Sunday, July 10, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Fireflies and Old Bowls

With all the darkness in the world showing up as news headlines, I have been making an attempt to concentrate on those things that bring me joy at least a few times a day.  It seems the human default is to think on those things that could bring on anxiety if they were allowed to enter our soul and take root.

I want to be more like Paul and Silas singing in prison than some people I have met who mutter and find fault if the waitress does not bring their coffee within two minutes.  Not that I don't understand their pain and suffering but...

So, what has been bringing joy this summer?

Many evenings before I go to bed this summer, I find myself gazing at the front yard as the true sparklers of summer begin to show up just on time.  The season for fireflies is short and I don't want to miss any of it if possible.  At first, I see one here and there, then ten or twenty, and as the sun begins to sink below the trees... the yard is full of twinkly lights.

Recently, I poured some food into Mouse's kibble bowl on the porch... much later than usual.  She walked over and started nibbling at her dinner as I went back into the house to look at fireflies through the window.  I noticed Mouse looking at the hedges by the porch and she definitely went into alert mode.  

Just then, a racoon jumped on the porch and Mouse jumped off, running into the far woods where a neighbor lives close to the county road.  Between the time the racoon arrived, Mouse left, and I turned on the porch light and opened the door... the racoon had finished the kibble and disappeared.

This was a reminder of why I stopped feeding kibble as the sun was setting.  At least it wasn't Racoonzilla.  That furry beast didn't care who watched him or if the porch light came on, he glared at the human opening the door and went on eating while the human stayed behind the glass storm door.

I haven't seen Racoonzilla for awhile, my husband has wondered if he ended up as road kill on one of the county roads.  Normally I would feel sad when a cute creature of nature dies but I have mixed feelings about Racoonzilla.

Thankfully, most evenings when I'm watching the fireflies seem to glow brighter as the world around them grows darker, there are no extra National Geographic moments.  Hmmmm... I think there is a sermon embedded in that Truth. The fireflies are giving off their twinkle lights for a long time but we don't see it easily until the world around them grows dark.

We don't see as much wildlife as we did when we first moved to the country.  A lot of houses have been built in the forest around us.  So, we were surprised last week to see a young doe nibbling on wild grown bushes.  We wondered if she wanted to earn some extra money... or perhaps acorns... and nibble on more unwanted growth.

We saw her for a few days, such a lovely sight with the coloring and spots of a young fawn.  Then we didn't see her for awhile and prayed that she had gone into a safe part of the forest.  Last night my husband called me into the kitchen "be quick"... I don't move all that quickly these days... and there she was!  "Our deer" was back.

I watched her off and on until I spotted her heading for the forest behind our neighbor's house.  We aren't looking out the back window very often once the dishes are washed and drying in the red drainer so I am pretty sure being there at the same time "Our deer" was snacking each time was a God moment.

She also appears later in the day, just like the fireflies, although before the sun disappears from the sky. How beautifully deer were designed and formed, they are both muscular and delicate.  When Christopher was still high school age, we were driving home from one of his fencing lessons when... just as we were going to turn down our gravel lane... we saw the most majestic scene in the distance.

Honestly, it felt like I had opened a door to Narnia for down the road near the driveway to a neighbor's barn... there was a magnificent buck.  Mist seemed to surround him and if I were alone, I may have thought he was in my imagination.  I don't know just how big his rack was but even from a distance, I could tell his antlers were massive. 

It was either a lovely coincidence that we would be arriving home at that time of the night... or it was, as I prefer to think, another sign of God's fathomable love toward us.  Thinking of that buck looking so regal and ethereal can bring a smile to this day.

Not all things that bring me joy can twinkle or can wear a majestic set of antlers.  Something that brings me a ridiculous feeling of joy is finding beautiful old dishes at the antique mall at a price I can afford.  I love my kitchen to look like it stepped out of the 40s or 50s... only with more modern appliances.  Even then, the stove and refrigerator must be white and not stainless steel.

I heard a brief excerpt from a sermon on television one day as I was washing dishes.  The preacher was teaching that God doesn't talk to people today but will only speak to them through what is written in the Bible.  I have no idea who this guy was, I had been listening to a sermon by a pastor I have appreciated for years and this guy followed him on TV.  I hadn't changed the channel or turned off the television... soapy hands you know.

I dried my hands with a kitchen towel and turned off that preacher.  I disagreed with him completely.  Not because of something I had read in a book but because of all the instances in my life that God has spoken to me, usually by a feeling or in that "still small Voice".

So, what does that have to do with decorating my house and old bowls?  I can't tell you how many times I felt like I should stop by Goodwill or a thrift store and found something I had been wanting at a fraction of the retail price.  I have learned to pay attention to those nudges, feelings, and thoughts.

Do I always get them right?  Not at all but the older I get, the more I have gotten better at it.  I sometimes stop by my favorite antique mall if I'm in that part of town.  It has dozens of various sellers so there are both pricey antiques (which I do not even look at) and vintage objects that are much cheaper in cost.

A couple months ago, I stopped by the antique mall but didn't see anything and I was getting tired.  This place is HUGE.  So, I was going to leave when I heard that "still small Voice" and had a feeling that I should keep going toward the back of the store.  I was so tired but I decided to follow the feeling and I found not only one item I had on my wish list at a great price but another that I have been wanting for years.

The latter was a large brown transferware pitcher similar to the kind Parisienne Farmgirl displays in various photos filled with tall flowers and the first item was the exact size and pattern Pyrex bowl I needed to complete a four bowl set. I would have missed both longed for items (and at a price I could afford) if I had not listened to that nudging to keep going farther back in the store.

Then last week, I had been looking at the top of my refrigerator after changing some things around and it just didn't look... even.  Something was missing and I tried various things but it still didn't look right.  As it turned out, I needed to run errands in town so I stopped by the antique mall, this time without a lot of time to look around, and as I looked at some favorite seller's displays... I saw it (them).

Sitting on a shelf was a set of three Anchor Hocking Fire King Chanticleer Rooster nesting bowls.  I have seen similar bowls before but they were always more than I could spend.  I peeked at the price and all three together were less than I have seen one bowl priced in the past.

I thought the bowls would look great on top of the refrigerator, along with the vintage cake holder and vintage flour sifter (both of those found at garage sales).  They were perfect!  I look at the top of the refrigerator now and smile.

It makes sense that the God who created the world is one heck of an Interior Designer.

Whenever I find something that makes my house feel warmer and more inviting, whether a vintage bowl at a low price or the vintage looking stove on sale when I need to buy a new stove... it makes me know once again how much God loves us.  He is not only creating a permanent home for us in Eternity but He cares about where we live here in this fallen world.

I feel sorry for the pastor who believes God doesn't speak to us today.  I love the Word and I do get instruction from His Word.  But that doesn't give me the same feeling as having Him lead me to something unexpected and beautiful this side of Glory.

Perhaps that pastor doesn't have a sense of expectation.  Maybe he long ago stopped looking for the God Winks that fill our world, much like the fireflies do as the sun sets below the treeline.  Maybe he doesn't see God in little things because he has stopped looking for Him.

That is incredibly sad.  I see God in fireflies, in the flowers on the deck outside my kitchen window, in the deer that stops for a snack, the way the neighbor's red barn looks after a snowfall, and in the miracle of answered prayer.

He really is present if we are looking for His fingerprints in all good things.  I can't imagine what Heaven will look like.


Anonymous said...

Love the snow picture. It makes me feel cooler just looking at it in July.

Interesting that the best bargains at the sale were at the more out of the way tables. It's sort of like at a garage sale, the best stuff is often under the tables. The junk like old ashtrays is prominently displayed.

Agent X, not said...

Beautiful post. I agree, but more than that, you eloquently stated the beauty in the world around us. Thank you for sharing, :)

NanaC said...

Love, Love, Love this!! Makes me want to shop at a few thrift stores in our area, listening for that still small voice!😉 Isn’t it Wonderful how God likes to bless us with our desires on occasion! I found a couple Guideposts Teashop mystery book series a in a local thrift store a year or so ago and was hoping to find more, but never did. A friend happened to stop at the same store a few months later and told me they had a whole box of the series under the bookshelves there! So I made a beeline to the store and was able to buy the whole box for $1 for each book! Great find! I shared them with my daughter and we both really enjoyed them! I felt that was a real blessing from God!
We enjoy the different birds that visit our bird feeders, but wish we had fireflies in our area! We had a family of raccoons sleeping in one of our backyard trees one year! They would show up every evening at dusk and climb up the tree and snuggle all together! That was fun to see the little ones, but glad they didn’t stay year round!
Enjoyed this post so much! Thanks for sharing!
Laura C.

Jennifer Williams said...

Lovely post, Brenda. Thank you. <3

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful. I love your writing. Thank you.

Ann said...

How bland and uninspiring our world would be if we did not see the fingerprint of God in all His creation. I often wonder how people continue on in their lives without a knowing of their Creator ... how lonely life must feel. I am thankful for my walk with God and for His care of me.

Vee said...

Wonderful post. Course you described the buck with his antlers so well...and talk about gilding the lily...mist, too?

Would love to see the bowls you found by listening. Course, when I get to Glory, The Lord will say, "I tried to tell you." 😏

Carla said...

I totally agree that God still speaks to us. Similar to your story about staying and looking further in the store to find a special treasure, He has prompted me on a number of occasions to do something that seemed out of the ordinary.

The example I will always remember was the strong feeling that I should do my laundry one Sunday. I had been brought up not to do housework on Sundays but just felt so strongly that I should this particular day. The Lord knew that early the next morning I would get a phone call from my mother that my dad had died unexpectedly in the night and I needed to get on a flight to Texas. I've always been thankful I listened to that "still small voice." And there have been other instances like this through the years.

Deanna Rabe said...

Great stories! I can’t imagine what heaven will look like but it’s going to be incredible!

Anonymous said...

Love reading your posts! Saturdays Pantry Posts are the best! I would love to see a picture of your refrigerator top. Please share a picture with all of us! I hope the rest of your week is wonderful!