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.