[ kuh-lek-shuhn ]
a group of objects or an amount of material accumulated in one location, especially for some purpose or as a result of some process
I think it's safe to say that everyone collects something, whether it is intentional or not. Some people collect objects like stamps or cars or Pinterest boards (not me, of course...hehe). Others may collect rare antiquities or priceless treasures or shot glasses from every state they've visited.
Whatever the collection, we're all on the hunt and collecting is certainly about the hunt. The thrill of the chase! Going to a flea market or garage sale, walking around the corner, and voila! There it is! We pick it up (or snatch it up), stroke it gently and whisper, "My precious!" Maybe not...but there is something that happens to us when we see it. Our heart beats a little faster. A smile spreads across our face. Dopamine is released from the brain. We take the item home, place with its similar counterparts and, for just that moment in time, everything is right in the world. It all fits. And then the hunt begins all over again. Can you relate?
I've collected a lot of different things over the years. When I was younger, we lived on three acres in the country with a dry creek bed at the back of our property and an abandoned railroad track to one side. Now and again it was fun to go exploring in the woods because I'd always stumble on some sort of object that made my desire to be an archaeologist burn a little brighter: old railroad spikes or junction parts, arrowheads, or (my personal favorite) a rock that, once cleaned, would glisten and sparkle in the light. Anytime we would be on a road trip, the best stops were the rock shops and gemstone stands. I couldn't wait to get back to my room to identify my finds and catalogue them in my composition book.
After that, I collected teddy bears: figurines, pictures, puzzles, stuffed, etc. My room was a fluffy bear utopia. Now many of them collect for themselves dust in an attic box. But they were comforting and kept girlhood secrets safe in their sewn-on smiles and button eyes.
Now, all these years later, my collections are different still:
When I was growing up, the closest thing to a computer that we had was a LightBrite and the local library's A-V Matic. (It's hard to believe that I'm old enough to remember the invention of the internet, but enough sounding like my grandmother.) My cell phone's storage limit alerts are proof that my screenshot collecting has gotten a little out of hand. My SIM card librarian looks a lot like Roz from Monster's Inc. shouting at me from her tiny dwelling about my screenshot hoarding problem.
I guess, it's really the content of my screenshots that's the real collection: encouraging affirmations, quotes on female empowerment by female badasses of the day, self-compassion reminders, tattoo ideas, boho decor, art techniques I want to try, books I want to read, etc.
2) Original Art
This is perhaps my favorite collection, though significantly smaller than my wealth of screenshot goodness, because it requires budget planning and saving. But it is so worth it! Some of the artists I currently have are Rae Missigman, Tracy Verdugo, Robin Mead, Carolyn Mackin, Jennifer McHugh, and Wendy McWilliams. Others I hope to have down the line are Flora Bowley, Clair Bremner, Yellena James, Jeff Albrecht, Laura Horn, Amira Rahim, Katie Daisy, Michelle Fairchild, August Wren, etc.
Why original art and not just prints? Granted, prints are a lot cheaper but original pieces, for me, hold the creative energy from the artist's own hand. Original pieces are also one-of-a-kind while prints are merely recreations. They allow you to see and feel texture, brush strokes, and paint. Owning an original is like having a small bit of the artist there with you, like a kindred spirit.
3) Vintage Tins
What stories could these tell?! Contents long-ago emptied, each one of these tins has a journey. I love the sizes and shapes, the labels, the fonts and artwork.
When we lived in Hawaii doing mission work, I was introduced to the sarong. They're still the most comfortable thing I've found to wear and you will find me in one just about every day. They have bright colors and patterns and many have tassels. I have 9 or 10 so far but my favorite is the bright pink and navy one pictured below.
With over 15 vendors ranging in age from 19-90, customers never know what they're going to find when they walk in the bright orange doors of my shop. The eclectic mix of inventory makes for a fun treasure-hunt and, for many, a walk down memory lane. Even the name "Happy Cabbage" shouts out to the turn of the century. It's a colloquialism that means, "a substantial amount of money to be spent on self-satisfying things".
I've had customers looking for specific things to add to their collections such as certain brands of dishware, pie vents, books, coins, dolls, etc. The wide-eyed look of excitement at finding what they were looking for, is what makes this business so much fun! I get to be part of the hunt!
Did you know that even God has a collection? Psalm 56:8 tells us that He collects our tears in bottles. In my mind, I envision white walls lined with cobalt and sea green glass. But why would God collect tears? There's a lot of theories and speculation but we don't know for sure. Here's what I think.
Tears of joy look a lot different than tears of grief or onion-cutting tears when viewed under a microscope. Who would have thought that our tears would be microscopic works of art?! I think what the Psalmist was trying to say is that God doesn't miss any part of our lives, no matter how trivial. The next verse says, "This I know, God is for me". You see, God is active in our lives because He loves us. He collects our tears because He's intently listening to our cries. He isn't handing us a hanky absent-mindedly. He isn't too busy to sit with you and offer His shoulder. He's leaning in. And then He's reverently bottling your tears and displaying it in His heart.
We collect things that have value to us. God gives you the value of "priceless" - those intimate moments with you where you share your joys and your heartaches. That quality time with you is God's treasure hunt! It's what makes His heart skip a beat! Lean into Him. You may find those moments are your newest collection as well!
I'd love to hear what YOU collect! Share them with me in the comments below!