Sunday, April 28, 2013
Sunday Afternoon Tea
It has been nearly a year since we started this journey of a true empty nest. The newlyweds first anniversary is but one month away. Can you believe it?
Such experiences are best explained by the word Bittersweet. Those life events we go through which truly are difficult but also wonderful... sweet and bitter.
I'm finally getting used to the new normal and only recently starting to embrace it for its' value.
All of us have seeds of creative desires within us, projects or plans... things we once wanted to accomplish but set aside due to work responsibilities, marriage, children, or perhaps caring for a loved one with an illness over the years.
The process I've been going through recently has been to shine a light on those past creative desires and bring them to the surface again. Obviously within limitations of health and budget... but still do-able.
For instance, I may have once wanted to hike the Appalachian trail but that would no longer be wise or physically possible. However, I've decided I will get out more this year to walk a few other trails other than "my own" just for the purpose of seeing nature in its' various venues.
Yes, I am a bit of a tree hugger but only in the Biblical sense that I so feel His presence when surrounded by nature. Indeed, I find amongst the trees and gardens and creeks and flowers and even fields of corn... the inspiration to Worship the Creator and never the creation itself.
My long neglected sewing machine has been repaired and ready for use when the inspiration comes to quilt or craft or create again. I haven't used it much since Christopher was a toddler (there was a reason for that). :)
I'm not forcing myself to sew again, for I know one day I'll decide to replace the laptop with the sewing machine on my long table and try to remember how to thread the machine. The desire will probably come from a certain fabric which is begging to become part of a quilt or the apron on a teddy bear. Who knows what will be the inspiration?
There was a time I always had a needlework project in some stage of work but that, too, was set aside for responsibilities needing my attention. That is a definite possibility for a soon-to-be project... bringing back a much loved hobby from the early years of marriage.
Sooo... all this talk about soon, and maybe, and perhaps, and planning, etc. Is there anything I've already set out to accomplish? I'm glad you asked... for I'm rediscovering the fun of trying new recipes and food stuffs.
For years I depended on tried and true recipes to put dinner on the table for the three of us and my kitchen creativity was brought out in my baking. However, with only two of us at home (and one of us a diabetic), I don't bake nearly as much as I used to.
Since there now were only two of us to try new recipes on, I became a little more adventurous with various spices at first. Then I would purchase one unusual (to us at least) ingredient once in awhile to see if we liked it or not and something happened to my cooking.
I found I enjoyed it much like I did in my early foodie days. Back when my husband, a preschool Stephanie, and I would walk the boardwalk in Michigan after a Saturday morning "breakfast out". We'd often end up at the gourmet kitchen shop where I would look for new ingredients or a gadget to try.
I started using Amazon credit to purchase a new cookbook here and there over the past two years. Although I purchased a few wonderful American cookbooks, I began to purchase books from Italian, Irish, English, Australian, and French cooks.
I have other cookbooks on my Wish List to add as I can, including one by a Mexican cook. (Thank you all who enter your Amazon shopping through the widget on my blog!) I've also once again started reading books about food by people who love to cook.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that reading cookbooks (especially those lovely books with lots of beautiful pictures) and finding creativity in the fixing of dinner would be the first former love to return. It really never went away completely, it just needed permission to resurface in different circumstances.
For you see... in all of this I had to change my thinking. I realized once again that creative cooking just for the sake of my own enjoyment is fine in itself. I don't need to have "company over" or be cooking for a crowd to spend an hour perusing a cookbook for a new recipe and spend time in the kitchen chopping, slicing, stirring, tasting, and then serving... just the two of us (or even just to serve you... the cook).
In my old way of thinking, the use of time experimenting with something new and wonderful would only be "a good thing" if it was to feed my family or perhaps for a dinner party. Imagine what freedom it brought to realize one can collect recipe books and spend time thinking of new recipes to try... for dinner on Tuesday night.
I'm learning that life is not all or nothing.
I'm working on this thinking for the garden, too. Since we won't be able to expand the garden (finances just won't allow it this year), I need to remember it is still fine to spend time reading gardening books and magazines... researching new ideas... learning more about composting, etc.
Even if I'm just planting the usual lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, and herbs this year. Gaining knowledge and wisdom just may produce better lettuce.
Is there anything you used to love to do that has been set aside? Is there any room in your day to dust off those old God given talents and spend just a little time on them... painting a picture, playing a musical instrument, writing poetry, needle working a chair seat, or learning to bake a perfect pie crust?
It doesn't matter if you are sixteen, sixty, or one hundred. There will never be perfect circumstances so start now. Is there anything you have always wanted to do but you stopped because your circumstances changed? Try again...
That desire to create is in your physical and spiritual DNA... put there by He who created... everything.
Picture: Grandma's Garden by Robert Duncan