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Dreams

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…and make it your ambition to  a quiet life, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands…

These words, found in Thessalonians 4:11 -12, have been running through my mind lately anytime the conversation turns to resolutions.  There was a time when I made resolutions for myself and strictly stuck to them.  Giving up carbonation my sophomore year of high school just to challenge myself?  Check. Being a nazi about how many miles I ran a week? Done that too.  All in the name of personal improvement.

But in recent years – since getting married and having kids – it’s so much harder for me to stick to personal goals, I suspect due to my somewhat serious case of mom-guilt that makes me feel like a jerk when I spend time on myself.  I know I’m not alone here, but lately I’ve been thinking about personal goals – for my career, for my health, for my family, for this blog.  I’ve resisted the urge to write them down and make them specific.  I prefer to keep them swirling around in my head.  Goals, I call them. Goals, not resolutions. Resolutions are too strict and permanent.  They have no room for the twists and turns and unexpectedness of life.  I would feel like a failure for breaking a resolution, but a goal can always be re-routed and carried over to the next year. Life happens, you know?  Goals have room for grace.

So what does all this have to do with design? I keep asking myself the same question.  Why did I start this blog? Is it important? Is it making a difference?  My answers to those questions trace back to those opening words.

lead a quiet life

Believe it or not, my goal for this blog isn’t merely to showcase our design work. Sure, that’s part of the purpose, but not the main goal.  What I hope you really glean is the feeling of comfort and quiet that our rooms tend to generate. If anything, I hope our work emanates peace and tranquility – a quiet life – in the midst of the everyday chaos we all experience.

mind your own affairs

In terms of blogging, I struggle with this one.  I fully realize that following and commenting on other blogs, sharing via social media, and virtually “connecting” with others will grow this blog.  But, you know what?  It feels so insincere and fake to “connect” with the underlying purpose of increasing my own blog traffic. I feel a little self-promoting even sharing posts on my personal Facebook page.  I secretly hope people will stumble on this blog, feel a connection, and start following and commenting.  Maybe that’s unrealistic. Do any of you struggle with this?

What I think I’m getting at is that I desire for our work and our words to be sincere.  That we will not get caught up in design trends, but listen to our clients.  That we won’t provide content that is popular for the sake of a few more “likes” and “shares” on Facebook.  That we will continue to be true to ourselves and that beauty will flow from that truth.

work with your hands

Literally and symbolically.  One of the most satisfying parts of this adventure is the search – the hunt, if you will. It requires us to get off the computer, get out and about, discover new places, meet new people, and experience life. We take great care to get to know our clients and source pieces that fit each of their lifestyles. Often, we get creative – remaking,  reinventing, repurposing the old into something new.  It’s life-giving to each piece, to the project, and to our spirits. And finally, putting a room together for the first time really is invigorating and exciting.  To see all the things we’ve collected  come together, to work out a room so it is both practical and pretty: gathering. This is what we love doing.

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So somehow, in some little way, I hope this blog makes a difference.  It is my goal that it inspires you (and me) to look for peace, joy, and love amidst the craziness of life.  It is my goal not to focus on blog stats, but to be true to myself and sincere in content.  It is my goal to do more working with my hands – to delve into the real relationships that the hunt brings about and to gather graciously so that all feel welcome.

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My Favorite Therapy

I can never leave my Christmas tree up past December twenty-sixth. 

This is one of my favorite days of the whole year. I am itching (literally, because the dry and brittle pine needles on my tree and garland are none too gentle on my skin) to get all of the holiday decor out and get things back to normal. I also take the opportunity (i.e. pine needles EVERYWHERE) to do some deep cleaning. When I’m done, every new toy and gadget is in its place, there are usually several bags of Goodwill giveaways, and I sip on some hot chocolate and begin thinking about the new year to come. 

I would say that eighty percent of my daydreams consist of bettering my home. I like to set apart an hour or two on the day after Christmas to make little goals for the house in the year to come. This year, I’d love to remodel my master bathroom (the thought of finally having a claw foot tub makes me absolutely swoon), finish installing crown moldings (living and dining rooms are all that is left), extend my front flower beds to the sides of my house, and brick my back patio. To save some cash, that latter project will be DIY, with the help of my mom and brother, who always come to my rescue when I get such hare-brained ideas. I also thought about how I will decorate for family gatherings, such as my children’s birthday parties and my sister’s high school graduation bash. I grin thinking of the possibilities and the memories. 

Another integral part of my day of reflection is going through my magazines (Country Living, Southern Living, and Better Homes and Gardens mostly) from the previous year. I collect them all from the tiny bench in my living room and have at it, tearing those pages I can not live without and placing them in an expandable folder since I’ve had since high school. I like to think of this as the original Pinterest! After I have purged these books of their gems, I cart what’s left over to my classroom, to be used by my teenage students for collage projects on whichever literature I decide we will delve into that year. 

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I return to my old, expandable folder often. Sometimes, when I’m having a particularly dreary day, I get lost in its contents. This is my favorite therapy. It is filled with so many visuals that make my heart swell. When I am remodeling a room, I take out some clippings and leave them out indefinitely. Much of my home was birthed by this kind of inspiration. There is this one photo of these GORGEOUS, worn, barnwood floors that I found when I was probably fifteen years old and I can remember thinking, “If I could have floors like THOSE, my life would be complete.” It’s no surprise that the first thing I said when I walked into my current home for the first time was, “OH, those FLOORS!” They are nowhere near as beautiful as the ones in that long-ago magazine clipping, but they sure do make me happy, nonetheless. 

Regardless of the time of year, it is important to take time to reflect and resolve. I find I often overlook any bad my year may have possessed. I think of the happy times, the goals I achieved, how far I (and my home) have come, and I send all those joyous vibes to the next year, knowing many more moments, and magazine clippings, of wonderful and inspiration are yet to come. I don’t know what I will do when I’ve completed all the projects I have for my home. Buy a new one, I suppose. It is the most wonderful addiction. 

No matter what is in your expandable folder, may it ever be growing and bringing you joy.  

 

 

 

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New Year, New Possibilities

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Brandie and I are excited about the possibilities and opportunities that 2014 holds for Hunt & Gather Home.  We’ve got big plans for this little endeavor and want to thank  you for following  us as we get started on this  journey.  Your comments and encouraging words really do inspire us to keep reaching for our dreams!   In the coming months, we’ll have some exciting news to share.  We’re just getting started and hope you’ll stick around for the ride!  Cheers to 2014!