Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Secrets of the Happy Home Life (from 1894)

by J. R. Miller, 1894

Home is among the holiest of words. A true home is one of the most sacred of places. It is a sanctuary into which men flee from the world's perils and alarms. It is a resting-place to which at close of day the weary retire to gather new strength for the battle and toils of tomorrow. It is the place where love learns its lessons, where life is schooled into discipline and strength, where character is molded. Out of the homes of a community comes the life of the community, as a river from the thousand springs that gush out on the hillsides...

Home is the true wife's kingdom. There, first of all places, she must be strong and beautiful. She may touch life outside in many ways, if she can do it without slighting the duties that are hers within her own doors. But if any calls for her service must be declined, they should not be the duties of her home. These are hers, and no other one's. Very largely does the wife hold in her hands, as a sacred trust, the happiness and the highest good of the hearts that nestle there. The best husband—the truest, the noblest, the gentlest, the richest-hearted—cannot make his home happy if his wife be not, in every reasonable sense, a helpmate to him.

In the last analysis, home happiness depends on the wife. Her spirit gives the home its atmosphere. Her hands fashion its beauty. Her heart makes its love. And the end is so worthy, so noble, so divine, that no woman who has been called to be a wife, and has listened to the call, should consider any price too great to pay, to be the light, the joy, the blessing, the inspiration of a home.

Men with fine gifts think it worth while to live to paint a few great pictures which shall be looked at and admired for generations; or to write a few songs which shall sing themselves into the ears and hearts of men. But the woman who makes a sweet, beautiful home, filling it with love and prayer and purity, is doing something better than anything else her hands could find to do beneath the skies.

Painting: A Place to Dream, by Susan Rios, available online.


Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, I know I've said this before, but I truly love your blog. I read it every morning with my tea and am so thrilled to see when you have posted something new. It inspires me for the whole day and is a wonderful way to start my morning. This article is very good for me as I am facing a day of "deep cleaning". The article reminds me that my work has purpose and I look forward to everyone coming home to a cozy home with a warm supper on the stove. Thank you for the beautiful work you are doing.


TheNormalMiddle said...

I love this article. I am a LAF myself :) I love your blog and the laf website. God bless you!

Lydia said...

I just wanted to say that while I recommend the film, heartily, I don't really think the book is entirely appropriate and I think some of the parts in it would have been made lurid had another film industry gotten ahold of it before Hallmark. The movie, however is good and clean and shows good values, without describing bad values in detail.

Anonymous said...

The entire "Secrets of Happy Home Life" by J.R. Miller can be found linked on this page, (among other links on the home):




The latter site includes this Preface:

"One summer afternoon during our Civil War, some Southern generals were sitting under a tree, when suddenly a shell from a Northern battery crashed over their heads. The officers hastened to seek a safer place. But one of the party lingered; and the others, glancing round, saw him stooping to the ground as if he had found something of great value. The crashing of the shell through the branches had torn a bird’s nest from its place, and hurled it to the ground. And the general of armies was gathering up this nest, with its sacred burden of young bird-life, to replace it among the branches.

This little book may come into the hands of some whose home happiness has been shattered – its torn fragments lying now on the ground. It would be a comfort to the author if these simple words should put fresh hope into a discouraged heart, and thus be the hand to help restore the home to its true place, amid the branches of the tree of love."

Cherish the Home said...

Lady Lydia:
Thanks for letting us know those things about the book. I put the movie on my Christmas list and I was going to try and get the book from the library but now I don't think I will.

Anonymous said...

The man makes a house. The woman makes a home.

Lydia said...

Since I bought the book and wanted to keep it, I just tore out the offending chapter ;-), chapter 25. It described her illicit relationship with a soldier, before she was sent by her father to marry the lonely farmer. This was assumed and explained throughout the book, as the main reason for her being there, so it really wasn't necessary to the story. I'm so glad Hallmark made a good film out of the story, taking the best out of the book.

Lydia said...

I read a story of a poor family once. The other children around the area felt sorry for them because of their meager way of living, and they didn't have their own house. They said, "It's too bad you don't have a real home."

The children of that family answered, "Oh, we do have a real home. We just don't have a house to put it in."