Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Hello my friends. How encouraging it was to read the comments recently and to find out reading my blog encouraged some to begin their own! I promise to come back and read the new blogs as soon as I can. I would apologize for causing some to covet but that book really is beautiful. :)

A few of us received an e-mail from our much loved Jewels recently. Her family has been quite ill and they could use your prayers. I know many of us miss her and her delightful blog. She is also having computer "issues" (oh, how I can relate)!

It is still quite cold where I live so I invite you to enjoy cinnamon tea along with one of the orange cranberry scones (recipe on my recipe blog) that I've been making recently. I plan to use that recipe to make lemon poppyseed scones later this week. Yum... They stay so moist that I can make them at night for serving in the morning (just carefully covered).

We're finally digging out here with the hope of an (at least) temporary warm up. I'm personally feeling much better, too. The flu symptoms subsided at about the same time the pulled muscle in my arm healed so I was able to work on that organizational project I've been wanting to accomplish for weeks.

My dining room table is now covered with items to carefully pack and give to Goodwill this week. I am thrilled with the way the remaining dishes fit perfectly into my kitchen cabinets, corner china cabinet, and my hutch in the living room. By getting rid of those items I never use, I have plenty of room to carefully store those that I do use... whether daily or in due season.

No longer am I concerned about glassware or important dishes crashing as I pull one from under another. Now each grouping has their own home with the autumn/Thanksgiving English transferware plates on the top shelf in the kitchen with the new Thanksgiving bowls I purchased at Tuesday Morning on clearance on top. It was the purchase of the bowls (and having no where to put them!) that was the reason I knew something had to go!

Next to them on the top shelf are the beautiful Victorian plates I inherited from my mother- in- law (that were her mothers). They remind me of Springtime and Easter which is when I use them most often. As with most Victorian sets, they come with a gagillion other pieces which are now safely stored in away, too (actually, they were already safe but they had other plates sitting on TOP of them). My wedding china shares shelf space with them.

The beautiful Royal Albert set I purchased at Goodwill are all in my hutch with part of my teacup collection also in the hutch, the remainder displayed behind glass in the corner china cabinet.

Of course, there are my everyday plates and glasses in the kitchen which are all much easier to pull out and use since the unnecessary items have been removed, too. I can't say it was easy to accept some of my dishes as unnecessary (ouch). This is the only area of my life (well, except books) that I tend to have an excess of "stuff". Even then, I've been giving many "unnecessary" (another ouch) books to charity and the library, too.

So what does any of the above have to do with ponderings this week? A lot... As I looked at how everything (even with lots of dishes) fit together so well once I got rid of the unnecessary, I felt as if the Lord was nudging me and asking if I saw a further meaning to all of this. I stared at the organized beauty of the kitchen shelves and realized when I was holding on to the excess there was not room for that which was important... those items I really did use.

God didn't tell me to settle for one set of dishes. Actually, I believe it was He that was behind my being blessed with so many different sets. He knows the simple enjoyment I find in the beauty of china. No... He asked that I be willing to rid myself of the unnecessary excess in my life. By doing that, there was plenty of room in my 1400 sq. ft. home for abundance.

There have been times in my life that He has asked me to be willing to "give all"... to show that "stuff" does not have a hold on me. At the same time, I am absolutely amazed at how He has led me to just exactly what I've been wanting or needing either at a thrift store or on sale. When we do not allow "stuff" to have us... we know to hold on to all with a loose grip... He knows He can give us all things to enjoy. :) He who gave all so that may have life...

One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist or have a PhD in Theology to understand how we can also learn from this. If I feel overwhelmed and burdened by life, I must take time to "peek into the cabinets and doors of my soul". Am I holding on to feelings and burdens that are unnecessary? Am I allowing fear and anxiety to fill shelves where faith and peace are suppose to abide?

Am I allowing unforgiveness to fill up my life so much that joy has no room to take hold? Am I looking at the future with the grace that is given only for today?

This morning in church, we sang the Chris Tomlin version of Amazing Grace. It is a song I am well familiar with... the chorus being the ringtone on my cell phone. I was thinking of what God has been teaching me through reorganizing my dishes as we sang this verse and the chorus:

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me

And like a flood His mercy reigns

Unending love, Amazing grace*


He truly has set me free when I allow that freedom to take hold. I need to continually meet with Him each day, only then can I live life in His strength. I can't do it on my own.

I tend to hold on to those things which are not only unnecessary but they are the very "stuff of life" that chain me down and keep me from walking with plenty of room (mercy, grace, peace, joy) for each day.


It's amazing what one can learn from a china cabinet. :)

*Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) by Chris Tomlin
From the movie: Amazing Grace

Artwork: The Warmth of Autumn by Susan Rios, Allposters.com

7 comments:

Barbara said...

Glad you've heard from Jewels. Will be praying for her family and her computer woes. I really miss her blog. It was so refreshing!

As for China, I love it, but don't have anything to put anymore in. My china cabinet is too small. I would really love some new.

Anonymous said...

What a good metaphor you have presented here, Brenda. It speaks to me because of my own struggles (demands on "my" time, semi-retired husband who works from home...). I'm going to consider "excess" that I need to let go of, in order that the things of eternal importance can be done. Thank you for writing so beautifully. Desert Lady

Adrienne said...

Oh, I love that song. Thanks for reminding me of the beautiful words that tell of God's Amazing Grace. ~Adrienne~

Haus Frau said...

I'll keep Jewels and family in prayer. Thank you for sharing. Yes, her sweet presence is missed in the blogosphere & to me personally ... very much.

Seems as though a number of us have a common theme, which is to purge. My husband set up an area in the 3rd car garage for me to put things for our garage sale or goodwill. It's filling up. How, oh how, do these things find their way into our homes - then reproduce like rabbits! It's such a freedom to loose oneself from 'stuff'. To live simply, one needs to simplify. ;o)

Heather said...

I am also thinning out a bit as we have come to realize again that the more stuff we have. the more we have to take care of! So far we have rid ourselves of 3 bags of clothes ( handed down to a family who can use them), two boxes of books to the library sale, and three bags of garbage - where did it all come from? I would really like to do some redecorating, but my budget is tight, so I am 'shopping' in my own cupboards and re-purposing some of our old stuff - and getting rid of things I don't think I'll use again - yes, even some pretty china! Isn't it freeing?

Kimberly said...

We've been purging stuff around here for the last month and a half. I got rid of five tubs worth of dishes. I love china, too, and used to use a ton of it when I catered teas, but that's in the past for now. I cleared out my everyday cupboards as well to make space for the moss rose pieces I am keeping. It's nice to have them where I can grab them easily if a friend pops in. It's been freeing. Time to do more clearing out today....

Kimberly said...

We've been purging stuff around here for the last month and a half. I got rid of five tubs worth of dishes. I love china, too, and used to use a ton of it when I catered teas, but that's in the past for now. I cleared out my everyday cupboards as well to make space for the moss rose pieces I am keeping. It's nice to have them where I can grab them easily if a friend pops in. It's been freeing. Time to do more clearing out today....