Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sunday Serenity

Photo: Tea Time Magazine

Cold rain and darkness greet us some days, but every cloud has a silver lining. To prove it, I am stopping for tea while I make my list of 50 things that need to be done, ranging from urgent to important. If the important is not done, it eventually becomes urgent.


I have been thinking how easy it is to be discouraged when housework gets overwhelming. Sometimes after a trip, after illness, after events that come up that need attention, the housework piles up. The best thing to do is get dressed up and fixed up and presentable, and work from the front door, going clockwise, picking up, straightening up, cleaning and dusting. Listen to some music or a movie you like, to pace you.


Think about the little thoughtful touches you can add when each section is completed: a tea tray with a tea set on it, ready to fill up with food and drink for afternoon tea, a few flowers, fresh or fake, (it's the color that counts the most), a neatly folded fresh towel near the kitchen sink, a soft cushion on he couch. There is ever so much that can be done as a motivation.

Ladies want to make life good for their families, and need to keep their minds renewed with good things. Replacing gloomy thoughts with good thoughts makes a difference in your countenance and your feelings.


Any job is repetition, and I do not suppose the men liked it much in the jobs that sustained their families for years and years while the ladies maintained the home. I rarely heard that older generation complain, and yet I know some of the jobs the men did were grueling and monotinous, and the housework was not as easy as it is today.


"In due season, we shall reap." "In all labor, there is profit."

In time, work will pay off. You are being kind to yourself and others when you care about your home, so it is a great profit to you to keep it as best you can. You make it comfortable for yourself,which is a good reward. And it costs less to keep the home in good order. It is expensive to replace things that have deteriorated or broken due to neglect. So in a sense you earn money when you keep house by picking up things and washing things and putting them away.

"Ecc 11:4    He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

Fierce winds whistle and rattle the windows, but pay no attention to it unless to appreciate its drama and adventure. To give up on yourself or your home, and to fail to guide your children into good behaviour, because of a storm, is to set yourself up for moodiness. Ladies cannot let what happens outside of their homes deter them from normal life, housekeeping, creativity, or worship. Once you learn to make your homemaking the focus, things like the weather, the news, and other people's distractions, cannot discourage you.

In the time we spend waiting for impending storms and disasters, we could probably do one thing on our lists.

I once lived in a place where the climate was dry and hot most of the time. Not a blade of green grass was to be seen anywhere in this remote, depressing place. I learned to ignore it, and carry on my duties at home. After awhile my habits were automatic and it seemed as of there was no weather, pleasant or unpleasant. I reached a stage where I could not remember the weather or the climate effecting my mood.

Of course we need to make allowances for illness, tiredness and urgent duties that throw off our housekeeping plans. Pleasant weather can mean having to leave the housework and take advantage of being outdoors. We have to make allowances for some things, but always pick up where we left off and keep our goals in mind, or, a picture in our minds of what we want the home to be, both spiritually and physically.

Gal 6:9    And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

We are not keeping house just to have nice houses. It is a spiritual matter, as well. As we clear the surfaces of clutter, it is like clearing our minds of all the things that come between us and God. Being keepers of the home and guiding and guarding it, is cooperating with God.



Susan said...

Such lovely thoughts. I believe the home is the center of the world. We cannot underestimate the importance of it. For many of us stability in the home is a problem right now. For me it is due to frequent moves because of employment changes. Many men today are subject to corporate choices that require them to relocate on an annual basis. Moving every year has been a strain on the home and on our health. I have used many ideas from your blog to make our temporary homes more cozy but this type of housing is fraught with noises, smells, and inconveniences that make it very difficult. I am currently working on cultivating a more positive attitude on my part and planning more days out of the home as the weather improves. I am trying to keep my daily lists simple so that things don't get overwhelming. Thanks so much for your encouragement. It's a bright spot in my day.

living from glory to glory said...

Dear Lydia, I have also been encouraged from this post, as we have been experiencing high winds and horrible blowing dirt here. I am growing and rejoicing in all things, because this is where I will always grow when I give thanks. And keep my focus on Him! It feels so good to have a place to come and to be always encouraged! Your sunshine even on a cloudy day for so many women.
Always, Roxy

Lisa said...

That quote from Ecclesiastes was just what I needed! Thank you.

Julie said...

One sentence caught my eye as very profound. "Any job is repetition." This rings so true and needs to be repeated. Author Shannon Hayes writes that the home is the foundation of the family. To have strong families there must be a strong foundation. Someone must tend the hearth and keep the home fires burning. Thank you for this lovely post today.

anonymous said...

When you mentioned that any job is repetition, it reminded me what mom always said, "Practice makes perfect".
Over the years of repeating the same tasks, I have developed a 20 min. tidy-up around the house. There are days scheduled for deep cleaning. The tidy-up just gives you a lift so you can get on with your day to do more important things and it makes repetition sort of a game.

Mrs. J.

Lydia said...

Susan, that must be a very uncomfortable situation. I hope you can bring refinement and Christian values to the place and that your being there will teach beauty, nobility and peace.

Roxy, I saw your sewing room on your blog, and its a great way to concentrate on doing something good and that is good for you, despite what goes on elsewhere.

Lisa, Ecclesiastes is a small book but has completely practical statements about life.mits the book that says a man shiukdnworkmhard and then has a right. To enjoy the things he has worked for.

Julie, I have heard it said that homemaking is boring or that it has no affect on a persons life, but many careers outside the home end up nowhere. There are many businesses which women worked for many years that are now folded up. At least at home it is a lifetime career not dependent upon business.

Janet, please post us your 20 minute tidy-up plan.

Thank you all for commenting. In the country it is a treat to have social interaction online.

anonymous said...

Mrs. J's 20 minute Tidy-up:

Most of these tips and ideas come from the Real Simple Magazine, I just customized them for my home and family.

Start in the bathrm:
Spray shower stall with shower mist and let it work while I do the rest of bathrm.
I start from the top and work down, wiping off the mirror, faucets, sink. Swoosh the toilet bowl with a brush and disinfectant. Using a disinfectant wipe I clean the seat and outer toilet then spray rinse the shower.

The bedroom:
Make the bed, open curtains, fold and put away any clothing, jewelry, and shoes left laying around, straighten night stand.

Straighten coffee table and end tables, sofa cover and arrange pillows and throw. Arrange and stack newspapers and magazines. Microfiber cloth wipe wood tabletops if needed.

Spray stove and counter tops with Simple Green and wipe clean. Wipe out fry pan with paper towel. Load and run dishes in dishwasher. Run a quick vacuum over floors and diningrm carpet if needed. Feed the cat.

Quick Tips: Taking off shoes before entering house prevents 80% less dirt in house. We're still working on this one.
Put brushes, combs and toothbrushes in the dishwasher for a quick way to clean and disinfect.
Microfiber cloths are a must for household chores.

If time allows and company calls, I keep a pint of cream in the frig to make quick scones and heat a kettle of water for tea. This takes about an additional 15 mins.

The rest of the day is free to do scheduled chores, shopping, study, gardening,or sewing.

Emmarinda said...

On two occasions as a young wife, I lived in places that were drab and dingy. One was in military housing, with its old venetian blinds and linoleum floors, and all walls painted a dismal beige. The second place was even worse, an apartment in a large building in very miserable part of an old city. There were bugs, horrible smells, ladies of the evening living down the hall and an oil refinery just past the railroad tracks that bordered the parking lot in back. In the first place, I took the blinds down and put up some cheerful old curtains that my mother had passed on to me. I bought a rug and some second hand furniture, planted a little garden outside the back door, and kept everything clean, tidy and bright. The old gas stove was the kind which had a pilot light always on in the oven. I taught myself how to make yogurt and to bake bread, both of which need time in a warm place, so the oven was perfect. In the second place, I did similar things, such as draping the furniture with handmade afghans, and putting pretty things on the walls, and keeping everything as clean as possible. In my mind, I played a little game with myself, pretending that I was actually living in a quaint little cottage in the country. In both places, I had neighbor women marvel at my place, asking how on earth I had managed to get a larger place than theirs, and a different floor plan! I tried to explain that my place was exactly like theirs, but they didn't believe me! That apartment (the second place) was truly a sort of purgatory for me, with many assaults from the enemy heaped upon me, over and above the living conditions I've described, so I can only say that it was a miracle from God that I made it through! The last night I was there, I gathered all the courage I could muster and knocked on the door of the old madam who ran the prostitution ring out of her apartment. I had actually made small talk with her several times in the laundry room (!), so she knew I was the young mother down the hall with a toddler and a newborn. When she opened the door, the room behind her was completely dark, as black and visually impenetrable as I have ever seen. I remember wondering if it weren't the darkness of hell itself. My knees were shaking but I witnessed to her for a minute, and handed her a couple of bible tracts. She was surprised but then she smiled and thanked me, and I could see that she appreciated it. I said goodbye and turned and ran back to my apartment as if the hounds of hell were at my heels. Who knows what ever happened to her after that, but I now look back and feel it was worth that horrible year, just to be able to do that one thing.