October 25, 2010


Welcome to Red Acre Farm, owned and operated by my dear friends, the Pattersons. They sell CSA shares and in September I was able to help with a beautiful dinner they hosted for their shareholders. There were at least 30 items on the menu, all made with produce from their garden or bought from local farmers. It's no secret that this is my dream life...I'm a bit passionate about being connected to our source of food and supporting small local farms. But, that's not the point of this post. Take a look at these photos and then I'll attempt to make a point after you drool over this loveliness:

I worked with the Pattersons while I was in grad school. Symbria was the Director of Events for the college I attended, I was her assistant, and both her husband and daughter were heavily involved as well. It would be an understatement to say that these people know how to throw a party. Everything they do is beautiful. In fact, I didn't realize how much beauty was missing in my life until I spent hours in their home. One morning Symbria's husband made me a bowl of oatmeal and I nearly teared up. There it was in front of me, toasted, cooked, topped with dates, almonds, and fresh cream from a jug of raw milk and a linen napkin to boot...the most perfect oatmeal I had ever seen. And that's how they approach everything--with a little extra touch that makes it just right.

I learned from the Pattersons that it's simply a matter of priorities and unfortunately for me, creating a beautiful environment has not always been a priority...I guess I always believed that I didn't have the time or the money or the know-how. In reality, I think I felt like I didn't deserve it (for whatever reason). But I'm trying to change that mentality and it's been well worth it. So much of our life is ritual, in fact most of our life is, and I think it's a challenge to learn how to find deeper meaning and joy in those rituals. Now I'm discovering that a little extra effort to beautify my existence makes all of my otherwise non-eventful rituals (like mealtime) feel very rich and important. There's joy in the extra effort and there's greater joy in the experience. And it certainly doesn't require a lot of extra time or money and the know-how is surprisingly intuitive...it comes with an abundant-minded approach to living.

I hope to become more and more abundant-minded because I think the earth has enough and to spare. Of course, there's a big difference between abundant living, which is very generous by nature and gluttony, which is not. Abundance includes a belief in God's goodness and His ability to care for his own. While it requires more faith, it creates a beautiful world indeed.

So here's to the Pattersons and their lovely world...it's helping mine to be more lovely as well. 


  1. Drooling, yes, absolutely. Heavenly.

    Heather, I don't know if I don't know how to make things beautiful or if I just really like the convenience of paper plates. Creating beauty is not my life's mission, that's for sure.

    But I do think it's a beautiful thing to watch my son teaching my daughter how to read a clock, and to nurse my almost-1-yr-old while reading to my 3-yr-old even when the house is a disaster.

    It takes practice to be able to appreciate beauty when you are surrounded by ugly as well; I'm at least good at that!

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  3. So true Karina! I think appreciating that kind of beauty also stems from living abundantly and believing there is enough time (and to spare) to stop and notice lovely moments. Beautifying comes in many forms.

  4. What a great reminder, Heather. I get a little bit of a painful feeling when I think of how much beauty I want in my life and how self-sufficient and healthy I want to be. Your reminder that we can develop these rituals over time is encouraging. There are limits to our time, but there is no limit to our progress through our lives and eternity if we continue to pursue good things. And it is surprising how much progress occurs in seemingly short time when we give some ongoing effort to a thing.
    PS (can I PS here?) Heather and Karina, you both live SUCH continually richening* and beautiful lives in the ways that you most value!
    *Yes, I made up a word to make up for my lack of vocabulary.

  5. Oh Heather I am so jealous! I miss the Pattersons. People wonder why I seem to go over the top with my dinner parties but they don't realize what beauty I am trying to achieve to live up too.The Pattersons are the best mentors in what a little bit extra can do. All though they are never little on generosity and kindness. That is what I most admire.