From the back seat of the car, out my window, I watch London concrete and skyline blur into verdant hills punctuated with white, wooly sheep. Weaving around farms, through dales and down high streets, we travel to the country before dusk. My mind and heart slow in the exhale of a commute to the Cotswolds for a writing retreat.

Behind me in the boot, next to a bag of books, computer and suitcase are cardboard boxes holding the delicate jewelry of two chandeliers; light fixtures potentially worth more than the car for which I am graciously being chauffeured.

“Do you want me to turn on my GPS?” I ask my friend behind the wheel and his wife holding a map.

I am travelling with third generation owners of Denton Antiques in Notting Hill, selling circa 1750-1900 masterpieces that once donned the walls and ceilings of castles and places of storybooks. A voyeur to the ways of a 100 year old family business boasting of clientele around the world, I am attempting to assist in finding the house of a client’s son tasked with selecting a chandelier his parents are buying for him.

He hasn’t made a decision yet and we’re in the area, so why not sample each antique light fixture in the room?

english estate_GT

His mother, the client, greets me in the driveway. I am surrounded by a stone wall, canopied by a walnut tree and flanked by flowers growing through cracks. A dog pokes his snout through the fence in welcome.

She tells me in the house where she grew up hangs one of Mrs. Crick’s chandeliers (how the business was known in the early years), one hangs in her house and now she’s delighted to carry on the tradition with her son and his wife. This gift of lighting up a dark room where her grandsons gather in the evening isn’t for a birthday, anniversary or special occasion.

She has helped her other children monetarily in the past when they have needed assistance but this son has been successful. He hasn’t asked for anything. She is celebrating his everyday successes.

Promotions, high marks, achieving top ranks – these are all worth cards, balloons, expensive dinners and uncorking fine labels from the cellar. But what about the ability to pay off debts, maintain a happy marriage, serve dinner every night to those around your table, listen to your children attentively, and remain faithful in the face of adversity?

Our smallness in the everyday graces of life are worth bringing into the light and celebrating.

Leaning on the door frame, I watch my friend attach glass arms, screw in light bulbs and connect wires from the top step of a ladder. As crystals dangle, rays of light from a large window pass through and illuminate delicate pieces. A tired room is transformed by the beauty of light refracted.

refract Light_GT

In refraction, the light changes its speed and wavelength but the frequency of light remains constant.

Back in London, in the display window of Denton Antiques, hangs the world’s most beautiful chandeliers and an open antique Bible, a book that has been in the window since the beginning. Every day, a page is turned so people passing by on foot can read about the Light.

In a million tiny ways, we refract Light to those around us. We take what is base to humanity and reassign meaning and value through daily choices. The amount of Light we have available never changes but what we do with the Light changes everything.

My friends are not just selling beautiful chandeliers to people with deep pockets; they are spreading the Light into dark places. One page at time; one every day choice to be faithful with what has been given.

And that’s worth celebrating, don’t you think?

How can you celebrate the everyday faithfulness of people today?








Shelly Miller / Posts / Blog
Shelly Miller is a veteran ministry leader and sought-after mentor on Sabbath-keeping. She leads the Sabbath Society, an online community of people who want to make rest a priority, and her writing has been featured in multiple national publications. Her first book, Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World, will release with Bethany House Publishers in the fall of 2016 with a second launching in 2017 with Lion Hudson. Find more of Shelly’s writing on her blog, Redemptions Beauty, and connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where she loves to share photos of the beautiful places she visits while living as a committed immigrant in London.
  • Sarah

    I love this, Shelly. The ability to GET dinner on the table every evening is worthy of celebration for sure. Great reminder….

    November 4th, 2015 7:59
    • Shelly Miller

      I think so too Sarah. I just walked from the tube station with dinner in my bag over my shoulder. Today, that feels like something to celebrate!

      November 4th, 2015 12:32
  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Shelly, this is such an exquisite and unique post. I love how you are sharing your new life with your American readers. And that I love England so much makes it all the more appealing to me. I find the English to be such hospitable people, and have been warmed by their light on four occasions and over the miles through phone calls and correspondence. I know you are finding this to be true as well…basking in the light of British hospitality. But these friends of yours–the antique dealers–know the true Light, and I love how they have spread it in their everyday work. The are lighting up the Light, Jesus, on the pages of His book, for all the world to see. There is nothing more hospitable than to share His light. And this line is worth the price of your post. 🙂 “The amount of Light we have available never changes but what we do with the Light changes everything.” We can do nothing but reflect His light, but too often I can cover my bushel. I love how you let the light with which He bathes you and which shines from your heart radiate to the world. Keep shining His light, Shelly! Keep being hospitable for Him!

    November 4th, 2015 8:40
    • Shelly Miller

      They are such lovely people and I’ve left out so much of the entire story for the sake of a blog post. My time in the Cotswolds has been magical — every time. Thanks for being here Lynn.

      November 4th, 2015 12:33
      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        Enough said. Ah . . . the Cotswolds….such beauty, such grace, such sweet, pristine streams.

        November 4th, 2015 16:13
  • Leah Adams

    I love that your friends have the Bible in the window and a page is turned every day. That blesses my heart in a thousand different ways. What a testimony! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post. Just beautiful.

    November 4th, 2015 14:56
    • Shelly Miller

      Leah, you should know that people have come to faith through that little turning of the page every day. I often picture people standing outside the window during a commute being captivated by the story that brings life.

      November 5th, 2015 6:03
  • Jody Collins
    Jody Collins

    “What we do with the light changes everything.” Amen. Which is why my blog is Three Way Light… I don’t want just point out the good in others, I want to point out the God in others.
    You also do that well, my friend.

    November 4th, 2015 18:35
    • Shelly Miller

      I believe you accomplish your goal well Jody. Keep shining friend!!

      November 5th, 2015 6:04
  • Constance Ann Morrison

    Thanks for describing everything so well that I was able to be in UK with you.
    I’ve shared this post with the ladies who recently attended our church’s women’s retreat. I’m happy to be reminded of our retreat’s theme: lighthouses and light!

    November 4th, 2015 23:17
    • Shelly Miller

      Constance! I’ve actually sent you two emails and wonder if I have an old address for you. Email me at when you get this! I’m honored that you shared this with your ladies, blessed that it resonates with what God is already doing in and among you. Glad to see you here at Grace Table.

      November 5th, 2015 6:06
  • Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you, Shelly, for this engaging story! Also appreciate your beautifully-expressed metaphor about refracting the Light in simple, everyday ways to those around us. Just the thought of being a chandelier in my corner-room of the world makes me smile!
    My husband has a habit of over-tipping and giving tips to folks who don’t usually receive gratuities. You should see the looks on their faces–they light up! Steve tells them, “God bless you!” Sometimes he’s able to add more, sometimes not. But the light of Jesus within him is surely reflected in those he encounters this way!

    November 6th, 2015 11:03
  • Shelly Miller

    Nancy, generosity is one of the biggest ways to refract Light. I see it and experience it all the time, through little gestures and big acts of kindness, going above and beyond does something to the soul that cultivates faith. Your husband is bringing glory to God with his outrageous tips.

    November 7th, 2015 5:51
  • Caryn Christensen

    Hi Shelly! Just catching up on reading blogs this Saturday and so enjoyed reading this. I love the idea of refracting Light in “small” ways for “small” victories. “Promotions, high marks, achieving top ranks – these are all worth cards, balloons, expensive dinners and uncorking fine labels from the cellar. But what about the ability to pay off debts, maintain a happy marriage, serve dinner every night to those around your table, listen to your children attentively, and remain faithful in the face of adversity?”
    I enjoy sending my girls what my aunt refers to as a “Happy” ~ a random gift such as a Starbucks card, a few extra dollars to spend on themselves, or a book they’ve been wanting. Sometimes it’s in celebration of something they’ve accomplished, but more often, it’s just to let them know I’m thinking of them. Their “Happy” is always a surprise and I wait in anticipation to hear their delight via a text or call.
    Thank you for this sweet reminder to celebrate the small. 🙂

    November 7th, 2015 9:43
  • Shelly Miller

    I love sending cards to my girl and I haven’t done that in awhile. Thanks for the reminder. It doesn’t surprise me that you enjoy doing this with your kids because you are such an encourager Caryn.

    November 9th, 2015 16:07

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