I was perusing a favorite blog recently, one known to have beautiful images of the everyday events of our lives... and thinking how lovely it would be to sit at such a table and enjoy writing by the light of the oil lamp.
One of the reasons I love this particular blog is the feeling of calm it provides as I read the words and look at the accompanying photos. As I stared at one of the images and found it drawing me in to the simple surroundings, I asked myself the question... "Why not?".
For life is all about the choices we make every moment of every day. Why can't I light the oil lamp and set a rustic table and read a classic book and stir the stew with the background of favorite music.
I don't have to live in the country to do that. Oh, wait... I do live in the country. I just don't have any chickens in the backyard or cattle in the field. Although I pass them on the way to my home and I do live across the road from a farm.
Isn't it amusing how I look at someone else's life and think it has to be just the same to enjoy what is shown in an image?
The longer I am on this planet, the more I realize so much of life comes down to everyday choices and that I so often (wrongfully) believe far too much is out of my hands.
Oh, the big stuff has to be left to prayer but within my own little world there is much I can do to create peace and calm... even if it putting in ear buds and listening to the itty bitty iPod as Indelible Grace sings hymns of centuries past or John Denver takes me back to the 1970s and my desire to live off the grid. :)
More than thirty years ago, I began collecting magazine clips and photos of rooms that make me feel peaceful and content. Over the years many pages and clips have come and gone but I still have a fat file of favorites (try saying that quickly).
Designers tell us by looking through the pages of our favorite rooms (gardens, etc.), we will see a pattern developing about those things which cause our heart to sing. By cutting out these clips and pictures (and I have some stapled articles) without putting a lot of thinking into them... then the patterns of what we are attracted to become evident.
My ponderings took me to my files where I perused that fat folder again. It was obvious that I loved to be surrounded by greens and reds (in their various shades), accents of yellow, plants, silver, English china, Americana, old books, and earthy components such as pottery and wood.
I am drawn to artwork that has meaning, landscapes, nature, and pictures with meaningful words and sayings. Looking a little closer at some of the pages in the file folder, I had a lot of pictures showing rather old fashioned objects reflecting a simpler time with less options... such as oil lamps, candles, and antiques.
There are also a lot of pictures of cats, sheep, chickens, and horses. Ummm... I think in real life I will settle for one Maine Coon kitty.
Which brings me back to the oil lamp on the blog... I started thinking again about those things in my control that I can do right here and now to create an atmosphere of Peace, Calm, and Beauty.
What can I do with little or no cost?
Well, I already own a few oil lamps and oil so that is a no brainer.
I gave away my knitting needles and bought crochet hooks after deciding I'd rather stick with what I have already done in the past... but adding some kind of needlework back into my life was an important part of that desire for peace and creativity.
I have a couple dozen wax melts in delicious autumnal scents (purchased cheap at thrift stores through the years) which I started lighting again. The scents remind me of my favorite primitive country store.
As the weather is turning cooler, I'm back to making more soups and stews and serving with homemade bread... as women before me did for millennia. All are fairly inexpensive and easy on the cook for certain. Thankfully, my husband enjoys these kinds of meals.
I've turned the TV off in the daytime if I'm not watching anything (that should have been a no brainer) and I find myself enjoying the radio in the kitchen as my mother did when I was a child.
I've assembled many of my decorating and cookbooks that have beautiful pictures within so I can peruse their pages and take mental vacations. I love how so many of the farm to table cookbooks through the years have beautiful photography.
I am still learning how to use technology better. As in the blog which sparked these ponderings, I find it peaceful to enjoy the work of fellow bloggers who put so much time and thought into their work... even if I rarely have time to comment.
Having said that... I'm spending less time on the computer... period. Which means I must pick and choose and let the cream of what I look at and read float to the top.
I spent the summer reading light fiction on my Kindle (almost all of it free for the Kindle), especially Amish novels. While none will ever win literary awards, they gave me a mental vacation without swearing or smut... just what I needed this spring and summer.
Now I am removing off the shelves a few favorites to re-read... like The Dean's Watch by Goudge, or perhaps returning to the Smoky Mountains in Christy, and definitely a couple Gladys Tabor books which are so enjoyable in autumn.
All of which have one thing in common... they take me to a much enjoyed place of calm, especially in the re-reading when one does not hold their breath in wonderment of what is coming next. :)
This journey of Calm, Peace, and Joy will continue as we enter the autumn months. I'm certain their will be plenty more ponderings on the subject to share.
What about you? Have you given any thought to what small changes you can make to your life to reap big rewards of Calm, Peace, and Joy?
A favorite "teacup" from my collection, which is actually called a "naming mug". I not only loved the look of this beautiful piece of china but the name on it is... Elisabeth... just like my granddaughter. Even if the rest of the words are in German.