Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I was perusing a favorite blog recently, one known to have beautiful images of the everyday events of our lives... and thinking how lovely it would be to sit at such a table and enjoy writing by the light of the oil lamp.

One of the reasons I love this particular blog is the feeling of calm it provides as I read the words and look at the accompanying photos.  As I stared at one of the images and found it drawing me in to the simple surroundings, I asked myself the question... "Why not?".

For life is all about the choices we make every moment of every day.  Why can't I light the oil lamp and set a rustic table and read a classic book and stir the stew with the background of favorite music.

I don't have to live in the country to do that.  Oh, wait... I do live in the country.  I just don't have any chickens in the backyard or cattle in the field.  Although I pass them on the way to my home and I do live across the road from a farm.

Isn't it amusing how I look at someone else's life and think it has to be just the same to enjoy what is shown in an image?

The longer I am on this planet, the more I realize so much of life comes down to everyday choices and that I so often (wrongfully) believe far too much is out of my hands.

Oh, the big stuff has to be left to prayer but within my own little world there is much I can do to create peace and calm... even if it putting in ear buds and listening to the itty bitty iPod as Indelible Grace sings hymns of centuries past or John Denver takes me back to the 1970s and my desire to live off the grid.  :)

More than thirty years ago, I began collecting magazine clips and photos of rooms that make me feel peaceful and content.   Over the years many pages and clips have come and gone but I still have a fat file of favorites (try saying that quickly).

Designers tell us by looking through the pages of our favorite rooms (gardens, etc.), we will see a pattern developing about those things which cause our heart to sing.   By cutting out these clips and pictures (and I have some stapled articles) without putting a lot of thinking into them... then the patterns of what we are attracted to become evident.

My ponderings took me to my files where I perused that fat folder again.  It was obvious that I loved to be surrounded by greens and reds (in their various shades), accents of yellow, plants, silver, English china, Americana, old books, and earthy components such as pottery and wood.

I am drawn to artwork that has meaning, landscapes, nature, and pictures with meaningful words and sayings.  Looking a little closer at some of the pages in the file folder, I had a lot of pictures showing rather old fashioned objects reflecting a simpler time with less options... such as oil lamps, candles, and antiques.

There are also a lot of pictures of cats, sheep, chickens, and horses.  Ummm... I think in real life I will settle for one Maine Coon kitty.

Which brings me back to the oil lamp on the blog... I started thinking again about those things in my control that I can do right here and now to create an atmosphere of Peace, Calm, and Beauty.

What can I do with little or no cost?  

Well, I already own a few oil lamps and oil so that is a no brainer.  

I gave away my knitting needles and bought crochet hooks after deciding I'd rather stick with what I have already done in the past... but adding some kind of needlework back into my life was an important part of that desire for peace and creativity.

I have a couple dozen wax melts in delicious autumnal scents (purchased cheap at thrift stores through the years) which I started lighting again.  The scents remind me of my favorite primitive country store.

As the weather is turning cooler, I'm back to making more soups and stews and serving with homemade bread... as women before me did for millennia.  All are fairly inexpensive and easy on the cook for certain.  Thankfully, my husband enjoys these kinds of meals.

I've turned the TV off in the daytime if I'm not watching anything (that should have been a no brainer) and I find myself enjoying the radio in the kitchen as my mother did when I was a child.

I've assembled many of my decorating and cookbooks that have beautiful pictures within so I can peruse their pages and take mental vacations.  I love how so many of the farm to table cookbooks through the years have beautiful photography.

I am still learning how to use technology better.  As in the blog which sparked these ponderings, I find it peaceful to enjoy the work of fellow bloggers who put so much time and thought into their work... even if I rarely have time to comment.

Having said that... I'm spending less time on the computer... period.  Which means I must pick and choose and let the cream of what I look at and read float to the top.

I spent the summer reading light fiction on my Kindle (almost all of it free for the Kindle), especially Amish novels.  While none will ever win literary awards, they gave me a mental vacation without swearing or smut... just what I needed this spring and summer.

Now I am removing off the shelves a few favorites to re-read... like The Dean's Watch by Goudge, or perhaps returning to the Smoky Mountains in Christy, and definitely a couple Gladys Tabor books which are so enjoyable in autumn.   

All of which have one thing in common... they take me to a much enjoyed place of calm, especially in the re-reading when one does not hold their breath in wonderment of what is coming next.  :)

This journey of Calm, Peace, and Joy will continue as we enter the autumn months.  I'm certain their will be plenty more ponderings on the subject to share.

What about you?  Have you given any thought to what small changes you can make to your life to reap big rewards of Calm, Peace, and Joy?  

A favorite "teacup" from my collection, which is actually called a "naming mug".  I not only loved the look of this beautiful piece of china but the name on it is... Elisabeth... just like my granddaughter.  Even if the rest of the words are in German.


Unknown said...

My needlework helps me to relax. I have some favorite dvd's that I like to watch to help me escape if I'm feeling anxious. I love As Time Goes By. A good book of course is always my stand by. I try to keep my life simple, really I have to. I've always needed time to think and write. My number one peace producer is prayer. We hear bad news all the time and I just take it to God and leave it in His hands. Linda

Rebecca said...

My heart beats with yours on this subject - Why NOT indeed??? TODAY's choices DO create surroundingss that "speak peace and calm" to our spirts; that nourish the soul.

I used to collect clips and photos as you do, but lately have found the same pleasure in Pinterest. With one quick glance, I (like you) can make observations about the surroundings that I appreciate & gravitate to.....

I'm currently am reading Penelope Wilcock's The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy. It's a wonderfully pure and interesting story....

You've reminded me to get Gladys out before winter, too.

Well, have a pleasant Sunday afternoon. I always enjoy my visit at your "place".

Echoes From the Hill said...

Love this post!

I think the onset of fall and winter bring out nesting instincts in many of us. I have been doing some of the things you mentioned. I have some oil lamps that I have gotten over the years at Goodwill and at garage sales. Last week, I grouped three of them on a chest of drawers, that is well over 100 years old. It, too, came from a garage sale. It was made with square nails.

In my living room, which is filled with family antiques, and some from auctions, I opened a beautiful coffee table book about, and by Gladys Tabor and and Richard Brown. There are gorgeous photos of fall scenes. I have the book opened to display the beauty of some of the photos. None of these things were purchased new. We can create a lovely, tranquil atmosphere in our homes by surrounding ourselves with things that make us feel content. Thank you for that reminder.

Cheri said...

Would love to know which blog you were perusing. :) This one, perhaps?

(Jewell's daughter, I beleive).

I am a shameless borrower of ideas. I don't like clutter, but I do like cozy - a few candles, some handmade textiles, and some old - or new books - fill the bill for mer.

Cheri said...

oops - 'believe'.
My fingers were typing faster than my brain was spelling. :)

Nana said...

Hi Brenda; It seems every single post you write is made especially for me! I really needed to be reminded of taking time to cultivate peace and calm! Thanks! Love and Hugs, Nana.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed these two posts from the last two days. I've been trying to stock up our pantry shelves for emergencies and your suggestions to stock up on what we normally eat has really helped. I also just recently took up embroidering again after Many years. It's relaxing and helps fulfill my creativity crave. Love reading Gladys Taber (and Miss
Read, too) especially when life has taken a crazy busy spin and I'm yearning for a quieter lifestyle. Thanks for sharing your musings with us!
Blessings from Laura C.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading Gladys Taber again, too. She is who I read when I need something peaceful.

Friend Debra

Keri said...

Hi, Brenda!

I used to visit your blog frequently, and you and I even exchanged an email or two a couple of years ago. However, when I cut back on my blog reading/commenting to do a better job as a wife, mother, and homeschooler, I lost touch with your lovely world here for a while.

Now I find that something in me is calling me back to you for the comfort, encouragement and wisdom that your provide in your own special way through your little piece of the blogosphere.

I also find that God is summoning me to a place of quiet and reflection this Autumn, and I'm so glad that He intends for your blog to be a part of it. I look forward to coming here for respite and smiles through the coming weeks and months!

Keri Brown

Jodi said...

Great post, I couldn't agree more. And Gladys Tabor is a gem. I'm so glad for the day when I found her in the local library. I think her books are great for the nightstand. Her point of view is very soothing.

TeresaAngelina said...

There is not a lot of time in my life to worry about whether I am or am not peaceful. I work. A lot. For every 24 hours, more than 10 is given to work and going to and from work. That does not include of course preparing to go to work. However, that said, if I find that there is a lack of peace in my life, work is again the answer. And this time I mean physical work. Mine is a corporate type of work...not a lot of physical work in that. But at home, which gets neglected because of, you guessed it, work, there is a lot of physical work. The mere act of keeping my home tidy and in order is a great peace bringer. It also allows me to "get out of my head" and into my heart. Physical work allows prayer. And peace. Candles optional (which by the way are lovely but not necessary to peace).

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

You are the second person this week to mention Gladys Tabor! I must check her out!

I love to lIght the oil lamps - it creates a wonderfully cozy feeling! I'm a basic knitter and crocheter but I do love it!

I like creating atmosphere!


Shan said...

Dearest Brenda,

What a lovely post! I also try to live in peace and calm....surrounded by old, gently used things, soft lighting from oil lamps, lovely scented candles and music...always music.

Brenda, you offer such a delightful Grace-filled place for me to come and enjoy...thank you.

Yours kindredly,
Honey Hill Farm

P.S. I loved your last post on pantry preparedness...I too have been lead to deepen my provisions.

matty said...

Hi, Brenda! So good to visit with you today! I am catching up and finding that I have missed so much! I did read a Goudge over the summer. It was lovely! I have been stripping the house and removing "stuff." Even pulled up my room rugs and had them cleaned. I think I will start pulling them up every summer. The house seemed cooler and lighter! But, fall is here and now, well, it is time to snug up, isn't it?? Enjoy your slower pace, ma'am! It is a gift!

Anonymous said...

Just reading your post today was relaxing. Thank you for the suggestions.

Heather L. said...

"Re-made" my bedroom over the weekend with no cost. :) Stephanie (when she was here) helped me realize I had more bedcovers that would work in multiple rooms, and though they are far from new, I did put her ideas to work and am pleased that my bedroom now looks like fall. It just takes a little exercising of the contentment muscles. :)

Anonymous said...

Glad you are returning to crochet...tis a lovely hobby and I find so helpful to arthritis in the hands!!

Karen Andreola said...

I like calm. The "mental vacation" as you say, through reading, is what we've done this summer. When physical limitations prevent travel, we can still travel by pages - even down through the ages.

I, too, started saving pages out of magazines years back. I have a file. You and I like the same country things. A pattern emerged that I like sparsity in rooms - except when it comes to books, paintings, pillows, dishes and flowers. mmm, sounds rather plush to me.
Karen A.