Friday, March 16, 2012

March Winds

Three Pink Roses by Paul Michael (Allposters)

March seems to bring fierce winds in every section of the earth, and similar temperatures in the northern and southern hemispheres.

When dark, stormy weather weather comes around, the grayness makes some people feel isolated and sorrowful, so it is essential to create an atmosphere at home that will provide emotional stability and feelings of hope and ambition. 

The outside climate cannot be controlled, but a homemaker does have control of the inside climate. She can provide the mood that she desires by placing some or all of the following things into her home:

Orderliness - Outer, surface neatness goes a long way to creating a settled mind. If the dwelling place looks orderly, it seems to contribute to clear thinking, which is essential during dark days.

Orderliness gives a sense of well-being.

Light - One reason we like the stores and malls and restaurants so much is that they are cheerful, with appropriate lighting. Lamps in dark corners, or ropes of clear Christmas lights can make a brighter day inside.
Small led lights, which sometimes are sold in packages of 3 or 4 for a dollar, can be put in clear or colored glass jars for indoor brightness.

The Aroma of Food and Drink.  Smelling cinnamon, coffee, chocolate, hot bread, a roast in the oven, hot cider, and other foods helps to lift the mood and give a feeling of reassurance and well-being. I know someone who does not drink coffee, but makes it every day just for the aroma.

Creativeness. Some people find great solace in painting, writing, sewing, crafting, cooking, building, or whatever suits them. Individuals have different interests and the process of working with ones hands can alleviate pressure on the mind. Depressing days are lifted by creativeness, and besides all that, you'll have something to show for your time. 

Tour Your Home.  It is refreshing to tour your own home as though you were a stranger, because you notice things that maybe you pass by previously.  You can put a vacation atmosphere in whatever small dwelling you have when it is orderly and arranged in a way that makes your heart sing. Just having the entry clean, favorite books and magazines at your fingertips, hot tea and scones, a well-made bed with flannel sheets, or a table set with your favorite dishes can make a dark, cold winter day or night seem less oppressive. Use your creative instincts to change things here and there by adding a comforting lap quilt or blanket to a couch, or warming your bath towels on the oil heater,  and a bowl of apples in the kitchen. Look around and see places where the senses can be awakened.
Lay your socks and a towel for a few minutes on an electric oil heater for quick warmth and comfort.

When Possible, Go Out. Some of the homemakers I am acquainted with prefer to stay home. These days they have every convenience, from their personal libraries, beautiful kitchens and large cookbook collections, perhaps a personal sauna in the bathroom or a hot tub in another room, a piano where they can play whenever they feel moved to do so, a sewing room or a portable sewing machine, a garden and everything they need to provide comfort and creativity at home. 

 Sometimes, however, a short outing can be very refreshing, and some people really need to go out every day.   Seeing life  go on elsewhere can provide stimulation and interest again for the home. Commerce can be interesting, as you shop for bargains or just see new products, all to enhance life at home and make it luxurious and comfortable.

One of the perks of being a homemaker is the freedom to choose the time to go shopping or run errands, without the pressure of time limits, crowds or traffic jams. I personally think it is more courteous to shop or visit places of interest when other people are in school or at work, so that you don't end up competing with them in long lines, for time. The mornings are quieter and the stores are emptier, and the homemaker will be out of the way, giving the place to others, if she shops during non-rush hours.

Have Company. Even of you do not want to venture outside of your home, or if you have so many responsibilities and piled-up work you'd like to finish, there might possibly be one person or couple that does feel like getting out and would welcome an invitation to a cup of tea.  On dark winter days and evenings, preparing for company is a wonderful distraction from the weather and can help you create good conditions inside the home.  There is nothing like getting ready for a visitor to inspire you to beautify your home. 
The Writing Desk by John O'Brien

Write to Someone. The mind can often be put at ease once pen is put to paper and thoughts are written down. Writing a short note to a friend has a twofold purpose: to make you feel better on a dark day and to give the recipient a letter in the mail. In spite of instant communication available today, people are just as, if not more, delighted to get a letter in the mail as ever.
Cotton Dress from The Scarlett Thread

Wash Up and Dress Up as though you were expecting company, even if you are not.  Grooming and dressing and preparing your appearance as though you were going to address the most important people in the world, goes a long way to improving your mood. After all, your family members are the most important people in the world, and even if you have no one at home, every time you open the door for a postal delivery or anything else, you brighten someone's day by your appearance. I was just running out to get the mail the other day, and the person who was delivering it said, "I enjoy seeing the different aprons you wear. Do you sew?"  You never know the influence you can have with your appearance. You can either make someone's day or break their spirit by the way you present yourself, in the home or out.

An older woman I knew had worked hard all of her life taking care of her home and family. In her later years, she began to dress up every day, even though she lived alone. She said, "Life is too short to wait for some special occasion, so I am going to dress up every day. It helps me face the day and feel dignified."

Our Lord told his disciples not to wear a sad countenance or bring attention to themselves when they fasted (Matthew 6:15-17), but to fast in secret and wash their faces so that it would not be apparent to anyone observing them. By the same principle, I think it is important to act as cheerful as possible when it is more tempting to be melancholy.
Boxes and decor from Michaels arts and crafts.

Try Something Different. Read about a subject you have not previously known, try a new pattern, a new recipe, a new interest.  Approach someone at the checkout or the bank or anywhere you have to go while on your errands and find out if they live in the vicinity and would like to come to tea sometime. Most of the time you might get turned down, but you definitely won't get anything at all if you do not ever ask.

Begin a day with prayer, and pray often throughout the day when the darker days come. We discussed this in a recent ladies Bible class, and one of the ladies remarked, "You wouldn't have to see a therapist if you did that every day!"  The Great Physician is our wonderful comfort in times of uncertainty, grief, depression or despair.  Once a preacher wrote the word "depression" on the chalkboard, dividing it into the words "de-press- i- on" pointing out the words:  "press I on," or "I press on."

Assign Yourself Some Tasks making a list the night before or early the next day, and discipline yourself to do them. One way to overcome mood swings or overcome the way the weather can effect you, is to develop self control and determination.   It means forcing yourself to do a task, whether you feel like it or whether you are in the mood or not. Life is like having a new baby: that baby will have to be looked after whether you are in the mood or not. Mothers get up in the middle of the night, knowing the needs of the baby are only met by her. When you know how much depends upon you, your duty will become desire.
Morning in the Studio, by Patrick Adams

Rest.  Howling winds and shattering rain seem more ominous towards evening time, and especially so at night.  After a good night's sleep, stormy weather and dark skies do not seem as threatening. Things are always darkest before the dawn.  One might feel depressed and burdened with care  as the day wears on, but the morning brings a feeling of lightheartedness and ease, if it is preceded by proper rest.
Rose Patterned Tea Things photo by Michael Paul from Allposters

Display Flowers in your home. Grocery stores have single stems which are not a great expense, and can last quite awhile. Placed in a slender bottle, such a blossom can be beneficial to everyone who views it.  Primroses growing outside can be re-planted in a small container and brought indoors for a centerpiece.

Whether you are able to do anything to change your indoor atmosphere or not, inclement weather never lasts forever.  A brighter day will come.

In keeping with this thought, the song "There's a Better Day A-Comin" an old spiritual that many people sang in school back in the old days,   can be viewed on my playlist, or here.

  When it is cloudy outside, why not click on my playlist and just let it play for an hour. There are long pauses between pieces, so do not think it is stuck. Also, there are now so many pieces on it, that none will be repeated. I find I can get loads and loads of dishes washed and the entire kitchen cleaned during this playlist.

You can also listen to the hymn "Til The Storm Passes By," here.

To print this for your home living notebook, press here..


Suzanne said...

Wonderful suggestions. My favorites for a bit of cheer is a splurge on some flowers--tulips and daffodils remind me the warm weather is coming. A bit of classical music or piano solos is cheery too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for such a great encouraging post! I have health issues that are definitely made worse by the weather and it would be so nice to have sunny beautiful days every day, but it isn't always so. So I love the encouragement to make our homes nicer.

I would agree that stores often have better lighting. I always feel better after going to Walmart- and it is cause it is so bright and cheerful in there.

We do leave the house daily, even just for a short trip out. With my husband and my health issues, this seems to help us both. If we lived in the country, I am sure we wouldn't do this, but we live two minutes from everything. Visiting a library, the local thrift stores, or Walmart or the grocery store or going to church or visiting family is our usual outings. I notice that my children play much nicer if we take a short outing daily. They come home and play real nice together. Where as if we stay home all day, they fight nonstop it seems. I also have more energy to clean and do housework with a short outing. Sometimes just getting out and getting some fresh air and doing something interesting helps and then it makes me so glad to be home again! However I don't like to be gone too long or it is too easy to fall behind on housework and homeschooling.

I always love your organization and homemaking ideas! Thanks for sharing. Some great inspiration!

Ginger said...

Since I started reading your blog, I have adopted so many of these ideas. I've also transitioned from a full-time homeschool teacher to full-time writer. While I love the writing, I am very careful to make time for sewing, playing my instruments, devotionals, and personal studies. During March and February, I like to sew spring and summer dresses, blouses, and skirts. I'm so glad I got back into sewing and began wearing 24/7 dresses with your encouragement. Homemaking is my first priority. Now I hire a little girl down the street to come in and vac/dust. It is nice to have visitors, keep the blinds open, dress nicely everyday, and add lovely touches like fresh flowers. I send oodles of letters especially to my grandchildren. A nap is nice, too. Thank you for helping me take my homemaking to the next level.

Farrah said...

Your ideas are always so inspirational! Thank you for your continued ministry! Have a wonderful weekend.

Farrah said...

Your ideas are always so inspirational and encouraging! Thank you. Have a wonderful weekend.

Lydia said...

I like hearing a storm, but some people are unsettled by it, and in such a case, a symphony played loudly on your playlist or player, will block out the noise.

Hazelnut said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
I agree about the potential mood lowering effect of bad weather.
At the moment I have not only the weather to contend with -
I am sad to say that my mother passed away a week ago, and although she was 92, and it was expected fairly soon, it was still a shock.
As always I am finding your homely advice an inspiration, and these suggestions couldn't be more helpful just now.
I always feel cheered and calmer after reading your posts, also ready to create new pleasures in my home. Perfect to help me move on a little, at a gentle pace.

Thankyou, as always,
Hazelnut x

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the effort and wonderful articles you write. They help so much. God bless you.

Lydia said...

Hazelnut, it is sad as we are now losing our old people. They made life so interesting. It is bleak without them, and I imagine when you lose your parents you feel like an orphan. It is comforting to have that older generation, and unnerving to face life without them.

Anonymous said...

Before going to bed, it's always my routine to see if Lady Lydia has written a new post for the day and always wonderful to have the lovely surprise of one. Today's is full of treasures...and thank you Lydia for the time and love you put into your writings.

Anonymous said...

These ideas sound like a recipe for good mental health!

Unknown said...

Your post was so inspiring to me. It's nice to know I'm not alone in taking the time to do my hair, wear makeup and get dressed when heading out to get the mail!
I get out almost everyday...taking a walk around the neighborhood, going to the gym, running errands...
Having fresh flowers in the home sounds so nice especially with spring approaching. I'll have to keep any eye out for the next time I'm at the grocery store for some deals.

Lydia said...

In my opinion there is not any point in waiting for something important to happen in order to have a reason to dress up and look your best. This way, you'll be ready for anything, but if nothing happens, you'll have made the day very special.

Finding Joy said...

I use to have flower in my house until my cat took a liking to pulling off petals and decorating the floor in petals at night!! Therefore I bought a few indoor plants that she leaves alone, they add colour and freshness that I like. The Peace Lily is a great indoor plant as it flowers on and off all year.

Classical music is something I like to have playing in winter - I love the soothing sounds.

PS I love going to sleep to the sound of rain (not thunder) - I find it so peaceful. We don't get a lot of rain, so I enjoy it even more when it does rain.

Lydia said...

It certainly won't hurt anyone to use these hints to improve mental health!

Anonymous said...

This is excellent. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I love this post! All your posts on making the home a haven are wonderful and I look forward to them more than I can tell you. Thank you for being such an inspiration and a source of hope.

in His peace,

Tricia said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
I wanted to thank you for being such a godly inspiration to me. I enjoy your blog so much and am learning a great deal of things I will pass down to my daughter!

Tricia in Chicago

Mary said...

What wonderful lessons, thank you!

Laura Lane said...

This is a terrific list for any time one is feeling a bit down. Be blessed! Laura