A Winter Rose
by Sydney Kendrick, London- 1874-1955
This post is your Christmas Greeting:
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy the fruit of his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
Ecclesiastes 2, verse 24
Having an Abundant Life requires knowing that you cannot fix the world: you can only change yourself. Abundant living is being free to enjoy beauty and richness in life, knowing it comes from the Lord.
Some people spend their lives finding fault, focusing on unfairness. They have a critical spirit and cannot enjoy life. They wake up in the morning looking for the first thing that will displease them. Their day is ruined unless they can find something to complain about. They cannot accept life and its imperfections, but they will not do anything to make things better. They live only to complain.
Today, just as in previous times, there are those who believe they are obligated to make life miserable for everyone. If the day is fair, they find something wrong with the rays of the sun. If the food was delicious, they would find something wrong with the origin of it. If life at home is full of comforts and conveniences, they believe it is harmful to the earth's orbit. Should all these faults be corrected, the cynic will still continue in his critical spirit, because cynicism is a type of religion to him.
Bringing Christmas Home
by Jack Sorenson
The attitudes of the family members and the general atmosphere of the home will be guided for the most part by the lady of the house: the wife, mother and homemaker. If she will first make up her mind to shrug off the negative, cynical attitudes of the prevailing culture, she will have the sense of well-being that she needs in order to be happy in her role at home. She will then be free of the jaded, negativity of the world, and be able to give her family the encouragement they need to enjoy life and get the most out of their days on this earth.
It is normal to experience disappointments in life, but it is unfair to impose bad moods and negative attitudes on others. It is unfair to bring children up in an atmosphere of gloom and doom, and therefore, a mother must be even more determined to look on the good side of life and show her children how to be happy. She cannot do this if she focuses on too much bad news or complains about her lot in life. This is certainly not to imply that we be inappropriately cheerful when a situation requires sobriety or sorrow, but to have a good outlook on life, always hoping for a brighter day and not dwell on the dark side of things too much. You can read more about raising children to have happy, carefree childhoods on this post called "A Child's World."
The Decorating Crew
by Jack Sorenson
A homemaker has the chance to instill healthy attitudes about life into the family members, by teaching them to make the best of things, instead of developing a cynical attitude towards life.
The problem of becoming cynical: Cynicism came from a school of ancient Greek philosophers known as Cynics, that taught, among other things, that it was their duty to monitor and criticize the faults of others. Some of the Cynic's beliefs involved the following:
-an attitude of scorn and a refusal to believe that anyone was honest.
-a disapproval of personal prosperity, believing that it is caused by greed.
-rejecting personal property, preferring to live as animals, with no home and no comforts.
-a practice of shamelessness, in feeling superior to any feelings of shame and modesty.
-a belief that the cynical are called to monitor the lives of people around them, and to push their beliefs upon them, making them feel guilty for any success they achieve, money they earn, and for any material rewards they enjoy.
-buying and selling and enjoying shopping are vanities, superficial, materialistic and non-intellectual.
Generally, no one can get along with a cynic, for even if you agree with him, he will find something to argue about.
"The ideal Cynic would evangelise; as the watchdog of humanity, it was their job to hound people about the error of their ways. The example of the Cynic's life (and the use of the Cynic's biting satire) would dig-up and expose the pretensions which lay at the root of everyday conventions." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynicism#CITEREFKidd2005
Cynicism has been around for a long time, and those who think they are expressing some intellectual superiority by being cynical are just living in the ancient past, repeating the foolishness of the Cynics who lived 5 centuries B.C. (Before Christ.)
The Victorians: A Nation of Shopkeepers
by Peter Jackson
To save pictures to your files, click the picture for a larger view, and then click "save" or "save as".
Cynics believed that having standards of manners was superficial and pretentious. Cynics have, throughout history, attacked anything that was good, lovely, strong and sound, and just about anything that makes good sense. The Victorian era, even with all its inventions and social improvements, was one of the main targets of cynics, and still is. Cynicism is an attack on life on this earth. It is a hatred of happiness of decent people, the authority of the family, free enterprise, personal property, and the teachings of the Bible. The ancient Cynics rejected the use of money, did not believe in profit, did not work, lived on the streets instead of in homes with their families, refused to bathe and ignored traditions of mealtimes and manners. You can read more about the Cynics here. See why Cynic means "dog"--(-no offense to your precious pooches.)
Cynicism is worldliness. Romans 12:2 teaches not to be conformed to this world. While we often think of worldliness as riotous living, full of vice and dissipation as in the parable of the prodigal son, cynicism is also a worldly practice that is contrary to the commands of God to be happy and to enjoy the abundant life. Christian women should not take part in cynicism or the stinging sarcasm that accompanies it. They are supposed to renew their minds and prove the things that are good. Cynical words should never have passage through the voice of a refined woman.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
Victorian Children at Christmas
Cynicism is opposite of the teachings of God, the prophets, Christ and His apostles, for the Word of God says "in all labor, there is profit."( Proverbs 14:23), and "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he is treading the corn," meaning that he is allowed to eat some of what he labors for, (Deuteronomy 25:4) and "The laborer is worthy of his hire." (Luke 10:7) God intended for mankind to have a desire to work and be rewarded materially for his labor. The cynic opposes that truth. God intended that people would enjoy selling and buying, making a profit and use their money to provide for their loved ones and enjoy life. Isaiah 65:22 says, "Mine elect shall enjoy the work of their hands." Of the worthy wife in Proverbs 31, it says "Give her the fruit of her hands." Women at home are allowed to enjoy life and enjoy the things that make life pleasant. Even those who are rich and are members in the Lord's church are given special instructions on how to behave with wealth. First Timothy 6:17-18 tells them not to be highminded, but to realize that it is a gift from God, who gives to us richly all things to enjoy. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the richness that God has given us.
Victorian Children Looking at Gifts
Cynics believe that enjoyment of life on earth is evil and that unless people are miserable, they are greedy, selfish, indulgent, pretentious and dishonest. The opposite is true, for the Bible teaches that the earth is the Lord's, and that He prepared it for mankind to live in and to enjoy. (Psalm 24:1) The Beatitudes (Matthew, chapter 5) are instructions to those who want to know how to be happy. While following God requires giving up sin, we are rewarded with happiness, something that cynicism can never do.
by Jack Sorenson
The false teachings of cynicism have brought misery to generations of people. From the time you enter any public education institution until the time you leave college, you are given a consistent dose of the false doctrine of the cynic: life is futile, the earth is depleted of all its resources, (contrary to this scripture: While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Genesis 8:22) there is no safety, industry destroys, free enterprise is greedy, there is no health, no happiness and no hope. This causes fear, which brings ill health, mental frustration and suspicion, just as cynicism is designed to do.
A cynic is a faultfinder, which is contrary to the teaching of Christ to first take the beam out of your own eye before attempting to take the splinter out of your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:3) In other words, work on your own faults and your own perfection, rather than monitoring the faults of others. God's word, on the other hand, gives His followers happiness and hope.
Perhaps by the time Christ and his disciples walked the earth, the religion of the Cynic had taken hold in the culture and prevailed throughout the land. His Word refuted many of the beliefs and practices of the Cynics and the Stoics when he said, "Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid: Believe in God; believe also in Me." (John 14:1). The words of Philippians 4:8, admonishing the saved to think on things that are lovely and good, show the stark difference between the thinking of a Christian, and that of a Cynic.
by Alfred Godchaux 1835-1895
Practice thinking the best of things. Become familiar with the 4th chapter of Philippians. It has several verses that show how to triumph over all the bad things in life. The teachings in this chapter deal with the mind. God knows that our performance in life depends upon what is in our minds, and that is why He said to think on things that are true, good, pure, lovely, noble and of good report. A homemaker will find it difficult to focus on her tasks at home, or to be absorbed in her work and enjoy it, if her mind is full of fear, pessimism, envy or resentment. Quoting Philippians 4:8 can replace these negative thoughts. Read more about pleasant words verses complaining, on this post.
The Victorian Family At Home
by Peter Jackson
Enjoy life by learning how to do something new, or being creative. Creative people are full of optimism. Though they may make mistakes and abandon some of their attempts, they are always exploring ways to be creative. You do not have to be an artist to be creative. Even rearranging your furniture or cooking can be creative.It just means that you try different ways of doing things in order to make it pleasing to you. It is not so much the end results that matter, but the process, which is of great benefit to the mind. You may be afraid to try anything creative, for fear of making mistakes or failing, but that is allowing cynicism to rule your thoughts. The Bible contains many admonitions to control your thinking and guide it into thoughts of triumph. Cynics never accomplish anything. Their purpose is to be cynical.
by Alfred Godchaux
Have some interest or hobby that absorbs you. This prevents the bad reports of the world from upsetting you. We cannot stand frozen in space while waiting for the world to settle down. It never will. We have to continue with our lives, whether or not the rest of the world wants to cooperate or approve. If a homemaker has a routine and an absorbing interest in her life at home, earthly events will not shake her, and she can, like the Proverbs 31 woman, "laugh at the future." If you do this, you might find yourself laughing at the next wacky news report which may just be designed to demoralize and discourage people.
Triumph of Beauty
by Albert Williams
Include beauty in your daily life. There does not seem to be any sense in saving beauty for only special occasions, and life passes by so swiftly. Add some beauty, in some way to your life and see the difference it makes in your motivation: a pleasing picture, fresh flowers or a potted plant, or a special scent that gives you a mental lift There is nothing superficial or trivial or materialistic about wanting a clean, orderly home that also looks lovely. It is not wrong to enjoy making and wearing a new dress or to buy matching shoes and a handbag. The cynics have chipped away at beauty and good pleasures for many years, leaving bleakness in its place.
Enjoy the fruits of your labors. The Bible says that it is good, and that it is from the Lord. (Ecclesiastes 2L24). There is nothing wrong with enjoying life on this earth. Look at the shelves in the stores, how full they are. Look around you and see the log trucks going to the sawmills, construction, the prosperous farms, and the transportation. If things were on the verge of crumbling, as the cynic always claims, the shelves would be empty, houses would not be built, and the trucks would stop shipping all the things we buy. I enjoy the scene of cattle and sheep in the pastures as I travel, because it shows someone is successful. I love the garden centers full of plants because they provide beauty for all the homes around me. I enjoy seeing the stores full and the shelves over-flowing with food and other products, because it is an indication that people are employed, are getting paid, and can use the money they earn to buy what they need to look after their loved ones. When the shelves are empty, then, there is a problem.
Something to be happy about: fabric is being stocked in quite a number of WalMart stores, which did not previously sell it.
One friend of mine who took my optimism to heart, said she walked around a large store admiring all the goods on the shelves, and thought "all is well" because they were full, to over-flowing. Then, she came to the Lego shelf in the store. It was empty. "I guess we are in trouble now" she said.
It is sometimes amusing to hear a cynic complain about having to buy groceries. He thinks shopping is bad, because it is, quote, too commercial. That is like saying the sea is too salty, and that is something to laugh about. I enjoy grocery shopping because of the many competing products to choose from. I can find the price that is just right for me, and the exact product that I need. It is not "one size fits all" in a grocery store. You can get any size, any price, any product in any type of packaging, or no packaging, if you like. Salted, salt-free, organic, processed, aged, fresh today, foreign or domestic.
I bought this box of cakes from Trader Joes just because I liked the box. You'll see parts of it later on some of my cards and crafts.
Trader Joe's amuses me. It has groceries from all around the world, but the labels and boxes always say "Trader Joe's." Potato chip companies are competing, and it is always interesting to see the new chip on the block: baked with sour cream, crinkled with bacon bits, flavored with vinegar and salt, cheddar cheese, green onion, unsalted, and more. New potato chip companies give it a go and sometimes succeed against the top brands.
I enjoy the market and enjoy seeing how I can find the lowest price and the highest quality food items. In view of the fact that there are some places in the world without this vast grocery market, I do not see how anyone but a cynic would complain about shopping. In most stores today, the floors are cleaner than anyone's kitchen floor at home, and there are clean restrooms and places to change your baby. Parking is fairly simple, and carts are nearby. They even have kiddie carts for your child to push around alongside yours, or a kiddie car for your child to ride while you put your groceries in the basket on top. Most grocery stores have a coffee shop and a bakery that makes the store smell like home. When you enter the store, you can wipe the cart handle with a disposable soap tissue that is provided by the store, and when you leave the store you can take another one of those towelettes and wipe your hands. I don't see what is so "miserable" about shopping, unless it is approached with a cynical attitude.
Boxes and containers are some of my favorite things, and so, I like the way products are packaged. The colors and the newness of everything in the free enterprise system is exciting. When people are finished using things they buy, it goes to the thrift stores or is re-painted and used in special gift shops. Everything is used and re-used and re-sold or given away. Its great to get a "find" on the curb, of a piece of furniture that you can either fix up and sell, or keep.
Be happy that most grocery stores have to put an overflow of goods on carts in the aisles, because the shelves cannot contain it all. It has been said that the optimist will see a glass half full, while the cynic will see it half-empty. Such a proverb can hardly be applied today, for the shelves in the grocery store are so over-flowing that even a Cynic could not deny it. I do not know how anyone can be cynical over that. "Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running out all over." (Luke 6:38)
Enjoy the often over-looked things in daily life such as the way the red lights on the back of the cars in front of you as you drive, reflect on the wet pavement at night. I love to see this when coming home because it is an indication of the marvel of invention in transportation. In the dark, that stream of red lights ahead of me would guide me home while driving a dangerous mountain pass on my way home from a trip. Lights look warm, civilized and friendly.
Notice how often someone in the public, on the phone, or on email, in business, greets you with "how are you today?" and says goodbye with the words, "You have a lovely day." Even when blogging, a nice message comes up that says, "You have successfully published your blog!" And, look at all the pretty blogs on my blogroll and the blogrolls of those blogs. There is not enough time to enjoy their sweetness! Notice more encouraging messages while trying to use various aspects of technology. Your computer is programmed by a real person to "talk" to you with polite messages such as "please try again," making it pleasant to use. Even when you call a technician who happens to be in India, the person is usually very helpful and nice and will ask you about the weather in your country. There are many things to smile about!
During inclement weather, think of it as an adventure, rather than a downer. Mothers especially need to keep a good mood "for the troops" in the home. Children will be future leaders in life, and will be guiding their own families. Being cheerful and looking at the purpose of things in a good light, will train children to look at life in perspective and avoid cynical attitudes.
Live abundantly by enjoying your own prosperity. If you have prospered, there is no reason to eat cheap, devitaminized food or live like a pauper, without heat and in relative misery. A man does not work so that he can endure poverty, but so that he can enjoy good food, a warm, well-kept home, a good car, and quality clothing. Women at home can show their husbands what good providers they are by living the best they can, within reason. The cynic will not allow any comfort in life, but God blesses us with abundant living. Cynical people expect Christians to fix the world, but we were not told to fix the world. Instead, we are to change according to this plea from God:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2nd Chronicles 7:14.
Fix what you can, but do not waste time trying to fix things that are beyond your control. You cannot fix life; you can only change yourself. This does not mean that we should neglect to correct and train our children, or ignore false reports and things that corrode our homes and nation, but it is a sensible way of dealing with life.
Tea. I was amused when I read in Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility," at the answer given by Fannie. She simply announced: "Tea!" Respond to the cynic by living more abundantly. God made the earth for us to live on, and we might as well enjoy it. Buy a bouquet of roses for yourself, dress up, get out your nicest tea cups and serve tea. What the cynic really needs is to sit down and sip tea and talk about some of the delightful trivialities of life: the latest wedding, the newest baby, the current holiday, the sales, the mail, and the recent Tea Time magazine that just came in the mail. Serve tea and show them all the good things in life, such as your blog, the new piece of fabric from the fabric store, and the things you are planning to make. Sometimes cynics just need to be presented with other ideas. Male cynics ought to be given homebuilders magazines for Christmas, so they can think about something constructive and get a new hobby in life besides complaining.
You do not have to live in this country to find the abundant life, because it is available to all people, through the word of God. It is a way of life produced by a state of mind. And, whether you are in America or not, you can benefit from the writings of Alexis de Toqueville, who observed in the mid-1800's that an American would work like a peasant but live like a king. He stayed in roughly built cabins with families, expecting to have misery around him, only to discover that the hard working man could come home to a warm hearth where his wife was serving a hearty meal. After dinner, the women of the family would sit near the fire doing the intricate needlework similar to that of the fine ladies in Europe, while the children and husband basked in front of the fire. The key to contentment is hard work, from which you earn money, which you use to make life good for your family. He observed that a man could earn money and spend it for the home comforts formerly attributed to kings. The man who earned a living could also enjoy the luxury of leisure. De Toqueville commented that there were many paradoxes about life in America, but the most interesting one to him was the willingness of men to work, to better his life and those around him. He once said, "America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy." The cynic finds no good in this, and is busy demoralizing our country and other countries, so that they cannot see any hope. "Hope we have as an anchor to the soul." (Hebrews 6:19)
Think on These Things
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox - American, (1850-1919)
Talk happiness. The world is sad enough
Without your woe. No path is wholly rough.
Look for the places that are smooth and clear,
And speak of them to rest the weary ear
Of earth; so hurt by one continuous strain
Of mortal discontent and grief and pain.
Talk faith. The world is better off without
Your uttered ignorance and morbid doubt.
If you have faith in God, or man, or self,
Say so; if not, push back upon the shelf
Of silence all your thoughts ‘till faith shall come.
No one will grieve because your lips are dumb.
Talk health. The dreary, never-ending tale
Of mortal maladies is worn and stale;
You cannot charm or interest or please
By harping on that minor chord disease.
Say you are well, or all is well with you,
And God shall hear tour words and make them true.
by Carl Valente
It is easy enough to be pleasant When life flows by like a song, But the man worth while is the one who will smile When everything goes dead wrong. For the test of the heart is trouble, And it always comes with the years, And the smile that is worth the praises of earth Is the smile that shines through tears. It is easy enough to be prudent When nothing tempts you to stray, When without or within no voice of sin Is luring your soul away; But it’s only a negative virtue Until it is tried by fire, And the life that is worth the honour on earth Is the one that resists desire. By the cynic, the sad, the fallen, Who had no strength for the strife, The world’s highway is cumbered to-day— They make up the sum of life; But the virtue that conquers passion, And the sorrow that hides in a smile— It is these that are worth the homage on earth, For we find them but once in a while.
Another poem by this same poet: