I have a confession to make. Shhhh... I normally work on my Sunday Afternoon Tea posts on Saturday. That way I can think and ponder to my hearts content and just click Publish Post on Sunday (with perhaps a little tweaking).
However, yesterday afternoon was spent napping... as in going back to bed no less than three times! I'm not certain if the cause of my illness was a small relapse of the flu, my sinus passages complaining about the (very welcome) cold front coming through, diabetes "stuff", or a mixture of all three... which is likely.
I'm feeling better today but still a little weak and I must work tomorrow since our football team won big yesterday. I've committed to working Touchdown Mondays. All of this to say I'm writing during the time I would normally be at church. Today will be well spent resting and reading.
So... here I was on the sofa yesterday evening and thinking I'd have to skip Sunday Afternoon Tea this week. My brain was about as foggy as my body was aching. I called out to Him who made my aching body and reminded Him if any writing was going to be accomplished, He would have to give me the idea. The subject I'd planned to write about just wasn't coming together in my head or on paper.
When I am flat-on-my-back on the sofa, my direct vision is toward the wall that contains two large bookshelves of favorite books. God truly has a sense of humor as all I could do was look at those books for awhile and then the Eureka moment arrived. For as I was looking, I was thinking about pulling one of my favorite books off the shelf to peruse, one that always brought me peace and joy during times of illness, financial setbacks, and anxious moments.
You know... books that are the bibliophiles version of drugs which calm and refresh (and without major side affects). That is what I can write about! Books that calm the savage beast and bring comfort in the storm of affliction. I don't have any experience with savage beast types but I certainly know about storms of life. :)
I started thinking of the obvious, which is the Bible and the Book of Psalms... my favorite. Although I love reading the Old Testament and learning about those whose lives form the basis of the Judeo Christian faith, the Gospels of our Lord, the Letters, even the amazing scenes from Revelation... it is Psalms that I go back to over and over. When one picks up my Bible, it opens to Psalms naturally. Nowhere else can I find true peace as I do in the book which mostly contains the songs of a Shepherd King.
I'm also a big believer in using devotional books each day. My old standby is My Utmost For His Highest. Although I rarely recommend "modern translations" of any book, I take exception with this one for the updated version is truly remarkable. The story of how it came to be updated is in the Introduction of this particular volume.
I have both the original and updated versions and I find both valuable but my every day go-to devotional is a leather bound version of the updated (which surprises people who know my aversion to such). It is very close to the original while being easy to read when one is in between their first and second cups of morning coffee.
The other devotional in my basket is The Valley of Vision, perhaps one of the most beautiful devotionals ever assembled. This leather bound version was a gift to my husband from his daughter and son-in-law. I... uh... borrowed it. He knows where to find it.
Another devotional that I have used over and over is Streams In the Desert. I can't recommend it highly enough for people going through very difficult circumstances. I have a hardback version but I also used to receive it online daily and print it out to tuck in my Bible. It was written by one who was suffering and it brings peace to fellow sojourners. I know my Catholic and Orthodox friends may have their own titles which bring comfort.
There are many books that I read when I need to "get away from it all". All of my "tea" books are on that list (especially Victoria's The Pleasures of Tea which I finally own thanks to a special friend!), a few decorating books that show houses and gardens that I adore, even some favorite cookbooks with amazing pictures (like Marcia Adams cookbooks about the Amish and Midwestern cooking and the lovely Susan Branch books).
I find myself revisiting Edith Schaeffer's books about home and family, Alexandra Stoddard, Elizabeth George, Sally Clarkson, Emilie Barnes, Elisabeth Elliot, and other like minded ladies. I keep on my "favorites" bookshelf fiction by Grace Livingston Hill, Jan Karon, James Herriot (okay, so it is based on real life), Jane Austen, Miss Read, and my favorite cozy mysteries... just to mention a few among many.
I love to read lists of what people are reading, especially those "favorite books" lists that we often see disguised as "Summer Vacation Reading lists" or "Christmas Reading lists" or quite often "What I Would Suggest Giving to Someone for Christmas lists".
That is where I have found some of my best suggestions and interesting connections between book and reader. For instance, when President Reagan needed to "get away from it all", he turned to Louis L'Amour westerns. :) I have often seen Agatha Christie mysteries high on such lists. A friend of mine likes to pull out her childhood favorites such as the Anne of Green Gables series, the Little House books, and other classics.
I realize later today and perhaps all week, I will think of another author or book that should have been represented here. For right now, these are the cream of the crop and those which came to mind first. As usual, I would love to hear your own list of authors and titles. Perhaps among them I will find a new "friend".