Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Place in an Age of Change

Lark Rise to Candleford is broadcast mid-morning on one of the Direct TV channels. I don't get a chance to watch it every weekday but once in awhile, I pour another cup of coffee and let it take me to an English countryside that no longer exists... which is why Flora Thompson, who wrote the nonfiction books the series is loosely based on... wrote about the village life she knew.

In her books, she documents in a lovely style of prose, the affects of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain.  While some people saw the changes as exciting and a chance for more prosperity, the wiser among them understood that a way of life would soon disappear.  Candleford would prosper but Lark Rise, which depended more on agricultural seasons, would eventually face the end of a way of life they had known for hundreds of years.

Yet, as good literature tends to do (and this is a fictional account of a nonfiction book), the viewer is drawn into the relationships and how it is through friends and family that challenges are met.  Often the conversation takes place around a table, from the most humble of the Lark Rise homes, to the lovely residence of Miss Lane in the Post Office, to Sir Timothy's large estate house.  Conversations often accompanied by tea and cake.

I am often disturbed by the changes happening in the world in general and the United States specifically.  For that is my place on the world map.  The law that passed in New  York this week, which allows abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, raised an alarm that certainly didn't calm the unsettled feelings.

We so often feel out of control as the media and many politicians promote a world contrary to Christian values and honestly... mostly devoid of common sense.  One begins to get the uncomfortable feeling that there are a lot more of them than there are of us.

I'm not sure if that is true (especially if we had our spiritual eyes open to the real Battle of the Ages) but what I came to realize once again this past week, is the importance of having a Place of Christ-centered calm and Beauty in this world which is continually becoming a darker place to live.  It is up to you and to me and to us to have a place of Light in this darkness.  A Sanctuary for those we care about.

When I think of warm and cozy and peaceful places, I don't think of Sir Timothy's estate but of the simple homes of Lark Rise and Miss Lane's dining room in Candleford.  I think of Mole and Badger and Ratty in the beautiful Wind in the Willows classic.  I think of the Little House on the Prairie houses and the parlor of Damerosehay which is grandmother's domain in Goudge's The Bird in the Tree and Pilgrim's Inn.  (The entire Elliot trilogy is about the importance of Place.)

Most all of my favorite fictional homes are quite modest but have a loveliness which money alone cannot purchase.  For amidst the china and books and art and plants and flowers and silver teapots and those items I find lovely... there must be a sense of peace for the room to provide peace to oneself and visitors.

Now, I understand that most homes are not all that quiet and can be far from peaceful.  We also understand that no home is perfect, although cats will try to assure you that they have achieved that state of perfection humans can only strive to attain.

However, in the midst of chaos, most can achieve a Place that provides an oasis in the storms of life.  For some, it is an entire house or apartment.  For others, like me, I work on the entire house to make it lovely but it is one room that brings the most peace.  Yet for many, as I had for a whole lot of years, it is one corner of one room in a house.  That place on the sofa that was mine to read or watch a movie with a coffee table to hold hot beverages. (I have also known many a kitchen to have been a place of refuge while soup was being stirred or bread made.)

I understand that there are times in life where there may not be a chance to create a place of peace in a home but there are still places to seek peace.  I have friends who are the most amazing gardeners, providing a Place of refuge out of doors that brings peace.

There have been cozy coffee shops, walking the board walk of a much loved town, a favorite stretch of beach on Lake Michigan, and a much enjoyed hiking trail that were places where I could go to find peace.  But having a Place in my home is much preferred, especially when sleep is eluding me at midnight.

We all need a Place to find calm and Beauty... where prayers are said, music can be played (perhaps with ear phones necessary), your favorite books read, and The Book studied.  So that your peace can become their peace.

So this last week when the news was so unsettling, I closed the door on my Study, read the Bible, read some of The Bird in the Tree, and talked to Jesus.  I felt ready to meet the world again.  Well, almost...

Mentioned in this Blog Post
Lark Rise to Candleford TV program... here. (Season One was not my favorite but essential to know the plot lines.)
The Illustrated Lark Rise to Candleford... here. (It only contains the first of the books and like most of the books in the Illustrated series, it is somewhat abridged.  But in this case I like it a lot.)
The Wind in the Willows... here. (One of my very favorite books.)
Little House on the Prairie... here.
The Bird in the Tree (Book One)... here.
Pilgrim's Inn (Book Two)... here.
I may as well add The Heart of the Family (Book Three) ... here.

Image:  Warming Up in Badger's Kitchen by Chris Dunn


Anonymous said...

This may be my favorite post yet! Thank you for your wise words and encouragement in
these tough times. I am off to bake cookies for my people,open His Word and Pray.

Carol said...

I am attempting to make my home more peaceful and more of a sanctuary. I am attempting to declutter and clean and make my life a little easier to keep track of. I am hoping that this year will be the year that I can allow myself the pleasure of believing less is more and that simplicity is beautiful!

Sandy said...

Wise words. I too feel the need to get quiet and read His Word when it gets crazy.

e l i z a b e t h ♡ said...

I agree with the above comment...this is one of my most favorite posts that you've written. Oh, how you struck a cord! This week the news from New York about abortion just did something to me...I became rather discouraged and unsettled. How the world is going in the exact opposite direction than the Lord intends! And yes, it does often seem as though there are more folks striving for darkness and evil than there are those of us desiring goodness and beauty and truth. As someone in my 20s, I often am concerned with the future state of things and how things will be when I'm raising my future children. Your post is a lighthouse shining brightly in the blogging world, dear Brenda! Thank you for sharing such wisdom.

By the way, I'm with you on all the cozy, homey things you mentioned...Little House on the Prairie, etc. I also love the Road to Avonlea, 7th Heaven, and Heartland. And I have yet to watch Lark Rise, though I want's on my list for this year!

Bless you! ♥

Ann said...

Oh! I know this feeling. I am sometimes overcome with the magnitude of the disaster that is being created around us. And physically we are so outnumbered or so it seems. But I know spiritually there are warriors we do not see standing firm and strong. And I retreat to a comfy corner in my guest room where I have an inviting chair, a warm throw, and a calming candle -- the place I read, listen to trusted and valued spiritual teachers, and find that peace that is so missing in daily life ... unless we look hard and find it for ourselves.

As always I so enjoy your posts and look for that place both in my heart and in my home where peace can reign, if even for a short while.

Ann said...

Elizabeth, so encouraging to see a young woman with a heart for the Lord and for the important and meaningful things of life. Hang in there; you are needed and welcomed.

Vee said...

I still don’t feel ready to face the world after that week. It sure does remind us that THIS world is not our place. And it also reminds us to pray without ceasing. Oddly enough, I totally vegged out watching The Great British Baking Show season 6. I watched it again and again. Pitiful. Too bad that I wasn’t cleaning or something productive.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Beautiful post, resonating so deeply with my own heart.

Suzan said...

This time two years ago my daughter took me travelling. We spent a week or so in England and she sent me on a tour. I was privileged to eat my lunch in the pub used in the Harry Potter movies which is in the village that is used in the filming of Lark Rise. I so enjoyed my afternoon and most stayed in the pub drinking while I walked around and explored that pretty village.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Creating a PLACE of peace and hope is at the heart of what I do in my home, not only for my family, but for others. It spills over into my heart for my blog, too! said...

I agree with others saying to you, "wise words and encouraging".
"Be still (cease striving) and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" - Psalm 46:10
As my husband had the opportunity to preach this last Sunday, he was in the book of Habakkuk, reminding us that this prophet felt the same way so long ago. Thinking where was God at that time with Babylon trying to destroy them. The reminder for us is...God doesn't always give us the answers we expect, leave it to God to take care of our own Babylon (evil world), and eventually (Habakkuk 2:14) "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord..." At the end of the book, he had the right attitude "yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation" (3:18).
So, take joy in God's salvation and....fill your house with what you think is cozy and that will take care of your family!!

Bobbie said...

Isn’t it funny that when one thinks of coziness, peace, and comfort, one always thinks of small cottages over huge mansions. As much as I love visiting Biltmore (George Vanderbilt’s country chateau) here in NC, I prefer small houses small rooms and intimacy. In a time when people want high vaulted ceilings and open concept, I still prefer small spaces. So I am with you right there. I have always wanted our home to be a place of sanctuary and peace for those who dwell here and those who visit. In this world and country of craziness, at least we have a place to be comfortable. Peace and blessings to you Brenda!

Anonymous said...

Great post, Brenda. I'm making your Holiday Spaghetti dinner this evening.

Most every book you listed I have read due to your reviewing them. Except for David Jeremiah's; we love him and he is our pastor. Most times we watch him live on the computer, though. I still think about things I read in Kathy Lee G's book...fascinating. And I've lost track of how many D.E. Stevonson's books I've read and loved. I've got some Scottish ancestry, so I really get into the local color.

I looked up "Becoming Mrs. Lewis" (don't know if I remembered that title correctly) and got a sample to read. Can you believe I've not read the "Willows" book yet? Bought it last night for cheap from amazon.

So, thank you for all the good reads you've pointed me towards. It really does enrich our inner world of thoughts. My husband and I are both homebodies and our home is our sanctuary for sure.

Mary B. in San Diego

Anonymous said...

Brenda, you said you very much enjoyed the illustrated version of the book. Just what is the difference in an 'illustrated' version and just a book ? Does it have many more pictures or drawings to 'illustrate' the story? Sorry for my ignorance. The trilogy said it had engravings..what are those.? Black and white simple drawings? I was gifted the entire DVD set of the series years back but want to read the books to learn more.

All the talk about the further decent of the abortion laws has us too saddened to put it mildly. It is hard to believe. How did we get to this point..?? Well we can all see a slide for years. Where does it go from this point?

We surely do need a physical place of peace in each of our lives. I agree with you all. Reading the Word and having those memorized verses close to mind help to keep the calm in this upsetting world too. Holding close to those we love and call family. Our own family by birth or those who chose us on this earth. A time to pull in the wagons to keep the wolves away. Yet we still need to go forward too to bring others into the peace that only He can give them. We are not alone but see examples in the Bible of others living through rough times too. As He said and you have said we were born for a time such as this. He knew this would be part of our lives when we were born. Predestined. Sarah