Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Adorning the Home with Intangible Collections

Collecting objects according to a theme is one way to express individuality and creativity in your home. We've all seen items grouped together to make a charming display: teacups, baskets, and shells are three popular items to collect. At one time, I collected country French roosters and hens and still use some in my kitchen.

As lovely as these collections can be, there is another kind of collection that I read about. In the book, Special Delivery, which is both a personal Bible study and a book describing how to write letters for any type of occasion, the author mentions collecting opportunities to write encouraging notes.

I thought that was a charming idea, and it spurred me to thinking. What other types of intangible collections could adorn our home? I came up with a few ideas. Maybe, you can think of some other ones:

1) Collect opportunities to be a secret servant -- Look for ways to serve family members and those outside your family and see if you can sneak in a few without anyone ever knowing you were the one who performed the act of service. Back during the first gasoline crunch in the late 70's, my future mother-in-law got up early, took my future husband's car to the gas station, waited in line for a long time to get up to the gas pump, filled the up with gas, drove it home, and left it in the driveway. It was such a pleasant surprise to him to get in the car and have it already filled. Little things like that make such pleasant memories.
2) Collect opportunities to smile -- Of course, there is a time to smile, and a time to be serious. But, if you tend to be out of balance on the serious side, look for opportunities to flash someone an encouraging smile.
3) Collect smiles from others -- When someone flashes you a particularly pleasant smile, make a note of it so it will be stored in your memory. Our memories are constantly recording impressions. However, the impressions that our memories tend to bring up for review are those that were either ultra-happy or ultra-challenging -- whatever was out of the ordinary. For some people, the mind especially dwells on the ultra-challenging. One way to increase our storehouse of pleasant memories is to be intentionally mindful of even small, but pleasant impressions -- even something so simple as a lovely smile. On a gloomy day, we can reflect on the smiles we have received from our spouse, our children, babies, grandparents, friends, etc. If we treasure these in our hearts, we will find ourselves smiling, too.
4) Collect memories of lovely things in nature -- The world abounds with beautiful evidences of God's creation. Take note of them, and call them up whenever you want to relax. Yesterday, I went to the dentist for a deep cleaning -- not my favorite thing to do. I rendered an uncomfortable time more comfortable by thinking about an afternoon, many years ago, when our family went to the zoo. We walked through a large butterfly tent, in which butterflies of all different kinds were allowed to fly freely about. Some of them lit on us. It was so fun to be in a tent full of such lovely creatures. Little did I know then that I was storing up a memory that would be soothing in the future. We all have such experiences; how wonderful it is to really think about them or jot them down in a journal so that we can look back on them.
5) Collect heavenly treasures -- Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:29-21

For truly lovely adornments to your house, collect these things together with your children!


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