This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live...
I have taken a short break from the Spring Reading Challenge to read two books that came my way recently. The first being one I've already written about....Time For Tea. The other is an Alexandra Stoddard book I found at Goodwill called Making Choices.
Although I always enjoy Stoddard's design and decorating books, I haven't always agreed with those where she talks about her lifestyle philosophy. However, this book was inexpensive so I figured I had nothing to lose and I DO enjoy her writing most of the time.
I'm glad I purchased the book for it gave me a lot to think about. Except where we would differ in our philosophy because I'm more conservative and...well...evangelical, I found myself agreeing with the premise of the book. It is very much like the writing I've done about Living Life on Purpose. Reading both of these books in the same week gave me a lot to ponder, too.
Both books are about lifestyles in their own way. The women we meet in Time For Tea are, for the most part, making the best of difficult circumstances. Even the women with titles and gorgeous homes had many challenges along the way. All of them (except the children, of course) had to take what life gave them and make the best of each day. In her book, Alexandra shares more about the failure of her first marriage and the challenges she has faced than she has in any other book I've read written by her. They all talk about...choices.
Being a person who ponders quite often, I spent time thinking about both Stoddard and the British women...comparing their stories to my own. They reinforced what I have found along the way that life isn't always fair but it becomes what we make of it. If we stomp our feet and tell God that we're getting the short end of the stick, we only become depressed and bitter. I mean, really, all we have to do is look around and see all kinds of people who appear to not have a care in this world...right?
That's part of what reading good books does to us, when we enter the lives of people, real or imagined. For even those characters we meet in books called fiction have come out of the life experiences of the the person who took pen to paper. We live in a fallen world where no one has a perfect day. Rare and wonderful are those times we have experienced near perfection, a glimpse into what eternity holds.
In both of these books, we find women who have taken what life has given and made a life that has beauty in it. The choice has been made to do something rather than wish for perfection. For as I often quote from Edith S., "If you expect perfection or nothing, you will always end up with...nothing".
We can't wait for the day we are married to "decorate" our dwelling place in such a way that visiting friends feel welcome and comfortable. We can't wish we had children but never make a beautiful and cozy home for our husband. To never have beauty in the home because we're afraid our children will "break, spill, or tear" an object is to deprive not only ourselves but our children of lovely surroundings.
We can't wish to meet friends for tea time while never brewing a pot and delighting in Earl Grey, a couple of cookies or cinnamon toast, and pretty china while reading...or serving pretty sandwiches, scones, and tea to the family on Sunday afternoon.
We can't wish we lived in the country and never grow plants in a pot in the small space we do have or purchasing flowers at the grocery store to put in a vase when we arrive home. Or...as in my case...how terrible it would be to live in the country but because of limited health and finances, never grow anything! It doesn't take much time or energy to plant geraniums in a pot or pansies in the ground.
We can't wish we could afford great art and never frame a print or even a favorite picture from a calendar, or learn to quilt, or visit a thrift store for vintage plates to hang.
We can't long for an evening spent at the most expensive restaurant in town and never learn to cook...really cook...the kind of food that lights the eyes and brings smiles to those we love. (After all, even great chefs start with meat, potatoes, veggies - or - flour, butter, eggs, and sugar.)
We can't wish we had time to write a book and never write a letter (or blog). :)
We can't wish we could have joy and never spend time with the One who made us, the author of all creativity.
It is what we do with the path we've been given that brings great beauty, joy, peace, contentment...hope...to our lives.
It's about choices...