Sunday, May 08, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Finding Joy in a Sea of Chaos

May and October are my two favorite months of the year.  Although we are to experience record high temperatures this week, I will not complain too much since April felt more like early March.  It was cold and rainy almost all month.  

I did let my frustration with the late arrival of true spring make me brave enough to purchase a few pots of flowers for the front porch.  Thankfully, they survived just fine as the temperatures dipped below freezing a few times.  My first purchase was a large pot of red geraniums, one of my favorite flowers, from the nursery.  Then, both a yellow and a red begonia came home with me from Kroger.

I could not control the temperatures and the crazy weather but I could buy a few pots of flowers that I am certain made even the UPS man smile when he delivered a Mother's Day gift on Friday.

I pass by quite a few farms on my way home from town when I take the more scenic route and last week it looked like nothing had been planted.  It has been too wet.  I am certain the farmers are happy about a week of dry weather, even if it comes with 90 degree temperatures. I may not like hot weather but the corn and soybeans that grow around here absolutely love it.

It has been a long time since I have been surprised by weird weather.   Annoyed, yes.  Frustrated, yes.  Surprised... no.  Perhaps I am being uncharacteristically pessimistic but it seems like the weather mirrors the world in general these days as it is no longer in the least bit normal.

It is always important to remember that the world may have been more predictable even twenty years ago but it wasn't at all perfect.  Far from it.  We are only seeing an intensity of the darkness that has been forming for a long time.  As was predicted by God millennia ago, it will be like the pains of childbirth as we get nearer the return of our Savior.

As I have been writing in recent blog posts, it has become even more important to find ways to enjoy calm as well as beauty in my days.  We cannot hold our breath and wish away the world as it is until Jesus comes back.  I am always asking for wisdom for ideas on how to make life more joy filled.

Have you felt the same thing I have, that one needs to purposely look for joy these days?  Honestly, I have felt it necessary to have a kind of joy filter in the way I look at what happens each day.  To realize that there is plenty left in my world that can make me smile, those things that I can still do, those people that can still make me laugh.  Kids and cats... they make me laugh.

One thing I do is what we are told in the Word... we are to look up and rejoice, knowing He is coming soon when we see all of these events happening in the world.  I have to constantly remind myself that my future is not a world growing darker, my eternal future is more beautiful and exciting than anything my mind can even think of... and I'm pretty good at imagining beautiful things.

So, in between today and stepping into Paradise, there are practical things I am doing to keep my mind from the darkness prevailing in the world.  I came to realize... and why it took so long, I don't know... that if I want to stay out of the darkness, I need to limit my time spent watching the darkness.

Some people have the God given grace to run into darkness.  Those who serve in the military, in law enforcement, fire fighters, those who work in Critical Care Units, social workers, Christians who are salt and light in politics... all of them can walk through the darkness because that is their calling.  That is what they were born to do and someday they will hear "well done good and faithful servant".

However, that is not where God has me at this time of life.

I'm home most of the time except going to a doctor's appointment, a grocery store, and perhaps a quick visit to the kid's home in a nearby town.  However, I cannot walk very far due to increasing diabetic side effects with my feet... but I can walk and rest and walk and rest.  I have trouble focusing with my right eye but I can still drive since driving depends on seeing down the road and not close up.

So, I have decided this summer with the COVID limitations mostly gone, I plan to go to the park in a nearby town more often and visit their small zoo.  Even if I have to go alone.  Although, I think I can get my husband to go with me by reminding him he needs more sun-drenched Vitamin D.  ;)  

I can no longer hike the trails of another park like I did when we were homeschooling our son but I can drive there and enjoy a picnic while sitting on a bench.  I can enjoy the beauty of the forest from the bench. It doesn't have to be perfect and it may no longer be exactly the way it was in the past... but I need to enjoy going to parks again.

I have mentioned that I plan to go to the local Farmer's Market again.  I haven't been there in years but it will be good to take a basket and do some veggie shopping... and if one of the homemade cinnamon rolls happens to end up in the basket, I will share it when I arrive home.

Of course, I am continuing to make my home my first canvas for staying creative on a budget.  I enjoyed looking through some vintage Victoria magazines last week, enjoying their beauty.  That magazine inspired my decorating style and my love of beautiful rooms.  I like the newer version, too, but the original is quite nostalgic.

I have been enjoying two books this week, one is an old favorite and the other was a best seller last year.  If you follow Paula Sutton through her Instagram account Hill House Living, you will know how much fun she can be as she shares photos and such from her house and gardens in England.  Her book called Hill House Living: The art of creating a joyful life was a best seller on Amazon last year and I enjoyed it very much.  

While I don't know if she is a person of faith, I have found no bad language or anything that would cause me not to recommend the book.  Her stories, recipes, and the gorgeous photography have provided many happy reading moments. Since I cannot read for long, I love how her book is set up by the seasons and in short segments.

I also took off the shelf a book I have enjoyed for many years now, Romantic Prairie Style: Homes Inspired by Traditional Country Life by Fifi O"Neill.  I mostly look through it for decorating inspiration from the real houses she shows.

That book is pretty much a decorating book but it reminds me of her lovely cookbook called The Romantic Prairie Cookbook.  I have had it on the same shelf for years and enjoy perusing through it for recipes and beautiful photography.

Whether through books or visiting places out of doors, I am determined to find beauty and joy in the midst of a dark world.  After all, we have the Source of all beauty taking care of us and His light shines in the darkness.  We always have to remember that "greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world".

Mentioned in this Blog Post

Hill House Living... here.

Romantic Prairie Style... here.  (Original edition that I have, lots of inexpensive used copies)

Romantic Prairie Style... here.  (Revised edition)

The Romantic Prairie Cookbook... here. (Third-party)

Note:  Most links to are Associate links.

Image: Shady Patio


Vee said...

Reading here is like balm for the spirit. I have enjoyed reading today. The misery index must be through the roof, but kids and kitties will always be a blessing.

Deanna Rabe said...

I have been practicing joy in life regardless of circumstances and I am planning to begin to write about it.

I have some walking limitations too, but we still can do things, just have to modify them. I’m with you on seeking beauty, I still have all my old Victoria magazines! My daughter and son in law gave me Ros Byam Shaw’s Perfect English Style for Mother’s Day!

Ann said...

Good reminders. I've been spending less time with in-depth reading of even alternative news articles because there is really no hope in them. I read headlines and a few sites that I can skim through and get the idea of what is going on today and then I try to go about my life as usual without getting too bogged down in the heaviness of it all. I have to trust that God is in control of everything that concerns me and my family and continue to pray and stay in his presence as much as I can. Take care and continue posting your inspiring thoughts.