Thursday, May 01, 2008

Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice

I had great plans to have a post here early this morning, but there were so many urgent things to do that I was not able to sit down til 8 p.m. I haven't been around the blog world yet to see if there were any interesting first-day-of-May posts.

Today, even with its inclement weather and darkness here out west, was a special day. When I woke up, I changed the calendar and surprised myself with a new painting by Janet Kruskamp. I'll be putting some of her artwork on Lovely Whatevers when my "staff" comes back to work.

After breakfast, I bundled up and went outside to pick the apple blossoms that appeared in this cold weather. To them, I added this pine cone that looks like a rose. There are quite a few of them on the ground here.
I was also excited to get out all the past issues of Victoria for the month of May. Here are 1990 - 1995. I haven't opened them yet to see what was in them but I am sure they are as lovely as they were the year they came. I am looking forward to having time to sit and look through these again. There is almost one per week for this month, which is better than a subscription magazine coming each month.

I did quite a few things today that were "grunge jobs," so, as a treat, I made this new shelf arrangement for May. As I have mentioned previously, our house is used and lived in from morning til evening, with very few places left alone. This is the one shelf I have that does not get disturbed or used. Today I decided to gather up anything I owned that looked like a rose. The round table cloth is all scrunched up on purpose to make it fit on the on the mantel shelf.

Later in the day, my daughter played "Song of the Lark" to me on the piano, to celebrate the first day of a new month.

I sympathise with every woman who does not have access to a car, or cannot leave her home often because of pressing responsibilities, lack of money, or distance. I am presently without transportation but am reminded once again of the freedom within the home and outside it to do many things for others. And, the less I travel, the less it costs, so there is some advantage to this. It actually does not cut spending completely, because there is always the phone, the catalogs and UPS, which comes straight to the door ;-) if I get too desperate.

My husband wants to take me somewhere expensive for my birthday next week and said he had a gas station in mind, since gas was probably the most expensive thing he could buy me. I sometimes think I would rather have the money! One lady I know says it costs her $65.00 to fill her mini-van. That would buy a lot of fabric, or part of a new chair or couch. We really must re-think our distance problem, and create a village system where we can get our basic needs within walking distance. Another solution to gas prices is to keep the prices reasonable everywhere and raise the gas prices only in Washington D.C.


Here is something I was asked to comment on regarding how to extend sympathy to those who had lost a loved one.

When I was younger I was not sure what to say to someone who was in grief. I looked in etiquette books and read books written especially for Christian women. For some reason, it wasn't concise enough for me to get the thought into my head and remember it when I needed to. I will just use a familiar verse from the Bible and see if it can be made clear.

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

I can remember when my brother died a lady said to me: "I'm so sorry to hear about the death of your brother. I know how you feel. I lost a brother when I was very young, and I still miss him."

I don't think it has to be a big, complicated issue to extend sympathy. It really helps if all you say is, "I am very sorry for your loss." Sending a card is always appreciated. These days you can email some very pretty e-cards that have good sentiments.

As awkward as it can be, it is still better to send a card or say something, than not to. People who lose loved ones feel very alone. Anything you do will help. Also, I have observed that extending sympathy becomes easier with age.


Dianna said...

I love your pinecone and apple-blossom arrangement!

Lydia said...

STill trying to get the code thing straightened out. Apparently when you are typing on blogger, you click HTML and delete any words and numbers (code) before you write and that is what I keep forgetting to do.

Anonymous said...

Funny you should address the whole grief thing. I lost several family members very close to me and I had people say the strangest things to me, the worst were from Christians!

I was told "oh, the Lord must have needed them more than you did" or something crazy like that. How angry would that make someone at God! I also had to fly through several countries to get home to funerals and was in deep grief. NO ONE asked me what was wrong or if I was ok. Not even the stewardesses. People stayed away or stared.

This gave me alot of compassion, you never know why someone is crying or not acting the right way in public. The could be a Christian with a broken heart.

Anyway, when people ask me about how to act in this situation I tell them what helped me most..
1. People who have lost people they loved. They came and cried with me, they held me and touched me. They told me all about how much they loved who they lost. It helped.

2. People who said NICE things about those I had lost. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE the people who just had to tell me all kinds of things they thought I would want to know about the mistakes my loved ones had made.

3. Simply say I am so SORRY, that person really loved you.

Great post.

Many Blessings:)

Fair Skies said...

Hello. I bought several sympathy cards recently to send to some acquaintances who have lost loved ones, and I have never gotten them in the mail. I didn't carry through with my good intentions. But, maybe it is never too late to express sympathy? I could still mail them, even if the losses were a month ago. Maybe the cards would really be appreciated now.

Another things, I need some advice on -- it relates to the reference you made of high gas prices. One of my husband's siblings is getting married several states away in a few weeks. It is the second wedding for both people, they are almost 60, and they have a big weekend of activities planned -- wedding, reception, dinners and brunches and so on.

We really cannot afford to make this trip without relying on the credit card, which seems so wrong. Gas prices, motel bill, gift, etc., even keeping to a tight budget, is going to mean spending money we just don't have.

Other relatives have offered for us to travel with them, but, it means we go by their schedule, my husband will have to take an extra vacation day from work, etc, and that is not entirely satisfactory.

What we want to do is send a card and nice gift, express our congratulations, and stay home. But we are being pressured by family that we simply must go. It causes frustration for us. My husband makes only a fraction of what his siblings make, and this is not the first time we have been in a situation in which we simply cannot afford to travel or socialize at the level that these family members do.

If we say, oh, let's just go, we feel very aggravated with ourselves, knowing we really can't afford to go. But if we tell ourselves, oh, we just won't go, then we feel the burden of knowing how we are going to get fussed at by other relatives. It causes my husband to feel inadequate, since he doesn't make as much money as his siblings do.

We just don't think we should go. How do we handle this gracefully, and live with the repercussions?

dora said...

Have never commented before. Have viewed your website extensively over the years. It is exceptional and God honouring.

Just wanted to comment on the price of petrol, or gasoline, as you say in America.

I live in England, and I wish it only cost $65.00 to fill our car.

The cost of petrol is, on average about £6.00 per gallon, that is about $12.00 per gallon.

It costs over £50.00 to fill our car, or over $100.00 for you.

So, in my eyes, you have it easy!

Oh! By the way, there is going to be blockades over here to stop petrol being delivered. So the price is set to increase.

Just as well we trust in the Lord, and do not go down to Egypt for help, Isaiah 30v2.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your advice on offering sympathy.

I think it is also nice to follow up later on, a few weeks or even a few months later, and ask how people are doing after they lose someone they loved.

Sometimes after all of the funeral services are done and visitors are gone, is when the grieving feel the most alone.

~ Ann

Jan Hatchett said...

I once read in an etiquette book that the only really appropriate thing to say to someone who is grieving is, "I am so very sorry. Is there anything I can do for you?" I have found that using this phrase, indeed, has kept my well meaning foot out of my big mouth. Of course, always follow up a couple of weeks later and offer to help again. Take them to tea or out to run errands. Show them Christ's love through just being there.

Also, I adore your rose display! I look forward each year to seeing roses in bloom!

Lydia said...

To the Petrol Lady--we recently watched an original Robin Hood film. I think we will have to return to their swift way of delivering goods. When they wanted a message sent they attached it to an arrow and sent it into the next camp. Someone removed the arrow and sent it on to as far as it would shoot to the next place, and so forth. It was really quit rapid. We might have to do a similar relay with goods and products, buying from someone within walking distance, who buys from someone within his own walking distance. I suppose the price would really go up, but at least we would be giving the money to each other instead of spending it at the gas station. Petrol may be a thing of the past if they price themselves out of business. There are a lot of plans to abandon the use of it for vehicles and seek alternative fuel.

Lydia said...

No one objects if your husband has to work. Everyone seems to understand that. With the price of postage, a gift is extravagant enough. If the b and g were paying your way and your accommodation, it would be a different matter. If it happened to me, I'd just see money flowing down a stream. I rarely go to a 2nd wedding anymore, as I've been to soooo many weddings in my life, and have had to narrow it down to just a very few, select types of weddings. Mainly, now I go to those who have never been married before. It is very taxing on my time and very expensive. However, my case may be exceptional, since my husband has been a preacher for nearly 50 years. There are even some first time weddings I wish I had not gone to the expense of. One of our elderly aunt said she would not buy a gift for her grand daughter til she had been married for two years. It lasted one year. Your relatives sound more stable than that, and they probably have all of the housekeeping gifts that they need, having both had households before. Therefore, the need to attend such a wedding does not seem to be as urgent as in other cases. Feeling pressured to do something usally ends up badly.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, what a PERFECT suggestion for stabilizing gas prices! Oh my goodness, I wish I had thought of that--we would indeed get price relief!

I am fortunate enough to have good friends in Europe, where gas prices have always been unreasonable. These friends have one rarely-used compact car, and instead walk or bike the short distances to the shops, restaurants, schools, and church near their home. We certainly do need to revive the village style of living close to the essentials and traveling only for seldom-wanted things.

Lydia said...

My theory is that any thing new, any bill or proposal to Congress, ought to be experienced in Washington DC first. Then, they can decide whether it will work in the rest of the nation. I don't know though...maybe they would LIKE the extreme pain of poverty, or the extreme expense of travel. Maybe they would enjoy having a ghost town when the major industry was shut down by government. Or, maybe they would enjoy having all the chemtrails or whatever flying only over DC. Whatever wacky thing that Congress wants to pay for, let it first happen to them, and we will see if they will stay there long. Let us experiment on
Washington DC and then see how quickly some things are turned away and other things are changed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for commenting on the need to extend sympathy to those who are grieving. I can attest to the fact that "doing nothing" is the worst.
I have had 3 miscarriages, and I still cannot believe how many people do and say "nothing". No acknowledgment, no card, no hug, no call. Nothing. It is so very discouraging.
I realize people feel awkward, but everyone knows that death is a part of life. Death hurts those left behind. Any small thing you can do is a help for the healing of the one who grieves.
I would also counsel others not to bother with trying to say just the right thing. A simple "I'm so sorry" and a hug will do wonders. I have stored up in my heart all those who have made an effort after my losses--they are treasured remembrances. The ones who never did anything still cause me to shake my head. Not that I am harboring bitterness, but simply that the emotions are very raw at the time of a loss, and I seem to remember every little thing connected to them.
Also, cards in the mail were such a blessing, and they are a very good thing to do if you're afraid to speak to someone. E-cards are free and were just as much a blessing to me.
Just my thoughts from one who has walked the grieving road a few times.

Jill J

Stacy said...

That shelf is beautiful! I love your Rose shelf =) Very pretty! This is the second time today i have seen the Victoria magazine posted on a blog. Must be a nice read?

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post. My eldest daughter made three simple paper May baskets with tissue flowers. She and her brother delivered them to neighbors with only one discovery. They had such fun at it!

Fair Skies said...

Thank you, Lady Lydia, for answering my question about how to handle going to the wedding. It was a really good answer, with so much common sense. I know we have wasted too much time worrying over it because we are too caught up in worrying that other people will think we are awful. But, maybe they will think we have some common sense. Thanks again for your thoughtful answer.

Lydia said...

Knowing the pressure that people can put on me, I've learned over the years not to reveal my opinion or my intentions about certain things. I can anticipate the argument that will ensue if I say I am not going somewhere. I now do not ever introduce subjects to people that will put pressure on me. I simply say, if asked, "Yes, we did get that invitation, but my husband can't get the time off. We are sure that it will be a great time for everyone that attends. Be sure to tell us all about it when you get back, and take lots of pictures." Even if my husband could take the time off, he often prefers to use that time to work at home in one of his many projects, so I can still say he will be working on that day.

Katrinka said...

This is good reading, especially for younger people. When my father died, my mother told me she couldn't write letters anymore. I told her I was sorry and I knew how she felt, and she said, 'No, you don't.' She wasn't being unkind, she just simply stated a fact. I don't think she understood it herself. Later she began to write again, but I never forgot what she said.

Even if we aren't talking about the loss of someone, but just a deep, heavy trial, having someone tell me they know how I feel doesn't really comfort me (and I don't want to be critical or too picky here, I know people are different and do the best they can). It's hard for me to share a trial or struggle I'm going through, and when I do there are some people who always blithely breeze through some platitudes, and then launch into their own troubles and explain how they feel and how they're doing and how they dealt with it. The best comfort I have received is for someone to simply say, "I'm sorry you are having to go through this. I wish I could help. If I can, please let me know. I'll be praying for you." And I'm talking about an ongoing, long-term burden here . . . not a new occurrence, because practical advice in that case can be very helpful. When my mother died, I think the hardest things to deal with were the issues with family, because of their expectations and misconceptions, but that's another topic!

Regarding the note from Fair Skies, as I've grown older I feel less and less responsible to explain my actions to people. If your husband wants to do something or feels comfortable doing something, then for sure follow his lead. Only you can live your life, and I bet if anyone followed you around for a week they would not be so quick to pass judgement on your choices. People will just have to give you credit for having the sense to make the right decisions about how you spend your time and money. You sound like a very kind lady, and I'm sure you can convey your best wishes very well from a distance.

Rose of Sharon said...

I love the display you made with the apple blossoms, so simple, elegant and pretty!

Anonymous said...

Just to add to the petrol (gas) price theme,wish we could come and fill up in the US it takes £65 to fill our car which is double your price.Consequently all the food prices have rocketed up,along with nearly everything else !!

Anonymous said...

Great post!

I have also been through three miscarriages. I agree that just saying your sorry is the best thing. The months after are the hardest. Checking in a few weeks or months later would be such a blessing to someone going through this kind of grief. I also appreciated hearing from others who truly did understand the pain of miscarriage - it gave me hope that I would get through it and be happy again, and even have living children someday. (Still waiting on that last bit!)

I love your collection of old Victoria magazines. I have one too, though mine is more mid-nineties through the end. I also love the English Home. I save them both and read the appropriate month. Lots of fun!