Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Tea - An Heirloom Life

Thus says the Lord: stand by the roads, 
and look and ask for the ancient paths, 
where the good way is; and walk in it, 
and find rest for your souls. 
Jeremiah 6:16

I had been pondering much before Christmas.  Some thoughts on what I would like this blog to become in the next year.  What areas of my life I wanted to focus on more.  Where I needed to let go.  Goals big and small.  And my "Word" for 2014.

I wrote out a few words but none seemed to encompass what I desired for the upcoming year.  I wanted to revisit old skills, simplify a little more here and there, focus even less on technology, streamline meals, and as the verse shown above (and always on the sidebar) says... "ask for the Ancient paths".

What word would bring to mind all of these things?

Well, it was while watching a favorite PBS special called Heirloom Meals that I had a Eureka moment... Heirloom!  But would it cover all those ponderings for the next year?  I curled up in the overstuffed chair in my Study and wrote out a list two pages long in a Steno notebook, ideas all relating to the word... Heirloom

Oh, my... there is more than enough to write about.  Words began to swarm around my brain waiting to come in for a landing as if they were awaiting their turn to land at O'Hare.   Now to have them land in such an order as to make sentences and paragraphs easier to come by.

What does the word mean?  I looked at various meanings and liked this one from The Free Dictionary online:
1. A valued possession passed down in a family through succeeding generations.
2. An article of personal property included in an inherited estate.
3. A cultivar of a vegetable or fruit that is open-pollinated and is not grown widely for commercial purposes. An heirloom often exhibits a distinctive characteristic such as superior flavor or unusual coloration.
I was watching a TV show recently when the cook was mixing spices in a mortar and pestle.  She shared how it was an antique and then with a twinkle in her eye, looked up and told us she was not antique, she was vintage.

I like vintage.  :)

When I think of an heirloom, I always think of an object of personal value.  Perhaps not a valuable antique but an object that makes me think of something or someone I care about... or perhaps a time of life which was particularly grace filled and lovely.  :)

Most of our inherited furniture is vintage (that being older than say 50 years) but a couple are true antiques (older than 100 years).   Our dishes we inherited pretty much have to be antique since they were my husband's grandmother's... and he is of retirement age.

But what makes all of these items special is that they belonged to either family or friends. I don't even consider a price attached.  They will be handed down to our children and not sold.  When the items were divided between the three siblings after my mother-in-law passed away in a car accident in the 1990s, those none of the family wanted were sold at that time.  So what is left is special to each of us.

That kind of value, that type of special is what I am longing for in my life this next year.  I need the old ways, those which are tried and true.  I want to rediscover old gifts as well as new talent.  I need quiet in a tech filled world filled with... noise.

I need to turn off the television and read while giving full attention to a book or article.  I desire enjoying a project from the beginning and through the middle... instead of quickly striving to finish until the end.

I must return even more to real food such as my grandparent's grew in their Kentucky garden before I was born.  And when I eat a hamburger, may it actually be made from an animal who knew a moo.

Heirlooms are real and my heirlooms are not plastic.

I like to write using a keyboard more than on paper, one of the few areas where technology is preferred.  I type faster than I think.  That is fine as long as one proofreads carefully.  But I need to sit at my desk with a real pen and write on lined paper as I did when I was twelve.

As I write, the aroma of carrots and onions and soup bones roasting in the oven has made its' way to this end of the house.  They will come together with filtered water and a small cut of beef to create the basis of soup.  Come Sunday afternoon, there will be added fresh carrots, cubed potatoes, a can of green beans, some corn, and perhaps some of the tomatoes frozen from my garden last summer.

The same soup my mother made and I suspect her mother made and her mother... and my daughter.

So you get a drift of my ponderings for the coming weeks.  With these come a simple change in Sunday Afternoon Tea posts as they will... for awhile... center around my search for an heirloom life.

Just how that would look if one tried to frame it in pictures or words, I am not completely certain.  But part of the process is to enjoy it as I go and not rush through just to check of another item on my To Do list.

I look forward to the journey.  I hope you join me.


Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to the new format. Like you I have burned out on technology this past year and like Lanier's Books, I have taken a long break from the computer. Deciding what to keep was difficult, as it had to add to the quality of life, not add stress. I always check yours first as it does add quality and brings peace knowing there is someone out there who gets it. I love your choice of the word for the year. So I am looking forward to see what you come up with. As always thank you for sharing.

Vee said...

How interesting! I was just reading an article this morning that said that children who were taught family stories and history and knew about the items in their home do better in life since they recognize that they are a part of a larger family.

Sallie said...

This sounds lovely, Brenda. I'm looking forward to this! :-)

Anonymous said...

I love this post. It really touches my heart and puts into words many things that I feel. Thank you so much for writing this blog. It is such an encouragement.

Dianne L

Echoes From the Hill said...

I long to join the journey toward an heirloom life.

I,too, live surrounded with antiques and vintage things. Many belonged to my grandmothers, my mother, and my great aunt. These things may not be valuable, but they are invaluable to me. I love being surrounded with the things they loved. I also have things purchased at auctions or thrift stores. It makes me sad, sometimes, to think that no one in the owner's family wanted these lovely things.

We purchased an antique cradle that was in pieces, and my husband put it together and refinished it. I look at the indentation, where generations of hands rocked the cradle and wonder about those mothers, grandmothers, and the babies that used them. Sad that it couldn't have been passed down to another generation. I love it though, and have had a grand baby in it on occasion.

Looking forward to more thoughts on an heirloom life.


Anonymous said...

Oh! Glorious! Grand! Your Jeremiah verse to start us off captivated me at the first - it is on our living room wall right over the antique repurposed oak drawers that hold all my vintage finds and broken china and antique lace bits that I use to make my Floral Frills. Then - your sewing machine image (got one of those, too) and those lace curtains (in my office!) Well - you are living in my world, Brenda, and I look so forward to all the inspiring thoughts you'll share. The pondering of heirloom, vintage, and antique - history His Story - is my life's work and it comes out in the creations from my studio and the stories I type out on my keyboard. Yes - typing keeps up with my thinking better than the physical pen - but, then - I have a myriad of journals next to my quiet place corner with lines upon which to ruminate. Be ye blessed - helping to minister Peace - which is what my Word for the year is. Joy to you from The Writer's Reverie . . .

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I'm very much looking forward to it, Brenda.

suzanne said...

i am excited to be on this journey with you, brenda! your ponderings most always echo my thoughts, putting them into clear focus. thank you for your way with words that bless us!

Nana said...

Hi Brenda;
I look forward to joining you on your adventure of a heirloom year! I also have prized pieces from my mother, grandmother and husbands grandmother. What joy they bring to me. I think of the hands that cooked and served with these dishes. Love and Hugs, Nana

Deborah Montgomery said...

I loved this post, and feel like I've found a kindred spirit. I am blessed to have many heirlooms and all the memories that go with them. In this busy world, we need to be intentional about creating space to ponder the lovely and the true. I look forward to reading more. Thank you.

Unknown said...

I have chosen gratitude as my word of the year. Focusing on the things we do have makes the wants less important. My husband will be semi-retired as of next year, so this year living more simply is even more of a priority. We've downgraded our smartphones to a very basic phone, the only thing I find smart about them is the way they manage to charge so much for them :) Plus, I caught our 20 year old so glancing at a text while driving :( No more texts and data, it can wait. We've added our landline to our cable plan for the little bit we use it, so that will save too. Trying to save pennies this year while we still have the income so it won't be such a shock next year. Happy New Year Brenda to you and yours!!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Wonderful! I am looking forward to these ponderings of yours, friend!

I think it is a special way to live.


Judy said...

Have you read Pete Petersen's blog at rabbit today (Monday)? Rather long, but an interesting reflection about the importance of building on traditions? Given the tie between traditions and heirloom, you might enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Love your word for this year! Looking forward to all that you will be sharing about it, too. Maybe it has more meaning to me now that I'm getting closer to a "vintage" age as well, or perhaps it's lovingly using my Mom's things, now that she has passed away. Anyway, I treasure vintage items much more now than when I was younger. Perhaps it's all a matter of perspective as we mature in age? I always enjoy your ponderings, insights, and your view of life, so I know what you share will be a treat!
Laura C. from WA

Heather said...

Lovely thoughts! Looking forward to keeping up with your posts better this year.