Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Tea - A Simple Season

This past week, we went to bed in the season of Autumn and woke up to... almost Winter.  While we didn't receive the snow those just north of us received, overnight most of the leaves on the trees in the forest decided to stop holding on and they floated to the ground.  It is hard to hold on to anything when the temperatures reach the teens and one does not have mittens.

I can see my neighbor's red barn from the front porch now, a sure sign of the changing season.  Nature is teasing us after temperatures had been far above normal... making a switch to far below normal within days. Which is why many of us are sporting some form of a cold.

However, I have my not-so-secret answer to Nature's cloying attempt to confuse humanity. While I write, the stock pot is simmering with chicken soup stock. I try to make some version of chicken soup each week and the aroma coming from the kitchen of chicken, onion, and celery all simmering together is the aroma of cold weather cooking in our home.

I also have the Guitar Winterlude CD playing next to the desk.  Soft instrumental winter/Christmas music that has been chosen on purpose to set the tone of the day.  Music and food can do that as nothing else, especially when that food is sending an aroma towards the Study.

I've been thinking about the Holiday Season for the past couple of weeks.  Partly to budget time, energy, and the finances the best way possible.  However, we are changing up some of the celebration places and times this year, which always gets one pondering.  Change can be good and it is necessary but it can need time for an adjustment.

Every Holiday season has been a little different and I never seem to know what to expect until around mid-November.  This year will be a very simple Christmas.  I've already decided not to get out all the decorations.  We will put up the tree and a few favorite decorations but not... everything.  So the overwhelming task of putting everything away again will not be hanging over our heads all season.

Last year, I got out every Christmas box and decorated the whole house.  This year I feel exactly the opposite.  It turned out to be good last year that I had decorated just days before Victoria suddenly died.  For I was in such a fog of grief that I hardly remember last Christmas but the decorations were like a hug.

This year we will have the tree and our most special Christmas items to enjoy but I want to concentrate on reading Christmas books, watching Christmas movies... both the Hallmark movies and old favorites... and listening to the music of the Season.

This year I plan to do a little more cooking and baking than I did last year.  Especially for the freezer to be prepared ahead of time when a plate of cookies are needed right away (and not for me at midnight!).

There are traditions that must be planned for, of course.  Traditions such as Cracker Barrel breakfasts, Candy Cane Lane tea, hot apple cider, a few visits to Starbucks or Panera, and especially morning quiet times with the tree lit in the corner and my first cup of coffee sitting beside me. 

I don't decorate until after Thanksgiving but I do dust off the movies, books, and music of the Season at the beginning of November so they can be enjoyed without cramming everything into one month that tends to be crowded with things to do, anyway.

Otherwise, Christmas is over and we are in the Bleak Midwinter of January and the moment has passed for another year.  I want to savor the Season for it is my favorite time of the year when the name of Jesus is proclaimed in the midst of sparkle and lights and music and the reminder of that Hope that is to come.

Mentioned in this Post
Guitar Winterlude CD... here.  (I bought my CD used years ago.)

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Image:  Time for Reading; Judy Gibson


Jennifer B. said...

Hi,Brenda! I just wanted to thank you for all your wonderful posts over the years! I have often read your posts and thought about sending a note! I suspect that we don't live far apart...I live in Southeastern Michigan. I have so enjoyed what you have to say and the charming way you say it! May God bless your holiday season and give you many more years of posting for me to read! ~Jennifer B.

Out My window said...

I don't know I I will decorate this year as we are going to daughters. It is just so much work. I will see what the hubby says.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I’m planning to change up my decor a bit this year too. I embrace the season in my heart and enjoy my tree and decor but for the past several years I do less, use more natural items and it fills me!

Off to check out guitar winterlude now!

Evelyn said...

What a lovely and inspiring post! I will be pondering your words as I begin to plan for the holiday season in the days ahead. Thank you for sharing your heart, and may you enjoy God's richest blessing as you celebrate with those you hold dear!

Vee said...

(I’m keeping it simple this year, too. My energy levels are low with all the work settling the estate. Have been cleaning up after tenants since Halloween and am still not done.)

And still I don’t want to miss Christmas, which I am afraid could happen in a year like this. The thought of being cozy by my tree is a comforting, cozy thought, I must say. You know my story of yesterday so you understand my need to calm down. 😏

My grands have had a rough year and so I was thrilled to learn that a puggy puppy will be showing up soon. They’ll be so happy! Just as Florentine could not replace Victoria, she has brought a lot of healing to your hearts.

Carol said...

I have also decided that I don't think that I will do as much decorating this year either. I will probably give many of my decorations to my youngest daughter as her and the grand are now living next door and my daughter is not able to buy all that is needed for grand decorating.

mdoe37 said...

I'm searching for another type of Christmas season too....I'm ready for new traditions in my new life/future. Of course, it helps that I'm down to literally a party of two instead of several. :( I grew up as an only, somewhat overly endulged child with several "trees" and waaaay too much. Even as a young child, I woke up on Dec. 26 and thought "Is this all there is?"

Last year brought tight finances (okay I'm cheap) and I bought a perfectly hideous little fake tree and the only baking I did was a batch or two of Sour Cream Drops with Browned Butter Icing. And with those lesser things, I started to find some peace.

Really ready to forge a new holiday path!

Kathy T. said...

Your season sounds perfect! In yeas past, I have refused to do anything Christmas (other than shopping) until after Thanksgiving. This year though, I got sucked into a Hallmark Christmas movie with my daughter, and changed my outlook. Like you, I now feel some things can be enjoyed without being all crammed together in a single month. I still won’t decorate until Black Friday 🎄.
In 2008, I was gifted/rewarded from my job with a cruise that was scheduled that following January. It was my first cruise and I was so excited having something to look forward to after the Holidays. I enjoyed it so much that I signed up for another one, and since it can be paid through the year, it is a relatively easy way to pay for something that I now do every year. Now we go in January or February every year. The Holiday rush coming to a screeching halt on Christmas Day was always so depressing to me, but now I have something to look forward to and I come home ready to face the upcoming year. I never ever thought I would be able to do something like this, but with the kids grown, and finances have improved, this is something we do for ourselves. Sorry for rambling, but I’m excited about this time of year!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I really enjoy your blog and have not commented before. I wondered if you would give a list of some of the Christmas books you read. Thank you. Lyn from Australia

Unknown said...

Hi Brenda! I've been looking for cinnamon chips since I saw your October 28th post. My teenage son recently enjoyed cinnamon chip bread from Great Harvest, so I would love to try to make some at home. I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas, so I thought they would have them at our large Walmart stores and other grocery stores, but so far I have had no success. Please share the brand name and suggestions on where to find them. I did find Hershey's Cinnamon Chips on-line, but I greatly dislike ordering things on-line, so I prefer to physically buy it the old-fashioned way - at the store!

Kathy T. said...

Kim Liptak, I live in Houston, and I have found the Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips at both Randall’s and HEB...they have those in Dallas, right? Good luck in finding them ����


Anonymous said...

Hi Brenda, i plan a repeat of last year’s simple decorations. I draped a string of lights in a strategic place, put a nice centerpiece on the table and brought out the ceramic table top (Good Will find) tree. That was it. The lights really make it for me. Oh, and the joy of watching the birds at the feeder. I like simple best these days. Life is so much more than “stuff.”
Thankyou for your blog. It is so very “cozy.” :-)