After the busyness of the holiday season, it’s time to pull back and regroup. For me, that means decluttering, then putting out a few white accessories mixed with plants and wood pieces to calm my space and my brain. I think white is soothing. (As long as it isn’t rugs or sofas! I could never keep them clean and it would stress me out.) I mean white as in ceramic pieces. One of my favorite soothing pieces is a white pot filled with a happy, luxuriant fern. The white and green are so calming. However, my ferns are not happy. In fact, it’s all I can do to keep them alive, much less happy or luxuriant right now. So there won’t be a calming green and white centerpiece on my table anytime soon. Ha! Fortunately for me, oldest son brought a pink Poinsettia when he came for our family Christmas get-together and it’s very happy now in a white pot on the table. I discovered that I like pink and white! Is there a life lesson here? Possibly about when things don’t go as expected, go with the flow and enjoy your blessings?
I cleared my kitchen display shelves of Christmas themed pieces and replaced it all with a few plain white ceramic pieces for a clean, minimalistic look. (Thanks, Cuz, for giving me those sweet pieces from Grandma!)
I cleared off the counters and that’s refreshing. I put away all the little things that clog the visual landscape. I even found a spot out of view for my cold brew coffee French press. Just a little finagling in my appliance cupboard and there was a space to slide the French press into. Ok, I admit it. I finally threw away those now squishy acorn squashes I had used for decoration during the Fall. I moved the toaster oven and washed in and under it. Ditto for the microwave. I even found a shriveled apple (!) on the counter behind a Cook’s magazine that was on display because I think their covers are true art. And I was hoping to be inspired to make something amazing, but alas, it was all I could do to keep us fed while we struggled with the flu. Another life lesson: admit physical limitations and operate within them until you have improved health.
I put away the Christmas things that were on the buffet. Storing the creche always makes me sad, but I know next year the story will be new again. Life lesson: every day can be a celebration of that new life in Jesus. I kept the white candlesticks and candles from Christmas because they fit in with the white scheme, and I added warm wood pieces and plants. (Thanks, oldest son, for the lovely birthday orchid that is re-blooming after already giving us four months of original blooms.) In gloomy January, I feel comforted by living, growing houseplants. (Ahem, ferns. Let’s get with it.) So I grouped some surviving plants together on the buffet to make a grouping that is greater than its parts. Especially when I cheat and stack a pot inside and on top of another pot. Wood, too, adds its own unique organic warmth and seems to pair well with living plants. Do you have some lonely houseplants that might be more impressive grouped together? You might need to cheat like I did by stacking pots on top of each other to get some height. Be sure to protect wood surfaces from damp plant pots. Tip: Don’t spread plants and objects apart from each other. Rather, group them together for a stronger impact.
The clock on the buffet is a family heirloom from Husband’s family and has a vaguely Asian motif, so the orchids are a perfect complement. So beautiful how the kindness of others gives the room a warmth that would be missing if I had bought those things for myself. You may have noticed next to the clock in the photo that there is an unusual wooden bowl filled with a plant. A skilled woodturner friend turned the bowl and gave it to us as a housewarming gift. I like that term – housewarming. Indeed, gifts from the heart do warm a house with love!
On the sofa is our warm-with-love crocheted Alpaca blanket which will stay right there until warmer days. A friend gave hours and hours to make it for us. It feels like a hug every time I snuggle under it which has been often the last two and a half weeks as we weathered a nasty flu bug.
I’ve been thinking lately that decluttering this time of year is a metaphor for letting go of things in our hearts and minds that aren’t contributing to our well being. For me, this is a good time to move out guilt and fear. Just clearing out the guilt and fear isn’t enough, though. The space in my heart must be filled back up with redemptive gratitude and trust. If I truly believe that my Redeemer’s blood is enough to wash away my guilt, then I will be filled with gratitude for this clean slate that I start the new year with.
“let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean” Hebrews 10:22
Every action and thought has consequences. When I admit an action or attitude is wrong, I hear God saying, “Because Jesus paid for this, I’m not going to hold this against you. It won’t separate you from me.” Forgiveness wipes away the separation between God and me, but it doesn’t wipe away the consequences. Yet I get to enjoy his presence and help through the painful consequences that my actions caused. He doesn’t leave me alone. He lovingly walks beside me through the pain. He heals, comforts, and guides me on the right path. Nothing is wasted in God’s kingdom. Everything has a purpose. Even though there are consequences to the bad things I’ve done, there’s purpose and gain in the pain. I’m learning a better way as I wholeheartedly trust that there’s a plan and the plan is good. And that makes me happy.
You have not come to a physical mountain,to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12:18,21-24