Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Heirloom Memories

"... and this is what really threw him, the smell.  Poignantly familiar.
Wax polish, apples, a suggestion of fresh coffee.
Pot-pourri, perhaps, and summer flowers.  The smell of nostalgia, of youth.
The smell of the homes that his mother had created for her children."
Excerpt from September by Rosamunde Pilcher

The above excerpt is just a few sentences from one of the first chapters of the book, September in which a man is noticing the home of a young woman he just met.  I loved these memories the author provides as he remembers the homes his mother "created for her children".

One of the interesting things about these memories is that in the previous book, he did not appreciate his mother or the home he came from.  But as he grew a little older and matured, he was coming to realize the importance of those "little things" his mother had done for her children.

I think we have all experienced what it is like to walk into a home with the aroma of good cooking coming from the kitchen.  I've even been known to walk back outside and reopen the door to my own home when there is the aroma of a ham baking in the oven or a turkey stuffed only with onions and celery stalks.

The Book tells us that love covers a multitude of sins and I truly feel the love we show to others by the use of homemaking skills help to overcome the imperfections of family living.  For instance, I was in my thirties when I finally realized how unhappy my life was after my father died due to some bad decisions my mother made in remarrying unwisely... twice.

But instead I had memories of her wicked (in a good way) sense of humor and how she would give her last dollar to her children if they were in trouble.  We all knew we were loved... a lot.

She was not a gourmet cook but the aroma of bacon and coffee in the morning always reminds me of her and the choice for my last meal would always be her fried chicken, mashed potatoes with cream gravy, and green beans she cooked for an hour even if they were from a can.  That is the meal of... home.

We cannot ever think the little things we do around the home goes unnoticed, even when no one mentions them.  Like the young man in the book excerpt, the appreciation will come even if it takes aging to make one realize how special their home was.

I realized long ago that it does not cost a lot of money to create beauty in the home.  Actually, I became more creative after the prosperous years.  For one thing, I was at home more to put thought into making our home a canvas for our life.  In our most prosperous years, we were a two career couple with one child who didn't spend a lot of time at home.

I think also the reason our home began to look cozier later is that I had to put more thought into the purchases made for our home.  So the adventure began years ago of shopping thrift stores, Goodwill, garage sales, etc.  And what I found is this... quite often the old stuff I could buy at thrift stores was better than what was sold in flashy showrooms.

It's a little more difficult now to find the really good stuff cheap but it is possible.  Especially if you enjoy the hunt.

Due to the circumstances of my own childhood and adolescence, I put a lot of thought into the memories my children would take away from home.  Both grew up in circumstances far from perfect.  Christopher especially had to deal more with his father's bipolar symptoms because they became more prevalent and difficult as my husband has grown older.

But what we have learned is this... life does not have to be perfect to be good.  There are ways to overcome immense difficulties.   I am not saying that cooking good meals, lighting candles, creating a cozy environment, and enjoying good music will make a home good in itself.

You can be among the richest people in the world and be miserable if you do not know the true Prince of Peace.  Jesus said when we accept Him as Lord and Savior, we will have available that "peace that passes all understanding".  Believe me, it is true... even if at times I feel I am clinging to the hem of His garment as if my life depends on Him.  Because it does.

But what creating a warm and cozy home provides is a place for His Work in our life to blossom and grow and become deep within us.  The most important heirloom we can provide for our children is a life of faith, to truly know Jesus as their best friend... not a God who waits for them to do something wrong to hit them over the head... but the One who walks beside us through this fallen of worlds to keep us from falling.

When a child, an adult, an elderly member of the family... a friend... sits around your table with a hot bowl of soup on a very cold day and perhaps a chocolate chip cookie just out of the oven... then whatever the world is like is somehow manageable.

Your memory making, the little touches you do such as making certain there are good aromas coming from the kitchen when the children come home from school or the grandchildren stop by, the grocery store flowers in a vase when the outside world is white, the scent of vanilla infused in the light of a candle, the stories read, the tunes sung, the listening, the talking... they all are of vital importance to the work God has given you upon this earth.

I pray the good memories always outshine the not-so-good which comes into every life.  And that one day we will meet at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.


Rebecca said...

You've "hit the nail on the head" here, Brenda! Thanks for putting words to your insight and wisdom gleaned through your experiences.

Keri said...

This was beautiful, Brenda. Perfect inspiration for a mama like me who is still crafting that "home" feeling for her children on a daily basis. Thank you!

Judy said...

"The most important heirloom we can provide for our children is a life of faith, to truly know Jesus.."

Yes to this; and so often it takes root in the cosy security of the daily rhythm of home traditions. It is one of life's great privileges to pass on such an heirloom.

You are such a kindred spirit, Brenda. This conversation would take us more than a single pot of tea to expand on, I'm sure!

Sarah said...

Beautiful! I am going to write some of your points down in my homemaking notebook. Thank you!

SUGAR MOON said...

Enjoyed the post.

Nana said...

Hi Brenda;
What a beautiful post! When one has small children in the home, it is often difficult to remember to take time to smell the roses with your little ones. Thank you for such a profound message. Home peace, little things done for your family, and Jesus by your side. You can't go wrong! Love and Hugs, Nana

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

We have chosen to build memories here, by being intentional in what we do. We laugh together, we work together, we learn together, we read aloud together….candles lit, tea, hot chocolate or coffee available….

We've shared hard things too.

All this memory making also builds ties that bind.

Heirloom memories, indeed.


Cheryl said...

I am enthusiastically nodding my head as I read this beautiful post! Your description of "making our home a canvas for our life" is a perfect way to convey what we're doing as homemakers. I will be pondering that one...

Shan said...

Dearest Brenda,

I am reading through your posts, as I have been away from blog land for quite awhile.

This post, well, it was just exactly what I needed to read. So needed...

Thanks you my sweet friend,
Honey Hill Farm