Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Moment of Leisure

I have had a few moments of leisure on the porch this morning, and in this post I will share with you some other things going on in my home. That is an old teacup on the table that I got at an antique store in Coburg, called Primrose Lane. It is in an old house with an upper storey and I always like going up there where she keeps the tea things.
The table cloth is a piece of 60 inch woven fabric, which I cut in a circle (using another round cloth as a guide) and hemmed on the machine.
It seems like there should be more leisure time out in the country, away from neighborhoods and shopping areas, but I keep finding things that have to be done.
There has been a lot of rain, which is so pleasant to listen to in the night, and it is always so nice to see the change in the lawn the next day to a nice green color. It keeps me in the house, finding more things that need to be cleaned, organized or repaired.

Someone gave me a heart-shaped wooden shelf to put in a little space in my living room. I like the warm color of the varnished wood.

There is a birthday party today for a lady who moved here from the South, and I am taking her this little gift. It is a round box that has a nice print on it,

as shown, above and below, of a crown motif, Paris, old postcards and postage stamps.
the box contains a tea cup, and the plate has the same print as the box.
The teacup came with a silk tassel.
I think the lady will enjoy using this teacup becaise it has the look of fine china and is strong enough for daily wear-and-tear.

I like that the teacup came in a box with a ribbon and does not need to be wrapped or put in a gift bag. I still have to make a gift-tag, so she will know it was from me, but am already a bit rushed for time so I may use a colored post-it sticky note instead.
I posted a similar teacup my Lovely Whatever's art blog to show where to find cups like these.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Use of a Broken Teapot

Consider using cracked or chipped teapots as garden ornaments. Since this one is cracked at the base, it has good drainage. I put pebbles in it first and then topsoil, added a plant and some mulch.


I have added a pretty new blog to my blogroll, and hope it gets many visits: Inner Beauty of a Christian Wife

The subject I chose for today is The Woman's Duty at Home, a reader-requested subject, which includes the question of how much authority a woman has in her own home, to guard it and guide it.
There are a number of religious books and some teachings circulating that claim a woman has no authority at all in her Titus 2 role, but I cannot see that at all. Titus 2 and various other New Testament scriptures teach that the Christian woman must guide and guard the home. These scriptures give the woman the authority they need to make rules and establish policies regarding how that home should be run. If she wants people to remove their shoes at the door or not engage in loud conversation, or if she wants them to pick up after themselves, wash before they come to the table, or help with the housework, she has the authority to enforce that. She does not have to appeal to anyone to give her permission to be a keeper of the home, a guide of the home and a guard of the home. She already got permission from God's Word.
A keeper at home is working under the appointment she was given by Christ, as indicated in the scripture. In my opinion, homemaking is a work set apart from the world, with a special significance different than any other work. She should be treated as a sister in Christ, with honor and respect. Her children should not yell at her or berate her or complain. If they are older children who know better, she should not allow them to eat a meal or help themselves to anything in the house that she looks after, until they return to good manners.
Some women continue to make life easy for the scornful and disrespectful people that make her life hard at home. They feel they are not being feminine if they put a limit on such behavior or if the reprimand anyone, but if she does not do this, she is not taking her job seriously. Would any manager of a business allow the co-workers to harass and disrespect the other employees or the owner of the company? Home is more sacred than government, more sacred than business, and it was created even before the church came into existence, so its importance should be respected by the members that dwell together in it. Home therefore must be guarded and guided and protected, and that includes the dwelling place and the people in it.
Other women want to make their husbands guide the home, and in waiting for that to happen, women neglect their scriptural duty to guide the home and guard it. Guarding entails being particular about unwholesome influences, including company, and being particular about orderliness and cleanliness, design and style. In general whe you guard something you keep it intact and prevent intrusion and erosion, physically and spiritually.
Women have always taken charge of the home, and it is not wrong for a woman to rule her home. God has given Her charge of it. The problem today is the intimidation by those who say a woman is domineering if she rules over her household tasks and trains her children to be polite and respectful. Women are instead taught to be too timid even to prevent the rude takeover of their homes. They sometimes will allow children and men to wreck the house and bad-mouth the woman. Sometimes a woman allows so much license in the home that the atmosphere deteriorates into a hostile environment and the woman has to take to her bed. If a woman does not guard the condition of her home and her children, including their manners, she is in derelict of duty.
Guiding includes planning the family social life, keeping track of appointments and important posessions, and preventing things that might harm the family spiritually or physically. Guiding includes teaching manners and good judgement in preparation for life.
Women cannot depend on men to run the home, and so they must gather up their courage and tackle the job with all the strength and determination they can muster. Men must often be away from home, sometimes for weeks at a time, and the women at home can it just give up and wait for the men to be home before they do their duty at home. We can take a lesson from the brave widows who, left with children to raise, applied themselves to the task and did an admirable job on their own, with no complaining or resentment.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Porch Living

This is what the saucer looks like underneath that cute rose-shaped teacup.

Though sparse, there are few flowers available, and these are displayed in an old salt shaker.

You will have to ignore the fact that the outside of house needs a paint job. It may even have to wait few years, as it will take a crew to do it. In the meantime I am concentrating on keeping it as nice as I can and trying not to see all the flaws.

I was happy to see a local store carrying Bluebonnet seeds. 

Today as I sit on the porch in the sun, want to share something that has been on my mind for several months. Ladies often request a post on this subject. I usually think about a topic for quite awhile before I post it, so that I can plan my approach and make a mental outline of my thoughts. 

This is a subject that can sometimes be very sensitive: that of good manners in families and in church. It is so important that people understand what is, and what is not appropriate to do an say in some situations. In the Christian life, we learn that we must be gentle in our approach to people. There are, however, situations that will require correction. This is just a synopsis of what to do to promote peace and avoid confrontation.

In a preachers family, we have had to be very diplomatic and very cautious with people, and careful in many respects. Sometimes I hear the way people respond to their fellow-man with hasty, sharp replies and constant corrections -- and these are grown people, not children or students or those in their formative years talking to teens or tots -- and I think that if our family spoke to people in such an abrupt way, we would have been moving around a whole lot more than we did. We have been in the same ministry for 43 years and have observed a lot of things, so today I am sharing some of it here, to those who care to read it.

In business I hear people talking to their co-workers in such a way that would have gotten us booted out within a day, for no one wants to have a rude minister and ministers wife interacting with people. It would hurt the church's reputation and send the preacher packing over and over until he had nowhere to land. I see college students, particularly the girls, speaking harshly to their parents or their teachers and wonder how they will survive in their careers or a marriage.

I will divide the lesson into subjects, as best I can, in order to share my thoughts and beliefs about manners at home and at church.This lecture is directed to young ladies, and in general it says that the manners you practice at home will be the manners you extend in the church. An elderly man whom we all respect in our local congregation told us that lack of respect at church can often be traced to lack of manners in the home.

Ettiquette at Home and Church

In a family, I think it is important not to practice being so casual with each other that you cast aside all propriety and lapse into criticism and insults. You may have come from a home where this was commonly practiced, and it was considered acceptable because, after all, you are family, and still have to live together. Growing up in this conflict can make people think it is normal, and they carry the arguing habit into their own newly-formed families. Unless they recognize the harm in arguing and defying, they pass the attitudes on to the next generation. There are some ways to change things, if a person has a mind to do so:

1. Bite your tongue.

In "the old days" a person was admonished by the older generation not to say whatever came to their minds, but to think it through and imagine the reaction to your words. Err on he side of shyness and restraint. Wait and see if the other person will change, and give them a chance to grow. Overlook a fault unless it puts you in personal danger.

Pro 11:13    A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Sometimes women or girls can get very sharp-tongued, being quick to correct everyone on every little thing. They may feel they should show people how intelligent they are by turning everything into a big issue or a debate. This behavior is not smart at all. It is what the New Testament describes as a loud, clanging cymbal; that is to say, a lot of noise and show. It is not always wise to confront people. Try to think if they might react in a harsh way to your criticism. If they do, you are bringing more stress on yourself. Ask yourself if you are willing to live with the repercussions. Some things do need correcting, so be sure it is important enough to make it worth the backlash you might get.

Pro 16:20    He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

2. Restrain yourself.

Sometimes in a home, someone may feel like playing but others do not want to play. I have found it best to leave people alone if they do not want to interact with others. Some people would rather read a book. Not everyone wants to party. If they are not causing trouble, leave them alone. There are some people that feel they must continually stir people up. This fits the description in Proverbs of the people that lose sleep if they are not causing trouble:

Proverbs 4:16  " For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall."

3. Practice peacefulness.

Confrontation causes reaction, which results in stress for both parties. Some people think it is healthy to confront others often about every little thing, but I guarantee you that people do not like to be constantly confronted and are never going to warm to you. In fact, if you make a habit of confronting people, you will find they flee from you when they see you coming.

By confronting, I am speaking of making an issue of everything and getting people into a conference to discuss an issue, and in general creating stress by putting someone on the spot. We are told by worldlings (a silly word I use when I am referring to the world's advisors) that confronting someone is advisable, but I have never seen it work out well. A young lady is not required to confront older people, and she must leave a lot of things to play out by themselves. If you get in the habit of trying to run other people or get your own way all the time, you will be impossible to live with as a mate and as a church member.

One thing I grew tired of early in life was the practice of setting up a meeting with someone for the purpose of working out your differences or "clearing the air." I observed that dredging up all the offenses and trying to explain and re-explain your actions or intentions only brought up old wounds and caused more offenses and more problems. Some people had the idea that all parties should get together and "have it out" but I never saw that such conferences ever resulted in life-long friendships. Confrontation only continued the problem. Sometimes if you leave things alone, a problem will take care of itself. Older people will often say this.

I was taught to "let sleeping dogs lie." (Poirot would say, "let the sleepy dog tell the lie" :-). In other words, it isn't too bright to stir up a problem if everyone seems to be letting it lie still and die down. I never once saw a confrontation conference change anything for the better. It only alienated people from the ones who were setting up the confrontation.

This of course does not apply when raising children, as confrontation will be necessary. I am referring to the unpleasant habit that occurs in adult conversation. Christian ladies have to interact with people in a way that gives and takes, does not dominate or manipulate the conversation, and is edifying and pleasant. This is quite a skill, which could be achieved through role-playing an argumentive person with a conciliatory person.

4. Practice deference.

This is a yielding and humble attitude in conversation, toward parents and grandparents and others who are older than you. Do not get the idea that it means to let people walk all over you or that it means you must agree to something that is wrong. It means to defer, or yield your opinion in order to keep a pleasant conversation. If you can sense that someone is argumentive, do not give them any fuel by insisting on winning the argument. It is painful for others to have to listen to it and you are not endearing yourself to anyone.

Deference includes respecting older people. Younger women should not argue with older women, and should practice deference. In yielding, it does not mean you agree with a person, but it shows that you are too polite to argue or to try to win an argument. Learn all you can about he quality of deference, for it is one of the sources of ladylike and gentlemanly behavior.

5. Be alert to the cold shoulder.

Do not expect family members and church members, friends and people you do business with, to spell out every detail for you of how you should act in order to be polite. Plan on picking up some hints by observing people's response to you. Some people's expressions are clear. When they frown, they may want you to leave them alone. When they smile, they may be giving you permission to be more friendly. Some people will turn their back on you or give you the cold shoulder. Think before you confront them about it. Let them cool off. Confrontation may just make matters worse.

A person who avoids you is giving you the cold shoulder. If you are a young lady and find this happening a lot in your life, use it as a signal to retreat and be a little less pushy; a little more demure. There may be other reasons that someone will give you the cold shoulder. It is possible they are rude. If so, let them alone. Do not try to pursue a friendship with a rude person if it causes more stress for you.

I have observed that the wisest people are willing to let a matter slide, and not try to solve it. They overlook a fault and give people room to grow. As I said before, this does not apply when raising children, because they have to be guided into proper attitudes and behavior. Just make sure your children know they cannot raise the rest of the world. They cannot boss their elders around or correct the bad manners of people around them. They must be respectful.

6. Learn to be discerning.

The person who says you have to come to them and tell them what they did wrong, is someone who is not discerning the situation. They should size up the situation by watching how others are behaving. For example, many mothers want their children to look to them for authority and advice and they take offense when a young lady tries to come between a mother and a daughter with her opinions. Gather all kinds of clues from observing the things that go on around you and from the way people speak and act. Avoid those that create discord, and avoid creating discord yourself.

Observe the church members who have been in peaceful existence for a long time, in the church where you attend. If they are content to leave people in peace and and are not argumentive or meddling with people, take note. If you are a young lady wanting to be accepted, observe the other ladies. Many of them, though not "social butterflies", are pleasant enough and mindful of the privacy of the other members. They seem to be able to detect whether too much attention might embarrass someone, and whether a little extra attention is needed. They neither overwhelm people with abrupt behavior, nor dismiss people by being disinterested. If you are a young lady, the best thing to do is be ready to make friends but wait for others to make the first move, especially if you are new in a congregation. Let others get used to seeing you and having you around, ease into the social situation, and never assume anything. Rely on the older women to gain a sense of propriety ( discerning what to say and what not to say or do )in social situations such as birthday observances, baby and wedding showers, and ladies Bible studies.

7. When corrected by an elder, thank them and move on.

Do not stay and try to justify yourself as if you were trying to prove your case in court. Sometimes an older women will not want you to roam through her house, going into closed off areas and snooping into private places of the house. If you do this and are corrected, do not make up stories about being lost. To learn more about this, read "On Being a Good Guest: Private Spaces". Be careful not to create a huge issue, followed by a personal confrontation or a meeting to hash things out, when someone just does not want to socialize, seems to want more privacy, or declines an invitation. You will not regret overlooking the matter, but if you create a big issue over something, you have to live with that memory the rest of your life.

8. Know your place.

That sounds very old-fashioned, but it is so valuable and will keep a lot of stress and resentment out of your life and make you easy to get along with. Young ladies should be careful not to have a know-it-all attitude or argue about everything. They should remember that they are not old and experienced in life and have not endured many trials. They should not expect to boss or lord it over anyone. Neither should they try to usurp a mother's authority or act superior.

Young ladies should be taught to observe and be aware of everything around them. You can discern a lot about the character qualities of a person by observing how they interact with their parents and with older people. It is important to be alert about this because it prevents you from naively participating in an argument or getting pulled into a friendship or an agreement to do something, that you may regret. Be discerning.

Jesus told the Pharisees that they were good about discerning the weather, but they could not discern the times. (Luke 12:56) That means they could see only what was in front of them but were not being aware of what was going on around them.

To be aware of how to be mannerly, use all of your senses. People should not have to always tell you everything. People sometimes send off simple signals in response to rudeness. They may shrink from an agressive person, or they may feel too stressed to respond to someone who has been rude, and just shut down and not communicate. If you are a young lady and want to avoid offending people, and desire to be well-mannered, use your senses and your good sense, to discern when you have been too inquisitive, have monopolized conversation, been too self-centered in conversation, have not shown honor to your parents, are not thoughtful in your treatment of others, etc.

Learn also that not everyone is the same. People will not follow the rules you want them to. There are some people who are not comfortable with confrontation. They would rather avoid a rude person than confront them. They may have a sensitive nature that causes them to feel very stressed out if they have a confrontation. Be considerate of the way others do things.

Naturally there are things that need to be confronted, which will require discernment. This post is intended for those who are trying to reduce the amount of stress in their lives. A lot of stress can be avoided if you will cut down on the amount of conflict you create by impulsive confrontation and arguing. There is enough stress to be had without creating it ourselves. Sometimes it is best to be quiet about controversies and faults.

It seems like there is a lot to remember, but when you adopt a graciousness and a "live-and-let-live" quality into your life, it will become natural to be polite, without even thinking.

I highly recommend this article called Hints and Helps on Good Behavior at all Times and at all Places. In fact, I am fairly certain you will like what you read there.

It is getting late and I see the sun is setting, so I will post a photo of it and say goodnight.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Rainy Day

Still Life of Lilies and Roses by Margaret Margetts

The temperature has turned very cold and it is raining now, and that is why I am in the house blogging.I wanted to show off my repaired mailbox. A friend came and painted it, after her husband re-built the stand and secured it. Country mailboxes tend to loosen and lean and get a little beat up over the years, so he also smoothed out all the dents! The numbers will be up on it soon, but even though they are not, I am confident anyone can find my address on the web. :-)
It rains and snows hard all winter up to the spring and then, instead of slowly easing into spring, we get hit with a sudden heat wave and a dry spell. Gardeners rush around trying to get the flower beds looking nice before it rains again.


There is a very inexpensive weekly magazine called Women's World that I sometimes look through when I am waiting in line at the grocer. It is a publication of only good news, and every title has an exclamation mark! Not everything in it is conservative or modest, but once in awhile there are some very bright photographs of gardens, rooms, and places around the world, that are worth saving. Here is a peek inside the Issue that is out for the week of June 23, of the pages I am saving.

I thought this was simple, and those of us who are not using refined sugar can substitute some other sweetener from nature.

It is starting to rain and is quite cold outside, and as I could not take a picture of the front flower bed without getting raindrops on my ipad, I took one from inside. The garden isn't growing and filling out as fast as I would like, and I often see photographs of gardens located in even colder climates that are already lush and full. I do not know what their secret is!

I thought I needed a fresh batch of top soil to give the flower bed a boost, and this is what I bought for $4.50. I like the brand name: Filthy Rich!

These are called Keys Of Heaven, which is Valerian, an herb, that I understand comes in other colors. It grows prolifically and yearly in abandoned areas, especially around old church buildings and meeting houses, so it is no wonder it is doing so well in this spot.


The roadsides are full of the color of lupines, wild sweet peas, buttercups, cornflowers, wild roses and I cannot name what else, but I cannot get them to grow in my garden! They prefer the minerals in the gravel of the roadsides.

I have been sorting through things and have noticed the little gifts around my house sent to me by readers: a tea cup, a Dennis Lewan painted plate, Victorian gift books, crocheted kitchen things, cards, a hand made scarf, a shawl, and some other treasures. If you sent me something that I did not mention or acknowledge, please let me know. I do wish I had thought to keep a gift journal with pictures and details of the senders. I want everyone to know that I still have the things they have sent and they are appreciated. These days very few people have time to write or send little packages, so I consider it quite a sacrifice when someone goes to the effort to mail something.

For the lady in Australia who asked about the mailbox, here is a link to the photographs of mailboxes I took when I was in Australia last year:

The flag indicates there is mail for the postman to pick up. It prevents him from shoving the new mail on top of the outgoing letters. Then he puts the flag down to indicate the outgoing letter was taken.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Progress With the New Flooring

This card is a free gift from Susan. You can use it.

There is a lot of work still to be done around here after a 20 year old carpet was replaced with vinyl flooring. It is worse than unpacking after a move. At least when relocating, the things are in boxes with labels . While I was gone one day, the men moved everything and jumbled it up with a giant spoon like a huge salad, and now I am sorting through it.
You can see the darker flooring which had been discontinued, and the lighter flooring next too it, but with the furniture and rugs, it is not noticeable. In an old house that was actually going to be torn down years ago, I am not going to get too particular about having everything perfect.
The difference in the two floors can hardly be seen unless someone is looking critically.
The living room is the only thing camera-worthy right now, and I have a lot of things to do to get the giant salad in order.
I am getting ready to host a morning tea-luncheon tomorrow, and a ladies Bible class, so I will open the tent windows and take more pictures tomorrow when I have everything set up.
The tent needs some adjusting, as the wind is playing around with it right now, but this is what it looks like inside, so far.

It is perhaps appropriate that our study tomorrow is about the faith of Abraham, because he was a tent-dweller and we are having our lesson in a tent. Each week we also read the great faith chapter in Hebrews 11, which includes the people who lived by faith, even though they had never seen what they were promised.

Noah had never seen rain or a flood or a boat, and yet he built one and entered into it for safety. The New Testament refers to the ark as a type of salvation.

Abraham was called by God to go out of his own country and away from his own kin, and away from his father's house to go to another land. I know people who have to move from their beloved homes, and sometimes it is bewildering and discomforting. They miss their homes and their kindred and they find it difficult to adjust.

When I was only 16 I was uprooted from a home I loved, as our family went to another country to live there permanently. We were strangers in a foreign land and the adjustment was difficult. My father read the faith chapter, Hebrews 11. Hebrews seems to be written to Christians who wanted to go back to their childhood religion, just like we wanted to go back to our familial home, to remind them of the faith of their fathers who were looking for a home provided by God.

Being so very young, the changes seemed bewildering. It would have helped if someone had taught me the benefits of gratefulness and contentment. I believe these two qualities chase away mental anguish and mental instability. Happily, there were several people who took an interest in me and offered comforts that took the edge off the sudden changes. On top of the drastic relocation we made, one of the children died in an accident in our new country (my oldest brother) which added an undercurrent of sadness to our existence.

Whatever your circumstances, like Abraham, who had to move continuously, and like Noah who lost his known world, you can bring your knowledge and your wisdom and talents with you to make a home. One day your children will think you are were very confident and brave, and of course, whatever we do is for The Lord, anyway.

If you have moved across the country or across the world, I would suggest you ease into social situations slowly and cautiously. If you attend a church, be aware that the people there have already established the way they work together and the way they conduct their Bible studies and their worship services. Do not walk in as a newcomer and start wanting changes.

Never tell your hostess that you hate the new state you live in or that you hate the country you live in. Just tell them you are having difficulty adjusting and that you miss your old home but never insult people who are hosting you by saying you hate their state or city or country. It will not endear you to them, and they will not be inclined to show warmth to you, and it will make it even harder to like the place and to adjust.

A Christian lady has to remember that she is still a pilgrim traveling through a foreign land, because she has a mission of teaching, by her life and her conversation, the refinement and contentment the New Testament teaches. In such circumstances of painful relocation, she can get her mind off herself and extend gracious understanding and generosity to her hostess and be a ray of sunshine and optimism.

In a sense, you represent the place you came from. Would you want your new acquaintances to think that everyone from your area was a complainer or a malcontent? Such a trial can be a great time to work on character qualities found in Philippians 4:8 and Galations 5:22-23.

Jas 5:11    Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

If you are relocating or suffering from grief, or any trial, you can still use it for good. I think The letter to the Christians in Rome shows what our focus should be on. Use this chapter as your guide to getting along in the church, whether you are relocating or not:
Rom 12:1    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2    And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Rom 12:3    For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Rom 12:4    For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
Rom 12:5    So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Rom 12:6    Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Rom 12:7    Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
Rom 12:8    Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
Rom 12:9    Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Rom 12:10    Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Rom 12:11    Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rom 12:12    Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Rom 12:13    Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Rom 12:14    Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rom 12:15    Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Rom 12:16    Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
Rom 12:17    Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
Rom 12:18    If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Rom 12:19    Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Rom 12:20    Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Rom 12:21    Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Home Improvements

Photo courtesy of Country Living

As the weather has been so dry, we have taken the opportunity to finish installing the floor in the living room. Because I was buying a box of flooring every now and then and storing it in the shed until I could get enough to complete the job, I misplaced the boxes for a couple of years. Other people had stored things in front of it and it got lost.

As things would go, the company that made that particular color and design of flooring has discontinued the pattern, and I was one box short of the boards reaching the entire floor. Today we are getting another box of a slightly different kind and color, but hopefully the the old couch and the old piano will cover up the discrepancy. In an old house that is disintegrating, who minds if the floor boards do not match?! As Lord Cumnor said "For that matter, who minds anythin'? It is not as if we were going to a funeral!" This was followed by a hearty laugh.(Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell)
Photo courtesy of Country Living
Photo courtesy of Country Living. This is the closest to the way my living room will look when the project is completed.

You can see here how we are "living" in the living room.

The furniture has been moved out into the big tent. I will get it all arranged properly and then have a morning tea there and post pictures.

I used the old carpet that was taken out of the living room and put in the tent. Things will look better soon. In upheavals like this I make a point of keeping the kitchen cleaned up and the laundry caught up. I can control the "food and raiment" part. That aids in contentment.

The two shades of flooring, above. We still have to put on the trim around the edges.
A lot of things are in the hall and it is a tight squeeze to get to the bedrooms and bathroom but the trauma should be over in about a week if I last that long :-)
The garden is improving. This pink impatient is making everything more full and colorful.

As I have been entertaining some thoughts about contentment, I will continue with the subject. It is very easy to lapse into discouragement when there are changes, especially sudden changes like relocating or tearing up the inside of a house in order to add improvements. Yet the Christian is admonished to be patient and content. How can that be possible, especially when a lady is wanting peace and order?
Everyone that has this experience has developed their own way of dealing with it. For myself, I find it enormously helpful to read these verses:

Heb 13:5    Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

1Ti 6:6    But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1Ti 6:7    For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
1Ti 6:8    And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Control what you can, and leave the other things alone. Keeping the kitchen clean and meals provided, sometimes sending out for fast food, helps. We cannot use the tables but we can go outside to eat. That is what I call "eating out." Keeping the laundry caught up is something I can control.

Last week there were 13 ladies in the Ladies Bible Class, where we read more about Abraham. He was a tent-dweller who packed up and moved often. His was the first edition of the modern motor-home. He was very rich with gold and silver and other precious treasures, as well as in flocks and livestock, so you can imagine how much weight he had to pack, and how slow the move would be.

All he and Sarah's household was packed up and put on camels, and tents were folded up when they got ready to move again. When they arrived, their house was unpacked and the furnishings and kitchen things were arranged again in the tents. So if you think you have trauma in your life, think of Abraham and his constant moving. He did not always know ahead of time the exact location of his next move, but he had faith. That is what faith is all about. It would not be faith if we knew exactly how things will be, down to the last detail.

Heb 11:8    By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Heb 11:9    By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
Heb 11:10    For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Christians, wherever they are, belong to a different kingdom with different foundations; spiritual ones. So, whatever situation they are in, they have a better king, a better citizenship, a better home.

Friday, June 06, 2014

A Cottage Garden

A Cottage in Spring in Normandy by Louis Aston Knight, (American, 1873-1948)

Summer's Day in the Flower Garden, by Robert Peyton Reid
I wanted to show you my new front window with the vinyl frame. The screened windows slide open so easily. You can see the early morning view in the reflection.
I have some pictures of my flower beds as I am progressing on getting them cleaned up and in shape. A friend dug out the tall grass and got the garden bare enough for me to see it as a blank canvas on which to create a landscape, and gave my garden decor a fresh coat of white paint. Krylon Dual is the best. She also brought me some annuals and ground cover plants so that I can have them established in the flower beds for years.
These will have to be my "before" pictures, and as the garden gets more full, I will take the "after" pictures.

A child's wheelbarrow, broken on one side, becomes a planter.

Iron buggy and old cracked boots also make interesting planters.
The broken teapot will look good with a geranium in it, and the chair, also too broken to sit on, is relegated to the garden. This part of the garden has a ground cover called Sweet Woodruff that thrives even if neglected, so I am looking forward to it covering the area. I also have a geranium here called a Martha Washington.
The cup and saucer, glued together, was a bird feeder.
Ground cover on this rock arrangement is going to resemble a waterfall when it fills out and the little white blossoms cascade down the rock formation.

Since I have been in the same house for over 20 years, I have encouraged contentment by changing and improving parts of it when I am able. The garden is something that can look different every year.
Working in a garden can also be very therapeutic for ladies who are trying to develop contentment.

To my regret, I have not always understood the importance of contentment, but can see how it prevents sudden, drastic changes in life that are not beneficial. Life presents enough changes and sorrows to adjust to, without the homemaker adding to the upheaval by wishing she were somewhere else.

We had a ladies Bible class recently, with a study of the life of Abraham, in Genesis. One of the ladies brought up the fact that he was content, even when he was told to move somewhere else. We can be content to stay where we are, but it is just as important to have contentment when you are away from home, in transit, or re-locating.

Abraham was happy to go or stay, and unconcerned about the adjustments he had to make. He allowed his nephew to choose the part of the country he wanted to have, while he, Abraham, took the other part. He did not even make his own choice. He just took what was left and trusted that God had something in mind for him.
If it is not raining next week, we are going to have an afternoon tea inside the big tent, so I will try to remember to take pictures.

Painting by Robert Payton Reid, 1859-1945, Scotland