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The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful Hardcover – April 29, 2014
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About the Author
For the past ten years, Myquillyn Smith, “The Nester,” has been encouraging women to embrace their home—imperfections and all. Her home has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Cottages & Bungalows and Ladies’ Home Journal. She’s the author of The Nesting Place and was chosen by Christianity Today as one of the top twenty creatives in 2016. Myquillyn lives in a fixer-upper on 12 acres with her husband Chad their three teenage boys, two cats, a dog and a rooster.
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It was a pine rectangle with square pegs and sturdy legs. The saleswoman told us that the craftsmen pounded the wood with chains and ball-peen hammers to give the table its distressed finish.
We paid dearly to have a kitchen table that looked older than it really was. This was the most expensive piece of furniture we'd ever bought. I protected the table so fiercely, you might think it had once served duty in the Upper Room.
The delivery men brought the table to the farm a few days after Thanksgiving that year. But even if it had been arrived in time for the holiday, I wonder if I would have let the fork-wielding toddlers eat from it. After all, this table had been beaten to distressed perfection. And this was as well-worn as I wanted it to look. Ever.
About a year after our big purchase, I gave up the urge to stand guard. Maybe it's because I had no choice but to surrender to this truth: We bought the table because, well, we actually needed a place to eat. And I suppose I also realized that we live on a farm, not in the Louvre.
I wish I could turn back time and read this fantastic book by Myquillyn Smith before decorating our home on the farm. This is a book for anyone who wants to find new freedom -- not only in her own home, but in her very life, so she can actually live and enjoy her home, rather than perfect and protect her "stuff."
This is an invitation to love the home and the life you're in, rather than wishing for something more or something different.
Beware perfectionists (my hand is raised): This book is going to change the way you look at everything. This is a book that helps you dwell in the home and in the life you have, rather than trying to over-manage and perfect the places where you live and love.
The content is warm, inviting, and insightful. It's a positively beautiful book filled with lovely photos and helpful ideas.
And I love the way it looks on that beat-up, well-loved pine rectangle in my kitchen.
And she really understands that fear of doing it “wrong” is what holds a lot of us back from doing anything at all to our homes. She encourages her readers to take risks, whether it’s to go ahead and paint that $8 yard-sale side table, or moving the sofa to another wall, or putting up a bunch of photos and/or art. I had to laugh when she says there are 83 nail holes in her gallery wall – 83 that aren’t currently in use and that she had to fill in, that is! I’m one of those people who is scared to put up the pictures, because what if I don’t get the arrangement right? In fact, I am so afraid of making bad choices when it comes to my house that I haven’t really done anything in years… and it shows. But the two rooms I actually designed about 10 or 12 years ago – my office and Robin’s bedroom – while both currently cluttered and full of too much stuff, are pretty and inviting when they’re cleaned up. So what am I afraid of?
Myquillyn’s style isn’t mine; she uses a lot more painted furniture than I want to, while I’m more into the beauty of the wood. But she embraces the personally meaningful and the whimsical in her style, and both of those are things I want to highlight as well: family treasures, things that have personal meaning or wonderful memories, and things that reflect my passions (reading, knitting, fantasy creatures.) Reading the book inspired me to bring up our oversize dragon cookie jar that has languished in the basement for the last 12 or 15 years. We don’t need to eat a lot of cookies, so instead I filled him with Luna bars (power bars.) He’s green and yellow – not the colors I would have chosen – but he’s also cute and whimsical and dragonish, and I love him.
The real test of a how-to book is in whether you actually follow through on the inspiration and ideas you get from it, and I can’t really report on that yet. It’s only been a week or so since I read it, after all. But I found some sections of the book and some of the quotes inspiring enough that I decided to buy my own copy so I can refer back to it whenever I get discouraged.
Wish me luck!
REVIEW ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED on The Bookwyrm's Hoard blog.