Thursday, May 9, 2013

Downsizing



Today I packed up my stack of beautiful oilcloth tablecloths and colorful napkins.  I have too many.  I have tablecloths for all seasons, for all sizes, and some duplicates.  Every few months I go through my table linen drawer and try to get rid of some.  It's a futile project.  I always end up refolding them all and placing them right back in the drawer.  It doesn't help that I now have a little friend who always compliments table arrangements and anything with a good pop of color.  I can't seem to downsize when it comes to pretty table ware.  And I am realizing more and more that I'm really okay with my behavior.  It's what I believe in - tables, food, fellowship, pretty things - it's what reminds me to be thankful.  Why would I garage sale things that remind me to be thankful?  Our table is where I finally sit down at the end of a long day, it's where I finally get to talk to Jon, it's where Darcy tells some of her best jokes (and we have recently had some pretty extensive prayers from her at the table too), it's where we catch up with friends.  I want it to be pretty, and I want to feel thankful there.  If that means I have to set aside some extra pantry space for an array of good tablecloths, then we will just have to make that sacrifice.

Today, I packed up all those pretty tablecloths into a red plastic bin and put a label on it.  We are packing up the whole house by the end of the month and moving on.  This has been a wonderful and challenging place for us to live.  Buying our first home was a great experience, and we have gradually been making it prettier and prettier.  As I'm packing, I'm remembering how horrible it looked when I was moving in.  Things have definitely improved.  We have many wonderful memories here - Darcy's first three birthdays, bringing June home from the hospital, two Christmases by our fireplaces, living in the living room for a month while we waited to replace the furnace, hanging laundry all over the house when the dryer was broken, spending long summer evenings by the fire pit in the back yard, and having many friends stay with us.  It's been fun.  But it's also been challenging.  We have had many, many days in this house without Jon.  His last two jobs required him to travel more than we would like.  For a while he has felt called to finish his degree in Biblical Counseling that he started before we were married, but the timing never seemed quite right.  This year we are finally taking the plunge and Jon is going back to school.  We are leaving our house, packing up, and heading out of town for a big career change.

A career change for Jon leaves me really questioning my priorities when it comes to my job of keeping a home.  Do I really need all the tablecloths and napkins?  How many vases is really too many?  What's a reasonable number of towels for a family of four, because I am positive that I have about three times too many?  Especially with a few years of school in our immediate future, and most likely a small apartment or student housing, I really question my decorating standards.  It's been quite a battle for me over the last couple of months, and while I have purged many decorative belongings, I have finally come to the conclusion that I have to stick to my guns - making my home pretty is one of my favorite and most important aspects of my job here.  It is so much more than having a stylish or trendy home - it's about bringing joy to the people that live here.  It's about creating a place where my family can come to and be reminded to be thankful.  It's about being so generous with my time and effort that they remember how generous God has been to us.  It means that I will be spending much time over the next few years lugging around boxes of candlesticks and throw pillows, and racking my brain for how to organize them in a tiny apartment.  But do you know that feeling you get when you sit on the edge of the ocean, when you just look out over all the water and the beautiful sky and you know deep down that God is good because it is so beautiful?  That's the feeling that I want my family to have in our home.  I want it to be beautiful so that when they look around they remember that God has been so good to us, whether we are in a big beautiful house, or a tiny apartment on a college campus.

3 comments:

Carol in Oregon said...

Bravo! I love this!

Dana in Georgia said...

Reads like you are the epitome of the homemaker described in Edith Schaeffer's book.

I heartily encourage you in your endeavors, as there is no question that you will bless others.

Three cheers for table cloths and real napkins.

Bonnie Tollefson said...

Well done. You know my history and that is exactly what was a priority to my mom. We always had vases, placed in some odd settings at times, but it made wherever we were officially 'home'. I still have a set of her napkins from Mexico when she was first married, from her first dinner party as Mrs. D. Taylor. :0)