Monday, April 30, 2012

Q and A

Painting by Belinda Byers Available from Lovely Whatevers

The following questions are from emails I have received over the years since beginning this blog and the LAF site.

Q. I can tell by the picture on this blog that you dress Victorian. I think you judge other women by the way they dress. I wear a mini skirt, high heels, have short, spikey hair and long nails. In your disapproval, you would cross over to the other side of the street if you saw me.

A. So, do you mean that the way a person dresses, determines how they judge other people? If that is true, then, does it apply to you, as well? You wear a mini skirt and have your head shorn. Does this mean you disapprove of wearing Victorian clothing? Would you cross over to the other side of the street if you saw a woman in a long dress, wearing gloves and a hat and carrying a parasol? According to your reasoning, if someone wears red, they would avoid anyone that didn't wear the same color.

 Q. Why do you only use Victorian paintings on this blog? You are just trying to force us all to wear long skirts and bring women back into the Stone Age .

A. Not all the paintings are of the Victorian era. This one in particular, which is at the head of the post,  was painted by a current artist who is living today and it was published at Allposters for sale just this year. Maybe you should contact her and ask her why she paints such pictures. Tell her we are in the 21st century now, and she should be painting girls in black leather with spikey hair, black lipstick and tattoos and rings in their tongues and belly buttons. Or maybe she should paint the scenes of women that we see every day at public beeches, all dressed up in nothing, with plenty of flesh overflowing  on less than fit bodies, to emphasize  smallness of  the piece of fabric they bought.

The beauty of the fabric and clothing of the Victorian era has been repeated several times in the 20th century. In fact, even during the 1960's, the lace blouse and long western type skirt with books was in style. In spite of any current fashion, there has always been the Victorian alternative style for women. Though it may lack the billowing sleeves and skirts, the principles of line and modesty are still there. This site features Western style clothing for women that uses some of the styles from the Victorian era, modifying them for wearing today.

 As for why I use any "Victorian" style paintings, the answer is simple: I like fabric, I collect fabric, I sew fabric, I like to go to stores and look at fabric, and the Victorian fashions have a lot more fabric in them. I think it is amazing how the artists can paint on canvas and get the garments to look like real fabric, with the folds and the shaded areas, and the color. It just amazes me how smart the 19th century (Victorian) artists like Edmund B. Leighton, Edward Johnson, Charles Haigh-Wood, Winterhalter, Daniel Ridgeway Knight, John Bagnold Burgess, and thousands of others of the period, could paint such details and accuracy and at the same time display such beauty and happiness in women, on canvas, for the world to enjoy a hundred years later. As for the Stone Age, I'm not really familiar with the fashions of that era. Did women wear a lot of cloth back then, or was it more like the 21st century?

Q. You seem to think all women should wear clothes like this, which are so impractical and out of style.
A.  I post the pictures that I like, of the styles that I like. Every blogger has that right. I am not here to appeal to everyone's tastes. I like fabric, and I like to sew, and I enjoy the old paintings. My style reflects my likes.

Q.You women are so stupid...don't you have minds of your own? I can't imagine being in subjection to a husband...A. Well then, like the preacher said in the sermons of the past section, just make sure you never get married. With an attitude like that, it is better to stay single than to ruin someone else's life. If you don't need a husband, then leave the men alone, to marry someone who does who is willing to take care him.

Q. Do you think Victorian is the only way to decorate or dress?A. No, I don't. It would be boring if I visited all my friends and they had the exact same style in decor and in clothing or hairstyle, wouldn't it? If you look carefully at the photographs of Victorian women, their clothing is different in many ways. In black and white photographs it is hard to see but the blouses and skirts are all different and so are the hats. Their homes were all very different, depending on their family income and their interests.There are lots of sites on the web that showcase the Victorian style and its beauty. We are all related to the Victorians, yet for some reason, there is a hatred of the era. I wonder what our grandmothers and great grandmothers who lived in that era would have said, had they known the disrespect the 21st century women would have for their era. 

Q. What about young girls at home?
A. Every set of parents has the right to make that decision, based on their understanding and their wisdom. Children don't have the wisdom it takes to get out in the world too early, and that is why God gives them parents as their protectors. Some parents don't care what their girls do, and others want to protect them a little more than they, themselves were protected. Some of the reasons for this are: they realize the dangers that are out there, due to their own observations when they were young, they want to provide something more fulfilling for their daughters than to send them away at an early age to fend for themselves, and some just have daughters that would rather stay home. There are probably more reasons for this focus on the home than I can list, but those are some of them.

 If you are a young girl reading this, you may not fully comprehend the feelings behind these reasons, until you have children of your own. A man or woman in the old times, and even in today's times among people like the Turks, still stay home til they get married. A man or woman leave their father and mother to be joined to their husband or wife. There wasn't an inbetween stage where kids lived wildly, getting lonely, poor, under pressure, depressed, living away from home. There will always be those who do, but they are ultimately safer at home. You don't find kids disappearing mysteriously who are with their parents or young people getting assaulted right beside their mates. It is when they are alone or with a group of friends their own age that they are in the most danger, both emotionally and physically. 

Q.Do you have to ask your husband permission for everything you do?
A. No. By the time you've lived with someone 40 years, you can read their minds.You know their likes and dislikes, and in fact, you think alike and your values are the same.

Q. Do you believe the male is superior to the female?
A. No, but the woman isn't superior to the male, either. In Christ they are heirs together in the grace of God. The woman is to marry, bear children and keep house, that the word of God be not blasphemed. The man is to work by the sweat of his brow and provide for his own family, which may also include an elderly parent or someone who is a helpless dependent. If he refuses to do this, he is called a number of "names" or labelled, in the New Testament, as someone who is derelict in his duty. Being the provider doesn't make him superior to anyone. Its really a great sacrifice for him. The woman guiding the home has a huge job. She isn't inferior just because she does that. It is just two different things. It is the feminist spin on word usage that has made women question this. A man "gets" to work outside the home and make money in a career, but a woman "has" to stay home. If it were spun the opposite, the men might rebel and stay home and be housekeepers while the women are sent to work to provide for their families. It is scary to think what would happen if men rebelled the way women have.

Q. Do you judge people's salvation based on what they wear, or how they clean their houses?
A. No, I don't. Even people with clean houses who dress modestly can be lost if they do not obey the gospel.

Q. Your husband provides for you and you do not have a job outside the home. That makes you a "kept" woman, doesn't it? A.I'm not sure what you mean by that term, but if I am one, I'm happy that it is my husband that is keeping me, and not someone else. I consider it an honor to keep our home.

Q. Aren't you aware of what people say about you elsewhere on the web? They say you lack compassion and that you are a hypocrite. A.Yes, I am aware of this, but I was not aware that any particular group or person was ever chosen as a blog compassion police, or a blog hypocrite police. They who accuse people of this publicly lack compassion themselves. There is a danger of calling someone a hypocrite, because it seems as soon as you do, you become one, yourself.I know Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, but I'm not up there with Jesus so I don't do it. I don't see where it would benefit me or my life or anyone else's to call someone a hypocrite, even if they were one. Actually in this world, it would be hard not to find hypocrites everywhere, as every person that has ever lived has been one at one time or other. If we start labelling hypocrites, we will end up with a very long list.

Q. What right do you have to say anything about shorts and bra-tops and women's clothes? A.I'm not claiming any "right," I am just making an observation: most women outside the fashion model world do not look good in these things, yet they follow the trends that were made for only those with perfect figures. Some so-called fashion "experts" loudly broadcast on television shows that skinny clothes make fat women look thinner, but it is not true. Older women especially do not look good in modern, western clothes. If people want to call me names over my observation, they need to also call Cojo some names, for titling one of his pieces on Inside Edition, "When Bad Fashion Happens to Good People."  Most of the Victorian fashions concealed women's underwear, whereas today, underwear is worn as outer-wear.

To be fair, it isn't women's fault entirely.  They buy what is available on the rack at affordable prices. They do not have dressmakers. They don't have a lot of choice. The only fault on the part of the women is that they don't know how to make good choices in clothing, and the rest of it is the fault of the fashion industry and the manufacturers. I am not saying I am completely happy with my own clothes or that I have found the perfect way to dress. When women can't sew anymore, they lose their independence and their freedom of choice and they are helplessly dependent upon what is in the stores to get something to wear, and when they are desperate, they will wear anything.

Q. There are rumors all over the web that you hate lesbians. What do you say to that? A. I don't know who the big judge out there is that was appointed to decide what I hated and what I did not. Did I say somewhere that I hated someone? Now let me ask a question that I have been wondering for awhile. Apparently there is a quota in businesses, where a certain number of minorities have to be hired, including "alternate lifestyle" people. My question is, what if one of these "alernate" people gets converted to Christ and puts away her sinful ways? Would she have to go to her employer and confess that she was no longer qualified for a minority job? To date, no one has answered my question. This is a question of ethics, also.

Q. Your children are grown, so why aren't you out working now? A. I answered that question in a recent post. Here again, I find the retirement police at work trying to decide what I should do with my life in my later years. I don't understand why they want to send a bunch of old ladies out into the workforce. Aren't there enough young women screaming for the right to work, to fill all these job opportunities? Why should I compete with them? 

Q.I totally hate what you represent. It is well known what you think about unwed mothers and single mothers and in fact you would have rejected the virgin, Mary if you had met her today. A. It is interesting how many "thought-police" are out there claiming to know what I think, or claiming to deduct what I think, or claiming that my blog leads them to know what I think. The people you are talking about are Fearful, Loud, Angry Women who look for flaws in homemaking blogs and use the excuse that they don't like what I write, as a reason to broadcast what they believe I think. Only God knows what I think. They should name their site, "FLAW" because of their constant complaints about the posts here on this blog. I don't know who appointed the "FLAW" bunch as monitors of this particular site. I didn't personally attack any one of the FLAW and never had any personal complaints about them. I don't dictate anything to anyone and people can come and go as they like. They can always take me off their blogroll if what I say irks them. There are much worse sites out there that really do hate other people and really do dictate to women what they must wear and where they can go and how they can live. Some religious groups even have clothing that is approved by their church heirarchy, and cannot wear commercial clothing. Others have their diet dictated to them by their church, and still others do not drive cars because they belong to a religion that doesn't believe in it. I don't dictate anything to anyone. This has a variety of ideas on it but it doesn't insist on its own way. FLAW insist, however, that they are right about what I think. I, on the other hand, can't insist that I know what they think. There will always be the FLAW types that will be unhappy with other sites and blogs.

Q. Don't you think you should be aware of everything people are saying about you in the blog world, in order to refute it? A. No. It is too time consuming , plus the accusations now range from being a woman hater and a child hater to being an ax murderer. Sometimes I check out these blogs but if they don't have any good recipes on them, I quickly move on. The refutations are available already in my posts on this blog, if anyone reads it carefully.I can't go around putting out all the fires that FLAWS start, and besides, if I get in an argument with anyone, they win: they are better arguers than I am.
A Familiar Walk
by Susan Rios, California

Q. You don't believe in sending daughters off to college or to work. Isn't that extreme? A. I don't know which subject you really want me to address: college or "extreme." As for college, after looking into the issue on many levels (regarding expense, time, influence, etc) I find college and "extreme" solution for just about anyone. I'm not of course, talking about studying to become a doctor or dentist, but about the general liberal arts colleges where young people are sent. I can't find any scripture in the Bible that authorizes us to do this, and most people who are honest will report the goings-on at colleges in a less than stellar light. You say I'm not in favor of college for girls: well that is not true. I'm not in favor of it for anyone, in its present system. There are classes and courses that people can take outside of the establishment that provide a far better education than the college system. It is a great big business, and it needs us to send our kids there so they can stay in business. I could perhaps write volumes about it but there are already a lot of other good articles written by other people. There also remains the flesh and blood evidence from colleges: the results it has given to women in particular. The rude comments and the Q and A mostly come from feminist college students. Colleges are dominated by feminism, even the so called Christian colleges. Churches have a lot of feminism in them, but a person could always have church with like minded people in their own home or community and avoid some of the feminist teachings. I don't see why people couldn't do the same, in the case of college. They go to school and want to learn a particular thing, but thrown in with it is all the feminist doctrine, and when they are not in class, they must still have the politically correct attitudes which are controlled in part by these feminists. Still, no matter what kind of system it is, or who is in control, I see no evidence in the Bible of sending people off to these institutions and dont see any command that says "thou shalt send thy children to college." College is big business and it needs your business to stay in business. They generally don't care who enrolls, as long as they have the money, so don't get the idea that your child is special just because he got accepted into a college.

Q. What is your answer to the accusation on other blogs, that you would despise the virgin, Mary.
A.I have contacted one of these people, who claim that it was not an accusation, but merely a "tongue-in-cheek" illustration. To that, I will say, that if it was a tongue-in-cheek piece of writing, then everything on my blog is also tongue-in-cheek, to them, and so, they have nothing further to complain about regarding my writing.
Q. I don't agree with you. I reject this.
A.Agreeing or disagreeing or rejecting, may change someone's mind, or opinion, but it does not change reality or change truth, or change facts or change history. You may or may not agree with Titus 2 or I Timothy 5:14, but it doesn't change those verses one single bit.
Q. I'm not exactly a socialist, and sometimes call myself a Christian Socialist, but I feel guilty that I am blessed with so much, while others around the world are not. Socialism seems like a compassionate way , as even Christ fed the hungry.
A.Socialist doctine sounds really good if you are young and idealistic, but the Bible does not teach it. We are not commanded in the Bible to make all people equal or give everyone an equal standard of living. The mission of Christians is never given to be eliminating poverty or equality, but to teach the gospel and save the souls of men, and live a good, clean life that will not blaspheme or discredit the word of God. To force socialism on people is to rob Christians of the opportunity to serve others in benevolence and teaching. If the state provides for everyone, there is no need for husbands to provide for wives, as the Bible teaches, and there is no need for Christians to help the needy. Providing benevolence is one way to open the door for teaching the gospel, and that can't be done if the Christians have no one to help. Socialism is taking a role that God has not authorized. He appointed men to look after their families, not the state.
Q.I would like to stay home but when I talk about it, I don't get any support. People act like I'm going back into the Dark Ages and will end up with no life.
A.The best thing to do is not waste time arguing with anyone but just prove your point by doing it.

Q. Why do you not answer questions that people put to you in public on their blogs?
A. This is my blog and I can do as I like with it. If they want to ask questions, that is what they will do, and if I dont want to be answering questions all the time, that is what I will do. Its a free blog.

Most of the questions from feminists are demanding and not necessary to helping them become wives, mothers and homemakers. Young women are worried about many things that they cannot get answers to. There are some things in life that most of us at one time or another will never get an answer to. Young people today just cannot accept life. They want to impose their own political beliefs on me and challenge me for the way I live. They ought to be quiet and get their laundry and dishes done and clean up their houses and spend the time getting their relationships with parents, husbands and children, in compliance with scripture, and quit trying to rearrange my blog.

As a blogger, I have a perfect right and liberty to put articles back into drafts and tinker with them and add to them if I like. If I want to keep an article in drafts for years, I can do that. I am not getting a salary for any of these original articles and I do not owe anyone an article. If I like it I can keep it up, but if I want to alter it I can put it in drafts and re-do it. I don't go around demanding that other bloggers explain themselves or answer my questions and I don't expect to be given demands from spoiled women who think they have a right to have answers from everyone.

If I want to reject a comment, I may, and so may they. However I often get emails demanding to know why I rejected their posts. I know that feminists often do not post everything that people try to post, yet they get so indignant if I do not post everything they write.

If you have a particular question, do the research yourself and find out for yourself rather than ask me to explain every little thing and spoon feed you an opinion. Do the studying and then reach your own conclusions about any subject matter rather than demanding answers from me about what I believe. One reason I do not answer is because of the attitude of entitlement that these feminists have. They act as self-appointed investigators who are entitled to cross-examine me. They want to entrap me by enlarging things into issues greater than what they were intended to be. I will not answer these kinds of demanding questions because of the arrogance in which they are asked. These girls lack humility and they lack understanding. It will take them awhile to see that their world is not going to go the way they want it to, and that many women will choose to stay home rather than go to college or get a career. They demand that I explain "what I mean " or my "position" on the matter. I don't need to explain it and re-explain it. There are plenty of articles here to read and I dont have to spend days and nights explaining things. They are the type of people who will not be happy with any kind of explanation, anyway, as they are arguers, practiced in sophistry. You can't ever convince them of anything, and much time is wasted that could be spent on those who are seeking the Lord's way. Surely they are educated enough to find their own answers.

Q. Judging from the fact that your style is Victorian, and that you believe in wearing skirts and dresses, I would say that you are legalistic.

A. I do not know what religious doctrine started the accusations of legalism, but they are not well-founded at all. Would they also call the Persian women legalistic because they cover their heads and wear tunics and pants? Would they call the Muslim women legalistic? What about women in India: most of them still wear the sari, a dress and shawl that covers the head. Are they being legalistic? What is legalistic about wearing the costume of your culture?

Dresses have always been part of the western culture. What is wrong with western culture as it once was, with, as the poet Robert Louis Stevenson penned, the wind blowing "like ladies skirts upon the grass." Do you think the people in the days of Robert Louis Stevenson were legalistic because the ladies skirts were long enough to hear their rustle upon the grass?

Have you seen the film, "The Electric Edwardians?" It is a silent film of just people in England walking around in the country or in town, which shows what they really looked like. Were they being legalistic because the men wore hats and tipped them at the ladies, and the ladies wore long skirts and pretty blouses? Would you say that the women in Bible times were legalistic because they wore long veils from head to foot? So I reject your accusation of legalism, as it cannot be proven.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Weekly Ladies Tea and Bible Study

by Valentine Cameron Prinsep, English 1838-1904,  

Here is a sample of a Ladies Bible Study class, which several readers of this blog have requested.  I do not use a lesson plan, but maybe you can get a idea of how this class is conducted, by my description here. I may, however, read the chapter on the previous evening to get an idea of some some of the discussion that it might inspire, looking for key verses that have become familiar. 

 Although other ladies host it in their homes, this morning  it will be held in my home. 

It was foggy outside but we soon forgot the gloom as we settled down inside for our weekly study. Someone will choose a song so that we can begin the morning with a beautiful blending of voices. Today we sang "God is the Fountain Whence."  It is an old song that has some lovely word phrases and poetry.

Here is a copy of the sheet music for you, and you can click it to make it easier to read.
The shaped notes in this piece are a style  invented a long time ago for people who did not read music, to help them identify the sound of the note.  Shaped note songs were published in a book in the 1800's called  "The Sacred Harp," and singers sang the names of the notes before they actually sang the words of the songs, to get everyone in harmony.  You can learn more about Sacred Harp singing by listening to this video.  

We know these songs by heart and so we do not need to pay much attention to the notes, and we have our own way of singing, which we like.  Most people in our group learn to sing by sitting next to someone who knows the songs, and of course, they all sing casually at home as they go about their day.

I usually select a lady who will greet guests at the door and hang up their coats before they choose a favorite comfortable place to sit.  The class includes grandmothers, young mothers, teen aged girls and children, with small chairs for the little ones so that they can quietly color or draw during the class.

Today we read the verses in the book of Galations, chapter 1, which can be seen at the end of this post. In these studies, we take turn reading the verses until we have completed each chapter, keeping an eye open for something of interest they want to discuss. Each person gets a chance to make an observation, ask a question, or make a comment about something they found interesting in the chapter. Each person is urged to apply the text to something in life today, and to appreciate the purpose for which it was written at the time.  I usually read a little historical background to the chapter. There are always a lot of interesting comments, but it would be impossible to relate them all here or to tell every detail of the conversation that ensued after the reading of the chapter. 

Over the years we have always chosen a book of the Bible to read, and each week, mulled over one chapter of that book. When we have finished that book, I always ask what book they want to study next, and let them choose one they are curious about that they think they might enjoy. This class was begun 47 years ago by the woman who owned this house, and each younger generation has kept it going.

Years ago I abandoned the use of typewritten worksheets or study guides or workbooks. It was expensive and hard to determine how many copies to make. If you do type out a study guide with questions, my advice is to wait til you see how many people are in the class each week before you make copies for them. These days most people have copy machines in their homes and can be more economical about how many pieces of paper to use.  Workbooks are often wasted if the student forgets to bring it, loses it, or is absent from the class.  Composing study sheets can be a burden on the teacher, when the study sheet is already there in the Bible.

  Without all that paper or workbooks, things are so much easier, because the teacher just has to remember what the next chapter is and can pick up where they left off the week before. Students do not have to be embarrassed if they lost their study sheet or if they didn't do their "homework." This way, we learn as we go, right then and there in the class.

You might wonder why someone would choose to study Galations for a ladies Bible class, which is a class that concerns the lives of women in the Lord's church.  While we have studied the "women's chapters" of Titus 2 and Proverbs 31, I believe that it is important for women to know what is in the rest of the Bible, so they can guide their families into wise living and learn to have peaceful homes. 

 The book of Galations addresses  the problem of being easily diverted from the sound teaching of the gospel. It was addressed to those who had already been added to the Lord's church  (the ecclesia, the called-out) by obeying the gospel of Christ, but had strayed from the truth, being persuaded to leave it and go back to their old religion. 

 It is a warning about how false teachers will stealthily steal the hearts of Christians and persuade them to believe false doctrines that the Bible does not teach, and how to be wary of them. It warns about listening to people who say that angels visited them and told them a different doctrine.  Wives, mothers and daughters need to know these things so that their family members have spiritual and emotional stability and are not easily attracted to teachings that will take them away from the pure word of God. So, that is why we are studying the book of Galations this next month. It is important to know what is in this book in order to be aware of false teachers who claim that the law of Christ is not spiritually binding today.

 After singing another hymn we adjourn to the dining area. This is what it looked like today as I was getting out the cups and saucers.

The Prairie Rose tea set, reserved for such a time as this 

and the pot of tea was covered with a tea cozy made by a friend, who also made the matching tea-themed table cloth quilt. 

There are several advantages to having a weekly or monthly Bible study time with women:
1. It helps us to sit still without distractions, and read a chapter.
2. We have some time to show hospitality to one another that we might not get around to doing if we did not have it scheduled.
3. The hostess prepares her house.
4. The guests get a break from their own duties at home for an hour or so, and they can bring their children with them.
5. In these classes, there is never a discouraging word.

Occasionally we welcome a video guest on the computer, via Skype, who also takes a turn in reading or commenting.

As each verse is read, think about a question or comment you might make.

Chapter 1

1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abodewith him fifteen days.
19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.
20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.
21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
24 And they glorified God in me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Art In The Home

Girl With Roses
by  VasilyTropinin, Russian,  1776-1857
Click on the painting for a larger view.

"Who likes to look in a life at angry, cloudy persons? What for to transfer to a cloth unpleasant which remains without changes, what for to make a painful impression, to raise heavy memoirs in loving this person? Let they see it and remember during a happy epoch of a life."
(Vasily Tropinin). 

Art in the home should delight the homemaker. If she is the one to care for the dwelling and to be there most of the time, let her have the art she likes, and give her the freedom to have the variety of change. There are frames you can get in discount stores like Wal-Mart, which allow you to change the print any time you want, and store your other prints in the back of the frame.

  I believe that good art should be an imitation of nature and should exhibit grace and beauty, giving a feeling of love and calm in the home.   Happily, the great art of the realists and the pre-raphaelites and Victorians like Edmund B. Leighton are available for common folks like us, as reasonable prices in various online sites.  If you will check through my blog, you can find many of these prints, do a search and find a source.

If for some reason you do not have access to beautiful art, I'd like to suggest you go through magazines and books and find some you can put in small frames (from the dollar store) to display around your house. It helps to great a wonderful atmosphere inside the house. If you can afford the ink, or if you have access to an office supply printing shop, you might try right-clicking on some of your favorite paintings and see if the print option is available. Print on photo paper and put in a frame for your home. I have in the past suggested that homeschoolers have their own art-reader by collecting these paintings on printer paper and putting them in a book, with the bio of the artist adding things to consider or observe about the paintings.

I like the quote by the artist, above. Art should record a "happy epoch of life."  If you have children at home, it is important for them to have good things to look at in the house for the times that they spend staring or or thinking about life.

Whatsoever things are lovely...think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Friday, April 20, 2012

Personal Bible Study

Spring Concert
by Janet Kruskamp

Because we are the primary care givers of our families, it is easy to overlook the things necessary for our good health and spiritual stability. It always seems selfish to spend time alone when there is so much to be done at home, but these few minutes each day can be the glue which holds the day together for you.

  A special place and time can be created for meaningful Bible study. Sometimes Bible study can be frustrating and "dry" because it is not applied personally, with the object of finding delight in the word of God. My own goal for my weekly Ladies Bible Study which I teach, is that above all, the ladies will leave my home feeling happier and more full of life than they did when they arrived. This is the same attitude I hope that ladies will develop in their personal Bible study to begin their day.
Blue Stove
by Janet Kruskamp

When my Bible study class comes to my door, I want them to feel they have entered a special place where every sense is rested. I have had to clean up my house, but they have not had to worry much about theirs. I want them to have an hour in a place where they do not have to look at clutter or a pile of dishes in the sink, or listen to the washer or dryer or the buzzer on the oven.  Everything is prepared for them, and when they enter the door they see a burst of color on the table where there is either a jar of fresh flowers or a fresh pot of tea.

In a similar way, a homemaker can create a corner or place in her house for this special moment with her Bible and her notebook. The goal is to come away from that session feeling more stable and happier than when you  first sat down. Bible study should not be miserable, but delightful. Find a place where you have the best view outside a window, or create your own calm space somewhere in your home.

Ocean Treasure
by Janet Kruskamp

 I would suggest finding a very pretty, small notebook and a special pen, a box of crayons, and a magazine or seed catalog from which to copy pictures. Each day, read something in the New Testament and something in the Old, starting at the beginning of any chapter. As you read, pick out a verse that you think might be significant, and write it in the notebook, and then create an artistic border around it. It is not necessary to make a rigid rule to write in it daily, but it helps to sit down and have a few calm moments before the day begins.

Before committing the verse to paper and artwork, one thing you can do to make it come alive is to look up in an 1828 dictionary and a Young's Analytical Concordance , which analyzes the different meanings of the same word, according to the original language. Try also Young's Literal Translation, which was written in the late 1800's, and are available for online use.

  For the verse, "Be careful for nothing," you might look up the word's "careful" and the various meanings (since its meaning in the Bible differs from the common use of it today), as well as "supplication."  If you are teaching your own children at home, you can allow them to discuss the meaning and its implications in life today, giving examples of the use of these words, to create an appreciation and understanding of their depth.

Lacking these reference books, you can still get a good measure of meaning from a verse by reading it in different ways with different inflection on different words. 

I've made one here to show you what I mean:
Put a few pages together rather than a huge amount, so you can finish them. Name your notebook if you like.

Do some sketching on each page, or use your rubber stamps, stickers or clip art. A good way to learn simple art is to trace pictures you like, or trace around a real object.

Read a chapter and choose a verse out of it each day to write out and comment on.  Add definitions so create a deeper understanding of the verse.

Discussing  your verse with someone you like can give you more insight into the verse.

It is perfectly fine to use 18th and 19th century commentaries such as Adam Clarke or Matthew Henry to see what their definition of difficult passages were.

Bible study does not need to be formidable or put you to sleep. If you will use some of these ideas, you may find that these quiet moments will become the happiest times of your life.

I have used the King James translation here because of its poetic beauty and the direct relation of its words to the original languages of the scriptures. When using other versions and paraphrases, it is good to check back with a Hebrew and Greek/English direct translation to get a better perspective. For example, the KJV refers to the body of the Christian as a "tabernacle", yet modern versions use the word "tent." There is a great deal of difference between the meaning and connotation of those two different words, so be sure to check the original sources --the original languages if you want to really find some depth in your personal Bible study.

Your Bible study notes become your own personal commentary. Personal Bible study, even if you only read a verse a day, will help you distinquish between what the Bible actually says and what false teachings will try to persuade you to believe.

Even reading one verse a day and dwelling on it and thinking about it can give you a feeling of stability, so start out small and be content to just write a verse.  It gives you something to talk about, opens doors of friendship, builds your faith. Pamper yourself with whatever simple beauty you need in order to create the time and place for this wonderful spiritual indulgence.
Secluded Garden by Kathie Thomson from Allposters.

For my friends with the braille computers who will not be able to see the photos of the notebook, here is what I wrote:

Cover Title:  This is personal.  I wrote that because the meanings of these study verses are going to affect me perrsonally. You can name your notebook whatever you like, or just put a picture on the cover.

Page 1: And we know all things work together for good, to them that love the Lord... Romans 8:28. This is part of a verse because of the small size paper I used. My notes: Even disappointments are part of the path to something good. Look for a brighter day and use the dim things in a great way.

Page 2: Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Delight: to be greatly pleased in or to rejoice in. Delight is more lasting than temporary excitement.

Page 3: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known unto God.  Philippians 4:6  My notes: Don't be distracted, and pray that evil will be removed. (from any situation that troubles you)

Page 4: I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel: which is not another gospel, but there will be some that trouble you and will pervert the gospel of Christ.  Galations 1:6-7 My notes: there is always a false teacher distracting people from the plain gospel of the scriptures.

Page 5: Cast they bread upon waters, for thou shalt find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11:1
my notes: Nothing is unfruitful if you keep planting and working. Influence is something you might not notice til years later when someone tells you the effect it had on them.

Page 6: Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in Heaven. Matthew 5:16  My notes: Be a credit to your Heavenly Father by obeying his commands and living the way He has taught you in His Word.