Worship and Beauty in the Home.

I didn`t really know what to title today`s post. I think it sounds like a title from Keeper`s At Home Mag. But that`s just how it has to be.

I had said earlier in the week- or was that last week? (Forgive me, I have been sick and under the weather for too long now.)

Anyways… I had mentioned wanting to do a blog post on incorporating our FAITH into our homes.

Let me lead you into the reason, why this has been on my mind:

The other week we had Bible study at my friend Carmen`s house. It`s my church lady`s Bible study- and I dearly love all my church ladies. (That was free.)

Anyways- then when it was over, G stopped by to pick me up (since he had been at our men`s Bible study the same night). He came in to get me, and we chatted a little, and then got ready to hit the road. The girls were in the car.

G was only in the Byler Home for probably 5-10 minutes.

That is crucial to my story! 🙂

On the way home, my sweet, wise husband looked over at me- (riding faithfully shotgun by his side) and said,

“I really want to challenge you with something”.

And he went on to say, that he loves what I do with our home but He would love to see our Faith brought out more in what I do in our decor.

He said he was very impacted that in the 5 minutes he was in the Byler household, he was moved by the messages and atmosphere he felt.  I knew EXACTLY what he meant.

He mentioned that places I love, like IKEA and Anthropologie, are great, but I have to remember that they do not share our values.

Therefore, we have to make an intentional effort to infuse the values and messages we want to convey in our home.  The differences could be subtle….but rewarding.

I admit- that was a new thought to me.

He also mentioned that besides our Bibles and Bible study books, laying around and about- there wasn`t a whole lot in our home to indicate that we were Believers to someone that would enter our home.

And here I want to insert something I received by email from Anna Miller that I think fits in really well here.

Anna:

…”I want someone to know the minute they step into my house that God is a resident of this home. Whether it be a neighbor, the Schwan’s man, UPS man, a repair-man, friends or family.  I try to accomplish this by hanging pictures that have Bible verses on them or mottos with inspirational sayings or Bibles vs. on them…”

In my defense, I think I always thought religious type decor was a little old fashioned.

Like maybe a style that`s lovely- but not really me. Think: Oak shelf with rubber grapes, lacy doily and a huge ten commandments plaque or Thomas Kinkade painting over it.

I`m revealing a little about my level of maturity aren`t I?

It helps to say it, before you think it, then you can`t judge me. Haha.

____________________________________

You may not be tracking with me here, but pictures can say a thousand words.  Carmen was SO LOVELY and agreed (after I shot her a begging email) to let me post (for ya`ll) a few pictures of her home and, examples of what I am talking about.  These pics- they take my breath away with the powerful messages they send in an beautiful, tasteful way.

Thank you Carmen for sharing your home with us!

IMG_3719

I don`t want to embarrass her, because she is not an attention seeking kind of person, but I had to go over to her site and steal this picture just to give you a taste of her kind of decor. Love her style!

I love how the “Be not afraid” is subtle, but plays well off of the picture of the Shepherd.

It`s something your Spirit senses, but isn`t often obvious to the eye at first.

Click on the pics to view them larger!

So pretty.

Her photos and editing are sensational.

I love the classy way this speaks volumes of the kind of ideals they have in nurturing their children.

Speaks to the Soul.

I admit- this one made G and I teary eyed. Call us sentimental.

This is so powerful. I love the claim to Heritage and this powerful way to honor people in our past, that have had paid in huge in our lives.

Lovely!

“Whether you come to visit or to rest. May you feel at home here”.

I will add one link to P. Graham Dunn, a local Christian product business,  that I keep hearing is a great place to get inspiration.

Edit: This just in from Wilma Beachy! Red Letter Words. …Aaah! I love it!

Ok, well that`s all I have to share. AS ALWAYS- I look forward to your input on this subject.

Enjoy your weekend! Jenny

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21 Comments

  1. Andrea Esh says:

    Jenny,
    Love this post.
    (Actually, I couldnt see the pictures but I’ll be back to look later.) I’ve been thinking of this so much lately. My house seems like a hodge podge of pictures of my kids, which is ok in small doses, but they have taken over my entire house.
    I want to start decorating with things of meaning. So anyway, this post was great timing for me..

  2. Wilma says:

    Love her style! Check out http://www.redletterwords.com
    Their stuff is so cool, and I’m sure you could do a great knockoff without too much effort! 🙂

  3. Carolyn says:

    Carmen’s home reflects her spirit…wow.
    While we were remodeling our home we prayed often that it would be a place of rest, praise and beauty…We have a lot of people in and out of our house for various reasons and the first time a lady plopped down in our recliner and said “oh, it’s so restful in here”, I could have cried tears of joy. It just blessed me because I’m not very good at decorating or being all that creative and yet it seemed like God was interested in helping us make our home reflect Him….All that to say that I agree with what G. said! 🙂

  4. Shannon says:

    Here’s a place that I am hoping to use whenever we move – they do whatever custom sayings you want as well as what she has already premade. http://www.etsy.com/shop/sayitwithstyle sorry – not sure how to make it a link.

  5. cretora says:

    O boy, I am sure glad neither you or Carmen will enter my home anytime soon! A. It is decorated VERY little and B. I have no idea what to do with things and C. I’m so practical that any spare space around I use for things like science experiments or storage. 🙁 Maybe you should start offering home makovers. 🙂

    However, it was a great post and I totally got the gist of what you were saying. I also want my home to be restful and inviting….hey, maybe I can send you pictures of each room in the house and then you can critique it and tell me what you’d do different….

  6. Carmen Byler says:

    awe….I feel so honored by your kind words, and this post! I’m excited to get some more sites like redletterwords to frequent! My creative juices get stimulated when I see other peoples creativity! =) Like yours!

    And, Jenny, I have always thought that your blackboards are so great for including inspiration in the home! Being in your home, I felt totally wrapped in beauty, comfort and rest! I love your style…!

  7. Aug says:

    Jenny, I really appreciated this post. I am in the process of re-doing (or maybe I should say doing for the first time) the decor in our home. I love the idea of incorporating some of these things into my projects. Thanks so much for the inspiration. And thank you Carmen, too!

  8. Rachal Y says:

    I need ideas. The “ten comandement plaque/Thomas Kincade thing is exactly the picture I get in my mind….or how about varnished slate (from an old roof) with “Only one life twil’ soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last” or a wooden heart with peach and white lace glued on the edge and peace to all who enter here. ICK!! Now that is perfectly fine if you like it, but it’s not me. Now Carmen’s style is just amazing. She presents scripture with dignity and class. Maybe you should post a video with a “virtual tour” of her house. 🙂

  9. lisa says:

    one idea that is too late, but it is the idea that popped into my head…on your burlap door curtain, you could write a verse, either the entire length or i think it would look really classy to have about two lines near the bottom. if you chose a longer passage, so it took the length of the panel, leave a space and at the very bottom have The Millers
    est. 2002 or whenever you got married. that is when i did.

  10. Dora says:

    I love the post!! very challenging and inspiring! I love all your creative ideas! Thanks!

  11. Lydia Jo says:

    Good thoughts there. Word art is in. I was so into some of these
    http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2010/03/word-art/
    prints last week… then your post had me thinking/
    feeling a little guilty for wanting to hang up prints that say things like “Today I will be as happy as a bird with a french fry” when I have more important life values. So thanks.

  12. Christy says:

    I really liked this post Jenny. I remember plaques and pictures my mom had on her walls while i was growing up, like the “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord on a brown plaque. i would read them over and over and i believe they impacted my life. i am trying to collect things like that for my house. thanks for the inspiration.

  13. Christy says:

    Many comments–
    Wow, that your husband gave you a challenge like that. I love when Steve helps me grow. On the other hand, I know I would have felt a smidge of resentment if I would have been on your shoes. Here you have this whole decor blog, Galen steps into your friend’s home and compliments HER decor. So I want to commend you for your humility–in accepting what he said as something to think about and in posting this.

    So with you on the old style of religious decor. I also equate it with tacky.

    Interesting note–when we lived in Texas, we had a lot of non-Mennonites come to our house, largely because of doing foster care. A LOT of them would comment on the spirit of calm or restfulness. I remember someone saying, “I feel so different here; I wish I could stay for hours.” I did not have any religious decor, but I do think you could feel that. Now, an interesting note is that we lived in a reeeeeeally old, tumble down house with lots of undisguised flaws; but the decor helped take your attention away from it. Now we are renting a much nicer place, but I don’t have the same sense of rest here. Somehow the decor has never clicked for me and I haven’t felt like spending the money and time on it since we are constantly thinking that we’ll be moving soon. (The provided window treatment and wall paper don’t necessarily help, either.) I just think that somehow our decor can point to something greater without actually saying, “Trust in the Lord.” (NOT that there is anything wrong with that.) I doubt that this is making much sense at all, and I’m not sure I could explain the difference in the two places unless I could talk about it in person and it was more of a back and forth.

    That said, I have also been thinking about this subject off and on. I would really like to think of creative ways of incorporating God-honoring decor that doesn’t look just like every other Mennonite. Not that I don’t like every other Mennonite’s house, I just don’t like mine to like like it came out of a mold. (Help. That probably sounded so egotistical.)

    Oh, and thanks for posting pictures of Carmen’s house. Very lovely and tasteful.

  14. Mimy says:

    Loved the post. I have some of P.Graham Dunn’s stuff. He does great work. There is also a company called uppercaseliving that has words you can put on walls. You can also make and design your own. Keep us posted on what you do!!!

  15. Anne says:

    I love your blog! Another great inspirational website is Alphabet
    Photography. Love their creativity..

  16. This is really good. I’m with you, in that I WANT my home to be filled with meaning, but just not sure how to pull it off because of mental visions involving tacky looking objects?? This post will have me on the lookout for beautifully-done ways to make God a more visual part of our home. Show us when you do something or get an idea! 🙂

    And hey! How is that porch re-do coming? I keep dreaming about mine, but painting is all-consuming right now…

  17. Christy says:

    http://granvillehouse.blogspot.com/2010/03/dollar-store-spring-vignette.html Thought these are kind of cute, and they made me think of this post.

  18. Eira says:

    I thank you for the link to redletterwords, and for the inspirational pictures and text.

    In my house I have an icon wall, which I change seasonally. For Advent it will have an icon of The Visitation of Mary, for Pentecost the Rubileyev Trinity, and so on.

    I also have a wooden plaque which says “scatter kindness” and it is a constant reminder to me.

    I will certainly be thinking of ways to incorporate the faith I believe in subtle beautiful ways too.

    Thanks again.

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