Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Tea

"...For although we do the same things anybody else does, and we do them over and over in the same way, the ordinary transactions of everyday life are the very means of transfiguration.

It is the common stuff of this world which, because of the Word's having been "made flesh," is shot through with meaning, with charity, with the glory of God."

--Elisabeth Elliott

I am recovering from a wonderful two week visit slowly but surely with just a tad bit of fatigue but a foot badly in pain. It will get better as I stay horizontal a few days, which is a perfect excuse to catch up on my reading! And...yes...I did spend a lot of time this morning getting last minute hugs and kisses along with picking up that baby and holding him every chance I got.

Spending time with the next generation (or the previous) always makes me think of all things called "Tradition" so I thought a wonderful subject to chat about today...actually two subjects that fit together nicely...would be Traditions and Rituals. Many of my favorite authors write a great deal about both subjects. I truly believe, as we look through the Word, God is very much a Person of both Traditions and Rituals.

I love all seasonal traditions...the first visit to the nursery to purchase annuals in the spring, visiting the farmers market every Saturday morning through the summer, attending the Feast of the Hunter's Moon every autumn and the corresponding aromas of cider and woodsmoke, noticing the first lights going up on the houses come Christmas...a full cycle of another year...a gift from God.

How rich in the Judeo-Christian culture are the rituals and traditions of the Church, many coming directly from the Old Testament where worship is embellished by that which is done the same way...each week...each Church calendar...each year. We've done it this way for... thousands of years...adjusted to fit the Incarnation of the One sent ...Yeushua...Messiah. How wonderful that in all we do, whether as a part of a great Body of Believers or in our own family...we can do it all to His honor and Glory...for even a drink of water given in His name is "a good thing".

I have long been a person who made certain we had plenty of family traditions. Food has been associated with many of our traditions; the Christmas Eve hors dourves dinner each year; the pastry and scrambled eggs we had before the early morning service at the Lutheran church my in-laws attended when we visited each Easter (to be followed by a delicious meal after church); the choice of restaurant for each child's birthday (which was cheap when my son was little and McDonald's was always his preference); breakfast out on the first day of school for each child whether they were in the public schools, homeschooled, or in college; the first rhubarb pie of spring or apple pie in autumn...just to name a few.

My husband had to travel a great deal for his work so we had a tradition of ordering pizza the first night Dad was gone. When it was just my son and I left behind when we were living in Detroit, we walked to the local diner for breakfast each morning Dad left to catch his flight (which is why we were watching TV in that diner...on 9/11...with my husband in the air).

Then there are the rituals of daily life as in putting meals on the table...from the creative process when we are thinking..."What should the menu be this week to stretch the budget?", "Should I make a cake or cookies to serve along with watching the movie tonight?", "How can I get more veggies in our diet?" Then the rituals involved in setting the table, serving the meals on pretty plates, as well as preparing the hot, sudsy water each plate and glass will go into before being washed and set in the drainer until it is time to put them away...for the next meal.

Each day brings its' own rituals such as a sunrise and a sunset...even if the hours vary from season to season. I have long known the very young need the security of daily rituals but I'm finding them more important again as I am in middle age. There is great comfort in doing the same thing every day. Each morning I feed the cats if my husband hasn't already and then head straight for the coffeepot. I almost always turn on the local news to catch the weather report for the day. If the weather is nice, I will sit on the front porch for awhile to slowly wake up and on good days...get a quiet time in before the necessary activities of the day unfold.

Before I go to bed each night, I set out the two dishes for the kitties' food the next morning ...I prepare the coffee and set the timer on the coffee pot ...I get my Pooh mug ready as well as my medication and insulin needle ...I check to make certain the doors are locked, the lights are turned off, and the cats are where they belong ...every night ...unless something else interrupts the regular cycle of very welcome guests.

There are even the little rituals associated with my Saturday evening tea time (which I've written about before). I usually brew a small pot of tea, place a couple of cookies on a plate, pick out a teacup from my collection, bring along the most recent book I'm reading, and spend the evening at my living room sofa enjoying a personal teatime...sometimes watching the British TV shows on our local PBS network...sometimes immersing myself in a great book.

My daughter is planning a new tradition for her family, that of a real Sunday afternoon teatime. I've loved the idea since reading Edith Schaeffer's books and the descriptions of their Sunday afternoon teas at L'Abri. It may not be large like the one at L'Abri but I'm certain her family will enjoy it very much.

I could spend a very long time writing about traditions and rituals...I'm certain I will return to the subjects again some day. However, for now I would love to hear what special rituals and/or traditions others incorporate into daily ...weekly ...monthly ...yearly living.


martha said...

Wonderful post again, thank you! You've got me thinking about personal rituals, spiritual rituals...

You might well enjoy Walter Wangerin Jr.'s novel called "Paul" In this book he takes the facts the Bible gives us about the apostle's life and tries to paint a picture of his adventures. I was taken by how very Jewish Paul's day to day life was, how his waking, eating, sleeping was all steeped in the rituals taught in the O.T. (inspired rituals, traditions, practices God gave the Israelites to help make the Intangible more tangible).

The author is a Lutheran pastor. Maybe you're already familiar with him as he lives in Indiana.

Martha, mrsb

Sunydazy said...

Beautiful post! I enjoyed it and I'm now thinking about what rituals I have lately been missing. Since my 2 youngest came along I've needfully let a lot of things go until they are older. My house is recently re-gaining some order so I feel ready to add a few things! Great food for thought!
I'm a new reader her BTW...very nice blog.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I always enjoy having new readers!

Yes, I have heard of Walter's books. My husband is from Valparaiso, Indiana which I believe is where Wangerin lives. I haven't heard of that book but I'll be looking for it.

Lallee said...

Thank you for a delightful tea, even though it is Monday morning and I'm drinking my morning coffee. You've made me think of my daily rituals, and if there are any I need to add or subtract. I'm glad you had a wonderful family rest and savor them.

Andrea said...

I've recently found your blog and have found it inspiring. I find that I love many of the same things as you -- tea, British shows, books, and even Mrs. Meyers' cleaning supplies! :-)

Is the Edith Schaeffer book you reference The Hidden Art of Homemaking? I haven't read that yet, but am hoping to soon.

My current Brit-TV show interest is "The Last Detective" series (my husband and I get them from Netflix). I'd also highly recommend the recent Miss Marple series (I believe there are two sets) with Geraldine McEwan. I've always enjoyed my tea with a touch of British murder. :-)

I look forward to continuing to read your blog!


smilnsigh said...

I do hope you'll keep staying horizontal for as long as it takes... to recover from fatigue and let that foot become 'happy' again.

Wow! Bet you were *surprised* that I wrote the above, hu? :-))))))


Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Andrea, yes...The Hidden Art of Homemaking is one of the books where she talks about the teas. I think she also mentions it in both L'Abri and What is a Family (both of which I also highly recommend).

Yepparroo...I was just waiting for someone to ask if I was taking it easy today. :)

I had to run some morning errands but I am planning on getting some sofa time in ASAP.

the feathered nest said...

You got me thinking about my daily rituals. I never really looked at them that way!

Glad you had a lovely family visit. Have a nice rest!


Anonymous said...

I like this post, Brenda! Lots of good thoughts here. I'm a big one for rituals and routines, too, and I think their importance is not often comprehended. Have you ever read The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris? It's about the almost liturgical nature of housework and how it can be a powerful and important ritual in a woman's life. (Imagine that!)

I enjoyed reading comments here, but I was hoping some people would answer your question and post about their rituals... :-) I'll list a couple of mine:

I have a pretty set morning routine that I love. I do the same things, day after day. In winter, I build a fire in the woodstove (our only source of heat), and sit down beside the stove for devotional time with my Bible, some books, my journal, and a mug of coffee.

I journal every single day, and I've done this for years, wherever I am.

On summer mornings, I am up early and either at the table with coffee and devotional books or I go out on the deck in the sun (if it's warm enough... we have cold nights here).

I *love* this morning quiet time, and it has been such an important, *good* part of my life. I think about it the night before, making sure everything is clean and tidy so I won't be tempted to putter around cleaning instead of having my quiet hour or two.

We have Saturday morning scones and have for a long time. Same recipe every time.

We have Sunday evening tea together, and apparently so do alot of others! :-)

When the kids were growing up, we had Friday night "Party Nights"-- games or a movie, dessert, fun! We planned ahead, and everyone looked forward to it.

I have a tea break every afternoon somewhere between 2 and 3 p.m., when we're home. In Sweden they have a coffee break (with a cookie) in the afternoon, and I think it's a good ritual. Rest matters as much as work.

We have birthday rituals and other rituals, too...

Susan :-)

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I have never read anything by Kathleen Norris but I'll definitely be adding that one to my future reading.

Thanks for sharing your rituals. I do enjoy reading what others do each day (and season). I'm always ready to learn new things.