The Vessel: To leak or not to leak

Pitchers - 1

The very first gift Renaissance Man ever gave me.




They’re large and small. Short and tall. They’re utilitarian and versatile. Some even show off their sexy curves.


Pitchers - 4

Click to see the entire tablescape: Say Cheese!

Pitchers - 3

Click to read Tablescaping on a Budget

Pitchers - 5

Click to see the original tablescape: Waking Up to White


I love them in all colors, but my heart skips a little beat in honor of the white and ivory ones—especially ironstone and creamware.

Pitchers - 2

Click to see the Pitcher Perfect tablescape I did for a Festival of Tables event.


In an area that once was part of our old house‘s back porch, I tucked a corner shelf (that once belonged to my grandparents)… and on it are displayed a few of my “colorless” prettties.


Pitchers - 6

This one is my favorite—even though it holds a secret.

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I realized the first time I filled it with water that a secret was the only thing it would hold.


All around the outside of the pitcher, right at the water line, there appeared little glistening droplets of water. The beautiful pitcher had sprung leaks.


And so each time I want to fill it with flowers, I keep its secret by tucking in a small jar for the water.

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I remembered that leaky surprise the other day when I read this quote…


The unsoundness of a vessel is not seen when it is empty; but when it is filled with water, then we shall see whether it will leak or no. It is in our prosperity that we are tested. Men are not fully discovered to themselves till they are tried by fullness of success. Praise finds pride, wealth reveals selfishness, and learning discovers the leak of unbelief. Success is the crucible of character. Hence the prosperity which some welcome as an unmixed favor may far more rightly be regarded as an intense form of test. O Lord, preserve us when we are full as much as when we are empty.

Charles Spurgeon


 Prosperity. The fullness of success.


Many of us who hang out here at My Place first met while playing in the (overabundant) dishes or laundering (closets full of) vintage linens. Prosperity leaks from our “stuff.”


Over the past few months, while becoming more and more familiar with some of the families attending our church’s neighborhood supper, I’ve often found myself in that “crucible of character.” Wealth rubbing shoulders with poverty. Security of home standing in stark contrast to threatened eviction.


Transportation needs—indefinitely.


Clothing needs


Hungry children


Someone to listen


Men (and women) are not fully discovered to themselves till they are tried by fullness of success.


Even though we’ve been downsizing our “stuff” and are eager to downsize our house, for some reason, this beautiful old house we live in is still for sale. Renaissance Man and I are sooooo ready to step closer to building a house at the farm, and yet—for now—here we are. And God is using the old house we love to continue ministering to our spirits… and the spirits of some of our neighbors.


Every day we seem to be drawn further out of our comfort zones and into a deeper experience of dirty faith.


A few weeks ago my kitchen was the site of a “you bake one/I bake one” lesson as I taught a young college student to bake her first pound cake—and listened to her story of childhood abuse. I learned the following week that (after returning home for the summer) she had baked a pound cake and taken it to a pot luck dinner at the ministry center where she once discovered the saving love of Jesus!


Cake - 1


And last week I heated up the oven again so a mother and young daughter could bake cupcakes for big brother’s birthday. Their oven wasn’t working. It’s like that when there’s not enough income to turn on the gas… but she smiled and said it’s amazing what you can cook in an electric skillet—just not cupcakes.


Cake - 2


Surrounded by my All-American prosperity, I’m trying to learn that there is no “us” and “them.” I don’t want pride or selfishness to define me. I don’t want to discover I have a leak of unbelief.


But I do want to leak.


As my Renaissance Man says in Dirty Faith,


I want to leak grace.


And so I pray with the hope of Charles Spurgeon… O Lord, preserve me when I am full as much as when I am empty. Make me into a vessel usable by You to serve those whom you love—lovely or unlovely.


In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.

(2 Timothy 2:21 MSG)


Sharing this at Pink Saturday @ How Sweet the Sound.


  1. A wonderful, meaningful post, Susan. Thank you so much for such good “food for thought.” xo Nellie

  2. Oh, my, Susan. The perfect timing of these words today. I cannot convey to you the reality. So very true. Success is the test.

    We’ve been counseling a young couple. Suffice it to say, God used yours and Charles Spurgeon’s words today. See, if we never write them, the one who needs them cannot read them.

    May I leak grace,

  3. What a vessel of light and love I see in you dear one!

  4. Susan, I haven’t visited in oh so very long, but I have your post e-mail notifications saved to inspire me to not miss any of your post. I know I will always find you here sharing your warm and giving heart and inspiring us to be thankful and give.

    My heart is pulled toward white ironstone and creamware, too. And, I will admit that a pound cake always tugs at my heart – and tempts my tastebuds. But, the sharing of heart and love with others is that which makes me smile most of all.