Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Tea

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

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


Denise said...

So encouraging :) A wonderful Thanksgiving post even if it wasn't intended to be.I love The wind in the willows and Susan's paintings too.Blessings-It's been a blessing to Me following You all this time-Hugs Denise

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I love this, Brenda. As Denise commented, it's a wonderful thanksgiving post. I discovered The Wind in the Willows when I was in my teens and have loved it ever since, especially the Dulce Domum chapter. Counting my blessings is something I try to do every day! I am so blessed.

I read a lovely blog post about C.S. Lewis which I thought you might enjoy if you have not seen it:

I had not known he died the same day as Kennedy and that Lewis now has a memorial in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

This is the real link to the CSLewis post, Brenda. I'm not sure the one I gave you will work.

Ann said...

It is so often the little things for which we fail to give thanks. I had a wonderful blessing yesterday. It was just a small thing but huge for my heart. Our oldest son died at the age of 43 in June and we are still hurting deeply. He died the day before Father's Day; just one month earlier on Mother's Day we had a wonderful day together with both our sons. Our oldest who had many health problems was having a very good day and was in rare form. It was a joyful day -- and after his death I went to look for pictures of that day and realized I had not taken any. My heart has been heavy since then ... I should have taken pictures. Then yesterday I plugged my camera into the computer to download some pictures of a recent trip and surprisingly a whole series of pictures that I DID take on Mother's Day showed up on the screen. What a blessing! My heart sings! It's just the little things that often bring great joy.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I'd have to say, I'm more like Mole too, than Martha.

It is a choice, one we must make daily.

Happy Thanksgiving, Friend!


Vee said...

Here I sit by my fake fire reading blogs...yours is my first stop of the evening. And all I can say is coming home. And I enjoy reading the comments sometimes, too, and today's were dear. I am so happy for Ann's wonderful find and for Kristi's link.

Judy said...

" interior decorating came mostly fromMole..."

As "Wind in the Willows" is such a favourite of yours, Brenda, I am guessing you have seen the exquisitely illustrated version "The Riverbank and other stories from Wind in the Willows" with artwork by Inga Moore. If not, do borrow it from the library - the illustrations of both badger's and mole's homes are sure to feed that contented love of home and gratitude for the simple gifts of daily life.

terricheney said...

I was actually sort of thinking along these lines this evening. I watched Rehab Addict and love the way she uses things found in the homes or within other homes of the same age, to decorate, renovate, etc. Then I was looking through a magazine and noted the long walls of kitchen cupboards in a modern kitchen. And finally in another magazine I was looking at all sorts of kitchen, cottage, mountain, early American, etc...All the while wondering why so few are satisfied with what they have? I mention this because my dil just redid her kitchen this summer, with new appliances to replace 1 yr old ones, and new cabinets to extend her storage and she's already planning to redo it again! Because she's NOT happy. I feel so put out and sorry for her all at once.

Like you I'd love to have certain things. I'd dearly love to paint my walls or put in new flooring or yes, redo my kitchen which needs tweaking BUT if it never gets done, I'll still be happy. HE has blessed me so! In the long run how the kitchen looks is the least important of all the things in my life.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this, Brenda, the Lord has spoken to me through it!


Also, do you have a Trader Joe's near you? At this time of year they have a Candy Cane green tea and it is delicious!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your beautiful post and reminder to enjoy simple things! Somewhere I've read, "It doesn't take much to turn plain bread and water into tea and toast!" So true! (By the way, I second the love for Inga Moore's illustrations for The Wind in the Willows!)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding us to enjoy the simple things in life.

Recently we went to the hospital for a Drs. appt. It was tempting to grumble about health problems until we saw patients going by in wheelchairs and stretchers-some of them children.

There will always be people who are luckier or worse off than us. Not much point in comparing.

Best to just enjoy the life we've been given as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

Patient in suffering tis not easy!!! Being content with the simple things of life tis a bit easier I have found. But as we age, some if not most of us will get to experience bodies that do not function as we wish they would!! We are both diabetics too. My sympathies!!
Elizabeth back in NC for a spell..

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite songs when I was little was Count your Blessings. I believe Bing Crosby sang it. You remember,..." When your worried and you can't sleep,...just count your blessings instead of sheep,..and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings....." That and the song Smile. My Mother used to sing You are My Sunshine. They were reminders of all the many many many blessings we had big and small. Many times I know we have been blessed or saved from harm and we did not even realize it. To be content. Being home and snuggy warm and content is such a wonderful soothing special feeling. Mole's house was all snuggy and comfy and inviting and his friends knew they were always welcome. :) Sarah

Anonymous said...

Loved your post, Brenda. I love cozy, and the picture you used is so cozy. Loved the quote too! (smile) Come and sit by my fire and enjoy a cup of tea and some toast with me!

But, there is one thing that gives me pause ... I think that the answer no is just as much of an answer as yes. If God doesn't bless us with what we've been asking for, maybe he's saying no or even wait awhile. What do you think?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, my friend. Pam

hopeinbrazil said...

Brenda, This is one of the loveliest posts I've ever read. "Yes to Mole, and no to Martha" will be my new slogan. =)

Your last paragraphs reminded me of a similiar line from the book,Penny Plain. Have you read it? Free on Kindle and so "homey"!

Deb said...

Brenda, I enjoyed this post! I'm thinking I don't always choose to pick the higher ground and not grumble. :( You gave me a good reminder.

I was able to visit with my grandson Labor Day weekend...only for one day (I could have grumbled!), but I was thankful especially since it had been two years!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!