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

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Living on the Bright Side of Life

Drinking Coffee in the Garden
19th century engraving 

This song was written in 1899 and made popular in 1920. It has been a staple of American culture for over a century, through wars, depressions and crisis of all kinds.

There's a dark & a troubled side of life
There's a bright, there's a sunny side, too
Tho' we meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view

[cho:] Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us ev'ry day, it will brighten all the way
If we'll keep on the sunny side of life

The storm and its fury broke today,
Crushing hopes that we cherish so dear;
Clouds and storms will, in time, pass away
The sun again will shine bright and clear.

Let us greet with the song of hope each day
Tho' the moment be cloudy or fair
Let us trust in our Saviour alway
Who keepeth everyone in His care

Click on for a larger view of the music and the words. Once the larger view appears, right click to print.

(More on this subject, to come)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Silly Controversy On Staying Home

There have been some good things coming out of the Idaho families in the latest decade. From artists and home sewing, to homemaking classes and publishing, these people are using their rural freedoms to produce many good things.  I fondly call Idaho the new-south-comes-north state. It is nostalgic of southern ways. In some northern states the accents seem southern, as so many people are originally from the south.  Lisa Hollinger, from Country Victorian blog,  has a wonderful homemaking class which I participate in via Skype services, is in Idaho, and is well-known for her influence through hospitality and teaching.

Patrice Lewis, from Rural Revolution, is also in Idaho. She  has  written some  very good e-books available here. She offers three books on canning, one on everything you need to know about moving to the country, and another e-book which features instructions for turning your talents into a home business. 

Patrice also has written a recent article here  refuting the prevailing rumor that being a full time homemaker is a "luxury."  I don't know how that description began, but I don't remember women of the past thinking it was in any way a luxury to stay home and look after their husband, their children  (if any) and maybe an elderly parent, the garden, the laundry, sewing, and the many other things involved, as a "luxury."  The implication by the media is that women staying home is only possible if you are rich, and yet, many of those who tout this falsehood make a lot of money and are considered rich, but apparently, not rich enough to stay home and care for their own children. I don't call home schooling a luxury. It is a personal sacrifice. I don't call making your own meals or your own bread a luxury. It is cheaper than paying for it in the market, and it is a labor of love. 

I wish the media and the politicians would just leave us alone. They have made a controversy out of something that has been completely acceptable and highly valued for centuries before this.  Isn't this typical of government: to take something as natural as being a wife, mother and keeper of the home and create public discord over it?  If anyone asked our great-grandmothers why they stayed home they would have laughed at the question. To ask a woman such a question would have been tantamount to asking them why they breathed the air. Women staying home is not a luxury: it is a necessity based upon belief.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Brightening a Dreary Day

Victorian Evening
by Thomas Kinkade

March and April  bring cold, wet, dark days in many parts of the world, it seems. The weather casts a gloomy shadow on everything in and out of the home, and so today I wanted to "cast light upon gloomy days" by creating a bright tea ceremony for someone. It is tempting to save the tea cups rimmed in gold and the pretty table cloths and place mats for a special occasion, but they are needed the most on dark days.

We seemed to forget the season and the inclement weather while taking tea. 
Placemats with a reproduction 19th century painting. 

I used this this Victorian lady tea-time lamp instead of candles, on the table.

Pulling out the best and the shiniest tea vessels created even more light, and of course, Yorkshire Gold was served: nothing but the best on this celebration.

Printed on these teacups is the wild rose, the state flower of Alberta, Canada, and also a prominent flower in Alaska. 

If you want a tea confection but not the sugar and carbs that accompany it, try making this Honey Almond Cake. 

It may be tempting to trivialize the tea time ceremony, but without it, the hours of the day can get away without any distinct memories attached to them. As small as it may seem, this event becomes the most important occasion for some people. There are those who would scorn the refinement of tea time, but they are missing out on something that is quite restful and healthful. Many is the time someone has said, "I don't know what it is about it, but having tea with you made me feel there was some light in my life on that gloomy day." There is a history being created while friends take tea together, and a warmth being spread in the home.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Love and Marriage

Asking in Marriage

Asking in Marriage
by Alexander Dillens  (Belgium, 1821-1877)

This post is in response to the requests that have been sent to me for an article  on marriage. While it certainly does not cover all the scriptures on marriage, I have used a few verses that I believe are helpful.

Marriage has been likened to a ship. Those who enter it will understand what it is made for, and understand that it is designed for turmoil and that part of the voyage may not be smooth. A ship that can only survive in calm waters is not worthy of being called a ship. Some authors have called marriage a bridge which cannot survive unless both the support structure and the bridge exist together. 

While  the concept of endurance and strength make sense in regards to a ship or a bridge, not everyone understands it in marriage. There is a prevalent belief that marriage should only last as long as it is pleasant, and that when hard times come, or when there is no romance, it should be abandoned. The scriptures do not support this.

Home is Where the Heart Is
by Thomas Kinkade

There have been many books about marriage, but I find the best references are the scriptures and the examples of long marriages of people you know, plus the simple way a husband a wife work things out together. Different marriages have different dynamics, and it is not up to anyone to analyze whether that marriage is "working" or not.

 Some married couples like constant communication, and others enjoy quietness, not seeming to need to be constantly discussing everything. Some women like to spend a lot of time sewing, while their husbands may have other interests. None of this necessarily means there is anything wrong with the marriage.  It just means that is the way the couple has worked things out between them, and that is how they are happiest. 

To understand your mate, it is not necessary to analyze their personality or put them in a category of personality types.  It is not necessary to take quizzes to find out if you are having a successful marriage, a practice which may cause doubts and dismay that did not exist before.  To be happy in marriage, it is important to accept your mate as human, and give them room to grow and freedom to be themselves, taking into consideration the way the way they were brought up,  and their likes and dislikes.

Streams of Living Water
by Thomas Kinkade

For husbands.  One verse comes to mind regarding the way a man is to regard his wife. He is to live with her "according to knowledge":

 "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." 1st Peter 3:7

The knowledge of what pleases or displeases his wife will gain him a lot in his relationship. If  he cares how she feels about things, and will find out what she needs or what makes her anxious or upset, he will try to gain knowledge of these things, and bring peace to her life.

Sometimes men do not understand the importance of listening to the opinions and observations of their wives. They will refuse to listen to anything a woman says. These men go through a lot of hardship in their lives because they will not listen to their wives. They may make unwise financial decisions or they create havoc at home because they will not allow their wives to be real help mates to them. What is the use of having a help meet if she is not allowed to be helpful, to warn him, to encourage him, or to share her input in a given situation?  A man who will not listen to his wife is not living with her "according to knowledge," as the scripture commands.
Gingerbread Cottage (tapestry wall hanging) by Thomas Kinkade

He also should give honor to his wife, as the weaker vessel. In our homes are often seen two kinds of vessels for eating. Some are every day dishes and some are made of finer materials and therefore more breakable. In Peter Marshall's Sermon, "The Keepers of the Springs," he refers to women as being made of finer clay. The weaker vessel is one that must be handled with care and put in a place of honor, rather than being  treated harshly. Though a wife is equal to her husband spiritually, she has a different role to live and is of a different nature than a man. Husbands need to live with their wives according to that knowledge. 

The best source of knowledge on how to live with one's wife can come from the  wife herself. No amount of marriage books, therapists, counsellors or ministers can give a husband knowledge of marriage like his own wife. She holds the information in her heart and all he has to do is draw it from her.  

Mountain Retreat
by Thomas Kinkade

I used to puzzle over the next scripture that I'm including here, because I could not imagine how a husband could be bitter against his wife. However, there must be some logical reason that the Holy Spirit found it important to include in the scriptures. It may speak of the tendency in some husbands to resent their wives, but whatever the excuse for a man to be bitter against his wife, the scripture commands him not to.

Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

A careful look at this verse will reveal that love comes first, and if a man loves his wife, he will not be inclined to keep a mental list of resentments against her.  First Corinthians, chapter 13 says that love keeps no score of wrongs. Husbands need to be careful not to have too long a memory regarding the mistakes and faults of their wives, for it can wreak havoc later on and interfere in the peace of the home.
Home is Where the Heart Is
by Thomas Kinkade

One way in which a man can live "according to knowledge" with his wife, is to avoid the things which cause tension or disturbance in the heart of the wife. For example, some men will not take their wives seriously when they want a small repair done, or some other irritating thing corrected, until the wives finally tire of asking and then become loud and angry. Some men do not think their wives really "mean it" until they pitch a fit. 

 A wise husband who really wants a good relationship with God, will learn to live with his wife "according to knowledge."  If she tells him something he could do to make her life better, it will increase his knowledge. He can collect the knowledge he needs in order to succeed in marriage, just by listening to his wife or observing  her. 

Tragically, some men make feminists out of their wives by not treating them as equals in marriage. While men and women do have different abilities and different roles in marriage, the Bible teaches that they are "heirs together" in the grace of life. They are equal in God's eyes when they become Christians. In the Lord's kingdom, which is His church, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." 

Cobblestone Bridge
by Thomas Kinkade

For wives:  Here is a verse that commands the older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands.

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children...

An older woman will have been through the hills and valleys of marriage, and may even have suffered the death of her husband. Her life experiences will give her the ability to tell a younger woman what to do to make life good at home. She will know what is important and what is not. She will be able to share her knowledge of caring for the home and the husband, making it a pleasant place for him, so that he may be able to free himself of the world's pressures and enjoy the fruits of his labors. The wife will learn how to protect him from those who would take advantage of him, and how to wisely use the family income.  

Make a Wish Cottage, by Thomas Kinkade

She will learn how to bring peace to his life and she will learn not to compete with him or be envious of him, because she will have her own business of keeper at home (Titus 2:5)  Older women will be able to tell younger women that although their main business is tending to the home, they will not be "stuck" in the home or have any reason to feel that their role is less important than their husband's.  While each person has God-given responsibilities in the home, no role is greater than the other, and each must have respect for the position of the other. A wife can help her husband be a good father and husband and a husband can help his wife be a good wife and mother. They each want the best for one another, so there is no reason to compete.
Seaside Hideaway by Thomas Kinkade

The famous love-chapter of the New Testament, First Corinthians 13, teaches that love "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

When you read in Titus 2 that the older women are to teach the younger women to love their husbands, it means that they are to teach you how to make life at home beautiful and bearable, how to enjoy good things and encourage the husband in his life.  It will be important to know how to endure difficulties, as well has how to be patient and kind and how to show other attributes of love found in First Corinthians 13.   Helen Andelin, who wrote Fascinating Womanhood, taught woman that kindness and patience, a non-critical spirit and lack of self-righteousness, would make the difference between a happy marriage and an unhappy one. 

Cobblestone Mill
by Thomas Kinkade

Wives need to know that there will be events in life that will effect the marriage relationship. There may be threats against the home, or there may be financial ups and downs. There may be illness, or they may take on extra responsibilities. They may have business failures, and there may be a lot of moving around the country for one reason or another.

 If the wife will follow what the Bible says she should be doing, as a wife, mother and homemaker, her home life, no matter where she lives,  and no matter what the difficulties in life, will be consistent. She will have developed a reliable  way of life that will give her husband reassurance and stability through all the upheavals.   Sadly, there are some women who do not want to be married "for better or for worse." They only want the "better" and have no determination to stand by their husbands during the difficult times. 

There are times in all marriages when there is no feeling of love, but if they at least stay together under the same roof, they may grow to appreciate things in one another that inspire admiration and loyalty. The wife has power to keep her marriage safe and to protect it from people who want to destroy it. If she will do as the Bible commands, and be a wife, mother and homemaker, she may find great triumph over any troubles that come into the marriage. It is important that love be the center of marriage, which can be manifested through patience, goodness, kindness and other things listed in First Corinthians 13. The verses in this chapter defines love at its best, and it is that kind love that can be applied to marriage.

To print this post for your notebook or to send to a friend, go here.

Please enjoy this song, which I've also added to my playlist.  If you do not want to listen to the entire playlist, go to my playlist link and pick out what you like. It is continuous play, so you don't have to wait to click on each piece.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Upon The First Day of the Week

Chapel by Thomas Kinkade
American, 1958-2012

Some Facts about the First Day of the Week:

*Christ arose from the dead on the first day of the week.
*The first gospel sermon, recorded in Acts chapter 2 was preached on the first day of the week.
*The first conversions took place as a result of that sermon, on the first day of the week.
*The Lord's church, His kingdom, was established on the first day of the week. Acts 2.
*The disciples broke bread together on the first day of the week and celebrated the Lord's supper.
*The disciples were commanded to gather on the first day of the week to "lay by in store."
* Acts, chapter 20 records the apostle Paul having to wait until the first day of the week to meet with some of his fellow Christians.
by Thomas Kinkade

Between His resurrection and ascension, for forty days he appeared several times:
First,  to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary  - Matthew 28: 1-89.
The Way to Emmaus
by Robert Zund

Second, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus - Luke 24:15
Third, to Simon Peter - Luke 24:34
Fourth, to ten of the apostles - Luke 24:36
The above four appearances took place on Sunday, the first day of the week,  the day of the resurrection.

Fifth, to the eleven disciples - John 20:26
Sixth, to the seven apostles in Galilee  - John 21:4
Seventh, to James - Ist Corinthians 15:7
Eighth, when they were assembled together and at Bethany when he ascended - Luke 24:50

And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

After the resurrection, things changed for the believers. Jesus was the first to rise from the dead to live again, and He established his kingdom, which is his body of believers, who meet on the first day of the week to partake of the memorial he established on the night he was betrayed. He takes it with us, in that He is spiritually present. The last will and testament of Christ went into effect, and that will is the New Testament, which contains instructions on how to become a Christian and live the Christian life.  The curtain of the temple was torn, to symbolize the completion and fulfillment of the Old Law, which culminated in the sacrificing of the lamb of God, the purest lamb, for the removal of sins of all those who would obey and follow Him.

For further reading on the subject of the first day of the week, see more comments at the end of this post, and read carefully the time sequence recorded in Mark, chapters 15 and 16.

I've added "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth" from the second part of Handel's Messiah, to my playlist, but you can hear it right now by clicking on the video below. Most people are familiar with the Hallelujah  chorus, but there are many more pieces in this wonderful composition, which contains not one man-made word, but all from scripture.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Cottages of Love - A Tribute to Thomas Kinkade

Foxglove Cottage
by Thomas Kinkade

This is a tribute to a great artist who painted from his heart. He believed in painting to the glory of God.  He had a lovely wife and family, whose initials he painted on the doors of his many Victorian homes and cottages. His paintings showed the love and kindness of the home.  I will be writing more later, when I have more paintings to display here.

 He was relatively young, in my opinion. Both he, and another favorite artist of mine, Alan Maley, died in their early 50's.  Like most things we are familiar with, we tend to think they are going to be around forever, and neglect to save them. I have none of his art, except a tea pot I got at a florist shop, which shows a house that looks almost identical to an old farmhouse of a relative in the wheat fields of Kansas.

  My heart truly goes out to his lovely family. He drew himself up from a broken home by losing himself in his art.  I will find an old Victorian Sampler that featured him when his art first became public, and scan in pages for you.

His cottages reminded me of this song: "A cottage small is all I'm after/ Not one that's spacious wide/ A house that rings with joy and laughter/ with the one you love inside."  I have added this to my playlist, and you can listen to it right now by clicking on the arrow on the video below:

A Wise Woman Builds Her House  has also written a fine tribute with his lovely paintings featured , so I hope you'll click the link and go see.

We are in mourning today and my flag is at half mast. He reminded Americans of the simple life: a cottage and a family enjoying God's blessings.

It has been reported that one in twenty American households display a Thomas Kinkade painting, but I think probably nearly every American has had some kind of Thomas Kinkade art in their home via the books he wrote and the catalogs and advertisements which featured his art. I have more than I originally thought, as I just noticed several greeting cards I saved, hoping one day to frame, plus innumerable cups and mugs with his paintings on them, from gift packages that contained tea and cookies at Christmas. I bought Thomas Kinkade monthly calendars and the daily tear-off calendar pictures, and I hope these will still be produced in the future. 
These paintings gave Americans back their America as some people remember it and others wanted it to be. In fact, some designers created houses based on his paintings. His brush is still, but his works live on and hopefully will give joy and inspiration to future generations. As in all good art, there is nothing jarring or profane in Thomas Kindade's paintings, and nothing has to be explained. No deep study is needed to "understand" his paintings, because his art speaks for itself. The only mystery in the cottage scenes was in trying to find the initials of his loved ones.

His art was made available to the average person. Anyone could order a book, a mug, a wall hanging, or even a blanket with his art printed on it. Prints were available at very reasonable prices, so that anyone who loved good art could afford it. He had his own galleries and his own control over how his art was distributed, making it possible for even the poorest person to have some kind of Thomas Kinkade art in their homes. 

Susan Rios, another fine artist, was a friend of Thomas Kinkade and once teamed up with him to create fine art for special occasions, wrote books together and created beautiful art beloved by everyone from the very rich to the very poor.

This scene seemed to depict my life, as my father's homestead and the boat and the little dock look just the same as I remember. Other people thought that the Kinkade art represented life of long ago that they remembered.

If you click on for a larger view, you might be able to see some of the initials of his loved ones that he painted into his pictures.

I particularly liked his lighthouse series, and the symbolism they carried. I used several of the lighthouse paintings in posts I wrote about the power and importance of the home.

The following article is scanned in from the 1993 Victorian Spring Sampler.

Click on for a larger view, and then click on the magnifier to read the article.

The Victorian Sampler magazine is now called "Romantic Homes."

Enjoy more paintings on this video:

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

A Lovely Song

A reader sent me the link to this song and I have added it to my playlist. My first thought upon listening to it and reading the lyrics on the screen is how much this song would comfort and encourage any young person struggling with the issues or fighting the world's values. It is a personal type of song; the kind that someone might sing alone.


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