Sunday, February 28, 2010

Families in Peril

"Lighting the Way"

Ephesians 5:25
Ist Peter 3:7
Ephesians 6:2
Proverbs 31:25

Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Knowing the pressures on families today, I would like to declare a Home Living Day of Prayer for families you know that are in peril: those with problems and anxieties and those under attack or bad influence.  Prayers should go up especially to the homemaker who is enduring pressure to leave her responsibilities and enter the workforce to make money, and the parents who need strength and courage to teach their children, and for those who have laboured in the children, that both the children and the parents would overcome and have great joy.  Pray also for marriages that are under attack.  God bless everyone for this kind favour!! 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

On Earth, As It Is In Heaven

The famous prayer in Gethsemene asked that God's will be done on earth -- as it is in heaven. If women really want to guard their homes and make them havens, they have to think of ways to make the homes be a taste of  heaven. Heaven has no confusion or indecision about what is right. Heaven has no rebellion or disrespect. There is a continual wedding celebration (Revelations 19:9).  It has no ugliness, no despair or fear. Heaven has no discordant notes.  Poets of old have compared home to heaven. 

 The home is more than just a crashing place for people on their way to do something more important. It should be the center of life.  One reason that families seem so disjointed is because they are not regarding the home with heaven in mind.  Things should be done here on this earth, as they are in heaven.

If you have ever tried to get rid of the disruption of the rest of the world and retreat at home, you probably notice that the world doesnt want to leave you alone. It always seems to be trying to get in your life. One woman told me that when her first child was born, she and her husband decided not to have television in the home. Her set had broken down anyway, and it was a good chance to eliminate television.  "When friends noticed we had not television, they began bringing over extra tv's!  I had televisions come at me from all over the place!"  Finally, just to keep down the pressure, she accepted a television and left it in her garage.
The home should be made into a pleasant dwelling by every means possible, and may require  eliminating some noise or clutter.  Think of the home as the most glorious place on earth, a mirror of heaven.  If things are to be done on earth, as they are in heaven, then they must be beautiful, orderly and glorifying.

As it is in heaven, home life can be a resting place and a place of praise. Here are some ideas that might be of interest, in making the home heavenly:

1. Eliminate as much bad news as you can. Network television and radio broadcasts the worst news and demoralizes people.  The Bible says we ought not to talk about the things "done in the dark."  You may not think it effects you, but too much bad news eventually leads to depression and despair. If you constantly listen to what bad shape the world is in, you may lose hope. The Bible, on the other hand is GOOD news, which gives the solution and escape from such bad news.

2.Don't buy in to the despair of this world. Make every word pleasant and informative, but never shrink from doing right or teaching what is right.

3. Don't allow criticism of the homemaker. She is the light of the home. If you allow it to be dimmed, there is no guide for the day to day things in the home. Don't drive her away with criticism, blaming, condemnation, and lack of appreciation. Furthermore, teach children to honor the parents. This goes a lot deeper than just bringing her flowers on Mothers Day. It means to apply the heart to the wisdom she has taught regarding their life choices. It means not to offend or attack.

4. Clean house.  In the worst of times, it is doubly important to have a clean house. In the book, "One Small Woman,"  the story of an English woman who went to China during war time, she said, "If your house is dirty, clean it."  She was referring to the fact that you can always do something to improve life for others.

5. Decorate your house.  Even the poorest of people can clean and decorate. Putting up a picture, or bringing in a jelly jar full of wild flowers can make the humblest home a type of heaven. Decorating offers you the opportunity to put your own personality and love into the dwelling place place, by using an abundance of your favourite colours, and surrounding yourself in the things that you like looking at. The home is a woman's domain, and she should make it a place she would like to be. There are shops we love to be in because of the scent or the lovely merchandise. Think of that when you decorate your home. Try to put the scenes you like, in the home. Its your right and your responsibility. Women need to reclaim the home and make it heavenly by the way it looks.

6. Make your house smell heavenly. Cleanliness, good cooking, and the scents of nature can make a home blissful.

7. Dress up and fix your hair and makeup before starting the day, if you possibly can. It makes a big difference in how you treat others and your home. It makes a huge difference in the respect you get.

8. Don't allow arguing. There is a saying, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy."  The mood of the home largely depends on keeping the homemaker free from agitation and worry. Its so important to respect her God-given position in the home and not undermine it or ridicule it in any way. Don't upset the cook, for obvious reasons. If you want the woman to really do a good job at home, don't pick on her or make her job difficult. The woman has to establish rules about this. She is the one who will determine how she is treated. When people mistreat the homemaker, it is because they can get away with it. Homemakers need to practice being firm and confident with people. Don't allow anyone to interfere with your work at home.

9. Improve your home and your skills. Learn something new, and be creative every day! One reason I post crafts is because I believe that hand work is good for women and it is more productive than working at an office all day or standing behind a cash register at work. It gives you results you can see for years and years and gives others great pleasure.  Nothing is more reassuring to a family than to see the homemaker contented and happy, making pretty things from the home. I have shown the "Tilda" books here before. The author, a Scandanavian woman who lives by the sea, shows how to make small projects from quilt fabrics: a handbag, a teddy bear, doll, slippers, hat, apron, foot stool, ornaments for all seasons, fabric fruit, cloth wreath, storage bags and containers, envelopes, and little things that can be done on the spot.  She  loves the home and her books are illustrated in the pretty florals and shades of nature.  This book hearkens back to the old Simplicity sewing books that were made for the home, with patterns to trace, in the back. These little projects are perfect for the busy homemaker who needs some down time to rest and still get creative.  For those who do not sew, there is a host of other creative things you can do. I often show paper crafts for the non-sewer.

10. Teach your own children at home. Choose curriculum that shows some of the old ways. Having your own children at home, learning to be agreeable with you, creates a totally different atmosphere in the home. When children are discipled, rather than just "taught", their wills are  in alignment with their parents. They will be "wrought together." Sometimes women will watch a historical film, or look into the paintings of the 18th and 19th century,  and note the niceties going on in an ordinary day at home; the meal preparations, the taking of tea, a conversation with a friend, discussions about literature, or a talking at length about a great Biblical principle, real singing or piano music in the background while you wash dishes, walks in the garden, or "a turn around the room."  They long to reproduce this in their own era. This is the kind of life you get, when you homeschool. Your culture changes.   You CAN reproduce the life that our ancestors enjoyed, but it takes a different mindset to recreate it. THe Bible is our perfect example. Reading it will cause us to create heaven in our homes. If you homeschool your children, you will come closer to reproducing the "old paths, where is the good walk" because you will not have an invading culture coming into your own home every day. Your children will be content, and willing to learn, and your husband will feel that the work he does to provide for the family is not being dismantled daily by the deterioration of home life. If you homeschool, you wont have the extra conflicts in the home that create a cold atmosphere. There is no conflict in heaven.

1l.  Spend much time in prayer.  It brings you closer to heaven than anything.

For more beautiful cottage paintings, be sure to look at  where I will be adding more.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Blessings of Women at Home

It is still snowing in many parts of the country. It always reminds me of the days when women  were home, providing a real home life for their families.
In those times you had to be confined together indoors a lot, and the parents of that generation knew how to thrive.  Although we had cars and trucks, it was important to stock up on supplies, because the road would become inaccessible.  A snow plow would come through once in awhile, but you could not be certain when, and then your truck might not start.  Parents would fill their pantries full of supplies so that they could make just about anything to eat. 
Mothers thought it was important to keep children busy in useful things that would develop their imagination and skill.  They invented creative projects  made from the  cartons and the boxes and paper bags that the groceries came in. Sometimes we had extra things such as paints and glitter.  If we had none of those things,  parents of that generation knew how to make substitutes.  There was always a way to make paint and make things sparkle or glisten.  Lacking coloured paper for a project, we took our crayons and made it.  It was interesting to see the variety of things we could make without fancy supplies.

We did go outside in the snow and had a wonderful time.Coming indoors was quite a treat, and many a child can remember their mothers preparing hot chocolate from basic ingredients, and melted cheese sandwiches from home made bread.  Mothers staying at home made quite a difference, for they were in no hurry and didnt mind making things from basic ingredients.

When I have time, I will make a replica of the set of dollhouse furniture that was popular in those days, from empty grocery items, which were painted and glued in a way to make couches and tables and chairs.  Women of that time knew how to make a stage with a curtain, so that children could put on a play with paper bag puppits or puppits made with cardboard attatched to popsicle sticks. 

Winter brought on illness sometimes, and it was then that our mothers shone.  They knew how to make a bed tray with foods and drinks that were not difficult to digest, and provide a pile of things to cut and paste or read, while in bed.  The tray had to be pretty and the food presented in a lovely way on the best dishes. Favorite books and magazines saved from months gone by, were put in a stack beside the bed.  Usually there was a child's page in the womens magazines, and Betsy McCall paper doll had such pretty outfits and pets.  The boys liked the outdoor life magazines and books their father's read. 

 These pleasant, restful activities were essential in recovery from illness.   Some mothers knew how to bathe the child and change the sheets with the little patient still in the bed. When the children were sick, it also gave mothers a chance to sweep the floor and get the kitchen cleaned up.  Children of that time can remember calling their mothers from their sick beds and having them drop whatever they were doing and go to their sides immediately.

Meal times were a highlight of snowed-in winters.  In northern climates it often would stay dark the entire day, so these meals provided dividing lines to distinguish one part of the day from the other. It could get discouraging if the darkness at 8 o'clock in the morning was the same as 5 o'clock in the afternoon, so those meal times kept us cheerful and in touch with what time it was. 

Parents believed that children who were fussy either needed a nap, or more work to do. They would say that if you had time to complain or fight, you had time to work. If children were bored, they also worked. There was always plenty to do and mothers did not feel that they had to do it all. Children helped with laundry and cooking and learned to do these things as soon as they were six years old.  If mothers got sick, a child between the ages of 6 and 12 could manage the home and look after younger children just fine. That could not have been possible if it were not for these mothers at home who took the time to patiently show the children how to clear a table, wipe a surface, sweep a floor, wash and rinse dishes, wash clothes,  cook and keep younger children safe.

This leads me to the more important subjects of women at home. Eventually, even mothers will be home without children, as they grow up and get families of their own. The presence of the woman  is still necessary to give the home a feeling of love and warmth.  As she gets older, she has to think of her health. Staying home, even with no children, brings out the feminine qualities in a woman: softness, sweetness, goodness, lack of hurry or worry.

I do not believe that children can have the proper physical, emotional, social and spiritual nourishment if they are not at home with mothers who are willing to spend the time with them. It is tragic that women today think that making money is more important, and they are depriving their children of these wonderful memories. I do not even think that debt is a good enough reason to abandon your home life and go to work. Your children will know that money is the foremost thing on your mind, and what is that teaching them? 

 What kind of childhood will they talk about to their children?  One of being rushed from one institution to another, or a happy, carefree child hood free from worry and heavy responsibility?  I truly do not believe that God intended for society to raise our children. He appointed parents to do this.  I know a single mother with two children who is at home with her children and giving them the emotional and physical stability they need for their lives.   Debt can be managed, by making arrangements for affordable payments within your ability.  Daycare of any kind is not good for children, as they bring home the manners and habits of those who look after them. It is better for children to relate to their parents than their day care workers. In the end, it will pay dividends. I have often thought that when you send your children to others to be cared for during the most impressionable times of their lives, they will one day turn their backs on you and institutionalize you, because they will not have time for you.

Staying home at first will take some adjustment. You have to be a self starter and an independent worker. You have to learn to live without being regulated  by a boss. You have to develop self control and personal determination. One purpose of having children is to teach parents. Parents learn to how to be parents by training and teaching their own children.  They learn the things that the mothers of old knew, by being cooped up with them on winters days, and having to be resourceful. There is an old saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention."  This means that when you are looking for something to do that will enrich your childs life at home, you might invent something to do that is completely your own idea.  You will be amazed at what is available within the home, to teach and train children's character.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mozart's Laudate Dominum (Praise the Lord!)

Press Here to find out more about this classical painting.

The words to this song are found in Psalm 116. Here is the English translation:

Praise the Lord, all nations;
Praise Him, all people.
For He has bestowed
His mercy upon us,
And the truth of the Lord endures forever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and forever,
and for generations of generations.

Listen patiently, because after the solo, is a wonderful choral anthem that is very moving!

For free printable sheet music go here

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Household Motions

Press Here to View this beautiful Belgian Painting from the 1800's

She was a phantom of delight

When first she gleamed upon my sight;

A lovely Apparition, sent

To be a moment's ornament;

Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair;

Like Twilight's, too, her dusky hair;

But all things else about her drawn

From May-time and the cheerful Dawn;

A dancing Shape, an Image gay,

To haunt, to startle, and way-lay.
(my notes: This is like the first, surface impression, by the poet, based on the outward appearance of the woman.Note that the poem shows the layered technologies of the woman: he says that on a nearer view he sees the "pulse of the machine.") 
I saw her upon a nearer view,

A Spirit, yet a Woman too!

Her household motions light and free,

And steps of virgin liberty;

A countenance in which did meet

Sweet records, promises as sweet;

A Creature not too bright or good

For human nature's daily food;

For transient sorrows, simple wiles,

Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears and smiles.
  (my notes:  Upon a second look, and upon closer acquaintance, the poet sees something always valued: the sympathy and understanding; the depth of her emotions. Now, she is more than just a pretty vision of delight. She is posesses the God-given human qualities of genuine sorrow and joy.)
And now I see with eye serene

The very pulse of the machine;

A Being breathing thoughtful breath,

A Traveler between life and death;

The reason firm, the temperate will,

Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;

A perfect Woman, nobly planned,

To warm, to comfort, and command;

And yet a Spirit still, and bright,

With something of angelic light.

William Wordsworth (18th Century Poet)

(my notes:   "A Traveller between life and death."  We dont belong here: heaven is our home, prepared for those who obey the gospel and live faithfully, but until then, we are on a journey where we make the best of things, let our light shine, and draw others to Christ by our joy and obedience.  Many poets of the past have recognized the temporal verses the eternal. This one line: a traveller between life and death, describes the woman on a  temporary mission designed for the eternal destiny.)

In this segment of the poem, he  sees the woman with much deeper and enduring talents: she has strength to guide and to warn. She has skills in the home and she is "nobly planned."  The poet goes from the first impressions to the deeper knowledge of the woman. I liked the "household motions" because it is such a good reminder to allow housekeeping to be a joy. Most jobs are drudge jobs, but the graceful way in which they can be done, make a huge difference in the atmosphere of the home.)

This poem shows the observation of a man in the 18th century, about a woman's movements about the home. He says that her household motions are "light and free," and that she steps about freely, with confidence to monitor the home. He recognizes her strengths of firm reasoning, endurance, foresight and skill. 

The poem is a good reminder to make household routines more like a serene walk than a resentful attack.Some women make people run to the far corners of the house because of their aggressive attack on housekeeping; others can do it in such a way that it becomes poetic. I had a friend in my early days that fascinated me by her approach to homemaking. Though she never appeared to "do" much, she was always moving about, picking up things and straightening, and never sat down until she had briefly gone through the room and put it aright.  She saved herself a lot of hard work by the "clean as you go" method, and yet no one was ever really aware of what she was doing, because she conversed and walked around her house as though she was walking in a garden, enjoying the vacation.  It would be nice to learn this kind of approach, which would increase the contentment and well being of everyone around us.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Few Cold Weather Activities

Cold weather  has advantages. It is a great time to be creative and it helps children learn to be resourceful.  Activities like this are quiet and provide hours of contentment.  

Heart shaped cookies like this are so pretty it would be nice to have some just for decoration. The backing is  made of heavy brown paper from a large grocery bag, and the top is white cardstock or textured papers  decorated with puff paints. For very young children, instead of the puff paint or glitter paint, try using scrapbook trims, sewing supplies,  applied with a solid glue stick, and stickers, or crayons, to imitate the lovely heart cookies in the cookbooks or bakeries.

Press the pictures for closer views. They can be inserted in envelopes with a few words of kindness written on the back, or they can have holes punched to make gift tags from them.

This is called Cottage Bread, made with oats and molasses that has wonderful cake-like texture.   Served with tomato-basil ,vegetable soup, it is a perfect lift on a cold day.  It was originally called cottage bread because it was shaped like a cottage. This recipe was invented to accommodate left over cooked oatmeal made for cereal. I once stated that eating this bread would change the most hardened outlook on life but now I say that there should be horns and cymbals and a huge ceremony with a robe and a crown for the maker of this bread.  (Guess I'll have to make a paper crown ;-)  I've heard men rave on and on about it and begin behaving as though they just entered a special spiritual realm over the likes of this bread. I'm not guaranteeing that it will turn out perfectly the first try. Keep practicing, and eventually you will get something people will look forward to coming home for.

You will have to scroll down on her page to find the recipe.  Its a nice one because you dont really have to use bread pans, and you dont have to knead it.

For another bright spot on a snowed-in day, enjoy this pretty blog.
Its really uplifting to see women posting beautiful thoughts and creative ideas. 

Monday, February 08, 2010

Pretty Petals

To view this painting by Igor Levashov, press here

To cheer up dark winter days, I suggested finding a primrose, often sold for less than a dollar, and bringing it indoors as an inexpensive bouquet. If these are not available, here is a lovely alternative: carnations.  However, these are hand made with tissue paper and chenille stems. The total cost for a huge amount of them, is about two dollars at dollar stores. All you need is a stack of tissue wrapping paper and some wire stems like these.  If you add a vase and some felt tip pens from Dollar Tree, you pay about four dollars for supplies that will make a LOT of carnations.  It amounts to about a penny per flower.  Try them in different colours.

 These are just a stack of white tissue, traced around with a small bowl and then cut with the deckle edge shaped scissors. The edges are painted with a felt tip pen in colour of choice. To find directions for tissue paper flowers, type it on your search engine. There are many step by step instructions for these, and dozens of appealing  books available about tissue paper flowers.    I made these very thick, so that they look like cabbage roses. The chenille stems look like they are in water. This is a bright spot for winter and a very easy craft for children. Try them with some of the glittered tissue paper you can get or with brighter hues.

To those of us who are snowed in, it is a great encouragement to know that the countries in the southern hemisphere, particularly Australia, are having sunny days, sipping lemonade and iced tea on their verandas.  I've collected some of my favourite blogs that have imaginative creativity on them. They wont suit everyone but you might find something that makes your heart sing.
This delightful one is in Dixie, I think - A lovely blog!
Press on the photograph for a close up view!  I plan to do more and add a tutorial of my own, sometime today.  These really do not look as good in the photograph as they do in reality. Around the house they look absolutely real, and it gives me a chance to use old jars and vases. Dollar store has some beautiful vases that look like crystal. Check out the candle department for candle holder jars. I also made my stems stronger by folding the chenille in half and winding it back up the stem, doubling it.

Here are some variations of this pattern:
The red rose in the center top was made by cutting smaller circles for the inside middle. Instructions for the daisy can be found on the web, but basically it is just the same, with petals cut around.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Bright Spots for the Home

A bouquet of flowers is such a bright spot during the winter months, but even the grocery store flowers are high priced this time of year. Primroses are only about 80 cents a plant and they last a lot longer than cut flowers. They make wonderful table centerpieces. This one is on the dining table,
and this one is on the little table next to the couch. Set the entire pot inside a decorative container or one of those pretty gift bags.

Mothers and Grandmothers will be thrilled with this new  Little Golden Book called "Little Mommy" which

takes a little child through an entire day of a little girl pretending to be a mother with dolls for children. The story begins in the morning when she wakes up, and continues with various activities such as getting her babies dressed, making breakfast, baking cookies, going outside for a walk, a neighbor visiting for tea, teaching school (the alphabet and numbers), meal times, housework, and bedtime.  It is a wonderful book that shows children the delights of home living, and boys enjoy reading the story just as much as the girls. The artwork shows the contentment of home life so beautifully, that even if you are not a mother or a grandmother, you might want to get the book for yourself.

Scroll several posts down for the "Hearts for Home" article!!

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Cheerful Home

Check out Country for other ideas that make home life bright.

Also check out the cottage of the month, here:

The mantel of the month for February will be up soon.


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