October 31, 2013

The View From Here: Abundance

Happy Halloween!
Your treat today comes from someone who doesn't even celebrate the occasion.

She is Lizzi of Considerings. Lizzi doesn't celebrate Halloween because
it's not big across the pond in England.

Do you know what she IS big on? Gratitude.
Lizzi hosts the Ten Things of Thankful link-up I often participate in these days.

Her post today is sort of an extension of that.


I thought I’d take the prompt at its word, and literally describe for you, my view from here.

‘Here’ being on my sofa (right-hand end, so I have the arm of it for the mouse) with my laptop on my lap, a blanket over my legs, and my feet up on the coffee table (ankles beginning to ache from lack of cushioning there).

As I scan the room and listen to the rain beating down outside, and catch the occasional flash of lightning from the storm which has been pouncing around the South of England this evening, like a cat chasing a laser light, the thing I see most is abundance.


Because this month, due to administrative goofs on behalf of the council (who are very happy that I’ve gone back to work and received a paycheck for the last week of last month; so much so that they’ve cancelled all of non-working-because-signed-off-sick Husby’s financial support. All of it. And we had less than £250 to pay all the bills and rent this month. Which was just never going to happen.) we would’ve been homeless, or at the very least, up shit creek with no paddle, were it not for the endless generosity of WonderAunty and my Mum, who keep finding the resources to bail us out.

Yet here I sit, surrounded by luxuries.

Indoors, with a roof over my head, rather than out in that storm.

Wrapped in a snuggly, fleecy blanket, rather than shivering in sodden, old clothes.

Typing on my laptop, rather than just crying out to whosoever would listen, because my voice, at least, is free.

Secure in the knowledge that once the administrative goof is fixed, and the next couple of paychecks are received, we’ll be fine.

So in spite of all the challenge and added stress, I’m bloody lucky to have so very much.

Therefore, I thought I’d take you on a slightly whimsical ‘tour’ of some of the ‘stuff’ I have, and why it means so much to me (and yes, I’m WAY too into ‘stuff’, and not good at separating out from the ‘having’ of it –  let’s leave that for a more existential post another day, ‘kay?)

Table – Blond pine, extendable (by way of flaps you add onto the ends), beautifully carved legs, and a large burn on top, courtesy of the previous owners (whose flambéd Christmas pudding got a bit exuberant one year, and leaped off the plate onto the table, melting through the tablecloth and creating a large char due to the burning brandy). Husby and I both wanted a BIG table when we moved in (so we could sit our future family around it and have mealtimes together, yaknow?) and we searched for ages for a suitable one, finally discovering this one on a second-hand advertising site for £10. We rang the guy, he accepted our offer, we went to pick it up in my little car one afternoon (thus reconfirming my theory that you can fit ANYTHING into a Ford Fiesta) and brought it proudly back to the new flat we were just moving into, where we stood it on end, proudly, in the bath, while the walls in the living room were painted. Every so often we still say to one another “I like making house with you” – and we mean it. The novelty of Being Grown-Up, and doing things like getting our own table, has not diminished entirely yet.

Wall-to-wall bookshelves – Custom-made for our end wall, and utterly beautiful, this gorgeous structure goes some way to satisfying the long-held yearning in my heart for my own reading room. Or library – whichever – I’m not picky. But it does need organising. And I’m aware of the large numbers of books still packed in bags and boxes around the house which need to be transferred! A job for Winter, methinks – one weekend when I’ve nothing on, and the house is warm, and I can put on some Christmas music and potter away, luxuriating in handling so many precious, words-like-oxygen books.

Inherited Pieces – All from treasured members of extended family, which helps me to remember them and be grateful I know or knew them, and that they have helped to shape my life, my story, my person, in positive ways. Our brass-lion-topped table, from my wonderful Grandad, who was the best babysitter a granddaughter could ever wish for, as he broke all the rules, played rowdy games, told us hilarious stories of his life as a fireman, and sang us to sleep at the end of it all. The glass-centred coffee table and the deco-style magazine rack from my Great Aunty and Uncle, after they’d both passed away. Her, one of the most glamorous, kind people you could hope to meet, and him, a lovely, friendly, courteous gentleman with a plethora of exciting stories of his time in the war as a mechanic. The sofa I sit on, a hand-me-down from my very stylish WonderAunty, after she moved house. This sofa has been with us since we got married, and has given us many hours of comfort and snuggledness.

The Fireplace – Okay, this one came with the house, but it has a gorgeous, carved mantel above it, and although it’s not functional (something to do with the chimney being cracked further up, and panic at the thought of poisonous fumes leaking into the household in the upstairs flat, which is fair enough) it was a desire of my heart to have a fireplace. And a larder (which, although I can’t see from here, I know is there, in the kitchen, being wonderful).

Husby’s Geek-station – A folding table and shelves over, which can serve as a base for his workstation or his computer, as the mood takes him. Smart swivel-chair and big headphones, as well as drawers full of paints and brushes and whatever-else-it-is-these-creative-modelling-types-use, all serve to keep him (largely) entertained and occupied and enjoying his hobbies.

Wedding photos – to serve as reminders of what we chose. To remind us that there were two young, naïve, optimistic, happy people who got us into this. And to remind us that we should try to turn ourselves back into those kinds of people (albeit older and wiser and with fewer unrealistic expectations).

Lanterns – all shapes and kinds. Because I do love a good lantern (especially if I can’t have a fire). Lately my most colourful favourite was used to house two candles in memory of our two Neverborns, and the patterns it cast were utterly gorgeous, as have been the effects of their tiny lives on us, in terms of shaping us for the better (though work is still very much in progress).

Water bottle – cos I’m meant to try to stay hydrated. Cos I’m pretty bad at it, and I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy to suddenly remember at 5pm that I’ve not drunk since breakfast at 7am. At least, not as many days as I manage it.

Fish tank – with all my lovely fishbabies in. And, er, a reasonable amount of gunk around the edges. And newly chucked-in aquatic snails from the other tank, because looking after two tanks was ridiculous, the snails kept dying, and really they should earn their keep by helping to eat the algae in the fishtank. They better damn well do! But I’m very pleased that nearly 6 months after installing the tank (or is it less?) every single fish is still alive and swimming.And getting bigger and beautifuller. I am very happy with them.

Last but not least

Laptop – decorated (badly) on its lid with rhinestones, this beautiful machine is our source of entertainment (we like to watch DVD series, as we have no television (on purpose)) and the source of my wonderful connection to so many friends around the world, not to mention my writing enabler and my lap-warmer (thanks, nice battery). If I could only save one thing in a fire...

So there you have it – a whistle-stop tour of some of my ‘trappings’, and a list of Ten very good reasons that I should be a little more thankful each day, rather than griping about challenges. I am blessed with abundance. I have plenty.

You know I am all in favor of recognizing what we have, rather than what we have not.
Lizzi is a girl after my own heart like that.

When you head over to her Blog, I challenge you to NOT
hear her words in your head in a British accent. I can't do it.

Lizzi can also be found on Facebook and Twitter,
but be sure to leave her a comment before you go see!

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