Sunday, May 16, 2010

Above, Below, Over, Under, and Beside

I spent the last eleven years teaching college freshman Composition and upperclassmen Writing for Publication and News Writing. Basically, I showed students how to manipulate English words to capture their reader's attention and make a point. A good designer does the same thing with space.

Remember the prepositions-of-place, words like:
above, below, against, behind, around, beside, between, in, on, over, under, through, without and within?

Well, good designers fill these spaces with interesting, artful objects. Wouldn't our homes be empty without pictures on walls and objects in shelving?

Often it is the "above" and "below" spots which are forgotten.

Below the sideboard and above the corner cupboard in my dining room are hand-painted Chinese wedding boxes. Chinese wedding boxes are the hope chests of the East. Actually, young women in the West borrowed the custom from their eastern sisters, because in China, the hope chest is over a thousand years old.

Although many Chinese wedding boxes were made from wood which was then lacquered, mine are made of a sturdy cardboard. I couldn't resist buying them when I spied them in an antique store window, because they are the colors of my dining room. I am not sure how old they are, but they are a set--one larger than the other.

Another room with "above" spaces is the kitchen. I hung antique copper molds in my kitchen to add a warm sparkle to the space above the cabinets. The small copper molds were used for making chocolate candy, while the larger molds were for steaming pudding. Below the copper molds is a copper sterilizer used by the first woman graduate of the University of Virginia medical school.

I think that the impact of these copper pieces is heightened by two larger copper containers on either side.

On the right, above my refrigerator is a large copper apple butter kettle. The large copper kettles held between 20 and 40 gallons. Needless to say, it took hours for that many apples combined with cider to slow cook until the sugar in the apples caramelized, especially over coals outside!

On the left of the copper molds is an English, covered coal hod or scuttle. These decorative receptacles held a supply of coal for a fire. Made of brass or copper, they came into vogue in the late-eighteenth century.

Below the coal hod, I display a collection of copper coffee and tea pots, as well as a sugar and a creamer. The whole vignette gives a warm glow to my kitchen.

In this Sunday post, let me share some biblical prepositions-of-place with you from the Psalms. I hope these truths give a warm glow to your heart as they do to mine.

King David, in Psalm 16, says, "...because the Lord is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." In Psalm 139, David thanks the Lord for being behind, before, above, and below him. "O Lord...You both precede and follow me, and place your hand of blessing on my head...I can never get away from my God! If I go up to heaven, you are there. If I go are there."

How comforting to know the Lord is beside, before, behind, above and below us.


  1. A great reminder. I'll be looking through my how I am doing from this perspective. Your copper collection is beautiful.

    What wonderful verses to tie into this post.

    Have a wonderful day.

    Becky K.
    Hospitality Lane

  2. Maurie, thank you for stopping by & chiming in on the Real man discussion. Sounds like you have a gem of a man too. We are blessed to have them!

  3. I like that distinction. Thanks for the examples, really great!

  4. It is nice to come across a blog with mention of our Great Father in Heaven. Huge Blessing to you my dear! Meranda