Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gardens of Peace

Today I have enjoyed finding pictures of cottage gardens, as you see here. The style of a flower garden filled with color and shapes is what I am aiming for in my own flower garden.
As I was going through these pictures I wondered what the owners of the beautiful gardens would think of someone deliberately planting thistles or noxious weeds (which are injurious to a garden), claiming that the weeds needed to be accepted and understood, even if it ruined the lovely appearance of the garden.
I imagine the gardeners would keep busy keeping the weeds at bay, since so many of the noxious weeds actually hinder the healthy proliferation of the flowers. I can walk past any front flower garden on my road and view what other people have done in their gardens but if I do not like what they are doing, I never would say anything. It is their business, even though the garden is in the public eye. I do compliment the ones I like.
This is the way I feel about the influence of the homemaker. Her house and home may be visible to the public and therefore be an influence, but it does not give others the right to destroy her property, steal her plants or plant voracious weeds that destroy her setting. A woman is an influence but being in the public eye when she is out, or having her house on view from the road, does not give people the right to throw stones at it.
There is an old saying, that "some people will knock happiness off a post if they see it sitting there." The old McGuffeys Readers had stories in it about the occasional naughty child who would destroy property or tell a fantastic falsehood about a neighbor, and the ultimate consequences. The stories always ended with a warning that sounded something like: "Boys and girls, you must never cause harm to anyone's property or reputation. You do not know the harm that can come of it, both for them and for you." Nonetheless,some people have practiced being contradictory and negative so long that they are comfortable being that way, no matter what discomfort they cause others.
The Bible says to seek after the things that create peace: Rom 14:19   " Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."

When we are young we have to learn not to contradict and argue all the time. At first it might seem very entertaining to be objectionable at every turn, but as we mature, we find it is foolish and unprofitable and very non-edifying. It starts to create personal tension and stress, both which are very unhealthy. In later years, ladies prefer peace.

Many ladies look back on a youth of constant debating and arguing and regret it. They wish instead that they had been guided to be wise and not to engage in arguing, contradicting, objecting, setting people straight, bossing people, or cross-examining every little thing anyone says. This habit is a way of trying to make things "interesting" and also showing that you are smart or intelligent. Constant arguing is not a sign of maturity or refinement. The Lord says he values a quiet and gentle spirit in a woman, which is precious in his sight. (IPeter 3:4). This is a hard thing to learn, because our culture teaches us to let out every feeling, every anxiety and every hatred. Restraint has to be practiced, until it becomes natural.

There have been, in the past, young ladies who were taught a different way of speaking, who learned the art of pleasant, refined conversation, so it is possible to learn a different way.

Argumentive people attract other argumentive people, and that is one reason I do not publish every single comment that comes to my blog. If the person has an email, I will discuss it with them first and I try not to air our differences in public. A rude comment is like a weed. It seems to say "come over here" to other weed seeds that are flying around, looking for somewhere to land.

I am no fan of the new marriage and child-training books or some of the homeschooling books that are going around, (even though I was a homeschooler), so I have not mentioned them on my blog. Instead, I write about what I believe, like and observe. There is no need for me to write that on someone else's blog, since they can read it on my blog, so that is why I do not go to other blogs to raise an objection about something a homemaker wrote.

Like a garden that I do not particularly care to see, I do not have to pass by it or look at it. I do not go to their blogs to object and if their false teachings have effected me personally I will try to find an email so I can contact them personally, as I do not want to leave comments on people's blogs that will bring misgivings. To confront them means I will have to bring up the extra adrenalin needed to prove my point or debate. If you have ever looked up the purpose for adrenalin in your body, you will understand the value of it and why it is important to conserve it.

As we ladies get older, we have to retain composure and peace in our lives. Arguments and confrontations can cause ill health and depression. The Bible warns about deliberately creating disturbances when it says it is foolish to take a dog by its ears: "Pro 26:17    He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears." In other words, it is better to let a sleeping dog lie.

There is wisdom in reserving your energy for your home. If you get upset by something, it becomes next to impossible to concentrate on the tiniest thing that needs to be done at home. Christ freed Christian ladies to be devoted to home things, as indicated in Titus 2.

For centuries, women have been glad to let the men fight the world while they stayed home to create a refuge from the world. Ladies must return to that. There was even a time in the 1800's when young women were warned by their mothers and teachers to avoid reading the papers too much, with all the scandal and war reports. It was known that a woman's heart, mind, soul and body was very precious and that she needed to have a "quiet and gentle spirit." (I Peter 3:4). It would be impossible to cultivate a meek and gentle spirit if one was constantly upset by the goings-on of everything around them. People today make a mockery of the old ways, but they have not found any peace in their lives or any better solutions.

I have covered this subject because I wanted other bloggers to know they have a right to keep their homes and gardens free from harmful things that destroy peace. Just because a blog is being shared with the public, it does not give anyone a "right" to hound the writer and continually monitor her or post negative comments. A person may see a house and a garden from where they are standing but they still have no "right" to destroy it just because "it is in the public eye." A Christian lady should not adopt this popular worldly attitude.

Bloggers have a right to delete a comment if it is disturbing the peace. In Victorian times, if a guest who was invited to a home began to insult the hostess, he was never invited back. For members of the New Testament church, instructions are given to "mark" (take note of) those who cause division, and avoid them. (Romans 16:17). I realize many troll-type comments are not from people living by the Biblical laws, but these rules are good enough for them.

Finally, one photograph of a section of my own garden. I hope to show more, later. I have a visitor who has become my temporary gardener, and so I am enjoying the transformation.
Bicycle planter given to me by a friend, who got it at Costco.
Here is a multi-colored rose bush I saw at the coast a few days ago.
I welcome your comments about the subject of seeking after things that make for peace.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tea Time in Times Past

Tea time, by Percy Robert Craft, 1906

I was searching on Wikimedia Commons for a painting of English tea time and noticed this one depicting an afternoon tea at an outdoor recreation. It is summer, outside, and everyone is fully dressed. Wouldn't this be a nice view today? It is enough to inspire an artist.

On Thursday I went to an open-air market that was delightfully full of tents full of beautiful antiques, woodwork and books. I found a tea cup for $2.00, and a rose crochet piece for $3.00. I know someone in the past spent a lot of time carefully crocheting this, and was very skilled. It has a good home with me. This fine china piece does not have a name, only a brand:

This basket, below, also came from the same shop, called "Not 2 Shabbee".

I have been trying to get the flower beds weeded and planted, and will try to remember to get before/after pictures.

A Spray of Pink Roses 1911, by Ernestine Panckoucke (Wikimedia Commons)

Someone sent me a link to a garden video at Creative Country Mom, which I enjoyed and I thought some of my garden friends might like it too.

Let us remember in spite of the disappointing way society and government acts, that Christians are citizens of a different kingdom,with a higher king and a higher code of living, holding a different passport, in a different "nation" set apart from the world. That kingdom of which Christians are members, is so important that they have to "walk worthy" of it, living above the folly and discontent of the world around them.

Heb 12:28    "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear..."

Col 1:13    "(God) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son..."

1Th 2:12    That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Caring for Your Own

" Time for Tea" by Jane Maria Bowkett, English, 1839-1891

These paintings from the 1800s depict what appears to be common scenes of young women with their families.
"A Seaside Scene" by Jane Maria Bowkett

Each paintings show women are solemnly focused on doing things for their families. I like to look at background details of the paintings to see what else the woman might have been doing at home. Sometimes there is a sewing basket or books or meal time preparations illustrated.
"Baby's Birthday" by Jane Maria Bowkett

Today there is a lot of pressure on women who stay home, to do community work or charity. When homemakers volunteer, they find themselves rushed for time, unable to keep their homes in order.

According to the New Testament, ladies who are members of the Lord's church are to be absorbed in the running of the home and the care of the family members.

Sometimes there is pressure on women to conform to the super-women image of the all-efficient housekeeper who also has her children in many sports and activities outside the home. The homemaker is somehow supposed to be involved in social work, be out in her car going from appointment to appointment all day long. Other people think she should be out working to bring in wages.

There are myths surrounding the Proverbs 31 woman. Even religious people preach that the woman described in those 10 verses was involved in selling real estate. They also say the description of her making garments to sell "proves" that she was a career woman and not a full time homemaker. My friend from "Adventures in Keeping House" has logically refuted the modernist version of Proverbs 31:10-31, so I hope you will find time go go and read what she has written.

Of the 21 verses describing the ideal woman (which, from what I can surmise, were the teachings of a king's mother), there are only four verses that deal with finances. Verse 10 says that her "price" is far above rubies. Apparently, at the time this passage was written, there was nothing more valuable than rubies. A worthy woman was more valuable than rubies.

This verse does not indicate that her value was based on her efforts to earn a living. The "value" is in the other qualities she had, listed in the other 18 verses:

-Doing good and not evil
-Working with willing hands, using fabrics and yarns
-Shopping for quality food for her family
-Giving food to her servants
-Giving tasks to her servants
-Planting a garden
-Making fine clothing for herself and also for her family
-Keeping her mind on her home, watching the ways of her household
-Teaching good, wholesome things
-Helps the needy
-Manages the home and careful with finances so the husband doesn't have to worry
-Being busy, and having reverence for God
-not wasting time in games and idle talking or socializing

As you can see by reading the other verses, there is a lot more to the Proverbs 31 woman than money, yet people today seem to only see the financial part. In the beginning of the description of the worthy woman, it says she is far above the value of rubies. So, we can assume that preparing food, making clothes, watching over a home, and caring for a family are to be even more highly valued than money.

This all being said, if you are a Christian, the New Covenant of Christ is the law now spiritually in effect. This New Testament law states in Titus, chapter 2, that Christian woman should be absorbed in caring for husband, children and house.

The Proverbs 31 description was only an example, and only a description. It was never a command or a law. It is an ideal to use as an example. It was a mother saying to her son, "it is hard to find a good wife, one who would do this-and-such." We can all benefit from the depiction of an industrious woman who takes care of things at home so that her husband can go to work and not have to worry about things at home, knowing his wife is capable.

Verse 16 says she buys a plot of land to plant a vineyard, and verse 24 says she makes garments for the merchant to sell. None of these verses prove she was a full-time career woman working all day for money.

Some people say the fact she bought a piece of land in verse 16 means she was a real estate agent, but it seems one purchase of one piece of land was all she needed for planting. Real estate agents today sell property for a commission. The verse does not mention her selling land. It says she bought a piece of land. We are not told how big it was, and it is possible it was as big as some people's gardens today. Realtors today are busy from early morning til late at night trying to sell property, and there is no indication the Proverbs 31 woman was selling land.

The fact that she made garments, as cited in verse 24 still does not prove that she was in sales all day long. Like many homemakers, she may have sold something extra she had, after making all she needed for her own family. Summer gardens and fruit trees yield far more than we need, and so it is common for homemakers to sell what is extra, or even give it away.

The lady of the house may care for the food in the garden for a season, but that does not mean she works in the food industry all day, every day. Verse 24 says she gave the garments to the merchant to sell. It does not indicate that she spent the day selling her garments. Today there are knitters and crafters who put their wares in a shop on commission. That way they can stay home and keep house, and let the merchant sell their products for them. She also could have sold things from her home, as many people do today.

As I mentioned at the beginning, there are 21 verses describing qualities of an ideal woman, and only four of them have anything to do with money. Modernists have carelessly overlooked the qualities described in the other 18 verses. In fact, whenever the Proverbs 31 woman is mentioned in conversation, or online, right away someone says she was "powerful" or "strong" or "a force to be reckoned with." They always say she was "out there working", and occasionally someone claims she was working alongside her husband.

What she was actually doing was the work of the home, which freed up her husband to go and do what he needed to be doing. She managed her household so well, that verse 11 states that her husband has confidence in her and he will "have no need of spoil". "Spoil" means plunder, which is goods taken by force, usually during war. The Proverbs 31 woman apparently managed the family income so well, that her husband did not need any "spoil."

There are those who teach the Proverbs 31 account in terms of monetary gain. They are quick to point out the woman's financial abilities (buying a plot of land, giving garments to the merchant to sell, and her husband needing no "spoil"), as "proof" that a woman should have a job that earns wages. In emphasizing only the financial aspects of this worthy-woman description, they have sorely neglected approximately 18 more qualities, many of them spiritual, which makes a woman "worthy" and of greater value than rubies.

In the era in which the Proverbs 31 passage was written, many women had hired servants to do the tasks that homemakers do by themselves today. Is enabled them to do many other things. Unless you have someone else to do the homemaking and housework all day, there is plenty to do at home to make you a full time homemaker. People are quick to point to the Proverbs 31 woman as a career woman who held a job other than homemaking (they usually make a realtor out of her) but she had servants who did a lot of the house work. She then had more time to make garments and do other things.

Any woman that wants to make her family successful will take good care of her house and all the things in it including clothes, furniture, dishes, appliances, books, etc., so that things will last a long time and there will not be wastefulness. She will show her children how to look after their clothes and shoes and personal possessions.

A worthy woman likes to help others, but she is careful not to neglect her own family to engage in a lot of outside social things. She has to "look well" (verse 27) to the ways of her household. That means that caring for husband, children and home is her first concern.