While we were in San Fransisco last fall, we had the opportunity to stop in the quaint little Victorian city of Petaluma, California on our way up to Sonoma. Our dear friends, who knew me all too well, made a few stops along the way in an attempt to bring a little bit of heaven down to my earth (or so it seemed). Their attempts succeeded brilliantly and I daresay that I couldn't have planned these lingering moments better myself, even in my wildest dreams.
My heaven: A visit to a small, cafe off the beaten path with a vintage feel and fresh, baked goods filled with good things like dark chocolate and rosemary, a trip to Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company- a seed bank residing in a charming 1920s building- filled with precious heirloom seeds (have you seen there seed catalog!?) and an hour-long stroll through a shimmering, rusting, gorgeous, rustic salvage yard.
With scone and tea in hand, the four of us walked through this amazing salvage yard filled with broken, rusted, antiquated, rustic, hopeful little and big bits and pieces of scrap- scrap furniture, beams, glass, metal, vintage appliances and the like.
As we walked, I found myself continually straying from the side of my well-intentioned, but much more realistic husband who was content to simply walk around and kick a few tires and slide his hand across some amazingly old wooden beams and smile. I suddenly wished that we had driven- a flatbed truck that is- across country, instead taking our cushy, direct and space-limiting flight. My mind seemed to grow in a dozen different directions, swelling and stretching with one big idea after another as to how I could turn all of this trash into my domestic treasure,
Just at about the point where I decided that we needed a new home to fit the amount and the style of decor that I was mentally planning to bring back to the East Coast with me, I decided that I just simply needed to call it quits and let my big dreams remain just that-dreams- instead of the overwhelming and frustrating plan that they had become.
This scenario is all to familiar to me. It is not always home decor and furniture, but it is always an ideal that would bring my family and home into a deeper sense of beauty, purpose, nurture and function. Good intentions indeed, but not always at the right time or place.
I am a lover of beauty and ideas and if I see something in life that becomes a beautiful idea then it can act as the kiss of death for me, and I-doing just about anything needing to be done to make that dream become my reality- become set on bringing that ideal, that vision into my daily life without always thinking it through entirely. Impatience and over-eagerness set in and the energy to create, plan, change and implement begins to run wild in my being, becoming the driving new driving force in my life.
For so many years this was a source of frustration for me, for I saw this wanting of what I didn't have as a strong presence of discontentment and dissatisfaction with my current way of life. Over the years I have tried many different techniques to quell these desires and have even tried shortcuts to obtain to the object of my affection.
When finances were a hurdle, I would convince myself that the real deal was unnecessary and would instead settle on purchasing something somewhat similar to the original, but much less authentic, well-made or beautiful. The aesthetic quality would be lost and instead of the item adding to the overall environment of my life, it would instead detract from the quality of my life and I in the end would be left with even more frustration.
If my time or resources were the challenge keeping me from implementing a certain practice, say, in the homeschooling of my children, then I would foolishly abandon all current routines and ways of life in a meager attempt to 'clear my schedule' and rashly adopt this new, bigger and better, way of going about things.
Again, frustration, discontentment... you get the picture.
Over time my desire and insatiable need to bring new, beautiful ideas- and ideals- into my family life and home have not diminished. But my instincts have heightened and discernment deepened and I am finally able to control them a bit more be able to hone in and be truly deliberate in choosing not only the beautiful, but the most beautiful- and useful- objects that will have the honor of being invited into my world.
It is a super distracting character trait (flaw?) of mine and at times when I am feeling that call to change, create, improve and make new- I sometimes secretly wish I was not a lover of such an ideal life. But I am quickly reminded as I look at my children, my home, my marriage and my spirit that remaining stagnant in life would not suit me in the least. In fact, my satisfaction, contentment, delight and true peace in life would not be present if I were the type to settle for the status quot.
It is exhausting at times, but the pull to seek out the very best in life is not one that I can turn on and off when it suits me. I believe that, just as with any aspect of creation, nothing is accidental. And in fulfilling my purpose and design, I am honoring my Creator and that I must obey the instincts and desires placed inside of me albeit inconvenient, difficult or costly.