Friday, November 6, 2009

Changing focus

I am one of a group of eight women called "The Birthday Girls." Okay, "girls" is a bit of a stretch, since we're all in our 40's and 50's, but somehow "The Birthday Women" just doesn't have the same zing. Anyway, we started getting together regularly several years ago when we all had kids starting high school. Those same kids are now in college, and we've leaned on one another for support a lot through the years, but we've also had lots of fun.

One of the most fun things we do is to have lunch together to celebrate each woman's birthday. We used to meet at a restaurant and give one another elaborate gifts. This year, we've scaled back a bit--we're now meeting in one another's homes for salad potlucks and we're sticking to a spending maximum of $5 for gifts. The scale-back is good for our wallets, and we have just as much fun as we used to.

Today I had the chance to host the group for lunch. As I was setting the table for the six of us who could come to today's luncheon, I was whining to myself that I don't have any pretty fallish napkins. My dishes are white, and my best napkins are white, and I had myself a little pity party as I looked at all that whiteness. I even thought briefly about running out to see if I could find some inexpensive seasonal napkins. And then it occurred to me that although my napkins were white, I had plenty of colored ribbon. You know what I mean. I know that y'all have a stash of ribbon, too. So I cut lengths of pretty green ribbon and tied some around each white napkin. Each place setting looked like this:

Actually, the green ribbon looked kind of nice with the silk flower arrangement I had made:

This photo shows the whole table:

You can probably guess what happened. As my friends and I were taking our places at the table, one of them exclaimed: "Look at these napkins! How cute!" There followed a conversation about what I had done with the ribbon and just how I had achieved that look.

It surprised me that the thing about which I was complaining and with which I was just "making do" was one of the hits of the party. Later, as I was washing the dishes, it occurred to me that I was looking at the napkin situation all wrong. And I wondered how often I do this with other things in my life. How often do I grouse and complain about all the things I want but don't have? And while I'm complaining, am I stopping to be thankful for all the wonderful things I DO have?

During this season of giving thanks, I think I need to change my focus. I think I need to change the lens through which I'm viewing things and choose to be thankful for all of God's abundant provisions rather than focusing on the things I don't have. So I'm going to make a concerted effort to do just that. Here's a first try:

"As I was setting my table for today's birthday lunch, I was reminded how much I enjoy my versatile white dishes. They truly go with anything! And I just love to use these snowy-white napkins. I received this as a gift several years ago, and they're so luxurious. . . and, as an added bonus, I can always bleach them if they become too soiled! So they're practical as well as pretty. To make them a bit more fallish, I tied a bit of green ribbon around each one. My guests loved the look, and the honoree of the lunch told me that the table setting made her feel special."

How's that for looking at the same situation with a little different focus?

How about you? Is there anything in your life that you need to view a bit differently? Join me this month as we try to do that together.


marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

The table looks lovely and what a thrill to have so many friends together. I also really love the ribbons on the napkins. Hugs, Marty

Sherri S said...

What a wonderful lesson! Yes, to me it was a lesson, a reminder to me. The table is lovely and as I posted earlier this week, when my table wasn't fully set with everything...the guests and my family won't recall having to grab their own silverware from the drawer. But they will remember good food, laughter and fun! Sometimes we ALL get too caught up in the 'look' when it's really all about how we make someone FEEL that counts. ;-)

southerninspiration said...

I couldn't agree more, my friend. It looks very special and you added just that touch to make it seasonal! GrEat job!


Trez said...

What great insight! Check out my blog if you get a chance and give me some pointers!

Graceful said...

I am dying to sit at that beautiful table!!

And yes, 'tis the season (almost) to feel like we need more, more more! I will be writing about this struggle a lot in the coming month, too! Thanks for stating it so well.

nannykim said...

Great idea!! Lately I have just been so thankful--I wake up in the middle of the night and start thanking God for so many different things. God has just been opening my eyes to so many little and big things that I am so thanful for.

Carmen said...

What a lovely post. Thank you for reminding me. It's so easy to do what you did with the napkins and dishes. I'm glad you realized that you have so much to be thankful for. So do I. And your table looked fabulous! I think the ribbon was the PERFECT touch!

Melissa Miller said...

~Gorgeous table and well written post! You are so right.

It's a wonderful blog you have here. I enjoyed my first visit. I'll be back often.

I've displayed your lovely button on my sidebar.

Many Blessings, ~Melissa :)

melissa * 320 Sycamore said...

Oh, I need to remind myself of this everyday! A beautiful lesson, my friend~

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