Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Creating a refuge

I have no problem believing mankind was created in a garden.  For God gave us five senses in which to enjoy this world and when one is in a beautiful garden, we do tend to feel more at peace.  After all, there are no PBS shows about recreating the back alleys of the cities.

I am more a veggie gardener (if I can call myself a gardener at all) although I do enjoy planting flowers in containers each spring.  Especially on the deck where I can view them from the family room and kitchen... and on the front porch where people enter my home.

It seems to me that the darker the world is portrayed on the news, the more my five senses absolutely need a refuge that encompasses my house and acre of land.  For only in my little part of the universe can I tweak the stuff of life to bring peace.

I need a sanctuary.
I need a place of refuge.  
I need a home. 

Now, I am not saying you can completely rid yourself of the troubles of life by purchasing a couple of green plants to bring life to your rooms. I know what it is like to walk through trials so difficult you must remind yourself to breathe... years upon years of painful memories.

I wrote about it more in the beginning years of Coffee Tea Books & Me.  I still struggle every day, making the choice to trust God and remembering "this isn't Heaven, yet".  And I must say, part of the way I do find peace in the midst of the storms of life is because I have created a refuge.

These days with no children living at home, it is easier to tweak the entire house.  However, I remember a very long season of time when the only place I could make mine was the end of the sofa.  There I would often place a small bookshelf within sight that held my most beloved books, a side table for my Bible and beverages, and quite often a favorite throw.  That is the place where I would retreat at the end of a long day.  My space.   My refuge.

I have been a miracle away from being homeless not once... but twice.   Purchasing the house we now live in was a real gift from God, a combination of the USDA granting loans to people on Disability (my husband was at the time) and living in a part of the country where housing is still very reasonable, especially in rural areas.

The kitchen wherever we lived was often a place I took refuge.  For even when I worked full time, we needed dinner on the table.  When we were looking at this home for the first time, my Realtor was remarking how dated the kitchen was and what I could do to upgrade it all.  But I loved it just as it was, flaws and all.  For it was real... Velveteen Rabbit real.

The previous owner had painted the cabinets a shade that resembles butter yellow (she told me they liked color) and had put up wall paper here and there.  I loved it immediately and added my own furniture and accessories to make it more of a vintage style 1940s or 1950s era kitchen.  I added some artwork (for I always need wall art in case you haven't noticed), my cookbook collection, my red mixer... and it was a refuge.

The room that was once Christopher's bedroom is now my Study.  The first room in all of these years that is truly all mine.  A gift of God in exchange for the Empty Nest.  And while I love the Cath Kidson colors on accessories, I find my actual surroundings that bring peace are the earth tones. 

Sometimes on a cloudy day, I keep the corner lamp on even if I am not in the room.  Which for an energy saver like me is usually something I do not do.  But I love walking by that room and knowing it is there, waiting for me when I have finished the household chores of the day.  A room full of favorite books and teacups and the stuff I use to create with and that feel of an old fashioned parlor. 

It is my refuge.  It is my sanctuary.  Although plants, wall art, and aromas (and a cat) are at the top of my list of items which relax me, music is a close third.  I borrowed the CD player from our bedroom to listen to my favorite Christmas music.  It is taking awhile to return to its' original home.  ;)

I find it important in creating a refuge to embrace what colors bring me peace.  I adore my daughter's home, she not only has a four year degree in Interior Design but she has always had a good instinct for all visual arts.

Although her house is lovely, it is also a real home for a family of seven people and it becomes Velveteen Rabbit real.  And while we share a love for accessories of deep red and such, her home makes one feel of a light and bright cottage by the sea while I prefer that look of an autumn forest.

Before this blog post becomes a book... what is my point?  It is that a house needs someone thinking of ways to make it a home.  Not with a credit card and a trip to the mall.  Neither going out and buying a house full of furniture.  For it is in the little by little adding to rooms that we create a home and not a show house.  That is not our intent.

I remember telling people when I purchased a sofa at one time, I chose a color and pattern the same as a little boys shoe print.  Stephanie's sofas are a sturdy leather and a very dark color, after trying to keep a white slipcover bleached clean.  One does learn through the years what works and what doesn't but that is part of the fun of home making.

My prayer for you is this... that you pray and hear from God what you can next do to make your home a place of refuge, a sanctuary for you alone or with those you live with.  It doesn't matter if it is one room, a corner of a room, or a very big house.  It is yours.  God blessed you with that space.  It is where He wants you at this moment in time so make it comfy and cozy and peaceful.

You can ask him for He is the ultimate Designer... and He knows where to find the good bargains.  Trust me.  He cares.


My Cottage Diary said...

Well said, Brenda! And you have such a nice sanctuary, indeed. Have a wonderful week! Bess

Anonymous said...

Lovely peaceful words to ponder this Sunday afternoon.
Thank you Brenda

lynneinMN said...

Thank You. Your words speak so much truth and wisdom! It is so good to have that place of "peace" in our lives, and home is the place to find it, even if it is just a spot on the couch with a good book and a good cup of coffee (and a furry friend on one's lap, of course!) God's Peace, Lynne

Nanna Chel said...

Brenda, it is so important to have a place of refuge especially as the news we hear about the sad events in the world seems to worsen day by day. I love to sit on our back verandah and watch the cockatoos eating our macadamia nuts.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Yes, our home is a haven, a sanctuary. We make it suit us, to feel warm and welcoming to us. I love it!


Nana said...

Hi Brenda;
What a lovely post today! It is just perfect for a cold, snowy winter day. I think we all need a spot to call our own. Mine is actually the kitchen table, its where I love to sit and read, do the computer, and still be able to keep my eye on dinner cooking. Anyone who walks in the door will spend a few minutes chatting with me. Just some of the blessings of God. Thank you for your insight and your wonderful words! Have a blessed day. Love and Hugs, Nana.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post Brenda.
I've been following you for some time now and never commented but I really love your thoughts and pictures. You bring so much inspiration.
I live in England but have visited the wild beautiful deserts and mountains of the American South West every year for the last 20+ years. My favourite place in all this world.
It's strange how you love all things English and cottage style. My home, however, is decorated with Native American pottery, sand paintings, etc. with lots and lots of Native American music, which are the things that make me feel closer to nature and bring a great sense of peace and calm and wonderful memories of the times spent in your beautiful land.
You have a beautiful refuge Brenda.
Love to Her Fluffiness.
Val. x

Mrs.T said...

So true, Brenda! One of the goals I am most serious about as a homemaker is to make our home a refuge from the world, not only for my husband and me but for all who spend time under our roof. Your words encouraged me today ... thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for showing us how to make a home a place of refuge. The homes in the magazines don't look very real.Your place always looks cozy and nice.

Judy said...

"A gift of God in exchange for the Empty Nest." What a lovely way to think of your study.

"I need a home.
I need a refuge.
I need a sanctuary"
These are the themes of the lovely "The Herb of Grace" (English/Australian title for "The Pilgrims' Inn") by Elizabeth Goudge, which I am re-reading after many years. It is lovely to find that your Sunday tea ponderings this week are so connected to my reading.

Anonymous said...

Once again, a Lovely post! Love the statement, "For it is in the little by little adding to rooms that we create a home, not a show house". I love all the little personal touches that make a house a home. Also love that you immediately loved the kitchen in your house when you first saw it, even though the realtor said it was dated! We built our house in the mid 80's and like it just fine. We get a kick out of watching "House Hunters" when they show houses like ours and say how they really need updating! We look at each other and say, "I guess we're outdated!" Oh well, we like it the way it is, which is a good thing, as we don't have the funds to update it anyway! Thanks for sharing.
Laura C. (WA)

Heather said...

I liked the part esp. about keeping a light on in your room as something beautiful to look forward to enjoying when your work is accomplished.

Vee said...

This is "the stuff" I love to read. I read it twice yesterday and again today. I even read a few passages to John and found him nodding in assent. He thinks we have the "Autumn Forest" look. LOL! This may be because he is always being asked to retrieve this or that from the ravine. The latest was a huge piece of birch bark, which I baked in the oven at 200° so that I could display it without fear of critters. Before Christmas, I asked my grandson to fetch a stick I thought looked especially lovely, Must not have explained my plan for it so well as the next thing I knew, he had planted it in the snowbank at the front of the house with a, "There it is." Ha! Currently, it is in a martini pitcher with a cardinal and two crocheted hearts hanging from it: Home.

sherry said...

such truth and lovingly shared, as always. last week my husband and i were sitting on our comfy couch - he'd had a busy day that drained him but good. as he relaxed he looked around and said, "thank you for making this home so restful." happy tears and full heart. it doesn't have to be grand to be meaningful. :)

Morning's Minion said...

In the dozen years before retirement we were building rather high-end homes--often moving into one during the construction process only to move as soon as it sold. [the homes were more costly than what we could have bought on the market in our price range.] On moving into the bedlam of a house under construction I always created a 'corner of sanity'--a place to sit with a book and a mug of tea--a place where the cats could find me and huddle against the noise of air nailers and screeching power saws.
We have furnished our 'to keep' homes much as you describe--things collected here and there through many years--things that have meaning for us.

Kim said...

Thanks for this. I needed it today. I am currently in the states so on the road a lot. It's hard to have that refuge, but I need it!

Sunshine said...

Perhaps my all- time favorite post? I love this, the encouragement to create beauty and really live in our beautiful!! Sunshine