Lovely Leftovers

Lovely Leftovers

Happy New Year, friends! Hopefully, you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season celebrating Christmas, and the launch of 2021!

Speaking of 2021…

Have you heard the phrase “New Year, New You”? It’s a catchy little quip that is meant to inspire new goals, resolutions, and lots of do-better ideas. It even sounds encouraging and uplifting. Hooray for uplifting words!

But let us ponder the reality of flipping over a calendar page and instantly finding a new year compared to waking up to a new YOU on January 1st. If only it were that simple, right? Let’s imagine that we went to bed on December 31 weighing a certain number and we woke up on January 1 weighing 50 pounds less. Woo-hoo! New Year, New You! That’s like pushing the red “Easy Button” at Staples. Bam! That was EASY!

But reality is quite different, isn’t it?

Most of us flipped the calendar to January 1st with optimism and ease. But here we are...10 days into this new year...and are you a new you yet? I’m not. Our resolutions and goals are still fresh and we are implementing new habits and routines to help us work toward achieving those new-you goals...but in reality, you are still you, and I am still me, and they are still them, and this is still this, and that is still that.

We carried ourselves and everything about us into the new year. It sure is much easier to flip the calendar to a new year than it is to flip ourselves into that “New You.”

You know what else we carried with us into the new year? Leftovers. Pretty much everything that was on our “plate” on Thursday, December 31 was still on our plate when we woke up on Friday, January 1.

Seeing January on our calendar instead of December didn’t fix our problems. Flipping the calendar to a new page didn’t wash away our struggles, our heartaches, our challenging relationships. Writing “2021” on our documents did not stop a divorce, or a business loss, or an illness.

We all brought some “leftovers” into the new year. Oh, perhaps we have a renewed commitment to eating healthy and exercising, or getting out of debt, or speaking more positive words and being less negative - and those are all fabulous things to pursue, but for most of us, our life on January 1 looked very similar to how it looked on December 31.

Most likely, we all carried some leftovers into 2021. But guess what? Leftovers are often better than a fresh original!

Have you ever baked a lasagna and enjoyed it that evening, and then had another piece the next day and thought to yourself, “Mmmm, this lasagna tastes SO much better today!”? The flavors had time to mingle and blend, and it tasted even better on Day 2 than it did fresh out of the oven.

And can we take a moment to give a shout-out to leftover, second-day hair? I don’t know about you, but it takes me 10x longer to do my hair when it’s freshly washed. But on the next day, that “leftover” hair is a breeze to style! It’s like a whole new head of hair!

We had baked ham for Christmas dinner, then we had ham sandwiches the next day with the leftovers. Then, I cubed a bunch of the ham and added it to a homemade quiche, and lastly, I put the remaining ham bone into a big stock pot and simmered it all day into a savory ham soup. We stretched our leftovers into the next week, and each meal was delicious!

Leftovers...they can be lovely at times, can’t they? Evilena’s Red Dresser has an abundance of lovely “leftovers” for sale in the store! Perhaps a family downsized, and they had beautiful furniture leftover from a large home, and it just doesn’t fit or match with their new space. It was a leftover that they consigned with Evilena’s, and it will become the PERFECT new piece in someone else’s home! Often, items will come into the shop after an estate sale. A consignor will tell us, “These are all the leftovers. Maybe they can be of use to someone.” Well, YES, they certainly can! All of the items taken on consignment at Evilena’s still have a lot of life in them and a lot of love to give to a new owner.

That’s the amazing thing about shopping at Evilena’s - it’s a different store every day! Of course, you will always find the same high level of quality, the same caring customer service, and the same friendly staff, but the inventory changes every single day, even from hour to hour at times. Most items at Evilena’s are one-of-a-kind, and when it’s gone, it’s gone - so when you find something you love, grab it quickly! That’s the unique thing about leftovers - when they are gone, they’re gone. You can’t make “fresh leftovers.” You can make a new meal or buy a new thing, but then it takes time to turn it into a lovely leftover.

Do you know who is an expert with leftovers?

God, our heavenly Father, knows how to use leftovers. There is a story about leftovers in the Bible in the book of 2nd Kings, chapter 4. A widow with a young son inquired of the prophet Elisha. She told him about the loss of her husband, and she was now in dire straits. Creditors were breathing down her neck, and she was down to nothing but a small pot of oil in her kitchen pantry. Elisha told her to go and find as many bowls and containers as she could borrow from her neighbors. The woman did as she was told, and Elisha instructed her to start pouring that small amount of leftover oil into the various vessels and containers. She poured, and she poured, and she poured, and the oil just kept pouring! She told her son, “Quick! Go get more vessels!” Her son replied, “Mother, there are no more vessels to be had! The oil has filled every vessel we could find!” Then, Elisha told her to go and sell the oil and pay off the creditors, and live on the rest of the oil...the lovely leftovers... and that is exactly what she did! God blessed that tiny bit of oil and provided for a poor woman who saw no way out. She had leftover oil to support her for days and days!

There is a similar story in 1st Kings, chapter 4. Another widow mother was destitute in a time of drought and famine. While out gathering sticks one day to cook one last meal for herself and her son, she crossed paths with the prophet Elijah. He was traveling, and he asked her for a drink of water. As she went to fetch the water for him, he called out after her. “Oh, and while you’re at it, please bring me some bread, too.”

(This is one of those stories where I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see the woman’s face at that moment!)

She called back to him, “Sir, as God is my witness, I do not have any bread for you. In fact, I only have a handful of meal left in my barrel, and a tiny bit of oil in a cruse. I am out here gathering these two sticks so that I may make ONE LAST MEAL for me and my son. I will prepare it, then we will eat it and die.”

All she had was a bit of leftovers - just enough for two small servings. What could anyone possibly make from that? Her situation looked most bleak. Then, Elijah replied to her saying, “Fear not; go and do what you planned to do, but make a little cake for me first, and then go make the meal for you and your son.”

Seriously? She was already down to her last handful of food, and the prophet asked her to eat whatever is leftover AFTER she first makes food for him. Sounds a bit rude, does it not? But God had a plan for those leftovers…

Elijah continued talking to her. “The Lord God of Israel has told me that your barrel of meal shall not run out, and you will not run out of oil, until the rain falls again on the earth.”

And that is exactly what happened. She baked a little cake for the prophet, and then she and her son ate for many days after, and the “leftovers” never ran out, until the drought ended, and she was able to provide for her family again.

Oh yes, my friend, God knows exactly what to do with leftovers! Those leftovers that you carried with you from 2020 into 2021 - give them to God and see what He can do with them!

In the New Testament, we see in John chapter 6 that Jesus also knew what to do with leftovers. After the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000, the scriptures tell us that Jesus “gathered up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” From those fragments, he filled twelve baskets of food - one basket for each disciple.

Jesus saw the value in the fragments that remained - in the leftovers - and he deemed it important that nothing be lost. He sustained the lives of others with those fragments, those lovely leftovers. Jesus saw a purpose in those leftovers, and He sees beauty in your leftovers, as well.

Just as Jesus saw value in the leftovers following his miracle-meal, and just as customers at Evilena’s Red Dresser see value in items deemed “leftovers” by consignors, there is value in the leftovers that you carried with you into 2021. We do not always need to throw out the leftovers. God is able to give your leftovers a legacy and a purpose.

Some situations are beyond our control. Sometimes all we can do is carry them into the next year with us. But just as we offered gratitude in November, may we give thanks to God for the “leftovers” that accompanied us into 2021. Trust that God has a reason and a purpose for those leftovers. He knows what to do with your leftovers. Do not despair, my friend, when March and April come around and some of those leftovers are still with you, or when you come to December 2021, and some situations are still “lingering leftovers.” God can be trusted to make something beautiful from your leftovers. Trust Him. He loves you, and He has a good plan for your leftovers. Wrap them up in hope and humility, and hand them to Him in prayer, and then watch and see what divine purpose He brings to those fragments that remain. He wastes nothing. Your leftovers are lovely to Him when they are surrendered to Him in trust and faith!

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

In this new year of 2021, we at Evilena’s Red Dresser would like to get to know you better! The previous year was one of isolation and disconnection, of change and distance from one another. We have been brainstorming ideas and collaborating more ways to connect with you this year. Our business is built on relationships, and we want to introduce you to the people who make Evilena’s Red Dresser the unique place that it is! Stay tuned for some virtual meet & greet events, and some fun ways to get to know our staff, consignors, and customers. Watch our Facebook and Instagram pages for new & interactive posts. We are looking forward to seeing you and sharing interesting thoughts, ideas, and updates with you. As we journey together through 2021, please share with us what God is doing with your “lovely leftovers” and new adventures!

We are excited about all the wonderful things ahead in 2021! As always, THANK YOU for your support and for shopping at Evilena’s Red Dresser!

Happy New Year & God bless you throughout this year!

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