Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I have been enjoying the brief respite from heat and humidity.  It is actually enjoyable to be outside (heat returning later today).  Come the middle of January, I must remember what Summer 2010 felt like... and not complain about the cold.  :)

I have had many comments and e-mails about my good attitude through adversity and trials.  The years have taught me that attitude is a habit and I must choose to trust God in all things.  His mercies are new every morning... and every morning I must be renewed for I cannot live on yesterday's grace.

At the same time, there are days when frustrations arise and I stomp my feet and complain to He Who Created Me... usually when I really, really want to go to Starbucks or have breakfast at Cracker Barrel.  I am certain He listens to my whining about the lack of cash (especially for such nonessential longings) and then reminds me just a couple of months ago, I told him I didn't need anything but to breath easily!  Sigh... one must be careful what they say to God.

One of the things I have done through the years of marriage and homemaking was to watch what women and men (in person and in print)  I respect did... what was it about them that set them apart from "normal", what attributes did they show, what was it about the way they lived their days that drew me to them?

I came to realize what attributes of their lives I wanted to reflect in my own.  Not that I wanted to BE that person...  and no one human perfectly lives the years which have been allotted to them.  However, as one becomes more thoughtful about the way they want to live their lives... certain habits and attributes come to the surface just as lovely delicious cream in the days of old.  A grateful life was definitely one to be admired.

In the same way, there are attributes of those I've known through the years which I made a conscience decision not to emulate.  My own mother was the most loving and giving person I know.  Yet, a very fearful attitude toward life (albeit brought about by tragic circumstances through the years) caused her to make very bad decisions... including a disastrous marriage after my father passed away.  The older I got, the more I understood those decisions... and how if one did not develop a deep faith in God's provision... it was easy to let fear cloud better judgement.

My mother-in-law was an excellent cook and gardener.  I have many of her recipes, which I've used through thirty-plus years of marriage.  However, when my thoughts are of time spent with her... they are of a critical and judgemental spirit.  Both of my in-laws had a critical spirit (and in the long run, my father-in-law's criticism perhaps more deeply affected his children)... but it was she who met us at the door complaining about her life and kept it constant throughout our visit.

We choose each day of our lives what legacy we are leaving the next generation.  How will your family and friends remember you?  The Bible tells us "love covers a multitude of sins" and I see that in memories of Mom.  My mother's eight children all truly loved her with a passion in spite of her imperfections. Our memories are often met with laughter at "Mamaw-isms". 

My husband and his siblings have little good to say about their parents (even though their father was an excellent provider and their mother always kept a tidy house and three delicious meals a day).  What goes around truly comes around... and all three siblings are critical of their parents... all three have been in therapy due to words spoken by their parents.

I want my legacy to be one of a thankful spirit and I do this each day by choosing to be grateful... not looking at what I don't have but what He has given.  I have learned to... as I walk on the front porch... thank God for my little house in the country.  I thank Him for both my family and my friends.  I thank Him for those items He has given me through the years which come together to make a lovely and cozy environment... His care about the little things of life which shows me He... understands.  :)

There is much I can be thankful of... so much more than any lack in my life.

Attitude is a habit and by choosing to be thankful instead of complaining... I know it is a gift I give back to Him... and a legacy which will affect the lives around me.


Cathy said...

Beautiful, thoughtful, and to be reflected on. Thank you Brenda. Have you thought of binding your Sunday afternoon tea's together as a motivational book? Hugs, Cathy

Vee said...

It is true. Attitude, gratitude, all of those fruits of the spirit, are what open us to see what God is doing. He is doing; He is working; He loves us, but without a proper attitude, we just don't see it. Lots of life lessons here, Brenda. Your Sunday teas are a must!

All things bright and beautiful... said...

Lovely post echoing thoughts I have been had of late as I ponder my own path.

freetobeme - Anita said...

Attitude can make or break a person. Thanks for sharing and reminding me to have a grateful attitude. I am blessed to be a follower of your blog, to be reminded of how to live a joyful life.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding us to be grateful for God's blessings.

Anonymous said...

Attitude seems to be one of the hardest to control at times, yet as you say, so very important. I remember the Hebrew children who got into so much trouble complaining which gives me reason to work on that!! And in the last year especially, via listening online to some great teachers, one in particular...he so often reminds us that ALL things that come into our lives will, in the end, if not before, work out for our GOOD. So often what we desire in the present, a bit longer down the road of time, becomes yet another reason to thank GOD that HE said NO!!

It is amazing how cool 90 degrees feels when it has recently been over 100!! Today is a cool day by comparison and I am grateful!! Even those 100 days however do produce some good things...we have had the most amazing yummy vine ripened tomatoes lately from our food co-op!!

Blessings, Elizabeth

Dawn said...

Listened to a missionary from Italy today at church that talked about how we view disappointments. He said that because of all the Psychology today that tells us we have a right to feel this way, we go about with excuses as to attitudes. Instead we need to be taking those disappointments to the cross. Thanks for reinforcing the lesson that God is speaking to me today!

Anonymous said...

I look forward to reading your blog every morning to start my day. You are an inspiration for me and help me to be grateful instead of a complainer. thankyou Ann

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

Brenda~ What a blesing to read your blog today. It is very important to think about what legacy we are going to leave behind. I know I have some of the negative attributes that you spoke of but I am trying to learn to trust in God and allow Him to work in my life to bring about the changes needed.
Blessings to you,
Lisa :O)

TheNormalMiddle said...

Amen Brenda. I'm so glad to have found your blog again!

Lindsey (formerly of Enjoy the Journey)

Rebecca said...

So true, so true.

Brenda Leyland said...

Beautiful posting!

The facet of God that really seems to shine most radiantly through your blog is your thankful and grateful heart.

It glows from just about every posting!

It must thrill His heart. I can imagine Him pointing you out to the angels, "Look at my daughter, doesn't she have a beautiful radiance about her. Do you see how she responds? In spite of whatever Our enemy would throw her way, she remains soft and tender of heart."

As I say........ beautiful!

Anonymous said...

That's a beautiful post. I know that I grew up in a negative household and I do see my oldest sister making the same mistakes in the way she speaks to her children. Our parents were loving but also could tear you down with a look.
I'm determined never to make that mistake with my family.

Thank you so much for sharing. Definitely words to contemplate today.