Saturday, May 28, 2016

Holiday at Home


(Photo: Tea in Limerick, Ireland)

We have purposely never taken holidays at the same time as the rest of the world because of the rush, the crowdedness, noise, unsavory language or dress that assaults our senses at every turn.  Returning home from such a getaway does not feel like it has been a refreshing vacation.

I have often seen people home from holidays more stressed than when they left for the trip. The best time to go away is during the off-season when things are not so crowded and rushed.

This weekend I felt I was on a very special luxury vacation because of the quietness caused by so many people leaving the area for the holiday weekend --no tractors or trucks passing by on the farm roads, no voices and no lawn mower sound. The sweetness of spending a few days alone in a quiet setting was enhanced by tea time. These days, most folks have the equipment to prepare and present a luxury afternoon tea, and it is all the better because the cost is low and the company is dear.

I enjoy looking through books and magazines and the web to find afternoon tea ideas to replicate at home.  I move my furniture around so the table is by a window with a view, and we enjoy visiting in our own place.

If you cannot afford to go anywhere, why not spend a little bit of money (less than the cost of a vacation) on something that makes staying home a little more luxurious. It can be new bath towels, nice sheets, a tray with tea cups, or cushions for your couch.

We all love vacations, but I do not think a vacation is enough for the homemakers and housewives.  I think they need a daily dose of vacation at home. It is not smart to make home only a place of work. Ladies need to train their families how to vacation a few minutes each day, at home. Vacations should renew the body and the soul. At home, you can control the atmosphere by keeping tension away, inviting pleasant thoughts and intelligent conversation.



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Homemaking is Real Work and Real Ministry



(In keeping with this post, please also read Roxy's post here http://livingfromglorytoglory.blogspot.com/2016/05/a-stay-at-home-grandmother-and-photo.html)

Hello Ladies,

I have been mulling over this subject for awhile and today am attempting to put it into written words. 

There is a well-known idea that if you decide to be homemaker, rather than take up a career, you are not doing a worthwhile work.

 Feeling it would be contrary to Titus 2 to get a regular 9-5 job, some women at home find "a ministry."  (It sounds so religious, it must be right!). Unfortunately, a "ministry" today, where women are concerned, is a way to have a career that  does not look like a corporate job.

They end up putting so much time and energy into ministry, they work longer and harder, for less 
money than if they had a 9-5 job.  This destroys the whole purpose of staying home, because they are not focusing on home living.

We are seeing today the development of "Christian feminists."  These are restless women who turn even the role of homemaker into an achievement-oriented, money-making business, or a ministry that is driven by a powerful desire to "do" something other than settle down to contented home living.  
They need to convert their restlessness into caring for the house and the family, cooking well, sewing, and creating a wonderful atmosphere at home. 

Women may feel guilty to be home, so they want to show that they are pulling their share of the load 
by making money or putting enormous time into charities and other programs and organizations. 

It is good to learn to be content to be "just a homemaker" or "just a housewife." Some of you older women may remember when it was a very negative thing to be called "just a housewife" but I believe today a woman should say emphatically that she is "just a homemaker" with the emphasis on "just" or "only." It prevents the attitude that they should do more and more!

I know several religious women who wear dresses and claim to be homemakers, but are continually in their cars going from one ministry event to another. One woman said she no longer prepares meals at home because she does not want to take time from her ministry that she has worked so hard for!

The frenzy of of such ministries drowns out home life. When a woman takes on a ministry, it almost 
always involves money-seeking, and that leads to multiple businesses, both online and off, that pose as "serving" others whilst stealing time that is intended for a natural life at home. Many of these ministry-driven women are networking with businesses to support their ministries, which takes enormous time and energy. The family is not nurtured. You can see a kind of loss in their faces. 

The ministry-craze is a result in putting the home and family on a "to-do" list which makes the woman's role that of a "Martha" who thinks work at home is a mechanical act, and it can be left undone, or done by everyone else , freeing up her time to minister to others. 

 But home making is more than cleaning and meal preparation. It is a ministry of love to your own people that God has literally placed in your lap. The home cries out "Look at me! I am your ministry and your work! You need not look out the window for someone else to minister to or work for".  When you minister or work for others, you may be neglecting your own people. When taking care of your home and family you are in fact ministering to the world and doing a greater work for the world. We can go into that in another post. I invite comments on how the home ministers to the world by example.

These ministry-motivated women invest very little time and talents into their own homes and families. Spending so much time away from home and concentrating on their ministries while at home, these women fail to gather real home-living experience in cooking, cleaning, sewing and mending, ironing, caring for the house, or creating real bonding and counselling,  or sharing wisdom with their families. They have allowed business (disguised as ministry) to consume them.

All of us know what it is like to have the mind obsessed with something, only to later regret the neglect it caused to husband and children. Time lost can never be recovered.  Women are naturally dedicated workers and very loyal to people and causes, so let them use that natural dedication and loyalty for the home and family. 

It is so easy to be distracted. Helping people has a real pull on women, but let it pull you to help your own husband and children, who will be in your life much, much longer.

Life as a wife, mother and homemaker is truly the most worthwhile work there is. It is your spiritual social security.  

I hear young women saying they want to do something important for the world or for Christ. They end up chasing after work, money and ministries that will never give them marriage, family, homes, 
or spiritual and physical security.  They need to be taught that it is more important to look after husband, children and home, and instill their own spiritual values in them.  Teaching your children well, and looking after your husband is what you do for the world and for Christ. The family is the most neglected work, the most needy charity and the most important ministry in life.

The family and the home provide worthwhile work and ministry,  as well as development of talents.

 It is better to care for your own husband and home than to try to save the world. 

Titus 2 says the Women who have become Christians (Christ's Ones) are to love their husbands, love their children, and guide the home. This is a ministry that no one else can provide. You cannot be replaced at home, but your can easily be replaced in the "working world."

Homemaking, child care and love of husband takes much, much time. It is not all about cleaning and working.  In order to have presence of mind and make good decisions and be there mentally for your people, you have to allow peace and rest in your home.  You cannot run your home life in a frenzy and expect to get any satisfaction from it. You cannot be continually on-the-run and be able to be a calm and reassuring wife and mother that your family needs.

Now, I know that "house wife" developed negative connotations over the last century, but let us take a look at what it really means.

"House" indicates taking care of a house, that she lives in, and is something she is in charge of.  "Wife" means she is married to a man.

I must repeat this.  A "house wife" is someone who is occupied in the house of a man she is married to.

Anyone can be a homemaker: a man, unmarried woman, or a full-time career woman. A house wife is more than a homemaker. She is married to a man and takes care of his house and his children.

Learn to be content and proud to be "just a house wife," and not be distracted and tempted by all the jobs and ministries that would steal your time and rob you of calmness.


For further reading please click here 


Home

Related Poem Content Details

It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home, 
A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye sometimes have t’ roam 
Afore ye really ’preciate the things ye lef’ behind, 
An’ hunger fer ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind. 
It don’t make any differunce how rich ye get t’ be, 
How much yer chairs an’ tables cost, how great yer luxury; 
It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king, 
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything. 

Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute; 
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ livin’ in it; 
Within the walls there’s got t’ be some babies born, and then 
Right there ye’ve got t’ bring ‘em up t’ women good, an’ men; 
And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn’t part 
With anything they ever used—they’ve grown into yer heart: 
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore 
Ye hoard; an’ if ye could ye’d keep the thumbmarks on the door. 

Ye’ve got t’ weep t’ make it home, ye’ve got t’ sit an’ sigh 
An’ watch beside a loved one’s bed, an’ know that Death is nigh; 
An’ in the stillness o’ the night t’ see Death’s angel come, 
An’ close the eyes o’ her that smiled, an’ leave her sweet voice dumb. 
Fer these are scenes that grip the heart, an’ when yer tears are dried, 
Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an’ sanctified; 
An’ tuggin’ at ye always are the pleasant memories 
O’ her that was an’ is no more—ye can’t escape from these. 

Ye’ve got t’ sing an’ dance fer years, ye’ve got t’ romp an’ play, 
An’ learn t’ love the things ye have by usin’ ’em each day; 
Even the roses ’round the porch must blossom year by year 
Afore they ’come a part o’ ye, suggestin’ someone dear 
Who used t’ love ’em long ago, an’ trained ’em jes’ t’ run 
The way they do, so’s they would get the early mornin’ sun; 
Ye’ve got t’ love each brick an’ stone from cellar up t’ dome: 
It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

For the House



Hello Ladies,

It has been busy around here lately, and I have not thought of a post, so I am sharing something I got 
for the mantel, from Safeway grocery store. It was left over from the Mother's Day promotion, and it was available in seafoam green also, so it was hard to choose. The dominant color in my home is seafoam (sage) green, but I thought this color was so vintage nostalgic because it reminded me of what ladies used to like, when I was a girl. Although I was not too fond of it back then, I am liking the color and the style more. 

Ladies come to my home each week for the Bible class and I thought they might enjoy a change of decor while they are here.

The lid removes because it is actually a plant or bouquet vase  but I like it as a cake. 

.

I also want to share another video with you. Please let me know what you think, in comments or email.
I depend a lot on your response for whether I should continue making videos and for subject matter.


(Lisa Marie, a friend, came over to tape this video on my camera. Thanks!)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Friends and Their Influence (Video 15)



It is good to set aside time throughout the year for friends, but seasoned keepers of the home will tell you to be careful that your friendships do not cause you to neglect your family. If you feel disoriented from your home and family and dissatisfied after visits with friends, you may have to consider this.

Friends are a blessing, but let them be, as Anne would say, "kindred spirits" in that they are agreeable with and supportive of your serious role at home. Such friends are rare and valuable.  

Hold your husband and children in such high estimation that you become particular about the time you spend with friends.



     

(Thanks to Lisa Marie for taping this video with my camera!)




Monday, May 09, 2016

Just a Moment (Video 14)


The next time you go somewhere, take a blank book and start recording the moments with your pen!

.

(My friend, Lisa Marie tapes this video with my new phone camera.)

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Proverbs 31: Career Woman?







(I thought you would enjoy the picture of this flowering tree that I took from a window)

Hello Ladies,

There has been a trend in the last two decades to turn the Proverbs 31 woman into a real estate seller, a shop keeper, a business woman, a career woman: and always with the emphasis on money.

What other things besides buying and selling and making a profit, did the King's mother teach him about a worthy wife? 

The first thing that comes to mind is the part that says the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. After that, there is the part that says she makes garments out of cloth. Then, she works with willing hands. Also, she stretches her hand to the needy.  There are many more qualities in Proverbs 31 besides these.

In the last 20 years that I have been writing about the women being home, I have received many letters telling me the Proverbs 31 woman must have been a career woman because she earned money selling things.  There is nothing wrong with making something at home and selling it, but there is no example here to leave your husband, children and house in the care of others, and pursue a career. See the article in "Adventures in Keeping House" which explains this in more detail.

In all these years I have never received a letter asking how a woman can learn to have "the teaching of kindness on her tongue", which is also on the list of requirements for a wife, that King Lemuel's mother taught him.  What is the teaching of kindness? Where is the desire to develop the teaching of kindness? Instead, most of the letters are about the Proverbs 31 woman and her marketing ability and her money-making skills. 

Next, she makes clothing, and her family is clothed in the most high quality fabrics--clothing she made for them. Obviously she did not sell those garments.

Where are the letters asking how to make your family's clothing out of scarlet, a rich, high-end fabric?  What about the tapestries made by the Proverbs 31 woman--where are the women desiring to know how to do that for their homes? Instead, most of the things listed in Proverbs 31 are ignored, while eyes are drawn like magnets to the words: buy, sell, makes a profit.  It just shows where people's minds are these days.  But, give it another twenty years and a new trend will emerge telling us the Proverbs 31 woman worked in a cotton or woolen factory, making cloth all day. (Because she used spindle at home).

Also, as she "looks well to the ways of her household," why are there so few women wanting to know how to do that? Instead, when it comes to the Proberbs 31 woman, all they see is the way she markets a product.

Ladies, let us teach the younger woman to see the many other things in the Proverbs 31 list, besides buying and selling.  There is something very lopsided about the modern view of the Proverbs 31.  I hear a lot about how she was a career woman, but never does anyone demand that women at home be responsible for sewing clothing for her family (and servants) as listed in the Proberbs 31.  Neither do I hear these women ask how to "seek food from afar" --one of the things on the list. 

"Look at Lydia, in the New Testament," they say. "She was a seller of purple cloth!"  How excited it makes them, when they read the word "seller." (Not excited about the wonderful, high-quality cloth, usually fit for a queen, but the selling!). They are not as impressed with her faith, her obedience and subsequent salvation, as they are about her selling!

 Of course there is nothing wrong with selling something if you are a homemaker, but there is an obvious overlooking of the many other things about Lydia.  The more important spiritual points of the account of Lydia in the book of Acts were:

-She was a worshipper of God who gathered at the river with other believers.
-When she heard the message of the Apostle Paul, the Lord opened her heart.
-She compelled Paul to come to her house, where he taught everyone that lived there.
-as a result of the gospel message, she and all her household who believed were baptised that very day.

Her selling of purple was not addressed at all except to identify her. After that, the story reveals her reliable worship attendance, her teachable heart, her hospitality, her influence over her household, and her obedience to the gospel message.  Yet, I never hear about these qualities when the feminists write to me. They always say, "After all, even Lydia in the New Testament was a seller of purple!"  

I wonder if they want to be just like Lydia or like the Proverbs 31 woman, why they do not desire to sew or work with fabric, but rarely, if ever, use these verses to propel them to make clothes.  And if they so admire Lydia in Acts, why they do not have a strong desire to show hospitality to a preacher and listen to his message, or, why they do not teach everyone in their homes about the great commission. 

If we go into scripture wanting to find something to justify what we are wanting to do, rather than trying to find where we are wanting (lacking) we will miss the whole story with the real wealth scripture offers.

Finally, as I said in the previous Proverbs  31 posts, Titus 2 is the pattern for Christians today, and it is much simpler than Proverbs 31. It does not mention money, buying, selling, profit, or any enterprise. Titus 2 focuses on LOVE: the Christian woman's love of her husband, her children, and her home.

The Bible contains the pattern for us to follow. Some people want to change the pattern to fit themselves, rather than change themselves to fit the pattern. 


Monday, May 02, 2016

Proverbs 31 and Servants


Hanging the Washing, a Beautiful Spring Morning

 
By: Helen Allingham Item #: 10606947

For decades I have heard and read that  the Proverbs 31 woman having servants, is equivalent to our modern household appliances like washers and vacuum cleaners.

The problem with making our washers, dryers, vacuum cleaners and slow-cookers an equivalent to servants, is that none of these things do anything on their own. While the servants in Proverbs 31 did the tasks assigned to them, the lady of the house (married to a King who could afford the servants) only gave verbal or written instruction to get the tasks done.

Appliances only provide PART of the services.  The Proverbs 31 woman gave tasks to her maidens. Anyone who has ever had hir d help knows they complete the tasks.  Appliances never complete the tasks, (even though they are a big help.)

In reality, our modern conveniences do nothing for us by themselves.  It would be a different story if we plugged in an appliance and it required nothing of our own effort and went to work immediately by itself.  However, every convenience and every appliance we have requires someone to fill it, empty it,  replace parts, push it, clean it, put it away, and often these are operated at some expense, especially the oven. When an appliance will not work anymore and has had all the repairs possible, we have to load it up in the car and take it to a recycling place.  

There is no appliance to make beds, move furniture, put a meal on the table, clean windows and mirrors or clean a bathtub. Even with all the cleaning agents,  these things require the homemaker to do the work.

The grocery store and market do provide a little more service. When you buy pre-cut vegetables and meat already seasoned, it is somewhat like having hired help in the kitchen. When you buy a rug, or clothing, it is like having hired someone to make it, so in that sense, manufactured things are a servant, because you do not have to make everything yourself.  

When company comes unexpectedly you can buy bread and many prepared items and that is a great service.  However, you still have to go to the store. (The Proverbs 31 woman may have sent out a helpers) Food that is semi-prepared is only PART of the service, and although it is a big help, it is not the same as having paid helpers.

A washing machine still requires work on your part, so it is not fully a servant.  You still have to "do the laundry" and wash day for some people is very time-consuming, especially when they prefer to hang the clothes on a line outside, bring them back in the house when dry, fold and put away in various places, and maybe iron some of them.

  The iron also is only a servant in that you do not have to build a fire in the cookstove and heat the iron. You still have to iron the clothes yourself.  The Proverbs 31 woman had hired help to do things like this. Permanent press clothing is a better servant than the iron, because it is ready to serve your needs without the labor of ironing it. But as I am trying to emphasize, a true service is a complete service, where the entire taskmis completed for you. Appliances are merely aids, not complete services.

Yes, you may consider all these machines your "servants" but when there are dishwashing inventions that gather up the dishes, scrape and rinse them and load them in the dishwasher without your help, then put the whole collection away in the shelves after it is dry, the dishwasher will truly be a servant. 

The best servants today are: grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, ready-made clothing and furniture, train, bus and airline trips, and activities where everything is done for you.  Although our cars may be thought of as servants, we still have to drive them ourselves and be alert and make quick decisions.  In the house, running water and electric lights are good servants.

So, in saying our modern appliances are servants, I can agree, to a point. The refrigerator seems to be content to keep the food cold without us supervising it,  and I think it is a great servant. We do not have to get the dray wagon to bring us big blocks of ice to maintain it, and we do not have to check on it  constantly to see if it is doing its job.   

Saying a vacuum cleaner is a servant is like saying a broom is a servant. Both require someone to push it and pull it and make it work.  Appliances are simply good aids in housework, but it seems the more appliances we get, the more often we use them and we end up working constantly.

My personal favorite homemaking aid is the electric sewing machine, but using it can be intensive labor. When the sewing machine cuts the pattern and stitches the garment together by itself, then I will say it is a full-fledged servant. In spite of its limitations, I would not want to do without it. In fact, it is one appliance, along with my electric kettle to heat water for tea, that I take on car trips when I will be away from home for more than a day. I believe the electric kettle is one of the best servants in the home, but it will not fill itself. Somebody has to do that.  I have written  previously about how I like hearing the electric kettle come to a boil and shut off all by itself.  It is like having someone in the kitchen.  I also like the fact that cloth is already woven for us. That is a real, complete service.

I do not believe we as homemakers can claim to be the same as the Proverbs 31 woman. She was a description by a mother to help her son, a King, chose a good wife. A queen has servants to do things for her, and she has to have the skill to manage those servants.  (Though it was a description of  a future queen, every homemaker is a queen of her house and can learn from the Proverbs 31 description.)

I have also heard that our children are the equivalent of the servants in Proverbs 31, but I do not agree. We should allow children to be children and although we teach them to come alongside and help us, they are not the same as servants.  The Bible does not seem to support the belief that children be used as servants anywhere.


Since the New Testament is for Christians, and the last will and testament of Christ, we need to do His will and follow the law He left for us. 

Titus 2, and 1st Timothy 5:14 are the instructions in the New Testament for members of the Lord's church today, and it does not mention the details in Proverbs 31.

A book was written about appliances and how we tend to use them more, which increases our work.


More Work For Mother: The Ironies Of Household Technology From The Open Hearth To The Microwave Paperback – March 11, 1985


Sunday, May 01, 2016

Questions and Answers About the Proverbs 31 Woman










Ladies Sewing, 1848

 By: Gustave Caillebotte Item #: 13842045


The feminist view of the Proverbs 31 description continues to influence women by insisting that these passages describe a career woman and show an example of women having careers outside the home. Some people go so far as to say the verses do not portray a woman as a homemaker at all.  



Some of the best answers to these erroneous views are in the article on the European blog 


Common Questions About Proverbs 31 Woman:

 1. Who was the woman described in Proverbs 31:10-31

Answer: 

Verse 1 reveals it was a description written by the Mother of a King, to her son about the qualties of a good wife.

 2. Does this description apply to all women?

Answer: No, because it is a description of the way a future queen would live.  She would have servants  to do many of the things we at home do ourselves, while she did charity work, watched how the household was run, planned meals and more.  She may not have actually cooked, washed and cleaned, but she was in charge of how it was all done. 

3. Was she a real person?

Answer:  No, it was a description of qualities desirable for a future wife for a son, who was also a king.  However there are many attributes to learn from which the keeper of the home will benefit,such as diligence and wise use of time, dedication to the family, teaching children, and seeing that things go well for her husband.

4. Was Proverbs 31 intended to prove that Christian women should have careers outside the home and provide a living for her family?

Answer: There is no command in that passage for women who follow the Lord to seek careers and money beyond what is said. Women who do not truly desire to be homemakers and be at home guiding and keeping the family, are continually analyzing this description and trying to make her into a breadwinner, career woman, working wife.

We need to remember this is a fictional woman provided by the mother of a King to teach him about women, both negative and positive.  It is not a list provided by his mother to urge him to find a wife who is going to have a career and be a co-provider.  

There is nothing wrong with women earning money at home, and throughout the ages women have sold the work of their hands, but that was never intended to eliminate the duty of a husband to be a provider by working.  Selling your own handiwork does not imply taking over the role of the man in the home.

5.  The many things in this passage shows what women are capable of. Does this mean ChristIan women should do all these things today?

Answer: This was not a list of commands for Christian women. It is a record of teachings of a mother to her son, about women and how a good wife is worth more than rubies. The beginning of chapter 31 warns the son about liquor and women. 

The second part of the chapter shows the good alternative in choosing a wife who would be serious about her life at home.  It certainly does not describe the duties of a single woman, or a woman at the office, in a university or running a corporation. Proverbs 31 is about the good wife who is serious about her home. Women need to aspire to be good homemakers. Proverbs  31 is not telling women to work outside the home, as some people are insisting. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sewing Tips and Tools (video 13)


 (Thanks to Lisa Anne for making this video)

Hello,

I think you will like this video, even if you are not familiar with sewing. I used to place spoons as weights on my patterns, but these little weights made of washers are so much better.  Patterns used often are either ironed on to interfacing to preserve them, or cut out of muslin. The cotton muslin fabric patterns require no pins or weights and making the cutting process so easy.

What I said in the video was: i like to choose fabric that goes with the time of year when a flowering tree is blooming. My mother and mother in law and grandmothers liked to do that, and I have pictures of them wearing dresses that matches the blooming rhododendron or azalea of the season. 





Below: not yet finished, the dress is on the dress form for a fitting.


Below: still some work to do, but I wanted to see how the shoulders fit and take tucks where needed.This  is something I will wear at home because it is cool, comfy cotton: perfect for housekeeping.





Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mrs. Minerva

  

Hello Ladies,

Several times I have mentioned the column written by England's "Mrs. Minerva" published in the English Home Magazine.  

The issue of particular interest is the one I have posted here from March 2011, which you may be able to enlarge and read.

 Those of you who are older may remember your mothers retreating to the bedroom when life got stressful.  I remember mothers making their children stay in bed when they were sick, surrounded by books and art materials. 

  She did not include taking a rest when the children are napping. Its tempting to do a lot of things while they are down, but important to rest during some of that time.                                                     







From the article:- (note:  a lot of it is a wry style of stating truth trough tongue-in-cheek wit. Mature audiences will understand.)

"While I firmly maintain that one should strive to maintain a stiff upper lip during most of life's trials and tribulations, I do think the Victorian custom of taking to one's bed has a lot to be said for it. At times life can be so trying there is little to be done but to retire to a room of one's own and draw the curtains firmly shut.

"One of the reasons Mr. M. behaves so well is that he understands there is always a risk that if he upsets me I might simply slip upstairs only to come down some  days later. This would, of course, interfere greatly with dinner and he may be forced to eat at his club.

"There are many reasons to take to one's bed: heartbreak, disappointment, irritating husbands and influenza among them. However, in the depths of winter - when the Minerva household is on the inhospitable side of chilly - the only warm rooms are the kitchen and the bedroom...."


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lady Reading

                     
The practice of ladies getting together to read aloud cannot be traced to an exact date, but is referred to sometimes in historical writings and old stories.

My friend, Lisa Anne, who is also my video lady,  gave me the idea to have "A Reading" by telling me about something she read:

Ladies  in the past would sometimes ask the youngest girl in a reading group to read to them. The hostess would decide what was to be read and who would do readings. That way the material was first looked over for suitable content.

A reading is not same as a book review.  Materials used can be letters, poems, articles from periodicals, fiction, history and even old cookbooks with all the notes of the cook. 

With a friend, I have been doing "A Reading" every day. My friend is reading from a new category of fiction called "clean romance." The book, "Immigrant Brides" has 12 stories of immigrant brides from various parts of the world in the 1800's. She reads one chapter each Reading, and stops to read dictionary definitions, locate places on the map, and make observations about certain points in the story.  

She is also reading parts of "Flowers That Never Fade" by Leroy Brownlow, a gift-book with wisdom and scripture and interesting observations about life.

In our readings we also tell about the authors and the era in which they lived.

Included in these daily readings are poems and character lessons from the Fascinating Womanhood workbook, which is a classic. Homeschoolers could glean a lot from this workbook that would help both boys and girls, and it contains scriptures pertinent to character, work, suffering, and more.

My reading yesterday was  from the recent Tea Time magazine, (May-June 2016) "Will You Share a Dish of Tea With Me?" (This reminded me of  Prudy in the 2015 movie "Poldark" saying to the under-servant "Brew me a dish of tea while I mend my broken wing." when she had sprained her wrist.)

A friend in England meets with me sometimes on Skype and reads from the Miss Reed series of books.  I read to her parts of Linda Lichter's book about the customs, character, beliefs, work and art of the Victorian era.

If you are homeschooling, I would recommend a daily reading in place of curriculum.  

If you are a homeschool graduate, have a reading once a week or daily, with your mother. Choose something that delights you to read to her, and let her read something to you.  

If you are a veteran home schooler whose children are finished school, you will be revived by having a daily reading. You can do this on Skype or some other media.  It is enormously comforting and fulfilling. 

Our reading ladies are veteran home  schoolers who miss having discussions with good values. We call these discussions "Home school Revisited" and have mutally agreed that "Readings" are superior to any homeschool curriculum.

 One lady in the gathering, so impressed with "Readings" as ennobling the spirit and refining the soul, said the cure for homeschool burn-out is to "burn the curriculm." She had discovered so much learning for children in the daily readings that she was no longer  dependent on the boxed curriculums. She promotes the gentle home teaching method of "readings" and discussions, enhanced by reference materials such as the dictionary, map books, Haley's Bible Hand Book and Young's Analytical Concordance.

Had there been more time  during yesterday's "Reading" I would have pointed out the reason the Mothers and the homes are the best curriculum and how to tap into that source, as well as how curriculums can distract you from actually raising your children.

I hope you consider having "A Reading" one day this week with someone for half an hour.

To prepare for a reading, we dress up, fix an elegant tray with a shining tea pot and fine tea cups, gather our reading materials and take turns reading. If the day is cold we wrap ourselves in comfy shawls. The sessions last 20-30 minutes out of the ladies daily home responsibilities.

I am looking forward to today's reading because my friend, a fellow-homeschool Mama, is reading with great expression and drama another section of the Immigrant Brides historical romance book. The story is "Blessed Land." My friend will bring her shining Spanish fan with her (she has a partial Spanish heritage) because the characters in the chapter are Spanish.

Things I have read aloud in "A Reading": The Wife, by Washington Irving   -- takes some careful concentration and expression, as it was written in the 1800's and you have to read it understandably with expression.  When Queens Ride By -- both available on the side bar of this blog.  Also Poems by Edgar A. Guest can be found by using the search area on the upper left of this site, by the  "e" -- type in Edgar A. Guest in the space.  Also you can start reading my story about Cowrie Point, or write your own stories to read aloud!  May I also suggest using the phone with someone for a brief reading and discussion.  I like  a coumnist named Mrs. minerva who writes for English Home magazine. Her article on how women used to take to their beds when they needed relief from tiredness, stress, a vacation, some luxury, was so good.


Please enjoy the photos here, and I hope to explain more about this in a video. You are welcome to post these on your pinterest.


(photos courtesy of Lisa Anne



Friday, April 22, 2016

Cowrie Point Dreams


This 1800's painting has similarities to the Cowrie Point area, particularly the rock formation on the left, with the ocean and beach in the background.

Cowrie Point, Tasmania was a small cove with summer  homes called "shacks" owned mostly by residents of nearby towns. These were simple dwellings designed for temporary summer living, but occasionally there were year-round occupants like my family. We spent the lonely, dark winter months indoors away from the cold wind and rain, when there were no tourists or holiday visiitors. 

In the mornings I walked the empty beach before the day got underway. With no one around the area all those months,  I felt I owned a piece of oceanfront property. 

A little bit of warm air indicated spring was near, and I saw something from a dream.

As I came to the end of the path leading out onto the ocean rocks, young woman in a long blue-gingham dress was walking on the low-tide wet sand. Her long, dark hair was covered with a wide brimmed white picture-hat tied with a light blue satin ribbon. 

At that time in history, fashion had left the sweet dresses of the 1950's; the severe designs of the 1960's were now prominent, though longer lengths were not popular yet. Long dresses like Kathleen's light blue gingham had not been worn as daywear for several decades and were only read about in historical fiction. This young lady's dress, hat and her smooth, graceful way of walking was like something out of a 19th century painting. To a young girl like myself who was attracted to "pretty," the scene was angelic.

As we we came upon each other, we stopped to talk.  I asked her where to find long dresses like the one she was wearing, and she told me she had sewn the dress herself, using a pattern. The dress was peasant-style with long sleeves and a ruffle at the wrists.  

Her name as Kathleen, and the reason she was wearing this dress and hat while walking on the beach, was due to her skin being so sensitive to the sun, but also that she thought ladies should dress modestly.  I admired her willingness to say it outright, especially during a time when modesty was being abandoned by the public. She was 20 years old and I was 16. Her skin was soft and smooth, no doubt from her careful shielding against the harsh elements, and her eyes were a picture of innocent contentment.

I saw her several times more in similar dresses of various pastels. She said, "Although I am not dressing like this for attention, girls need to realise that people appreciate them wearing long dresses more than pants and masculine clothing. They get a lot more attention in a pretty, modest dress."

The year was 1967. I wish I could remember every word she spoke to me on that subject and that I had kept a correspondence going with her so that I might know how her life went, and what became of her.  All I have is that clear and wonder-filled vision in my mind of her walking lazily on the beach in the pretty blue-gingham dress. She looked like someone from another era.

Sometimes we do not think our ways and our beliefs and example matter much or impact anyone, but it may touch someone many years later when the memory visits them. I see the picture of Kathleen so clearly, I believe I could sketch it from memory.

On the left side on this photo, below, lies the house where Kathleen stayed the summer I saw her on the beach. It is the white one with the gray roof just facing a private little cove of Cowrie Point. You can see it there to the left of the house wirh the red roof.

This is an areal view of Cowrie Point. It is hard to indentify things as so much has changed in 45 years, but I think the blue house may be the one my parents owned and where we lived in the 1960's.

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