Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year Blessings

I want to wish everyone a hopeful and prosperous year. I am not quite finished with last year's projects, so I will be doing one more altered box and a few paper ideas. After that I will move on with some simple demonstrations with fabric. My kitchen is still being "altered" and the kind of daily life that it causes reminds me of the slow life many decades ago when so much was done at home by hand. We heat water in a pan and then pour it into a dish pan to wash the dishes. Another pan of steaming hot water provides a clear rinse so that soap does not remain on the dishes, giving food a bad taste. The whole operation is spread out on the dining table, which is covered in a heavy clear plastic. It makes me think a lot more carefully about the dishes and pans that I use, because I know they will be in the pile to wash. The cooking has the same kind of plan: the less containers I use, the less I will have to wash. One-pan meals are common around here right now. Our kitchen does not exist except for a stove. It was all taken apart with a sledge hammer and thrown out, due to the rotten condition. It will be nice to get something fresh and sanitary in here, but it happened on the wrong weekend for any kind of delivery. The warehouse where the cabinets and sink are shipped from, is closed until Monday.
The slow life reminds me that I actually lived before the ball-point pen was common. We dipped our pen in a little bottle of ink, which sometimes spilled and made a terrible mess. The school desks had a hole to put the bottle in, making it a little less of a problem. At home, dipping the pen and writing a few words gave us more time to think about what we were writing. There was rarely a hastily scribbled note or anything written in anger, because it was such a laborious task. It was hard work to write even a nice note and even in diaries, one would have to make the words be worthwhile. When we ran out of ink we used anything else that would make a mark: chocolate powder in water, paint mixed with water, any possible food product we had on hand. There was even an invisible ink that could be made with flour and water. When heated over a stove top, the letters would become visible.
The slow life is one reason that I enjoy making something with my hands. I can feel my breathing and heartbeat become more steady and my mind becomes more clear. I feel sorry for the young people who are raised on instant things, because they barely have time to think about what they are doing. I see some young girls who have so much instant communication that they do not reserve any thoughts or words for themselves or even know how to talk to God. If they constantly text their friends every little thought, what is left for quiet moments and heartfelt talks with the Lord? Friends eventually forsake them, and they suffer terrible withdrawal from the communication addiction. Socialization is far over rated in this country, and it does not help people think, invent, innovate, create, or prosper. It is better to return to the old paths, where things are thought out and pondered before a hasty decision is made. If a friend is worthwhile, these young people need to take the time to write letters that require carefully chosen or carefully created letter papers and envelopes and well formed expressions with a special pen.
Phone calls required some thought, too, in the slower days. You had to make sure no one else was on the party line, and when you did call, you were always aware that someone could be lifting up their phone to make a call. I am certainly glad it is a lot more private today but think it should be for adults and that it shouldn't replace the social life of young people, who need to have real conversations with their parents and brothers and sisters.
The slow life mean that almost everything was done with several more steps and motions than it is today, and I hope this new year will be slower for those who feel too much pressure and faster for those who need plumbing and electric repairs.


Anonymous said...

I think about this often, communication addiction.

TVs, computers, cell phones, texting, IMing, email, Facebook, Blackberries, on and on. On one hand, much of it can be used for good. I keep in touch with many long-distance relatives thanks to email. And then on the other hand, it can distract us and mislead us.

~ Ann

Gail said...

You know, Lydia, I asked for a fountain pen for Christmas and my good husband got me a lovely pen with accessories and inks. I think I will try it out tonight.

I keep praying for great things to come out of this economic slowdown, perhaps returning us to some of the old and slow ways. Maybe if some of the moms lose their jobs, they will reconnect with their families and homes. I sincerely do not wish suffering on anyone, but maybe with having to do with less, people will begin to enjoy face-to-face life more.

Any thoughts on this?

Katrinka said...

I can identify with the kitchen situation a little bit. We've had a lot of rain here recently, and our septic field has flooded, resulting in water just barely draining from toilet/tub/sink, etc. We've had to carefully think through when we're going to run water and how much, etc., as it is accompanied by a loud rumbling 'glug, glug, glug' and vibrating sewer pipes. It's beginning to drain off a little now, and it is SUCH A BLESSING to be able to run the dishwasher and take a shower. I've had other more serious concerns on my mind than the drainage field in our septic field, but I quickly changed my focus. It became an hourly topic of discussion as to who was going to use the bathroom when or what dishes could be quickly swished off and re-used.

I'm rather enjoying the transition we are in, moving to another house. I've packed up everything I don't need right now to live and it has freed me up from all the clutter and extra 'things'. I've only enough dishes to use for a meal, and same with pots and pans. And I can actually walk thru the bedroom and not dodge furniture or boxes. I kind of like it this way! The house we are moving to was flooded recently and ruined the carpeting in our bedroom, which my husband was concerned about for my sake. However, our daughter has recently redone her bedroom and decided to paint her floor . . . which I just love! So, she has volunteered to redo our new bedroom floor with paint (now that she's an expert). I think this will also be a welcome simplification.

Referencing the thoughtful letters and notes, I've noticed in the old books and letters that people wrote, they really said a lot without a lot of words. I guess there is probably a word for that. But they knew how to use words and grammar and phrasing to express themselves clearly using fewer words than today. Everything was handwritten and laboriously, as you mentioned, using an ink well and fountain pen. In discussions regarding different Bible translations, I've heard it said that the KJV, although very old, uses fewer words to say the same thing as the newer translations.

Abounding Treasures said...

I know what you mean about communication addiction because I see it all around me when I'm out and about!

I, too, hope this year will be slower and that my heart will be more yielded to the Lord's will!

I can imagine the state your kitchen is in and how stressful that could be so I hope that things are completed sooner than later and then you can enjoy it fully :o)


Anonymous said...

All my wishes for a speedy recovery of your kitchen, Lydia!

Thank you for sharing your reflections on times past in this post....very enlightening and encouraging, especially for this mother of teens who do not use email or cell phones...Gasp! My children are so behind the times! ;-) Sometimes I struggle with feeling badly about our very quiet and slow life, especially this time of year, when we get so many holiday letters from friends, full do descriptions of trips to Europe, myriad extracurricular activities at church and elsewhere, etc. Thanks for providing a place of old-fashioned simplicity and quiet to visit and feel at home in this hasty, hurried world!


Aelwyn said...

I think that all the "extras" we have or think we need to cause us to go into what my husband refers to as "rush mode." Coming out of a career mentality where I had a lot of deadlines and demands, I have had to consciously learn discernment in how to slow down, enjoy the day, and not rush my family continuously. There is a balance here. One doesn't want to NEVER meet goals, but there is much that crowds our lives that takes away from what is really important as well as diminishing the peace that God wants us to have in our homes.

Lydia said...

So true: we have to have some awareness of time limitations on things like laundry, meals, cleaning, getting people off to their places of employment or such. I do enjoy having a phone but can remember having no one to telephone in the days when others had no phone. Now I enjoy using the phone if I have a lot to do. It seems to make the task go faster if there is someone to chat with.

Lydia said...

To the poster who wrote an explanation about what one particular ministry believes about the children's addiction to communication, gadgets, and constant socializing: because this ministry uses so much psychology and has a dependence upon the opinions of therapists and doctors, rather than giving their beliefs from the Bible, I will give my response on Guard the Home blog which addresses the concerns of parents in dealing with young people who are not cooperative at home. There are several of these high powered ministries that are giving very unscriptural advice to parents and children, causing more rift in the home, rather than giving parents the responsbility of teaching their children. I do not follow these people because I find them in error and have seen their fruits over time.

Lydia said...

.also there is a strong possiblity that when women left the home to work, it left children in the hands of other people, rather than drawing them closer to their parents. These children would not feel such a strong need for constant communication if they were at home with their parents and siblings, or where the mother is really involved in the daily home life of the child. The children need more nuturing inside the home or with the parents and less distraction of society at large. This is something I will try to address in the next day or so on Guard the Home. The mother at home is so important to help children develop good communication, lessening their dependence on others outside the home.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree w/the 2nd blogger. I truly think God has a hand in this economic issue. It feels like He is giving us a sign. Women getting back home and live a simpler lifestyle.
I know we have rethought our way of living. We didn't live high off the hog but we could have done better.
I feel this change will be for the better. I don't approve of our new pres. but I am praying for him. He needs it. But I think it is building us up for something better.

Lauren said...

I never quite seem to keep up with the blog posts as they're written, but somehow I always seem to read them just when they're needed. This was a great encouragement to me today.