Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Old Picture Box -

Grandma's photo box reveals the life that was important to her and many others at that time. She kept this love of home and family and the nation even through a time of turmoil when young people were throwing off the loyalties of their parents and the restraints of their forefathers. In this box contained pictures of her and her family in front of every house they ever lived in. "This was our house in Kansas," she would say. "Here is where we lived in Washington." As I rummaged through some old photos in an antique store, I noticed many Victorian families standing in front of houses. The house was more than a shelter or a place to "crash" or hang out. It was a place where the family shared loyalty and good values that would build up and establish the home, not tear it down. It would be a home place for future generations to gather. It was not there for resale value. It was there because it made a statement about the permanence of the marriage and the family.

Other photographs show just her in a different dress. When she got a new dress, or when I sewed one for her, Grandpa would take a picture of her wearing it. Sometimes she took a picture of the table all spread out with food ready to serve company. Other times pictures showed her husband's prize dahlias growing in all their colorful splendor in the flower boxes outside. Grandma had many photos of her in front of a throng of flowers, wearing a dress in the same color as the flowering bush, flowering tree or flower bed.

There were a few photographs of presents she got on her birthday or on other special occasions. In these, she held all her gifts on her lap, smiled broadly and had her picture taken. Every single birthday and anniversary was a huge event. They stayed home for most of them but the house was alive with a feeling of celebration. She dressed up before she had her picture taken and never was there a photograph of her in her sleeping clothes.

Cars were another favorite. Photographs abounded of every single car she and her husband owned, with the two of them or the entire family standing in front of the car. I have an old photograph of all 7 of the children in my family standing in front of an old car that my parents owned. It was something everyone enjoyed doing and it symbolized ownership and progress, and also symbolized many other things: a man's care for his family so that they could freely travel from one place to another, and a family's fascination with automation.

The thing I like best about the diaries and the photo albums, is the evidence of the happy home and the hard work that she did to get it that way. She rose up early in the morning and began her day, free from the dictates of any corporation. She decided on her own menus and her shopping list. She went where she wanted to go and she looked after her home the way she chose. Even in the early days of the diaries and the photographs, when there was no money, she managed to make a day special for her family and create moments to remember. I think that it takes enormous intelligence, alertness, resourcefulness, thoughtfulness and love to do what she did. Sometimes people would say, "Don't you want to make a lot of money and do better

than your parents?" I used to hear this a lot in the 60's. I think it is very hard to do better than parents who had a lasting marriage and raised children and kept a home place. We always hope the younger generation will make a better pie, though, and be great homemakers, and be able to manage their time better, or be healthier, or know the scriptures better and spare themselves the heartache of a broken home. We hope they will study and "do better" spiritually and be able to be good stewards of their houses and property.


To the Christian Feminist,

here are some links that show the connection between Feminism and Marxism: http://no-maam.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-is-marxism-and-how-does-it-work.html

Vox Day has an article called "Feminism, the Failed Experiment" http://voxday.blogspot.com/search?q=feminism

and Glenn Sacks has articles about feminism here http://glennsacks.com/blog/?p=137

type in "feminism " in his search area and there are many more articles to look at.

Read the truth about feminism in an article by Henry Makow here http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=1890

Monday, May 26, 2008

Changes in Time: Reading Grandma's Diaries

Dappled Sun by Roberto Lomardi

Her diaries began when she was 19 years old and spanned approximately 80 years. It was very interesting to see the changes in society that formed the mood of these diaries. Prior to 1965, regular entries record weekly visits from friends and church members who came by for pie. Interspersed evenly with these are the words, "We went out for pie at Viola's (or Pansy's or Rose's) house for pie. Their husbands were named "Joe, Jim, Frank or Fred." Every day she recorded at least one sentence about the day. If she didn't go anywhere she noted that she had baked something or written a letter to her sister. These were not diaries used to express resentment or inner anxiety. They were for the record.

The first 40 years of these diaries gave a sense of innocent happiness, as she and her husband and children interacted with others in her community and the church. It seemed like they were often at each other's homes for pie! She often told where the pie was served: someones front porch, the kitchen, the living room. The adults played horse-shoes outside, in the summer. There was no need for youth groups in those days because everyone came to visit and they got their socialization within the families that intermingled so well. She also recorded a number of marriages that took place in the church where they served, and every baby that was born was given a brief write-up in the tiny daily spaces in her book. It made a kind of routine: visitors, wedding, dropping in on someone else, a baby being born, a recipe tried, ironing done, visitors, pie served, wedding, etc.

They also used to dress up for each other to visit in their homes. Children were made to change clothes and wash their faces and hands and comb their hair before they accepted visitors. They were happy to sit on chairs and take pie with the rest of the company. In her diaries, she would briefly express her feelings with words like, "I really enjoyed that couple. They had nice children," or "The Jones are so interesting. Mr. Jones is always telling jokes." "My husband won, at horse-shoes." Reading this was a peek into the happy times of the century, that even I experienced as a child.

As we read further into the last 40 years, the tone of her diaries changed. There was a sadness expressed, without words. In the 1970's, instead of the usual, "Friends came over for pie tonight," the entries, for the first time, begin to sound rather depressing. She writes: "Mrs. C. came to visit and ask how she could get her son out of prison." "We went to call on Mr. B., whose teenage daughter is in trouble, " or something like: "Mr. J. came to see us because his son is on drugs."

One can only imagine how bizarre the events seemed to a woman who had spent most of her life in a friendly routine of a typical family, visiting friends and neighbors, going on trips to see their aging folks, shopping, cooking, and taking part in her own personal hobbies and interests. Though she wrote of various problems in the church before the 60's and 70's, they were minor, compared to the family-splitting problems she faced during the last 40 years of her diary.

Instead of visiting church couples to encourage them, they now visited families that were torn apart by alcohol, drugs, music, irresponsible handling of money and crazy life styles. One entry described an interesting visit, followed by the words, "Some people!" A great amount of the problems had to do with the "new" morality of the 60's, the drug problem, immodesty, and the worldly philosophies that weakened the family and the local churches.

Near the end of her diaries, her world had gotten so strange, that she pens these words: Mr. S. wanted money so he could leave town; Mrs. M. wanted money because she needed gas to go and visit her husband in prison.

One 9 year old girl told me that she was living with her father's girlfriend's mother, because her father couldn't take care of her and her mother was not responsible. Even while living with someone she was not even related to, she says, "We are a really mixed up family, but we are just like all the other families in the world."

It is sad that she really believes this and that a whole generation thinks it has to be this way, because it does not. I hope the next generation will have the determination to insist on giving their families a life of friendship and pie and family visits on the front porch. To the cynic and the jaded, it seems simplistic and unintelligent. A few years ago I wrote about a visit from a woman in England, who said she had grown tired of listening to young women boast about their degrees. "That's very nice, dear," she would tell them, "But can you bake a pie and serve coffee?"

Changes in Time: Reading Grandma's Diaries

Table Settings

Sometimes all that is needed for a centerpiece are the pieces from the china set. Here is a set that has colors in it that afford several different types of combinations in table cloths and placemats. This one is set with dark red chargers. The gold cutlery match the gold trim on the rims of plates and cups. The patchwork pads were created by my daughter when she was very young. I saved them and didn't use them much because I knew there was a slim possibility of ever getting more, once her life got busier. I was right: she now has four children and when she has "spare time" she lays down or reads a book! The design was copied from the round quilted potholders of her great-grandmothers, which we still had. It consists of fabrics from some of her own dresses which I sewed when she was younger, and batting and bias trim. It is all machine stitched.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Taken to Tea

I was taken to tea recently.

The food was half eaten before we remember to take a picture, but you can imagine that the presentation on this tiered server was very appealing.
The menus look like this:

And here is what was written on the wall. The shelf contained tea pots for sale. I couldn't get a full picture because there were so many people there and I didn't want to infringe on their privacy. I am not sure they would want to become world famous by being on my blog.

"A cup of tea shared...is happiness tasted...and time well spent."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Lights of Home

Lights of Home by Klaus Strubel

I was thinking today of the effect that cleaning a house has on the people in it. It lights up the place. It gives it a fresh, new feeling. Just as God designed the earth to revolve around the sun, so the home revolves around the needs of our loved ones. Things change constantly, it seems, but it certainly keeps the home interesting. When things are orderly and bright, everyone seems to be happier. Sometimes when one or more members of the family are "out of sorts" it comes from the neglect of the home.

There is nothing like home. No place of business or other institution has the same feeling as home. That is reason enough to give it top priority in the care of it. Children must be taught and family members must be able to discuss the important issues on their hearts. These things are not as easily done elsewhere. The home is where true freedom exists. It is here that we can be who we are and express our beliefs with confidence. The home is your own little country, where you fly your own flag and have your own culture.

There is an endless supply of poetry and stories written about the lights of home. Home provides more than a physical light to the neighborhood. It also provides a feeling of love an warmth, The homemaker's time there creates a special feeling. We always remember our home life better than anything else, for it is there we have been safe and happy.

Read a Good Book

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Refinement Lesson for Girls

Here is another idea for a girl's tea or class on refinement. Remember, refinement is opposite of crudeness.

I pour some of my husbands motor oil into a jar with a lid and put it on the table. Next to it I put baby oil, which is clear. I tell the girls the way that crude oil is filtered to refine it into a clear oil to use for many of our daily household products, including perfumes and body oils. To get it clear and smelling nice, it goes through a lot of filters and has other things added to it. We get a lot of our perfumed oils by a refining process.

After letting them smell each jar, I ask them which type of oil they would like to rub on their skin. They always choose the baby oil. It smells nice and it looks nice.

In some demonstrations, I put the crude motor oil into fancy glass containers or beautiful perfume bottles, and I put the perfumed oil into an ugly, plain jar. Sometimes I change the labels and try to convince them that the motor oil smells wonderful and would be great perfume.
This serves well to illustrate the problem that many people have of properly representing Christ. Sometimes they can be all dolled up, but inside, they are crude and rude and unrefined. Other times they may have wonderful personalities and a pure heart, but they mis-represent Christ by their untidy, unclean, unkempt appearance.
I always ask them if they were to see bottles on a shelf, would they choose the attractive bottle that appealed to their love of beauty, or would they take the dirty jar that had been handled a lot and had oil in it that smelled bad. Also I point out that the jar of perfumed oil, in the nice bottle, is capped, and you cannot use it until it is yours. You cannot take it apart in the store and use it and expect someone to still want it after you have tampered with it. There are of course, many lessons that could be derived from this example, but for one lesson, I apply the subject of refinement.

I tell them that refinement is the same way. It causes less resistance. In fact, it draws people to you. The unrefined girl will create strife all around her. This is not to say it only applies to the young. Many older women are still unrefined, as they constantly berate, dress sloppily, start arguments, or slam doors in people's faces.

Crude speech, crude manners, crude dressing, etc. are all rough and unrefined. They are things like being careless in the way you talk, insulting, complaining, accusing, answering back sharply, arguing. using curse words or slang, and in general being disrespectful. Crude manners may include something like telling a person off, making remarks designed to upset someone, abusing someone else's property or possessions, whether it be a car or clothing, and so forth. Crude dressing is dressing like a savage who doesn't know about civilized life, who just lives in the same clothes without being washed, walking around smelling terrible because of uncleanness, and dressing in a rebellious manner.

Remember the black, witchcraft look? That is crudeness and rebellion. So is indecency or immodesty. Now, just because I listed this, does not mean I am telling you what to wear. I'm also not criticising your clothes. I'm just offering guidelines to help you decide what is decent and what is pure. Remember the Bible is the ultimate guide and it says we are to be courteous and refined and modest. People can understand the guidelines when it comes to behaviour in traffic or behaviour at work, but somehow, they set up a resistance when it comes to manners, speech or modesty. (Note: I'm not accusing any reader of being un-refined. This is just information.)

To be refined, it has been generally understood that a person becomes concerned about the effect he has on other people. He doesn't want anyone to be offended. He doesn't want to ruin any relationship. He thinks of the harm it will do, in the long run. He becomes unselfish. He no longer tries to think about his life and his money and his this or that. He thinks about the people he lives with and how he can make life more pleasant for them. He does not claim his "rights" to behaving crudely. He loves others enough to be helpful, rather than to be a burden.

Included in this lesson are these two passages, which of course, the girls have to do a bit of research and writing. For example, what is a refiners fire, and what is fuller's soap? It helps them to understand the process of refinement. It may mean you take a bit of heat as you correct yourself. It may mean it is hard or difficult. It may mean that whatever things you experience in life are all part of God's way of refining you to His glory.

Mal 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:

1Pe 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1Pe 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
1Pe 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
1Pe 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
1Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
1Pe 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
1Pe 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1Pe 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
1Pe 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Everyone has something that can be used as a centerpiece. Here are some ideas that do not require fresh flowers.

I can't remember where I got this but I like it because it is similar to the 19th century painting called "The Shell."

The tea tray is a always a perfect centerpiece because there is an endless selection of teapot styles. Add a fake cake that you make yourself from silk florals.
Then, there is always the glass reamer or juice squeezer. Here, it is with those pine cones that look like roses.

And here it has a selection of pastel treats in it.

This is a floral garland wrapped several times around a wax pillar.

An ordinary votive will always do for a centerpiece.

A place of shells and rocks in sand. You don't even have to go to the beach to get them. Sometimes you can find them at the dollar store.

There are some beautiful fake cakes available online which make great centerpieces.

Fruit centerpieces go way, way back to the earliest of times. Paintings of them can be found on the walls of ancient cities. Baskets or bowls of fruit were always considered a great luxury.

These are just a few things you can do without a great knowledge of centerpieces. Just arrange them, and step back to have a look. Rearrange and look again, until you get it the way you want it. Use your own colors and styles

Monday, May 19, 2008

Table Centerpieces

Here are some centerpieces you can make on your own, without a knowledge of flower arranging, with flowers you have in your own garden, or from a mixed bouquet from the grocery store.This first bowl of water looks great on its own. You could just float a few flower petals in it.

Hawthorne Tree

Heliotrope, Keys of Heaven, Lavender,

Place container of water inside basket for the white lilac arrangement


Fill candle cup with water for bird cage


Set pan of water inside basket

Hawthorne, Lilac, Bee Balm, Lavender, Columbine, Forget-Me-Not, Peony

Birdbath with Dahlia

Wrought iron planter with silk roses

There are many other things that can be used as containers, such as large sea shells, hats, toys (even doll carriages and wagons) and pottery. It is a lot of fun to clean up the dishes and then start playing with them for photographs and centerpieces.

This is something that does not take a college education, yet will not be gotten with a college education. It is an accumulated knowledge based on experiment and experience. It is something you do beca

Table Centerpieces