Sunday, August 02, 2009

Fourth Generation, by Melinda Byers

In Her Loving Arms, by Melinda Byers

Words of Wisdom, by Melinda Byers

Three Generations, by Melinda Byers

Please put on some music, make a cup of tea, and add these beautiful paintings by a contemporary artist to your picture viewer slide show on your computer. I am busy getting a few more sewing projects finished.

Remember the "Anonymous Only" comments, for your protection and privacy.

Sunday Conversation, by Lonnie Ollivierre

Garden Brunch by Consuelo Gamboa

My Secret Arbor 2 by Consuelo Gamboa

Swans Picnic by Consuelo GamboaSummer Manor by Consuelo Gamboa


Anonymous said...

Would you consider a larger font? I have great difficulty reading this small print. Thank you, most kindly...for your consideration.

Lydia said...

To enlarge the font, go to View on the top of your screen, and then down to "text size" and click the larger size.

Anonymous said...

Always looking forward to your next blog entry that you have to share with us. All the best for your 'project'. Thinking of you and thanks for everything.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,

Thank you for taking the time to keep your blog and for sharing so much with us. I really appreciate it.

I have been married for some time, very happily. However, over these past 3-4 years I have felt that I am losing my "touch" in regards to homemaking. I am not finding the excitement and enthusiasm that I once had.

I had a very dear girlfriend who was close to me who would also inspire me to be a better homemaker, etc. but alas, she moved very far away.

I am alone now with a group of friends who are less than interested in home related things and I am feeling very weary and tired and looking for something to add a pep in my step.

Please advise.

Thank you.

Lydia said...

I will let everyone else answer the query regarding homemaking inspiration. There are posts about it in the archives, but hearing from other commenters is always uplifting.

Anonymous said...

Lydia, do you realize you are probably the first person on the web that has started "anonymous only" commenting? And your "troll-free" phrase is really unique! I think many others will catch on, and I think it is a great idea. I would like to know more about how to handle trolls and critics, as I have a blog that has often been attacked. I am definitely going to have anonymous-only comments.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for (and this is not the first time) showing beautiful African American women. Being a lady is not about being white. I wish this could be portrayed more widely.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous portraits. I always feel so uplifted looking at the photos in your blog. R

Anonymous said...

I really love their hats!!! I have started wearing a hat to church and it is fun! It really sets off an outfit.

I like to go to blogs like yours, Lydia, to get inspiration for homemaking when I need a little pep in my step.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for showing these beautiful pictures. My daughters will be so inspired when they view them. Thank you for showing feminine women.

Anonymous said...

To the lady, who has lost her enthusiasm in homemaking, I would like to suggest the following:

As Lady Lydia said, go into the archives of her blog and read her posts. I have printed out all her entries (it will be a high pile indeed!) and am reading them now little by little in bed, which is far more relaxing than staring at the computer.

What also lifts your mood at home is to redecorate the house. Usually one has so many things, that one must just grab in the drawers and cupbords, and use what one has on hand.

What also helps, is to look for new cooking recipies to try out. Much of the weariness comes of cooking the same dishes over and over again.

And then, try to have some pleasurable occupations at home, just for you. Mine are sewing, knitting, painting, embroidery. It's nice to have a "material outcome" of one's activities.

I hope, this helps.

Anonymous said...

To the discouraged housekeeper:

I have two sayings for you along with much advice:

First, when I was in the Army, we had a saying, "fake it until you make it..." which, though it seems awful, is a pretty good philosophy. So much of our feeling on a particular subject is just that, feeling. The good news is that feelings can be controlled. "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." If you are not associating with a group of women who are convicted the same way that you are, find people that are (which, I know, can be a lot harder than it sounds).

Okay, the second saying I've heard only recently, "action always precedes motivation." To me, this means that you have to decide that you are going to enjoy housework. Purposely find things that you enjoy. Start a new useful craft, rearrange furniture, take action to effect change. The more you act like you enjoy housework, the more you will actually enjoy housework.

Hope that helps, even a little. And remember, God knows your heart and your hurts, turn to Him to give you strength.

Anonymous said...

If you cannot re-decorate, or re paint, just re arrange the furniture and put different things on display. Get a special notebook for your home making schedule. Buy special cosmetics and perfumes and clothes to make home special.

Lydia said...

In case there is any misunderstanding about the time era of these paintings: we actually dressed like this in the 1980's when there was a revival of the Victorian fashions.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for these beautiful pictures Lydia. I love how the earlier ones show generations of the same family...together! Beautiful to see and ponder. It is ideal but sadly not commonplace. I especially love the children listening attentively to the grandfather. What a beautiful world!

I love the Sunday conversation picture. It shows that we can all express our own taste: colour, cut and length of fabric, and still look feminine and modest. We are all different and this is to be celebrated.

Anonymous said...

I am the 1st Anon again: our computer is set up on the Ubuntu program; therefore, our 'view' button has a 'zoom text' but when clicked, does nothing. I'll just copy, paste, stick your writing for the day in open office, highlight and enlarge.

Lydia said...

These are painted by today's artists. Alan Maley also painted scenes of women in Victorian clothing, even though he lived in the 1980's. We did wear a lot of this kind of clothing, when there was a renewal of interest in the Victorian era, in the 1980's. I will scan in some more Victoria magazines from the era, to show you how that magazine inspired a generation to love pretty clothing and tea parties. They were going against the prevailing culture, but they made a big change. The dresses in the picture were similar to the Jessica McClintock and Nancy Johnson, Lanz, and Laura Ashley, of the 1980s. The picture of the women in church talking ---I put it there because I liked the hats and colors. I didn't care for the shortness of the dresses, but I thought it was very pretty the way the pattern was nearly the same. With sewing, if you cannot decide on the color or pattern, you can sew a lot of the dresses in all the colors you like.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 10:49pm

Tho' I am not the discouraged home-maker you addressed, I needed to thank you anyway. Your advice regarding feeling and motivation was exactly what I needed to hear after a difficult few months of family health crisis (plural, actually-- crises? Crisises?) It reminded me just how much choice I have in my actions (and emotional reactions) and that particular reminder was particularly welcome today!

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I was an older teenager and a new wife in the 1980's when it was actually so much fun to get dressed. My wedding gown is in much the same fashion as the clothes shown in these paintings. I would love for these styles to come back.

I especially love the first painting of the Four Generations as this month there will be 4 generations gathered together at my home: My first grand-daughter, my daughter (baby's momma), me (grandma) and my mother (great-grandma).

I always enjoy your blog, Lydia, but I have especially loved this series. Thank you for taking the time to do it. I know it took lots of time.

Anonymous said...

As an African American I especially appreciate these pictures. By the way I enjoyed all of your historically inspired outfits. Do you think you can sew a historical outfit like the ones from the truly Victorian patterns. I understand if you can't but it would sure be nice if you can do it.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia thank you so much for showing the beautiful pictures. As a black women who reads your blog faithfully, it was such a delight to see. Thank you for all that you do to encourage homemakers. Please know that there are women out here who are praying for you :)

Anonymous said...

For the discouraged homemaker, I agree attitude is everything. Try listening to Jesus advice, when he said, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Instead of focusing on what you get out of homemaking, do it to serve your family and for the glory of God.

At our church, women and girls wear dresses and skirts as a rule. But the fashions lately have deteriorated to a 1970s revival with all the stretchy polyester wild print junk. I wore my new shawl-collar dress Sunday. The one I've been talking about in my comments over the last couple weeks. It turned out beautifully, but the looks I got at church were as if I came from Mars.

One lady friend of 85 told me she thought it was very pretty. Another friend (30), who works at the fabric store and sold me the fabric, told me I looked beautiful. Otherwise, I got double takes and astonished looks.

Although it was humorous, it was sad as well. However, I won't give up my personal, modest, fashion revolution.

Anonymous said...

In response to the discouraged homemaker:

Review your purpose. In all we do it is useful to have a purpose. Why am I doing this? If we follow a religion we can keep our home to the glory and God, to honour Him and praise him for what he has given us. I often say a little prayer and offer what I am doing to God (even sweeping my verandah): "Lord, I do this for you with great love". Mother Teresa mentioned that it was not how *much* we do in life, but how much *love* we put into what we do! Sound advice.

Read inspiring material. Emily Barnes is a very inspiring writer to homemakers. Her books, "Welcome Home" and "More Hours in my Day" may be available at your local library. Lady Lydia is also extremely inspirational here at this blog. Read frequently.

Lady Lydia has elsewhere written of the importance of dressing well for the home, mentioning that what we wear effects our mood and performance. If we dress in a manner in which we can be proud and feel happy, this feeling can overflow to our work.

Get your main work done early. For many people the morning is the most productive time. And reward yourself when your work is done: read the magazine you've been longing to read, read blog entries or write your own, visit a friend or have one over.

Also remember, there is nothing wrong with you for feeling discouraged, it happens to everyone in every field of endeavor.

Anonymous said...

Lydia, I agree with you about the shortness of some of the dresses in 'Sunday Conversation'. Not a good look. I also must have sleeves to feel modest. I feel, however, that the Lord often leads us in little steps, in dressing modestly also. He does not give us too much to cope with. For some simply wearing a dress as opposed to jeans/pants is a big step in modesty. All steps towards modest, feminine dressing are commendable. I love what you write here and thank you for being a huge encourager to all of us.

Anonymous said...

For the discouraged homemaker - I have a similar problem at times, with working up enthusiasm for work I have to do in my shop. I find I can put off projects for weeks, if I don't follow some sage advice from my grandmother.

She used to say, if faced with tasks she absolutely didn't want to do, "eat a toad first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you all day."

This doesn't mean Grandma went out and ate toads, of course. She meant that if you get the tasks you really dread over and done with first thing, you can spend the rest of the day on more pleasant pursuits. Also, she always pointed out that you expended much more energy dreading and putting off the disliked job than you would expend just doing it quickly and well and having it all over and done with.

I remember that when I'm putting off making bracelets (I don't know why I hate making them, but I do)and the display has one lone bracelet sitting there, looking abandoned and foolish.

Hope this helps!


Anonymous said...

Old ladies are people who USED to wear dresses. Surely they remember the years of the beautiful dress, hat and gloves. If not, how effective the garment industry and designers have been in flooding the market with slut clothing so that people forget. Old women look truly gross with every single bit of their bottoms outlined in pants, bottoms that went south years ago. It is disheartening, sad, and a great loss of the womanly appearance. We have been sold a bill of goods, as they say. Younger women crave to be able to look up to good examples. Is it any wonder they follow the rock stars and movie stars fashions? It looks a lot better than the track suits and athletic outfits the old ladies wear. I lived in a time when a grandmother was someone who was dignified and respectful looking. Now they look awful. Please, God, help us all!

Anonymous said...

Something I forgot to mention in my earlier comment about ways to overcome discouragement in homemaking: it is important to feel a job is finished! Many complain that housework is never done. I read somewhere that if we give a job a definitive end, we will feel more satisfied. What I do often when I have finished a big job (eg. weekly ironing), is say, out loud, "That's done!". Those two little words have a settling and satisfying effect! Hope this helps.

Lydia said...

Please note: if you do not post anonymously, your comment wont be published. Please try again if you forgot to push "anonymous". It is for your own protection.

Anonymous said...

I know. I feel betrayed by all these older ladies who are walking around with the rememberances of a better yesterday, yet are refusing to share it with the current world that needs it so badly. I know that part of their upbringing was being taught not to conform to lower standards - I just know it!

My kids have seen so many older ladies lately - I don't know if it is coincidence - that, though we are a very respectful family, we couldn't help but giggle when we saw them. They had "alien" hair that was so short and puffed straight upward, that overall took on the shape of a tall egg on top of their heads. The sides of their hair was missing, but the top was a good 4 inches or more high, but puffed and teased- I don't know how to describe it. Ugly pants and t-shirts, but this weird coifed hair. One of them had on a tailored dark grey jacket and pant suit that looked like she was the man (same alien hair-do), while the man she walked with wore a sweet, pink shirt!

I am not making fun - these are not "elderly" people who look like they can't do any better, or need assistance. They are out and about and very active. They actually look like they have put a lot of effort into achieving that certain "look" they have. It's just a mystery as to why this would be the look they desire.

My Grandma would have just been shamed to no end to ever be caught in a pair of pants, and this is one thing that always comforts me when I think back to when she was alive.

Then we met the sweetest couple from Ukraine out on a walk the other day. The lady was as old as the first ladies I described, but looked much younger, and had "poofed" hair, but it was long hair that was "up", and had been teased a little to give it fullness around her face. It highlighted her beautiful eyes, which I complimented her on. She was overweight, but looked perfectly sweet in a long "broomstick skirt". We so enjoyed talking to her. She was astonished that we had more than two children, didn't watch much TV, homeschooled, etc. They commented on how strange it is here in the U.S., - and everybody smokes!

After we left that couple, all my kids said, without me saying anything, that they felt so refreshed just talking to her. She was so sweet to them, and is the first person in a long time who hasn't said, "Oh, you poor Mom", "What were you thinking, having all those boys", etc. , when they see us coming. Their first greeting to us was, "God bless you, God bless you."

The kids all asked if they could come and live with us! :)

Anonymous said...

HA HA HA HA HA. I suppose every era had its comical styles, but this one beats them all! HA HA HA

Anonymous said...

I am new to the modestly movement. I've been reading a lot of these posts, and thinking about my own wardrobe.

Last weekend, I planning to wear my usual slacks to church. Slacks that I thought were classic, tailored, and flattering. For the first time...I noticed that the crotch of the pants clearly outlined my...ummm...womanly area. I had never, not once, noticed that before. I turned around. I'm not an older lady (34) and so my butt is not sagging yet, but these pants emphasized the roundness and fullness of my posterior; something that only my husband should know about, and not the church members standing behind me! My cheeks grew hot with embarrassment, thinking about the years I've worn these slacks to church, not even thinking about the children behind me, the men, the teenage boys, or anyone else for that matter.

I threw the pants into my giveaway pile, and immediately put on a skirt that was just languishing away in my closet. The fabric skimmed over my hips, and hid the exact lines of my figure. You could still tell I was a woman, but you couldn't tell what I had for breakfast.

Yes, I'm a skirts/dresses girl from here on out. I'm wearing a brown sleeveless maxi dress right now, and when I go out later today, I'll wear a cardigan over it to hide my arms. I feel MUCH MUCH better! (I know lots of you are anti-sleeveless, and that is fine, but I live in a super hot environment. I only wear these in my home, and cover up with a light cardigan when I leave the house.)

Anonymous said...

I so love being a homemaker. As to ideas to give another to give homemaking a "lift"...It gives me an extra lift when I surround myself with pleasant things to see and enjoy. Good books on homemaking and the Bible, also books on living the Christian live as a woman, cook books and the lives of other worthy women and their families. Keep pretty music softly as a background to the home when you can. Something that you love to hear and that calms and makes you smile. If you have children it will get them to know all sorts of music and instruments if you point out the different ones. Tell them the name and composer along the way too. Keep away from tv and radio shows get you more worried and angry than they keep you informed and relaxed. When you do mending or cooking, gardening or any other chore or hobby have the children near. Teach them as much as they can understand at each age. Do it gently. As they grow they learn and each step they take will enrich their later lives. Think of others. Your family, your neighbors, those in nursing homes or at church..etc etc. Maybe you or the children could do a little something extra this week for someone. As kids we used to pick flowers {even flowering weeds!} for our neighbors or sweep their sidewalk. It does not have to be anything elaborate. Do the extras after you have taken care of your own home and family. I feel alone too but keep to myself most days surrounded by those things we love and keeping close to home. I still wish I could have closeness of family and friends that I had growing up that shared this same type of lifestyle. Being part of a good circle of couples that shared the same morals and ideals was what was common then. Times have changed and not to the better as far as many things go. I could stay in the closeness of my little family forever.
I wonder however if I should keep mostly to myself as we are to be out sharing the good life with others as an example that they would want to follow. I sometimes wonder if God would want me more out in the world to be able to be with His people. How else could I spread the Word if I am not out? It is a worry to me. There is a balance I need to find. I am basically a choice and nature. This is something I don't know how to balance though...My need to keep our life as a family like the "old days". Verses having to be out in the world that seems almost foreign to me but maybe I should be out there doing more?? I would not be out there in a pay job or any such thing but if I am at home so much how can I see and help? I do not by the way, in general feel lonely being with myself. I would prefer to stay home. Do you have any thoughts Lady Lydia? This is really troubling me. To be in church is still surrounding yourself with hopefully already saved people. That doesn't count as being out. I only see others at the grocery stores and doctor offices etc. My love as a woman is being home and I so cherish doing all the womanly and homey things. I would prefer to stay as I am....only with more homemaking friends someday. Could I be walling myself in too much or should I be doing more for the Lord? I am sorry this post swung round from helping the other homemaker but I sometimes feel guilty as if I am not doing enough for Him living the way we do.

Anonymous said...

To the woman that is concerned she isn't out enough. The Bible does command hospitality and we are to visit the fatherless and widows. But other than that, I see no command to be out in the world. We were to live in this world but not be a part of it and we are COMMANDED to be keepers at home. The Word says if we love God, we keep His commandments.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Anonymous for your helpful recent comment about my not being out enough. My children are grown and gone. Although I find plenty {+more :) } to keep me busy at home I thought that I Should be doing more. Since this story was not new I did not know if anyone would comment. You gave me something to think about. Thank you for kindly commenting. We do not do enough hospitality with other than family. Likewise I could do more for widow and the fatherless of course. Now to get to acting on my thoughts! If anyone has more ideas or comments please do so. I have been feeling very gui8lty. I am sure I am not the only homemaker wondering this.

Anonymous said...

To the woman concerned about not getting out enough: maybe you would want to consider volunteering at a pro-life center, or being a sidewalk counselor for those who are entering abortion clinics...just some thoughts. God will bless you for seeking His heart.

Anonymous said...

I once wanted to volunteer at a pro-life pregnancy center, however, on the application they wanted to know if I would put my shift at the center above all other things. Well , no. I have a family and my first obligation is to them. I now only volunteer when it is something that does not require specified hours on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

These pictures are so encouraging. I seldom see pictures of people of color dressed and having family times like those you shared. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

Thank you ladies for answering my inquiry about getting out more. In answer to someone's thought I know of no abortioin clinics in my area. Do you have any thoughts Lady Lydia? I could sure appreciate any council you can give to my first questions some letters back. I want to do what the Lord would have me do to bring people to Him. I feel no 'calling' in that respect but feel selfish not doing more. I am very satisfied to be home but not sure I should concentrate only on it and not spreading the word outside of my household. I will not say more as I stated it more in my first inquiry.

Lola said...

I love the dresses, love the ladies, love the families. I got choked up with Four Generations.

I am also partial to the swans in Consuelo Gamboa's print.

Just saw "Honk" with the children at a children's theater this summer and I now have a new appreciation for swans. It's cute.