Friday, January 23, 2015

Good For Use

Thanks for stopping by! Grab a cup of tea. I have been doing a little cleaning so please forgive the mess. Let me tell you how it got started.

While reading a recent thread on a facebook page someone had commented on their tarnished silver and how it doesn't bother them. "Me, too", I thought. Then I started looking around at my silver pieces. I have quite a bit of it. I did not purchase most of it. I inherited it from my grandmother and great-grandmother. Life was different for them. Entertaining in their lives was something more formal and special. I can only imagine paper plates and red solo cups would have been a major social faux pas. My pieces are beautiful. I love the curves, the shine....

Some of my grandmother's and great-grandmother's silver.
This picture fills me with anxiety!

Well, truth be told I was missing the shine part but it doesn't bother me. Right? Wait, it didn't bother me. Of course, I haven't been using these pieces because they are tarnished. It is a big chore to clean all that silver. As I looked around at the rooms that have silver pieces the tarnish started to bother me- rreeaallyy bother me. Ugh! Okay. Do I just like the tarnish because it is easier to live with than to get rid of? Hmm. I felt a lesson brewing but pushed forward. 

I pulled three pieces. I will start there. I grabbed the one piece that was almost black with tarnish.

 I know! Tarnish doesn't happen over night. It is weeks and months of dust and dirt left unchecked. That is really bad for silver, blah, blah, blah. I know! I had some leftover Twinkle hiding somewhere from that last time I got this crazy urge. I also found some Tarn-x but couldn't remember why I bought it since the bottle was still pretty full. When I opened the bottle and poured some out it became abundantly clear! That stuff STINKS!! What is in there? I will stick with the Twinkle.

That first dish took me over an hour to clean up. It was that nasty. I was talking to myself the whole time; chastising myself for allowing such corrosion to take place and not keeping it in check with regular cleanings. As I rubbed and the black lifted I could see glimpses of shininess that kept me motivated but I was thinking maybe I will just get this one piece done for the day- that will be enough. There has to be an easier way than this. After rinsing out my sponge more times than I cared to count I finally washed the piece off and buffed it up with a dry towel. It was not as clean as I had thought. I had to repeat the process several times before it really was clean.

I could now see my reflection! Yay!  Now the real beauty of the piece shined forth! Why had I let it get so bad? The true beauty of the piece is really only seen when my reflection can be seen in it. Not that the reflection of my image is of any importance but at this point I am keenly aware that I am being taught a lesson here. I grabbed more silver!

I searched the internet (think Pinterest) and found a recipe for cleaning silver. I lined a plastic tub in tin foil, added 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda and filled the tub with hot water. Stir it a bit to dissolve the salt and soda. I put some spoons, a julep cup and some plates into the water. I thought that the smell that was coming from the plastic tub was similar to the bottle of Tarn-x. It is not quite as bad but it is there. Ten minutes in the tub, rinse with warm water and buff up with an old, soft t-shirt. That did work wonderfully but on the really bad pieces there are not short cuts. I grabbed more silver. I got about 1/3 of the pieces clean and will work on more today.

Two hot chocolate cups-one dirty one clean.

So much better clean!

One days fruit!

Tarnish is corrosive. It can cause pitting that cannot be removed. I am sorry to say there was one piece that was damaged to that point. During the cleaning I was repeatedly reminded of truth. When I do not go to Christ Jesus with my sin-dust and dirt- regularly it tends to build up. I lie to myself that is easier to live with the yuck than to submit to the cleansing. Over time the beauty He has given me is not easily seen. But, He is faithful to bring me to a place where I am bothered by the ugliness just as I was bothered when I really looked at my silver. Then He begins the cleansing. He rubs and buffs through trials, prayer and His Word. Sometimes scars/pitting is left that is a reminder of my neglectfulness. When He has finished the image that is reflected is his own then the true beauty and worth of His piece shines forth and is good for use. How long did I sit this time covered in tarnish being of no use to my King? His mercies are new every day and today I am ready for use.

With all this silver sparkling clean I am admiring the beauty. I think I will linger here for a bit over a cup of tea before getting back to work.  I am glad you stopped by today. Thanks for the visit.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Better Late

Okay, it has taken me every bit of three weeks but I finally got my Christmas stuff put away. Well, mostly put away. The icicle lights are still hanging off the gutters on the front porch but they can wait. It is cold out there and I am not into self torture.

For the past ten years we have hosted an annual Christmas party with two other home school families. It began when the children we much younger. We don't meet with either family for school anymore but the children insisted we still had to have the party. "It's tradition!", This year's (or can I now say last year's) Christmas party was delayed due to illness (I had a flu bug) and the next available date for everyone was not until the first week in January.

Typically, I like to have everything down and put away on New Year's Day. As a home school mom people get the impression that we have an abundant amount of time to get things like that done but the truth is -at least my truth is- I don't have time to spend a whole day taking things apart, packing them up and then dragging it all up the pull-down stairs to the attic, to speak nothing of the vacuuming and dusting afterwards. It is also a lot easier to get things to the attic with Mr.'s help. We needed to be ready to dive back into full-time school work January 2nd. With that all in mind I started taking things down and packing them away the morning of January 1st and as soon as my girls realized what I was doing they started whining like four-year-olds. No offense to four-year-olds. So some things made it to the attic but most of the stuff got left out for the belated Christmas party.

I mused that at least the menu could be a little more sophisticated since they are all getting older and their palates are more mature. Ha! I verbalized that to one mom and then an email came from the other mom expressing the her children were so excited about having our annual pizza puffs! Really?! My girls concurred, of course. "Mom (insert whiny voice here), we have to have to have pizza puffs! (Say it with me.....) It's tradition!" I can hear Tevya from Fiddler On The Roof singing right now! So pizza puffs and gingerbread cake it was. I did manage to sneak in a different punch with no complaints.

The party was a success. It was nice to hold onto Christmas a little longer. The girls were right. Keeping things up did lend to a festive atmosphere. The children used to play games like snowball fight in my kitchen. No.....not real snowballs! We would used wadded up tissue paper and there was a line across the center of the room. Whichever team ended up with the least amount of snowballs on their side of the room at the buzzer won the match. My kitchen is not huge but when they were little it was fine. As they got older the thought of them being able to play like that in the kitchen seemed comical as just having us all stand in the kitchen made it crowded. We also used to do colonial dancing with the kids. Now, before you roll your eyes you should know that the kids liked it. Really. The girls used to dress up when we would take them to Sturbridge Village, they liked it! Really!

Now we settle for less physically active games. The kids enjoy talking and reminiscing about "the good old days". It was fun for us as moms to listen to their recollections of Christmases past. As moms who teach at home we often wonder if we are doing everything they need. Conversations that day served to assure me that what we have done at home has been worthwhile. I don't know how many more of these parties we have in our future as the children grow, go off to college and move on from childhood things. In the grand scheme of things waiting an extra week (or three) to pack things away really was not a big sacrifice. One day is coming when thoughts trying to get my home in order while schooling and living in a transition mess will be forgotten.  What will remain are the memories of laughter, excited chatter, carols sung, children dancing and the joy of just spending time celebrating the blessings we have because of what God has given us.