Friday, February 27, 2009


Violets from Dover Victorian Clip Art

Reading by the Window Hastings

by Charles James Lewis

available at Lovely Whatevers

This is Lesson 6 from book three, of the 1964 publication called "The Christian Girl," by Mamie W. Hayhurst. It will give you an idea of the kinds of things that were taught to young women just 45 years ago; things that are still as valid as they were then. Times may have changed, with new things to make things work faster or better, but we still need the same teachings that guide our lives on the right paths. The old paths were created to undergird every century and every life, whether it was someone born back in 33 a.d. or someone born in 2000 a.d.

Some of the wording in this little volume, such as the word "charming" were common expressions that were understood a little differently than we perceive them today, but you can see by the context, what is actually meant by them.

The year 1964 was the last year these little pamphlets were published. At this time, a large effort by progressives was made to eliminate the teaching of Christian values to young girls, and gradually, such classes could no longer be found.

The Christian Girl and Contentment

Hebrews 13:5

Every Christian girl will now and then meet disappointments, for they are inherited by mortality. But if she would be charming she will take things calmly and endeavor to be content with her lot. She may at least add a little sunshine if she earnestly endeavors to dispel the clouds of discontent that may arise, and by so doing, enjoy the blessings that God gives.

Contentment must spring from the mind, and she who seeks happiness by changing anything but her own disposition, will waste her life in fruitless efforts, and multiply the things she wishes to remove.

If we are cheerful and contented, everything seems brighter to us; all nature is more beautiful. Contentment is happiness, but many girls who are surrounded with everything to make them happy, become discontented, because some other girls have something that they would like to have. Like the monkey, they try to imitate everything that is fashionable. They covet and wish and lose sight of the good things they have.

Discontentment takes away happiness. As stated in this parable, we are what God makes us, and should be content in doing the things that we are suited for.

A Parable of Contentment

from Gray and Adams Commentary

"A violet shed its modest beauties at the turfy root of an old oak. It lived there many days during the kind summer in obscurity. The winds and the rains came and fell, but did not hurt the violet. Storms often crashed around the boughs of the oak. One day the oak said, 'Are you not ashamed of yourself when you look up at me, you little thing down there, when you see how large I am, and how small a space you fill and how widely my branches are spread?' 'No,' said the violet, ' We are both where God has placed us; and God has given us both something. He has given you strength, and to me, sweetness, and I offer him back my fragrance, and I am thankful.' 'Sweetness is all nonsense,' said the oak, 'a few days--a month at most--here, and what will you be? You will die, and the place of your grave will not lift the ground more than a blade of grass. I hope to stand ages more in time, perhaps, and then when I am cut down, I shall be a ship to bear men over the sea, or a coffin to hold the dust of a prince.' 'But! Cheerfully breathed the violet back, 'We are both what God made us and we are both where he placed us. I suppose I shall die soon. I hope to die fragrantly. You must be cut down at last; it does not matter that I see a few days or a few ages;it comes to the same thing at last: we are where God placed us. God gave you strength; He gave me sweetness."
The Christian girl should be like the man who said his secret of contentment consisted in the right use of his eyes.
He said, "When I meet with any trial, I first of all look up to heaven, and I remember that my chief business in life is to get there. Then I look down upon the earth and I think how small a space I shall need when I die, and then, I look around and think how many people there are in the world who have more cause to be unhappy than I have. And so, I learn the Bible lesson: "Be content with such things as ye have."
Too many girls lose their charm by whining, fretting, and grumbling. A fretting, grumbling, discontent person is one of the most unlovable persons in the world. Someone has said that a wasp is a comfortable house-mate in comparison; it only stings when disturbed, but a habitual, discontented fretter stings with or without provocation.
Here are some of the questions at the end of this chapter:
What is better than great treasure? Proverbs 15:16
What did the apostle Paul say he had learned? Philippians 4:11
What is great gain? I Timothy 6:6
What must we be content with? Ist Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5
Of what are we not to be anxious? Matthew 6:31, 32
What may befall those who are not content with what money they have? Ist Timothy 6:9,10
What illustration did Jesus use to teach contentment? Luke 12:24-28
What promise leads to contentment? Genesis 8:22
Will a jealous person be content? Proverbs 6:34, 35
When a covetous person gets what he seeks, is he contented? Ecclesiastes 5:10
After each lesson in these books is a scrapbook assignment. They are to make a four page little scrapbook and fill it in the way that is instructed in the book, to illustrate the lesson.
I have another shaped card to post, and a project to share.
The painting of the girl at the window, which was done in the 1800's, was not all fantasy. In fact, many of did this as a favorite recreation, because it was at the window that we could get the best light, while reading.


faerieeva said...

That was something I needed to read today. Nothing like an encouraging post like this on days when you have stepped out of bed at the wrong side. *warm smile* I especially like this quote:
"Contentment must spring from the mind, and she who seeks happiness by changing anything but her own disposition, will waste her life in fruitless efforts, and multiply the things she wishes to remove."

Anonymous said...

Thank you precious Lydia for this posting. It was an encouragement for me to remember to 'add a little sunshine, dispel clouds of discontent' and in doing so it does 'allow me to enjoy God's blessings' that he so copiously gives.. No 'whining, fretting or grumbling' for me today... Thanks for the reminder. Love, Linda

Anonymous said...

This was very refreshing. If you are able to print more things like this, I would love to see them. The old ways are being lost, and I want to pass along as much as possible to my children.

Thanks for shining the light and truth of God's provision thru your blog!

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate these writings from bygone times. Having been born in 1954 I was on the cusp of the "Revolution" and I remember the early sixties as being an entirely different culture from that course, ugly society which was to inundate us by the end of the decade. Even to my child-sense, it was wrong and frightening.

Unknown said...

This is what i needed to help me see things in a different light as discontentment was almost taking the better part of me....The quote of remembering 'how small a space I shall need when I die,' especially caught my attention...

The major challenge of contentment for young girls these days is seeing all your friends and peers married or relating and you dont have any thing to yet...Often times covetousness sets in breeding seeds of discontentment...failure to count ones blessings and a general lack of patience to wait upon Gods timing...

Thanks for yet another inspiring post, its helped me see things differently--in a more biblical and Jesus way. Blessings, Lady Barbra

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Lady Lydia for sharing with us such an illuminating post. The parable on the violet and the oak tree bought tears of recognition and gratitude to my eyes.

I had to leave everything behind to follow my husband to a new home far away from the conveniences offered in the city. It was hard and I dreaded the day we had to move.

But now that I am in this new place I decided to look at the beauty and new opportunities surrounding me. Slowly but surely happiness and peace pervaded my heart and I thank God for this change in life. I am where I am meant to be and I too endeavour to give off my 'fragrance' through my roles as a cheerful wife and mother.

Lydia said...

Lady Barbra, In your culture, do not the parents and families help young people find mates? Here in America, except for some homeschoolers, most unmarried people are left on their own to find someone to marry. I think it makes a larger singles population than we have ever had, and they find it harder to find a suitable mate.

Unknown said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
The culture of parents playing a hand in finding a suitable mate for their children has pretty much been eroded...It is no longer the tradition. Nowadays the children are left on their own,just like whats happening in the US...

Although some parents still do influence the choice of mate, basing on grounds of the prospective standing or whether or not they come from the right tribe...That has often caused friction between the young couple and their parents.

I think that the bible still has a lot to teach us on the role of parents in the search for a suitable mate...When we refer to the old testament most of the marriages had a parents role...Isaac was aided by his father Abraham in finding a mate, Rebecca advised Jacob to marry from his own... Naome played a key role in Ruths marriage to mention but a few.

Think if the parents gave a helping hand, (not necessarily dictate basing on financial and tribal biases....,) I think the larger singles population would be smaller...