I like pretty things. I suspect that most people can appreciate pretty things. Our definition of pretty might be different, but whatever.
When my husband and I got married and started unpacking our individual things in order to make a home together, we discovered that we each had a very different opinion on what was pretty. I seem to remember there were a few petty arguments about what would grace the walls and window ledges of our first, very tiny, flat.
Somehow we managed to stumble through that situation, but there was a key element to our discussion. My husband didn’t want things on the walls or hanging around the place that didn’t have any meaning to him. This would come up many times over the next 15 years as I sought to make pretty whatever home we lived in.
When we made our big move to the United States, with only ten suitcases, we were ruthless about what was given a piece of that precious packing space. Only those things that truly had meaning to us made the trip with us. Even then, many things were left behind.
Now here we are, with five kids and two guinea pigs and a bigger home with a lot of empty wall space. When we moved into this house six years ago, I wanted to fill the walls with pretty things simply because we had space and we owned this home and didn’t need to think about putting holes in the walls which would eventually need to be filled.
So, we put a few things on the walls, always thinking critically about what it really meant to us.
We have a giant world map above our kitchen table. We use this for school as well as just a conversation starter as we have friends and family all over the world.
We also have artistic representations of one of our favorite cities in the world – Christchurch, New Zealand. We have other art that shows our connection to New Zealand, such as native birds.
But one of the main things that you will notice is that much of our art is homemade. When we were first married our pastor’s home was filled with framed art that their four children had created over the years and I always knew that I wanted to do the same.
One Father’s Day, when our oldest children were about 2 and 4, I bought two canvases at Michael’s for less than $10, along with a few bottles of acrylic paint. I squirted some paint on a paper plate for each of the girls and gave them a spongy paint brush and let them create a painting for daddy. Those pictures are still on the wall of our living room. For about $12 we created meaningful art for the walls of our home.
One day my now 8 year old daughter started drawing pictures as shown in a great Usborne art book that we have, and I was just so tickled by how they looked! I loved them! I found some empty yard sale picture frames and was able to frame them and hang them in our hallway. I often pass by them and smile.
Recently, we were going through the house, tossing unneeded things in an effort to minimalize our belongings once more. We found that we had some space on our huge mantle that we wanted to fill. But, again, had to be meaningful. We bought two very large blank canvases and painted them. They sat in their spots for several weeks while we decided what to do. I got tired of looking at the blank canvases, so I paraphrased a song that my husband wrote, which was inspired by scripture, and it now rests on our mantle. Perfect? Not even close. But if we decide in a few months that we hate it we can paint over it and try again.
If you walk into our master bathroom you will see that I have used a Sharpie marker on the walls to write scripture. I’m pretty sure that if they could make Sharpie markers cook dinner then they would be my most favorite thing ever.
Is it a little crooked? Yes. But does it lift my spirits every time I see it? Usually. Sometimes it just convicts me and reminds me of my need for Jesus.
Don’t be afraid to make your own art. Don’t be afraid to have something less than perfect on your walls. Every time my daughter sees her artwork in a frame on the wall, she smiles. And that is perfect.