Monday, June 04, 2012

Shining the Light of Home

The home dweller represents her family and her values both in and outside of the home atmosphere. For this reason, she needs to develop a code of living and a set of standards that will put her at ease and present a good message to everyone around her. I have made a list of possible things that can be done to create more contentment in homemaking. Not only that, but some of these things tend toward a sweet happiness that will produce an inclination toward creativity and efficiency.

Take Care of Your Appearance. This has been emphasized throughout the years by many wise women, and discussed a lot in the blog world. We live in an era that preaches an attitude of  informality. Fifty years ago, there were those who proclaimed loudly that any kind of carefulness regarding appearance or speech was insincere, affectatious, prideful, and self-indulgent.  Dressing down took over the whole culture, and   many women feel self-conscious if they try to dress up neatly or wear anything they really like that is pretty. Snide remarks about floral prints were heard on television by "experts" who intimidated many sensitive women who only wanted to look nice. They then put these women in clothing that was inappropriate for them, both emotionally and physically. Women were made to feel self-conscious and conceited if they dressed well at home or in public. 

We can change this mindset just by wearing something nice in public. When others see someone wearing a nice garment, they then have the courage to do so, themselves. It is very tempting just to want to keep to ourselves at home, to avoid feeling uneasy and different, but the Bible teaches  Christians to be like lights in the world. 

During the course of a day at home, a woman is going to have to answer the door, and that few minutes makes an impression. The day you decide not to fix yourself up, is the day everyone comes to the door and catches you off guard. It is important how you present yourself, because of what you represent: the family, the church, your nation.
Summer Breeze
by Alice Dalton , from

Make a point of taking care of your appearance before anything else, at the beginning of the day, barring illness or other circumstances. If you have children, they will get these habits from observing you as they grow up. If your children are grown and gone, dressing up (and I don't mean prom dresses or ultra-formal, impractical clothing) can lift your morale tremendously. This includes care of the hair and face and all the other grooming necessities, to go with the look of completeness and confidence.  Do it to glorify God and for your self, and there will be other good results that follow.

One example that was given to me recently was from a friend of mine who had grown discouraged at the way women were dressing in her town. It made her sad to see the sloppy, badly designed, dull looking clothing in the stores with high prices. She decided to pray for the women in her town, that God would give them something beautiful to wear that would increase their love and happiness for God and the life He gave them.  Since she was able to sew, she wore some of her prettiest things whenever she went to the grocery store or her errands in town. When she had company, she also dressed her best, wearing skirts and dresses instead of tee shirts and jeans.  She did not expect quick results, but in just a few years she noticed that some women had chosen prettier, more feminine clothing and wore it in public.  

Make your home beautiful, no matter what your circumstances. People do not notice the flaws in your house if you have something beautiful in it. An arrangement of meaningful books in a shelf, a picture on the wall, a pretty rug and a lamp, a bouquet of flowers or just a basket of yarn in the colors of your choice, go a long way to create a feeling of love and contentment at home.  You can feel so much better in a home that has some order in it, and some cleanliness. There is something very relaxing about just having one room done the way you like it, so you need not think you have to wear yourself out making the whole house perfect. You can make any home beautiful without expense just by they way you arrange things, and such a house will make its members content to be there.

Making a lovely home requires attention, and so it is important not to get sidetracked by all the issues that life presents.  Recognize unnecessary drama and trauma and work around all obstacles. Keep sweeping and arranging and planning and singing. When discouragement interferes, ignore it and move on. It is important to learn to work alone, and not depend on the approval of others, but to get satisfaction from reaching goals. Make a brief list of two or three things you want to do and then make small steps to do them. You'll see how it changes your character and your heart and your love for your home. 
Veranda, by Candace Lovely, from

It is one thing to expect changes in your circumstances, or changes in the world, or the economy, or,  the end of the world, but it is another thing to stand around anxiously looking for signs. Christians need to be busy about the work that God has given them, rather than sitting around wishing things could be already done. Women at home have a great work, and a "good work" to be done, so it is no wonder that they will be challenges. The greatest defeat is in demoralization. Demoralization is where you don't feel worthy of anything and do not feel your work is worthwhile, so you give up.  The greatest weapon against demoralization is achievement. If all you do is dress up and sit on the porch with a cup of tea to make a list of immediate things to do, you have achieved something. If all you do is look after your new baby, you are achieving something. If all you do is get a meal on the table, you have achieved something. These things should make you feel good, especially if you find creative ways to do them.
Ofsprey Point by Albert Swayhoov from

With these two things: dressing well and creating beauty in the house,  much can change for the better, for yourself, and for others, but it will take patience. By patience, I mean that you do not give up when you don't see results. You keep doing something steadily, and then you will notice how much more content you are and how much stronger your light shines.

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and 
perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world...Philippians 2:15

For those who feel demoralized because they feel they cannot get anywhere with their work, I would like to say that it does not always have to look like you are making progress in your house, for that work to be worthwhile. One great lesson that I learned was from a quote by a soldier in the 1800's who was on the losing side of a conflict. He said that he did not feel defeated, because he would rather be on the right side and lose, than on the wrong side, and win. He still believed in his cause of freedom, and clung to that principle. So, if you feel you are just treading water, you have to look at life differently. The world thinks that progress is important, but God wants us to do our daily work, even if it does not look like anything great in the eyes of the world.  Every day that you do the work of the one who sent you, is a day of progress, even if it is just your daily work.

Someone in comments mentioned the lift a new paint job does for your inside walls. I was given a lot of ---yes--quacamole green paint (the color we would ALL like to get rid of!) but was able to mix it with white and make a very velvety green. It was not my choice of color but because it was free, I wanted to use it, and the effect was a lot better than the "before" look. A  fresh painted wall or clean curtains are great motivators because the room becomes a new place. It is more enjoyable to make the bed or straighten up a "new" room in a "new" house. Cleaning and rearranging also make a "new" house.


Anonymous said...

I very much like your focus on achievement....doing and achieving even little that cup of tea on the porch with your list-making. A meal on the table. This post was encouraging to me...thank you, Lydia.

Far Above Rubies said...

Thank you so much, Lady Lydia for such encouragement. I found much inspiration from this post.

Finding Joy said...

I agree with both of these. Even at home I try to wear neat clean clothes, ones that I wouldn't be embarrassed to answer the front door in. And when I pop down to the store I also try and wear something feminine and show that I take care of my appearances. It is important.

As to making a home pretty, I'm all for that. This does come naturally to some, whilst others might need some direction. I love to add flowers to my rooms and a few potted plants make such a differences. I also love to add colour to my rooms as well. As to books, no shortage of those in my house and they always add warm to any room.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I think it is one of your best inspirational posts and I am going to print it to read again later.

It takes a bit more effort to dress decently, and a more time to do things like iron a skirt instead of throwing on a clingy knit garment straight from the dryer. But it is well worth the effort. When a woman dresses in the way you describe, she can look dignified at any age and it benefits any figure type.

Rightthinker said...

I just love this post..such a beautiful reminder to allow some joy and beauty in our own lives that may better reflect the love of Christ, and inspire others to live a life of joy, as well.

God Bless you!

Lydia said...

It seems like one of those quirky laws of nature, that the day I am carelessly dressed, is the same day every delivery person comes to the door, friends drop by, or some other thing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
Both of your points are right on target. Regarding daily work, I would say that it shows very quickly when it is not done, doesn't it? A degeneration of the whole atmosphere shows in homes where the discouraged homemaker makes no effort. We should pray for those women because it is so easy to become discouraged.
With thanks,
Sheila in Florida

Lydia said...

Sheila, that's a good point. Daily work: removing clutter, straightening, washing dishes, laundry, making beds, etc. show immediate results and feed back encouragement. I always want to get the front room, the first one that anyone will see from the front door, and the porch cleaned up. If the rest is neglected, that small amount will make anyone feel better.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the encouraging post. Yesterday I was working in my kitchen and feeling very disatisfied with the house. When I examined my discontent, I realized that lots of little flaws--pictures knocked askew, screws twisting out of air conditioner vents, walls that desperately need a fresh coat of paint, tired window treatments that could benefit from a good washing, starching and ironing-were the root cause of my discontent. I resolved to tackle each problem individually over the next week or so and start spiffing things up a bit. I don't have a lot of money to spend on redecorating, but fixing these small issues will greatly increase my pleasure in my home. Step one will be to cover the "guacamole green paint" in my kitchen with a fresh warm cream color this weekend while my husband and sons are away on a camping trip. I can't wait to start warming up the kitchen and the rest of my home!

Barbara said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today. I've felt discouraged about things at home, but you have given me some fresh courage. I wish you could come chat with me and share ideas, here in my own home. I think I need to get started on the changes I can make right now. I think there are some Sweet Peas blooming outside that could go into a vase here by the sofa.

Anonymous said...

An excellent post.

Anonymous said...

Ladies are never so pretty as when they encourage others in their grooming and home work. Thank you for this inspirational post. Love it.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post and just what I needed to hear.

Anonymous said...

I always love when you write a post like this, Lady Lydia. Even experienced homemakers can, from time to time, get in a rut, or give in to discouragement about their work. It's so important to our morale to face the work before us squarely, not try to get it all done at once, & above all, remember the crucial role we occupy in our homes.

Thank you for such encouragement!


Lydia said...

Barbara, I think fresh paint works any time! Someone gave me a lot of paint and it was guacomole green, so I mixed it with white and it turned out very nice , or at least a lot better than the old was was originally. I'll post a picture of it inside this post.

Anonymous said...

Keeping your appearance up has a lot to do with how you feel. Since reading your posts, getting enough sleep, taking an interest in putting on fresh clothes and being ready for each day has built confidence and things get done faster.

Keeping clean, well repaired, modest clothing to wear and wearing them make most people feel better.

Wearing nice clothes doesn't have to be expensive either. I purchase many of my clothes from thrift stores and since I learned to sew, make some of my garments.

I have always been a fan of greens especially when paired with pinks as you have done in your bedroom. How brilliant of you to add white to it and make it a soft and soothing designer green. Love the bedspread and pillows also. From the photo it appears the pillows make a "bow tie". :) The painting over the bed gives the well finished touch. Well done!

Mrs. J

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the suggestion of mixing dark paint with white paint for a softer color. I have a few cans of dark blue and red paint stashed away--I think I will buy a can of white paint and see what I can come up with.

Anonymous said...

I love this post! This was very encouraging and helpful!! Thank you cousin! :D

God bless!

Lydia said...

See you on Skype, Mrs. A., dear little cousin!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
Thank you so much for this post. It was a "cup of cold water" to my soul today!
Especially "keep sweeping and arranging and planning and singing"!
May the Lord give you deep joy and full peace as you bless others!

Eve | Inchworm Chronicles said...

The green walls in the room look lovely! I agree, sometimes a change, like cleaning or organizing, even just a drawer of closet, can really brighten a space and my mood. Thank you for this encouraging message. It is very validating to read from another woman with experience how these things really do make a difference!

Unknown said...

I love your green room. Green has always been one of my favorite colors. I feel like it is a neutral because it goes so well with so many colors. I love it with pink it your room.

Thanks for the encouraging post. Just yesterday, I was discouraged with my main living area. It was clean but very cluttered from a couple of very busy days where things. My girls and I set a timer and quickly had the place de-cluttered. It wasn't perfect but presentable. I was less over-whelmed with the house after that quick clean-up.


Anonymous said...

I found my new kitchen color--"Tealight" from Lowes. The color swatch on the wall just glows with warmth and cheer. I am also going to touch up the trim and doors with a fresh coat of white paint and give the floor a good scrubbing. I can't afford new countertops, but I will bleach and scrub my old white laminate until it shines. Sheets of beadboard are on sale at Lowes, too, so I am thinking about creating a beadboard backsplash for a cottage feel. Then I want to paint my orangey oak cabinets white and add some trim. This will be a fun project to work on over the summer months a bit at a time. But first, paint to cheer up the dismal green room. Thanks, Lady Lydia!

Denise said...

Just wanted to let you know that this post was just the bit of encouragement I needed this week. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this inspiring, encouraging post!

My husband, who works from home, and I live in a tiny "cottage" which can easily become cluttered if things are not put back in their proper place. When I clean house once a week, I always feel so satisfied with the labor of love ~ it's like having a fresh start again. We are hoping to put a fresh coat of paint on the inside this summer and also weed through our things and keep what's needed and loved.

As for the appearance aspect, I surely needed this reminder. I would like to dress in a more feminine, lovely way with a soft hairstyle, etc. but I find myself resorting to my same old everyday look. I really need to work on this. Maybe it would help if I decide each evening what to wear the next day.

Anonymous said...


I am reminded of the old addege; 'Dresss for Success'. These are wise words indeed. The quiet satisfaction of getting things up to date is incredibly powerful...the rhythms of home and the work we engage in within this sphere are also deeply satisfying; knowing we are doing for the ones we love is powerful - even with the hard jobs, the more grimy work...I am reminded of the verse of scripture 'do everything as unto the Lord'. Lydia, your wise, well thought out words are a source of great encouragement; combine this article with what you have written on taking time out, rest, 'teatime' etc compliment this latest entry. And for all who are struggling, if dinner's been made and dishes in the draining rack at close of day, you've made it; Lydia's suggestions re taking on the harder work one segment at a time is very helpful; it will lead one to not become overwhelmed with a task that seems insurmountable.

Keep speaking the truth, and many thanks for your tireless ministry.

Gayle said...

I loved this post,it really encouraged me.Thank you so much for posting it.And the green paint turned out so calming and beautiful, a perfect match for the pretty bedspread.

Blessed Homemaking said...

A wonderful, encouraging post. Thank you.

jill farris said...

Wonderful post. Of course, I am reading it on a morning I decided to forgo nice clothing and make up! Off I go now to spruce myself up a bit.

I remember the story of a missionary who was visited by the mayor of the tiny Indian village where he worked. The mayor always came to visit him in his nicest clothing; very formal and fancy. The missionary tried to get him to relax and not dress up every time. Finally, another person told the missionary, "You don't understand. He is esteeming you and showing his respect by dressing up when he visits you."

We do the same thing for our role when we dress up a bit for it!

Jill Farris