I extend a warm greeting to everyone who visits here today. This is my tea, taken mid-morning, and I wanted to remind you that you can make your own fruit tea by adding hot water to a few berries or slices of fruit, fresh or frozen. The scones are the Nathalie Dupree recipe which I found online and was featured in the current Victoria magazine. I did not follow it exactly, but instead used half milk instead of all cream.
In a previous post I touched on the subject of women alone at home in their responsibilities. If you had a life of people and support from your school days, college, or workplace, you will find full-time homemaking can be lonely, and you have to be a self-starter. There will not be any time schedules, bells, regulated coffee breaks, or quitting times! No is going to give you an achievement plaque at the end of the year and there will not be an honors dinner for the employees. However, there are many other things that can be done to make sure you have the emotional support and the social contact you need, to make home life worthwhile and to keep your morale high. You can create your own celebrations and family customs, schedule a day off and extend hospitality. You can also dress with dignity at home and make your home your profession as well as your ministry.
At the end of the day if things have gone a bit awry--such as the scene where you were happily cleaning the kitchen, pulled out a drawer which came off its hinges and dumped the contents, dropped a plate, which sent pieces of glass into places far beyond the kitchen, or had to mop the kitchen floor because of an unexpected food spill, it will feel quite discouraging. Waking up to an ant invasion can throw you off your plans and put you in a sour mood, as well as make you have to play catch-up for the rest of the day. To solve some of these defeating feelings when you have a day like that, or even if you just feel down toward the end of the day, there is a need to look to our forebearers and to Gods word to help us understand how to cope with it all.
One of the things our grandmothers told us was "things are always darkest before the dawn." You may have family problems where one member of the family is determined to upset your happy home, and towards evening it seems that all is lost. All your work and your faithfulness has been tramped into the ground and you feel defeated. Then comes the morning and burdens feel so much lighter.
You all know these verses, because they were put to music and made into a song that is loved by many people:
"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him."
Is not this so true- in the morning things are new again. The light is different, the sounds are fresh and he feeling of a whole day ahead with no big burdens . Even yesterday's upsets are not so terrorizing the next morning!
Another thing our mothers and grandmothers used to tell us when we felt alone or full of dread or grief, was "Have a good cry."
I don't know why people try to make children and ladies stifle their tears. Moderns tell them they can't afford to indulge in sentiment or cry about things. Tearful goodbyes are discouraged and thought to be emotionally unhealthy, and some people try to put unnatural cheerfulness on to sad things. God gave us tears for a reason, and even Ecclesiastes says there is a time to weep!
I was studying a little about tears in the Bible and saw several times where God wanted people to weep, and a time when Jesus wept. We are supposed to weep with those who weep, so there is nothing wrong with you if other people's sadness make you cry, too.
If you have ever been labelled as a cry-er, then my Mother's story might reassure you: There were many lonely days in her life, particularly in a dark seasons when the sun rarely appeared. In those days the men often had to go away to work , sometimes for several weeks at a time, taking the one car the family owned. Women had to stay home and take care of everything there, especially if there was a garden and livestock, and of course, children. Many couples back then left their parents and went to new frontiers, and also didn't have instant comfort of neighbors.
My mother said, "Sometimes I was so sad and lonely I would go outside and cry, cry, cry, til there was not a drop of water left in my eyes. After that, I always experienced a wonderful feeling of peace."
This may seem really primitive to progressives these days, but it is a method of overcoming overwhelming feelings of grief, sadness, loneliness or uneasiness that has good side-effects. In fact, upon further study of the benefits of tears, I found some medical evidence that crying can lower blood pressure and balance the mind, rids the body of harmful toxins, and induces sleep. You can always look up the benefits of crying and find further information.
Another thing that we have not passed down to the next generation, which was oft recommended by our grandmothers, was, when you feel unsettled or strange inside your own skin (an expression they used) was to wash your hair. In those days, bathing and hair washing were two different things.
We washed our hair outside in the summer, using rainwater heated in a bucket on the cookstove. Rainwater felt different than tap water, and made hair soft, shiny and manageable, even curlier. The act of bending the head over a sink or outside while you poured dippers of rain water on your hair, caused a change in the mood. Washing hair in the shower does not have that same transforming physical and mental effect.
I always enjoyed watching the fictional character, Margaret, in the movie, Sense and Sensibility" getting her hair washed and dried with with towel, by her sister. We always followed up a warm water shampoo with a cold water rinse and always complained about how cold it was, but the cold water had a nice effect on the hair.
Another thing that they used to ease the mind of racing thoughts and nagging worries, was scrap booking. Even in those days when the scrapbooks were made of brown paper, and we didn't have the exciting fancy products available as we do today, the act of clipping recipes from magazines or cutting out Bible verses from church bulletins, along with poems and pictures, and pasting up a page, was immensely satisfying and calming. It left you feeling level-headed, organized and ready to take on life.
Mothers would insist on a time of quietness and they knew it was not good for us to be always active. Without being any great professional therapists, they knew how to have a balanced life. Because modern society is not inclined to follow these old paths, many people become obsessive and compulsive, anxious and restless.
Another often over-looked standard was that of having all the family home at bedtime and mealtimes. When Gwendolyn Web wrote her book, "Training Up A Child" in the early 1970's, she quoted some research that was done about what helps children become faithful Christians and honor parents. Of all the parents interviewed, these two elements were common: the children were in the home with their parents at mealtimes and bed times. Being together at mealtimes and bedtimes establishes a foundation of emotional stability. The children learn the difference between day and night and also what is common to home living. When a new homemaker feels that wilderness uncertainty, being home at mealtimes and bedtimes can be a reassuring ritual.
The last ritual of the day was the bedtime prayers. Each child was encouraged to thank God for all the blessings of the day, which sometimes became quite a long list, as a child will thank God for every detail, and then ask forgiveness where they failed, and ask for a new, improved start the next day. "Help me to grow up to be good and kind and faithful to your word" was a common request. Following that was a request for blessings on our parents and protection of our home. Upon awakening, we always felt we had a fresh new, forgiven start in life.
These things are sometimes overlooked in overcoming things, but often mankind's solutions bring on more problems and cost more money!
Before I leave here today I wanted once more to show the fabric Roxy, from "Living From Glory to Glory" blog sent me, and to tell her I still pat the fabric and look at it and think about cutting it. I have paired it with this old hat, and an old pattern, and it looks just right. Some of you may have that hat..it came from JC Penny back in the the day. Yes Roxy, I am going to use this fabric, since I have whittled down my pile of old fabric. It is is a fabric that is so soft and silky I can't make the commitment to cut it yet.
I was going to make this post a quick greeting g but then I got out all my old July Victoria's, the first ten years, and decided to share them. I am missing July 1992 but it is probably misplaced. I like the picture on the cover of the issue at the lower left because it was after that particular publication the rubber stamp companies began producing the canning jar with the roses and berries picture. Plus, it was something we could all so happily relate to and imitate at home:
Pages from July issues:
There are instructions on the American Girls Handibook for the card stock fans, below. I have several of them my children made, with the ribbon.