as long as we are fighting the place that God has put us in, we will not see the beauty. But in the acceptance of His will, there is rest of heart and soul, and there are new eyes to see beauty around us. There is something about that soul peace, that quietness and rest within the depths of who we are, knowing that we are right with God and that we are surrendered to Him.

    And also, in the seeking of God Himself, it seems that there are windows and doors that open within us and rivers that flow out of our very soul – expressing His beauty within our lives, and in the way we live our lives. I think this looks different in every person. For some, it’s pursuing dreams, for others, it could be as varied [but not limited to] as: teaching, MOPS groups, photography, orphan ministry, leading women’s ministry groups, interior design, culinary skills, a heart that always seems to notice when someone needs help and knowing how to practically meet that need, people that care well for others, inner city missions and ministries, children’s clubs and ministries, moms meeting together to pray for their public high school children, people who speak words of encouragement… There is an endless list, really. But it seems that is all flows out of a heart who is surrendered and at peace with God. It flows – it is not forced, and it brings blessing… It springs from a heart who is first seeking God; not seeking to be great at any of the above mentioned [and not mentioned] things.

    All that to say, I am realizing that as I come to deeper places of surrender with God, that He places a fuller dimension of Himself within me. And it will always continue to be so – there will always be more places of surrender, and until Heaven, I will not experience and know Him perfectly. I wish, but I won’t. That’s one of the many things to look forward to about Heaven!

    I think the giftings within us tend to simply flow out of us the more we learn to know God more. I loved this quote by A. W. Tozer that I read the other morning, speaking of that issue:

    “Our gifts and talents should be recognized for what they are,
    God’s loan to us,
    and should never be considered in any sense our own.”
    We have no more right to claim credit for special abilities
    than for blue eyes and strong muscles.”

    I LOVED this quote. Because there are soooo many varied giftings within every person. No two are exactly alike; not one is better than another. But they are all loans from God, to showcase Himself to the people and the world around us. That means EVERYONE has something to offer, no matter what the gifts. If they are from God, they are unique, they are of incredible worth, and they are given for a purpose of showcasing God. Not for any personal credit or discredit.

    Those are just a few of my thoughts today…


    And a project…

    My husband called me on his way home yesterday…

    I said, Um, I was working on a project today.
    He said, Okay, what was it?
    I said, Uhh, it’s a secret.
    He said, Oh really? So what is it?
    I said, It’s a secret. But I really hope you like it, because this is irreversible.
    He said, Irreversible, huh? So did you paint the piano? Tear out drywall? Paint the ceiling?
    I said, Oh no no no, nothing that drastic. But still, rather hard to undo.
    He was nervous.

    I’m telling you. This husband of mine is a brave one. And he’s really good about letting me act upon my ideas. Even though sometimes he won’t tell me for years later that he really didn’t like that curtain the hallway, and I wonder why he didn’t tell me because it really wasn’t a big deal!

    This was my brewing Project Irreversible:

    My music tree. I’ve been dreaming of it for months. I needed something beside my mantel and behind the baby grand. And I wanted a tree.

    But not a wallwords tree, not a fabric tree, not a painted tree. I wanted something unique. And because this is the music room, and because I dreamt of majoring in music once upon a time…

    A very sweet friend sent me a beautifully ancient book of antiqued brown sheet music, and I bought a few more music books off of ebay for a few dollars, thus varying the page shades.


    projects - oct. 2010 018-1

    [I do think I need to move that center bird cage... It hides her too much. And I need to move the paper balls. Leftovers from My Faire Lady that I don't know what to do with.]

    Now that she’s up, I’m not sure I’m quite as in love with her as I thought. [I call the tree a "she" because she is too delicate and fine to be called an "it"].

    I’m rather afraid she looks like a giant spider spread across the wall behind my baby grand in the music room. Does she??

    She sure was fun to make though. It only look me about two hours.

    projects - oct. 2010 014-1

    But like I told Husband, It’s irreversible. She GLUED to the wall. Taking her off would be a bit difficult.

    I do like her. But I know what she is, a musical tree. I just really hope is that a spider on the wall doesn’t pop into people’s minds when they see her.

    And directly opposite of her, above the desk is this…

    projects - oct. 2010 015-1

    Husband thinks it’s a slightly an overkill on the whole music idea. Too much of a good thing is too much, that  reasoning? He is probably right. But he is very willing to bear with his impulsive wife. :)

     This wall is just little strips of tape holding these sheets up. I rather like them. As for the desk underneath it, well, that best remains hidden at this point. Too much stuff to clear off of it for a picture. :)

    And another little project yesterday: a halter-style kitchen apron. For sale on My Faire Lady on facebook. :)

    projects - oct. 2010 003


    And that’s all for now!

    A lovely autumn weekend to you!

    Camping is involved in our weekend plans. Wish me forbearance.
    Rustic camping isn’t my forte. :)
    But happy company is, so that compensates!




Comments (17)

  • We lived in south Ga. for 17 months so I know what you mean about having to look for beauty.  I love the Amy Carmichael quote.  It’s so true!

    LOVE the apron you made!

  • I love to come read your blog. It’s inspiring. :) “in acceptance lieth peace.” And what you said about not fighting God’s will, but accepting it & thereby having new eyes to see beauty around us. And in seeking God it opens doors for His beauty to flow thru us…I think I was supposed to read this tonight. :) Thank you. ~Dorcas

  • All that you’ve written here is *so* true . . . and so much along the lines of things that I was hearing over and over at the conference last weekend. I do often find myself becoming frustrated with the talents that I wasn’t given or haven’t developed instead of allowing myself to really enjoy the ones I do have . . . but I hope that all of this will come and FLOW more naturally, as you said it, in getting to know the Lord more intimately and allowing HIM to flow through the life that He has given me. GRACE. It’s a word that is so intriguing to me right now. Felt like it was my ‘theme word’ from last weekend. How to experience the grace of Christ, live it out in my thoughts toward myself, and to extend it to others on regularly, daily, moment by moment. It is the prayer on my heart right now for my home, in how I deal with my children, etc. etc. More on that later . . . maybe in a post? :)

    But then about those talents I DON’T have . . . and grace . . . I guess that’s one reason I felt freedom and decided to call you for HELP the other day. No need to feel like I have to do everything myself that would take hours in an area that ISN’t my strength, right? Instead of feeling frustrated over my own lack, I think maybe I need to start enjoying and rejoicing in the fact that God has placed friends in my life with the strengths that I don’t have, and maybe, maybe we can be of help to each other along the way. Now, if you’d live next door, I’d make several dinners and deliver them to your house in return for your favor, but since that won’t work, we’ll have to stick with money for compensation or come up with some other idea . . . right?

    I like your tree! It definitely looks like a tree, and not a spider. :) You are quite brave to have done something so irreversable . . .  I’d like to see the whole room in person to get more of a feel for the whole thing. You’re lucky to have a room/corner for your piano/music . . . oh, and HAVE you ever thot about painting your piano? I’m on this painting-everything-white binge and have taken a few hard looks at our piano. I just think it would look so PRETTY in white. But now that I’ve painted a few other more necessary items first, I’m running low on energy for the piano . . . AND white isn’t quite as durable to bangs, nics, and dirty little fingers like that dark wood stain . . . so maybe I’ll leave it be for now. Until the urge hits again. ;)

    This epistle must end! Can you tell it’s 5:30 in the morning and I have zero interruptions coming my way?? Couldn’t sleep for the past 1.5 hours so finally decided to get up and do profitable things . . . oh the joys of late term pregnancy.

    Love you! And the pics will be sent your way today!! I was gone yesterday and figured with your camping weekend that you wouldn’t be rushing to work on the project. THANK YOU SO MUCH. Do you know how happy it makes me to have that project load off of my mind?? Probably not, but trust me, it makes me happy. :)

  • I love the thoughts you shared, about our talents belonging to God.
    The music tree….hmmm, I love the idea and I think you did a great job. Maybe I shouldn’t say this since it’s too late. :) I think it would look better on a darker wall. It kinda fades into the wall, not enough contrast. I don’t consider myself that great at interior decorating, so maybe I am wrong. :)
    I want to paint my piano black since it came from the 60′s and looks like it. Brownish butterscotch colored paint and gold accents. Your piano looks lovely the way it is though. :) And that apron is darling!!! I love the brown with white polka dots!

  • You said you would love to be an interior designer?   Decorating is what I enjoy the least of all the domestic stuff.  So I would love to have somebody just do it for me.  I liked your thoughts on beauty, it does have to be searched for, and I’m learning that it does look different to different people.
    Your music tree = very cute.

  • Love that apron!!!  I would almost want to wear it as a dress!
    I too was going to be a music major…but never finished college.
    Your tree is so creative and cute!  Love your decorating…you should be a designer!  I think being professionally trained is overrated sometimes. Some people just have a natural knack for it, and don’t need to “learn” how to do it properly. You are one of those people! =)

    Have a great weekend camping!!!

  • Wonderful thoughts on skills, abilities, and talents from the Lord, and how they should be glorifying Him. Listened to a CD recently, about that subject, in helping to mentor and lead youth in finding what God created them to be. We listened to it for my youngest who is 17, but since I work with the Youthgroup at church, I always apply things to them too. More in the career related area, but similar, in that the things we are good at and enjoy, come naturally and we can glorify God in them.

    I LOVE your music tree. It is so unique and wonderful. I like it on that color wall, with all the shades of music sheets. It does not look like a spider! The bird cages add to the theme so well. Not sure about the whole music sheets,as the photo is so close up, but since you just used tape you could enjoy them for a season. You may end up with a wall full of outlines though when you remove them.

    You definitely have a natural talent for design and beautifying. I do have a degree in Interior design, yet have not used it on a big scale at all. I finished college after getting married and then went on to have children, and then home schooled, so have been busy ever since. I did do some various drawing projects for people,and helped on a couple small remodels. Big scale design involves all kinds of lighting, building, structural plans, and spread sheets etc. It can be crazy. I think going in and working with peoples spaces, as you have done with yours, is something one could do with natural talent. Of course, if you work with other builders you might need to be able to do some of those drawings and such. You can buy software now that lets you work with things like that on the computer, and is something you could learn at home. In my day,25-30 years ago it was all drafting and rendering by hand. Anyway, didn’t mean to ramble on. I have seen how naturally it comes for me to move things around, arrange flowers, and make little arrangements. For some people it is hard to even put flowers in a vase. I think it would be fun to have a business that you go in and arrange peoples things for them! I worked once for designers that would decorate model homes. They were like kids playing house on the day they finally got to arrange the furniture. They had a warehouse they would go through and pull vases, lamps etc. But really, wouldn’t it be fun to pretty up a house for someone who does not have those talents?!

    My space certainly needs some attention. We have so much stuff, after emptying my husband’s parents house,jammed into our little 2 bedrm. flat! Your photos are inspiring!

  • I love your thoughts about gifts and finding beauty. I have a real heart for these topics and have been discussing them with your sister lately. ;) It’s so hard to use the gifts God as given to each of us personally and not worrying about what others may think or say about us just because we may be good at something. It’s also a struggle to recognize our gifts as a gift from God, even though sometimes they may feel like a curse because of the way others view them.

    Concerning your tree…. I don’t think it looks like a spider at all! I think it is a very unique idea!

    Happy Camping! ;)

  • Tree looks great! Never once thought of a spider. I very much dislike spiders.

    This post was so encouraging to read! Makes me want to pursue some of my goals and dreams…for what it’s worth, I think you would make a fabulous interior designer! But I don’t know all that it would entail, either. I’m no expert.

    Also, I love that quote by Amy C. Acceptance, contentment,… these are the things that allow us to find beauty wherever we are. I have often wished I lived in the south, but I suppose I would miss the seasons and the cool, damp fog that blankets our home, signaling fall and making us turn the heater on.

    Thanks for the reminder to be content!

  • The tree doesn’t look a bit like a spider so I won’t be thinking that when I finally get to come to your house sometime (no idea when that will be, but I have faith like a mustard seed). :) I loved, loved, LOVED your thoughts on talent and on beauty. And the A. W. Tozer quote is just the best. I’m so tired I can’t think straight, maybe I will come back later with more thoughts on that. Love to you and happy new week!

  • Your site is so very inspiring.  I love to come here and just read and enjoy. Your thoughts are beautiful. If I lived in Georgia and not Pa, (thoughnot far from Lancaster) you could come to my house to decorate any time. Love your site.

  • @aretheyallyours - so you know about having to look for beauty, and not just seeing it at first glance? that makes me feel better. :)

    And I think I need to show a larger picture of the music tree. Jana thought it looked too busy in that corner, which I think it did look like that in pictures partly because of my clutter which I neglected to remove. But in real life it’s not so noticeable, more blends into the wall…

    Oh, I actually haven’t considered painting my piano. :) For one, it looks far too overwhelming. And for two, it’s an old piano and seems like a shame to paint over the old mahogany. Amazing though, because I seem to paint almost everything else!

    @rachi882 - I think if the tree would be the only thing on that wall, you’d be right – it should pop more. But I didn’t show the whole wall, which also has a black fireplace mantel, and I didn’t want too much to be overhwhelming. I think it was a mistake to show only part of the wall, because it’s hard to actually catch a glimpse of what it really looks like!

    @Elizabethmarie_1 - Are you serious?? You were going to school for music? How did you become a fashion consultant then? I’m very curious! :)

    @ABAHM - So interesting to hear from someone who has been an interior designer! I love that you rambled. :) I’ve heard that interior design involves actually drawing up plans, working with architects, etc, and that really would not be what I enjoy. What I would like is the “kids in a big playhouse” like you described. :) )

    @embracingbeauty - maybe we can talk more about this if we get a chance to get together around Thanksgiving! That’s when we’re coming up next, and I would LOVE to get together with you and Jana!! She said she has talked with you about this subject before too. I think you’re one of those rare people that really understands beauty so well…

    @smilesbymiles - I like your mustard-seed faith. How fun would that be?! :)

  • i really like this post Clarita!!
    beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. i just said that to my husband the other night when i was looking at some thistle heads i have on the dining room table as decor…to me they are quite stunning and attractive, but to my husband, and probably many a farmer, they would only be an annoying weed. like you said…you have to look for it. sometimes harder than others. and, not just in things…sometimes in people, and even the ones we love the most..
    the music tree is very cool! i smile to myself at the presentation you made to your hubs about it! oh, yes. my hubs knows all about those ‘project irreversible’ things!! ;O)
    happy tuesday!!

  • I love that apron. I want that apron. Please may I have that apron?

  • @dreamstillcometrue - oh honey, I wish you would have told me before! It sold within minutes of being posted on My Faire Lady! Sorry!

  • Hello, I love your site. Found your site through Hutch5. I sent you a personal message regarding the post about your kitchen.

    Barb (fawnamomma)

  • For whatever reason, I missed this post when it was first written but I’m so glad I found it!  “In acceptance lieth peace”.  Maybe thats why I’ve been emotionally shaky the last few days…I’m finding it hard again to accept God’s plan for me/my family.  I needed this tonight…thanks.

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