Thursday, March 7, 2013

Signs That Point the Way to Life


I really like pieces of art that are just words written on canvas in a fancy font or beautiful handwriting. I've looked for the ideal word or poem or scripture that I think describes me or inspires me, but I haven't decided on anything yet. I look for pillows and plates and towels that say something I think is meaningful. The words might be a declaration of who I am. Or a proclamation of where I'm heading. Maybe a commemoration of something I don't want to forget. Or an affirmation of what the future might hold. I have two plates I received as a gift with words scripted on them that wish me a life filled with bliss and joy and peace and love. If words on a plate could speak a blessing over my life, those are the words I would choose. But then I realize how hard that is. To have a life filled with bliss and joy and peace and love. 
Because there are the stressful times, when I worry about making the right decision. Whether I'm buying a car or buying a new pair of shoes. There are the days that instead of bringing peace to those I interact with, instead I dig in my heels in disagreement, from how to solve a work conflict to the choice of a restaurant for lunch. There are the times when I don't feel very lovely or act lovingly, with snide and snippy remarks when I could have said just one encouraging word. There are the times when joy is nowhere to be found and all that's left is a big bowl of self-pity. So along with those words on a plate, I also have a few signs adorning my house that call attention to the glorious ordinariness of life. To point me to the way of bliss and love and joy and peace.
I have part of a Merita Bakery box that held bread and cakes. The box is marked with the small town of Anderson, South Carolina, very close to where I went to college so it reminds me of my school days. When I moved to Orlando and drove through downtown, I could smell the fresh bread baking in the ovens of the Merita Bakery. So from South Carolina to Florida, the bread box reminds me of where I came from and where I am now. Bliss.
A friend gave me a sign that's made to look vintage and says "Evening in Paris." She gave it to me before I went to Paris and I wondered what memorable nights Paris might hold. Now when I look at it, I remember the nighttime boat ride on the Seine and watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle at dusk from all around the city. Love. 

In a vintage shop, I found a little piece of cardboard with a girl wearing a chef hat that says “pastry board” but I think it was probably part of a child’s baking playset. I fancied that the pastry-chef-girl spoke to my love of baking. Joy.
I have a crafty kind of sign that asks the deep, pondering question, "Is there life before coffee?" It hangs on the wall above my cookbooks and I use its hooks to hang my aprons on. The aprons also effectively cover the drab gray electrical panel box that is so unattractively prominent in my kitchen. Peace. 

These signs point the way to a real life. Where I realize that bliss is the attitude I can assume while I'm at work, at leisure or asleep. That joy, peace and love are states of mind that I can choose to have, not fleeting emotions that I pine for. As I reflect on these words that fill signs and plates and towels, I can come to only one conclusion. Days filled with bliss and a life filled with joy, peace and love, along with an evening in Paris, are even better with bread, pastry and coffee.

6 comments:

  1. We are two peas in a pod - I ADORE signs with meaningful and fun sayings. Words mean so much to me and inspire me greatly. I recently got a gorgeous sign from The Fancy Flea back in November that says "When you're down to nothing, God is up to something." It's about 4 feet tall, black and white with a gorgeous old fashioned font. And if you haven't been to Fancy Flea - let me know and I'll tell you more about it. They hold it twice a year in downtown Lakeland - you would love it. :) - Shawna

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    1. Shawna,
      I haven't been to the Fancy Flea but it sounds like something I would love! I think your sign sounds amazing -- how true and inspiring! Have you posted it on Pinterest? I'll have to look at your boards! :)

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  2. Your articles are always so inspiring - great, as always. You have the neatest 'things' in your life, from desks, pillows, plates w/messages, pictures, etc. - how wonderful that you are able to find happiness and inpiration thru them. You have quite an insight to be able to draw all this together and be happy and content where God has placed you. Love your articles!

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    1. I love all the fun stuff and it's even nicer when they're at flea market prices! Finding contentment and happiness is an ongoing journey . . .

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  3. I love how you mention how some objects call attention to the glorious ordinariness of life. I feel like it's objects in a home such as these that ground us, and don't hold us to overly high expectations in life, but instead let us see the beauty and happiness in the lives we already have. Beautiful article Valerie.

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    1. So true! Beauty and happiness can surface in the most unlikely of places!

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