Your home is where your heart is. (Common proverb)
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ( ESV Bible, Matthew 6:21)
I love Etsy.com. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the site, it’s an online platform from which normal people can sell stuff they make or find; it’s like the mother of all craft fairs combined with the best finds from all thrift stores, globe-wide.
One really cool thing about Etsy is that users of the website make “treasuries” that you can browse, as well. A treasury tends to have a theme, like this one: rich and layering wonders
Whether window shopping at the mall or perusing online through Windows, “me browsing” has a tendency to lead to “me wanting” which sometimes turns into “me discontent with the things I own.” It can be tempting to fill my home up with things that look cool, but that doesn’t really address the heart of the issue. More stuff never gives more satisfaction. Satisfaction is a status of the soul.
In response, I created a treasury of things I already own. I went around my home, gathering some of my favorite things. Here are stories about the items in my “treasury,” and the sometimes intangible reasons for my love of these objects:
THE OBSERVER’S BOOK OF WILD FLOWERS – When I studied for a semester abroad in England, we took a day trip to a town (I cannot remember where) and I stumbled upon an indoor flea market. One of the vendors was selling this little book, which had beautiful little pictures and descriptions of British wildflowers. This pocket-sized book is my favorite souvenir from my semester overseas, in part because it reminds me of how fascinated I was with botany at that time in my life, and it makes me laugh at myself now, or I am still a terrible gardener.
THREE LITTLE DOLLS – I love these little ladies from abroad. The Russian stacking doll is 3 dolls deep; it was given to me when I was in Elementary school. The middle doll is from Bulgaria, and I received it in Middle school. The last is a doll from Asia that a lady gave me when I was about 4 years old to thank my mother for babysitting her son while she traveled abroad. These dolls make me think of my childhood, and how I would go to exotic places in my imagination.
MY AFGHAN – I found this afghan at yard sale for $1. I love a great steal! This is my default afghan for road trips, camping, TV watching, picnics and the like. It is bright and colorful, and wrapping it around my shoulders makes me feel like the warmth of the sunshine and the freshness of Spring grass are hugging me.
MY ALABASTER LAMP – I found this lamp on craigslist, fell in love with it, then hummed and hawed over buying it for about a month. The cut in the alabaster makes me think of elves. The swirls in the alabaster are dark and mysterious, like something magical; this lamp feels like something you’d find in a D&D game. I finally met with the lady who listed it, bartered her down a few bucks, and went home with a quaint item that makes me feel like I’ve got a part of Rivendell in my living room. (The shade was bought on sale at World Market).
MIRRO EGG TIMER – I needed a timer because the one on my stove doesn’t work. I bought this on Etsy because it was cuter than the ones at Target. Even thought it doesn’t “ding” after it’s done ticking away, I still love it. I guess you could say it makes me pay more attention to how the food is baking instead of relying solely on external indicators to dictate when it’s time to come out of the oven.
70’S COFFEE MUG – When I was in college and I had to buy my own kitchen supplies for the first time, I realized I loved things that were 70’s Fabulous. This mug was one of the first things I bought, and one of the only things I’ve kept from the mis-matched collections of my college days. I think it embodies a bit of my creative spirit and tendency to create wild and colorful things.
WATKINS BLACK PEPPER SHAKER – Mr. Wetzel and I used to drive out to Walla Walla, WA to visit our friends, the Andersons, and along the way we would stop for gas at a store with a sign that reads “Antiques Fruits.” We would laugh about the old and dusty “antique fruit” they had to sell…in reality the store sells local fruit and antiques that different local sellers scrounge up. On one such excursion, I picked up this pepper shaker for about 50 cents. It makes me think about how wonderful and quirky Washington state can be.
CASH REGISTER PENCIL SHARPENER – My sister is 10 years older than me, and I used to love stealing her things. Not in a malicious way (although I once got punished for putting all her jewelry into a tin chest I owned and lying about it!). I always admired my big sister, and having stuff like hers – or stuff that was hers – was the equivalent to being like her. This pencil sharpener was one of the things she didn’t care about me nabbing. I’m not sure if it sharpens pencils anymore, but it surely remains a totem of my sisterly antics.
MY FAVORITE WEDDING CARD – This is a handmade card from my friend, Amberly. The picture is a newsprint cutout of a bride in a storm, and the caption she wrote reads “Pacific Northwest Bride.” On the side of the card are little raindrops she drew in ink and colored pencil. I remember Amberly gave me this card along with a package full of cut-outs from old magazines she thought I’d like. It was one of the most perfect gifts I have ever received, because it was personal, creative and it showed how well my friend understood me. I keep this little card thumb-tacked to my wall because it reminds of that feeling of being understood and loved.
VINTAGE COCA COLA COASTERS – When I was in middle school, these coasters were promotional gifts for purchasing Coke. I rediscovered them last summer when going through old boxes of my things at my parents’ house. I had been meaning to buy coasters fir awhile, so I thought of it as a perfect opportunity to make good use of a boon from my past that we never really had to pay money for in the first place. I find the pictures on the coasters amusing because they show what persona Coke was trying to promote in years long ago…and they also show how tiny the serving sizes used to be!
PICTURE FRAME FROM THE DOLLAR STORE – This little picture frame has always been one of my favorites. I bought it in High School, probably when I went to the dollar store with my Grandmother. I like how cheap it was. The starts remind me of how obsessed I was with stars in high school: I had dozens of ornaments hanging from my ceiling and I had painted stars all over my ceiling and walls. My favorite starts were the ones I had people make for me that had little messages on them.
THE BOX MR. WETZEL KEEPS HIS WEDDING RING IN AT NIGHT – This little box is from Bulgaria, and it has always been one of my favorite boxes. It is one of my smaller boxes, so when we got married, Mr. Wetzel started keeping his wedding ring in it. There is also a silver dollar in the box (not sure where it came from). It reminds me of the artwork in Bulgaria and my experiences there as a pre-teen. I also like the fact that it is no longer I who use it, but my husban =d has taken as his own something that I love.
THE DOVES FROM MONTANA – Last summer, Mr. Wetzel and I took our first road trip. We drove from Tacoma, WA to Albany, NY to see my parents. We took our time along the way, getting snapshots of Old Faithful, camping in the Badlands, and passing up the water in Wall Drug, SD. While we were working our way through Montana, we took a road less traveled by, ended up in the middle of an Indian reservation, and came out on the other side of Nowhere. It was so rural, we went over an hour without a gas station in sight. Eventually we happened across a store that advertised milkshakes and antiques, so we stopped. In the store, I found these two doves and bought them as a memento of our trip and our growing friendship.
RECIPE BOX – I already mentioned I started loving 70’s Fabulous things in college, right? Well, this recipe box is another example. I bought it at a garage sale in Searcy, AR, and have kept my recipe cards in it ever since.
Consider how you esteem your possessions; it may reveal who you hold dear, or what you turn to for your identity. If you imagine your house burning down, and all your things turned to dust, it would be a trial for your soul (thinking about Job here). However, who you are as a person would still remain. You are both tangible and intangible. This is part of what it means to be “created in the image of God.”
Poetically speaking, the things we love are representations of the nature and quality of our souls. If we lose all we own but keep our souls intact, new objects will rise up to remind us of who we are and to be representations of our essence. It’s not the object that is important, but what lies at its core, an often intangible meaning that we assign to otherwise meaningless paraphernalia.
If your house burned down, and all your possessions with it, where would you turn to for your identity? What would you choose to fill up your life?