Friday, September 30, 2011

Raising Your Own

Watching the Child Play, 1909

Watching the Child Play, 1909
Charles Courtney...

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Yea, they may forget, but I will not forget thee.
Isaiah 49:15

Do it yourself.
In view of the strong individualistic nature of the people who once explored and settled this country, it is astonishing and sad that so many mothers are going to work and hiring babysitters to provide physical care for their children.

Remember the old saying: If you want something done right, do it yourself.  You want your child cared for in the best way, you are the answer to your own child's needs; not a baby sitter, not a nanny, not daycare.


Allow the family to help, if they are inclined.
Grandmothers want to help their grandchildren, and will be more likely to do so, if the mother is making an effort to stay home and live on the income provided by her husband. It has been a tradition for decades for the grandparents to contribute money to the family. This is what grandparents live for and what they want to do. It is what they have saved for and looked forward to all their lives. If a mother goes to work, the grandparents do not see a "need" as strongly and will not be as likely to give gifts, and decide to invest their money elsewhere.

 Many women today can testify to the fact that the gifts from the grandparents helped them buy clothes and pay bills over the years when the children were little.   As more mothers go to work, the older people do not have as the same incentive to help out monetarily. Families were made to work together to provide strong social units, yet many people reject this system in favor of other ways of providing for the emotional and physical needs of the children.  This does not mean you should expect, or even depend on money from grandparents. It only means that birthday gifts and other special gifts are very helpful to young parents when children are small. Some parents think that if a mother stays home, there is only "one income", but forget to count the many times family and church members have given them money, food, clothes, and gifts, which helps to stretch the income.

 Your child needs you during the most developing moments of his life.
A Mother and Her Two Children in the Garden

 You may not think that having a babysitter or using daycare is "raising" your child, but raising children is a mixture of physical care, emotional care and spiritual care. Materialism today insists that as long as you are "providing" for your child by giving him food and a roof over his head, that you are "raising" him. Your child is more than just a physical human being with bodily needs. There is an emotional part of a child that is even more important than clothing or a nice house. Often, parents are more concerned about physical neglect than they are about spiritual neglect. Children who grow up with nice things but without a mother  during the most crucial part of their lives, can lack important elements that help them to distinguish between wisdom and foolishness, right and wrong, understanding and dull- heartedness. There is a big difference in the mental capacity of those adults who have had a strong family upbringing, and those who were farmed out to daycare, schools, and in general, raised by institutions. Emotionally and spiritually, the family-raised children tend to be more mature and more able to grasp important concepts of life.

God created children and their mothers to bond.  Look at the creation around you: even the animals keep their families to themselves and do not find other animals to stay with their young. This was illustrated many years ago in a poem about evolution:

The Monkeys Disgrace

Three monkeys sat in a coconut tree

Discussing things as they're said to be.

Said one to another, "Now listen, you two,

There's a certain rumor that cannot be true,

That man descends from our noble race -

The very idea is a disgrace.

No monkey ever deserted his wife,

Starved her babies and ruined her life;

And you've never known a mother monk

To leave her babies with others to bunk,

Or pass them on from one to another

Til they scarcely know who is their mother.

And another thing you'll never see -

A monk build a fence around a coconut tree

And let the coconuts go to waste,

Forbidding all other monks to taste.

Why, if I put a fence around this tree,

Starvation would force you to steal from me.

Here's another thing a monk won't do -

Go out at night and get on a stew,

Or use a gun or club or knife

To take some other monkey's life;

Yes, Man Descended - That ornery cuss -

But, brother, he didn't descend from us!"

- anonymous

Mother and Son

Be a Full Time Mother until your child is grown.
To turn your child over to someone else while you pursue money or personal fulfillment, is to ignore the example of Mary and Martha, in the Bible. Jesus said that Mary, who was listening to the teachings of Christ, had chosen "the better part."   If you are bent on making money, you are worried about many things. Christians are not supposed to be worried about the things of this world, but to be more concerned with obeying the scriptures, which teach mothers to guide and guard their children (Titus 2:5). When a mother stays at home with her children, she is choosing "the better part." It fulfills other scriptures, because the children learn to obey their parents, not a host of other people all day, (teachers,  bus drivers, coaches, etc). While it is not wrong to obey other authorities, the child must first learn to obey his own parents. Many times when parents have a struggle with obedience in their children, they find that there are too many outside authorities distracting and dividing the child's focus on life.  While a child lives at home, his first allegiance should be to his parents (Deuteronomy 6, and Ephesians 6).


God made mothers especially to go with their children. The children were not created to be matched up with nannies and babysitters or daycare workers.  Some mothers say, "My child will be just fine, because I have a good sitter. She will get good food during the day and have her diapers changed. My sitter knows how to keep my daughter safe. I pump my breast milk in the morning and then she has the best nutrition from her bottle while I am away." 

This  attitude shows a lack of awareness of the human soul, and the spirit of a child. Let me explain further. When a child feeds at the breast of his mother, he is doing more than just getting nourishment. There is more to it than just filling his tummy with the best milk ever created. There are other things that happen. It produces a sense of security and well-being.  It promotes healthy sleep, heals pain, and strengthens the immune system.

You have heard of the current popular phrase, "separation anxiety"---well, that should never be, because the motehr and child were not designed to be separated. It is normal to feel anxious when mother is not around, and wise mothers will not leave their children  while they pursue other things. Childhood is so fleeting. You will one day turn around and wonder how your children grew up so fast, and how it all happened in such a hurry. Savor those years and be content at home with your children and you will not regret it.

Playing With Baby

The emphasis on physical care can often diminish emotional care.
It is true that changing diapers, feeding a baby, bathing them, dressing them,  playing with them, and even holding them, can be done by anyone. However, in the natural form of things, a baby is designed to bond with the mother, while these things take place. Even an adopted child, when treated as though he were a natural born child, responds favorably to this bonding.

 While a child is being fed, he looks into his mother's eyes. While he is diapered, he looks up into his mother's eyes. When he is being dressed, he looks at his mother's hands and arms. When a mother holds her baby, the baby is aware of the special scent of his mother.  When playing or holding the baby, he knows how his mother's lap feels. He instinctively knows the difference between his mother's voice and that of a babysitter.

A Child's Moments are not Replaceable.
So what is wrong with getting a babysitter while you go back to work? There are a number of things that both the mother and the child lose, when this happens, but first, it is necessary to understand that no place of employment is more important than the care of your own child. The work you do is replaceable. You can train someone else to do your job, and then stay home with your child.

When you leave your child, you miss a lot of his life: his first work, his first tooth, his first step. It might not seem like much, but all this was intended by God to give happiness to the mother. When she misses out on this, she misses out on a certain part of her own personal maturity and development.
Worry is at the base of it. If a mother has a husband who has a job, she should learn to live on his income and not worry about bringing in more, herself. Her job now is to care for her children full time. One day that time of her life will be gone, and she will wonder how it went so fast. While the children are home, mothers need to be home, too.

  Many women worry that they will  not be able to return to their place of employment if they are away too long, but the moments of a child's life are never, ever retrievable.  While you may go back and pick up where you left off at work, doing the same job you always did, a baby grows and changes, and you need to grow and change along with your child.

Places of work and industries change over time. What might have been a promising career may be on the way out, as things change, or jobs are eliminated due to mechanization or lack of money.  It is foolish to depend on a job being there for the rest of your life, or to think that a company will look after you financially all of  your life. Some companies go broke before they can even repay the retirement funds that the employees have paid into it. Mothers need to focus on the emotional and spiritual investment they can make in their children, instead of worrying about retirement, benefits, and insurance.

 '"Fear of man brings a snare," the Bible says," but he who trusts in the Lord will always be safe."  Sometimes a mother will take on a job and explain that it is "just for the insurance."  This is not necessary at all, when insurance is available for the smallest income families, and if they shop around, they can find something affordable. To go to work "for insurance" is to give your days and your life to a place of business while you give your children over to someone else who is in the child care business.

 Children belong at home with their mothers. In the book of Proverbs are many verses which instruct parents to teach and train their children, and to instill wisdom and understanding and knowledge. Babysitters cannot do it. Nannies cannot do it, and daycare cannot do it. A baby may not be able to understand some of the deeper aspects of something like wisdom, but by staying home with him, he develops the wisdom of his mother: my mother loves me and is my full time caregiver.  When you turn him over to someone else, his wisdom is developed in a different way: a babysitter is the way we look after children. From a very tender age, a child develops his values from those he is around the most. Who will your child copy, emulate, immitate, look at, and obey?

 One danger of having babysitters, nannies and daycare when children are small, is that it makes it easier to turn them over to the State for the remainder of their youth, to be indoctrinated in the government schools. Through daily separations, mother and child become more detached from one another and in the end there are two people related to one another without a real relationship.

Feminist indoctrination from youth can make a young mother feel that she must go to work and put her child in the care of a babysitter. She has seen her mother and grandmother do it, all her friends do it, and it looks like a normal course of life to her.

In some cases, women who have worked for many years and waited quite awhile after they married in order to get financially ready to have children, will only stay home after their baby is born for a few months, and then go back to work. These women have already worked, and "served their time" in the work place outside the home, having taxes extracted by government and state to support all the welfare programs and free things the state provides.

 Why do they want to leave the child they have waited so long for?  In some cases, it is a life of indoctrination, or belief, that causes them to go to work in the office and leave their child with a sitter: They may have mothers who were feminists and pride themselves on their degrees, which cost them a lot of money, time, and effort,  which they believe they must put to use at all times. They raised their own daughters to get such a high education that they think they too should keep plodding away at work, while someone else stays home and enjoys the changes and the growth of their child. 

Young mothers may also be steeped in feminism, which robs them of their natural instinct to be with their own children during the most teachable and impressionable moments of the day.  Growing up in schools and colleges, they learn to be workers outside of the home, instead of workers at home, like the Bible says, and  they outsource their own children to other workers outside of their homes.

 They may also feel compelled to leave their daughter or son with someone else so they can retrieve the job they had, and keep it until retirement. They worry about benefits and insurance, more than they worry about the love they share with their children. Women's studies classes in major universities promote the idea of working rather than staying home just to nurture and teach their own children until they grow up.  Surrounded by feminist mothers and grandmothers, other career women, and their friends from college,  particularly the women's studies classmates, who believe that children are best developed in daycare and schools, mothers have a lot of pressure as well as "support" to follow this path.

The love of money, the Bible says, is the root of all kinds of evil. This is another reason that mothers leave their children, but in the quest for money to pay their rent or house payment, they lose something very precious: the natural closeness they would have with their children. They do not know how much they will need this in later years. They tend to think their children are just like other children and we are all one big family.  However, each child was made to mentally and spiritually and physically bond with their own mother, not with a sitter or a nanny.  No sitter can ever love your child the way that child is supposed to be loved.  No one can provide the kind of bonding that God created just for a mother and her child. Christian women should not be like Martha, worrying about the physical things of life more than about the spiritual things. When they become more concerned about insurance, benefits and retirement, than they are about every growing moment of their child's life, they are not choosing the "better part."

I pray that all mothers that are leaving their children today will turn around and go home. If you will do what God says to do, you'll be provided for.Many women have done this, and found out that the sky did not fall, and they did not lose everything or end up living in a cardboard box. It is an opportunity to test your faith.

There are many women who cannot have children and long for them, desperately. They see young mothers taking their child-bearing years for granted, and leaving their children so that they can go to work. These childless women grieve at this. Some women wait a long time to have children, and would not dream of doing anything else but raising them. There is a time for everything. During your child's stay with you in your home, is the time to be home with them.

A Little Coaxing
by Bougeureau

To read more about the other benefits of breastfeeding, go here

Each New Day

Velvet Pumpkins from Victorian Trading Company

This is a lovely time of year, and in some places, the weather is still very warm. I have been experiences temperatures up in the 90's, and am still hanging my laundry on the line.

It it easy to let the day escape from you, leaving you feeling that nothing has been accomplished, so, today, I suggest read Cythnia Berenger's Thirty day homemaking challenge, where she lists some interesting things to do to lift up homemaking to the glory it can be.

And, here are some of my own ideas that I've been trying to put into practice:

Don't begin any kind of home keeping until you are showered and fully dressed and looking dolled up enough to face everything that comes your way. Many women have said that the day they decide to run in to town just to pick up one item, is the day they are not at their best and seem to see everyone they know. They always wish later they had been more presentable. It is always best to look your best.

 Men who work from a home office say they do better with customers on the phone when they are showered and dressed liked they intend to do professional business.  Ladies at home can do the same, but vary their clothing so that it is home friendly, yet somewhat dressy.

When you feel overwhelmed with housework, at least clean the front room so that you will have something nice to look at and feel encouraged. If you have children, they can be taught to do a lot of the work, leaving you free to plan meals, cook, sew, or do things that you never get around to doing.

Send something to another homemaker or aspiring homemaker to encourage here: a novelty tea item such as a strainer, tea cozy or something to do with tea, a book of some kind with cheerful illustrations (cooking, decorating, sewing, or something for leisure time), something nice for her home, or something you have made.

Phone or email someone to talk about some pleasantries or share some humor.

Do one extra thing, such as clean a closet, a drawer, a shelf in the bookshelf, or some thing besides dishes, laundry and meals.  If there is a corner of a room that is bothering you, or if you have been considering a special table setting or recipe, or sewing pattern, try it.

Listen to familiar and soothing music, if it helps you pace your duties in the home,  such as Chopin's "Raindrops," or, if your children play piano, enjoy listening while you attend to something.

If you are home teaching your children, include life's lessons in the mix, and enjoy learning something about polite speech, manners and pleasing behavior. The Bible says that even a child is known by his doings.

Test out when is the best time of day for your personal quiet time, Bible study and prayer and slip away for a few minutes to a pleasant place. If you have a window seat or a little desk of your own, or even a special rocking chair and a table, this is good.

Try to make some little thing each day, to tap in to your creative side.  When the table is cleared and the floors are swept, and there is a space of time between the next thing you must do, get out a few things and sew something or make a scrap card, write a letter, or whatever you prefer.  It has to be something that makes you smile. I've had my eye on those velvet pumpkins from Victorian Trading Company, and am exploring ideas of how to make something like it, of my own pattern, so am sharing my project from last night, here. Patterns are not necessary but I will add one to the post, later.

My inspiration for these cloth pumpkin centerpieces is the fairytale pumpkin, which has a gossamer, frosted look first thing in the morning, where the aqua greens and peach colors of the ridges glow.  To make this, I folded a scrap of white muslin and dipped each fold in a different dye color: teal, yellow, rose and brown. Then, I hung it out to dry.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Living Without Unnecessary Stress

Berry Picking
by Franz Leopold Kawalski, German 1856-1932

A homemaker should be free to experience the serenity of her home, and enjoy the work of her own hands. In order to accomplish this, she will have to close some of the doors to the world's demands and stresses. It is easy to turn a deaf ear to bad news and upsetting reports from without, but it is sometimes not so easy to pinpoint unnecessary stress right under the roof.  Outside-world stress is something the average person has no control over, but a homemaker has it within her power to control, reduce or eliminate some of the causes of stress within the home. In this post, I will present some possible sources of stress and practical ways to live without it.

A Cottage Garden
by Alfred de Breanski

Put an end to pressure from other people.  There are those who believe that a homemaker has endless hours of free time and is therefore obligated to take on duties, cares and worries that are not hers and have nothing to do with her immediate duties at home. In an attempt to show Christian compassion, a woman may involve herself in taking on other people's responsibilities to make their burdens a little lighter, not realizing how much time and energy it will take from her, physically, nor how much it may rob her own family of her attention. 

 It is not good to do for others the things that you have never gotten around to doing for your own family. Charity begins at home, and your family is your first practice case in showing charity, benevolence, generosity, service and ministry.

 Sometimes, God-fearing women can be drawn into troubles that are not theirs, and, wanting to help, become neglectful of their own flesh and blood.  If you feel you are overwhelmed, under some kind of stress, are perpetually behind in the things you want to do, or are experiencing pressure of any kind, this is one thing you can legitimately eliminate, especially if you have your own house and family to look after. 

If you have a strong urge to involve yourself in helping someone by looking after their children, cleaning their house, or running errands for them, have a look first, at your own situation:

  • Is your own laundry and ironing completely caught up?
  • Do you have unfinished mending and sewing?
  • Are your meals planned for the day, complete with necessary groceries?
  • Is your kitchen clean and available for meal preparation?
  • In general, are  you satisfied with  the condition of your house (i.e. your homemaking efforts, involving clean, orderly rooms--not perfect, but acceptable to you.)
  • Have you caught up on your correspondence?
  • Do you have regular rest time and leisure time?  This could be jeopardized if it is used to engage in laborious tasks for people who have no interest in your home, or who are able bodied and can look after themselves, have relatives nearby, or who maybe even have more money than you do and could perhaps buy more conveniences which would help cope with the load of their own housekeeping.
If you have answered any of these questions with "no," you may be inviting unnecessary stress into your life by offering to help people who can help themselves, or by taking on other people's problems. There may be stages of life later on when you do not have as much responsibility in your own home,  when you can take on other things,  but if you are experiencing stress, this is one area that can be eliminated, if only temporarily. There is nothing offensive about informing people politely that you need to rest, or that you are guarding your health and your time and will have to decline an invitation or a volunteer job.

Consider carefully the amount of things you do outside the home that may be adding to your stress and find ways to accommodate these needs in the home. Many activities for children can be done at home, and even exercise classes can be held at home by using a video and some simple equipment. If you have an undo amount of stress on you, make your outings only pleasurable and relaxing, rather than obligatory.

by Gabriel Gilbert

Teach your family to be sympathetic with the necessity of eliminating unnecessary stress.  There will always be stress, but it is the unnecessary stress that can be prevented.  The homemaker's goals should also be the family's goals. One of the purposes of training children is to make it possible for them to automatically have good habits, good manners and work hard, without the constant prompting of the parents.  When that is achieved, true training has taken place. 

Family members should desire the comfort and happiness of the lady of the house; the homemaker, and should aim to ease her burdens, not heap more on her. They should learn to think the way she thinks, and to care about keeping the house and creating the atmosphere she likes.  Husbands should love their wives and want them to be happy. They are to live sacrifically for their wives, and keeping stress down, is a small sacrifice to make, to have a happy woman in the home. 

When good teaching is wrought into the personalities of the family members, the stress of rudeness, sloppiness and laziness can be eliminated, and the homemaker can use her time and energy and mental strength to tackle other things that must be done.

When it is necessary to take time away from real home making and home living to repeat and teach things over and over, it creates more stress. If the family is not cooperating with your goals to be orderly and clean and efficient and creative in the home, they need to be reminded that these goals are also theirs, for, as the old saying goes, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy."

Be silent when challenged to answer back to unnecessary arguing, criticism or long, time-wasting explanations.  Sometimes children want detailed descriptions of work related things that take up the homemaker's time, and put more stress on her. Explain that you are currently trying to preserve your strength and get more out of your day, and that you have to be calm, cool and collected, and that they may help you be that way and become the woman God wants you to be, by co-operating, figuring out how best to do what they are responsible for, and how to lift the burdens of the homemaker by exhibiting good habits and manners.

A good post to read concerning the attitude of children in the home, is called "A Child's World," which yields many truths and sayings that were practiced for generations before us.

  A wife and mother may appear to be "easy-going," yet have a lot of stress put on her that tries her good-naturedness and makes her hard to live with. Before children judge their mother's temperament, they should ask if they are doing all they can to eliminate unnecessary stress in her life: remember the instructions that she gave them and do their very best to complete the tasks, above and beyond what is required. If they see something that needs to be done, do not wait to be told to do it, but try to understand what their mother needs for them to do and to be like. This is called "responsibility" and it means that a person can do what is right without being told, and without expecting rewards. Children must learn to be mature, and to relieve their mother of stress.

The Homestead
by Frederick William Witherington

Experience some kind of soothing scenery every day, even if you have to go somewhere else and look afar off.  Scenic drives were once customs of families, when they taught their children how to look at nature and how to appreciate the creation. If it is not possible to go somewhere, at least have a book of scenery that is pleasant to see, or spend a few moments in a scrapbook hobby of collecting scenic pictures and preserving them in a book.  The old folks used to spend time making clippings from magazines and papers, saving the special quips and quotes and scenes and preserving them in day-books. It was a relaxing hobby that brought a lot of enjoyment and kept cares and worries away. Create your own scene outside a window, with a birdbath, a garden, a trellis, or other things, and create a window seat by placing a seating area next to the window where you can look out.  Sometimes looking out at a distance, or looking up at the stars at night, can alleviate stress.

Create at least one room in the house that is free of clutter and the belongings of family members; belongings such as books, games, toys, clothes, writing materials, etc. that should be in another place. I would suggest that this be the front room, living room, parlour, lounge room, or whatever room you see first upon entering your home.  If it is kept in the standard the homemaker really desires, looking at it can do a lot to eliminate the stress she may be enduring from other clutter and unfinished jobs in other rooms.  If she has at least one room that is always clean and nice, she may feel less daunted at other things she is not happy with in the house, and derive from the beautiful sight of one clean room, the inspiration to create more like it.

Make this a room that has a few "impractical delights" and accessories that bring a smile to the face and a leap to the heart because of their beauty or sentimental value or just because you like them. Mentally record the colors or other effects in your home that seem to lower your stress level and make you feel calm and happy.

In the Garden
by Henry John Yeend King

Take care of your appearance and dress your best, before anything else.  This is a way to get into a day slowly. Instead of confronting the day with noise and commotion, the homemaker should take some time to make herself presentable to God, to her family, and to strangers outside of her home. Her appearance says a lot about her feelings and beliefs about life, and feeds back into her mind a message of beauty and order.

 It is harder to feel female if you do not dress like a lady. It does not require that you wear formal clothing. I have shown some examples of cotton dresses women can wear at home, but if you do not sew, it is possible to get modest skirts and dresses from other sources, that are suitable for wearing daily at home. You can dress up and not be formal, and you can feel so much better and less stressed. Take note of the colors and styles that make you feel the least stressed, and develop a way of dressing that gives you serenity.

Eliminate noise and bad news reports if you are under too much stress.  Try a media "fast" and see if there is less stress for you. Radio talk shows, television investigative reports and web news can be a great source of stress if it is accumulated into the mind for a long time, leaving a feeling of unrest and unsolved problems--things which an already stressed person does not need to take on.   Life goes on, even without the news, and although it is impossible to avoid all of it, it is possible to quit deliberately tuning in to it.  Christian women need to be listening to and reading the Good News, not the bad news.  

The Old Window Seat
by George Runway

When necessary, take to your bed, a common practice of days gone by.  Mrs. Minerva, of "The English Home" magazine, writer of an etiquette column, states that when a woman gets too overwhelmed with stress, she should, as our grandmothers did, take to her bed. Get a pile of books and magazines to relax with, and go to bed until you feel sufficiently rested and re-energized.  Put some snacks in the refrigerator for anyone who may need to eat and drink, and find some time somewhere between the hours of one o'clock and five o'clock for rest and re-creation.

Tea Leaves
by William McGregor Paxton , American1869-1941

Take tea every day at three and you will be pleasantly amazed at how much better you feel if you have been under stress. These days there is a marvellous array of specially blended calming herbal teas, and you can add a treat of sliced fruit and cheese, raw vegetable sticks and crackers. Keep a tray all ready, with a tea cup, napkin and a plate for your treats. If you make a ritual of this, you might reduce your stress level quite a bit. Find a feel-good publication and read it while you have some quiet time. Even during tremendous upheaval in some countries during past centuries, tea was taken, to alleviate stress and bring some calmness to daily life.
Dwell on a small amount of Bible scripture throughout the day, using it to replace fear and gloom, burdens and stress. Learn to sing hymns so that they come to your mind easily, without a book, and so that you may sing them as you work in your house, as you walk outside, and as you journey to and fro about your daily activities. It might not seem effective at first, but after thirty days of  this, you may see a noticeable reduction in your feelings of distress.

Use  the centuries old practice of prayer, a fan and a rocking chair when you cannot shake off stress. The activity of rocking is sometimes helpful, and if you have a rocker on a front porch where you can go outside to rest and pray, it is even better. Women of old were known for this passtime, and there must have been something good about it, for it calmed many a troubled heart and eased distress.
Do some small creative thing daily, or continue a creative project that you enjoy. It should be something that is purely relaxing and not put you under stress to complete. Do it for the pure enjoyment of it, not for the practicality or usefulness of it. Whether it is making a gift for someone else, or just learning how to do something new, do it for a creative outlet and for stress relief.

Symphony in Green
 Alfred Stevens
1823-1906, Belgian

Avoid it, pass by it, and turn from it. (Proverbs 4:15)  Test out the stress you feel at home and in public, and avoid the things that seem to intensify it, if you are under extreme duress. Avoid the disrespectful and anything that does not build up. Avoid people who do nothing but tear down or bully others. You'll notice your stress will ease off, for the Bible also says, "Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease." Proverbs 22:10

Make allies of your immediate family and they will be able to help you avoid stress by looking ahead and forsee stress in the form of troublesome people or situations. They can warn and help and waylay social  problems as well as physical problems and household stress, and protect you from unnecessary stress, as they become aware of the causes.

Anticipate stress by learning from bad experiences and avoiding being in the same situations again. 

Do things early, rather than late.  If you have something coming up on Thursday that needs to be done, start preparing for it a few days early, so that the stress will not mount at the deadline.  Some people do not work well unless they are under stress, but others must curb the stress levels so that they do not become immobilized or panic.  Stress tends to accumulate toward the end of the day or near the time when something must be done. You can alleviate it by being prepared early.

These are not the only ways to remove extra stress on a homemaker's life. I have not mentioned things like taking on jobs to make money, that might be adding to stress.  The only thing a homemaker is obligated to do is take care of her own family. If she will do this and leave the earning of the living to her husband, she can alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed. Not having a provider in the family is another matter, but those who have able-bodied husbands, ought to leave the bread-winning to the men and take care of the house themselves. When a homemaker takes on burdens that are not hers, she quickly fails in the responsibilities that are hers, as her tiredness and stress will overtake her.  There is nothing wrong with making money, but it should not create so much stress that the homemaker cannot get dressed in the morning or function during the day.
 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  
Matthew 11:28-30

If a homemaker will concentrate on only doing what our Lord has set forth for her to do: be a wife, mother and a keeper at home, and abandon the pressures of this world to do other things, she will find that the burden is light. There is nothing wrong with earning money, but it should never be at the expense of losing control of your own home and your own domain, which is your own family.

To reduce stress, take control of the things you can, and let go of the things you cannot do anything about. A woman at home should not be harried, discouraged, uncertain, or nervous. She should instead be calm and confident, knowing that she where she matters the most and is needed the most--to guide her home and her household.

I hope you will also read "The Importance of Rest"

To print this article, click on the post title first. Highlight the web address that comes up in the i.e. space or whatever you are using, at the top of the screen. Then go here and paste it in the url space. It will come up as a printable page.

Or, go here  and click print.

These three posts from another blogger reinforce the theme of reducing stress in your life:

See also my post, "The Importance of Rest."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Late Summer Sewing

A Game of Tennis
by Leopold Kawalski, German, 1856-1932

This is from my daisy dress, made from cotton fabric, and this particular print comes in two other background colors, one being pink, and the other white.

The trim, above, is sold by the roll, and matches the pretty daisies with the pink centers. One roll covered the neckline and the sleeve hems.

Trim must be sewn on with a relaxed stitch and must not be stretched too tightly, or it will not lie flat.

Here is an easy hair attachment: fold a long length of matching fabric, press it and stitch.

Loop the fabric strip through the hair clip.

Tie it once and leave it to hang naturally, or form it into a bow, below.  It is easier than a scrunchie, and does not pull out a lot of hair when you remove it.

The dress is Simplicity 5189 which you can buy when patterns go on sale for $1.99 or 99c, whichever comes first.  I used sleeves from the previous blouse, which were from an an older pattern.  This pattern has a good neckline that is not too low, and it requires no zipper, however I would suggest you add one to make it a little easier to wear.

This pattern is easy to sew, if you are familiar with sewing  the ease area around the upper bodice. Follow the pattern directions and it should be possible to do it without a lot of problems.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Importance of Rest in the Home

Two Doves
by Alphonse Muraton 1824-1911

Come Rest Awhile
by Lucy Maude Montgomery  1874-1942

Come rest awhile, and let us idly stray,
In glimmering valleys, cool and far away.

Come from the greedy mart, the troubled street,
And listen to the music, faint and sweet,

That echoes ever to a listening ear,
Unheard by those who will not pause to hear­

The wayward chimes of memory's pensive bells,
Wind-blown o'er misty hills and curtained dells.

One step aside and dewy buds unclose
The sweetness of the violet and the rose;

Song and romance still linger in the green,
Emblossomed ways by you so seldom seen,

And near at hand, would you but see them, lie
All lovely things beloved in days gone by.

You have forgotten what it is to smile
In your too busy life--­come, rest awhile.

In a Rock Garden
by Alfred DeBreanski

For good health, a sound mind, and a feeling of well-being, homemakers should include rest in their daily routines. Rest can often be neglected, as we push ahead to the next important task. Sleeping at night is not enough. For this reason, a homemaker might find it necessary to write the word "rest" somewhere on her list of things to do.

Establish a resting time by doing it regularly if you canOne aged aunt of mine, a widow, "took to her bed" for about a half an hour every afternoon, no matter what.  She arose quite early to tend  her farm chores and  by early afternoon, she needed to have her nap, so that she could be well rested for late afternoon and evening activities. After people had grown used to this custom, she  did not announce her rest time, but would quietly slip away to a small room for about half an hour. She had done this for so long, that her relatives just expected her to take to her bed every afternoon, whether they were there or not.

Women of all ages and stages of life can have a rest time.
When mothers  need to put her feet up and read or write a letter or take a nap,  children can sit quietly on a couch or their beds, and even if they do not sleep, do something of a quiet nature.

Mothers of older children can still have a resting time, even if they do not need to sleep. It can be observed as a tea time or a special time where they do something that relaxes them, whether it be picking up their knitting or watching a favorite movie.

 Women without children still need rest, and perhaps it is even more essential, since they do not have children's schedules to slow them down, and can be more likely to keep moving and working at home. 

 Unmarried women at home still need to take time to rest, to give them the good health to tackle any future hard times, should they come.

Older women need restful times and need to avoid stress, as at that stage in their life, their health and well-being can be a delicate balance.

A Summer Garden
by Alfred DeBreanski, 1877-1957

Resist the tendency to make work out of resting time. It is restful to go for a stroll, but it is tempting to turn it into serious exercise. It is relaxing to have a tea time, but it can easily turn into something more elaborate by serving so many treats and using so many dishes that it becomes
more work than rest. It is good to read something that interests you, but do not feel you have to start a project that will put pressure on you and take up more of your time. It is wonderful to sit on a rocking chair on the front porch, but it is not restful if you are thinking of more things to do. It is lovely to look at sewing magazines or read about the interesting things other people are making, but it becomes a labor if you feel you have to do it all.

 Some women are so busy that they could make work out of a vacation. Rest can be learned by treating it as a type of art. If you were learning to paint, you would start your lessons with basic equipment, and work at short and simple lessons, until you became more at ease with it. It is the same with rest: begin slowly and form a habit, until you feel you know what you are doing and can get the most benefit from it.

A Wayside House
by Alfred De Breanski Jr.

The Art of Rest:  To rest adequately, remove all tension from your mind. Do not spend a moment reading or listening to the news or anything that can create uneasiness, worry or a feeling of being uncertain or unsettled.  Use the time to mull over a verse of scripture and ponder its meaning, or repeat an inspirational poem.

 Lucy Maude Montgomery's poem about rest is interesting, because it tells us that even in her day, people were too busy and had to be reminded to rest.  She speaks of all the things that were loved "in days gone by." Those who lived before us were just as nostalgic of the past, or of the days gone by, as many of us are in this present age. The things they missed "in days gone by" were those quiet moments when life was pleasant. 

Keep Rest Time Restful. During rest time, do not allow your thoughts to land on any gloom or despair, but deliberately guide them to things that are pleasant. "Whatever is good, pure and lovely," (Philippians 4:4-9)  If worrisome thoughts tend to come into your head, it will take some steady practice to replace them, each time, with something better. Some people keep a song in their hearts, for this purpose. Each time they begin to worry, they hum their song, or mentally recite the words to a beautiful song, poem, or scripture. Some people like to play soothing music when napping or resting, especially if it is a familiar tune.

There are many types of resting times, including being still for awhile, sitting in a rocking chair, or laying down. It is not necessary to fall asleep when taking a rest. Lay down for 5 minutes, whether you feel like it or not, increasing it 5 more minutes each day, until you can lay down for twenty minutes.   If you are a busy person, this will not be easy, but if you look at it as an art and as part of your routine, it will be easier to establish the habit. Upon arising from a nap, wash your face in cool water and have something to drink. Start quietly back into your day.

The Dove Cote
by Alfred DeBreanski

"And I said, O that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Psalm 55:6

Rest can become something you look forward to, as you set aside time and plan restful activities or prepare your resting area. A comfy couch with a foot rest, a quiet time between meals, and a stack of reading you have saved for such a time, all add to the comfort and serenity of rest time. Gather all your materials for letter writing or crochet, or get a stack of magazines and take to your bed. You need not stay long, but do cultivate the art of rest, daily, and you will experience the physical and spiritual good that it does.

Do not feel guilty about resting, especially if you are a homemaker. Homemaking is hard work in a way that many people will not understand. The homemaker's mind is on many different areas of home life, and there is always something to do to keep her busy.  It is the most important job in the world, and warrants regular resting periods, even if they are only five minutes at a time.

In past times, women had their needlework, embroidery, porcelain painting, sewing, or other quiet things that did not take a lot of effort but required them to retire temporarily from their work and sit still.  Today there is tremendous pressure on homemakers to market their skills or things they produce at home.  I have heard people admire something a woman has sewn or made, and then say, "You could sell those on ebay while your children are taking a nap," or, "You could make a hundred of those and sell them in a Christmas bazaar."  No one seems satisfied to allow a homemaker to sew one child's dress, or crochet a tea cozy, just for a relaxing pasttime. They insist that she must make merchandise of it.

When you take your rest, it is not necessary to pay any heed to other people's opinions of whether or not you should have time off. You have to establish the habit and insist on doing it. Sometimes even the immediate family, including older children, husband, parents and even grand-parents want you to be "productive" financially. They think you are wasting your time and talents if you are not selling something, but the stress of making a business out of your rest time will defeat the purpose of rest.

You can cut down on the cost of your own health care if you will rest a few minutes throughout the day. Lack of rest can cause you to feel slow and run-down, requiring loss of time in your work. As you get further behind, due to ill health or tiredness, you will find it to be costly, and you have to play a strenuous game of catch-up in your work when you recover. When you preserve your health through regular rest, you preserve your own economy in many ways, which is something we could discuss in another post.

Guard your rest time. Once you have established the routine of regular rest, you will have to guard it by not allowing too many exceptions. There was an old fashioned rule of many homes that mother was not to be disturbed unless the house was on fire or someone was seriously hurt.  If you only rest for five minutes, problems will not gain enough time to erupt.. You can take five untroubled minutes of rest several times throughout the day.  While it is good to be flexible and alert to the needs of the family, it is still possible to sit still for a few minutes and rest.

Summer by the Lake
by Susan Rios

Prepare a Restful Place. In anticipation of a resting time, some people suggest  making your bed and adding a small blanket on top of your bed spread so that you will not have to get under the covers, and include a few extra pillows for comfort.  Close the curtains and try to get the room well shaded.  If your curtains allow too much light for comfortable rest, just use some clothespins and attach some dark fabric, such as dark brown or dark green polar fleece, on top of your curtain rod.  Keep a glass of cold water near by, and turn down your phone or anything that may cause a disturbance. If you just want to be still for a few minutes,  look around your house to find possible places for rest areas

The purpose of rest is not just for the relief of tension or to rest tired feet or a sore back. Other health benefits include clearer thinking, better memory, better judgement, healing,  more energy, less tension, and better digestion. Affective weight loss is also dependent upon adequate rest. A search on the importance of rest can reveal much more, including building the immune system and preventing illness. Emotions are more stable when the body and mind have had rest. Any child that seems strung out and fussy or is constantly crying, needs a nap or rest-time,  and so do adults. Adequate rest reduces confusion and irritability.

 The Ritual of Rest Can  Establish Confidence and Comfort in Daily Living . People who have lived before us have known the value of rest and have taken advantage of certain times of the day or week to indulge in rest. For some reason, their dependence on following certain habits throughout the day or week, whether it be taking tea at three, or sitting on the porch in the evening, gave them stability. Knowing at least partially what was going to happen during a day created reassurance and lack of worry. Rest time can become one of those dependable times that gives stability to your life.

...ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

                                                                        Jeremiah 6:16

To print this article, click on the post title first.  Highlight the web address that comes up in the i.e. space or whatever you are using, at the top of the screen.  Then go here and paste it in the url space. It will come up as a printable page.

For more information on creating good health, there is a wonderful book here you can purchase, which I do plan to review sometime in the future.