One of the wonderful features of our little rented home are the built-in bookshelves which frame either side of our front guest room. Our home is small (less than 800 sq feet.) but for it’s size it has ample windows which leaves little space for displaying home decorations. That is why this built-in bookshelves are such a treasure. In them we can store our most frequented books, pictures, and other home decorations we don’t have the space for anywhere else.


The key is that it is both functional and eclectically decorated. It provides little samples of our lives and memories. Curious?  Let’s take a look:


On the top shelf of this first side of our built-in is a bright coral fan I bought while in the Philippines at a fish market. These fans are mostly used to keep food clear of bugs while cooking or selling. Beyond it’s color I keep it as a reminder of my time in the Philippines and those I made connections with there (for more on my travels see mandasadventure ).


Next to it is a vase my father made me made of purple heart wood as a Christmas present my first year of college. I have kept it on my bookshelf in my dorm or apartment ever since. Sitting beside this are a few modge poged boxes displaying travel destinations-some I have been to some I’d like to visit. Inside I store pens for my fridge white board (see what the fridge tells us) and coins/money from my travels. In the corner are a few books that I have read many times over, some which would be considered classics.


Next shelf is more simple. One of my close friends made this tea-stained Chinese symbol picture displaying hope, faith, and love reminding us of some of the simple key elements of life. The small votive glass candle holder sitting next to this I bought in Damascus, Syria.  Now more than ever my thoughts are with Syria, this item reminds me of time before the most recent civil war and to pray for a return to peace. Last item in the corner is  a green vase of my mother’s I have used many times for floral arrangements.


Third row down in the far corner is a glass container filled with dried red roses. Luke bought a bouquet of a dozen red roses for me for our six month anniversary of dating after realizing I’d never received flowers (at least none as a romantic gesture) before. Leaning up against the glass is the guest book/album from our wedding that my maid of honor made us (for more on this see sentimental wedding details).


On the other side is a small hand painted turquoise change dish I bought in Turkey, another small token from my travels. Behind it is an icon depicting the last supper and crucifixion. It was bought at one of only three communities left in the world that speak Aramaic. While there I was lucky enough to hear “The Lord’s Prayer” spoken twice out-loud in Aramaic. Talk about a once in a life time experience, an almost dead language spoken to a well known text!


The last shelf on this serves almost a completely practical purpose. housing our incoming mail. On the other side of the shelf we keep the many pens that seem to float around the house and keep a small tray for keys.

Note:  I know many of these items are mine from travels. Don’t worry Luke has more items of his own but many of them did not fit into the height dimensions of the shelves.


On the other side of the door on the top shelf is our main living room clock. This I also bought in Damascus and it marks the hour with arabic lettering. Next to it is a recent picture from our wedding with my mother and father-in-law and Luke’s grandmother. If you have been reading  my posts for awhile you may recognize the next item.  A guests who could not attend our wedding gave us her framed invitation as a  gift (for more about this see: invites and thank you cards). Last of  all is the mason jar I used to hold my bridal bouquet. Now it holds the rest of the dozen roses from the six month anniversary. Wrapped around the jar is an orange bow which came from a small display of orange roses (my favorite) that Luke bought and placed in our hotel room on our wedding night.


Second shelf is where I keep a bright photo book displaying pictures from my semester in the Middle East. (Again to learn more about my travels see here:madasadventure) Next to it is a vase I bought and used all through college-especially when we got flowers from Pikes Place (for more on this see little norway and the emerald city).  In the corner is a frame my mother-in-law gave us at our wedding reception in Oregon showing a fun shot of our wedding party.


Third shelf down houses my and Luke’s most current books. In the center is a photo with my family: parents, brother and wife and us at our wedding and a photo of Luke’s from his mother’s MA graduation from seminary. In the middle is one of three boxes my father made us for our wedding rings. (For more on this see Happy Father’s Day!).


Last of all, the bottom shelf houses workbooks and other miscellaneous materials. Here also we house our speaker system offset by a collage of pictures of Luke and his brother.


That is what’s on display in our built-in bookshelves.

Does it give you some insight into our valuables and treasured memories?

What do you have on display in your home? Why?

3 thoughts on “The Bookshelves

  1. As a follow up blog topic “what mementos do we keep what mementos should we discard”. By the way in a box in the garage I have your cast from your broken arm when you were two, would you like to display it?


    1. Oh, your Dad is soooo funny! I’m sure I have a few things like that. I just recently decided to throw away the boys baby teeth ;>) The tooth fairy forgot to take them with her. :>)

  2. I feel like I just has a mini tour of your living room. How fun! Hope we get to see it in person. No plans being made yet. Still in the hoping stage :>) Never know though I’m staying alert to possibilities.

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