More is More
November 9, 2020 | My Jottings
Have you heard the phrase “less is more?” I’ve heard it used when referring to minimalist decorating, about writing, and about decluttering and getting rid of excess possessions. And I usually agree with the idea that “less is more” and that fewer words, fewer items, can have a greater impact artistically and aesthetically.
Unless you consider my bedroom mantel.
My little fireplace mantel is a “more is more” sort of mantel, and I’m okay with that, for now.
I am continually decluttering and donating things, although pretty slowly. I have been told that my decorating is spare and minimalist, but I don’t quite see it that way. I don’t like a lot of visual clutter, but as you can see, one exception would be all the things I keep on the mantel.
Each thing means something to me, or is useful or sentimental. Well, there are a couple of things that aren’t that useful — I don’t usually light the candles, but visually they seem to add height or texture or volume in a place it’s needed. I think you can click on this photo to enlarge it. The print on the left was a gift form my daughter Sharon and quotes the song “Count Your Blessings” from the movie White Christmas. I’ve been literally counting my blessings in print for so many years now, I’m not sure how I would go for very long without this practice. I come from a family with depression and mental instability, and I was not exempt from this. Writing down my gratitude to God I believe has changed my brain chemistry.
The fox in the middle is astounding to me. My oldest grandchild Clara did this on a scratchboard with a scraping tool, pulling away tiny strokes of black until the fur and smile of the fox and the stars in the sky were revealed. Her talent is amazing, her heart so lovely.
The word board on the right is a gift from my daughter Sara, who knows I love words, love the Bible, and need reminders each day to calibrate my mind and path. I chose this verse from the ninetieth Psalm because I have squandered so many days and opportunities in my life, that I’m asking God to help me remember how quickly I’ll be gone, and to live more fully for Him.
The little wooden blocks were gifts from my daughter Carolyn, and I especially love the one on the right. I feel that above all else, I am a mother, and I want to be a better mom the older I get. I may not see my children as often as I did when they were growing up, but I certainly pray for them more, bring them to Jesus so often for every little thing they need, and hold their hearts and concerns so tenderly in my heart. It may sound cliche, but my daughters are truly woven into my very being.
The little black and white transferware plate is there because it’s the right size, is round to add visual disparity and interest, and because I am drawn to toile and transferware and don’t know why.
The cross on the left was a gift from my friend Vicki, and is quite intricate in its woodworked detail. Vicki has brought so many important things into my life and how we met was sort of miraculous — another story for another time.
The large round candle on the left was a gift from my dear friend Pat, a fellow SAG member. I love its container, the bear, and it reminds me of her. She is fun and smart and supportive, and so loving, and I’m reminded of her when I see it each day.
The Bose speaker on the doily isn’t necessarily pretty or sentimental, but I use it every single day. I have playlists on my phone and I don’t go a day without music. Right now I’m listening over and over to The Poor Clares of Arundel. My friend Lorrie in South Carolina recommended their music to me and I can’t get enough of it. It’s sacred, soothing, ancient and transcendent. It feels like my soul is being fed when this album is my background music all day.
Behind my Bose speaker is a Sequoia pine cone. I brought it home from the Sequoia National Forest last March when Lloyd and I visited California. Sequoias are the largest trees on earth. Some in California existed when Jesus walked the earth. They are resistant to disease. They have super thick bark, and depend on fires to regenerate. There are so many life lessons to be learned from a Sequoia, and I want to be like one — thick-skinned, fruitful in hard times, quiet, straight and true, resilient.
The little black remote is how I turn on the fire in my electric fireplace. It has a realistic flame, really puts out the heat when needed, and is so comforting when I sit in my plaid overstuffed chair to read and study and pray.
The little wooden cross on the right is a gift from my friend Penelope Wilcock in England. If you haven’t read her books, you must. Start with The Hawk and the Dove. You will be overwhelmed and blessed, and will want to give that book as a gift every time you can. The little cross was carved by nuns in England and fits perfectly in my hand; I sometimes hold it when I pray.
The black candles at the right I had on hand from years ago and I thought they added height to this little crowd of items. I plan to donate them someday.
And the cardinal? I have many cardinals which have been gifts from the most thoughtful friends over the years. If you don’t know why cardinals are so precious to me, you could click here to read a short semi-autobiographical children’s story I wrote about a cardinal years ago. Plus, some sort of color was needed in among all these black and white items, right?
I love Monday mornings. I write down all the things I need to get done on my to-do list/daily planner: do laundry (except my dryer died with a deafening, scraping scream yesterday), write a foster care report, finish my CBS lesson, run one errand, reconcile my bank statement with my checkbook ledger.
Next time I might share how Lloyd recently rescued a slug (not kidding), how Madge the Muskrat made eye contact with me and made my day, and how I’m doing with only one kidney, whose name by the way, is Verna. In which case, I’m hoping less is more.