Sunday, April 09, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Simply Seeking Peace

This has been a week when the rumors of war screamed from our newscasts.  I was watching a TV show when the Breaking News came on every major network that the U. S. had bombed Syria.  It didn't have the level of shock I felt as when I first heard Russia had moved into that country but it was certainly unsettling.  The war drums have been rattling around the world for awhile now.

Later I will talk about some things I'm doing spiritually to strengthen my peace but below are some practical resources I'm working through.

I have learned to pray for those events out of my ability to directly affect... like wars and rumors of wars... and trust that God indeed has the whole world in His hands.  The Bible tells us what the world will be like before Jesus returns and that lens becomes more in focus every day.  Only God knows when those events will take place.  I have read that many Christians living prior to WWI and WWII thought they were living in that time.

I have written that this year I am once again trying to Live Life on Purpose and part of this includes seeking peace whenever possible... when doing so is in my control.  I am running to that which brings peace and equally running away from those things which steal my peace.  Obviously there are peace stealers that I can't ignore, people especially.

The first area within my control is the use of technology.  Technology can both bring peace and take it away.  For instance, I knew my daughter and son-in-law would be driving through the part of the country where severe weather was occurring on their way to a wedding in South Carolina last week... and a text from her saying they were now safely out of the storms brought peace.

On or about that same day, I stopped following a person in charge of a ministry on Facebook after receiving news reports of atrocities by ISIS supporters occurring in the world, one right after another.  Every single day. Her ministry is a good one and I understand she has been equipped by God to shed light on what is happening but I just can't handle reports showing up continuously in my Facebook feed.  Other than praying, I can't do anything about it.

I have unfollowed at least a third (maybe more) of the people I once followed on Instagram during and after the elections and kept only a few sources of news on my Facebook feed since that time.  I get plenty of news and from a variety of sources to know what is happening.  It has been a recent revelation for me that I do not need to know everything happening in the world.

Creative endeavors is the second area I've been tweaking for peace... or rather, making room for enjoying them more.  I brushed off my scrapbook journal this week to start working on it again.  I've kept a scrapbook journal in one format or another for at least twenty years.

The most recent style was inspired by Jewels (whose blog I still miss very much).  I had set aside scrapbook journaling when it wasn't enjoyable, anymore.  I knew I would come back to scrapbook journaling again so I kept everything I use to create them.  Most of the items are the same as card making, which I still enjoy.

On the other hand, I gave a friend my sewing supplies and fabric after I realized that phase of creativity was behind me.  Sometimes it is just time to let the past go and get on with those creative endeavors which now bring us joy.  We change over time and so do our hobbies.

My third decision... I'm now even more careful about the media I choose to bring into my world.  Even books I decide to review are more carefully chosen.  I still appreciate books that inform but I've also opted for more simpler books of late.  Now there is a balance between serious and lighthearted, which we all need.

There are numerous bookshelves in our house. Shelves are in every room but the bathroom and we'd probably have a shelf in there if the kitty litter box didn't need that space.  I was able to collect books for a long time by attending book sales as a Friend of the Library member, most for $1.00 each.  We still pay $10.00 a year to belong even though we don't attend every sale these days.

When life is particularly stressful, that is the time I like to reread old friends.  I've decided to reread Elizabeth Goudge's Eliot Trilogy when my current stack of books is finished.  I love these books and explain more about them below.  Honestly, I'm tempted to always be rereading books but then I'd miss a new friend.

I have collected favorite movies and TV shows on DVD over the years and I've received them as gifts.  It is quite wonderful to have old favorites available to watch when I need a mental vacation.  Amazon Instant Video has not only movies but episodes of some TV series now available individually.  They can be purchased and then watched anywhere when downloaded to a device that takes the Amazon Video app. I met a woman who travels a lot and she kept her favorite movie downloaded to watch when stressed.

I continue to make Beauty in the home a priority so it is my fourth thought out decision.  Which is why I brought azaleas in last week before the possible snow and freeze hit.  Before that, for a few days I had just two daffodils in a vase next to the sink.  I always need an environment that provides Beauty but it becomes more essential when the world is not so beautiful.

I've been using Mrs. Meyers Lilac hand soap in the kitchen because I'm always washing my hands when cooking.  There is a citrus-lemon grass scented 7th Generation dish soap next to the sink right now but a Lilac scented Mrs. Meyers dish soap is in reserve.  Lilac is a favorite scent so I did a quick re-do of grocery priorities to purchase them a couple weeks ago when Meijers had them available.

Those frugal luxuries are necessary, especially when we are on a tight budget.  It doesn't cost much more to buy Mrs. Meyers dish soap than Dawn but the aromas make me happy when doing dishes... and I do a lot of dishes by hand.  I was pleased to find the Mrs. Meyers dish soap beat out top contenders in a test, including Dawn!

I moved the CD player from the kitchen to the study a couple weeks ago.  Now that the study is warming up each day, I can enjoy listening to favorite music or turn on Moody radio to listen to a program. (I reserve K-Love for listening to in the van.)  It will go back into the kitchen come say... November.  I can listen to downloaded music on the iPad but I have a lot of CDs purchased throughout the years I also love to revisit.

The lawn and garden is fifth on the list and it will be my next endeavor as the weather gets warmer.  The first efforts to bring any beauty to this part of my world will be to clear out, clean, prune, and generally do away with lawn and garden 2016.  Then, as I can afford it, flowers will be added to the deck and veggies and herbs planted in the garden. Although most of the time that doesn't happen until May.

For all I love the way it ends up looking, this area of Beauty is my most frustrating as I'm always battling what I want to do vs. what I can do (for various reasons).  However, doing nothing at all is not an option.  Ever.

I know God does not want us to turn our back on the hurting world.  He equips each one of us to do what we can and then we work within that grace.  There are people who have been equipped to run into the the very areas that darkness currently holds to bring the Light to those people.  Others have been gifted to create a ministry that helps the poor and brings redemption to inner cities.

However, most of us are not called to do great things for Christ.  Instead we are to bring Beauty... and Peace... to the simple, normal, everyday areas of life.  As we bake a birthday cake, take fresh bread to a neighbor, listen to a friend over coffee, or read a Bible story to a child...we  are taking Him to the world... that which is right around us and where we live.

For the big stuff like wars and famine and ISIS and earthquakes and mudslides and all that is completely out of our hands... we can pray.  A lot.  Often.  Believing He intervenes and knowing all turns out well in the end.  Maranatha.

Mentioned in this Post
Frugal Luxuries is a favorite book by the lovely Tracey McBride.
Frugal Luxuries, website... here.
Frugal Luxuries book is available... here.
Fugal Luxuries by the Season book is available... here.

The Eliot Trilogy
I read Pilgrim's Inn first many years ago since it is what was recommended as an introduction to Goudge books.  It is still one of my favorite books.  However, it is the second book of the trilogy so you do miss the backstory.  I read the first book, The Bird in the Tree, a year or two after reading Pilgrim's Inn.

I read the third book in the trilogy, The Heart of the Family, a couple years later after hearing some people didn't care for it.  When it became available to download on Kindle (much cheaper than when only pricey used old books were available), I downloaded it and read it then.  I immediately reread the book.  I loved it.  I will say that I think it is a book to be best appreciated as one grows older for that is one of the themes of that book.

So this time, I am going to finally read the books in order:
The Bird in the Tree (Book 1)... here.
Pilgrim's Inn (Book 2)... here.
The Heart of the Family (Book 3)... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to Amazon are Associate links in which I do receive a small amount of credit when a purchase is made.


rebecca said...

Your thoughtful and intentional approach to the troubling events that surround us was helpful and inspiring. We spent the evening at my sister's place sharing snacks & table games. It was relaxing and peaceful. I returned home to read your post and decided that in the morning I will formulate a similar and personal plan. I'm sure it will include reading the other two books in the trilogy. (I have read Pilgrim's Inn.)

Morning's Minion said...

I became acquainted with Elizabeth Goudge's books while a teenager. I re-read the Eliot trilogy nearly every year. Comforting!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I agree with you about controlling how much of everything you see! Oh my! I'd have no peace at all if we still had regular tv! I used to be a news junkie! Now I keep up but I control how i receive my news and from what sources.

I've read the Eliot series backwards and am just now reading A Bird in the Tree! I love this series, too!

Vee said...

We follow many of the same "procedures" to maintain equanimity. I try to follow Goudge's excellent advice "to run to Him in every situation." I have read all three of those books out of sequence as well. You are making me want to read in order.

One thing that I very much enjoyed was reading commentary on a site I learn so much from.I have had to step back from that just reading the articles without the comments. Oh sometimes I look for the trusted commenter, much as I look for my favorite bloggers. 🙂 All I know is that God has everything under control...He is working on the case...I am praying for another outpouring of His Holy Spirit before the truly dark days come and come they will.

All I can do is pray. Others are truly called to sound the alarm. For my peace of mind, I must, like you, take it in measured doses.

Kellylynn said...

Awwwww, yes, Amen and Amen, Brenda. Maranatha.(((Hugs))) and thank you.

Heather LeFebvre said...

Thanks Brenda! This is all good, and timely, advice! Hope you have a good week and a beautiful Easter!

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