I have been reading decorating blogs for years. The ones I read are written by women who have beautiful homes and they take the most beautiful pictures. Their rooms are clean and perfectly styled (I think they're mostly empty nesters, no wonder!). I have viewed these various pictures, read about them, studied them, and even copied some of them. So with all my years of training (Ha!), I decided to try to photograph my sunroom.
When we bought this house 3 years ago this room was being used as a porch. It had two screen doors leading to the outside and had a set of patio furniture in it. We wanted the extra room for living space, so we took out the screen doors and closed up the walls. Here is a picture of my sunroom when we looked at the house.
My sunroom is a beautiful room, probably my favorite room in my house. It's very comfortable and we use it all the time. It's a happy room, filled with love. I have poured a lot of myself into that room, as I do with the rest of my house. Almost everything in there is secondhand, bought from craigslist or goodwill, that I have painted or redone, and I made a lot of the decorations and signs myself. It has come together well. It's my "bird" room. When I was a baby my parents nicknamed me "Birdie" because I would wake up early every morning and sing with the birds. (I'm still a morning person.) When I was little I felt like I had a special connection with birds and they should trust me because of my name. (But they never did, they always flew away from me. It was frustrating!) And so, I've put a lot of little birds in there or references to birds because I still love them today!
The sunroom pictures I took turned out okay. I don't have a professional camera with the right lenses and a tripod. I have an iphone and a very limited amount of time keeping a room clean, since there are 9 people living in this house. Here are some of the pictures I took...
But when I looked at these pictures, I felt, kind of...embarrassed. It didn't last long, just for a second, but it was there. It wasn't because the quality of the pictures (I can only do what I can do), but because of all the imperfections they held. My "clean" room had dirty windows, toys in the background, a broken chair, and on and on with the imperfections...
As I thought about it, those "imperfections" are what make a house a home. This isn't a model home or some kind of showcase, this is a real home with real people and a really large family living in it. The toys in the background are there because I am blessed to be a mom and they help create all kinds of happy times. The hand prints on the windows come from the sweetest little hands. The couch isn't perfect...it's been climbed on, laid on, we sat on it as we opened Christmas presents, it's supported us as we had many deep conversations, and held us through happy times with good friends. The rocking chair with the duct tape on it has been there as I rocked lots of babies. Here's where I still need to paint the ceiling when we hit it putting up our Christmas tree that was a little (or a lot) too tall because I love big Christmas trees and my husband likes to make me happy!
Those imperfections help tell the story of our home. It's a home with lots of fun times, good memories, yummy smells, and overflowing with love. I don't want to just show what a beautiful home I have, I want to expose the imperfections that reveal what a beautiful life we have.
I don't want to try to live up to some sort of standard, that I can't define and I can never reach, whether it's for my home or my life. I never want to be the kind of person that looks like I have it all together, that I never struggle, or that I'm too perfect to be approachable. Instead, I want to show the messy times, the mistakes I make, that my life is hard sometimes. There's a famous quote that says "There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in". I want to also say that's how the light gets out, through our cracks and imperfections. I hope that someone can look at my life and say, "That family has been to the hospital with their daughter so many times, or I've seen them struggle with their kids, or I've seen their heart so broken before, and they choose to have joy and love anyway, there's something different about them." God put a light inside of us to shine in this dark world and I want to shine my little light.
"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my lovely, imperfect sunroom! Pretty soon I'll be moving all my plants outside for the summer and that will be sad! I'll have to find something to fill my shelves until they move back in in the fall, maybe more birds. Let me know what you think!