Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Tea

After standing behind a cash register for a few weeks, I've been thinking about the need to surround ourselves with things that are "lovely"... those things which make our hearts sing and our souls rejoice (cash registers are not among them).

Perhaps that is one of the reasons I love the entire concept of "tea time" when one slows down in the afternoon for food that has been prepared to look as good as it tastes, various types of teas to try, and all of it served on pretty dishes. I don't care if they are perfect, or expensive, chipped, or vintage... as long as I can look at them and they bring about a smile by their very existence.

Although I have a very nice collection of dishes now, there was a time I had only one or two teacups from which to choose. Thanks to the fun I have of sleuthing out thrift stores, flea markets, Goodwill, and garage sales (alone or with my favorite shopping companion... my daughter... on those rare times we can get together), I now have a selection from which to choose according to mood or season.

I also inherited the china that belonged to my mother-in-law's mother with pretty flowers surrounding the plates, saucers, and cups. I never knew her, of course, but I think of what she was like... the late Victorian era woman who would choose such feminine "good dishes" for her home.

Perhaps that is also why I am so taken with English Country decorating. It has come about by generations handing down beloved objects to the next generation. The objects used until they are soft and muted with age... controlled clutter that comes together looking cozy rather than chaotic.

It is definitely why I love living in the country. Although I have other houses nearby, I can sit on my front porch and hear the songs of birds and uh...bugs. :) I live in the midst of trees, flowers, and farms. In the early morning, it is quiet except for the sounds of the native creatures whose bird and bug ancestors lived here before houses were built in the forest. I expect there are those who find such beauty in the streets of Manhattan or the mountains of Colorado... whatever brings that peaceful feeling of home.

I've written many times of the Truth I have found through the years, that our life is what we make it to be. If I want to be surrounded by loveliness then I must develop an eye for it as I look around my surroundings. I often think of the Little House on the Prairie show and how Ma always displayed her one pretty figurine on the fireplace mantle. She had made many moves by covered wagon but that one object of beauty was kept safe for each new home.

Beauty can be different for each individual, that which we consider lovely is uniquely us... brought about by experiences we have lived and taste with which we were born. I know people who would be happy with very few pieces of furniture and nothing on the walls. Such surroundings bring them great peace while I would find it quite cold and not at all cozy.

I decided to make a list of those things which I must have around me, that which fills my life with loveliness. What joy it brought just to "think on these things". I'm certain each list would be very individual but mine are...

children and grandchildren,
Family and friends,
favorite music selections,
the forest at dawn with a mist,
the full moon coming up past the tops of the trees,
sunsets behind the Christmas tree farm in Winter,
old books by favorite authors, new books by favorite authors,
coffee in the morning,
tea in afternoon,
horses in pastures,
Frost on the pumpkin,
trees filling with leaves in spring,
leaves turning colors in autumn,
the architecture of tree limbs against the blue skies of winter,
cardinals on snow,
the sound of birds singing in early spring,
the aroma of stew and bread coming from the kitchen,
the sound of a loved one coming through the door... home at last.

The list could go on and it will, as I continue to write down those things that are lovely to me. For by writing them down it will help me to look each day, to make certain I am surrounded with that which is lovely and makes my heart sing.

Those things which bring softness to a harsh world and and surround me with that which is lovely.


Morning Glory said...

While reading this post I could just imagine myself sitting outside listening to the sounds of nature together. Sunday Afternoon Tea is a delightful read every week.

Mary said...

Lovely post Brenda and I enjoyed reading it. I could not help but think of the 'bug' sounds. The cicadas here in the evening are quite loud but delightful still the same. Have a good day tomorrow, rest well and awaken refreshed.

Kimberly said...

I love your SAT posts as well. You'd feel right at home here in my house. You'd be completely surrounded by just about everything on your list!
Thanks for your sweet comments. (Still no baby...)

Heather said...

I enjoyed your post and wish I could see your collection of teacups! I love collecting them too, and have found most of mine in charity shops when we lived in Scotland, or collected them from people who "no longer wanted them".
Beauty is something that I love, and beautiful things always refresh my soul. Beauty seems to point to God. I always try to remind myself though that God oftens finds beauty in things we never would.
I hope you have a good week!

ukrainiac said...

This post really caused me to stop and imagine those sounds of nature that I rarely hear anymore -- living in the huge city of Kyiv, Ukraine. Made me smile. And sigh. I love the idea of writing down those things we desire to surround ourselves with...that make our hearts sing. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, most are FREE!

Afternoon tea is just so darned civilized!

the feathered nest said...

This is a lovely post, Brenda! I think I'll do the same. I have one of those composition notebooks that are really inexpensive this time of year, and I decorated the outside with pretty leftover wrapping papers (those bits too small to use) and other embellishments. Inside I write my favorite inspirational quotes and other thoughts. I think this would be a perfect place for such a list. Thanks for the idea!

smilnsigh said...

Beautiful entry, Brenda.


Betty said...

What a restful scene you create in the mind of the serene and calming.....

Thank you for the visit and birthday greeting.....I've had a wonderful day......please come again...Betty

Rachel Anne said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog...I've enjoyed returning the favor and what a beautiful post to come to! It IS good to stop and think about the "lovelies" in our lives, and to take the time to cherish them! Thank you.

Sharon said...

Very Nice to Meet You :-)I am glad you are coming to tea! Please feel free to grab the invite and post it on your blog~invite all of your friends~ the more the merrier~ we will be visiting.Sharon @