“Beauty Inspires Our Joy of Living”

“I feel very strongly we are spiritual beings in a physical body, and we should make our surroundings as beautiful and soulful as possible.” – Alexandra Stoddard

Has something ever occurred in your life, which surprised you, resulted in you taking a second look or perhaps made you think, “Was this meant to happen?” Certainly, it has happened to me – many times.  But, one such particular instance was life changing for me.  

One day, while I was browsing in my favorite book store, a book fell from the shelf just above where I was standing.  I am certain I was meant to read this particular book, “Open Your Eyes,”  along with many others written by the fabulously talented, Alexandra Stoddard. You see, Alexandra’s writing speaks to me.  And,when you come upon an author who makes you feel as though he or she is in the room, speaking only to you, well,  you have magic.  A connection. But, the day the book fell into my hands, I had no idea of  the connection Alexandra and I would actually make several years later.

My goodness, her wonderful book, “Open Your Eyes,”  did indeed, open my eyes to the importance of beauty in our daily lives.  Through this book, I learned the extraordinary impact beautiful details make in our homes.  Also, I became completely aware of the significant difference such details add to our daily rounds, and by our attention to these details we also enrich the lives of those we love. But most of all I would say, “Alexandra opened my eyes and my heart to the joy of beauty.” Something I was aware of, but did not fully understand or realize its significance.  Although, in time I would learn.

Going forward a few years:  My husband and I returned to the small town in West Virginia where we both were raised.   Once settled, I became active in a local garden club and was asked to serve as programs chairperson.   As I began to think of interesting programs for our club, I felt it was also necessary to schedule programs which related to the specific mission of a garden club.  And that is:   To educate its members and the public, by encouraging beautification of home and community.

All this being said, in a club board meeting, ideas were being tossed about for an event.  A special event, not only for our members, but one which the club would also open to the general public.  The board members wanted someone who could speak about beauty and its importance in a community.  Clearly, I do know you felt the earth shake a bit on that day several years ago. Because, that was when I spoke up and said, “How about engaging Alexandra Stoddard as a speaker?”  And, as the saying goes, “The rest is history.”

On a magnificent day in April of 2008, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, our humble garden club presented – “An Afternoon With Alexandra Stoddard.”  Truly, it was beautiful, I wish you could have been there.  Glorious flowers were everywhere, lilacs were at every entrance to the building and lovely music played softly in the background. This memorable affair was attended by over 250 people and drew attendees from all over West Virginia, neighboring Pennsylvania and Virginia.  And, all these wonderful people came to hear Alexandra’s talk , “Beauty Inspires Our Joy of Living.”

  

Was it a coincidence that the entire weekend was perfectly beautiful?  I think not. You see, God sent an angel to deliver a message and she did.  As I looked around the auditorium, I did not see too many dry eyes as everyone sat attentively, listening to Alexandra speak. Because she is so real, her sincerity and knowledge comes streaming through, right to your heart.  She touches you in a way that is unforgettable.  

Alexandra is all about beauty in our lives, our homes, the way we live, how we treat others – she radiates beauty!  Not only does she completely understand the joy of beauty, she is magnificent at teaching it as well.  She really is a gifted soul and God showered his blessing on me, by placing Alexandra in my path.

The weekend spent with Alexandra and her husband, Peter, was a magical time for myself and my husband.  Following her talk, the four of us enjoyed a long, marvelous dinner together.  It was wonderful hearing about their lives and the people, places and things they hold dear.  Such a grand time. I gained much more than I am capable of putting into words.

I have remained in contact with Alexandra. And, my heart beats a little faster when I see that French blue envelope in our mail.  I also keep up with her through her monthly newsletter on her website, www.alexandrastoddard.com.  She lives in her cherished village of Stonnington Village, Connecticut, where she remains ever so busy writing her next book. Soon, I hope we know a few details.  

Sadly, Alexandra lost her beloved Peter on September 25, 2014.   He was 92.  But through their deep and great love for each other, she continues to “Love and Live Happy.”  She once said, “Let there be happiness in my soul, and let me share it with the world.”  She has and she continues to share happiness every day.  

So, if you have ever wondered why I stand on my little box and preach about beauty and the ripple effect it can have in our world, now you know.  I had, and continue to have, a magnificent teacher.  A teacher who is endless inspiration.  So, from Alexandra, to me, to you, and so on and so forth – beauty can and will change the world.   It is our responsibility to make it happen.  So, as my mother would say, “We must get to it.” 

PS:  Do yourself a favor and read anything by Alexandra Stoddard – you will be happy you did.  (A very short bio of Alexandra Stoddard is listed below)

Priceless Photo: Alexandra at the book signing, feeding her beloved Peter a cookie. I wish you could have seen them together  – pure LOVE.

Thanks for visiting – Have a Beautiful Week!

Au Revoir,

Sandra

Photos: Book cover and Alexandra in her garden, Pinterest

All other photos by, Michael S. Lambiotte

Short Bio of Alexandra Stoddard

Alexandra Stoddard is a philosopher of contemporary living, an interior designer and author of over 25 books. Alexandra has a passion for gardens, flowers and is an inspiring teacher of how beauty adds to our joy for living.  Alexandra believes we each have a responsibility to do all that we can to enrich our communities.  Her unique insights reveal the small but significant things we can do to change our attitude, heart, and environment.

Alexandra was the first recipient of a full scholarship at the New York School of Interior Design, and was the first female member of the Board of Directors of  Fieldcrest Cannon, Inc.  She has decorated the interiors of mansions, embassies and cottages throughout the United States and Europe.  She was the owner of Alexandra Stoddard, Incorporated, a Manhattan, New York based interior design firm.

She is the mother of two grown daughters and was married to Peter Megargee Brown, until his death in 2014.

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5 Comments on "“Beauty Inspires Our Joy of Living”"

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Brenda @ It\'s A Beautiful Life
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Sandra, I’ve been waiting for a moment to read your piece about Alexandra without rush. Oh how lovely. What a beautiful story you share. I’m so pleased to hear of you meeting her in person and having time together that weekend so long ago. I can only imagine how you still cherish that time, not to mention all you have shared with her since then through your letters. As I have mentioned before to you, Alexandra also touched my heart in a very deep way when I was much, much younger. She was the one who showed me it truly… Read more »
Shirley @Housepitality Designs
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That book falling on you was certainly Divine intervention..Love Alexandra Stoddard…I loved it when she appeared on the Christopher Lowell show…remember him…She is such a lady with such charm and grace…how wonderful that you have been blessed with a wonderful friendship with her…loved this story!

Cindy
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It is encouraging to find someone who understands the importance and necessity of beauty in all lives. It seems to me many public servants do not understand.the beauty concept….

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