Friday, September 29, 2017

Enjoying the Rain

We are enjoying a bit of rain after a long dry spell. It's amazing how slowly things turn green when I run the garden sprinkler non-stop, day after day, and how quickly everything greens up with a light drizzle of rain. Above you see what might possibly be my last rose of summer. 

It reminds me of the first dinner China I ever owned. Someone who had collected it from gas station tickets in the 1960's gave it to me. It was called Superior Hall Cameo Rose.

At the time, back in the 1970's , it was not a complete set and there were chips here and there, and it didn't really appeal to me. We used it more as every day China, til the last piece. Now, for sentimental reasons and memory of our first years of marriage, I am attempting to get a teacup from this set. 

It wasn't a very colorful set, and being so young, I didn't know how to make it more cheerful on the table. On dark gloomy days, this pattern did not thrill me, so I sold the last couple of cracked pieces at a garage sale in the late 1970's.

We have already been out walking in the rain, drinking our first morning cup of tea.

If I can be as delighted with the rain when comes the seasonal deluge, which isn't so romantic, I will certainly have found one of the answers to having a sound mind.

Maybe the next time I post there will be some sewing to show.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

High Summer Yard Scenes

Quite a few thoughts come to my mind when I am caring for the yard, but so far I haven't found them profound enough to share here, so today all I could think to post these photos. As you can see, it  is quite wild here. I have a cousin coming from Canada who is a gardener in Vancouver, and I hope to learn a lot and get some ideas about how to make things more interesting and happier looking.

Yonder is our cottage, but it is not as small as it seems. I know that, by how long the housekeeping takes.

It is high summer here and no sign of waning so I am going to start the season over,  because with all the usual rush of activity I didn't stop much.

I am having lunch outside and drawing my summer sewing wardrobe on paper, and hope to get back to sewing soon. Most of the summer I spent eyeing the patterns!  A few years ago I did a sewing planner sheet based on old paintings. I am thinking about doing something like that, combined with activity and location themes.  I have been particularly interested in the old sketches of flowers that look like gowns but have not fully explored that creative idea yet.

I know I have asked for subject ideas from you, and I have received some in the past but did not follow through on all of them. If you can remember any subject you would like to see covered here, please leave me the idea in the comments or email me.

As always, thanks for dropping by. Without you I wouldn't have as much motivation or inspiration. 

Here is a teacup story for you.  Cellphones are so much fun and in many ways bring family closer together as we share our comings and goings. The nasturtium teacup  I posted here a few weeks ago, which I got at Goodwill, made a trip out of someone's hand onto the floor and split in two pieces.

Mr. S. Had some errands so he dropped me off at Homegoods which is a "seconds" store, like the reject stores in Australia.  (We try to combine our outings to save gas). The goods are all new but perhaps out of season or a little imperfect.

I noticed the Gracie China brand teacup was only $3 something and sent a picture to my daughter to show her how I found a replacement for the nasturtium cup, and what's better is it is brand new, a lower price than the used things in Goodwill, and still has the vivid colors.  I very much like the lightweight porcelain of new Gracie China. It is dishwasher safe and in doesn't seem to have lead in it.

I sent a picture of the 4 matching cups in my basket (the price being so low) and texted to her:

"Look what I found, and look at the price.  I think it takes four of these to replace the broken one."

 She wrote back:

"It is never wise to break up a family of teacups."

When we used to shop the thrift stores we never felt right about leaving the matching teapot when we found a teacup we liked.

The family of cups now has a good home. The other one in the basket is a gift  for someone.

Some pictures from my market visit the othe day.  These colors inspire watercolorists!
Then there are the pastel ones.
Naturally it all makes me think of fabric, but I might look at what the water color people are doing with these vivid displays!

We visited a waterfall too. Can you see the blue in the water? So pretty.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Porch View

I found this in Pinterest and it looks a lot like my front porch in winter, when we get our "monsoons" and it is so slushy sloshy wet: when Mr. S. threatens to move to Arizona.  Years ago when my children were all under the age of 15 they all stood under the porch roof watching the lightening display on a ranch in Texas. I took their snack outside and they always had that memory of watching the rain while they ate.

Later on we got the idea of trying to think what it it must have been like for Noah and his family on the ark. The porch became the deck and the house was the ark, so nice and dry inside, and that was a new adventure. Since the ark eventually landed on dry ground, we graduated our adventure to a cruise ship. Each time it rained heavily the house was a cruise ship with all the amenities and employees taking things to the staterooms on trays. Then there was the dinner theatre and the library, the recreation room, and of course the laundry room where the passengers did their own laundry.

I still think of this when the rains come and the pouring sky never lets up in winter.  We are still having summer, all the leaves are green and I am not rushing autumn. I am still getting sweet peas, cucumbers and beets out of my garden, and in no hurry for the cold weather. The songbirds are still sending their optimistic spring sounds all day.

I found this picture with autumn things,  on Pinterest, and I notice how pleasant it is.  I got up today and saw my clean kitchen, and enjoyed the peaceful feeling.

Whether it's autumn where you live, or "high summer" please enjoy a few leisurely moments while you contemplate the things you need to do or are responsible for today.

I have looked for cups like this because I love the cottages or houses. These are quite rare, and I got this picture on Pinterest, but I am hoping there will be some kind of reproduction of patterns like this, that can be found in places like TjMax discount stores. As Fanny said in Sense and Sensibility, "A little cottage is always very snug." 

Here are some of my own porch views today.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

When I Need a Change

Every now and then I need a change of routine and a change of scenery. There aren't many places to go or tea rooms that don't cost a lot of money. It's just cheaper to be home.

There are some days that seem to say it's time to go somewhere!

A different tea set sometimes helps... well as a different location somewhere at home...

...or a friend to sit with for a few minutes. 

Painting by Gregory Frank Harris.

All pictures today are from Pinterest.

Now this is a little something I wish to relate to you from my childhood on the Alaskan Homestead.  (It is not in my book.)

We would all get sick sometimes and be confined ever so long to the house. It would get very tedious and in those days some people who lived alone would go stir crazy and walk out with no coat into the snow, trying to go somewhere. 

 Mother gave us all paper, crayons and pencils and encouraged the little ones to draw and color places they would like to be, and the older ones to write stories of activities and other places.  

We could create characters and draw houses and interiors and have an entire drama to distract us. Sometimes we would play-act the people in our stories. This gave us interesting dreams while recovering from common illness.

I was amused last week when one little grand child began pretending to be a king, and created a high-falutin' accent to go with it. One of the older grandchildren, miffed about taking orders from a king so much younger,  told him, "It isn't so great to be a king. They just sit in one chair all day and talk about the same thing."  The little one was undaunted. He changed chairs every few minutes and talked about something different. 

Painting by Vladimer Gusev

Monday, September 25, 2017

Stores: Please Pass the Charity Back to Us

I get a lot of emails reporting the big stores that donate millions of dollars to causes, worthy or unworthy, around the world.

I wonder, if they make such a profit off shoppers like us, why don't they donate that profit they use for the "causes" (many which people object to) back to the hard working American who is fast going into poverty...I mean EVERYONE who has to shop at Target, Walmart, Sears, and other huge chain stores. 

Most Americans are low income these days, due to high rent and high cost of any kind of housing. If these stores have so much extra money from the profits of our shopping, to financially support causes beyond our control, why not pass the profit and the charity back to us through lower prices? Then, with our savings, LET US DECIDE what charities we will support, out of our own bank account.

Some people are finding alternatives to the chain stores, but others are stuck shopping there due to distances and affordability. To those who don't have any choice, let the big box stores donate back to the shopper by giving us even lower prices.  They can still consider it charity.

I hope there is someone reading this blog who remembers when a store was just a store. Now you have to read their signs that say they donate so much to such and such a charity.  If they have that much extra money, it would be better to lower their prices and let the shopper choose his own charity.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Loveliest of Days

(Pictures from Pinterest)

After all the fire and smoke, it rained for the first time in about 5 months (rain that could be measured, that is) and we are having the loveliest of days with some summer staying still. The air is so soft and fresh and the colors are clear and exciting. 

I didn't know what to title this but feel the need to answer the question of why I rarely address the subject of marriage.

One reason is that every couple has their own way of relating to each other.

What we have observed is that a couple can best work out how they will conduct their marriage.  

Counselling sometimes makes things worse, for some reason. The wife is often the one who instinctively knows her husband's marriage relationship better than anyone else.  If they can at least stay under one roof, there is a good possibility they can work things out.

From time to time, with the pressures of the outside world, one member or both, can get disoriented, distracted by other people or things, and emotionally detached. Marriages go through hard times and if the couple knows that, they might be able to form a philosophical attitude and call it "one of those crooks on the road."

Naturally there will be the occasional couple where one person does not want to be married and will do everything they can to wreck their marriage.  It has been that way since the beginning of time. While I know it's the ideal to remain married,  some people will not be able to, through no fault of their own.  

I try not to dictate to anyone what they should do when there are problems, because basically I think the wife often has it within her, to establish the atmosphere of the home and the relationship with her husband. There are some good verses in the Bible, particularly the love chapter of 1st Corinthians 13, which can be read for itself. If even one of the people in a marriage will apply it, it will have an effect.

The wife knows her husband better than any book or counsellor and can be a good adviser.

You cannot isolate any one verse of scripture about marriage and use it above any of the others, or favor a particular passage to the loss of another. Some people like to emphasize one thing to do with the wives but ignore scriptures addressing husbands. We have to keep everything in balance. 

One thing we have learned is to overlook faults and don't accuse, pick on or try to correct the other person unless it is really important. Another thing is to appreciate some of the little things that we don't really take notice of. 

For example, I usually fold over back of the collar of Mr. S. Sunday shirt so it covers his tie in the back. A lot of wives do that, but we don't take much notice of it.

 He buttons the top button of the back of a blouse or dress where I cannot quite reach it.  A lot of husbands do that but maybe it isn't really noted since it is all done kind of routinely or absent-mindedly.

This was brought home to me last Sunday when the grandkids were all here. Sunday morning was a lot busier with extra people walking around getting ready to go to worship.

The children were excited to be around Papa (because he is the favorite), and they all walked out the door with him, down the little path to the meeting house. 

He was out the door a little earlier that morning because the children were so eager to go. He left  before I could get his usual help, so I did not get the top two inches of my zipper pulled up to the back of my neck. I put a jacket on over the dress to hide it. 

 As I walked in the door where people were milling around still talking just before services, I saw Mr. S. putting the song page numbers on the board in the front. His back was turned to me and there was his collar up in back with the tie showing around his neck. He looked like he got dressed in a hurry, and so did I.  We usually straighten each other out before we let each other go out in public.

It reminded me of his parents, and how his Dad would go out he door with mismatched socks or shoes, or have part of the cuff of his slacks tucked into a sock.  His mother would have quite a fit as she caught him just in time and straightened it all out, checked his tie, and brushed any wrinkles or lint off his church suit.  

With the more casual way of fashion in the future, I wonder if people will have these amusing memories any more.

 I thought for a few seconds about just leaving him alone with his collar up and tie showing around the back of his neck. After all, we only see the front of the tie when he is speaking.  It was a very warm day and he and the other men were not wearing suit coats or any kind of formal jackets. 

 My conscience got the better of me and I walked up to the front area while people were still milling around and tucked his collar over his tie. This is just to say we really do not notice these little things unless they are not done. And we should appreciate the other person for such small considerate gestures.

Additional Thoughts:

If women will tap into their God-given senses, they often have within them the insight and answer regarding the behavior of their husbands. In my opinion, whatever gives her the most peace of mind and sense of well-being, will be a big clue to any problems. If their natural instincts are not clouded, they will pick up on anything that makes them uneasy that threatens the marriage. I think women have a built in caution system because they naturally are relationship oriented and sensitive when trust is being eroded in the marriage. She senses things and is made to feel uneasy. She picks up on the anything is not quite right, with anyone in her home, from husband to children.

Also, if the wife has her natural instincts in working order, she knows when to guide and guard her husband and family. A real helper will be a good warning system for her husband.

Concerning husbands, I never have quite figured out the reason for the demand that they all be "leaders" and make every decision, especially if they want their wives to help them make decisions. Proverbs says two are better than one, for when one falls, the other holds him up.

One problem we are seeing, is a happy couple with a good relationship will think the husband should be more of a "leader".  Maybe he is a steady-at-the-helm man who sees no reason to give orders or control everything and he is made to feel he must be more assertive and domineering in order to be a real "Biblical" man.  

Such men who are not used to behaving this way will try to become "leaders" according to some religious idea, and in the process leave their love behind. 

 Meekness is not bad: it is simply strength under control, and a true "leader" is one who is kind and dependable, who may also defer to his wife's preferences or her judgement. 

Sadly, some men who have not been taught, will get ahold of a few favorite scriptures in order to seek their own way rather than increase love and trust. 

There are also men who will use the Bible as a vehicle for their own selfish agenda rather than looking at it as a warm interaction between themselves and others and God. Immaturity with scripture is like adding alcoholic beverages to a mind that already lacks good judgement. 

If a husband is content to earn a living and he isn't abusing, verbally or physically, I think it is wise to leave him alone,  and not try to make some kind of dynamic "leader" out of him. Maybe I can talk more about this in the comments.  

Perhaps you older women can add your observations to this.

I don't think it's good to bash women over the head with the word "submission" or the men with the word "leadership" , which is something I see a lot with religious people on the web.  If a couple is happy and have settled into a mutally agreeable way of interacting, I don't feel comfortable correcting their way of operating together at home.

From an old church bulletin:

The only exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions, running down their friends, side-stepping responsibility, and pushing their luck!

 Author: Unknown

How Can a Woman Quit Work?

I got this comment on an old post. As I am off and running to the farmers market this morning, I will only be able to post the question and hopefully with your help I can post some ideas on it later.

Thank you, Miss Lydia for your posts. I was a keeper-at-home for nearly two decades. I loved being the heart and guard of the home, something I know God entrusted me with. Yes, it meant living with only one car, cooking from scratch (my favorite!) and cleaning. As the children got older, my husband encouraged me to get a part-time job (to keep me from being bored;), so I did. I must tell you that was the biggest mistake I ever made. The part-time job was 20 to 25 hours a week, mostly nights and weekends at a women clothing chain store. Sure, the shopping was great but looking back in hindsight, it set me up for a decline. A decline in my housekeeping. A decline in how my children interact with me. A decline in (I hate admitting this) how I respect(ed) my husband. I would give anything to come back home. I surrendered my cellphone (never used it for much except wasting time) and I would gladly surrender my car and find a way to deal with my debt (acquired only when I started the job). Now I am in so far to this system, I am wondering how to get out, how to give up work and come home. Do I just pray about it and hope something will happen, or take some other steps to quit?

I will say my first thoughts are of a couple of ladies I personally am acquainted with who did not intend to quit their jobs but circumstances altered their course. One lady worked for a company that moved to a faraway location, and also eliminated her particular job. At home she was so busy she decided not to find another job and is doing well with her husband and children. Another friend got sick at work and while recovering at home found out her illness was work related and she stayed home. She is finding more to keep busy with than she ever did at work, and is doing well at home.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How Much Distressing News Can You Take?

Hello Dear Ladies,

Are you one of those home bodies that just wants to be left alone to enjoy your family, a few special friends, and your home,  but have never been able to be free of the anxiety of distressing information? Some ladies complain that even in church, they cannot not reach the level of peace that surpasses all understanding, as evidenced in this comment recently sent to this blog.

"Lydia, Thank you so very much for your beautiful and encouraging blog (and videos). How do you mentally deal with issues such as human trafficking, abortion, etc.? While these issues must be disturbing to most all, they lay a particularly heavy weight on my sensitive heart. Do you simply pray when these things come to mind and then try to forget about them? In your opinion, how much attention should Christian homemakers/mothers/home schoolers give to these horrific issues? Our church highlights a different such issue each month. I want to do my part, but even reading through the material is so burdensome to my heart, I can hardly stand it. Thank you so much, in advance, for any response you have time to give. In Christ Jesus, Elizabeth."

I would like to hear from older ladies who have lived through the bad reports of their youth, and ask them to comment about whether they think paying a lot of attention to moral and political reports has benefitted their souls or the well-being of their children and husband.  

Please read what Roxy wrote about this subject here:

How much time do you regret dwelling on tragic things or the moral problems of the time?  If you tried to do something about it, how much success did you have in eliminating the problem?  Did your anguish over any social problems in the world cause you to be less fully focused on the tasks at hand, and do you regret the time and emotion it took away from your home and family?  

If you could live those years again, would your response to the constant reports of tragedy and evil be different?  Are you emotionally and spiritually more stable because of social problems you tried to correct? If you could live those vital years with your young family over again, what would your priorities be?

Looking back on the causes you were concerned about, was any of it worth your time and has anything changed or improved?

Would you try to alleviate all the terrible social injustices or would you try to make your children more emotionally secure?

What would you do over again, if you could, for your husband, children, relatives? How would you spend time that formerly you spent on worrying all the bad things going on?

I recall in the 1980's a news story so dramatic it captured many young minds.  Many people tuned in to the daily news to keep up with the latest progress of the continuing story. There were even some homeschool mothers who included the event in social studies. 

The media stretched this story out for several months. Decades later, after all the anxiety the story caused, it was discovered that the entire thing was politically engineered and some of it was "staged", to create a national response for a desirable political change on the part of the instigators.  

All this time, these dear, soft-hearted parents were spending time in prayer and watching the event progress. What a waste of young lives at home. Their  children needed happy, carefree, secure childhoods, free from worldly worries. 

Years later, one mother told me how, after her children were grown and gone from the house, she regretted having spent so much of her time, her mind, and her emotions on the sensational report of the day. She wished instead, that she had spent the same amount of time and intense attention on teaching her children, who were also exposed to the unsavory moral issue. She claims she would have accomplished more, by taking her children on outings and teaching them about living.

The family needed to know more about  how to be loyal, respectful and kind to one another at home, how to be forgiving and tolerant of family members and how to value one another above others in the world. The weeks of time wasted on the news report and subsequent appeals from the church to contribute money, had taken up valuable time that would have paid better dividends if it had been given to her children and husband.

Today, the particular issue that was broadcast from churches and news rooms is no longer a concern, and a new social problem has taken its place in competing for her attention. 

Maybe reading these reports does not bother you.  That is just fine if you choose to be concerned about everything, but to the ladies who have to guard their emotional well-being so that they may effectively be "all there" and mentally present for their families, my caution to you is this:

Know how much you can take. Know your limits. Know when you have had enough stress, enough bad news, enough social and moral reports. Observe how it affects your personality and your love and response to your husband and children. Be able to sense if reading about or listenning to or talking about, thinking about such unlovely things is affecting your ability to be happy. (Happiness and joy are Christian virtues as much as weeping and mourning.)  Take a mental note of how your anxiety over these matters affects your children's moods. Remember your lives together at home are very brief. Don't use the precious time being anxious for things outside of your own duties at home.

Once again, I am not talking to you ladies who like to be involved in all the political and religious issues, who thrive in it and are able to do so and it not affect their emotional health.  This is for the ladies who have trouble focusing on normal life because of social issues.

Personally I think the most important thing is to put your energy and money into your own family and close friends you can trust. Even if you have grown children or grandchildren, they will need you. Your descendents are your best ministry, because they are the people you can interact with for the rest of your life. 

It is good to help in other causes, but perhaps you can do it as a family, or contribute to the church where you attend, and let the leadership distribute the money to the needy causes they choose. 

This is the way it was done in the New Testment church: when there was a disaster that affected people in a sister congregation, help was sent by taking up a collection for them or money was used that was already saved up for a future need.  In the church of which I am a member, a needy saint, (faithful church member) is given first priority with any kind of benevolence, and then what is left over is given to others.  

We limit benevolent help from the contribution,  to church members in distress and people we know. Individuals in church are always free to personally donate to any causes they desire, outside of the church collection.  For the most part, we allow the church elders to distribute money and we simply contribute every Lords Day. That is enough for most families, and it is one of the definite commands in the New Testament--to gather money to lay by for the church to distribute. 

Letting the local church make the contribution is good, and it probably is all the average person can afford to give to charity, beside what they do for their relatives, friends and neighbors.  If you are not able to do this, consider making a reasonable contribution to something or someone you trust and do not worry about supporting every cause you hear a plea for.

Your church contribution should be adequate social benevolence. If you give regularly to the church, you have helped people. The church makes it easier for you because they decide what causes to contribute to, with the collection. That keeps you from worrying about it. Letting the church take care of worthy causes is a good thing. You can limit yourself to your church giving, and maybe one other personal contribution. I like to have a little laid by in case someone comes to visit. It pays for the meals or the afternoon tea preparations. So, with me, it is church contribution and hospitality.  Perhaps you could decided on one or two things you can reasonably do.  I know someone who puts money and food aside to help one family every Thanksgiving or other special day.  

As for things like trafficking and abortion, these causes can be nipped in the bud from your own living room when you teach your children and influence your friends how to live. These moral problems will not go away without teaching, and I realize it costs money to produce films and books and places to help people in trouble.  Those who are able, can contribute, but some ladies need to know how much of this distress they can endure and what their limit is.  

Know how much you can take.

From a very young age we are all told in churches and schools that we should try to save the world. Sometimes women take this responsibility so seriously, they become exhausted with worry.

 I heard someone advise a young lady who was anxious about all the social injustice: "Your main responsibility is to your family and a few good friends. Do your very best for the family members God has already given you and it will prevent them from putting a social burden on others. Then, teach the children to help each other and to help you, when they grow up." This  was expounded upon with  great emphasis put on directing her emotions, time and money to her husband, children and parents.

It also goes for the gloom-and-doom, end-of-the-world prediction problem, too. (Probably worth another post).  One mother told me her children said, "We want to grow up and get married, have children, build a house, have a worthwhile life, just like you did. When you talk about the end of the world all the time, we are sad because we won't be able to have that hope for the future." This is a regrettable way to bring up children. We need to make them happy about the life they have. 

Just do the best you can for your own family and a few friends. That is the best save-the-world strategy. If you have any extra talent or service or money that is not being used by your own family, consider blessing someone you know: a sewing lesson, your own art work, an afternoon tea invitation etc. 

They say adrenaline is the "drug of choice" these days, and women are running on it and running out of it, landing in a state of nervous exhaustion. Some little gesture from your own hand--a gift, a visit, an invitation, etc. can do a lot. Also, try not to pass on this same habit of worry and running ragged to your family.

I look forward to your comments.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Coastal Scenes of the Pacific

I came home with these scenic  pictures,  and after enjoying a lovely picnic on the beach, realized I had forgotten to take a photos of the picnic, sand castle building, or  family members walking on the beach! I will have to make an urgent message to myself next time!  I was too absorbed in the experience. There have been so many times I have not taken pictures. I am seeing how fleeting these precious days are!

The Pacific was not so pacific yesterday and it was as they used to say in New Zealand, "a bit blow-ey".
We tried to have tea but the wind filled the cups with sand before we could pour it, so all we had was "sand tea."

We were trying to get away from the smoke from forest fires in our area. There was no smoke at the beach.