Friday, July 6, 2012

The Grand Tour

I had a friend who used to say of her city, "It's where my stuff is." Having her "stuff" present, she implied, hardly made the place home. It is true that having one's material goods in a place is not sufficient to make a place home. However, when you don't yet have work and friendships and memories to consecrate a place, it can be good to have things that remind you of all the homes you have created from scratch and from community.

Good words to bless a new home thanks to Common Prayer and Kt Ruth.
In the same way, putting rooms in order releases a powerful domestic magic. Home is a place where I have the authority to arrange spaces for eating, for sleeping, for washing, talking, and more. Whenever I set up housekeeping in a new place, I remember the words of Mircea Eliade's The Sacred and the Profane: "to organize a space is to repeat the paradigmatic work of the gods." In a very small way, arranging my rooms reminds me of the One who created and organized the heavens, the earth, and all they contain.

Yesterday I finally finished putting these little rooms in order. With things in their places, I feel ready to explore the rest of this brave new world, knowing I have a sweet and ordered home waiting for me.

The door. The willow sculpture on the wall first hung in the kitchen at my apartment on the Brazos River.

Sitting room

My grandfather built this shelf from old thread spools.
The loveseat came from my aunt, and the picture above it from a yard sale I walked to in college

I try to hang my walls with wise words.

My 1970s stereo rests on a 1930s sewing machine.

The leaves on this tree are the fingerprints of my friends.
The view from the sitting room window.

Looking from the sitting room toward the kitchen.
The Book of Kells covers the fuse box, while a gift from my first landlady reminds me to trust in God's promises to his people.

My parents gave me this map of Narnia when I moved into my first on-my-own apartment six years ago.


Send me postcards! I left room for new ones :-)


My attempt to make this new apartment seem a little more seasoned.



Bedroom, as viewed from the bed

Ready to write lots of letters

Sewing machine

Bedroom closet and door to the bathroom

For a 579 square-foot apartment, the bathroom is enormous.

The back side of my building.

One of several picnic tables and grills on the grounds.

Rocking chairs behind the club house (my building is in the background)

Trees around the swimming pool

Thanks for coming along on the first tour of my Alabama home.  There will be much to come as I venture out of the door to explore churches, communities, campuses, and more.


  1. Thank you for the tour of your special place. Your "for now" place. Your "it's where my stuff is" place. I love your thoughts on crating space, and I will keep them in mind as we prepare to **hopefully** move on to a new space too!

  2. Love your space, my dear.(It especially comforts me to know I'm not the only one with multiple copies of Madeleine's works...). I can't wait to see it in person! You have done a beautiful job infusing your personality and charm into your lovely home. Enjoy your sunshine, reading chair, seriously enormous bathroom (!), lovely view, and refreshing pool. You are much missed in Waco!

  3. Why do you have so many books???.....Obviously, I'm kidding. Folks have asked me that through the years. I try to explain to them that a Masters degree comes with a lot of books, but I finally just told them that I like to read a lot:)

    I love your new place. You are far more settled than I am at this point, but I don't have furniture after the camping experience. It will come, as will my wall decorations. At least everything is now newly painted and all cleaned up. God has something special in store for both of us in our new apartments and new chapters in our lives.

  4. These twO posts on your new place are very encouraging. First, it's a true blessing to find out about the crime problem BEFORE you move in--I'm so glad you're safe. But also, it's good to learn about your contentment with a new place. We are looking for houses in Belton, and unless something comes open between now and the time when we sell our place in Gholson, we WON'T be getting one of Belton's lovely historic homes, which was what I wanted. The ones that have been spruced up are too expensive, and the ones that haven't would suck up ALL of our money and time. Sigh. So we will probably be in one of the new subdivisions on the outskirts of town. The houses are really nice, but there's just something about older homes that the new places lack. But home is NOT about the building. I really appreciate the reminder of this fact that your blog supplies. Thanks. And I'll miss you!

  5. Karen BurkeybyleJuly 6, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Bethany, your apartment is absolutely delightful : ) So homey and inviting. I picture you creating lots of memories and leaving unforgetable contributions to all those whose lives you touch.

  6. Bethany, You are worthy of observing, what an odd, treasure of import. I expect to see magnified amazement from you as time ticks. Be Happy. Laurieanne Tuttle, Waco, TX.

  7. Hi Bethany, I would love to send you a postcard - - - but first I'll need your address! Love from Jeff B's mama