Saturday, January 30, 2016

Courtesy in the Home (Video 5)


We know it is God's will for people in the home to be courteous, for the Holy Spirit, speaking through the Word, said, "...be courteous." 1 Peter 3:8.  

According to the 1828 dictionary, courtesy means to be friendly minded, polite, well-mannered, civil, obliging, and elegant. Those of you who like the stories written by Jane Austen will recall Emma saying, "When pressed, I say he is very elegant." She may have been referring to the manners of a gentleman.




Dress Up at Home

One simple way to show courtesy in the home is to dress respectably. Even when there are no others around to see you, proper dress has a tremendous impact on the mind, and if you are dressed up rather than down, you will approach your life's work at home as a profession, a ministry and an art. This will increase your sense of self-worth and ambition.

To dress for others in the home shows that you respect them and regard them highly enough to present yourself in a good light. We all have days of rest and relaxation, but we can still dress beautifully at home. It brings out the best in us and it inspires those we have in our care. Remember that children will be whatever you are, yourself, and if you want to teach them to care about how they look, be sure to look well, yourself. 

I know in this prevailing culture it is hard to find anyone dressed up for anything anymore, much less, the home. If you are depressed by the "dressing down" in the public places you go for your shopping and errands, or even travel, you probably know there is not much you can do to change it.  A recent article here  talks about a culture that refuses to dress up.  

You can, however, change things in yourself and in your home. If you dress nice to go out in public, it will spread an influence, and others will follow. You can dress up at home, and be less depressed, and influence your family. I am not speaking of formal wear or a prom dress, but of clothing that is more formal than sportswear.  It shows courtesy when you dress for your home. Dress up for your lovely home and to show courtesy to the people you love!

Pick Up After Yourself.

It is courteous to look after your own things and not leave them about for other people to pick up.  It is courteous to finish your work and not leave it for other people to finish. Everyone in the home should take care of themselves as soon as they are able to learn how, and should finish their own work if they are able. In the home, it is courteous not to burden other family members with our own possessions and messes.

One way to break the habit of leaving things laying around is to gather everything when you leave a place. When you get up from a chair, look around and pick up anything you have been using. Let the evidence of your presence be that the area looks better than before you came.

If you want to make a habit of picking things up, try it for a day and you will see it is less labor intensive than waiting for a clean-up day, and you will show courtesy to others by being a good example.

Build One Another Up

Showing courtesy at home requires that we build one another up and not spread gloom and doom in the home.  Rather than leave others with a feeling of hopelessness, try to give them help and hope and encouragement.  Learn to make life better, and not sink down into defeat.

Courtesy in the home will make life worth living, and the home the most desirable place to be. It is discourteous to complain, but it is courtesy to fix things.

Today I have a video on this subject:



Please keep writing your suggestions and ideas for subjects to cover. I am eventually going to do podcasts so you can have things to listen to while washing dishes and making beds ;-) 



I have no idea why the video transposed the scene from left to right. It should be like the photo, below. Maybe I did not notice a setting.


I usually get some questions about the cardigans I have worn in these videos. This one is Faded Glory brand cotton cardigan, price $8.00 from Walmart, available in many colors.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Contentment in the Home (Video 4)

The Little Shepherdess by Johann Baptiste Hoffner

Contentment means "to be satisfied" and also means "to please." It includes a feeling of satisfaction and a quiet, settled happiness.

It is easy, in any place, to become restless and anxious, but the home is a place where contentment is advantageous even into the future.

As a homemaker, doing the same things multiple times and trying to be happy about it can be a challenge, but I believe it is God's will to be content, so here are some things you might try, in order to gain contentment.

Pray for contentment.  Though we may think we can do everything on our own, it is God who enables us. If we ask for contentment, we may receive help, and somehow we become more aware of the avenues of contentment.

Set yourself on a course of personal improvement by correcting your faults, serving others in your family, learning something and adding good character qualities. You might want more discernment, nobility, be able to recognize truth, develop things that are good and lovely etc. (Philippians 4:819), or, there might be physical things you want to improve, such as better health and adequate rest. You might list social skills like learning more about hospitality and courtesy.  Maybe you want to dress better everyday at home. These are all things on a self-improvement list that improve your quality of life and your contentment.

Sort things and list things. I hope there are other ladies out there my age who remember listing and organizing everything they owned. It increased a feeling of contentment. I suppose today it would increase contentment if we listed everything we owned and tried to eliminate half of it. As we grow older we naturally accumulate a lot!

Finish something or accomplish something. Completing one task or finishing an old project produces contentment.

Take your time, not to delay, but to allow your mind to dwell on what you are doing and give it time to catch up with your actions. Rushing can bring on a feeling of anxiety and panic. To produce contentment, take your time doing a small task.

Block out the world with all its stress. An old hymn says, "Take time to be holy: the world rushes on."  In every era, people have experienced the same anxiety about life going past too fast. It will slow down when you personally slow down and take time to be holy. "Holy" means to set apart. It means to get away from the world. You can do that in your own home by allowing yourself to be still and to dwell on something good and lovely. 

The Bible says: "Godliness with contentment is great gain."
 (1 Timothy 6:6), and "Be content with such things as ye have." (Hebrews 13:5)

I hope you enjoy this video and will excuse that I fumble about so much. I am learning how to edit and will become more confident at this, I hope. I do have a remote...somewhere...and will be content when I can use it to aid in making videos.



                  ;



Someone is probably going to ask about this light blue cardigan so I am posting pictures here. It is by Faded Glory and has a lot of rayon in it, which is comfortable--not too hot, amd just right for wearing at home.
                       
I like the knitted ribbing going completely around the garment from the neck to the front and again around the back. The piece at the back waist gives it a nice shape.  These were on sale in several colors some time ago, at Walmart. They style looks like something that might be easy to knit or crochet.

                          

I have been amused at some of the emails I get regarding the videos: they all ask where I got the sweater I am wearing :-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Adding Beauty at Home (with video 3)

The Arrival by Edward K. Johnson, 1825-1896

Hello Dear Ones,

In the last two posts I wrote about choosing the the most urgent things to do at home, and the concept of believing in what you are doing, as the most important thing in the world to you.

Edward K. Johnson "The Hammock"

While a great deal of home life is work, it does not have to feel like it is always something grueling, stressful, hard and unfeeling. If you believe you are creating a life of beauty and happiness for your loved ones in your home, it keeps your mood upbeat and adds a feeling of love in the overall atmosphere of your home.

Today I have created a video on the subject of adding the element of beauty to your daily life. When we connect to the old paths, that is, the values handed down to us from our parents and grandparents, that were rooted in the Bible, work and life at home is incredibly enhanced. 


In 1987 we saw the first issues of this magazine which tugged at our hearts. I remember paging through it in the grocery store to see what it was all about, because it stood out among the other magazines--not because it was flashy or attention-getting, but because it had a quiet and gentle look. The early issues included scenes with Bible verses, poetry and paintings in the most innocent and good taste.


 In its own advertisement, the publication offered an invitation to "enter a world of grace"  in "The new magazine of living beautifully ever after."


Inside one of these early summer issues we caught a glimpse of our own well-lived rooms furnishings. Many of us would declare: "Oh! I have this already. I would like to see how I can make it look as lovely as that."


We liked the house plans in the back of the magazine,



...and the "Favorite Things" in the front pages.


Presentations of ordinary things people have used for generations (such as this natural wicker basket used as a tray)  were a nice, non-jarring change from the contents of the commercial magazines marketed to ladies at the time. 


This was one of our favorite pictures of children dressed in the clothing that was available to us in the 1980's which was reminiscent of the Victorian era:



In fact, the photo was so delightful, we found sand-castle-making sets and took a trip to the Gulf of Mexico for a little holiday in 1987. Since we lived in Texas at the time, it was just a day-trip.


Above, every year the magazine did a feature on England, which was something we always looked forward to. We may have missed an issue or two during the year, but never the the "oh-to-be-in-England-now-that-spring-is-here" issue in March or April.

Butterick later published a pattern that looks like the photo in the above, March 1993 issue:






 In this video, I am sharing how I used the original Victoria magazines to stimulate my interest in the home, and particularly, how I enriched our home-school.  I hope you enjoy it, and thanks ahead of time for watching it.   Please leave a comment!



                    

Note: I am now learning about podcasts, which I think will be more useful. Its like listening to radio while you work around the house.

Note: The original issues of Victoria were published in New York, and although the magazine had a wonderful Victorian gentility about it, the ads were very feministic and modern (alcohol, unappealing styles that were in direct conflict with the magazine's soft demeanor, and extremely immodest ads for products). After about ten years,many  ladies did not care to purchase it and the magazine lost popularity. Many of us who were charter members wrote to the Victoria publishers to cite exactly why we were cancelling our subscriptions.  The magazine, now based in Alabama, (I think) does have advertising, but in much better taste and not in conflict with the magazine as a whole.

Someone inquired about the cardigan I am wearing in this video, so I have posted photos:

The brand is Rendezvous, and the style # is 540D5428M

The sleeves have elastic gathers, something I like to add to my sleeves when I am sewing.

I got it at a discount store for about $7.00 but if you locate it online, the price may not be that low. The fabric is rayon and has a knitted look.


The dress form does not show it off in its best look, but I wanted you to see the back.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Confidence in the Home (with video 2)


                                   (Setting the Table, Saturday Evening Post, 1957)

I thought you might enjoy this depiction of the 1950's home economics classes.  If I am remembering right, the boys were in the workshop classes learning carpentry skills and how to put an engine back together. Sometimes when the home ec class finished preparing a meal, the boys from the workshop class would come in to have the food tested on them :-) Does anyone remember this?

In homeschooling, we changed this a little by inviting the rest of the family to dinner, or, when we taught homemaking to other girls, would invite the parents to dine with us to sample the final result.


Some women really want to make life  at home pleasant, stable and worthwhile, but they need confidence. Confidence consists of trust, faith and courage, and a touch of boldness.

There are two things that might help to develop confidence in managing the home:

1. Being convinced that what you are doing is right. This makes it possible to do something with steady determination.  When you know something is the right thing to do, that it is important, and
necessary, confidence comes more easily. 

Isaiah 30:5  says, "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength."

As an example, a lady at home may want her family to have meals at home. She feels strongly that they should eat food prepared at home, as well as sit together at meal times. She wants to prepare the table so that her family may enjoy the experience of dining, rather than just eating in an unceremonious way.  Being convinced that this is a noble and good thing to do, she confidently does whatever she needs to do.

2. Keeping your eye on the final outcome of any effort will keep you from losing confidence.  A mother may begin home schooling, and as the days go by, may come across difficulties, but if she keeps her final goals in mind, she will have confidence. 

When confronted by difficulties, keeping her  ultimate goals pictured in her mind will help her feel confidence.

The opposite of confidence is uncertainty, nervousness and feelings of inferiority. 

Enemies of confidence are things like discouraging news, distractions, and unfair comparisons.

I have created a short video to emphasize two important points, so please click and listen here:


It would have been good to have added in the video, to use the discouraging news you hear, or any discouraging thoughts, as signals to do what is right and good and what is necessary for you to do, with confidence.



To practice being confident:

1. Develop knowledge of your work. These days, training in skills and knowledge is more convenient than it ever has been. When you become proficient at something, your confidence increases.

These days there are so many choices in learning materials, that you can choose whatever you respond to the best, for your teacher: video cooking lessons, housekeeping manuals, workbooks, podcasts, skype visits, and hands-on experience through attending things in youe area. 

2. Every goal has some unpleasant aspects in the attainment of it, so do not be daunted by difficulties. 
You can feel confident when you quietly and patiently go about your tasks.

When discussing the quality of confidence, I always enjoy relating the story of Nehemiah. I find it amusing, because it is so like the way things happen today. 





Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Motivation at Home (with video 1)


Irish Cottage by Bonnie Cook

(Note: all paintings are from Allposters.com)


When you are a home maker, there will be no time clock, no assigned work area, no designated job, no dress code, no imposed schedule, no promised reward and no supervisor or manager evaluating your work performance. It isn't like college, either, where you are motivated by test scores, achievement awards, competitions, and diplomas.

Welcome to the challenging world of  self-employment,  where your personal motivation is powered by the desire to have a successful home life, good food and a comfortable, orderly house. Your rewards are the results you see from a finished task.  You will enjoy looking at the room you have  cleaned, the meal you prepared, the pile pf papers you sorted, and the talents you are developing. You will see  results in teaching children manners and making them good helpers, while they acquire strong spiritual values. These are some of the immediate rewards of your efforts.
Cottage for the Birds, by Vicki Wade


Like the self-employed entrepreneur, your job at home is where you will have many different roles.  You will be your own supervisor, your own maid and butler, housekeeper, quality control agent, advisor and counselor, shopper and your own personal motivator.

Your  motivation comes from anticipating the end-results. Your rewards are the joy and satisfaction of personal achievement and success in any particular effort.

Housekeeping is not the main job in the life of the homemaker, but it can be a reflection of how you feel about your work, as to whether it is a personal ministry to God or just a job that must be done.
Victorian, by Erin Dertner



 While you hope to please your family, you cannot give up if they forget to notice your home improvement or your self-improvement. You have to serve a higher King, Christ, because His standards are more excellent. Whenever people try to impress others and please mankind too much, they live far below what we they are capable of doing and being.

 I want to also address young ladies at home.  You may be longing to have your own home and family that you can manage yourself. You cannot afford to pay rent at home, so let your housekeeping be the way you pay your rent.  Keep your eyes open for opportunities to help at home. Take care of your own room, your own laundry, and pick up after yourself in shared family areas of the house. Learn to prepare food and learn to clean a kitchen after a meal. Look around for things that need to be put away or put into order.  Be an asset to your home, not a liability. Be an encouragement and a help to your family, and less of a burden. Your parents would appreciate this more than your paying room and board. Pay your rent in thoughtfulness, work and encouragement.


Nicki Boehme

1. List the Three Most Urgent Things to Do The Next Day.

Personal motivation, Ladies, may possibly begin in the evening before you go to sleep. At this time, you may write on a nice piece of paper or a little notebook, three main things you need to do the next day.  This does not mean you will do only three things, but that you hope to do at least these three most important things (Lord willing, and the creek don't rise).  With this simple list, you will find that   instead  of running from on half-finished job to another, you will focus on completing at least three things.  If you do not complete two of them, include them on the next day's list.


Your three items on the list can be as simple as: dishes, laundry, meals; or clutter, floors, beds; or just baking, ironing, letters. If you only get one done, put the other items on the list again for the next day.

Motivate yourself to complete at least one job, with a personal reward.  You may have a publication you have been wanting to read, a friend to call,  or a particular talent or hobby you never have time for. These rewards are bright spots in the day you can give yourself.

2. Take Care of Your Appearance in Preparation for the Day.

In the morning, the first thing you need to do is prepare yourself for the job ahead by personal grooming. Dressing your best and paying attention to your hair and skin care has a positive effect on your mind and your personal motivation. You need not wear a prom dress, but opting for something pretty in place of jeans and t-shirts can have a motivating effect.



One reason so many ladies liked Laura Ashley clothing  was because of her statement that her cotton dresses were not intended to be posh or to be worn to the theatre, but were designed to be worn at home. These lovely  dresses and skirts with their inspiring prints and colors were so nice to wear. They were comfortable and suitable for home living without being dowdy or stiffly formal.  This is one reason I sew a few dresses every year.  Wearing them gives me a fresh approach to my day. If you do not care to sew, there are still ways to get nice clothing for the home if you put your mind to it.


Many professionals who work at home have found that in order to feel motivated  to work and succeed at it,  they must dress as though they were going to work somewhere.  The homemaker can consider her role a profession of great honor and importance and she is not just going to work. She is in a position of responsibility to help her family have success in their lives. This is worth dressing up for.

Your personal grooming is an important motivator because it makes a difference in how you feel. When you dress your best and you look good, it will lift your whole countenance. If you begin the day with good grooming--a refreshing shower, hair arranged, skin-care and a little scent, you will feel that nomatter what happens, you are in a little more control, or at least you look like you are!



3. Work as Though You Expect Company.

After each assignment is complete, stand back and say "it is good."  You will enjoy going back to a finished room or looking at a book shelf you have just organized. There is a great feeling of satisfaction in completed tasks when you do them with company in mind. You want company to have an uncluttered house to sit in. You want to make your home nice for them. I used to plan company two weeks ahead so that I could be more motivated to put my house in order.


4. Go Beyond Mediocre.

While you could probably "get by" with a swipe at the kitchen or a quick removal of dirty dishes from the table, go beyond what is merely required, and remove debris, clean and perfect each area so that it looks finished, polished, and completed. Your personal job-satisfaction depends on how well you do the job. Do not be content just to declare it "passable", but make it excellent.


5. Give Yourself Rewards.

There are always things you wish you had more time for: a favorite publication, a cup of tea in a nice cup, a conversation with a friend, personal talents, learning some new skill, going for a walk, sewing or any number of things. Use these as rewards for finishing a job. Say to yourself, "When I get this job finished I am going to write some letters, (paint, sew, read, etc.)


Finally, think of your home as a Palace, where you reside over it in a queenly manner, seeing that everything is running smoothly. Think of your family as the most important people to you, Prepare your appearance as though your home was the most refined, most elegant place in the world to work, and work as though you are expecting important guests. Knowing that Christ is the unseen guest is the greatest motivation, since serving such a great King requires giving our best efforts.

Go here to print this for your homemaking notebook.

I hope you have a wonderful day, ladies and that you will leave me a comment about what motivates you at home. As I am just learning about making videos (I am always ten years behind everything!), I have only now completed one. I see lots of room for improvement, (I changed my mind several times but finally decided to let you see it with all the flaws) and I hope to do better next time. I only wish I had done this when I was a 20 years younger and a lot more photogenic ;-) I hope to get better at it, but in the meantime, I hope you will check it out, below:








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