Sunday, July 03, 2016
Sunday Afternoon Tea - Budgeting for Beauty
Doesn't it seem like peace has been taken out of the world in which we live today? Everything from construction on our local roads roads making it difficult to get anywhere, to terrorism around the world, to economic uncertainty here there and everywhere. No wonder the most sold prescriptions in America are anxiety medications.
I have found it essential to have available ways to run to what is lovely and peaceful and faith building. That is why Christopher's former bedroom is now my Study and I tweak it from time to time so it is becoming more a place of calm every day... and anyway, we don't have guests all that often for a guest room... or so I tell myself.
I don't sit at the desk and make Art every day. There are days that go by when I don't read in the overstuffed chair. But there is never a day that I don't walk in that room and enjoy the feeling it brings. Just knowing it is there makes me feel the joy... and sitting in the chair or working at the desk when the window is open on a rainy day... Hallelujah, the angels sing.
I think we all have to find ways to embrace peace and calm. Of course, reading the Word, great devotionals, and music that turns our heart to Him are vital to growing in peace. But we all have areas in our life that makes our heart sing.
It may seem odd that on a limited budget, we make a trip to our favorite local nursery around the beginning of May each year and along with veggies for the garden, there are flowers and herbs purchased for the deck and a few for the front porch. I have collected flower pots of various sizes over the years while thrifting but one still has to purchase potting soil.
That money would go a long way towards putting food on the shelves. Yes, it would. However... I would lose a lot of peace if the deck was left with only a couple of small tables and chairs. Just looking at our front porch when returning from walking to get the mail or driving back from town makes me smile... each and every time.
For while the garden feeds the body, the front porch and the deck in summer feeds the soul.
I can sit in my favorite chair in the family room and look at the garden space created in my line of sight. If it is a fortunate day, the hummingbirds will stop by for natural nectar. I love red flowers... and so do they. Yes, my friend. Having that scene available, even if I don't spend much time at a table, on the deck, in the heat of summer... that is worth counting pennies elsewhere.
It is vitally important to my own peace... and I believe that of my family... that I budget for Beauty.
I have plenty of clothing, even after sending a few bags to charity and paring down my wardrobe by half. However, I'm also fortunate to live near a Goodwill known for nice clothes. Sometimes I'll receive a gift of new clothes or new shoes from family or a close friend. But mostly I shop for nice clothes through thrifting.
So how can I not want to pay more than $4.99 for a blouse (and sometimes even wait for the Senior Discount Day) but I'll pay for a magazine such as Bella Grace? Because there are some things that bring much more to the party than others may realize. Let me explain, I purchase Bella Grace because twenty dollars plus tax every three months is quite a cheap vacation as it is read and enjoyed.
Just this past month when my Amazon credit arrived (again I thank you!), I bought a cookbook that I knew would provide not only some good recipes but it would also be used as an inexpensive vacation. Did I need another cookbook? Not at all. I still have plenty in my collection, even after sending some home with my New England family to enjoy. So why spend credit this time that could be used on coffee or tea... on another cookbook?
I'm glad you asked.
Lovely cookbooks are for me what art and travel books are for some people. They bring such peace and joy and if I find even one recipe we love in it... that is even better. It is similar to how I completely relax watching a favorite PBS cooking show or perhaps The Pioneer Woman on The Food Network (she always makes me feel better!).
It is the same reason that in summer when the university is not crowded, I will set aside a little grocery money and drive to campus just to sit in my favorite coffee shop and enjoy coffee and "atmosphere". While it is more fun when Stephanie is visiting, it is still quite nice when my only companion is a book.
It is the reason knitters save up for the nice wool to knit a sweater or quilters purchase that special fabric which they will turn into the most beautiful of quilts. It is why book lovers budget for the gorgeous illustrated copy of a favorite book... to come back to over and over when stressed.
Perhaps for your family your special treat is a summer pass to the nearby amusement park, community swimming pool, or a year's membership to a museum. It could be budgeting for music or your favorite British costume dramas and comedies on DVDs.
Maybe eating out as a family after church each Sunday brings with it the need to stretch the food budget at home but it is something your family looks forward to all week. Perhaps your budget only allows bringing home flowers from the grocery store once a month but each time you look at them, you feel great joy.
Budgeting for Beauty may very well bring with it calm in the midst of troubles... and your heart will sing even after watching the news... enjoy the Beauty without guilt for our soul needs it as much as food for the body.
Photograph: Instagram @coffeeteabooksandme