Saturday, November 24, 2012

Winter Domestic Comforts from Miss Read




"...the fact that Christmas Day falls in the dreariest time of the year also highlights its impact.  We are usually in the grip of winter's cold, early darkness, frost and snow, and all the ills they bring.  Doubly precious, therefore, are our domestic comforts - a blazing fire, sustaining food, the comfort of friends and, at the end of the day, a warm bed...


"Outside, the winter landscape has a beauty of its own: bare branches against a clear sky, brilliant stars on a frosty night and perhaps a swathe of untouched snow.  But these beauties are best when seen from the comfort of one's home, with a good fire crackling and the smell of crumpets toasting for tea.

"That is the charm of the winter season, the contrast between the cold and the warmth, the light and the dark..."

(from the preface to Christmas at Fairacre by Miss Read, Houghton Mifflin 2007)

If you want some gentle Christmas reading, I can't recommend highly enough Christmas at Fairacre by Miss Read. This book is three in one:  Village Christmas, The Christmas Mouse, and No Holly for Miss Quinn.  I love these stories and am currently re-reading them in this delightful volume.  But then I love very gentle reads.  (I rarely even read a mystery, but some years I'll read one.  I do want to try the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs.  I know many of you enjoy that series.)

I must ponder the future of this blog.  My camera flash is kaput, plus tonight I'm told I can't post any more pictures without buying more storage.  Probably most of you have already dealt with this issue.  I will do some more checking.

Time will tell!
Bess

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Contentment



















With all the windows in the house opened, I sat down with my tea tray and thought how lovely it was to be back... At any rate, to be a village schoolmistress, with a fine border of pinks just breaking before me, and the sound of rooks cawing overhead, seemed a very right and proper thing to be, and I envied no man.
(from Village Diary by Miss Read, 1957)


"... I envied no man."  Isn't that a wonderful place to be?! Sometimes when I'm having a pity party, I stop myself and take an inventory ... is there anyone else I'd really rather be? And there never is.  Sure, there are things about my life that could stand a little improvement, but I wouldn't want to switch places with anybody.

I once heard or read somewhere (sorry, don't know who to credit) that if the circumstances and events of the lives of any number of people, including ours, were put on cards and laid on a table, and we could all walk around the table and pick up any cards we wished our lives to be, we'd pick up our own cards again.

How about you?  I hope you're in that place where you "envy no man" or woman.  All the same, I'm going to say a prayer for all of us tonight because our lives are always in flux.

Keep your lives free from the love of money
and be content with what you have,
because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5

[And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for]
godliness accompanied with contentment
(that contentment which is a
sense of inward sufficiency)
is great and abundant gain.
1 Timothy 6:6 Amplified

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts
and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7  KJV


May God Almighty enfold you in His Arms and take away your feeling of lack, your pain of any kind, heartache, disappointment, and loneliness, until you know true contentment in your heart.  

So grateful for each and every one of you,
Bess

Monday, November 12, 2012

Every Day

The blessing of Amazon/BD loot!


Every day:

I thank God that I'm alive and awake.

I ask for strength and energy and grace.

I step outside and draw in life-giving fresh air.

I enjoy the color of the sky and the formation of the clouds.

I study the artistry of a tree.

I ponder the wind.

I brake for God's creation (mostly squirrels).

I indulge in a treat.

I exult in the beauty of a sunset, if not too cloudy.

I glory in small joys.

I occupy.

I praise God.

Every day.

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present."
(exact origin unknown)

Occupy till I come.  
Luke 19:13  KJV

God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; 
he does great things beyond our understanding.
Job 37:5

May you find joy in each and every day,
Bess
(I'm not necessarily recommending any of the books, because I haven't had time to read them yet.  But they look good.)




Saturday, November 10, 2012

On Suffering


Someone lost their "hope" in the parking lot.
It seemed a sin to just leave it lie.

But the end of misery is never in a hurry to come...
(from A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter)

We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time...
(from Middlemarch by George Eliot)

Even so:

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, his covenant, his blood
supports me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
(Edward Mote, 1797-1874)

Check out this great song by Matt Maher:  Hold Us Together

"This is the first day of the rest of your life ...
'Cause even in the dark you can still see the light.
It's gonna be alright, it's gonna be alright."
(Matt Maher)

...but we also glory in our sufferings,
because we know that
suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character;
and character, hope. 
Romans 5:3-4



I don't think suffering should ever be taken lightly, but I don't want to keep a tight grasp on it either. (It took me a long time to learn that. And I don't know if I'll ever get to be like Paul and glory in my suffering as it's happening, yet in hindsight I often do see the good that comes from it.)

Let Go and Let God.

Hang onto the hope of Jesus.  He's everything.
Bess

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Milk of Human Kindness

Milk pitcher made in Poland; not an antique.

Spill out the milk of human kindness: whenever and wherever and however you can.

Be compassionate.  Be kind.  Do good.

Pray for one another.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.  Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:1-3

David asked, "Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness ... ?"
2 Samuel 9:1


Enjoy your Friday!
Bess

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lest We Forget


Warm yourself up with a little coffee!

Overheard at the office:

He:  I have a feeling he's not on the same political
side as I am.

She:  That's OK.  That's what America is all about.


God Bless America!

Praising God for the freedom to choose,
Bess
(I know some of my photos have nothing to do with my posts ... it's a combination of camera, light, and motivation issues, which I hope will eventually improve!)