The smell of buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice;
talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings,
of cozy parlour firesides on winter evenings,
when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender...
Kenneth Graham, The Wind in the Willows
This 2013 blog post kept coming back to me this week so I'm thinking maybe someone needs the message it contains? Sometimes it seems to work that way.
I have written before that the influence for my interior decorating came mostly from Mole and not Martha. I can see that Toad and I share an affinity for hot buttered toast with our tea (make mine with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar).
This past week I've been thinking how good it is to find joy in the simplicity of little things like buttered toast. The weather has turned unseasonably cold so after finishing the dinner dishes last night, it felt good just to reach for the comfy throw kept at the end of the sofa and to snuggle up with a good book.
In a world where The Wind in the Willows is a significant influence, there is a satisfaction which comes from the preparation of dinner, washing dishes and letting them dry in the red dish drainer, checking that the kitty has plenty of kibble for her evening snack, and knowing the work of the day is done.
No glitz. No glitter. No needing to go somewhere every day. Happiness at home.
Now, I know that there are no perfect homes nor are there perfect people. I fully understand what it is like to live in challenging circumstances. I know there are moms who must work outside the home (and I have been there) and that those we live with can also be the people who annoy us the most. It's just the way life is...
But I have found in the midst of imperfections, much of the way my life is going depends more on my choices, my attitude, and my outlook than the circumstances of life.
Many years ago I could have become bitter because life's journey has taken some sharp turns. Instead of enjoying my vintage decorated but quite small kitchen, I could spend hours perusing glossy magazines coveting the latest granite counter tops and professional level appliances.
I could have stomped my feet and complained about not having the money to go out to eat the way we once did... or... learn how to make delicious meals with seasonal food stuffs at budget prices.
It would have been easy to become quite offended at Him for taking my daughter and her family to New England instead of here in the Midwest where I could have a day to day relationship with them. Except that whole bit about dedicating my children to Him when they were little and telling Him they were all His for however He decided to use them... and where.
And how tempting it would be to feel betrayed by God instead of turning life into an adventure of praying and waiting and seeking and then saying thank you when He answers in such amazing ways.
I have a family member who is quite bitter about their life. That person has even gone so far to say they don't think I can truly understand their suffering. Ummm... I remind them I take five shots a day just to stay alive and that my bank account after paying the basics is down around a dollar.
So why would they so often say I must not be truly suffering with lack and illness? Probably because I do not see lack but instead I see opportunities for God's provision. Not that my prayers are always answered. For some reason He doesn't think I need chocolate or pizza as much as I think I do.
But I'm amazed at how He does answer and always through people who seem to hear His voice.
I think the reason they believe I do not suffer as they do is because I rarely complain about it. Not because I am ready for sainthood or any such thing but only because I have had a few times when I thought my days on earth may be over, that I see each day as quite remarkable.
Now, it took years to develop this attitude. It did not come overnight. There has been some complaining and stomping of feet in my past. And should you talk to me on a day my blood sugar has been spiking and falling and my back is hurting and my sinuses are absolutely killing me and my feet are going numb again and the infection rages... then I wouldn't be in such a good mood.
Just give me my pillow and tippie toe around as I nap. His mercies are new every morning and usually so is my good humor.
But I do hope you understand just a little what I am sharing. If one never learns to be happy with a warm house, a hot beverage, cinnamon sugar toast, and a book... instead of a lobster dinner and champagne and the symphony... then true joy may not be possible this side of eternity.
It truly comes down to who is our hero... Mole or Martha. :)
Picture: The Warmth of Autumn by Susan Rios