Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Christmas was lovely this year because it was, well... lovely.  I once again realized that life does not have to be perfect to be good enough.  While family were missing, the house looked beautiful and smelled yummy and the music of the Season was in the air.  Friends came along side with blessings that (almost) filled the vacuum of those not here (and Christopher was home on other days).

Earlier this week I found myself putting on my red flannel housecoat and walking down the dark hallway to head for the dining area and light the tree as I had for over a month.  However, it was no longer there!  The sparkle had been packed the evening before... the last of the Christmas decorations to be put away until the weekend after Thanksgiving arrives this year.  I miss the sparkle.

I've been pondering again how God has placed within us the need for Beauty.  For me the need is to be surrounded by that which I find pretty and those things which bring me comfort... especially those things I've had for a long time.

Life is hard but there is something about walking into a cheerful kitchen or curling up on a sofa in a book lined room that brings my blood pressure under control more than any pill.

When I was making a few changes here and there (for if one keeps things in the same place for years... those same items seem to become invisible to the eye), I was thinking of the term "granny chic".  I have decided those of us who have lived long enough to be grandmothers (whether we are in real life or not) have also managed to accumulate a lot of stuff.

Even when we have gone through the rooms and downsized once, twice, three times, and more... we still usually have stuff.  After removing layers of stuff from my life, I find that which is left behind is truly what I love and what makes my heart sing.  

The rooms come together in such a way that they give me a hug and lift me up like an old friend... even if the address is fairly new.  There is artwork and pieces of furniture which have been with me for a very long time, offering a sense of continuity in an uncertain world.  Many of those items kept me rather sane during those times when life was uncertain, particularly the year in which we moved three times.

There are other houses besides mine that give me the feeling of home and comfort.  I love Stephanie's New England house and the way she decorates with vintage items in light and peaceful colors (with a few deep red items here and there).  I love her library which was transformed out of the former owner's formal dining room and the rows upon rows of books... old and new.

I love her living room and the gas fireplace and the pictures of children and the artwork brought back from England and the bookshelves filled with her favorite books and cookbooks.  I love the delicious meals and tea times and conversation around the large table.  Her home is so warm and cozy.  Yes, she does have an Interior Design degree but I think it is more about the way she cares for all of us.

I love my sister Bonnie's tiny apartment... the combination of primitive country and Victorian that only Bonnie can accomplish... those items she loves most now together in the small space.  Like Stephanie's larger house, Bonnie's tiny apartment reminds me of the woman who makes her home her canvas for the art she creates just by living there.

I am also realizing more how our homes not only calm us but are the background for us to care for others.  I was thinking about that this last week when Christopher and Miss M. stopped by when she was in town.  I served them homemade vegetable soup and Christopher asked if this was my "famous" soup.  Which I found amusing because in my mind it is "Mamaw's famous soup" (my mother).

I can no longer do a lot outside the home (which is why being gone so much these past few weeks was exhausting) but within the domain of my kitchen... I could offer good soup, homemade bread, and even a pumpkin pie I had baked the day before to surprise my husband (I told him he had to share like a good boy).

Mankind was created in a garden and has never lost the need for surrounding ourselves with that which we find Beautiful.  For me I find beauty in yummy (even if simple) food, and good books, and lovely china set for a table or tea time or just sitting on a table to be admired, and flowers, and warm throws, and pretty quilts, and beautiful art (even if simply a framed calendar page), and the aroma of coffee first thing in the morning... and tea time in the afternoon.

Of course the most important source of peace is a Person and His Word.  But sometimes when my days are dark and bleak, I make my way to the kitchen to create something that taste good... or I pick up a favorite novel to re-read... or put the kettle on for tea served (even to myself) in a favorite English cup.  Sometimes I watch a movie with beautiful scenery or peruse a favorite magazine... but it all the same.

When times are difficult... I need more Beauty.

Someday... or so the Word tells us... there awaits for us Beauty which we cannot begin to imagine here on this fallen planet.

In the meantime, we take what is now available and create the good... if not the perfect.


Rebecca said...

Your reflections on "beauty" resonate with me...

Beauty/comfort MUST be an innate need - yet it interests me what a variety of ingredients go into making a home beautiful and comfortable.

For me, you've captured it in your descriptions. Warmth, coziness, and a hospitable heart go a long way to creating a beautiful home.

Mrs.Rabe said...

I love this post!

We can create beauty all around us, even simple beauty, if we have the eyes to see it! I am teaching my children to 'see' beauty, and to create beauty.

We are children of a Creator - we were born to create as well.

I know your home is beautiful and warm and welcoming, because your home here on the web is that way too!


Vee said...

Now why do I find myself humming "Altogether Lovely" as I finish your post? Beauty is indeed built into us. I don't know of anyone who doesn't desire it. Though the Word of God tells us that there was nothing about the Christ to draw us to Him, He is altogether lovely. You weave your thoughts together so beautifully, Brenda. Thank you!

Angela said...

Thank you for sharing some of your beautiful home and thoughts with us. Your beautiful blog is one of the places I go when I need comfort or encouragement.

Elizabeth said...

This is the most beautiful post I have ever read and is so true,just reading it brought a peace and calmness to me.

Susan said...

Love these words - love your blog. As the words go deep into my heart, I commit myself all over again to bringing beauty into my own home (which happens to be a 2 bedroom flat on the other side of the ocean!) whenever, however possible.

matty said...


Fixing My Thoughts said...

Love this "beautiful" post, Brenda!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

I absolutely agree Brenda...brilliant observation...the nurturing/soothing/healing aspects of loveliness must be inherent in our composition. When I was so under the weather last year, the only energy I could muster was to look at "pretty pictures"...even reading wore me out. I do believe the viewing of beauty was integral to my healing process. :)))

I do love the way you think!
Sending loving, healing, happy thoughts to you my wise friend.

Sunshine said...

OH wow I never really thought about it - but your statement of "when times are difficult - I need more beauty" made me think of something. A few years ago we went through a REALLY really hard winter with one of our children and that spring I literally hungered and watched with a joyful anticipation for each and every sign of spring - the budding of flowers, the birds first return songs - the beauty of the season captivated me. When our diffcult season stretched through the summer into the fall, I do not remember noticing and reveling in a fall's beauty as much as I did that year. Looking back through the eyes of this post I can see myself unconsciously reaching for and searching out the beauty of His touch.

This was such a lovely post. Sunshine

Anonymous said...

I have been pondering these same thoughts lately. I really enjoyed reading your musings.


Heather L. said...

Your Sunday Afternoon posts are always as agreeable to me as a cup of my favorite decaf black, which I happen to be drinking as I'm reading......aaaaahhhhh.

Anonymous said...

My hubby and I are finding as we age that it is a simpler life we want. And most of our food is simple and comforting. We have learned that for only $5.14 we can enjoy a fine meal at Wendy's now and again!! The best chili aside from homemade, and 2 baked potatoes, senior drink and for me an ice water (which is what I prefer). We laugh sometimes at how little it takes to make it a fun time for us!! But retirement looms and much less wages, so one has to find the cheap, the simple and yet comforting things to enjoy life!!

Glad you have been well enough to do some things you enjoy. I fell ill for the last half of Dec. plus still not up to par again quite. But still was able to enjoy doing just simple things.
Elizabeth in NC

Lori said...

Brenda..that was so beautiful. God has given you an amazing gift to touch lives with have just touched mine...again.

Anonymous said...

You sound like a homemaker in the best sense of the word.

Nicole Gamble said...

Interesting post, I am so glad that I have visited your site. Such a wonderful time reading this.