Posted by: kathryngraves | November 10, 2015

Surround Yourself with Beauty (Not Spiders!)

Spiders! A couple of weeks ago we tired of seeing spiders in the house and called an exterminator. Upon examining the basement laundry room and the garage, he told us we had an infestation of brown recluse spiders and he’d be back first thing the next morning to spray and set glue traps.

We freaked out. My husband threatened to go to Lowe’s and buy his own spray for the night. But it was a Wednesday, we had church, somebody ended up in the hospital, and the spiders slipped to the bottom of our priority list until we returned home. Then they popped right back to the top. We didn’t know if we could sleep in our own bed. I rationalized that the spiders had been co-habiting with us for months and one more night would be okay. We had avoided bites so far; I was sure we’d make it till the morning.

Creepy, crawly. Then I crawled between my sheets. And felt something scratchy. I sprang out of bed, flipped on the light and threw back the covers. I scoured every inch of the bedding to make sure no critter resided in it. Turning the light off again and pulling the covers up, I thought about how my comfort zone had been invaded by just the thought of spiders. When I didn’t know they were there, they didn’t bother me. But once I knew, my sense of peace shattered. Neither of us got bit before the exterminator came back, but I learned a valuable lesson. Schedule a regular check-up by an exterminator!

The idea that we are our truest selves at home and that our home environment has a profound effect on our self-image resonated with me during our spider incident. I felt a revolting sensation about my house that I’d never experienced before. I love my house. I’ve worked hard over the years to make the decor reflect my personality. Going from love to hate in minutes left me with emotional whiplash.

Sanctuary. My home is my sanctuary space. It is where I re-charge, where I spend time in Bible study and prayer, where we talk around the kitchen table. (Well, in my case, it’s an island with seating.) The living room is where I curl up in my favorite chair with my laptop to write, or I read whichever novel has me hanging on its plot line. It’s where my husband and I discuss questions of theology and whether the Razorbacks might beat Auburn.

The color schemes that envelope our rooms and the items I’ve chosen to place in them speak comfort, peace and luxury to my soul. I am most free to be me when I’m in my home. Unless I’m in my other home.

Sanctuary II. Last spring we finished building home at the lake. This house sits on a ridge commanding a dramatic view. While we used some colors not found in our regular home, it is interesting to me that we designed the new kitchen in a very similar style and color. We were even able to use some of our furniture and bedding sets at the lake. I wanted a new living room sofa, so we put the old one in the family room and took the family room set tot he lake. We inherited a bed from my mother for our guest room at home, so we took the set we already owned to the lake. It all worked because my personality is expressed in both houses. And I’m the same person whether on vacation or not.

My friend, interior designer Mitzi Beach ( says it is important to have a sanctuary space–at least one room in your home where you can go to be your truest self and hide away from everything and everyone else. Hers is her sun porch. I think mine is my living room. My husband’s is the downstairs family room at the lake. That’s where his dream-come-true pool table is, along with an air hockey table, a big TV and Razorback decor.

Imitate God. Why do we need to surround ourselves with beauty and things we love? Because that’s what God did and we are made in His image. Look outside. If you live in a region with four seasons, are the leaves on the trees stunning with reds and golds? Did you catch the sunrise this morning? The natural world is beautiful, even in Kansas. Tall, majestic sunflowers are a sight to behold in a field where they all face the sun like obedient soldiers in formation. The sunset behind wheat fields can be spectacular–and there is nothing to block our view!


(Pike’s Peak, Colorado. Photo by Kathryn Graves)

We don’t have to try hard to see that God loves beauty. He created a beautiful space for people to inhabit when He created the world. Let’s reflect that love of beauty in our homes and sanctuary spaces. By doing so, we’ll acknowledge Him to those who enter.

Create your space. If you feel overwhelmed by even the thought of decorating your house, or if you have too much “stuff” to find the walls or floor, just take it one piece at a time. Choose the one room you will designate as your sanctuary space. Remove everything. Take down the window treatments unless you love them. Once it is empty, take stock of the color on the walls and floor. Do you’ll good in there? Or does it grate on your nerves? Resolving a color conflict can make all the difference. Once you’ve settled on a pleasing color scheme, bring back the furnishings a few pieces at a time. Do you like each one? Does it function for your needs? If not, take it back out. Only allow what you like to stay. The last items to return are the little things that say it is your space.

I have a friend who loves Victorian style and a son who has forbidden me to ever give him anything he has to dust. Neither would be at home in the other’s space. But they don’t have to be. Let your space reflect the beauty of you and your Creator.



  1. That’s how I feel, Kathy, I love my home because it is my safe haven! Maybe I need an exterminator!!!!! Love you

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Great article. I too hate brown recluse spiders, and I’m working on creating that personal space in my own home.

    “Let your space reflect the beauty of you and your Creator.”

    Yes and YES!

  3. oh, how I love reading the things you write. makes my day. Thank you

  4. Kathy,

    Thanks, I really enjoyed this post and your insight. ☺


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  5. Brown recluse spiders! Yikes! Right now, my sanctuary space is my screened-in front porch. But when the weather gets cold, I’ll need to find a space inside! Great article, Kathy!

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