What is this place? And how the heck did I get here? Aren't I still sixteen? Driving around in my Ford Bronco, trying to make sense of my Chemistry class, hoping Mom makes my favorite meal for dinner?
In my head I'm still that girl. But in reality, I'm a thirty three year old version of her. Changed, reborn, and transformed by time, experience, people, and circumstance. And that new version, Shaye 2.0 (or 7.0… I've lost count) is here. At this beautiful place. Le Chalet. The cottage.
So much of what went into that young girl is in this place.
Years spent spinning crosages, caring for plants, designing displays, and creating arrangements in the flower shop are reworked in the beds of the cottage gardens that wind around the home.
Time spent backpacking through France… Italy… Spain. You can see the euro stamp everywhere here. Initially, the point of the travels was to experience the Eiffel tower, Uffizi Gallery, and all manner of European culture but instead, well before blogging and Instagram were here, the memory card was filled with food and flowers.
That trip is where I learned to love red wine (In Sienna. It was a Chianti.).
A first boyfriend introduced that young girl to her first cow a lifetime ago. Those interactions eventually led her an Animal Science degree, which led her to a feedlot, which led her to sustainable agriculture, which led her to fill a small barn with cows and pigs and sheep and all manner of proper farm poultry.
It always starts with one cow.
That girl also had a mom who constantly filled the table with overflowing bounty in every form. Seconds were always encouraged. Glasses were always filled. Food was always warm. Strangers were invited to share. The door to sweet food and fellowship was always open.
(And on that note, my Mom didn't just keep a house. She kept a house. Sinks and toilets were bleached on Friday. Floors were mopped before bed. Sheets were washed, pillows were fluffed, and yet we were always comfortable living in that space. It wasn't sterile or uninviting. It was warm and worn in and everything you'd hope a home would be.)
I often long to go back for a visit.
What is this place then? The one in which we live. A house filled with euro-antiques, homemade food, and open doors? What is this place that sits surrounded by acres of pasture and gardens and magic and animals around every bend? This place where ducks swim in the pond, honey bees gather on the roses, and children's bikes pile up at the end of the driveway?
This, my friends, is a home. A home that is a perfect reflection of the woman who cultivated it – ten years in the making. It isn't just a “style” and it runs far deeper than a trend. God has woven my tapestry to included both the tattered and polished bits of life that have led me to this point.
While I was learning, He was building.
Tell me about your home. How does it reflect you?