Sunday, December 25, 2011

Abundant Living for the Homemaker

A Winter Rose
by Sydney Kendrick, London- 1874-1955

This post is your Christmas Greeting:

There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy the fruit of his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
  Ecclesiastes 2, verse 24

Having an Abundant Life requires knowing  that you cannot  fix the world: you can only change yourself. Abundant living is being free to enjoy beauty and richness in life, knowing it comes from the Lord.

Some people spend their lives finding  fault, focusing on unfairness. They have a critical spirit and cannot enjoy life.  They wake up in the morning looking for the first thing that will displease them. Their day is ruined unless they can find something to complain about.  They cannot accept life and its imperfections, but they will not do anything to make things better. They live only to complain. 

 Today, just as  in previous times, there are those who believe they are obligated to make life miserable for everyone.  If the day is fair, they  find something wrong with the rays of the sun. If the food was delicious, they would find something wrong with the origin of it. If life at home is full of comforts  and conveniences, they believe it  is harmful to the earth's orbit.  Should all these faults be corrected, the cynic will still continue in his critical spirit, because cynicism is a type of religion to him. 
Bringing Christmas Home
by Jack Sorenson

The attitudes of the family members and the general atmosphere of the home will be guided for the most part by the lady of the house: the wife, mother and homemaker.  If  she will  first make up her mind to shrug off the negative, cynical attitudes of the prevailing culture, she will have the sense of well-being that she needs in order to be happy in her role at home.  She will then be free of the jaded, negativity of the world, and be able to give her family the encouragement they need to enjoy life and get the most out of their days on this earth.

It is  normal to experience disappointments in life, but it is unfair to impose bad moods and negative  attitudes on others. It is unfair to bring children up in an atmosphere of gloom and doom, and therefore, a mother must be even more determined to look on the good side of life and show her children how to be happy. She cannot do this if she focuses on too much bad news or complains about her lot in life. This is certainly not to imply that we be inappropriately cheerful when a situation requires sobriety or sorrow, but to have a good outlook on life, always hoping for a brighter day and not dwell on the dark side of things too much.  You can read more about raising children to have happy, carefree childhoods on this post called "A Child's World."

The Decorating Crew
by Jack Sorenson

A homemaker has the chance to instill healthy attitudes about life into the family members, by teaching them to make the best of things, instead of developing a cynical attitude towards life.

The problem of becoming cynical:   Cynicism came from a school of ancient Greek philosophers known as Cynics,  that taught, among other things, that it was their duty to monitor and criticize the faults of others.  Some of the Cynic's beliefs involved the following: 

-an attitude of scorn and a refusal to believe that anyone was honest.
-a disapproval of personal prosperity, believing that it is caused by greed.
-rejecting personal property, preferring to live as animals, with no home and no comforts.
-a practice of shamelessness, in feeling superior to any feelings of shame and modesty.
-a belief that the cynical are called to monitor the lives of people around them, and to push their beliefs upon them, making them feel guilty for any success they achieve, money they earn, and for any material rewards they enjoy.
-buying and selling and enjoying shopping are vanities, superficial, materialistic and non-intellectual.

Generally,  no one can get along with a cynic, for even if you agree with him, he will find something to argue about.

"The ideal Cynic would evangelise; as the watchdog of humanity, it was their job to hound people about the error of their ways. The example of the Cynic's life (and the use of the Cynic's biting satire) would dig-up and expose the pretensions which lay at the root of everyday conventions."

Cynicism has been around for a long time, and those who think they are expressing some intellectual superiority by being cynical are just living in the ancient past, repeating the foolishness of the Cynics who lived 5 centuries B.C. (Before Christ.)
The Victorians: A Nation of Shopkeepers
by Peter Jackson

To save pictures to your files, click the picture for a larger view, and then click "save" or "save as".

Cynics believed that having standards of manners was superficial and pretentious. Cynics have, throughout history, attacked anything that was good, lovely, strong and sound, and just about anything that makes good sense.  The Victorian era, even with all its inventions and social improvements,  was one of the main targets of cynics, and still is.  Cynicism is an attack on life on this earth. It is a hatred  of happiness of decent people, the authority of the family, free enterprise, personal property, and the teachings of the Bible.  The ancient Cynics rejected the use of money, did not believe in profit,  did not work,  lived on the streets instead of in homes with their families, refused to bathe and ignored traditions of mealtimes and manners. You can read more about the Cynics here. See why Cynic means "dog"--(-no offense to your precious pooches.)

Cynicism is worldliness. Romans 12:2 teaches not to be conformed to this world. While we often think of worldliness as riotous living, full of vice and dissipation as in  the parable of the prodigal son, cynicism is also a worldly practice that is contrary to the commands of God to be happy and to enjoy the abundant life. Christian women should not take part in cynicism or the stinging sarcasm that accompanies it. They are supposed to renew their minds and prove the things that are good. Cynical words should never have passage through the voice of a refined woman.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
Victorian Children at Christmas

Cynicism is opposite of the teachings of  God, the prophets, Christ and His apostles, for the Word of God says "in all labor, there is profit."( Proverbs 14:23), and "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he is treading the corn," meaning that he is allowed to eat some of what he labors for, (Deuteronomy 25:4)  and "The laborer is worthy of his hire."  (Luke 10:7) God intended for  mankind to have a desire to work and be rewarded materially for his labor. The cynic opposes that truth. God intended that people would  enjoy selling and buying, making a profit and use their money to provide for their loved ones and enjoy life. Isaiah 65:22 says, "Mine elect shall enjoy the work of their hands."  Of the worthy wife in Proverbs 31, it says "Give her the fruit of her hands."  Women at home are allowed  to enjoy life and enjoy the things that make life pleasant. Even those who are rich and are members in the  Lord's church  are given special instructions on how to behave with wealth. First Timothy 6:17-18 tells them not to be highminded, but to realize that it is a gift from God, who gives to us richly all things  to enjoy. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the richness that God has given us.
Victorian Children Looking at Gifts

Cynics believe that enjoyment of life on earth is evil and that unless people are miserable, they are greedy, selfish, indulgent, pretentious and dishonest.  The opposite is true, for the Bible teaches that the earth is the Lord's, and that He prepared it for mankind to live in and to enjoy.  (Psalm 24:1) The Beatitudes (Matthew, chapter 5) are instructions to those who want to know how to be happy.  While following God requires giving up sin, we are rewarded with  happiness, something that cynicism can never do. 
Late Arrival
by Jack Sorenson

The false teachings of cynicism have brought misery to generations of people. From the time you enter any public education institution until the time you leave college,  you are given a consistent dose of the false doctrine of the cynic: life is futile, the earth is depleted of all its resources, (contrary to this scripture: While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Genesis 8:22) there is no safety,  industry destroys, free enterprise is greedy, there is no health, no happiness and no hope.  This causes fear, which brings ill health, mental frustration and suspicion, just as cynicism is designed to do.

  A cynic is a faultfinder, which is contrary to the teaching of Christ to first take the beam out of your own eye before attempting to take the splinter out of your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:3) In other words, work on your own faults and your own perfection, rather than monitoring the faults of others.  God's word, on the other hand, gives His followers happiness and hope.

 Perhaps by the time Christ and his disciples walked the earth, the religion of the Cynic had taken hold in the culture and prevailed throughout the land. His Word refuted many of the beliefs and practices of the Cynics and the Stoics when he said, "Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid:  Believe in God; believe also in Me."  (John 14:1).  The words of Philippians 4:8, admonishing the saved to think on things that are lovely and good, show the stark difference between the thinking of a Christian, and that of a Cynic.

Romantic Roses 
by Alfred Godchaux  1835-1895

Overcoming Cynicism

Practice thinking the best of things. Become familiar with the 4th chapter of Philippians. It has several verses that show how to triumph over all the bad things in life. The teachings in this chapter deal with the mind. God knows that our performance in life depends upon what is in our minds, and that is why He said to think on things that are true, good, pure, lovely, noble and of good report. A homemaker will find it difficult to focus on her tasks at home, or to be absorbed in her work and enjoy it, if her mind is full of fear, pessimism, envy or resentment. Quoting Philippians 4:8 can replace these negative thoughts. Read more about pleasant words verses complaining, on this post.
The Victorian Family At Home
by Peter Jackson

Enjoy life by learning how to do something new, or being creative.  Creative people are full of optimism. Though they may make mistakes and abandon some of their attempts, they are always exploring ways to be creative.  You do not have to be an artist to be creative. Even rearranging your furniture or cooking can be creative.It just means that you try different ways of doing things in order to make it pleasing to you. It is not so much the end results that matter, but the process, which is of great benefit to the mind.  You may be afraid to try anything creative, for fear of making mistakes or failing, but that is allowing cynicism to rule your thoughts. The Bible contains many admonitions to control your thinking and guide it into thoughts of triumph. Cynics never accomplish anything. Their purpose is to be cynical.
Romantic Roses
by Alfred Godchaux

Have some interest  or hobby that absorbs you. This prevents the bad reports of the world from upsetting you.  We cannot stand frozen in space while waiting for the world to settle down. It never will. We have to continue with our lives, whether or not the rest of the world wants to cooperate or approve.  If a homemaker has a routine and an absorbing interest in her life at home, earthly events will not shake her, and she can, like the Proverbs 31 woman, "laugh at the future."  If you do this, you might find yourself laughing at the next wacky news report which may just be designed to demoralize and discourage people.

Triumph of Beauty
by Albert Williams

Include beauty in your daily life.  There does not seem to be any sense in saving beauty for only special occasions, and life passes by so swiftly.  Add some beauty, in some way to your life and see the difference it makes in your motivation: a pleasing picture, fresh flowers or a potted plant,  or a special scent that gives you a mental lift  There is nothing superficial or trivial or materialistic about wanting a clean, orderly home that also looks lovely. It is not wrong to enjoy making and wearing a new dress or to buy matching shoes and a handbag. The cynics have chipped away at beauty and good pleasures for many years, leaving bleakness in its place.

Enjoy the fruits of your labors. The Bible says that it is good, and that it is from the Lord. (Ecclesiastes 2L24).  There is nothing wrong with enjoying life on this earth. Look at the shelves in the stores, how full they are. Look around you and see the log trucks going to the sawmills,  construction, the prosperous farms, and the transportation. If things were on the verge of crumbling, as the cynic always claims, the shelves would be empty, houses would not be built, and the trucks would stop shipping all the things we buy. I enjoy the scene of cattle and sheep in the pastures as I travel, because it shows someone is successful. I love the garden centers full of plants because they provide beauty for all the homes around me.   I enjoy seeing the stores full and the shelves over-flowing with food and other products, because it is an indication that people are employed, are getting paid,  and  can use the money they earn to buy what they need to look after their loved ones.  When the shelves are empty, then, there is a problem.

Something to be happy about: fabric is being stocked in quite a number of WalMart stores, which did not previously sell it.

One friend of mine who took my optimism to heart, said she walked around a large store admiring all the goods on the shelves, and thought "all is well" because they were full, to over-flowing. Then, she came to the Lego shelf in the store. It was empty. "I guess we are in trouble now" she said. 

It is sometimes amusing to hear a cynic complain about having to buy groceries.  He thinks shopping is bad, because it is, quote, too commercial. That is like saying the sea is too salty, and that is something to laugh about.   I enjoy grocery shopping because of the many competing products to choose from. I can find the price that is just right for me, and the exact product that I need. It is not "one size fits all" in a grocery store. You can get any size, any price, any product in any type of packaging, or no packaging, if you like.  Salted, salt-free, organic, processed, aged, fresh today, foreign or domestic. 
I bought this box of cakes from Trader Joes just because I liked the box. You'll see parts of it later on some of my cards and crafts. 

Trader Joe's amuses me. It has groceries from all around the world, but the labels and boxes always say "Trader Joe's."  Potato chip companies are competing, and it is always interesting to see the new chip on the block: baked with sour cream, crinkled with bacon bits, flavored with vinegar and salt, cheddar cheese, green onion, unsalted, and more. New potato chip companies give it a go and sometimes succeed against the top brands.

  I enjoy the market and enjoy seeing how I can find the lowest price and the highest quality food items.  In view of the fact that there are some places in the world without this vast grocery market, I do not see how anyone but a cynic would complain about shopping. In most stores today, the floors are cleaner than anyone's kitchen floor at home, and there are clean restrooms and places to change your baby. Parking is fairly simple, and carts are nearby. They even have kiddie carts for your child to push around alongside yours, or a kiddie car for your child to ride while you put your groceries in the basket on top. Most grocery stores have a coffee shop and a bakery that makes the store smell like home.  When you enter the store, you can wipe the cart handle with a disposable soap tissue that is provided by the store, and when you leave the store you can  take another one of those towelettes and wipe your hands.  I don't see what is so "miserable" about shopping, unless it is approached with a cynical attitude. 

Boxes and containers are some of my favorite things, and so, I like the way products are packaged. The colors and the newness of everything in the free enterprise system  is exciting. When people are finished using things they buy, it goes to the thrift stores or is re-painted and used in special gift shops.  Everything is used and re-used and re-sold or given away.  Its great to get a "find" on the curb, of a piece of furniture that you can either fix up and sell, or keep.

 Be happy that most grocery stores have to put an overflow of goods on carts in the aisles, because the shelves cannot contain it all.  It has been said that the optimist will see a glass half full, while the cynic will see it half-empty. Such a proverb can hardly be applied today, for the shelves in the grocery store are  so over-flowing that even a Cynic could not deny it.  I do not know how anyone can be cynical over that.  "Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running out all over." (Luke 6:38)

Enjoy the often over-looked things in daily life such as the way the red lights on the back of the cars in front of you as you drive, reflect on the wet pavement at night. I love to see this when coming home because it is an indication of the marvel of invention in transportation. In the dark, that stream of red lights ahead of me would guide me home while driving a dangerous mountain pass on my way home from a trip.  Lights look warm, civilized and friendly.

Notice how often someone in the public, on the phone, or on email, in business, greets you with "how are you today?" and says goodbye with the words, "You have a lovely day." Even when blogging, a nice message comes up that says, "You have successfully published your blog!" And, look at all the pretty blogs on my blogroll and the blogrolls of those blogs. There is not enough time to enjoy their sweetness!  Notice more encouraging messages while trying to use various aspects of technology.  Your computer is programmed by a real person to "talk" to you with polite messages such as "please try again," making it pleasant to use. Even when you call a technician who happens to be in India, the person is usually very helpful and nice and will ask you about the weather in your country.  There are many things to smile about!

During inclement weather, think of it as an adventure, rather than a downer.  Mothers especially need to keep a good mood "for the troops" in the home. Children will be future leaders in life, and will be guiding their own families. Being cheerful and looking at the purpose of things in a good light, will train children to look at life in perspective and avoid cynical attitudes.

Live abundantly by enjoying your own prosperity. If you have prospered, there is no reason to eat cheap, devitaminized food or live like a pauper,  without heat and in relative misery. A man does not work so that he can endure poverty, but so that he can enjoy good food, a warm, well-kept home, a good car, and quality clothing.  Women at home can show their husbands what good providers they are by living the best they can, within reason.  The cynic will not allow any comfort in life, but God blesses us with abundant living. Cynical people expect Christians to fix the world, but we were not told to fix the world. Instead, we are to change according to this plea from God:  

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  2nd Chronicles 7:14.

Fix what you can, but do not waste time trying to fix things that are beyond your control. You cannot fix life; you can only change yourself. This does not mean that we should neglect to correct and train our children,  or ignore false reports and  things that corrode our homes and nation, but it is a sensible way of dealing with life.

Tea. I was amused when I read in Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility," at the answer given by Fannie. She simply announced: "Tea!" Respond to the cynic by living more abundantly.  God made the earth for us to live on, and we might as well enjoy it. Buy a bouquet of roses for yourself, dress up, get out your nicest tea cups and serve tea.  What the cynic really needs is to sit down and sip tea and talk about some of the delightful trivialities of life: the latest wedding, the newest baby, the current holiday, the sales, the mail, and the recent Tea Time magazine that just came in the mail.  Serve tea and show them all the good things in life, such as your blog, the new piece of fabric from the fabric store, and the things you are planning to make. Sometimes cynics just need to be presented with other ideas.  Male cynics ought to be given homebuilders magazines for Christmas, so they can think about something constructive and get a new hobby in life besides complaining.

You do not have to live in this country to find the abundant life, because it is available to all people, through the word of God.  It is a way of life produced by a state of mind. And, whether you are in America or not, you can benefit from the writings of Alexis de Toqueville, who observed in the mid-1800's that an American would work like a peasant but live like a king.  He stayed in roughly built cabins with families, expecting to have misery around him, only to discover that the hard working man could come home to a warm hearth where his wife was serving a hearty meal. After dinner, the women of the family would sit near the fire doing the intricate needlework similar to that of the fine ladies in Europe, while the children and husband basked in front of the fire.  The key to contentment is hard work, from which you earn money, which you use to make life good for your family.  He observed that a man could earn money and spend it for the home comforts formerly attributed to kings.  The man who earned a living could also enjoy the luxury of leisure.  De Toqueville commented that there were many paradoxes about life in America, but the most interesting one to him was the willingness of men to work, to better his life and those around him. He once said, "America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy."  The cynic finds no good in this, and is busy demoralizing our country and other countries, so that they cannot see any hope.  "Hope we have as an anchor to the soul." (Hebrews 6:19)

4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Think on These Things

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, [1] whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.  Philippians 4:8

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox -  American, (1850-1919)

Talk happiness. The world is sad enough
Without your woe. No path is wholly rough.
Look for the places that are smooth and clear,
And speak of them to rest the weary ear
Of earth; so hurt by one continuous strain
Of mortal discontent and grief and pain.

Talk faith. The world is better off without
Your uttered ignorance and morbid doubt.
If you have faith in God, or man, or self,
Say so; if not, push back upon the shelf
Of silence all your thoughts ‘till faith shall come.
No one will grieve because your lips are dumb.

Talk health. The dreary, never-ending tale
Of mortal maladies is worn and stale;
You cannot charm or interest or please
By harping on that minor chord disease.
Say you are well, or all is well with you,
And God shall hear tour words and make them true. 

Winter Sunrise
by Carl Valente

Worth While

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

It is easy enough to be pleasant
   When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is the one who will smile
   When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble,
   And it always comes with the years,
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
   Is the smile that shines through tears.

It is easy enough to be prudent
   When nothing tempts you to stray,
When without or within no voice of sin
   Is luring your soul away;
But it’s only a negative virtue
   Until it is tried by fire,
And the life that is worth the honour on earth
   Is the one that resists desire.

By the cynic, the sad, the fallen,
   Who had no strength for the strife,
The world’s highway is cumbered to-day—
   They make up the sum of life;
But the virtue that conquers passion,
   And the sorrow that hides in a smile—
It is these that are worth the homage on earth,
   For we find them but once in a while.

Another poem by this same poet:

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
'Tis the set of the sails,
And Not the gales,
That tell us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate;
As we voyage along through life,
'Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.
In a significant way, your own thoughts and words determine the type of day you will have and the reaction in others.


Anonymous said...


I was struck by this powerful reminder in the opening lines of your latest article;

"Having an Abundant Life requires knowing that you cannot fix the world: you can only change yourself. "

often, as women striving to fulfil our God-given role as Christians, as homemakers, we chafe at the intransigence of those within our own extended families and church communities who seem set upon sabotaging God's way as revealed in Holy Scripture; it grieves us that they simply will not see...and that they will not awaken to their senses as it were. This is a timely reminder that we cannot change the world, the Church or our extended families, but can only change 'us' - as we strain ever more longingly toward Christ Jesus, His example and Holy Word our guide and goal.

In the end we can only be the change we want to one very good blogger puts it 'brick by brick'.

God bless all who stop by this blog today, and God bless its amazing author - Lydia, your ministry (and the witness you give here IS a ministry) is needed now more than ever.

Anonymous said...

For the critics, there is a very old Christian monastic saying that gives pause for thought;

"Look to your own plate"

In other words, do not fixate upon what those on either side of you have or do not have..."are those on either side of me gluttons on the one hand or holier than thou fasters on the other"?????


"Why do they have when I have not"

Fixing our eyes upon the cross of Christ and focusing upon Him prevents us from swerving off course, off the path, either to the left or to the right.

the devil hates nothing more deeply than balance, than those upon the straight path, and will do all in his power to shake us from our resolve, but we are saved by the one who has defeated death and the devil!!

Praise be to God!

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid some homemakers spend too much time trying to correct things around them outside of their own homes, from advertising to amusement...and in the process lose precious time teaching values to their own children.

Anonymous said...

Very lovely post. Lots to think about!

~ Ann

Anonymous said...

Some more descriptions of Cynics:

A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.

The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game.

Henry Ward Beecher

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas. I loved your post and that of the comments too. Very encouraging.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for your ministry. Since I 'met' you, my attitudes have changed about many things. I've long thought that we can be optimistic in any situation and thrive. Look at what Victor Frankel accomplished in a concentration camp. Cannot I do at least that good in my comfortable, plentiful life? Right now I'm looking out my window and watching a little cottontail munch a fallen orange--yesterday it was a quail. I'm so blessed with tree ripened citrus and a lovely climate. I agree that I can change myself and in doing so change my little corner of the world. However, each corner is connected, making my influence, good or otherwise, much more far reaching than my own little spot. Thank you again for this timely reminder. You will be blessed for all you do.

Anonymous said...


Fantastic Post!!

One verse that you may wish to add;

John 10: 10

'I have come so that you may have life and have it abundantly'.

Even the Christian discipline of asceticism has at its heart Christ's love, mercy and salvation.

re cinicism, gen X has for better or worse been labeled 'the cynical generation'...

it is easy to fall into this trap, even as a Christian, faced with the disobedience of all the churches over so much. When we do this, we place ourselves in the place of Christ as 'saviour' rather than trusting in Him.



Lydia said...

I will add the link to print this article this afternoon...please be patient.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! I had a good laugh when I read your friend's comment about the Lego shelf. Thanks. I also enjoyed the part about looking for the beauty in the ordinary things. I have been purposefully looking for things to enjoy on my (often cold, windy, wet) walks to work and there is just so much to enjoy! Bad weather makes me feel alive! Have a most merry Christmas and a wonderful new year.

Lydia said...

Christmas Greetings to visitors in:

Bingen, Rheinland-Pfalz
Attiki, Athens
Doonside, New South Wales
Cobham, Surrey
Ludwigshafen, Rheinland-Pfalz
Melbourne, Victoria

Lydia said...

I appreciate the lovely comments!

We have so many comforts today that make cold (or hot) weather easier to bear, including email, the web, music, and interesting hobbies. The papers and sewing materials these days are just wonderful. It was not always so abundant and varied. There is a lot to be thankful for. If people have a sour attitude about production, shopping manufacturing (which just means "man-made", selling, shopping, etc., they may cause the future generations to despise free enterprise and harm the encomy, including the livelihood of many people supporting families. Its best to look on the bright side and enjoy it all to the fullest.

Lydia said...

when it rains here I put a tin pan upside down outside my bedroom window so that I can listen to the rain, like a tin roof. This part of the enjoyment of the often overlooked things in life.

Anonymous said...

You are a wise woman. Merry Christmas to you and your family!! JulesTrinity

Anonymous said...

An antidote to some of the legitimate concerns about globalization and the activities/behaviour of multinational corporations is the ecconomic approach known as distributism. it is neither top-down capitalism nor socialism, but a path to abundant, good civic living that rewards the grower, the craftsman, the free enterprise businessman, and is very much based upon Scriptural principles that marry up with God's word to enjoy the fruits of our labours and a genuinely good life as expressed in Ecclesiastes and John 10: 10.

Matt 25: 34-40
Acts 2: 42-47


James 5: 1-6

When adopted as a complete package, in this way, God's call to living life with joy is a Divine circuit breaker that guards against cynicism and criticism on the one hand, and excess & greed on the other.

His love endures forever, and His ways are truly a gift to us.

Imagine what the world would be like if the collective 'we' lived in harmony with God's word, taken in full, applied in full...

We can start in our own lives and be a living witness to the amazing transformation that God's goodness can and does bring into the life lived well, in harmony with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

A glimpse of the abundance of God's gift to us in the fresh foods He has either created or given man the wisdom to create (e.g. dairy) take a look at

It has not escaped me that even peoples who have very very little live life with a 'glass half full' mindset, (even though they more than most of us have a legitimate cause to voice dissatisfaction) and great dignity; think of the colourful garments worn by the African, Asian or Subcontinental lady, think of the happiness of the music across the world, from the music of Central and South America, to that of across Africa, to the Reggae of the West Indies, to the amazing spectacle that is subcontinental music and the movies put out by Bollywood (who make far in excess each year of the number of movies put out by Hollywood - and far more edifying for the mostpart. Think of the style of cookery known as caccino povero (excuse spelling) - the food of the 'peasant'; though this food comes from regions in which the people have very little, it is a wonderful thing; from risotto, to 'card drivers spaghetti', to (over the border ) a dish such as casoullet in France to the Swiss Fondu, originally (in terms of the cheese fondu for instance) a way of making a meal of the last of the winter's supplies of cheese, bread, a little wine and garlic that has become beloved worldwide. Even the delicious Minestrone comes from humble origins, showing that even if folk may not always have two pennies to rub together, the ethos of living well (that does not require tonnes of money) starts with our approach, first and foremost. Even a simple simple lentils and rice are not left alone in this tradition but transformed into dhal and birriani - delicious, filling, satisfying, and very very affordable. I studied with a Bangladeshi woman a few years ago who found it perverse that in our land of plenty, people cultivated an attitude of cynicism; she could not understand why, in a nation like Australia, (where someone will never die of starvation) folk wre pesemistic and complaining; she found it distasteful to say the least.

Christ calls us to live well - even in Matthew's Gospel, Christ called fasters to freshen up and anoint themselves rather than going around long-faced.

May we all live life with a spirit of abundance.

Lydia said...

To the recent comment, which I did not accept: Spoken like a true cynic! I expected it, too. We are from two different philosophies. One is the cynical, which will always look for the deep, dark side of things, and become cynical because of it, and the other is from the Father of Lights, our Lord, who will help us walk in His light, and not in the darkness of pessimism. But no one can make you renew your mind and change your way of thinking. It has to be your decision. Our God is not someone who reaches down and slaps people into submission...he waits patiently because his love would not be a real love unless it was a willing love between Him and people. What kind of relationship would it be if we felt forced to love God and do His will? A person has to go to God willingly, with a humble heart. Jaded negativity and cynicism is not part of his teaching or his will. Its not the path to happiness or success. Its not the way out of any despair, its the way further into it.

Anonymous said...


I intended to insert this link

with my most recent comment wherein I suggested distributism (also known as subsidiarity, and not to be confused with 'redistributism') as an answer to some of the legitimate concerns about the way big industry, big military and big farmer operate (that sits in accordance with the passages of scripture I have provided, and forms the whole when combined with John 10: 10, and ecclesiastes.

We serve a loving God who, while we were still far off in the distance, caught sight of us and ran to meet us, embracing us, celebrating our return...remember, the father of the prodigle son would have kept an unwavering vigil, day in, day out, with breaking heart awaiting his son's return.

Remember the attitude of the other son; the supposed 'good son'... Was he a 'cynic'? hmm... food for thought. .

The writings of G. K. Chesterton are an excellent resource, as are the 'back to the land' works of Fr. Vincent Mcnabb. Don't worry if you live in the burbs; we can bloom where we're planted.

Lydia said...

Mrs. Eliot in australia,

Suburban living is quite nice, actually, and many people have enough dirt around the house for gardens. You don't have to live on a big farm to enjoy the benefits of country life.

What you have said here is just Biblical economics: a man works, he earns, he supports others by buying their services and products.

Anonymous said...

To any cynics reading,

We are not oblivious to the dark machinations of those in positions of power, of those who should know better but act nonetheless without any strand of morality. We all inhabit this world. However, I for one intend to live with joy and live well, though my means may be modest compared to others around me. One antidote against the all-pervasive ugliness of the post-modern world is to embrace the good, the pure, the uplifting, the edifying, to cultivate a spirit of quiet contentment and abiding joy - not a contrived artifice of hyperactive synthesized merriment, but a spirit of mindfulness, Christ-centered, imbued with compassion, strength, prudence and wisdom.

Cynics might like to study the life of Lev Alexandrovich Tikhomirov; a man who in his youth embraced the folly of revolution and cynicism only to, with maturity, realize a better path.

Lydia said...

We are stuck here on earth until we die, so we might as well make the best of it. There is nowhere better to go.

Lydia said...

...nowhere better while we are live, that is.

Anonymous said...


Right you are. We have a small plot that we grow vegetables in out the front and have herbs and berries growing in our back garden. there are some amazing terrace houses (row homes) in Sydney in which the owners produce incredible amounts of food, run chooks (various LGA's have aweful by-laws re keeping of fowl, but are becoming more accomodating), have grape trellices and more. Others make cheese and cure sausage in their little corner of the city; Add to this the proliferation of community gardens and even if one is in a flat or apartment, there's an opportunity (the transformation of balconies or a few herbs on a kitchen windowsill are doable. The city does have a certain heartbeat all its own and is very convenient. The 'back to the land' movement has inspired 'urban homesteaders' and even roof-top gardeners (though make sure your apartment block or rooftop are able to cope with such lest the souls who live beneath be flooded out!! :-)

Anonymous said...

So let's shine for Christ and, as another blogger has put it, live with 'wreckless' joy, making the utmost of what we have until we are called home. Keeping our corner of the earth to the best of our abilities and reveling in the simple beauties is a good start. Dust everything off, run the broom through, chuck out the junk that has accumulated, dive headlong into the faith of jesus, make a pot of your favourite brew and revel in the simplicities that go unnoticed by so many today - the blossoming flowers, the birdsong, the power of a summer thunderstorm...seize the day and reve in life.

Anonymous said...

Lydia, I had been checking your site lately, hoping for a new post so I was absolutely delighted today to find this. Can I just say thank you for giving so much of your time and effort in producing this lovely,uplifting and inspiring post, at such a busy time of year. May I add a little quote from my country-man Oscar Wilde, that 'a cynic is one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing'. May I also say how much I admire your resoluteness, your persistent optimism and cheerfulness.

I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and wish you the very best of health and continued happiness in the New Year. Thank you Lydia.

Anonymous said...

You are very wise. Thank you.

Blessed Homemaking said...

A wonderful post, as usual.

I normally do not like shopping because I would rather be home, but you have given me a new way to look at it.

This is such an encouraging post, and one worth reading over again, thank you.

Anonymous said...

I have been looking forward to a new post here, and this was well worth the wait. You are a very smart, articulate woman and I appreciate your sharing your wise observations.

I like the way you point out what it is in the Bible and how it relates to our lives today. I was raised without any religion and I found religion late in life. I still have a lot to learn and your posts help me to understand things without being overwhelming.

Sherry said...

wow! So manythings I need to work on. Thank you for this wonderful post.

Angela Freeman said...

Well said! A little gratitude goes a long way.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia
A beautiful post ~ thank you always for your lovely words.
The top picture "A Winter Rose" is one of my favorites and was what I used for my Christmas card this year (from Victorian Trading Co.).
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Lydia said...

A scornfully or jadedly negative comment or act: "She arrived at a philosophy of her own, all made up of her private notations and cynicisms" (Henry James).

Lydia said...

The Henry James quote was from a book he wrote called "Collection of Letters"

Lydia said...

Cynicism: the holding or expressing of opinions that reveal disbelief and sometimes disdain for commonly held human values and virtues.

Lydia said...

a person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude.

Lydia said...

Cynicism is a state of mind when all the mental faculties to distinguish between good and bad are obscured and the person suffering from it exhibits an irresistible propensity to invariably focus his attention on dark side of every thing or look askance at every thing associated with any individual that the sufferer from this disease is obsessed with.
(Pakistan Observer, newspaper)

Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful post! I was raised by a cynic and didn't even realize it at the time. I was so surprised, when I married and had children of my own, to find out that home life is actually tremendously satisfying and that abundant life and joy are daily possibilities. Thank you for mentoring me.

Lydia said...

thanks for the Oscar Wilde quote. There are a few other really witty quotes I could not find, that I ran across one day, about the silliness of cynicism. One said that a cynic can find never find anything to be happy about or anything good in anyone, but he is very good at finding fault. Cynicism is something developed in children, and when not corrected, can grown into full fledged doctrines that oppress people. Making a sharp reply that is sarcastic and exaggerated, is cynicism. A young person who is shown a better way by his parents may say something like, "Why dont you just LOCK ME UP, Dad," in response--that is cyncial and sarcastic, sardonic, exaggerated response. The NT warns about these kinds of things, telling God's people that they are to be different than the world. Being non-cynical is one thing you can do for others and for the world.

Anonymous said...

You cannot imagine how much I needed to hear this today! I have been guilty of being cynical at times, mainly because of the current economic situation and who is in charge of our country right now. I'm always thinking "what in the world are we going to do IF....."-fill in the blank with whatever is on the news at the time. I appreciate the time and thought you put into your articles, and hope you keep blogging!!

Lydia said...

The cynics have been preaching power failure, economic failure, fear of everything, for generations. Just look around you to see what there is, and you'll be able to tell at a glance if the phrophecies of doom are real.

Anonymous said...

I have come back to read this post several times. I truly appreciate the optimism promoted in your words. I left here feeling like a weight had been lifted off of me....

Lydia said...

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.
..................................... Ronald Reagan

Lydia said...

I have lengthened some of the paragraphs by adding to the points, so you might want to go back and read the post again.

What the cynic needs is a good dose of the loveliness and refinements of life. That is why I said, "Invite him to tea." Expose cynics to the many different interests in life. You may have read a new book, and can give a good book review your resident cynic.

I have been reading about the American Indians and how their language relates to the Scots and to Gaelic. Also I have been reading about how clothing was once constructed, before patterns were available, and trying some of the techniques. There are all kinds of cooking ideas these days, and a cynic might like to try your scones with the tea you serve him. A cynic at heart is sad and lost and in needing of assurance.

Lydia said...

Cynicism led to the Stoics, who believed in being uncomfortable. I read a story about an American woman who married an English man way back around the time of Churchill. She liked to keep the house warm, unlike the frugal man she was married to, and when her daughter brought home a boyfriend, he remarked at how warm and comfortable their home was. She replied, almost apologetically "My American mother does not enjoy the discomforts of life as we English do."

Anonymous said...

I also thought of John 10:10..."I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

The Lord came not only to offer us eternal life when our physical life is over, if we repent and trust Him, but also an abundant life in this world. There is no room for cynicism in the life of a believer.

This is a beautiful, encouraging post and some thoughtful comments, too. Thank you and God bless you.


Anonymous said...

My mother has turned to cynicism in her later years, and it is such a discouragement that I almost don't know how to bear it. It really affects how I feel about being young and still happy about things, as if I should not be allowed any happiness.

You have explained it very well, I haven't even known how to describe what is wrong - it is such a vague, pervasive thing. It makes it hard to be happy, like I should live as if life is really a lot harder than it really is, or else it would not be fair to the cynics.

Many cynics, if you look at what they could have actually done with their lives, had they worked consistently at it, truly would have had the same opportunities you have, but chose to throw them away, and even still do throw them away on a daily basis now.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Ha, one of my favorite chores is to feed the chickens. We feed them on the pavement, and it, too, sounds like rain, as so many little beaks strike the ground to pick up the grains. I don't let anyone talk while we listen to the "rain".

Anonymous said...

A Happy Christmas to you, Lady Lydia! And many thanks for such a well thought out post. Yes, cynicism is a life-sucking, soul-destroying way of viewing people & circumstances. I don't want my children to be falsely cheerful, or cruelly oblivious to others' genuine pain, but there is something to be said for being a "lifter, not a leaner" as we go through this life.

I like, especially, what you said about enjoying beauty, not just just on a special occasion, but to include it, even in some small way, in our lives. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." Keats. And how!! :o)

God's blessings to you-

Lydia said...

"I feel I should not act too happy, because it is not fair to the cynics."

That is VERY funny. Nice polite people are just to courteous to the enemies of happiness, aren't they?

Lydia said...

For any cynics out there who want to be cured, I would like to share a few things you can do:

Reading material can be very uplifting, and one ladies magazine, though quite liberal in some ways, is full of feel-good articles: Women's World. If you want to wean yourself away from cynicism, read this every week when it comes out on the newsstand or the grocery store check-out. There are better magazines, and I prefer Tea Time, Southern Lady, Victoria, Victoria Classics, Romantic Country Victorian, Romantic Homes, and The English Home, The English Garden. However, Women's World is easy to read and sometimes costs less than a dollar. It is full of good things to read, and there is never a discouraging report or a depressing word in it.

For example, this week, as in most weeks, there are segments on the following:

How to make a stew
Several ways to reduce stress
A spot where they recommend you ask your PARENTS for advice instead of going to a shrink
Avoiding colds, naturally
A whole spread on glitter--things for your hair, cosmetics, shimmering lotions, etc.
Staying happy all winter
Avoiding memory loss
Recipes for New Years snacks
A craft for children
Casserole recipes
Beautiful home decorating ideas
Romantic fiction
A crossword puzzle
Asian tips for soothing living
and more.

As I said, its a more liberal publication, and probably not one that most homemakers or homeschoolers would choose, but if you are interested in developing a better outlook on life, this might be the magazine for you.

My mother used to buy this magazine back in the 60's when we lived in Tasmania, and there was always a race to fill out the crossword puzzle, totally ignoring the rest of the magazine.

Anonymous said...

About that woman's world magazine-- have you ever noticed how all their headlines end in an exclamation point?!

Lydia said...

I will have to look through the magazine the next time I am at the grocery store and see that!

It is a light hearted, optimistic magazine, which is great for the sour and the dour or the one who just needs some good news.

It always has something interesting about foods and health, and quite a lot of natural remedies. The ads are awful but flipping through it even without reading it, you can see that it is designed to have a positive impact, and it almost always has a picture of something chocolate in it.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Mrs. Sherman, for a powerful, and no nonsense article!

Anonymous said...

When I was a child, grocery stores were tiny areas where you pointed to things on a shelf across the counter, and the proprieter put them in a box for you. The parents left the children in the car parked outside the store, even in the cold winters. Things are so much better now.

Mahek said...

Thanks for visiting my blog...
I feel so happy...
I love your blog and have you on my side bar , you are an inspiration for homemakers like me...
wonderful post and thanks for the efforts taken to put this down for all of you really appreciate...

Mrs. V. said...

I can so totally relate to this post Lydia! For many years of my life I was surrounded, for one reason or another, by cynics. And I know first hand just how insidious that frame of reference can be and how it can seep into your own thoughts before you even know it. Thankfully, I know it when I see it now and I know to keep it at bay. I recently had to end a friendship with someone because they were all doom & gloom all the time. And they believed that everyone else should be doom & gloom all the time too and if they were not, then they simply did not understand life. Honestly, when I ended that friendship I felt like 10 pounds had been lifted off of each of my shoulders!

You have so much in this artice and also so much in all the comments, this will be one to read and re-read several times in order to soak it all up.

I love the magazines you mentioned and subscribe to several of them myself. I just recieved a letter today asking if I would like to subscribe to The English Home. You mentioned that one. I had never heard of it before. Is it a good one? My favorites are Victoria, Tea Time, and Southern Lady.

I have to be honest with you and admit something here. Whenever I start to feel a bit down or discouraged or like I don't want to put effort into something that I really should ~ I think of you & your daughter and the things you have both shared on your blogs. I think on all the craft ideas, the posts about living life in a proper and sweet manner and it gives me the extra little push I need to forge ahead myself and in like manner. I know you have a lot of critic Lydia, but please know you also have a camp of staunch supporters who "get" what it is you are trying to convey. Thank you and please continue to share your thoughts!

Lydia said...

Tea time is a nice one to actually subscribe to, but as for the others I would suggest you flip through them while in the bookstore and see if it is something you would want. I would highly recommend Victoria Classics, if you want to subscribe to something. It comes out only about quarterly...Victoria is also nice. Southern Lady is good but you might want to thumb through it in case it just does not have enough that would interest you. As for the English Home: I have to warn you to do the same thing: go through it in the store and see first if there is anything you would not find appropriate. They have had a few articles in the past year that were not family oriented in my opinion. You will have to look at the CHristmas issue and see what I mean. Its best to see the publication up front before deciding to buy. WOmen's world is quite liberal and not a Christian publication but does contain some good values and always opts for natural herbal things and good food, rather than drugs, and talks about happiness and has a bright appeal on the inside.

Lydia said...

When I talk about cynicism, it does not mean that people should never find anything wrong or inconsistent. For certain, Christians especially are supposed to recognize and avoid evil, and to warn others when they are in danger, and to also be alert to the false messages of the news media that are demoralizing. What I mean by cynicism is the cloudy mental state in which a person will think the sky is black when it is blue, and that there is a dark side to everything, that someone who is giving and kind must have a false motive, and that there is no truth or goodness and nothing to be happy about, and that everyone must be upset at all the issues all the time or else they are unsympathetic. I do appreciate the conservatives that evaluate the news and expose some of the false reports. That is not cynicism.

Alexandra said...

"Having an Abundant Life requires knowing that you cannot fix the world: you can only change yourself. "

Amen to this. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and many blessings in the new year.

Anonymous said...

There are young women who are misguided and think their duty is to correct the world. In doing so many things for so many causes, they neglect the home, which is really the most important thing. The home is so powerful in the way it can establish custom and belief for future generations.

Rightthinker said...

I absolutely LOVE this post! In our day of even atheists claiming to be pious, we can see that claims of social justice, progressivism and erosive liberalism all have their roots in ancient cynicism..which, in turn, makes one not pious at all, but rather the most self-centered and egotistical around us.

God Bless you, and thank you for the truth and encouragement that is so needed in our pandering to the negative world. :)

Lydia said...

I am still hoping someone will click on the link that I inserted to the definition of Cynicism...what it really means will make you laugh and disgusted at the same time.

To a certain extent, preachers have become cynical, preaching that everything is so bad, and leaving the church members without a plan of action to over come the world---and in some places it has been years since anyone has really heard the plain gospel in church. Instead, they like to preach about how bad everything is. It reminds me of the 18th century preacher, Jonathon Edwards, who preached "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Its one thing to preach the danger of losing your soul, but a preacher must always present the way out, that is, the plan that God has given to be redeemed and the steps to take to live a triumphant life. Jesus preached wrath to those who indulged in the cynicism of the times, but he send his disciples out to preach the gospel, and his apostles wrote instructions on how to live a live pleasing to God. So, preachers have to watch that they don't get into the cynical way of thinking of the world, which is spurred on by the news media and other forces that send out cynical messages hourly.

Cynicism is formed sometimes in childhood, because it is natural to think on the down side of things. Parents have to correct cynicism. Cynicism, along with other things (like socialism and communism) is simply forming an adult belief system out of childish tendencies: the tendency to blame, the tendency to be be a burden, the tendency to be selfish, the tendency to take what is not yours.

If you will go to Wikopedia and read the meaning of Cynicism, and read about the things the Cynics did, you'll see the hippie movement, the occupy movement, and many other trends.

Fiona Ferris said...

I read this post first thing in the morning here in New Zealand and it has really set me up for the day. Thank you Lady Lydia. Your creativity with words is abundant!

Anonymous said...

I was glad to read the other verses in the poem by Ella Wilcox. Indeed, the Cynic has no strength to endure life. That is why he is a cynic, wallowing in his own pessimism.

Lydia said...

When people in a country begin the practice of being cynical, a number of things happen:

it discourages people from trying new ways of looking after themeselves and their families.

it lowers production

it brings dependence upon the government to provide for you.

it brings a stagnated way of life, where no new houses are built for the next generation.

it creates discouragement in the home, where children think of life as awful

Lydia said...

To the lady who said her family members were cynical. You could be living with unbelievers. The BIble says in order to convert an unbeliever (a husband) you have to live right and have good conduct which shows him what is right. For the woman, I am sure it would entail doing all the things the scriptures teach about keeping house, guiding the home, guarding the home, teaching your children, and caring for your husband. Some men can be blinded by cynicism, so that they are unable to see the good life the wife provides him at home, but keep doing it. One day he will see it. And of course, you do it ultimately for God and will be blessed for it.

Lydia said...

definitions of a cynic

(adj) cynical, misanthropic, misanthropical
believing the worst of human nature and motives; having a sneering disbelief in e.g. selflessness of others

(adjective) cynical
not believing that good things can happen

(adj) cynical
given to sneering at rectitude and the conduct of life by moral principles; disbelieving in the reality of any human purposes which are not suggested or directed by self-interest or self-indulgence; as, a cynical man who scoffs at pretensions of integrity; characterized by such opinions; as, cynical views of human nature

inclined to believe the worst, especially about people
a cynical attitude.

Finding Joy said...

Joy is all around, it's just that most people don't stop long enough to notice. I often wander around my garden looking for the small things to see what might be going on. It makes you open your eyes to really look. People are in such a hurry that they don't enjoy their life, if only they slowed down. Often they created their own speed, not someone else is to blame.

Every morning I can find a reason to get up, even though I like to sleep in! There is so much to be thankful for, no matter how small. The Lord is so good and I am so thankful.

Anonymous said...

When we said, "We're having another baby!", they said, "Oh my G.., I feel so sorry for you! Don't think that we're going to help."

When we economized and lived in a tight little house, they said, "You need a bigger house with some room for the kids to play outside. This is awful, you need to get a decent house."

When they realized we were actually determined to have a blast raising all the kids, and that they got left out of all the fun, they changed their tune to, "It's not fair, you get to spend all this time enjoying the kids."

We had to move for my husband's great new job, and bought a beautiful house, further out, but still close to conveniences, and with very close-by neighbors, They said, "We are worried about you being 'out there' all day with the kids by yourself, we just don't understand why you would let your husband PUT you where you are!" (This house is a dream home, by the way!)

I think cynicism actually makes you irrational, crazy. It's a tendency to contradict or disagree with every thing there is in the world. If it doesn't look good, they'll criticize it, but when you turn it into GOOD, they'll criticize the fact that they can't have it, or belittle it so that you know they don't really want what you have anyway. Why would I care whether they like my stuff/life/situation, or not? Why is it a constant topic of conversation? I would never think to tell them my opinion of their home/life choices/current situation, etc.

The best thing I know is just to leave the room when you see them coming, before you get your brain tied in knots. I've heard it called "having a malignant mind".

I think that we should get really good at recognizing this problem, and freeing our minds immediately from the hold that these people want to place on our lives. Remind yourself that you are supposed to do the best that you possibly can, and if someone is criticizing you, dismiss them immediately in your thoughts, and don't allow their age or position to make you loose confidence in what you are doing.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking in Fascinating Womanhood for that quote that goes something like this... "I don't say, 'I like this' or 'I don't like that'. I simply say, a thousand times a day, 'I enjoy, I enjoy, I enjoy....'"

I can't find this quote, though I remember it being near the beginning of the book. I have been thinking about that one so much lately, and would like to remember the way it was actually phrased.

Incidentally, something I enjoyed yesterday, at the bookstore, a picture book called, "The French Cat", by Rachael Hale, and the quotes in it. I just felt so happy after looking through that for a while. The whole perspective of the book was refreshing.

Lydia said...

cynicism is very unhealthy for a family and for a nation.

Some countries almost run on the fuel of cynicism, because they lose sight of their heritage and lose their self reliance. Without freedom, independence, creativity, and accomplishing something, people get very cynical. It is a result of getting away from Biblical wisdom, understanding, knowledge and faith. The cynic is ready to move in where faith has left. Cynicism is one of those addictive, false religions.

Lydia said...

Agree, that you have to leave the presence of a cynic.

Psalms 1 says not to sit in the seat of the scornful, walk not in the counsel of the ungodly, stand in the way of the scoffer. The cynic is all this.

Don't invite the cynic into your life. Don't phone them, hoping to improve them. You just give them more fuel to light their cynic fire.

The Victorians disciplined their society by avoiding those who caused trouble, who were boorish or churlish at gatherings and dinners, so that word would get around and other people would close their doors to them, too. Cynics don't need to be entertained. They don't like it at your house and they don't like anything you do, so why would a cynic even need to visit you?

The only thing that seems to cure a cynic is to teach him about rudeness. It is very rude to be cynical. It is not courteous to contradict and talk about the bad side of life all the time. It is not thoughtful or kind to pick at happiness or pour cold water on someone's enthusiasm. So the cynic goes against all the Biblical commands to be loving, generous,
good, forgiving, helpful, etc.

The Old Testament spoke of the cities of refuge for criminals or people who were hunted or hated. There ought to be a city of refuge for the cynics, where they could all go and listen to each other gripe.

Lydia said...

A good response to a cynic:

"You are too cynical."

Other ideas for handling a cynic in your life:

Give her a plaque made up with the words from Philippians 4:8 (think on things lovely, good, pure, etc), and keep cards and stationery with positive messages, so when they have a birthday or special occasion, they receive a good message.

Katrinka said...

What an entertaining and uplifting post! When reading the portion about grocery shopping, I was reminded of my first adult grocery shopping experience... I was 17 in 1972 and the wife of a military man. We shopped at the commissary, a small quonset hut. First, upon arriving, we had to wait for a parking spot. Then we had to line up outside to wait for a buggy, because only so many buggies were allowed inside at one time. Then we could begin shopping... The commissary had narrow aisles with one-way traffic for the buggies. One way down one aisle, and the other way back up the next aisle, bumper to bumper buggies. There was only one size and one brand to choose from and everyone kept moving at the same speed to not impede the traffic flow :) ... colonel's wives (if they shopped there) right along with the wives of the junior enlisted. If we passed up something we intended to buy, that was too bad! No going back. Then we got to the checkout and loaded our purchases on the belt. We could either bag the groceries ourselves or pay a bagger to bag them for us and wheel them to our car. The commissary was extremely economical for us, in those days.

Our commissary, over in Germany in the mid 1980s, was similar, only they had the added benefit of home delivery for those people who didn't own a vehicle. This feature did not operate on Sundays, and I remember one Sunday when our daughter was a baby and I had her strapped into the little front carrier. My husband was gone for a few days, and I walked to the commissary, purchased many bags of groceries, and got to the checkout only to discover, after I had paid, that there was no home delivery because it was Sunday! My tiny baby was wailing, my food was thawing, and I was in despair! But a kind lady with a little car, lots of food and children of her own, came to my rescue.

Now, today, the commissaries are like huge Schnucks stores!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I had some fun with the "is the glass half full or half empty" question on a recent road trip. We came up with some funny alternate answers to it.

Engineer's Answer: "Neither. The glass is the inappropriate size for the amount of liquid. Go get a smaller glass."

Scientist's Answer: "I need more data to answer the question. What is the environment around the glass like? If you are in the middle of pouring liquid into the glass, then the glass is obviously half full and will soon be full if you keep pouring. If you are pouring liquid out, it is half empty and will be empty if you keep pouring it out. If you aren't doing anything to the glass, what is the surrounding temperature, pressure, and humidity? If the conditions are right, then more liquid will condense out of the air and go into the glass, meaning it is trending towards full. Under other conditions, the liquid will evaporate, meaning it is trending towards empty. Honestly, how can you expect me to answer the question without more data?"

Then we came up with a new branch of philosophy: Glassianism. "The glass is neither half full nor half empty. The glass is in balance. It is not so full that you will spill your drink if you move it. You've had enough liquid to say you aren't thirsty any more, but you aren't just about out of drink either. Life is good. You are in balance."

We occupied a good hour of road time with this conversation and enjoyed it thoroughly. And now we often say, "It is in balance" when someone asks us such a question.

It is a great gift to be able to pull joy out of the air. All it requires is some optimism, a sense of humor, and a good imagination. It also takes the gift of ignoring the chorus of gossip and cynicism that surrounds us in the media. People see what they look for and tune in to. There are indeed bad things that we need to be realistic about and fix, but for everyday things it's all about how we frame them. We should be upbeat but not so naive that we don't reach out and fix things we know we can fix.

Most everyday things are just how we frame them. We could say, "Oh, darn, I have to wait in line for an hour." Or we could say, "Oh! I have an hour with no other requirements than to wait! I'm going to use this time to knit (or make up a poem, or look at pictures, or whatever)." That's why I almost always have my knitting with me and have learned to knit standing up. I get a lot of strange looks, but I get a lot of smiles, too.

Thanks for the lovely post and all the lovely crafts that you show us.

Moderate Mouse said...

When reading this post, a couple of things come to mind:

1.At the church I attend, the current pastor has said in at least one of his sermons something like, "I could point one finger at someone else, but then I have three pointing back at me." That's what the whole thing of what you said about focusing on one's own faults and perfection reminds me of.

2. Anyone hear ever heard a country song called "Mind Your Own Business?" I think there are a couple of different versions out there, but one line of that which especially rings true to me is, "Minding other people's business seems to be high-toned. I've got enough just mindin' my own." The latter part of that will especially apply to me in the new year, especially since I'm bound to have quite a bit on my plate, including but not limited to:

1. Planning my wedding (a date has yet to be set due to different factors involved, but for the next month or two at least, I'm planning on checking out the market for dresses, decor, etc. if only to see what's out there)
2. Working out any bugs in my relationship with my fiance
3. Helping him out with his political campaign as needed and as my schedule will allow
4. In general anything to prepare for marriage (such as working on cooking skills)
5. Getting the ball rolling on paying off my student loans

And I'm sure that the list will get longer as I go. But I think that if I start to feel critical about what someone else is doing (which I have at various times, whether it was a celebrity or someone actually in my life), I'm hoping having my list in mind will remind me that I have enough to deal with without worrying about what someone else is doing.

(P.S. I will say this, though. To any cynics out there that want to talk to me about "fixing the world" or whatever, I'd suggest they start with something like any litter on any public grounds in their area; once they have personally cleaned that up, then get back to me. Just saying.)

Lydia said...

That was a beautiful and creative discussion using the reasoning of cynics!

Cynics are such silly people but underneath lies something more sinister: their belief that no one can rule himself, and no one is up to any good. This leads to despotism and dictatorship, as well as other forms of it such as socialism and communism. All these isms are based on that basic belief: that people are not capable of self control and cannot rule themselves and must not be allowed to think for themselves or make choices other than the ruling class dictates. So while its fun to laugh at cynics, they are the enemies of God and of the Biblical economic and social standards that make a family or a country great.

Lydia said...

Cynics might like to study the life of Lev Alexandrovich Tikhomirov; a man who in his youth embraced the folly of revolution and cynicism only to, with maturity, realize a better path."

Thank you so much for posting that!

And yes, to the lady who suggested we let the cynics know in no uncertain terms that we are "on" to them and will not tolerate their snide remarks.

We need to say, "Oh, you are SO cynical," "now, now...let's not be cynical (SMILE)"

Cynical attitudes have to be corrected in childhood and we have to point them out to our children when they see it in action, giving them examples of how it messes up people's lives.

The Victorians fought the cynics and their sourness but being a polite bunch, did not completely boot them out on their ear like they should have. We have so much to us left by Victorians--hospitals, cars, airplanes, forerunner of the computer,architecture, manners, the highway system, and waterworks--and yet the cynic has not left one single thing except ugliness and despair.

Anonymous said...

Oh Cousin,

I never saw what being cynical was until I read this post.... WOW!

I need to re-think my thoughts about allot of things.

Thank you for this post, cousin.


Mrs. A

Lydia said...

Cousin Rosemi, Bless you and also I love your pretty blog.

Lydia said...

The quote was by Dolly Madison, wife of the third president, James Madison. Dolly lived a long time, and there is a picture of her with later presidents Polk and Madison at a white house function. You can read more about here here:

Blessed Homemaking said...

Oh my, I just read the post at your daughter's blog about parenting that you linked to. It is wonderful and more and more I see I have so much to learn!

Lydia said...

That is the link in one of the paragraphs: A Child's World.

Anonymous said...


What is the end result when an entire nation is caught up in a cynical attitude?



The UK!


etc. Attitudes of cynicism and 'its everyone else's responsibility' eventually bleed a nation dry of moral and economic fortitude.

Brick by brick, person, one family at a time, and through God's grace, we can turn the ship around.

Anonymous said...

I have been pondering this post now for several days. I have come to realize how cynical I have become. I live around those who are very cynical and I can see that over the years I too have turned to be like that a lot of the time in defense. Many tell me they think of me as happy go lucky personality. Well I may be like that at times but then when I am surrounded by loved ones that are so critical I find myself being more and more like them when we are together. I was very upset to realize this. I have to break this habit. I know for years I was not like this no matter what was said to me but little by little I have reverted to being so. Now I Have to change. To keep my thoughts and words light and kind when being hurt with unkind words will not be easy. Those around me can see the bad in almost anything. With God's help I must get over this. I think it will help too if I think of Him being in our home as a guest at that very moment it will help. In actuality He is here. I would not want to appear and be so negative in his presence. I am grateful lyon have brought this up and been able to hear all the comments also to this post to help me see what is happening in my life. Sarah

Cynthia Berenger said...

Dear Lydia,

I loved the post. Thank you!

I believe that we all need a wake up call now and again as it can be easy to fall into a cynical mindset.

In answer to another commenter, the quote she seeks is from page 333 of FW: "You never hear me say, 'this is good' or 'this is bad,' but a thousand times a day I say, 'I enjoy, I enjoy.'" (Ninon de Lenclos)

Agape always,

Lydia said...

Thank you for the detail, Cynthia. I thought the quote was from Dolly Madison, as she was such a positive person.

Mrs. V. said...

The more I re-read and think on this post, I think it just may be the very best piece you have ever written! You have put to words so many things that I have had in my mind and heart but have not been able to figure them out in a way to give them a voice.

I have been the brunt of cynics saying that because I do not keep my ear turned to all the negative things in the news and that the world at large has to offer, that I should be ashamed of myself and should not be called a Christian. But honestly, I do not have to fill my head daily with all the bad news out there to know that our world is fallen and pray to our Lord about it!

I think your article is actually going to make it's way into my homeschooling lessons! I can shape a whole lesson about being cynical around this article and the links you have provided and have my teens read it. These are the types of things young people need to have already "planted" in their heads while they are young so it will give them ammunition against the cynics they will meet in their life.

Lydia said...

Mrs. V.

I will put this on the theme article section, also.

You can very well use this for homeschooling because it can be a history lesson and a philosophy lesson comparing false doctrines and contrasting it with the teachings of the Bible and comparing it to how the market works, the family works, the church works, the things in life works, and showing the purposes of success and failure. It could be a curriculum for a college psychology course that would take up a whole term.

One thing I think homeschool parents have to watch out for is telling their children about every issue that exists in the world, and making self righteous little conceited watchdogs out of them. The issues that exist will be replaced in 10 years or less by another issue and you could keep the children (and you) hyped up about it all their lives.

There is so little time with the children, as they grow up so fast. Most children do not know the major people in the Bible, nor the teachings of the Proverbs. Fill their minds with those things, instead, and the will be able to judge between right and wrong and know how to handle current issues.

Sadly, both the public school children and the homeschool children are filled with information that makes them worry or become unable to enjoy life. Fill their minds with good teachings that will make them able to rise above the current issues. Spend those fleeting years and all the time you have with your children, making them focus on the things that are good and lovely, and on the consequences and rewards in the lives of the major Bible events and characters. Then, compare them to current things, or people and character, if you must.

Baptist Acre said...

A WONDERFUL POST!!! God spoke to my heart. At first, I'm thinking, wow that sounds like "so-and-so" and as I kept reading, I realized that's "ME"! I think we all have some cynicism in our thought life. I gave a devotional to a few women last evening & shared some thoughts about cynicism. I really appreciate your post. One thing I determined to work on was my lack of "like" for shopping. Thank you. Keep it up.

Neo-Victorianist said...

Lydia, That is a wonderful article. Hope you and your family had a great Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

Angela Freeman said...

I really enjoyed this blog. We all need a reminder to count our many blessings!

Anonymous said...

Wow, how did you ever find that quote on page 333? Thank you soo much, I never would have found it, I as so sure it was in the beginning.

I will also enjoy reading about Dolly Madison, even if it wasn't her quote. Thank you for the info!

Lydia said...

That was Cynthia Berenger who found that quote. She is an FW teacher and very familiar with the book.