Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Tea

There is something special about having one's birthday fall on a Sunday, at least it is for me.  My children never appreciated such when they were younger but Mother thinks it adds a sanctification to the day. :)

What am I doing today?  Nothing special but I am certain there will be some coffee and tea sipping, book reading, and perhaps the watching of a favorite DVD... all done without any guilt or feelings of slothfulness. 

As a birthday gift to myself, I am re-posting a Sunday Afternoon Tea from three or four years ago.  It goes along with what I've been writing recently... and a message I know I need. So... here 'tis:

Most of us have empty places in our lives which we wish were filled differently... some from our childhood and others with present day circumstances.  

We wish we were raised in a different environment, one with elegance and the sharing of family chats on Sunday afternoons with dinner on china plates.  We may have desired a youth filled with camping and summer by the lake when parents both worked and we spent hours in summer day care.

Thinking through what we wish we had experienced, we decide to begin our own tradition of Sunday dinners, or Saturday morning pancake breakfasts, or Holiday experiences and menus, or camping trips and a summer trip to the lake... deciding to stop feeling sorry for ourselves over childhood limitations and to begin making memories... today.

Our childhood desires become the seeds of what we do for our own family and friends.

Many families are finding themselves in unexpected financial circumstances brought about by the recession. We have gone through a couple major financial reverses and now are living on a very fixed income (all due to my husband's illness, which falls under the bipolar umbrella).

I have learned that less money can bring: greater creativity, new skills, less stuff, growing a garden to afford fresh food, and forced simplicity... all of which can be a good thing.  It is all in the attitude.

There are very few (if any) families who can honestly say they are completely happy with the circumstances of their entire life... and perhaps find themselves in their 30's, 40's, 50's, and older watching life pass by with their fondest desires seemingly unattainable.

That's why I love to remind myself that it is never too late to reach our dreams... not perfectly mind you... perhaps not 100% the desired goal... but much better than doing nothing.

By taking one small step in the direction of our desires, we begin to find wholeness and healing and a surprising sense of accomplishment.

What are the steps we can take, those which sprinkle joy in challenging circumstances?

Instead of studying art at a college, take classes at the community center and then... draw, paint, sketch... cards for friends, art for your own home, gifts for loved ones, illustrations for a Sunday school class... or just to please yourself.

Wish you had an interior design degree?  The world is yours with design books and magazine and shows and DVD's and... well, you get the idea.  Your own home is just waiting to be the canvas for your desired creativity... and if you do have a passion for "decorating", I expect your home already shows it.

My daughter does have a four year degree in interior design but with five young children, uses it to make her home a beautiful place (not a show home... not with kids... but pretty).  She also gives her mother advice... free.

Do you desire to open a tea room or just host tea parties for friends?  Once again, there are books and magazines and websites and blogs... all waiting for your note taking and perusal.  If finances are limited, do what I did and check Goodwill, garage sales, and thrift shops quite often... heading directly for the china sections.

I have lots and lots of teapots, teacups, vintage lace linen, and silver serving pieces, most purchased really cheap... always ready for a tea party (even when it is just a solitary tea party while watching a favorite movie).

While I wanted to be a chef at one time, circumstances do not permit it now.  However, that does not stop me from reading cookbooks like novels, watching cooking shows, and exchanging recipes with family and friends. I am always learning something new.  Currently I'm learning new vegetarian recipes.

My budget limits my food shopping but there are many ways to cook nice meals on the cheap (many European and Asian meals are humble "rural people" foods) and learning about different cultures is fun.  Cook or bake a new recipe each week with seasonal ingredients... that is 52 new learning experiences each year!

Always wanted to write a book?  Then start writing... and in the meantime also start a blog.  Believe me, you will get lots of practice writing and that is the only way to learn (besides reading great books).

Write your family history for the grandchildren (interview parents and grandparents if you are younger and they are still alive), put pen to paper and write poetry or songs which come to mind, write Bible stories for your children to simply explain scripture... write.

Volunteer to write the newsletter of any organization or church in which you belong, write letters to family and friends, write, write, write... each day if you do nothing else but keep a journal... start writing instead of dreaming about it.

Want to work in full time ministry but you must continue working as an accountant or attorney or teacher?  Check out online classes from a well respected Bible college or seminary and learn all you can about the Word, church history, etc.  Teach a Sunday school class... begin a Bible study in your home... reach out to those in need... be the hands and feet of Christ to a hurting world.

Use your skills as a volunteer as all done in the name of Christ... giving a cup of cold water or rewiring a sanctuary or typing the bulletin or being on call to make dinners for a family in need, or fixing the cars of those unemployed... nothing goes unnoticed by He in whose Name we work.

I personally think there has to be a special reward in Heaven for nursery workers.  :)

I have already written about my desire for a small hobby farm.  Two years ago I decided I wasn't going to complain about circumstances but I was going to start a small garden.  I am learning more all the time and enjoying the results of this year's garden.

God willing, next year I will expand the garden even more.  I also hope to sweep the dust off my my canning equipment this year, even if on a small scale.

My sister, Bonnie, lives in a small apartment on the ground floor of a complex and she has had a beautiful flower garden for years.  She told me yesterday she just started growing an herb garden in various containers.  Bonnie is seventy years old (although she doesn't look or act seventy).   It is never too late to begin.  :)

There is so much to learn... take a sewing class, learn to quilt, check the community college for computer classes, refinish furniture, learn the language of a country you want to visit, check out books on medicinal herbs or organic gardening, learn how to build birdhouses and feeders as you decide to learn all you can about the birds in your backyard, read the manual which came with your camera and learn to take better pictures, study a period in history and learn about their food and crafts (learn to dip candles!)... learn something new this week.

Does illness keep you housebound or on the sofa?  Use your time to learn a new craft... knitting, crochet, tatting, or hand quilting, or calligraphy, or cross stitch, or tapestry, or embroidery... you get the idea.

Decide to read all the books by your favorite author or research a subject which you have always wanted to learn.  Begin a book club meeting in your living room... with you stretched out on the sofa like Loretta Young in your best housecoat.

Assemble your pictures into a family scrapbook... perhaps one for each child.  Write letters.  Start an indepth study of a subject, person, or book of the Bible.  Keep a prayer journal and begin a prayer ministry (Billy Graham often said he believes it is the prayer warriors who will receive God's rewards for the large crowds coming to Christ when he speaks).

Use your down time and you will not feel down... at least as much as you would if you watched soap operas all day  :)

Do not wait for the ultimate you desire...
begin now to take one small step toward becoming
the person you want to be.

Artwork:  Woman Reading by Adrian Paul Allinson


Anonymous said...

Just what I needed today. Thank you.
Hope you have a wonderful birthday!

Lori in PA

Terra said...

Happy birthday young lady.
Your post is delightful and full of good and easy tips to enlarge our enjoyment of life. Your sister will find that herbs thrive in pots! I began writing for publication at age 54 and still enjoy it, there is no age limit on writing.

Brenda Leyland @ Its A Beautiful Life said...


I wish you the very happiest of birthdays! Your plans, although simple, sound delightful!

Appreciated reading your posting... lots of wonderful reminders for how a person can find her dreams fulfilled with what one already has in hand!


becka said...

Thank you, Brenda. This post was a real blessing. Hope you have a wonderful birthday and a blessed year ahead.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Experience and Grace has made you wise my friend!

Lots of love on your birthday!


Carol said...

Happy, happy birthday, Brenda!! (in MD)

mdoe37 said...

Oh Happy Birthday to you! We're almost twins...mine was the 26th.

You'e right, its never too late. I think I needed those words. You see, I'm at "one of those" birthdays ....49. Yes, really 49, next year will be "again and holding." Its setting in a bit that there are a finite number of years left. Certainly not the infinite ones we thought 20-30 years ago.

I've always felt called to the woods, with parents who did not. A mother who didn't think camping or rustic conditions were fun. It would muss her hair.

I don't think she approves, don't care, but I'm going bear hunting in the UP in six weeks.

The ol girl might not be quite what she used to be, but she's not part of the dirt nap society yet!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. This is one of your best posts yet.

Happy birthday!

Sharon said...

Thank You-beautifully written from the heart.

Angela said...

Love, love love this! I have been having this conversation for some time with some people very close to me.

Angela said...

Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRENDA!! May this year be full of blessings for you:)

Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed today's post, Brenda! Thank you -and Happy Birthday!
I have been wanting to start a blog, but always over think it and never do, so just small steps, right?
Bless you!

Anonymous said...

Wishing you Birthday Blessings! Awesome and inspiring post today! Kinda' goes along with one of my favorite quotes, "It's never too late to be what you might have been." Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your evening!
Laura C. From WA

Vee said...

You have such good practical ideas. I enjoyed reading this. Hope that you have enjoyed a very happy birthday!

Bonnie said...

Brenda, Happy Birthday dear friend! I wish I had known earlier. My four month renovation is over and we move from the apartment back into our house tomorrow. I just had to wish you a blessed birthday. I will tell you all the horrors of the renovation soon! Bonnie

Judy said...

Birthday blessings Brenda -and how I enjoy your reflective Sunday posts - thank you.

Deb said...

Hi Brenda! I wanted to add my Happy Birthday to your blog comments. Hope your day has been wonderful!

Cheryl said...

Birthday blessings to you, Brenda! (Technically, it is still your birthday, although the hour is waning. Or perhaps you're like me and like to extend the celebration.) :)

And thank you for this post with such lovely thoughts and words of encouragement. Doing what we can with what we's all we really can do.

Anonymous said...

Great post with great ideas!! However tight we all are, we know we are way better off than most of the world. It is good to be thankful for whatever we have!! Thanks for sharing your ideas!!
Elizabeth now back in cooler Washington!!

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Happy Birthday dear Brenda! I hope you got to do all the things you wanted to do and were royally pampered.

Wonderful post!

Rebecca said...

What a wonderfully PRACTICAL & ENCOURAGING post!

You're right. It IS all in the attitude! May God bless you and your family in the coming year as you honor Him in less than perfect circumstances, joyfully & thoughtfully giving 100% to whatEVER you do.

Grace K. said...

Beautiful post, Grandmamma - so funny that we both did indeed share "what we've learned" posts yesterday, even though I know I have so, so much more to learn...regardless, thank you for sharing your thoughts. It was a beautiful post. I always love reading about how you fill your life with beauty and creativity through simple means that are affordable to all of us.

And I hope you had a wonderful birthday! Much love and hugs to you. <3

Your oldest grandaughter. ;)

Katie said...

Happy (belated) Birthday, Brenda! I hope it was a lovely day. :)

With prayers for God's blessings on you & yours during the coming year

* and *

with thanks for giving us the gift of your beautiful and welcoming blog!
In Christ,

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Dear Brenda, Happy Belated Birthday! And may you have a year filled with Grace!

hopeinbrazil said...

Lovely post. I find your site very restful, full of gentle advice gained from experience. Thanks for sharing with us.

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday! I hope you had a wonderful day. I enjoy your blog so much and it always brightens my day.

hopeinbrazil said...

Lovely post. We've lived on a shoestring for most of our married life and it's been a great way to get my creative juices flowing.

I find your site very restful, full of gentle advice gained from experience. Thanks for sharing with us.

Sallie said...

A very belated Happy Birthday! I hope you are blessed with a wonderful year! :-)

Kim said...

Thanks for a lovely post. I needed the motivation!