Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Happy at Home

There are several articles on this blog about the Victorian houses and architecture. Now I would like to talk about the cottage structure, which existed long before the Victorian houses were popular in the 1800's.
According to some accounts, these homes were built quickly for less money but were cozy and warm and offerred a family safety and shelter. Some stories suggest that they actually had to be built in a day. They may have been intended for temporary housing in the 18th and 19th centuries but their form and beauty still inspire artists.
Cottages were owned by the common man. They blended in and complimented the country side in a beautiful way. Many of the homemakers who blog, have transformed their simple tract homes into types of cottages by adding cottage style gardens and gates to them.
A real home is where the family dwells. It matters not so much that it is the perfect style, but what that family is able to do creatively, with little money, to make that house a place where they can say they have been happy.
Happiness comes from doing our duty. Happiness comes from fulfillng our roles and using our creative instincts. Happiness comes from honoring our parents, and treating others with respect. Happiness comes from being content.
Having within our houses things like beautiful art work, even if it is your own creation, or the creation of your children, brings that special feeling of home to a house. Surrounding ourselves with lovely books full of good thoughts also brings this feeling of being happy at home. A person does not have to be formally educated or have a lot of money or achievement in life in order to be happy at home.
Over the years I knew other women who were not happy at home. Thinking that I could be of some help, I tried to inspire these women and do things for them, only to realize that they were not ever going to be happy. Some people are just weaned on sour pickles and they will never be happy. I observed that a lot of their unhappiness was feedback from their own critical spirit.
They were contradictory, objectionable, and critical most of the time. It hurt their marriages and their relationships at church. They woke up in the morning complaining and went to bed feeling worse because of it. These women never learned to adjust to life, with its ups and downs.
It is disappointing to see so many young women, out of school for the summer, whining and complaining about life. They are in the springtime of their years, and they should be happy just to be alive. Many of them are so absorbed in all the little hurts and wounds in their lives that they dwell on them to their own destruction. They never learned about self control and determination. They cannot rise above the winds of life.
I read a story about eagles that told how adversity actually lifts the eagle above the winds so he can fly smoother and higher. That is the lesson that young people should learn. I find they are a pessimistic bunch, always ready to criticize. They lack confidence to really love life and embrace and enjoy it. They are so beset with problems that their entire youth passes them by and they do not even enjoy it. I am not saying ALL young women are like this, because there are many nice girls who are happy and who aren't wasting their time dwelling on all the little private hurts and wounds. They are doing something worthwhile with their time. I've heard from many of these girls and they all have some thing in common: their faith and their perseverance in life. If they aren't learning some new skill, they are serving someone in some way.
When I was a teenager, my mother and I were sitting in the living room, talking while she was knitting. She taught me to knit, and I can still hear her saying, "In, under, over, off" to instruct me how to knit. An acquaintance that was of the critical sort dropped by and eventually she began to criticise and try to make us feel that we weren't very smart or educated. Everyone seems to have at least one acquaintance like that.
My mother let her talk for awhile and then she said, "Now that you've said your peace, I want to tell you something. You may not think we are doing anything important, but can you knit something for someone to wear? Can you bake bread for someone to eat?" Her visitor admitted she didn't know much about either, but insisted that she was very intelligent and smart. Some people are just bent on being unhappy and critical. Criticism seems to make them unhappy, and unhappiness makes them critical. It is not very intelligent to criticise. It is smart to do something useful and create beauty and love around you.
Homes where these kinds of activities take place, no matter how humble they are, will always be home to children because it brings them happiness. There was an old ramshackle house that some people lived in and their friends always wondered how the family could be so happy there. They paid no attention to the fact that it had no real estate value or that they had no posessions of any worth. The family was happy there because they belonged to each other and because they loved each other. They had a culture all their own there.
I love to look at paintings of cottages and imagine what kind of things might have been going on inside of them. The painter of this one, "Stillwater Cottage," Thomas Kinkade, said in one of his books that the yellow light came from houses where candles were lit or where there was a fireplace.
I loved Jennie Chancey's article that talked about having a media rest. http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com/artman/publish/LAF_Theme_Articles_13/Back_online_and_updating_again1002818.shtmlThe television and all the screens people use, create a cold, blue light. Having a media fast makes home "real" again and people find happiness doing real things; things that bring continuing results. What is done for others out of our own creativity seems to come back tenfold. Those who practice this kind of happy activity are usually content at home, and most of all, they are available to offer an encouraging word to others. Those who use the internet should reflect the love of their parents and their contentment at home in a way that catches on.


Lynda said...

Can you leave a link to Jennie Chancey's article? I have started my own media rest time in my house. It is during the day. We use to have the TV on from the time we woke up till the time we went to bed, but I changed that. Unless Daddy is home. He can't stand not having the TV on or being in front of the computer. He says he doesn't know what to do if he isn't.

After reading your blog for a while now and some other homemaking blogs, I have started a homemaking blog of my own a few months ago. I would love for you to stop by for a visit!

June Fuentes @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home said...

What a lovely post. I wholeheartedly agree, we must be wise with the critical spirits in our lives and faithfully showing them the magnificent joy and peace the Lord has given us as we serve our family and build up our blessed homes. I love that your mother shared her thoughts and stood for what she believed---heroines for our day! I'd like Jennie's link too--thank you.

Keep up the great work in encouraging us homemakers---

Many blessings...

Mommy Bee said...

I found this article to be so inspiring! Sometimes I find it hard, while living in a military-issued house on base, to really make it homey. It's so hard to put time, money, and your emotions & love into a place knowing that at any time, your husband could come home and announce that it's time to move. But I think maybe I'll try just a little harder to make this little place more of a home!

Kate said...

Thank you for this post. I live in an 880 square foot one storey 1950's cottage out in the country. Hubby and I have a cute story as to how it came to be in our possession, but it'll be too long for the comments section. I will say that at the very first, I didn't want it, but soon fell in love with the place that God so graciously provided for us. I enjoy fixing it up and making it a cozy place for hubby and I. We love our cottage.

I blog about its housekeeping on:


Lydia said...

I might forget to add someone's blog to the homemaking and plain living sections. Please remind me if you want yours there!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Thank you for this post, dear Lady Lydia. God wants us to be happy, and He has 'planted' us just as we are, with all of our limitations. Therefore, He wants us to be happy right where we are! This is why I think it's sad when people say, 'ah, there's no way I could be happy without a bigger house', or 'without getting that degree', or anything else. If you have a spirit of contentment, you'll make the best of whatever God gives you at the moment!

Lydia said...

I just can't resist saying welcome to our visitors from Mauritius and from Macedonia! It is a thrill to "see" hits from these places.

Lynda said...

Living in military housing we don't have to pay for electricity or water. But I am constantly trying to teach both my husband and my kids to turn off things that we are not using for future use when we do actually own our own home and pay our own utility bills!

Lynda said...

I would like to have mine added to "homemaking" if you find it useful enough.

Lydia said...

I put you somewhere... on the links

Martha said...

I would love to have my name added if you could. Thanks for your site. I know that some of the negative comments may get discouraging at times - but I am SO thankful for you!! It is neat to be able to have a wholesome place for my girls to be able to cultivate their homemaking hearts!! Keep up the GREAT work!

Lydia said...

Snowlady, who has sent quite a few posts here under different names and also to my daughter's blog, The Pleasant Times. You are a very miserable person,(Most liberals or Marxists are, because life just won't go the way it is supposed to according to their plan) and even more miserable because of the feedback you get from the gloom you spread around. There are plenty of people online just like you where you can go and complain. Misery loves company.

Anonymous said...

Dearest lady lydia,

Your piece on cottages was a beautiful read - there are many of these tiny little homes crammed into the older parts of Sydney built over the past 140 years
or so. Even as homes for regular folk, they are lovely and contain a quality and attention to detail about them lost in so many estates (as they're called
here) today. Occasionally, architects here are designing in the manner of past times - my trip to the Southern Highlands with my husban this last weekend
gone revealed a new and beautiful home built along Victorian lines, utilizing a combination of traditional and modern materials. The one thing about this
home that struck especially the friends who were with us was its beautiful symitry - lovely in design and easy on the eye (unlike the industrial style
trying to grab a foothold today. Gazing upon things like this actually calms the spirit (as does art, harmonius music, good books, films or television
(such as the things you've reviewed for LAF - what did you think of the BBC adaptation of Bleak House? (I found it to be gripping).
What I've found fabulous, revealed in your last few articles, are references to beautiful paintings produced by contemporary artists inspired by loveliness
and harmony either in the natural world or the themes of antiquity - fabulous to see the tradition of realism fighting back (smile).
Another aspect so important (and i am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to indulging my 'I want's list') is the vitality of contentedness.
So often i find myself becoming discontented in this city (having spent most of my adult life out of it), its climate, our location etc etc moaning on
internally with "I wish i was in the country, in a colder climate, in the perfect little house with the perfect postcard garden etc etc' rather than simply
being content where God has put us - my husband holding a fantastically secure job (a rarety in these times), being close to family, friends and an excellent
church. yes there are limitations, yes, I've done all i can do re making this home as inviting as i can (seeing as i can't make curtains, sew or embroider
etc). God has opened up opportunities to discover and purchase lovely handicrafts to beautify our place (plus the inherriting of some beautiful Polish
handwork gracing my ironing/spinning room. It's humble but I'll be more than happy to send you pictures (especially of the prayer/guest room).
As for family pressure re the pursuit of the post-modern dream as it's mistakenly thought of, I've found that as i get older, they tend to back off and
I am able to 'get away' with much more outrageous behaviour (smile) such as dressing modestly, choosing to focus primarily upon my home and husband before
other pursuits God is working his magnificent work through us all in great and small ways.

Keep fighting the good fight.


Mrs. E.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Lady Lydia,

Keep up the good work once again, stay strong in the strength of our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and do not let the dour sentiments of so many undermine your spirits.

Ladies and gentlemen, remember, whatever life throws at you, happiness is a choice - we can choose to be happy or continue to sink deeper into the mire of despair - believe you me, life has not been a bed of roses for me (having weathered some of the toughest blows this age can deal a person which I am not about to elabourate on via means of this public forum). Notwithstanding the pain, isolation, betrayal and devistating aloneness that plagued me for years, i drew strength from the heavenly source of all strength and was lifted out. In my darkest hours, along with the refuge of the spiritaul (that in and of itself can feel a barren place - remember the words of the poem 'footsteps in the sand') it was the beautiful that gave my soul solice, providing a quiet place of refuge and recharge regardless of the hell raining down around me.

To those in miserable spirits out there - regardless of their cause, upon this next close of day, regardless of the chaos or hardship you may be enduring, do something simple for me - upon sunset, go out there and enjoy it; drink it up; whether in the country or city, lay down the bagage of the soul and simply let it permiate you. Likewise, in the cool of the day, even if it requires all your strength and wherewithall to accomplish, find a beautiful place and once more lay down the soul's bagage...even if it is only for fifteen minutes, focusing on tree, flower, grass and sky. This might sound trivial and trite but you will be surprised. Wil it change your circumstances (prevent that looming bankrupcy, stop the heartbreak, heal the betrayed soul of your youth? No. What it will do is give you time out - time to be absorbed in the other - the eternal - the ordered (especially important if all one is surrounded by is chaos) and if there is bitterness, if there is pain, if there is anger, if there is hurt? cast it up to the almighty - as the psalmist stated so simply "Be stil and know that I am God'. Also, read psalm 2 - even if you've never picked up a Bible before - and slowly work your way through the first fifty. The psalmist faced joy, difficulty, pain, betrayal plus the very human foybles and nature possessed by every human being upon this planet. Read with an open heart and mind and you'll be surprised.

may you all be truly blessed, each and every one of you.

Mrs. E.

Sue said...

Great post like always! I enjoy your comments as well.

smilnsigh said...

Ohhh cottages! I soooo love cottages!


Lydia said...

Snowlady, an email name, is from someone who posts as Jean, Bea, r, and a dozen other names. This comment is addressed to the SnowLady email name that comes up on all the fake names to this site.

You need to go to these places and learn a little more about Marx, Fraud, Darwin, and other athiests. You can't live forever knowing only one side of them. Don't accuse me of knowing only one side. You assume that I don't know both sides, but I do. Without knowing both sides I would not be able to distinguish which is right.
You can hardly prove your point unless you know the Bible, and your comments show a woeful lack of biblical knowledge--you base it all on a general smattering of knowledge but your attitude and your facts all point to an indoctrination of Marx and Fraud.

Show me the wonderful utopia of Marxism and I'll say oh yes you are right! We shouldn't be living in America, that evil capitalist country--we should be living in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)--yes that wonderful utopia where everyone is equal, everyone has enough to eat and no one is worried about being shot for speaking out against the Marxist dictatorship there. Show me the wonderful Marxist utopia where people sing its praises... and read these sites:




Now Mr. or Ms. snowlady, none of your comments were worth posting. You have accused me of being "Victorian." Well, okay, in keeping with the Victorian sensibilities of that era, I will not allow rude comments. That is the way the Victorians kept the world from intruding in their homes and lives, and that is the way we keep our little parts of the web clean.

Lynda said...

I would see it as a compliment if someone accused me of being "Victorian". I loved how they kept their homes and families close. I, for one, absolutely love your blog LadyLydia.

I changed my identity name to Mommy Lynda since that is what I have been signing my blog with. And Dive Housewives just didn't fit me anymore. The "diva" part anyway.