Friday, February 13, 2009

Thoughts of Home

Victoria Magazine cover from 1998

Cards I've been making

Close up of materials used: pleated crepe paper streamer, edges of paper lace doilies, glitter stack strips cut with shaped scissors, colored glitter glue, clip art. My own paper lace card will be finished soon and I'll add it to this post.

A Collection of Thoughts on the Home:

Love: Women are at home because they love their families and their place in life. Whether they are single or married, with or without children, they do this because of love. One of the side effects of pouring love into the home, is contentment. At home, we do not have to compete, or worry about whether or not we will be able to keep our job. Women at home should try to get their homes the way they like them, so that they enjoy their surroundings.

Routine: Most homemakers have "those days" where the time seems to get away from them and they do not feel they have "done" anything important. No matter what time it is, it is helpful to treat the day as though it had just begun, as if you had not lost any time at all. This helps to redeem some of the time you lost if your morning was taken up with unexpected matters

Family: Family members do not always behave with maturity. When such is the case, just be sure you keep to your goals of maintaining a stable home life by being the best home maker and example you can be. Having things you do no matter what mood everyone else is in, is very stabilizing. In stressful times, your family will be glad to look back and see that you were always the same and were able to ride above the petty and the trivial things and keep your eye on what you needed to accomplish. Do not abandon all plans to have a nice home life and a pretty home, just because someone in the family is giving you a hard time.

Friendship: Friendship is not more important than the family. If friends reinforce your family's beliefs and interests, and build you up, they can add a dimension of love to your lives and enrich your family. If, however, they complain about your house, your food, your hospitality, your interests, and your way of life, it can be very debilitating. If their friendship tends to bring tension to the home, cause division in the family (for example, a friend is friendly to one member of the family, but hostile to the others), it is best not to get too intimate with them.

Time: I was always taught to value time, but to some people, time means nothing. They can wile away a day doing nothing unless they are regulated by a boss or a job or a school. When someone isn't requiring something of them, they want to party and lose all sense of time, or just engage in meaningless talking or silliness. I like to enjoy life and laugh just like everyone else, but I like just as much to use time to gather knowledge or make something or do something that will count, later on. I do not believe young people should "sow their wild oats" as many people believe, because that is what they will harvest in their adult years. They need stability, and the best way to get that, is to teach them the value of time. It does not mean they need to work all the time, but that even in leisure, there has to be a value to it. It cannot waste them, but build them.

Grown Children at Home: If a young person wishes to continue living at home and the family loves having them, it is an advantage to them all. The younger person can aid the home in many ways. Young men can help with home improvements and repairs, and young ladies can add the beauties of their own sewing, and the delicious aromas of their cooking, to the home. There is nothing unbliblical about it, and there is no law against it. There is a social snobbery against it, but pay no attention to it. If your son or daughter gets under pressure to get an apartment or place of their own, it will be accompanied by many new stresses and instabilities. The rent will swallow up their earnings til they come out with nothing and still have to move back in. The loneliness can be excruciating, which is something no one talks about or exposes. People prey on your children's money, wanting them to share rent, or go out to eat. At home, they can be protected from this, and also help their parents as they grow older. It will not prevent them from getting married. Families have more friends and a bigger social life than a single person out on their own in an apartment, and there are more opportunities to meet other young people and find a mate, within the family circles. It is not "abnormal" to want to continue living at home, and I know many people who went from their parents' home to their husband's home, without that in between stage of apartments and poverty and loneliness. They went into their marriages with a little more money and more stability. Being home means you get to see how real life operates, and it helps you in managing your own family.

The Home: Most women dream of having a happy family and a house to look after. These goals are simple, yet they take effort. The woman who desires to be home should not be undermined by those who do not think it is important. The home is where basic beliefs and habits should be developed. Everyone comes from a home. It is a more powerful place than most people think, and that is why there is such an effort to diminish its importance.

Property: A house is a better investment than a college education. You can sell a piece of property and make a profit from a house, in just a matter of months, but if you get a degree you not only will have to spend many years paying a debt, you will have to work many years to make a profit from that degree. If the specialized field you chose to enter goes bust and is no longer able to hire people, you have a degree you cannot sell and you cannot make a profit. If you really want to invest in something for your children, and you have the money, buy them a house or help them develop a small home business of their own. If you buy a house on credit, read carefully the fine print, to see if the interest and the payments are going to escalate, and be wise about the way you finance it.

Creativity. Homemakers know the value of creativity. It is what makes life enjoyable and keeps the mind alive. Even if you do not sew or crochet, there are many ways to be creative at home, through the way you arrange things in your house. You can also research many different subjects through reading. Blogging is a favorite past time of many homemakers, as it helps them think, and see what they have really accomplished. Diaries and journals were popular in former days, and they give us a glimpse of what the women created at the time. If you learn to do several things, and by practicing, make them better, you can have just about anything you want, because you can make it. I remember the days when interior decorating, pictures on the wall, etc. were not so available. We used to clip pictures of scenery out of magazines and put them in frames to hang on our walls.

Work: Every job, in or out of the home, has a certain amount of labor and unpleasant parts. In the home, this work can be turned into something more pleasant. After awhile, it becomes an interest and a hobby to keep a beautiful home. We work not because we are "paid" but because it is our personal duty and we love our families. To limit work to only paid labor, is to reduce the home to something materialistic. Work at home is tangled up in devotion and duty and love.

Resourcefulness: This is the technique of thinking harder about how something could be done, with the resources you have available to you. There are many overlooked resources in the home and within the family. Think of different ways to do things, or ways to meet a need. Most people have the resources of their hands, and hands can do many things!

Leisure: After a pot of soup has been put on the stove to simmer, and bread is baking in the oven, is a good time to sit and pursue the lovely pleasures of knitting, sewing, paper crafts, reading, writing, or whatever a homemaker likes. Leisure can be taken at intervals throughout the day. It refreshes the body and stimulates the mind. The beauty of being at home is that no one can regulate your leisure activities or your leisure time. You are your own boss, in the managing, guarding, and guiding of the house.

Food: Food is one of the most important parts of home living, so it is good to learn how to prepare it. It does not always mean cooking. It means learning to pick out real food, fresh food, that is as close to its natural state as possible, and preparing it so that it tastes good and feels good to the stomach. I do not follow menus, but I try to find different ways to fix basic foods. My husband does the grocery shopping, and he buys things like olive oil, fish, salad vegetables, vegetables to saute (stir fry) flour for bread making, fresh fruit and and basics that I can work with in many different ways.

Children: Children brought up with a soft life sometimes have a hard time as adults when things are not so easy. Children should be taught to work, and to be happy and cheerful. They should be taught to respect their parents, not for just the time when they are little, but for their entire adult life. We do not raise them for 18 years only to have them throw off the good values we have given them. That is why we continue to have a watchful eye for them even in their young adult years.

Happiness: The Bible has a lot to say about being happy. It is a choice and a duty to be happy, whatever our circumstances. We are not to blame others if we are not happy. The apostle Paul said he knew how to "abound" (when things were prosperous and good) and he knew how to be "abased" (when he was imprisoned and poor). Philippians 4:12 We can be in bad circumstances and still be happy. I will never forget Rose Kennedy's remarks at a press conference when her son, John Kennedy, was assassinated. She said that no matter what happened, we must remember God, and that we must praise him.

Home Without Children: I do not know why this has to be an issue. Our country has a history of women at home, even though they have no children. Those with children, will, at some time or other, be without children in the house. After all the experience of home living, it does not make sense to send a woman to work. She is needed at home, whether or not she has children. Someone has to be there. Think of all the houses that are empty all day long because both the husband and the wife are out working. It is a shame they pay so much for their homes and spend so little time there.

Without children, there is still a lot to do. Women without children have an opportunity to really help their husbands get ahead, by providing things home made meals, clean laundry, freshly ironed and mended clothes, and being on call for emergencies. There is always a need for someone at home to bring a second set of keys , a forgotten lunch, important papers, a lost phone, etc. to a husband or son in the family.


Just Me said...

A beautiful and true post, Lady Lydia.

Thank you for these gentle reminders

Anonymous said...

Thank you precious Lydia for a magnificent post. I really appreciate it. I just read it to my husband (who is resting his weary back after much yard work)and we so agree with your thoughts. I'm very grateful for his conviction of the importance of me being in the home with and without children (before they arrived and now they're married.) One of your many wonderful statements was - "Work at home is tangled up with devotion, duty and love." Exactly! Thank you for posting this. Love from Linda.

Stephanie W. said...

These thoughts were so good to read! Each paragraph seemed to say so much, although they were not too long. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Lydia,

Home life and the intact adult family unit at home is undermined relentlessly here in Australia by those in 'eminent' positions within academia, the field of psychology and the media; especially the ABC (Australia's government and supposedly independant broadcaster). It is truly shocking; there is NO support from church, comunity, anywhere really, for the family to remain intact; and yet these same self appointed fonts of wisdom mentioned above decry the erotion of our communities!!!!!! When will they stop worshipping Baal and recommit to the ways of God. Conservative Christianity, Judaism and Islam all hold at their centre the importance of strong intergenerational families. NGO's who work in developing nations to bring education and relief from poverty do their level best to get at the girls; rather than encouraging home education (Homeschooling) they separate out the girls to be educated in the school system so they will be released from poverty (the hidden ajenda here not so much a release from poverty alone, but a separation from family). poverty can be sorted by encouraging (in Christian underdeveloped communities) true and serious commitment to ongoing biblical stewardship, home education, intergenerational business models the family supporting a professional (say, a husband who is a doctor, teacher, leader etc being supported by his wife in his role, she and the adult children furthering this vision and continuing it into the next generation). The other Abrahamic faiths also share similar models for community. Remember people, these cultures and societies thrived for thousands of years before white colonies etc; restoring a non consumerist, individualist and materialist model will do the job far better.

Well, that's my two cents' worth; Keep up the good work Lydia; we are under attack and being pressured more than ever before; Why do I suspect the state will eventually (sooner rather than later) institutionalise everything creating orwell's 1984 in our own time. Everyone, read this book and read Auldis Huxley's 'Brave new World' the latter is shocking and on the surface would seem like a den of vice; but, what he has done, brilliantly, in my thinking, has been the presentation of a world in which consumerism, pleasure and secularism, all under the guidance of the state, has been allowed to run its natural course; even down to who is permitted to have children and who is not. the masses are kept happy with every whim and earthly pleasure catered to in abundance; 'Bread and circuses'...all the while they are the true slaves... this was written in 1932; 77 yeares ago!! Huxley revealed his own terrifying sense concerning what the future would hold if society as it was in his day (which seems almost Utopian compared to ours) was allowed to reach its natural conclusion. The rot commenced with WW1; its unprecidented carniage crushing Christian Europe, America (to a certain extent) and the British Commonwealth nations such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand...if this was the culmination of the Victorian Christian Ethic at its best, according to the naysayers, what good was it? Without WW1, there would have been much less a sense of need to blame the old, casting it off, in favour of the 'new'...

I would recommend reading 'Simple social Graces' along with Huxley's and Orwell's works; it wil all make sense then. Thank God we have the knowledge of hope through our Saviour Jesus Christ; that no matter how insane this world becomes as responsibility and sobriety slip into the shadows of our society, we still have hope in God's promises. He will overcome.



candy said...

Excellent post!

HISchild said...

"It (the Home) is a more powerful place than most people think, and that is why there is such an effort to diminish its importance."

So very true, hence the attack on families and homes from all sides.

Melissa said...

So refreshing! Thank you!

Many Blessings,

Secondhand Blessings said...

I've really enjoyed this post.
You're really good at putting your thoughts on paper (or out in cyberspace) I'm glad to see that you stand firm in your beliefs of women staying home rather then out in the work force. I've been both, the career women and am currently a fulltime homemaker/stay at home wife with grown children.It's taken me a while to feel like it's ok to stay at home fulltime since my children grown & out on their own. Your correct to say that without children their is still alot to do around the house.
I also would like you to know that your homemade cards are really pretty.

Anonymous said...

How about health? When women were homemakers, there wasn't nearly the rate of obesity we have now. Convenience food and snacks have replaced the healthy "square meals" and disciplined eating of the past. Unbalanced and unscheduled meals lead to junky snacks and fast food for quick gratification, which in turn leads to sluggishness rather than energy. Increased demand brought increased supply of this food, and now it's mainstream for every meal. Of course, you can find a home with both a housewife and obese family members, but I've noticed that when housewives really embrace their roles and practice duty before pleasure, their families do tend to have healthier eating habits.

Jessica said...

Your homemade Valentines are beautiful!

Nicole said...

Another thing I would add is the ability of women who are at home to do ministry in their church and community at large. No one has time anymore, working two full time jobs and having kids, to help out their neighbor. Becuase I cut my hours back to three days a week at the office in December (want to be home fulltime someday...) I have been able to help a friend out who has been very ill each Friday with the children in her home. Had I been at the office, this would not have been an option. Other women from the church that are homemakers have also been able to help her, whereas the working women have not been available to do so.

Thanks for the lovely post.

Barbara Jean said...

This is wonderful!!!
Are these your own writings?
What a special gift.

Your cards are beautiful, and so nice you share about supplies so others can try them.

That magazine cover is elegant, and would fit right in today also.


Barbara Jean

PS May i list your blog on my "friends to visit" list?

Judy said...

I used to subscribe to Victoria magazine. I miss it. Thanks for the lovely reminder of wonderful days spent reading it. The cards you've made are truly lovely!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your encouragement.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Dear Lydia, with a newborn time doesn't always allow to visit your lovely blog, but oh how I enjoy reading it when I do have a spare moment.

I was a grown-up daughter living at home, until I got married at 22. I never felt as though I'm missing out on something, nor do I feel this way now. I know I had a chance to be a blessing to my mother and grandmother when I lived with them. Not only for the housework and home repairs and cooking, but also for the pleasure of company. With all the joy my mother and grandmother feel about me being happily married now, and the delight in seeing and cuddling the new baby when we visit, I know they miss me so, and I miss them. It wouldn't make sense at all to live alone in a rented apartment when an adult daughter at home can do so much good for her family.

Unknown said...

I read so much wisdom here. I have you linked on my blog!

The Chatty Housewife said...

Thank you for including that little bit titled "Home Without Children." Even though many of my friends believe a woman's place is at home, they still question me (a childless keeper of our home) often. "What do you do all day?" "What do you do to keep busy?" It has been difficult to explain that I do try and use my time wisely and that there is no lack of things to complete in my home! If I helped others like I often dream of doing, I would be even busier. I would love to be the person who show's up on someone's front door step with a loaf and bread and some cold medication. :) I'm still working on that one.

Barbara said...

I, too, am "Home without Children" and feel hated and dispised by many of my peers who work outside the home... I decided 15 years ago that having a second paycheck couldn't replace a good marriage, good health, good relationships and the ability to support and enjoy the milestones of relatives and friends. It always bothered me that no one ever had time for anyone, and I didn't want to be one of those people, if I could help it... I know I have been blessed to be able to have the choice so I live as frugally and wholesomely as possible. I don't want to come to the end and think I chose to accumulate a lot of things instead of meaningful experiences with the special people God gave me to love...