For the first time in my life, I've made a home that is my very own. No roommates, no half-my-stuff-in-storage, no moving-soon-anyway-so-won't-unpack-everything. It's all here. All the furniture and beauty I've accumulated over the years. All my dishes. All my quilts. All my books.
For a couple years now, I've been frequenting estate sales and antique stores. I always show up in the last hours of the last day, when everything is half off. I figure if it's not still there on half-off day, it wasn't meant for me anyway...so why even go while things are still full price? Mom and I usually go together. We bounce ideas off each other and laugh our way through the floor. It's one of my favorite things to do with my mama.
Anyway, I'm now all moved in and my collection is mostly complete. I'm in the (long-term) process of refinishing most of my antique wooden pieces, and I wasn't going to take any pictures until all my furniture was finished. But it's been a few months now since I moved in, and I still have a long ways to go as far as sanding and painting are concerned. So I decided to do a photoshoot as-is. I'm really proud of the homemaking I've done so far, and I want to share this space with my friends. I've had decor help and input from many ladies in my town...ladies who helped raise me and now call me Friend. It's been a thoroughly enjoyable process.
Above all, I desire a home that is cozy...warm...inviting. I sit on my couch at some point every day, wrapped in a blanket, and sip tea. I eat breakfast at my breakfast table and curl up under the quilt on my bed.
I love my home, and I hope it feels cozy and inviting to all who come to rest.
Grandma had this quilt and bed skirt on her guest bed for my entire childhood. When she moved from Oregon, she gave it to Mom. It's been in a box on the top shelf of Jared's room ever since. On the wall the lyrics of, "In My Daughter's Eyes" are written in calligraphy and framed. Mama did that for me many years ago. The chest at the end of the bed is from JamiLyn, one of the women in the Village that raised me. She's now a dear friend. The nightstand was $20 on our local swap site. Mama restored it and painted it to match my quilt. The rocking chair is also from JamiLyn, as is the mirror box above it. The chair is over a hundred years old and once belonged to a sweet woman in our church. Inside the mirror box is a letter from a friend, written in calligraphy, and a sand dollar I found on the beach, in a storm, with Ben. The quilt on the end of my bed is from Gramps. He gave it to Mama decades ago, and it's been in a box for a while. I love using it.
That dresser is from the 1940s. It's in perfect condition and has never been restored. Mom found it for me on half-off day at an estate sale. Last weekend, we found its twin at another sale. Mom snatched the second one up as well...so someday, they'll both be in a room together. The birdhouse is one I saved from the property on which I grew up--Grandpa made a bunch of them for us, and they hung in our trees for over a decade. The gold mirror is one my mama's had my whole life, and in that frame is a note from my best friend, written in sharpie on a paper towel. It's survived four years of moving.
That Homecoming Banner was stolen in a midnight raid by my best Baylor friends. We each got one. It's been on the wall in every place I've lived ever since.
Everything I've ever sewn, I've sewn using this machine. I think it used to be my mom's. It's really old. My grandma taught me how to oil it and change the thread. I've been looking for a vintage sewing table for a long time. I finally found this one on the swap site, for $20. It needs a fresh coat of light and bright paint. The chair was given to me by Dr. Drea. It was given to her by some high school youth group kids playing the game "bigger and better." That's a beaver hat. My Minnesotan gramps gave it to me.
I'm working on bookshelves. Ben and I Craigslisted "free wood" one Saturday and drove to scavenge a pile of old barn wood. These shelves are going to be cool.
Mom found the couch and wingback chair. Eventually, I'll recover them. But I like the floral right now. Mama found me that coffee table, too. I'm in love with it. The green chair has a matching one, under the Homecoming sign. I bought them at an estate sale. They were once owned by an old-money American family and were brought here from Britain over a hundred years ago. That lamp shade has 3 others like it. They're 90 years old and came out of an old barn in Texas. The great-great grandkids of the woman who once owned them sold them to me for $2 a piece. They had no idea how much they were worth and "just wanted to clear old junk out of the barn." Those are my sequin stilettos from Harrod's in London. I bought them with Gram when I was 18. That's a painting of my mountains. Bree spent a summer painting it for me, when I was really homesick. The wooden piece is from the 1800s. My friend Teri sold it to me and is going to help me restore it.
That's the guitar I built in high school. I spent nearly my entire senior year in the wood shop. Those are silver fox furs. They were given to Miss Minnesota in 1920. My grandpa somehow acquired them, through her friends. They hung from the ceiling of his cabin my whole life. I've wanted them since I was a little girl...and so have all the other women in the family. When he sold the cabin a couple years ago, he sent me a box of keepsakes from that cabin I loved. They were in that box.
Dad bought me that chest the summer I was a camp counsellor. I told him all the "veterans" and all the kids brought trunks to camp. So he went out to an antique store and found me a trunk. That's his old lunch box inside. The American flag only has 48 stars. It was at an estate sale at the beginning of the summer. The map is from the 1950's. It's yellowed and worn. I love it.
This is my gear closet. It makes me happy. And my kayak spot. It makes me happy, too.
This is my bathroom. Mom got me the yellow painting from Uganda. In the lady bug frame is a picture of two hands making a heart around the Eiffel Tower: mine and Blakey's. She's married with a new baby, now. We were 19 then. My makeup is kept in glass containers I found in a cabinet in Gramps' living room. He asked me to clean it out for him, and I kept a few things I liked.
This is my closet. I know, I have a lot of clothes. Sh.
Another view of the living room. That end table was my great grandmother's. It's one of four things my mom wanted from her. The other three were another end table, a round mirror, and a flour canister.
This is Bree's daybed. I thought of her as I designed this corner, so I call it hers. When she comes to visit, she'll sleep here. I've always wanted a little reading nook. Those are my dancing shoes. They've seen a lot of ballroom floors. Grandma bought them for me when I was a freshman at Baylor and joined the Swing Club. The twin bed matches the two white dressers. From the 1940's. The quilt is off the swap site. I found the embroidered pillow cases at an antique store a few weekends ago. Everything in the "quilt room" was half off. They were in the quilt room. The dust ruffle is Pottery Barn, and I salvaged it out of a dumpster at Baylor some years ago. I bleached it and washed it, and it was good as new. The shelf and mirror are from JamiLyn. The plate is one of Great Grandma's. I have three of her old plates. And the books are, well, old books. I think they're beautiful.
The sweet woman whose family owns the house I live in (I live in the basement), gave me this curio. It belonged to her her parents. Those cigar boxes are from Gramps. In one of them are six letters. On the last night we were all together in one place, my Baylor friends and I sat on the floor by candlelight and wrote letters to each other. I will keep them forever. The gitchie bag up top used to hang in Gramps' cabin, right on the beam above where I always slept. That's my Papa's old box camera. The jar of mustard oil was Gramps' dad's. Great Grandpa Kelley. He was a Watkins dealer, and that's one of his old jars. It's over a hundred years old. The pottery globe I made in high school ceramics class. The Pacific Crest Trail sign I found in the old abandoned Santiam Lodge. Hayden had to carry me through the whole place because it was dark and scary and definitely haunted. The old bottles I've been collecting for years. One of the leather journals is my quote book. I bought it in a little cozy bookstore in the town where I went to Bible School in England. It's been collecting quotes for five years. Bree gave me that Wonderwoman comic. :)
The armoir was handcrafted in Mexico and brought here. I bought it for $25 from a woman whose mother needed to move and needed it gone. It keeps all my sewing fabric very well. That's the baby crib Papa built for me, when I was a little girl. All my babies slept in there, and my daughter's babies will too.
Mama found me the old dresser. I bought the mirror for $5 at a Texas garage sale. It belonged to an old man, and he got tears in his eyes when I told him how much I loved it. I guess he'd always hoped it'd be passed down to someone who loved it. The wooden piece is from JamiLyn. The little piece of wood, Ben found for me. In that frame is the quote "to write is to love and to love another person is to see the face of God." Jake's Jen painted it for me. One of the masks is from Venice, the other is from that little bookstore in Carnforth, England. The tea set was my "play set" when I was a little girl. And that's my breakfast nook. Mama gave me the table and chairs. I love it.
Sweet Marilyn (a grandma-by-heart) gave me her Ethan Allen dining table. It's been in her family for decades. I made those placemats out of coffee sacks from Sisters Coffee. The chairs are all mismatched and a bit broken. They need some wood glue and some love. Mama's been collecting them for me for a couple years. We finally have six. The frame by the door is from Nicole's barn. I brought it with me from Texas. Grandpa built that shoe rack. Marilyn gave me the sofa table, too. On the bottom shelf is a casket for a stillborn baby. My great-great-great relatives bought two of them...one to bury their son in, and one to keep. I somehow ended up with it. It houses my rock collection.
The kitchen. On the island is the teapot Marteen threw me, and the bowl I threw in high school. The baker's rack is from Mrs. Stewart. I traded her an hour of work for it, and then I spray painted it. The rug is from Gramps' cabin. Ben bought me the towels, to match my tea kettle. My parents and Nana & Gramps surprised me with the Kitchen Aide for college graduation. It's my baby. It's standing on a table I found at an estate sale last weekend. A very old table, with a crystal knob. That red plate is one of great grandma's. The stools at the island are the stools I grew up on. Mom and Dad had them hand built back when we lived on The Ranch. They work perfectly, here.
A TV is supposed to go here, but I don't have a TV and didn't like the hole. So I made curtains. :) The aprons still need work, but I'm liking the idea.
JamiLyn gave me that old door. It's just resting on juniper rounds. Nana bought me the sleeper sofa at an auction in Texas. It needs a slip cover. I made the curtains because I wanted to set this area off, as a nook. Now Ben can sit on the couch and play guitar while I play in the kitchen. :) The curtains are made of old curtain fabric my grandma gave me...it was in my scrap bucket...and a vintage sheet I bought for $1 at an old lady's garage sale. That's an old tractor wheel I found in a scrap pile at a burnt down barn.
I love this little first place of my own.
I have a to-do list in my Notes, and the very first item is “finish Mexico blog post.” It’s been there, at the top, for nearly a month now. I don’t know why I do not seem capable of sitting down and just finishing the thing, but alas. I’ve had the most wonderfully restful break here in the snowy little town that raised me, and tomorrow I fly back to Houston. The next time I’m back here, I will have graduated from college and will be a registered nurse.
Being back has gotten me thinking a lot about time and how strange of a thing it is. I spent this morning with the moms of two old, dear, childhood friends. We talked some about the years they watched their kids and me grow up, but mostly we talked about all that has happened since then. I’ve been to Bible school and traveled Europe, spent two and a half years as a Baylor Bear, and started and nearly completed nursing school. I’ve dated a few guys and made lifelong friends; become a writer and a learner; taken up rock climbing and rowing; watched childhood friends get married and have babies of their own. And these moms’ kids--these old friends of mine--they’re both going to be nurses and one’s engaged and one is in a relationship with “a guy who is just the most beautiful person and treats her like a queen,” according to her mama.
All these things, and many more, have happened and yet...I came back home today feeling as though the years since eighteen have been only a dream. I look back at old pictures--of camping trips and Shasta times and Serve LA and driving over the pass for sports and boating on Suttle and watching stars on docks and in fields and on barn roofs--and I feel like they were taken only yesterday. I have to intentionally remind myself of all that has happened in four years or else I find it all rather unbelievable. I KNOW the friends I made at Capernwray and Baylor and that I’ve almost got a degree and have lived halfway across the country from here for three years now, but when I’m back here all of that quickly fades and I feel as though I should be texting everyone to organize some night games and a good ol’ TP sesh. But then I drop my baby brother off at the high school and realize those who were freshmen when I was a senior graduated TWO YEARS AGO and that I now know zero of the kids inside. And when I stop by the middle school and see that the little toddlers I taught to swim are now sixth graders in Becky’s class...I realize that years really have passed.
It’s amazing to me how old wounds can surface after any amount of time. Maybe as a melancholy temperament I experience this phenomenon more acutely than others do, or maybe most of us understand but rarely discuss it. I can go months, years, without thinking of certain people or events that hurt--and I can forgive and move on a thousand times--and still, the cracks in my heart can reopen in a single moment, as if they were fresh just yesterday and I’ve awoken this morning to reality all over again.
I broke down in tears today, "grown up" and alone on my little brother’s bed, over many things and people that have been lost. Over things that once were, and will never be again. Over friendships that were once deeper than family but are now as superficial as strangers. Over unanswered prayers and unrequited love and improper timings. I haven’t broken down like that in a very long time, but sometimes being back here and driving all the old roads and seeing the mountains and fields and fences again makes for a case of profound nostalgia.
The truth is, time isn’t really real. Time is told by the seasons and the years, felt and expressed by our physical bodies, but our souls know no time. We were created for eternity, and from God’s view, every day is both yesterday and today and tomorrow. He sees the whole timeline from above; we see and feel from point to point. And so, our bodies and calendars tell us “four, ten, twenty-five, fifty years have gone,” and our souls say “it was all in the blink of an eye.” We are eternal at heart and made for forever. So, physical time doesn’t sit well with us, when we think about it too deeply.
Just think: a sand-digger fly’s whole life is five minutes long. A mosquito lives ten days; a monarch butterfly less than a year. To me, a human who could potentially live more than a hundred years, five minutes is but a drop in the bucket; ten days a few blocks on this year’s calendar; a year only two semesters of school. But to that fly? Five minutes is a literal lifetime. An incredibly significant, not-one-second-wasted lifetime. And yet to us, decades whizz by. Old friends who haven’t seen each other since graduation “pick up like no time has passed;” lovers celebrating their 70th anniversary swear “they got married yesterday;” parents watch their babies walk across the graduation stage and think “just last week, they were in diapers.”
The truth is, at twenty-two years old I have not prepared myself to watch doors shut, to see friends and family get sick and die, to lose those I love. During childhood, it’s easy to believe that “everything will stay just like this.” All the doors will always be open, the world will always be an oyster, nothing will ever be permanent. But the truth is that, on earth, there is permanence. I’m sure many of you had that figured out long before 22, but that reality is only just now becoming clear to me.
I am so thankful I believe in eternity. To believe that these months, days, years are the end-all-be-all would be such a frustrating endeavour. It would mean that wounds that have not healed by the time I die will remain forever unhealed--that some of the wrong I’ve done and not been forgiven for would just be over and done, without resolution. But I believe in a God who is in the business of redeeming and restoring and righting. He has put eternity in our souls--allowed us to feel these aches as time passes--to show us that we have been created for more than a timeline with an end date. When we look in the mirror and see wrinkling skin and greying hair but our spirits feel sixteen and free...He wants us to embrace that disconnect. It’s a disconnect that draws us to Him because we cannot make sense of it and must trust that He can, and has.
And, it is true, that some of my friends will be my friends forever. Eternally. I texted Trent, as I was crying, and said:
“I’m glad we’re forever friends.”
“Forever and ever. I hurt with you.”
“Thanks; it’s the best anyone can do.”
“It’s a hurt I still hurt.”
“We can’t fix each other’s hurts, usually. And God doesn’t usually fix them either. But He’s with us. And, likewise, we can be with each other.”
“Just bear a bit of each other’s burdens.”
“Yep, that’s Galatians.”
And so, as I find time to be such a strange and unreal thing, it stirs a disconnect between my calendar & body and my soul, and that disconnect draws me back to friends and family, and to Jesus.
I’m thankful for the assurance of eternity...where broken hearts will be made whole and tears will be wiped from eyes by our God, who loves us and is whispering
and through whatever painful disconnects
“there is so much more than this...wait, and see.”
hey, i'm jordan.
i write here because i think our words are worth sharing.