Friday, May 29, 2009

You Can Be Happy

What is happiness? Is it a feeling of elation and excitement, or is it something more subdued, like contentment? In this unsettling climate of wars, and rumors of wars, re-posessed properties, pressure on women to leave the home and seek outside employment, rebellious children, drugs and alcohol, can happiness ever be found?

How is happiness attained?

WHen it is right to be happy:

When it is right to be unhappy:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Understanding Marriage

Dixie's Veranda, by Kim Sung

available at Lovely Whatevers

Monday, May 25, 2009

Home Is Best For Women

The family, created by God in the beginning of time, had a built in support structure to suit the needs of every human being. Today, we find many forces against that basic structure; social creations of mankind that claim to be able to take care of the needs of people much better than the home. The home is the oldest social structure in the world. Man can create all kinds of "services" but he cannot ever fully replace the home. In spite of all the social services available today in the way of therapy, child care, life-coaching, and recovery from emotional injury, it just does not work as well as the home.

One reason there is su

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Home Life Provides Protection For Women

The home can provide the perfect environment for protecting women. It is there that they can determine for themselves what will, and what will not be tolerated. They can decide whether or not they want the world to come in to their homes, through the media or through their associates. They can decide just how much socialization is necessary for them and how much is just too much.

In a previous post, I showed how our daughters can protect themselves by dressing modestly. There are also other ways of protection for women. Too often, we make the mistake of thinking that since this is a "free country" that women can roam freely without caution, just anywhere they please. It is especially important for older women to caution younger women to behave in a safe manner.

One such caution is in the area of the public. When women are not accompanied, they can become vulnerable to attack. They do not realize that they are in danger. They feel carefree. There was a time in this country that women felt they had to have an escort, either a husband, father or brother, when in public. Although there may not be obvious danger, this is a "better safe, than sorry," policy that works.

Another way that women need to protect themselves is by protecting their homes. They do not need to answer the door, or answer phone calls that they are not expecting, or that seem a little odd, to them.

There are other places that have an outward look of peace and safety, but are not safe. Colleges are some of them. Many women today can testify of their own college experience, even in Christian colleges, and will tell you that there are none that are 100% safe, for girls without their parents or guardians. There are many alternatives to public education these days that are not only safer, they also provide excellent education and training for the future. I have explained in previous articles, that colleges today operate on an archaic system

Sunday, May 10, 2009

When Children Are Grown

Generations, by Loren Entz

Maybe you have no children, and have been taking care of the business of home for many years. All of a sudden, it seems like you are getting pressure from all sides to quit your job at home and go get outside work for wages. *Or, perhaps you have raised your children and the world sees that as a end to your duties at home. You are on the receiving end of remarks like, "When are you going to to get a job?" or, "Don't you know the economy is going to get bad? Shouldn't you get a job and help out?"

While this is typical of the remarks you might get from the world, it is disappointing to hear it from Christian women. Sometimes even elders wives and preacher's wives will advise women to leave the home and go to work when their children are grown. It shows how far away from the teachings of Christ that they have strayed. It shows how much they are paying attention to social reports and how little they are paying attention to God's word. It shows how dependent upon circumstances they are, rather than being dependent upon God.

You can read more about this in my article, "Do What God Says Do, And Let Him Take Care of the Rest." The comments there are also very informative.

There are many women who always thought they would enter the job market when their children grew up and left home, but they found out the work at home is never done, and only seems to escalate when the children are gone. While once the children mowed the grass, did the laundry, cooked, checked the mail, answered the phone, and even took over the driving for errands, now it is all left to the homemaker again.

She finds also that life after the children are grown begins to move much more swiftly, so much so, that she cannot keep up. She will find she accomplishes even less, now, as she must not only take care of the home, but catch up on things she put off while the children were home. If she never had children, she finds the demands on her time are enormous. She may have her husband's parents to tend to, to check on, or to take out on appointments. She may also have her own parents who depend on her.

Mothers of grown children find that they are still as active in their lives as they ever were, if not, more. This is because now that the care and training is finished, there are places to go and things to do with adult children. Some children who marry, prefer to socialize with their parents and grandparents. Most moms who raised their children in a Christian home, and many of those who educated their own children, find that these adult children prefer the company of their mothers. This takes much, much time. People who do not have this closeness, will not understand. They will want you to be out working and bringing in money. They will not understand the necessity of your being at home, creating an orderly life for your family, or taking care of the needs of others.

Sometimes there are grown daughters who are looking forward to getting married and having their own home, until someone comes along and intimidates them. "Why aren't you going to college?" they ask. I warn you not to say "I can't afford it," because someone will always find you a loan and then your daughter will be working for years and years to pay for it. Her dream will get further and further away as the interest on her Sallie Mae mounts. These people have been somewhat programmed by the messages they hear over and over that education is more important than families.

Feminism was a social engineering program to give young women careers instead of families, and it begins with the kind of education you allow your daughter to have. Public schools and many colleges have a great deal of feminist influence. From the very beginning of public school, girls are taught that they will be in a career. Very little, if any of that education, will help them have a long lasting marriage and raise good children with strong spiritual values.

I discussed how those college years take over the most fertile years of their youth, the years when they should be having children, carrying them, lifting them, taking care of them, in my article called "Don't Miss Out on Life". In this post, I showed how striving after more and more education, and then higher and higher career moves, takes up a major part of one's life. Even in the 1800's, women who made great accomplishments in life, were known to have said, "I would have traded it all for marriage and a home." (See the May edition of The Pleasant Times for more quotes like this.

If a young woman has training in a field that will never go out of business, she will still have a lot of competition to get the job and to stay in it.She will have to continually update her education in order to keep abreast of the career.This can be stressful and expensive. She may not stay in the career; she may grow tired of it and want a change, even after all that.

If your grown daughter wants to be home and practice for being a wife and mother or homemaker in her own home, she will not have any competition. Her home will be her own and she will be the queen of it. Think of homemaking as owning one's own business, without competition. Just when she thinks that homemaking and taking care of a family might be monotonous, things begin to change. People in the family mature, there are new family events, and things in the house change too. There is always something going on at home. There is also the opportunity to change your life whenever you want to, without taking it to a staff meeting or passing it through congress.

If intimidating comments are getting you down, you might try saying something like, "I'm still studying that question for a good answer. I do not have all the answers. I am determined to do God's will as it is laid out in His written Word. I want to be an example to my daughter by being a guide of the home."

Other answers might be:

"When I get everything caught up at home, then I'll consider getting a job outside the home."

"If there is an economic depression, there will not be many jobs available. I'll let the women who have no providers in their families, have those jobs."

"My husband has left provision for us in case something happens to him. Right now, we are able to live on his salary and it is a great source of satisfaction for him."

"I am still needed at home. I must do my duty."

"If it really bothers you, please come to tea and my daughter and I will be able to explain it to you at length."

If there are those in churches who are chiming in with the world's belief that women without children ought to be working, then they fall under the category of the "unbeliever." Of course, they may believe in God, and attend church, but in certain areas, they have doubts. The way to teach some unbelievers is the same way as winning unbelieving husbands: without the word, and by their good conduct. The way you live will make a believer out of them. (Ist Peter 3:1)

I cannot tell you how strengthening it is just to have one lady in a congregation who is staying home, dedicated to the needs of her family. That one woman makes others feel that it is okay to be home. That one dedicated life flows outwards to the lives of others and gives them courage. Just doing what you do exposes others to the idea of it. They get used to it. After seeing you, week after week, it starts to seem normal to them.

has some good posts to encourage women at home who have heard "those" remarks about going to "work."

*Wages are supposed to be an equal exchange of your time, for money. When you go to work outside the home, you give up the time you would spend maintaining the home, in exchange for money. If it necessitates putting your children in daycare, you are also exchanging their time at home for that wage. There are extreme exceptions and emergencies, but these are not the norm.
Brenda writes:
I've certainly enjoyed the comments as well. I have been thinking about something lately that bothers me, concerning all the emphasis put on having women in the work force (in addition to the very valid observations made here): it's as though we've allowed our pride in the well-known "work ethic" to be perverted in some cases, & to grow to monstrous proportions in others. This cannot be what God intended. For instance, think about the "self esteem" movement that governed every word an adult said to a younger person. I would hear the phrase "Good job!" spoken to someone who had done nothing to merit such praise [please know that I am not referring to the extremely young child, who needs lots of encouragment for many things :o)]. But then, we (society) turn around & rail against any woman who would dare to give her best, & use her intellect & skills to bring sanity, harmony, peace, & beauty into her own home. It's so twisted. I'm so weary of hearing & reading things that extol the virtues of family togetherness..."make time for your kids!"... & how "it's the little things that matter most", & then hold the person who can make all this a reality in such low regard.
I haven't, truthfully, been the recipient of very much negativity concerning my stay-at-home position. If so, I usually just smile & carry on with the facts, no different than if I'd been discussing the weather with the person talking to me. Still, it hurts to read about other women who DO feel as though they're being scrutinized & interrogated. Stay the course, ladies!!! Your husband needs you, your children need you, & yes, whatever country you call home needs you. :o)
My comment:
Brenda, You are right about the over concern that we are "working." Our own mothers and grandmothers were so much more natural in their roles that they saw more to it than work. Work was just a part of it. However in high school and some colleges, even guys are taught that a woman at home is just freeloading and that she should pull her fair share of the load. That is how perverted the woman's purpose at home has become in the eyes of those who teach contrary things.
A lower importance is put on the home guide because there is no "pay" involved. The one who gets money is considered more worthwhile, and of course, no one wants to be inferior or be accused of "not working." In the eyes of the world, pay and work go hand in hand, but in the Lord's eyes, we are valuable whether we are doing something for money or not. In actual fact, the homemaker is doing some of it for financial reasons, because her actions help the husband's money stay in the family instead of going out the door for every product or service. That way they can hang on to what belongs to them and not part with every penny as soon as it comes in. There is a lot more to it than finances the wife athome has been turned into a source of debate and politic.
I wonder when these paintings of the 19th century were done, if the populace felt the same way about women. Why would a painter put a woman at home in such good light, if the political climate thought she was not earning her keep, or looked down on being a home guide. Many men at the time sought wives to save them from a "bleak life" (a term used in stories of the era), of loneliness and comfortless homes.
To have a woman at home meant you would be looked after, in exchange for being provided for. Now the powers that be think they have a better system but look what it leads to: women not able to be free to be home, whether they can work every minute, or whether they just want to rest.
In our grandmothers day, as long as the woman was home, no one dictated to her how her day would be spent. and no one would have dared to ridicule or question her decision to be at home. Actually she didnt even have to make a choice or a decision. She was in a privileged position and she was allowed to be home, even wanted, there.
It is important for men to be able to earn a living, but some of that depends upon the woman admiring that and giving a man honor for it. When he has that responsibility, which differs from hers, it gives him dignity and motivation. There is a good article where some explains what motivates men to achieve. It takes some concentration to read, but it would clear up some misunderstandings about the interests that women have vs. the interests that men have. I will add to that idea that in marriage, men and women gain similar interests regarding the welfare of the family and the building of the home life, but they still will find themselves drawn to different responsibiities.

Mothers Have More Power Than the President

Art and Literature

by Loren Entz

Friday, May 08, 2009

Use What You Have Paper Craft

Paper Bag Plant or Flower Wall Vase

This is a fairly easy way to make a wall pocket or gift tag, without a pattern or without expensive papers. It can be made from brown paper bag material or card stock.

The strongest, thickest, and best brown paper bags are made by Weyerhauser or International Paper, which are used in most grocery stores. The worst are from Safeway grocery store: they tear too easily and fall apart when they have to carry something. Just look at the bottom of the bag to see where it is made.

Fold a piece of brown paper and draw half of the shape of your choice. This one fits over a door handle. IF you are not certain, just hold it up to a door handle and try to estimate the size. You do not have to have a perfect pattern. Any mistakes can just be covered up with decorating.

After you make your pattern, cut another piece the same size, minus the handle, and glue three sides. I've used hand made flour paste. To keep the handle from being too flimsy, just cut another piece and glue it on top of the other one.

Hold it together with clothespins til it dries. Make some other varieties while waiting for it to dry. If you like a rustic or primitive look, you can leave it like and add some appropriate decorations, such as clip art, buttons, string, fabric.

Here is a really large one, about the size of a large vase. I have cut a small notch in the handle to make it hang better, and have also cut a little dip in the front piece so that flowers will display better.

To make your own flowers, cut stems from paper, white or colored, and make 5 petal flowers to glue on top. Add a set of leaves to each one. Place each stem inside the pocket. Though they do not look like much right now, when colored with crayons, they look fabulous.

Here is one of the wall pockets left as brown paper, with stickers and buttons applied, and some fake flowers.

This is the small one, and it is one layer, as it is only a gift tag made of card stock. You could make it from anything you have, though, including cardboard from any box you have in your kitchen. Just cover it with the paper you like.

If you don't have fancy paper, cover it with white construction paper or any plain paper and add your own clippings.

Here is the other size, which also fits a business size envelope, if you want to make a card out of it. It has been painted with craft paint, and a rose sticker added, from the dollar store. These come in sheets of about 24 stickers for a dollar.

This is the pattern for the one above. Highlight it and see if you can put it on another document on your computer and print it out.

Unfortunately, there are some lines showing from the other side of this. The one you copy is the darker lines. This is the tag and the other size of wall pocket or card, plus the flower pattern. The stem is on the other page.

Now for the wall pocket on the top of this page: It has been painted with a craft paint, and let dry. After that it was brushed with clear glitter glue and let dry. Then, an oval was cut out of an old calendar page (Janet Kruskamp was the artist). A faint decoration was made above and below the image, with a rubber stamp.

If you do not have a stencil with ovals and squares and circles, you probably have things in your house you can use: the bottom of a glass or cup, a salt shaker, a spice jar, or, remember all those "windows" that are on boxes of spaghetti, or in some other box, such as a box of soap? Use those for your ovals and squares and circles. Just collect the pieces and trace inside them when you need a shape.

Rick rack trim from my sewing stash was glued down and held with a clothespin til it dried, and the oval was outlined with tee shirt paint, which is sometimes only about 50c and lasts for a long, long time. I've had some of that paint around for years and found out you can use it on paper crafts. It gives you a chance to use up some of your craft supplies. To make your own rick-rack or decorative edging, just use special shaped scissors and glitter paper or craft paper. If you don't have those supplies, you can draw your own on paper and cut them out and glue them down. You do not have to buy things to be creative. You can find a lot of things at home from old cards to pictures on boxes. If you have a sticker-maker, you can cut things from magzines and make your own stickers.

If you want to put a living plant or a bouquet of real flowers in this wall pocket, here is how you do it:
Dig up your plant, or pick your flowers.

Put the stems or roots inside a plastic sandwich bag or any plastic bag, and add water.

Put all that inside another plastic bag, such as one of those white grocery bags.
Slip it all inside of the wall pocket.

Paper Bag Cover

This project is incredibly easy. It is a dome to cover a meal or snack on a tray, to give to someone special. Make tea and toast and take it to someone who is recovering from illness, and just leave it with them as a gift.

Lay out a heavy paper grocery sack and cut across just where the fold is at the bottom, like this. This craft will not work as well with thin bags, but you could also just use a a large shoe box or any other kind of box.

Roll up the lower edge all around the bag, about 1/4 inch , twice, to make it sit upright.

Then flatten it again and apply your favorite papers. Thin papers work much better than the luxury papers or cardstocks. You can also use magazine clippings. Gardening pictures work well. Turn the project over and decorate the other sides.

Tie a big bow and secure it on the sides of the bag with glue. fastening with clothespins til dry. Use the bow as a handle to lift the cover from the tray. Find a very sturdy cardboard lid or box for your tray. The tray can also be a beautiful art project. If you will use decoupage glue or some kind of craft glaze over the papers, it takes on a high quality look.

The picture below is something interesting. One of the children wanted to give me something special. He knew I didn't want him to spend money, and he knew I liked pink. He made me a pink laptop. Notice how he spelled "internet." It is probably more appropriate ;-) He even included Bollywood discs for me to watch. I guess if children have paper, they think they can have anything!

This is just a piece of pink paper folded in half, with the screen on the upper side and the keyboard on the lower side.


For more photographs like this, go to The Bella Cottage

Lillibeth's newsletter, The Pleasant Times, has been updated for May. She has put all of one month's posts on one page, to be read like a monthly newsletter, so the page load will be slower.

I just love the beginning of every month, because the picture on the calendar changes. It has been such a boost to do this in overcast weather, that I have made up my mind to get a pretty calender for ever single room next year. One is not enough! Turning the page on a new calendar is like getting a new painting in your home every month. There are calendar frames available now, which I would really recommend to give the picture a great showcase.

This year, the calendar from Victorian Trading Company has had beautiful paintings from the 19th century. Their site also provides greeting cards with the old paintings on them, which you can frame. Don't be misled by the word "old" because the paintings of the past are vibrant and full of meaning.

The other calendar I have enjoyed is from Dennis Lewan, a painter in Scotland. Click on his name and go and see the beautiful slide show of his work, shown inside a gilded frame. He paints teddy bears in his paintings, which you have to look hard to find, and names his streets and shops after bears. He also puts angels in the clouds, although you cant really tell unless you look at the picture for awhile.

I am looking forward to Susan Rios and Sandra Kuck producing a calendar. There is a way to put your favorite calendar pictures from old calenders, into a hand made frame. I will demonstrate it when I get my crafty-wafty mood back.

THe beginning of each much is also wonderful because generous ladies online do things each month for the home. I have always enjoyed the Mantel of the Month and keep thinking one day I'm going to decorate a shelf or a mantel in a way that makes me smile. I keep trying, but I still think her arrangements are the best. They are not all white and some are very eclectic, so be sure to click on the other months.

Another place to visit at the beginning of the month is The Old Painted Cottage where she has a cottage-of-the-month picture series. While it wont suit everyone, sometimes there is a little detail that can be adapted to yourself and your own own. I first began looking at these types of tours to get ideas of how to manage when you could not buy a matching set of anything all at once. I tried once to buy a couch I liked, hoping to eventually get the other pieces. It was so expensive, that by the time I could afford the coordinating things, the couch was considerably more worn and no longer matched. These sites gave me some ideas of how to live with a bit of this and a bit of that and make it all charming.

Enchanted Makeovers has a home of the month, and I enjoy looking at the archives, so be sure to go down to the end of the page and look at all the other months. I wish they would enchant me with a makeover--I think I have given up! When you have had a leak , it is never a matter of just fixing a leak. One thing leads to another, until you discover rot in all the walls and then you need the entire thing gutted out. Now I know why Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, sent the family away to a resort, while they made over the house, and now I know why they sometimes knocked the entire house down and started over. Some of the commotion is unsettling if you are tyring to have a normal home life. The storybook house is a lot of fun to look at !

Not every thing is shabby at Shabby Suite of the Month but it has not had a new suite in two years. However you can look at the archives and be uplifted by the dramatic use of color in several of these home tours. It is fun to stage a room and take pictures. Even if you have to remove the fancy pillows and clear off the coffee table afterwards, it always gives a lift to have it looking beautiful for a moment just for a photograph, and to give you some practice if you ever really want to arrange a room for a special occasion. Having a practice day can give you the experience and confidence you need if you ever have to make it over for a special occasion.

If you cant afford the magazines with the beautiful photoes, Cottage Blog has beautiful photographs of house inspiration. Not everyone will like all of it but there may be something that will make you feel good.

And, if you do not have enough to do (ha ha) go and have a look at the Homemade Thingshere. She makes it all look so beautiful.

WHile these sites will not suit everyone's likes and dislikes, they show ideas of how to use things that you might have put away, such as your grandmother's vases and doilies and old furniture. They show new ways to use old things and incorporate new things.

Mo's Cottageis fun to look, too! And, don't forget to look at the beautiful paintings for you home at Lovely Whatevers.

"B y wisdom a house is builded,
And by understanding
It is established;
By knowledge the rooms are filled
With all pleasant and precious riches." Proverbs 24:3-4

There. Now you know you are allowed to stuff the house with things you like ;-)

Sometimes people take it wrong, when they look at show homes in their neighborhood, or flip through a pretty magazine of homes. They lose their contentment and give up, thinking they can never have it all, so why bother. I've always looked at things like this for ideas for myself that I can innovate without spending money, and I have always rejoiced that there are speople with such ability to make life joyful through the appearance of the house. To make it availble to us, is also a great blessing, because we know there is hope for the crumbling house. Women are naturally drawn to the home, to nesting, to making it soft and pretty and to serving their families. The comforts of the house are their main focus. Add to the beautiful arrangements the smell of good food, some music, freshly ironed clothing and a happy homemaker, and you have some of the ingredients to creating a place where people would rather be.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Card Craft

It takes a little more effort to make this pretty paper napkin or gift-tissue covered card, but it is worth a try, just to get this artistic result.

Cut a card and fold it three ways, making two sections exactly the same, and the top piece smaller, as shown on the right in the picture. Just use the long side of a piece of card stock, and cut it to fit your envelope.

The materials used were scalloped tissue paper, card stock, ribbon, high quality plastic food-wrap.
Lay a piece of brown paper bag on the ironing board. On top of that, put your card, and on top of it, a layer of saran wrap, like you see in the picture.

Then put your paper napkin over the saran wrap (it will have to be separated, and just use the printed layer), and on top of that, another piece of brown paper bag.

With iron on hottest setting, press down firmly and then iron back and forth a little. Every few seconds, lift up the iron. This will melt the plastic and make a bond between the napkin and the card.

Let the layers cool a little bit and then peel back the brown paper. Press again directly on the card, just to catch any parts that did not stick to the card, and to give it a nice smooth surface.

Trim around the decorative scallops and trim off excess tissue paper.

Place a ribbon handle inside the top fold, with clear tape. Outline the edges with Polymer or Scribbles paint from a tube, and add a jewel to the middle of the flap by making it with glitter glue inside a round circle. It does have some drying time, so if you want instant results, use your gell pens or some paper trims. You can put a message on the inside.
You can do this with any patterned paper if you want to have less trouble.

I have a few more ideas coming up soon.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Bramell: The Real Ending

Most people noticed a disappointing change in the characters of the series "Bramwell," a story set in the 1800's about two doctors: Robert Bramwell, and his daughter, Eleanor. The first shows were written by one person and the last few, by another. There are people who would have liked to have re-written the entire series and made some of the characters behave more honorably. Despite the flaws in this story, I offer here an ending that, contrary to the other one,

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Art of T.C. Chiu

House on the Harbor, by T.C. Chiu from Lovely Whatevers

While there are many artists that are easily recognizable by certain aspects of their style, T.C. Chiu paints in many different ways. You cannot say "Oh, that is the man that paints the scenes of the Carribean," or "He paints hummingbirds," because his 1000 or more paintings on the web have so many color schemes and themes.

T.C. Chiu, whose homeland was China, came to America in 1974, where he continued painting his colorful scenes. This artist is as adept at painting a seascape as he is a child's room. Painted phrases like "Love Never Fails" (Ist Corinthians 13) and "In Everything Give Thanks, For This is the Will of God," (Ist Thessalonians 5:18), or "God Bless Our Home," as well as beautiful paintings of open windows or shelves of family heirlooms, show a love for the home.

This art depicts fresh scenes of flower shops in France and beautiful homes from the Victorian era in America. You can go to Lovely Whatevers to enjoy some of the paintings of this versatile Christian artist.

Art for the home does not have to be "storebought." It can consist of a child's drawing or scenery torn from a country magazine. Its purpose is to reassure the family and inspire the heart. Women at home naturally watch for the souls of their loved ones. Good art that elevates the soul will help them develop stability and a love for the home.

I recently came upon an interesting book review from the year 1837, called "The Civilization of the Human Race by Women," written by L. Aime Martin. The review suggests that the woman contributes something more important to the world when she uses her heart to guide the home and care for the souls of her loved ones:

"...her honor is most promoted by excellence in her own sphere, as a wife, a mother, the guardian of the young, mistress of the home, arbiter of society."

You can read part of that review, here on this post:

It might interest women that the same ignorance existed regarding women's purpose then, as it does today. The book warned of the folly of getting too distracted into careers, and neglecting the most important kind of education there is for a country.

This book showed one aspect of marriage: that it pevented the lesser fates for women, those of being regulated to a boarding school, or being forced to become a governness. As I have said before, marriage is a great protection from being bossed around by the rest of the world and having to go from one institution to another. It is a domain all her own, where she decides how her day will be ordered, and where she can create respect and honor.

If you are concerned about recent events, you may get some knowledge that will be helpful here:
Dr. Mercola