Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hello From Alaska


Day 1

One of the views from our trip near the Turnagain Arm area.

I am having a holiday visiting the homestead where I was raised, and signing a few copies of the book, "Just Breathing the Air."  I hope to post more pictures and stories later. 

Day 2

If you click for a larger view, you might be able to see this loon on the lake; the same lake that my father took us on for sailboat and row boat rides in the 1950's.  The homestead is not the same, without the people that made it into the adventure that it was, but I am going to enjoy the sweet solitude of the beautiful lake. The house is completely gone, and all the out buildings, but there are many reminders left: the well, and pieces of the little dock where we tied up the skiff.    They say you can tell the measurement of a lake by how many loons live there.  I saw only one, so far, but in the old times there could be 10. 

I took this photograph from the shore on the part of the homestead property (originally 160 acres) where Mother and Daddy first built a temporary cabin to live in, and where Mother first rowed the boat her husband built for her, to pick a bowl of water lilies, which you see in the distance there. Please click on the picture for a beautiful view!

This is the over-grown path to the lake, viewed from where the Big House once sat. Click on for a larger view.  My father discouraged complaining or any kind of negative talk, saying we should be just happy to be alive, and just glad to be breathing the air.

This is near the area where the first little, temporary cabin was built to house them through one winter and a summer while the Big House, about a quarter of a mile further up the lake, was being built. My father and mother chose a hill between two lakes to build the Big House, which was a name used to distinguish it from the temporary cabin, meaning it was a permanent residence.

Here we found hundreds of strawberries, no doubt spreading from Mother's original strawberry patch. They are pale peach in color when ripe, and the vine stands in a crook type loop up off the ground so that the berries will not get wet or lay in the ground. They smell like cotton candy.

Day 3 and 4: Visiting friends.

Day 5

One of the scenes on a trip to Seward

Fireweed in bloom.

Along certain sections of this glacier are signs with dates showing how much it has melted since the 1800's.

Day 6

Ninilchik, historic Russian fishing village at the mouth of the Ninilchik River. Originally, the residents spoke a Russian dialect called Ninilchik. This is the view to the west, from the top of the bluff.

View of Ninilchik from the river, looking east toward the bluff. I saw this town many times 40 years ago, and always thought it rather mysterious. Today it looks the same size, and very little chnge has taken place. The Russian fishing boats are still in their little harbor, bearing names like "Volga" and Russian ladies names.

Day 7:  Some photographs of  Tea Time at the lake---who could resist it in such a setting!

Click on for a better look.

This beautiful bouquet consists of various shades of yarrow, clover and other natural things from the area. I used it on one of the outdoor tea tables.

The strawberries were picked from the forest near the lake. They are a special northern berry that grows up off the ground and smells like cotton candy. Although they are pale in color and do not look ripe at all, they are very, very sweet.

If you click on for a larger view, you can see the fireweed surrounded by ferns in a bouquet in the kerr canning jar on the left, picked from the hill behind the lake.

I enjoyed looking through an old window frame from our house that once stood on a hill above the lake. Regrettably, I will not be able to take the frame home with me. It will not fit in my pink suitcase, and cannot go separately. After I watched the way baggage is treated, I would not risk taking it.  It is better off where it is.

Our view from those big picture windows in the log house was the same then as it is today.

Day 8

Many moose but no mosquitoes. I am glad I saw this one from the window of the vehicle instead of while walking on a trail.
After that, a bit of refinement to soften the edges, by a visit to a Victorian shop:
posted with permission from Donna in Soldotna

and another tea table with a framed view of the forest, using a part of the original window from the log house.

The scones on the outdoor tea table are called "Butter and Cream Scones" from the May/June issue of Victoria magazine; one of their blue issues. The recipe is on page 88 and may also be available online. Non-dairy users can substitute olive oil and flax meal for the butter and cream.  Course flour works very well with this (unrefined) and I used unbleached flour for one batch of them. The recipe is also included in one of the "Bliss" special editions (the one with the blue scene on the front--the first one that was issued last year).

My pink suitcase was the only one I could find at a discount store so late in the season, and it got quite a beating. I got to see it loaded, unloaded, tossed, slammed down, and kicked, as I watched out the window where I sat in the airplane. I have given up packing  tea cups for any of my friends.

I quit the wilderness one afternoon and went to the fabric store to buy this fabric. It is a quilter's fabric that feels like rayon and sews up so easily; a woven with a lot of "give." The buttons just matched the print. I made a skirt and blouse because I was so careful not to over-load my suitcase that I did not pack enough clothing. The limit is 50 pounds and mine was only 35. I think I can take back a lot more, but I saw how mean the airport crew treated my pink suitcase, throwing it about, so whatever I take back with me will be soft, like this fabric.  Buying fabric is so much easier than it was years ago when we ordered it from a catalog and waited 3 months! 
The skirt and blouse looks almost the color of the fireweed.

Day 8

A visit to the house we lived in a few years in the town of Homer, where we fished for crab, shrimp and halibut for a living. We also sold huge amounts of berries picked at Kasitna Bay and sold pinecones by the gunne sack. I knocked on the door and showed the current resident an old photograph of the house and she kindly let me come in and look around. It was the sweetest house, and as small as it looks, there were 5 bedrooms, plenty of room for all nine of us in the family.
Kachemak Bay

...not a very clear day for a picture of this marvellous scenery.

Day 9 

This is a paper birch bark tree on the homestead, down by the lake. I used this kind of bark for that quirky fake-cake I made a few posts ago.

Day 10

A trip to get more pictures of Kachemak Bay on a sunnier day.

Mt. Ilyamna, one of four volcanic mountains we used to be so familiar with, the others being Spurr, Redoubt and Augustine.  Redoubt blew up when we lived on the Homestead, covering it with a layer of ash, which later produced the biggest crop of vegetables we ever had.

Illyamna from the beach at Clam Gulch

The wild rose, which produces rose hips which are used for jam and syrup.

A visit to the Norman Lowell art gallery in Anchor Point. Norman and my father went on a few trips together to find wild life and art subjects, over 40 years ago, and I took art lessons from him when I was a girl.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

No Need For Nannies

The Shell
by Elizabeth Gardner Bougeureau (wife of William Adolphe Bourgeureau)
American, 1837-1922

Mother and Child
by Emile Munier

Mother and Child
by Frederick Leighton

Father's Return
by Frederick Morgan

by Edouard Boubat

Maternal Affection
by Emile Munier

My Peace
by Sterling Brown

A Mother's Joy
by Bessie Pease Guttman

by Jessie Wilcox Smith

Sweet and Low
by Jessie Wilcox Smith

Mother and Her Three Children Awaiting at the Garden Gate for Father

Playing With Baby
by Julius Berg

An Interior With a Mother and Her Child

Mother Wishes Her Two Children Goodnight

Mother Love
by Walter Langley

Three Girls Praying
by Pam McCabe
(buy at
There has been a lot of scandal regarding the current trend of employing nannies in our society. What a shame that a can-do people have become so dependent on agencies, schools, nannies and babysitters to care for and raise their children.

 The artists have captured a natural picture of love that mothers have for their children. While some people think that you have to be rich in order to stay home with your children, these paintings do not depict wealthy surroundings. Doing simple, natural things, like showing something of nature to a child, holding them, and sharing the simple things in life is all that a child really needs.

Young women need to marry and have children of their own, rather than desiring to become nannies. They can then be the nanny for their own children. If young women spend too much time raising other people's children, they be discouraged from having their own children.  Mothers need to take care of their own children, because they were created for it.

  Mothers and children were made to interact with one another, and each one will mature and grow from the relationship they form with each other. It is not natural for a mother to go to work for someone else while she hires another person to look after her children.

 Mothers, won't you please stay home with your little ones?  They need you so much, and no one else will do! You are not replaceable. There is no substitute for the mother in the most receptive and teachable moments of a child's life.

I have read that some mothers who take their children to parks to play will see nannies with other people's children, and report them to their employers if they are neglecting the children in their care. Sometimes these nannies will be on their cell phones while the children are getting in harm's way in a play-park, or sometimes the nannies are just abusing the children.

 A mother may be watching this and report a nanny to the employer (the child's mother) and the employer will fire the nanny. Then, the parent will hire a new nanny. In my opinion, it would be better to talk to the child's mother and impress on her the importance of becoming the child's own nanny and being a real mother by staying at home with her child. 

 Childhood is so fleeting, and mothers should be with their children in those formative years, doing simple things at very little expense.  Women in the past have done it, with less comfort and less luxury than is available today.  Our mothers thought that raising children was their duty and their responsibility and did not want to give the job to anyone else.  There is an important influence that the mother has on her children, for she blesses them with her values and her beliefs.

Jane Austen (1775-1817)  gave a low opinion of the nanny business in her novel "Emma," where a young, single woman named Jane Fairfax referred to it as the governess-trade:

"Governess trade, I assure you was all that I had in view; widely different, certainly, as to the guilt of those who carry it on; but as to the greater misery of the victims, I do not know where it lies."

There are certainly victims in the nanny business today: the women who become nannies can be held liable for injury or death of a child. A child in the care of a nanny is denied instant access to his mother, whom he needs in order to develop normally. The mother misses out on learning about her child's needs, and misses out of course, on the "firsts" of her child: first word, for step, first tooth, first waking moment, etc.

Gwen Webb wrote in her book, "Training Up A Child" (1977, The Old Landmarks Press) of a woman who kept on working even after her husband had found adequate employment. She had left her children for years, and even though she attended worship three times a week and heard many Bible lessons, she had somehow failed to be impressed with the importance of her mission of motherhood.  In one of the Training Up A Child classes, Mrs. Webb implored the ladies  to understand what God's expectations were for them as mothers.  The woman's heart was so deeply touched, that she cried all night, and then resigned from her job with the airlines. It broke her heart to think what she had missed in all those years of leaving her children.

Later, she confessed that she was happier than ever staying home with her children and was leading a far more interesting life than she ever experienced while working away from home.

Mrs. Webb wrote in another chapter:

"No matter how highly a baby-sitting service has been assessed, it still leaves us with the fact that mother's devotion is superior to the best of child-care services."

She cited a conversation she had with a case-worker when she was adopting a child:

"Many of her professional services were rendered to juvenile court. Just a few doors away from her offices were courtrooms. As she talked, she gestured with her hands and said, 'In my judgement, the majority of the juvenile cases we deal with in the courts could be eliminated if mothers would return home.' "

Mothers have the important duty of teaching their children to believe in God and to pray and prepare for the life ahead. Who will do this if the Mother goes somewhere else for the main part of the day?  God told the Israelites in Dueteronomy 6:6-8, to teach their children as they sat in their houses, as they walked by the way, as they lay down and when they rose up:

Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:

 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

The duty was given to the parents, not to a substitute. They were  not told to outsource their parental responsiblities. There is a lot more at stake than mere child care. A mother's presence is essential for the emotional and spiritual well-being of her children.

Post Script:   I agreed to add this from an email I received:

It is even more shocking to see women who get degrees in "child development"  and work for daycares and schools for children whose mother's work.  These girls do not want to marry or have children, but they work all day with children.  This is a bizarre twisting of the word of God, which states that young women should marry, bear children, and keep house (in that order!)  Money is at the root of it, but no amount can ever replace a childhood.

 Motherhood was once regarded in such high esteem that artists tried to capture the look and the feeling on canvas. Would any artist paint a daycare worker or a teacher with children in such a sentimental way as the paintings of Jessie Wilcox-Smith, Munier, Bougeureau, Bessie Pease Gutman, Frederick Morgan, Frederick Leighton, or Walter Langley?  Those artists seemed to get mothers and children in real poses that still occur in real life when a child leans on his mother's knees, sits on her lap, or is cradled by her.

 Money should not be the criteria in whether or not you stay home with your children. Be willing to live in something cheaper and maybe out in the country and get rid of the habit of trying to look trendy, with fancy clothes and shoes, etc. Cast aside the materialistic expectations and hold your children, read to them, talk to them as you do your housework, and notice every expression and every attitude, every movement they have.  No social worker or day care worker or nanny can possibly be that interested in your child.There is no replacement for the mother.

Mrs. Webb also wrote in her book, "Training Up A Child":

Dear Daddy and Mother,

You have been very busy getting me ready every day for school. You say that it is very important that I get an educagtion. That is why you see that TV is not turned on until I have prepared my lessons for the coming school day. That is why you see that I get to bed early to prepare my body for the physical strains of school.

Yes, getting an education is a must, to prepare one for the social demands of this life; but tonight, Daddy and Mother, when I am asleep, won't the two of you tip-toe into my room and steal a look at my sleeping face? There may be a tear on my cheek, though my cares of the departed day have gotten lost somewhere in dreamland. Look at me, and ask yourselves how much spiritual education you are you giving me...Is it more important to be a doctor than to be a Christian?...Is it more important to be a nurse than an angel of God?...What kind of person do you really want me to be? Now is the time to educate me spiritually. After I have opened the door of adulthood, it may be too late.

Please, Daddy and Mother, I need Spiritual Education too, through regular Bible study and worship.

Your irreplaceable child...

If a child has a mother who is alive, it is she who ought to be caring for him day and night, not a nanny.

I grew up in an era where mothers stayed home with their children, and made great sacrifices to do so. These dear mothers did not care about personal career satisfaction or moeny-earning abilities. They cared about their children's safety and about what was going into their minds and how they were developing as human beings. They knew that emotional bonding was very essential to the whole child.  If on occasion they had to get someone to stay with the children, it was a responsible older woman from the same community who already knew the family. The rare occasions would have been to help a sick friend, to attend a funeral, to go to the doctor or hospital themselves, or some other real emergency. These dear mothers were used to taking their children everywhere and including them in their lives. The children were so used to being with their mothers that the family could go to stores and restaurants easily and without a lot of fuss.  This is because of the bonding between parent and child.

It is possible that mothers want nannies because they see it is the way of life today. But one by one, this awful trend can be reversed. If you are thinking of getting a nanny, please try first to find homeschool mothers on the web and learn how to live at home with your children. There are many good blogs that share this wonderful plan.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Three Rules for the Home

A Victorian Mother Surrounded by Her Children

I grew up in an era when parents were their children's authority,  protectors and teachers of values. They were concerned with some basic things that would guide us throughout our lives.  Having a conscience before God was a priority in our training, and that involved learning concepts like understanding, wisdom, instruction, in the Biblical sense. Two important things were taught by many families of the time: stay out of trouble with the law, and earn your own living.

From the New Testament comes this command, written to the members of the church in Thessalonica in the year 50 A.D. Written to people on how to behave once they become Christians, it is perfect for the home : to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

 First Thessalonians 4:11-12

From this passage, many parents of the era found three rules for the home: learn to be quiet, mind your own business, and get busy.

They believed that idle hands produced mischief, and if young people were not busy, they would meddle in the lives of others or get into serious trouble in the community.  Leisure time was not considered idleness, as resting, reading, writing, sketching, walking, or in our case, a row-boat ride, was using the time productively and minding your own business.

Reading, 1865
by Jerry Barret

Study to Be
Studying is an essential part of maturing and interacting within the home, but it must be a productive type of study, not based upon worldly wisdom, but on sound doctrine, intended for learning how to behave in life. Study human behavior in the Bible, study a situation before entering into a conversation or involving yourself in a project, study the old paths, where the good walk is (Jeremiah 6:16). Observe and study the consequences and rewards of certain speech, behavior and character of people around you. 

 Learn from the distant past and the not-so-distant past, the effect of speech, a busy or idle life, meddling or minding one's own business.  The Bible says to think about these things and to meditate on them. (First Timothy 4, verse 15)

Lady Looking at Drawings 1894
by Adolphe Balimbau

 Learning to be quiet is more than just keeping your mouth shut. It means studying a situation and determining whether or not to even mention a certain subject, or whether it is necessary to bring up a sore point or talk about a past offense, or any kind of inappropriate talk about vile or gross subjects.

We tend to enjoy  the out-going, fun-loving, talkative personality, and there is nothing wrong with that, but the quiet and gentle personality is praised by God:

...a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
First Peter 3, verse 4

The person who has studied to have a meek and quiet spirit does not necessarily quit talking, but rather, they use wisdom in what they talk about, knowing what will produce arguments and understanding what will cause someone to stumble. A meek and quiet spirit is not a say-nothing, do-nothing attitude. It means that a person has learned when to speak, to whom to speak, and what to say, that is appropriate.  It means learning what is private and should not be spoken out loud, and not making flippant conclusions and not saying things before hearing the entire matter.Some children have the habit of walking in when a conversation is being conducted, and contributing their opinion without knowing the entire matter. Sometimes they come in at the end of a conversation and assume that it is about something that it is not, and draw false conclusions.

If you will watch the making of the film series "Wives and Daughters," you will see one of the main actresses who plays "Molly" say that her character was a young girl in the past, who, like young girls today, needed to learn what was appropriate and what was not appropriate to say, and that she had to learn not to just blurt out whatever she thought.

Mother and Son
by Pam McCabe

These things all take instruction, study, learning and understanding. Parents at home have a big job to do to train their children how to think, and they should remember the old adage: Use your mind to develop their minds.  Mothers sometimes say they are bored, lonely, lacking in adult conversation, but there is a great opportunity at home to talk to your children in an adult way to develop their thinking and train children in righteousness and the admonition of the Lord.

 A mother who longs to talk to someone needs to talk to her children, within certain appropriate boundaries, about life, about how to analyze behavior and attitudes and how to draw scriptural conclusions. The way a person speaks has a lot to do with how a person behaves. When talk is allowed to go on unfettered, and no quietness is enforced in the home, it can, at times, lead to unrestrained behavior. The tongue must be governed by wise teaching, for, as the Bible says, it guides the whole body, as a small rudder guides a great ship. (James 3) 
Just as the admonition to study to be quiet works in the body of believers, it creates harmony in the home. Parents need to understand that sometimes it takes a bit of effort to correct the speech of their children, from improper grammar and pronunciation to faulty beliefs, in order to establish quietness and peaceful behavior in the home. 
Hanging the Clothes
by Mildred Heatherington

Mind Your Own Business
Minding your own business begins with the previous principle of studying to be quiet.
To teach children to mind their own business, they must first be told what is not their business, and learn to distinguish between meddling and helping.  Parents are the best people to determine this within their own individual families.  To be able to mind your own business, you have to have some work and some interests that will keep you out of trouble. Minding your own business means to be busy at something that is so absorbing that the things other people are doing are faded into the distance in your mind.  To mind your own business means to think of ways to improve your manners, your skills, your thoughtfulness, your contribution to the home. To meddle means to monitor what everyone else is doing and to interfere with their progress. Parents of course are authorized to monitor their children's speech and behavior and to use it as opportunities to teach them.
Being courteous is one form of minding your own business. When you see someone happily going about their own business of working hard, being helpful, and in general helping the family, be courteous enough to either help them in their goal or leave them alone.
Minding our own business is an age old tradition in a free country.  Most people want to be left alone to work at the things that interest them, and want to raise their families without government interference or regulation.  When children are raised to know how to mind their own business and not meddle or control others, they are less likely to encourage meddlesome practices in the community or government. A child raised to mind his own business is less likely to oppress others or become a tyrant.
Learning to mind your own business will prevent discord in marriage. When men and women learn what their own business in the home really is, they can prevent many conflicts. While it all depends on the individual, there are some women who like to be left alone to make decisions in the kitchen or the house and garden, while men might like to be left alone to work in their office, land,  shop or garage. Minding your own business involves the previous principle of being quiet when the other person is concentrating on their own work at home.
Work With Your Own Hands
Working with your own hands begins with the previous principles of studying to be quiet and to mind your own business.
No matter what your situation in life, it is important that you put your hand to something that is good and useful and productive.  Whether it is work or leisure, the important thing is that you keep your hands occupied in your own business.  A mother will be using her hands to guide her little children and teach them how to work with their own hands. A homemaker will be using her hands to clean her house. Children should not grow up having everything done for them, but should learn to be busy with their own hands. Children are eager to help and love order. Parents should seize such moments when their children want to help them fold clothes, water the garden, sweep floors or wash dishes, and avoid the tendency to think that because it is faster to do it yourself, you should not let them help. That is what a mother is home all day for: to develop her children's minds and to teach them to do things that are worthwhile.
Teach children to do something creative that might one day bring them a living. It is not wise to depend on future jobs being available through large companies, as so many of them may not even be there when the child is grown.  Teach them to take things apart and learn to repair them. Teach them how to create things of use, and how to work. Working with your own hands is more than giving a swipe at a table to clean it or pushing the broom carelessly to sweep. It means doing the most excellent job, above and beyond what is just necessary, and not trying to  get by with the least possible effort.

 Working with your own hands is in a sense, putting your signature on your work, as if it was an original painting or story. Your work tells others about your character, whether you are weak and not trying to do well, or whether you are trying to do the best you can and trying to make good use of time.
Certainly, there are volumes to be said about the concept of working with your own hands, but these are just a few things regarding working at home.  A woman who truly wants to be noble and good, will give her house the very best of herself, turning it into a masters painting with her signature on it.
Interior With Woman Reading
by Carl Larssen
That Ye May Have Lack of Nothing
When you have laid a good foundation of being quiet, minding your own business, and working with your own hands,  you'll find that you can either make what you need or sell what you have made, and will suffer less hardship in life.  To have no need of anything, one must first learn to be attentive to things that concern him, and not be wasting time being idle or meddling in other people's lives.   One thing builds upon another. Without initially learning to be quiet and mind your own business, one will find it difficult to work with his own hands.  Without working with his own hands, one will always be needy.
In the Lord's church, there is less suffering among the members, and less discontent, when each member finds something to do and takes his focus off others and tries instead to improve himself.
One of the things I am most grateful for is the early teaching I had to be resourceful and to make things from materials that were available, and to look for possible ways to do , make, invent, create, and think. The previous generation would have been too proud to ask for anything to be done for them or given to them, without first trying to find a way to do it themselves. They did not want to be a burden on anyone, and they taught their children the same beliefs.
These three rules for the home are not as simple as they look. Home school parents could study for months on each one and still not reach the limit of knowledge and understanding of them.
Study, be quiet, mind your own business, get busy, and you will find peace in the home, contentment and fulfillment in life, and you will be able to stay out of trouble with authorities and earn your own living.