Saturday, January 24, 2015

Softly and Tenderly


Please click on the arrow and listen to the beautiful singing.

I was quite encouraged while waiting in the Melbourne airport at Tullamarine, by the beautiful instrumentals playing distinctly the songs "Softly and Tenderly,",  "I Come to the Garden Alone," "Lord I'm Coming Home" and "Precious Memories."

I got homesick for Hobby Lobby. ;-)  It sounded like the same playlist, and had the same calming effect.

Welcome

Island Sunset by Randy Van Beek, from Allposters.com

If this web-log is new to you, I would like to invite you to read About This Blog  and The Purpose of This Blog.  If you have questions, you really need to read those two posts, so please click on the links now.

For all others, I want to welcome you as  visitors to my home and I especially want to thank other bloggers for the generous sharing they do online, and the benefits their web-logs bring to me and to others.

Lydia


Friday, January 23, 2015

Back to My Little Corner of the World


       
                                    Tea set from http://www.cakestandheaven.com 

Hello Dear Ladies, 

I am back to the normal work of the home and have been looking on our eBay and other places for some of the china I saw while in Victoria. The patterns are not available in the US and seem impossible to have sent here.  However, there are a number of pretty china patterns available here such as the set seen in the above photo from Cake Stand Heaven.

Due to many changes in the house (shifting things around, unpacking, re-arranging, uncluttering, etc) things are not as orderly as I would like, but in the midst of it all I have a little space for any visitor or family member to stop and relax and maybe have a cup of tea.  

Maybe you would like to join me today, as I would like to share some thoughts with you. I hope you will share your thoughts back, also, by leaving a comment.




http://www.amazon.com/Brompton-Rose-Fine-Bone-China/dp/B00CJD9MVE

 The boxed set is quite lovely and would be a nice thing to give someone who is resting at home and needs a little extra TLC for some reason or other.




As most of you probably know, a return home can mean a fresh new outlook on life and maybe even arriving at solutions to old, puzzling problems.  Jesus was loved by many and hated by others. He knew the value of retreating to a quiet and private place.  Homemakers need their own privacy, so their minds can rest and renew and get more clarity in their thinking.


One of the things I have been thinking about that may be of interest to some of my readers is the problem of the Christian lady and tale-bearing.  Please do not think I am referring to any person or anyone's personal situation. Because the pattern of a tale-bearer is so familiar, it may sound like I am talking about your situation.

One of the things I want to make an effort to do is not to allow tale-bearers, wolves, Jezebels, haters, and trolls to control my web-log and the articles I write, or the "real life" wolves to destroy my sense of well-being. As I have been researching how to effectively handle haters of what is good, true and lovely, I came across a lot of good articles and books that were already written on these subjects, and I want to share some things that might be helpful to others, whether they are blogging or just want to get something done at home without the interference of jealous, malicious people.

Two of the books that I have read so far are:

"Pastor Abuse: When Sheep Attack the Shepherd", by Ken Crockett, and "When Do I Cry Wolf" by Steven Catt.

The first book reveals the tactics of trolls, wolves, critics or whatever you want to call them, which is to demoralize, divide and defeat any good work that is going on. They begin by telling you it is no good and you might as well give up because everyone is against you. Nothing has changed since the days of Nehemiah when his detractors tried to get the workers to quit building the walls of Jerusalem by telling them the walls were too weak and the job would never be completed. 

The second book gives some rather pointed examples of the way wolves and Jezebels work in any group, whether it be the city council, a gardening club, a family endeavor, a public person, a career, a church, or a business. People reading this book will see a pattern of destruction, beginning with turning what was once a friendly meeting into a long, arduous, miserable argument that discourages everyone from continuing.

If you look up "the tactics of demoralization" on the web, you will clearly see how the troll or the wolf uses the pattern to destroy confidence and divide people so that the hater can take control.

You may wonder what a homemaker has to do with any of this, but she must be alert to divisiveness and fiercely guide and guard the home.

For further research, type in words like "How to identify and deal with wolves in the church" as just since 2014 there has been a horde of articles on this topic. People are waking up after their homes and businesses, city councils and churches have been torn apart, and are exposing the plan behind it, along with the pattern that usually occurs, and with great accuracy they relate how people are hit blindsided when someone takes over their project or their business or even the church they belong to.

The first tool that is used is tale-bearing, supported by rumor.  Rumors spread seem to take on a life of their own. Even when they are outright lies, people's minds tend to absorb them as true, and they are so sucked in by the wolves that when asked to hear the true story, they will stop up their ears, just like the people in the New Testament who refused to listen to the truth. Heads of corporations who have taken the defamation and false accusations to court to prove the truth, have found that even when the case is ruled in their favor, the rumors, once having free reign, persist and ruin their business and the lives of all the employees who once benefited from a prosperous enterprise.

Haters know the power of a rumor, and the strength of a lie in the minds of weak people. If you are home, you have great power to influence your family to always investigate the story behind the story and to find out the source.  If you are raising children it is a mistake to deny the presence of wolves in the world. A study of the New Testament reveals the problem of those who come to "spy out your liberty" and wreak havoc with your faith. Their goal is to make you quit, whether it be your love of the home or your interests and hobbies, or your beliefs.

Tale-bearers do their part to change the way things exist, by suggesting with words that a situation is different than really is. Thus, a happy family is reported to be a factious one, and a popular business is rumored to have in-office fighting. A well-organized garden group is tale-beared to be ineffective and a church that is getting along just fine will be reported to be "disorganized" and "sharply divided."  A nice blog is called conceited and a successful etsy store is "a failing business."  These tales, once released, continue to circulate until the members of the families, websites or churches involved give up, and even after that, will go down in history as truth, even when proven to be a lie.

The reason the wolf prowls freely is that he is dressed in sheeps clothing (works for the company, is in a seemingly cohesive family, is involved in community organizations, goes to church) and so he seems like everyone else. Nice people do not like to admit that some people are not so nice. They do not warn their children of the wolves that will interfere in the home and in the church, to reduce their confidence in their leaders and God-given authorities.  Parents do not want to say anything  negative or talk behind someone's back, so they fail to warn their children of possible hazards ahead. We are all from a polite generation and we hate to be accused of gossip, so we say nothing while a trouble maker  has free reign over any group he infiltrates. 

A wolf senses two things: lack of authority, and fear.    Wolves are attracted to any thing that looks like a group, because it is the nature of a wolf or a hater to devour, destroy, and steal.  These books I read rightly described the nature of wolves, which I will not go into here, but every type of group or "flock", even a nation, may have a wolf circling around the sheep.  When a wolf is around, the sheep are nervous and cannot eat properly or digest their food. Nervous sheep will be distracted by a wolf and will not look to the shepherd, and at times will not obey his voice when they are in danger. Sheep tend to scatter in different directions when full of fright from a circling wolf.  A controller senses fear and will take advantage of it. A controller or hater thinks there is no authority over him/her and will go as far as they can until someone stops them.

One example of tale-bearing and the damage it does is the all-too familiar woman who infiltrates someone's home or church and tells someone else what terrible people they are. Then she goes to someone else and reports that the people who formerly provided for her, mentored her and helped her are really hypocritical and unqualified to minister to anyone.

This is is a story that is repeated around the world, causing neighbors and old friends not to speak to each other for years and years.

A friend gave me permission to relate her story here:

"My friend was mentoring a young woman who was living with them in their home, and asked if I would be able to help by having her in my home as well.  I was willing to take her as long as she would work in our family business with us, in exchange for living with us.  The first thing this young woman said was, "I am so relieved to be here because I just didn't feel safe with your friend. Her family has bad habits and poor character and they all insulted me." 

 My friend then said she didn't feel she should call her friend to verify this because she didn't want to offend her or stir up trouble.  The young woman then communicated to her former hostess that her new mentor had an unruly family that had criticized her and that her new home was "a terrible place."  As a result of this cross-tale-bearing, two lifelong friends ceased communicating for five years!  When they finally reluctantly met again at a social event, they were able to reveal the reason they had not spoken in so long: the wolf had deceived them both into being suspicious of one another and divided them.

Ladies I have heard many versions of this story from all over the world, and it always has the same pattern.  As you guard your homes, be wary and be aware. We are living in a culture of lying.  It is naive to believe that such things do not exist, and being ignorant of it can cost you the loss of your family, your business, your community projects, your blog, the church you attend, and even your marriage. 

The articles I have read on the web have many useful ideas for dealing with these divisive and destructive wolves. We spend too much time catering to them, trying to reform them and tolerating them. We even hide their identity. What shepherd in his right might would refuse to identify a wolf, let him in with the flock and let him devour he sheep?  Even the apostle Paul named the troublemakers in the church, calling them by their names and exposing them. He did not tell the leaders to run away or give up. He showed ways to discipline them, when we may reveal in a future post.

In closing, I thought you would be amused and informed by this report from an old ettiquette manual:

Hannah Moore had a good way of managing tale-bearers. It is said that whenever she was told anything derogatory of another, her invariable reply was, "Come, we will go and ask if this is true." The effect was sometimes ludicrously painful. The tale-bearer was taken aback, stammered out a qualification, or begged that no notice might be taken of the statement. But the good lady was inexorable; off she took the scandalmonger to the scandalised, to make inquiry and compare accounts.  It is not very likely that anybody ever a second time ventured to repeat a gossipy story to Hannah Moore.

Clara Barton, the nurse who founded the American Red Cross in 1881, made it a rule never to hold on to resentment.  A friend once reminded her of a cruel incident some years previously, But Barton seemed not to recall it.

"Don't you remember the wrong that was done to you?"  
"No," Barton answered calmly. "I distinctly remember forgetting that."

While we are here to raise our families and enjoy them, we should, at the same time be alert to the tale-bearing that destroys our reputations, our friendships, our church fellowship and our businesses, and reject it, as Hannah Moore did.

Lev_19:16  Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.
Pro_11:13  A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
Pro_18:8  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Pro_20:19  He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.
Pro_26:20  Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
Pro_26:22  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.


You can go to Printer Friendly on the left sidebar and print this post, or you can paste pertinent parts on a blank page and print it all off for your big green file  or red ( or pink or white, etc) notebook!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

No Thanks, We Are Just Looking












I do not want to pay for an extra suitcase!  Maybe I can find these things online when I get home.

Hanging Rock

Mt. Macedon





Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Encouraging Note


One of my hostesses, a long-time friend,  displays the thank-you cards she finds left for her when the guests have departed.

I know someone who displays cards she has received, showcasing them a ledge on a wall in her house.  I had not done that in so long because if the door was opened, a blast of wind would knock the cards down. These days there are all kinds of display gadgets to help you show your cards.  

I think if you have the cards out and you are ever feeling like you have no friend in the world, you can see that display and recognize that others care about you.


"It is so nice to feel appreciated," she says. "It gives me a feeling of well-being."

Thank you for sharing these cards and letters with me on my blog!

She read these notes aloud to me.




Click on the picture to get a closer view.


I would enjoy having these cards to send,  or getting one, wouldn't you?  It is frameable art not found in the States, and I did not buy any here.

Last night I did some research on thank you notes and read people's comments about what they write when they leave a note. Their spontaneous and heartfelt gratitude expressed in writing was so nice.

My friend also recommended a book by Constance Spry to help in all social situations. Even the most shy person can be confident when applying the principles she espoused. I certainly wish I had read it before I guested in so many places, because I sure made my share of blunders!




About Constance Spry: http://design.designmuseum.org/design/constance-spry

For Your Girls


I have left the above issue of Victoria Classics with several of the ladies who allowed us to be their guests.  While reading the articles I thought how nice it would be to have your children read them aloud  to learn how to prepare for hospitality at home. They are easy to understand and elegantly written,

The photographs are inspiring. One article shows how to find things around your home, even if mis-matched, to use for a tea time ceremony. One particular sentence stands out: 

"Never underestimate the power of a well-set table."  

Everywhere I ate, the table was set.

If you are interested in teaching your girls how to be ladies, consider using this issue as one of their textbooks and see what can be gleaned from it.  One thing I have done when there was a magazine I used often in homeschooling, was take it apart and insert the pages in plastic sleeves designed for a three-ring binder. That makes it easy to add other pages of notes  and comments inbetween or within articles. It is a good idea to incorporate Biblical examples of hospitality and Bible teaching on the subject. This could make a great addition to a homemaking notebook.

As a final note, do not be too reluctant to collect a tea wardrobe of dishes and centerpieces. While it is true that the accumulation of material things is not what we are all about, these vessels are used to serve The Lord, for when you entertain strangers (those outside the family), you entertain angels unawares. Long after you have passed on to your eternal reward, others will use your things to continue the ministry of hospitality in your memory and in compliance with our Lord's admonition to show hospitality to strangers and "especially to the household of faith." Galations 6:10


To Those Who Read My Blog


Today I want to thank all my dear readers for following me on my journey.  Knowing you are checking for a new post has kept me interested in recording everything on my web-log.


Out of respect for the privacy of my family, I have not shared any details of my visits with them or pictures of anyone, nor times and dates and places that involved them.
However I hope you enjoy as much as I can share and that it is helpful.  

The Guest



Some time ago I received an email from a lady who wanted me to address on my web-log some ideas for guests regarding thank-you-notes and gifts of appreciation. Several ladies have written and related the thank-you notes they received that "made their day."  These notes have stated particular things the guests enjoyed or noticed, such as the view, the food, the feeling of relaxation, and things about the family they stayed with.

One lady stated her guests almost always leave a card in their room for her to discover after their departure. She has received interesting gifts along with notes of thanks: a little jar of jam, or food. Other things that may be given include a gift book--the little poetry and quotes books you see in gift shops or dollar stores, plants, flowers, gift certificates to restaurants, tickets to events, selected pieces of dinnerware  or teacups that appeals to the hostess, candles, personal bath items, pretty specialty magazines, and collectibles.

Nothing of the kind is required, of course. It is only voluntary and no host should expect a thank you note or a gift.
However, when a guest leaves a gift, the hostess should graciously accept it. It is an offering from the heart.

We are living in an era where many people never practice the art of giving. They may misunderstand the purpose of a thank-you note. It is a voluntary compliment given by the guest to express gratitude and give a compliment.  It builds up the confidence of the one who hosted her and it is a pouring out of love by the one who received food, lodging and transportation from the generous host.

It is natural to thank people on the spot when an act of kindness is given, but a thank-you note left in the guest room to be discovered later is a record in writing that can be re-read and it will produce good feelings all over again. It might also come in handy in a time of gossip, rumor and tale-bearing, as proof in writing, of a sincere heart. Leaving a thank-you note is a sign of good training by parents and shows you have been educated in how to treat those who have provided for you.

A thank-you note might say, "Dear Jane, I appreciate your hospitality. Please know that you are also welcome to come and stay with me any time. My visit with you will always be a pleasant memory."

For more information, do a search online with the question "Can a guest leave a gift or thank you note in the room?" Or something to that effect. Also, try reading a homemaking book by Constance Spry that explained a little bit of everything to help the new bride, or anyone else, in handling all kinds of social situations.

Finally, for the ones who host the guests, whether they be friends or close relatives, I will quote from the recent Victoria Classics Tea Pleasures magazine, a paragraph from an article called "The Atmosphere of Hospitality."  I have heard these same sentiments from many ladies, so the thoughts are really nothing new:

"One final rule is to never point out ettiquette errors among your guests. Try to smooth any faux pas, and direct attention elsewhere. You will prove a considerate hostess by ignoring any offense, slight or serious. Lead by example, and others are apt to follow suit. After all, your job is to foster an inclusive atmosphere in which people can enjoy themselves..."

The article recommends you take note of some of the ingredients in the places where you have felt the most at ease, noting the demeanor of the hostess, the scents and other things, and try to emulate them in your own home for your company. (From Tea Pleasures magazine, 2014)




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

MacDonalds


At travel stop near the road we found a MacDonalds that not only had the famous food, but provided showers for long-distance travelers. A shop within the store had travel maps and souveniers, and you could buy a cup of tea actually served in a real cup, not a paper cup. It was a pleasure to see and to taste.

How about these breads and pastries, at MacDonalds.


These apples are like paintings.

I hope you are not tired of houses. I tried to resist taking another house picture but  I like the roof and the door.


Below: a banner in a  shop.
And now for the  crème de la crème: My hostess owned  a birthday record book published around 1820, which had a Bible verse for each day that was colorfully illustrated.

Reading this tiny book published so long ago made me think how important it is to be mindful of The Lord and have a clear conscience toward Him every moment of every day. Sometimes when a human being gets caught up in any duty or activity, it may be easy to let go of all spiritual training  and "have fun" but no matter where a Christian is or what the person is doing, there is always a line of direct communication and personal accountability to God.  If we get familiar with the New Testament we can adopt The Way, The Truth and The Life into our minds. This translates into the way we speak to others and the way we live and our worship habits.


It would be enjoyable to teach this way of embellishing verses to a child so that he has a colorful notebook. While writing the verse and doing artistic things with it, he is absorbing the teaching in his mind and dwelling on it longer.



Click on the pictures of the pages  for larger views.

We went for a walk to the nearby town for shopping and my hostess got some more florals that were quite nice. See the end of the page for a picture.

After eating three times a day during what would normally be our nighttime, I was getting a queasy tummy, but today I felt a lot better. We went to a nice tea room but my friend and I were so hungry we ate all the food and drank all the tea before I realized I had not taken any pictures of us or of the charming little tea room.I was listening intently to her explain her deep-rooted Christian values on various subjects and did not want to miss a word.  If I had to do it again I would have recorded her little talk, as it was very good. She expressed a lot of spiritual insights that were quite edifying and I will include some of this in a future article for Christian ladies in my "Elect Lady Series" which I am hoping to make available to print for free.




Below: one of the pieces my friend kept from her grandmother's things. It came out of an old cutting board, and the wood had deteriorated so she removed the plaster piece.



An interesting doorstop from a scarf tied in knots.

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