Pretty Dishes

Found on Pinterest from zanzaire.tumblr.com

Found on Pinterest from zanzaire.tumblr.com

Beauty

The word calms me somehow.

I thought that it sounded silly or superficial.

On Facebook you inevitably end up with an advertisement for a free personality test. I ignored these for years. Eventually I stumbled into one and found out that according to Myers-Briggs I am an ISFJ. For those of you who don’t know this translates to tell me that I am introverted as opposed to extraverted, inspired by the five senses rather than intuitive, feeling as opposed to analytical and what they call judging vs. perception. The last of these being less clear that the other means that I believe that there are absolutes, like truth, right, wrong, etc.

This would not seem to have anything to do with today’s topic, except that ISFJ’s apparently are strongly motivated by a love of beauty. My next statement will blow the whole hypothesis, however.

I love dishes.

The hole in the hypothesis is that my sister also love dishes and she is an INFJ.

We come from a long matrilineal line of dish collectors.

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I probably can’t blame the dishes on my personality, unless it is inherited.Might there be a gene that brings about a deep fondness for eating on pretty plates? If such a gene exists I have it.

I don’t actually have that many dishes, but what I have I consciously choose from and rotate them for each meal. I only once served regular meals on paper plates and that was because of a kitchen remodel that denied me a kitchen sink.

Ready to have my friends for tea

Ready to have my friends for tea

Each ordinary evening I set out the pretty plates on a cloth tablecloth. The food, be it ever so humble, tastes much better with a candle lit and coordinating tablescape. Even if I am exhausted and we only eat frozen meals, the pretty tea-pot, mugs and matched flatware, candle and cloth napkins are present. It creates a sense of calm. The dinner topics may end up political, ugh, but I created a soothing atmosphere to start the meal.

Dishes tell us something about not only our desire for beauty and order. They also speak to our sense of priorities. I value relationships highly. Part of my desire to focus on relationships is played out in the sharing of a leisurely meal with those I love.

All day long I fight the clock to accomplish as much as possible from my Opportunities List (To Do List). When I place dinner on the table I am setting aside the clock for an hour. I am prioritizing people over tasks. I am trying to make ordinary memories.

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We begin with prayer. The meal is sacred. It is a family event for us and God, who is present with us.

I do not earn a pleasant dinner. It matters not how far I have come that day. It is a benediction, a blessing. We offer thanks for the food and with that I offer myself up to God and those I love. The scones may have been too crumbly. The stir-fry might be bland or the rice in a bit of a clump. Grace isn’t just what we call the blessing, it is what we are offered. God gives me grace as cook and so does my family. It doesn’t need to be special.

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Each day is a gift and every dinner comes with pretty dishes.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

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On a Cold, Winter’s Day

"By the Fireside " by George Smith 1858

“By the Fireside ” by George Smith 1858

Robert Burns

Robert Burns

A Fireside Read William Mulready, RA 1786-1863

A Fireside Read
William Mulready, RA 1786-1863

 

It is Burns’ Night. That seems like a strange way to introduce this blog post. But it is January 25. Robert Burns was born this night 256 years ago. I forgot about it being Burns’ birthday for most of the day. I had the feeling there was something about January 25th and then I remembered. I usually make a somewhat Scottish meal on this night and then I read some Burns poetry and listen to his music. I am neither of Scottish heritage nor interested in the usual drink I drink tea but I do enjoy his poetry and music. I like poetry and music-period.

I happen to have a pork loin roasting in the oven with apples, that just happens to be what I made for dinner tonight. I think with some mashed potatoes and green beans it will serve the purpose nicely; and of course a good pot of tea and a recording of some Burns tunes. The Burns connection that really challenges me as I have chocolate chip cookies. I made them yesterday and they’re quite nice today and yet I feel like I should make some oatmeal cookies that seems more Scottish. For all those eating haggis and downing a wee dram with his Burns all I can say is to each his own.

We are in the middle of a two-pronged snowstorm? Yesterday we were lavished and thick white snow. This afternoon it rained. Now it is merely gray. But that seems suitably Scottish.

Burns is by no means my favorite poet. That honor belongs to John Keats. But Burns was born on January 25 and that is the perfect time to have some sort of celebration with all the Christmas festivities being done and over and there being nothing in sight but gray clouds. And Burns did write some lovely little pieces. A rosebud by my early walk comes first to my mind, as my Rose Bud is curled up companionably on my lap. Oh yes, that’s why I celebrate Burns night. A cold night outside being counteracted by the aroma of the roast and a soft cat to curl up beside you while you wait on dinner -that is my idea of a good January evening. Add in a little poetry, music and tea and you have a comforting evening of peace.

A Rose-bud by my early walk,
Adown a corn-enclosed bawk,
Sae gently bent its thorny stalk,
All on a dewy morning.

Ere twice the shades o’ dawn are fled,
In a’ its crimson glory spread,
And drooping rich the dewy head,
It scents the early morning.

Within the bush her covert nest
A little linnet fondly prest;
The dew sat chilly on her breast,
Sae early in the morning.
She soon shall see her tender brood,
The pride, the pleasure o’ the wood,
Amang the fresh green leaves bedew’d,
Awake the early morning.

So thou, dear bird, young Jeany fair,
On trembling string or vocal air,
Shall sweetly pay the tender care
That tents thy early morning.
So thou, sweet Rose-bud, young and gay,
Shalt beauteous blaze upon the day,
And bless the parent’s evening ray
That watch’d thy early morning.