Friday, November 16, 2018

Minding the Manse

(my own photo)
I want to tell you the little canvas painting came from Dollar Tree for only $1.  I was looking for larger canvases to paint on and discovered these.

It has been awhile since I have posted and someone phoned to urge me on. When I protested that I did not have the time or the inspiration at the moment, she said, "Just post a picture, and say something; anything."  And so here it is.

Today I am busy minding the manse, which is a phrase I have created out of the fact that the preacher's home used to be called the manse.  I like to think that "manse" is short for "mansion." I have a long way to go in getting it to the mansion state, but am taking a break here just for those of you who might be struggling in the same area.

I need to state at the onset, that we as ladies of the home do not spend enough time praying for the success of our housekeeping, homemaking, and our roles as homemakers. In the big world of trouble and sorrow, God still cares about your concern to be orderly in the home.. Don't neglect to pray all the way and commit your work to the Lord.

While I am here, I will tell you something I have been considering:

The concept of living several roles at home.

I will address two of them:

The lady of the house, similar to royalty
The house keeper.

To the Maid:  Keep the house clean and orderly for the Lady of the house.
To the Lady: Provide tasks for the Maid.

Just think of yourself as the lady of the house who is going to be arriving soon after being away.

Then think of yourself as the maid who comes along and gets it all ready.

If you get up in the night and need to use the bathroom, or the kitchen, you are the lady of the house and you certainly don't expect to have to move the  many particles of flotsam and jetsam aside just to find the kettle or the glassware, and you need to have a pristine and fresh looking bathroom. You need to be able find your clothes in the morning and not have to rifle through piles of things to locate the hairbrush or your shoes.

Therefore, one of your roles has to be the maid. And, to be the maid, you have to set your mind on creating a orderly place for the lady of the house, not just to make life better for her, but to be able to have a clear conscience about your work.

 So while you are cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, you need to think of how pleased the lady of the house will be when she comes in to those rooms.
Fox and Jacobs Homes

Those two roles work together to make things pleasant.  Think also of what you deserve. You as a human being deserve to live in a clean home, and have things in order. You are not a pig in a sty or an animal in a stall to scrounge  around the floor for food.

You are created to be far above that because you are a human being with a soul, who deserves to have some dignity, some comfort, and the type of home environment that makes you want to stand up straighter and hold your head up and be proud of the Great King, the Savior we serve.  Remember, He said "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, as unto the Lord, and not unto men, for you serve the Lord!" (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Therefore, as the housekeeper, you have to get that house ready for the royal lady who resides there.

So now it is evening, and the Lady has to sit at her royal desk (graciously cleaned and organized by the lady-in-waiting or the maid), and make a list of tasks for the household servant for the next day. She divides this list into morning, afternoon and evening.  When the maid (you) wake up, you will be living both roles: the maid, who goes to a clean bathroom to get ready for the day of responsibilities, and the Lady, who is going to manage the work.

You will be very happy that your maid, which is your other role, was thoughtful enough to leave the house in order for you, the Lady. You will wake up in the morning to thoughtful order and cleanliness.  You will think the maid you hired is awfully good and you will want to reward her in some way--maybe a special shopping trip, a tea party, ordering something from a catalog or online, or making a special thing for her to use.

In your maid role, when you hear the sound of the Lady arriving, you will quickly survey the entry area and the scene she will see before her when she enters the door.

As the maid, you will get your work finished before 4 o'clock and sleep well knowing you did not leave the work for the next day. You will instruct the rest of the household to clean up after themselves so that the maid and the lady of the house will not have to look at something unpleasant.

If you want to be smiling when you get up, have everything lovely and in order. Your maid role and your Lady role have to work together.

I'm not trying to make you feel fragmented, but feel like the two roles meld together in perfect harmony. Every time you pick up, prepare, clean up, etc., you are making things better for yourself, and you deserve better.  There is no reason a woman should have to live in chaos in her own home. It muddles the thinking and it makes her feel she is losing her mind. So if you want your Ladyship to be a dignified person with clear speech and logical thoughts, keep the house nice for her.

This duo-role job will remind you every time you put off something like wiping the sinks or cleaning the floor, picking up clutter and putting it away, that if you don't do it, you are going to punish yourself later with having to do it under stress or tiredness.

I was never one to promote self-respect, until I learned that you should "love your neighbor as yourself."  If you haven't got any respect for yourself, and you don't think you deserve better, you certainly wont be treating other, including the family, as well as you could.

What do you do as a maid?
What do you do as the Lady?

Remember, the more thoughtful and diligent the maid is, the more leisure time and creative time there will be for the Lady.

The tasks the Lady of the manor has given me today is to clean up the dining room and get all the bedrooms back in order and read one of the books and a post I promised to review. I'm glad she took the time to put it on paper.

The way I perform both roles is when I am working, I have an apron. When I am receiving guests or going somewhere I try to remember to remove it.

Ladies I am still studying the possibility of making podcasts but it will take some time to figure it all out. If I do get it going, I will read some of these posts so you can have something to listen to while you are cleaning or sorting or some kind of monotonous task.

Things for the maid to do:  follow a list and get your tasks done so that you will be happy in your job.
Things for the lady to do: Make a list of things that must be done in order to to be happy being in the house.

I do not want to draw too fine a line between the maid's responsibility and the Lady's tasks. It is advisable that the lady be thoughful of the maid and make her tasks lighter by ckeaning up after herself, putting things away and being automatically tidy. Leaving everything for a cleaning day puts strain on everyone. The clean-as-you-go principle reduces stress and balances the mind.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Home Arrangement and Decor--Masculine, or Feminine?

This is a painting by an artist named Fred Swan. You can purchase the prints  by clicking this link on his art site.

Today I am answering an email question that I am sorry to say I have delayed far too long. I was busy in  my mind thinking of all the angles of the answer, but today, here is the question and the answer. By no means is "my" answer the only good one!  I realize everything is a controversy these days. Everything from meal time to cleaning house has been turned into a controversy of sorts, including the interior arrangement and decor of the home.

Note: Because I pasted my email answer, things did not line up very well on the blog page. Please use a regular laptop or computer to see all the pictures, which don't seem to be coming up on the phones.

Here is the letter from a young lady in one of the Baltic States in Eastern Europe. I have, since her letter, looked up the state, and furthered my search into their ancient architecture, including the fascinating Baroque architecture of  Belarus. If you live in that area, maybe you can tell me more about it.   The picture I have here looks like a fairy-tale castle. 

Hello, Lydia! 

First of all I would like to say thank you for your blog. It has been really helpful and inspiring for me on my journey of becoming a good homemaker as I am a young woman. I must say that I prefer to listen to videos on Youtube a little bit more than reading a blog, because audio visual materials makes teaching a bit more special and personal, so I really hope to see more of those in the future from you. You are really ladylike, feminine and sweet person and I am very pleased to see you in your videos to get inspired and learn and really appreciate your blog. 

I have one question to you about home interior design and look. What do you think is better: to style home in to more feminine style or I don't want to say androgenious look, but to make it more neutral, so that it wouldn't look just feminine, but equally nice for a man too? I am looking at things that have a feminine look and feel, but at the same time I don't know if a home should be inclined just to women's eyes and what she likes most. There are plenty of things that could be for both gender likes. For example, there is a painting with fluffy cats and something with cute flowers. And also there is painting with horses, which I think would go both ways. But the cute one wouldn't be that which man preferred. I like both. I'm just thinking should I always need to consider it to be neutral atmosphere in the home or go feminine way if I like? Hope to hear your thoughts about this. 

Have a nice day, Sanita

Here are some of  my thoughts on this subject of exterior and interior decor:

Above: Victorian Interior

As I study interior and exterior decor from History, I notice several things that were quite acceptable for both men and women in the last two centuries, but today is being divided into feminine and masculine. If you have historic houses you may tour, you will see the same thing. The architecture, though made and designed by men, even in Roman times, was full of pastry-like scrolls and flourishes, embellishments, fancy columns, floral cement and stone work, and yet no one called it feminine.

The Victorian (homes built in what is historically referred to as the Victorian era) houses had wood corners on the porches that were carved like lace trim. We call it "Gingerbread trim" but it would today be called feminine. However, back in that day, it was not. Men created it and built it. The more embellishments like that on a house, the more it was thought to be "fine" or upstanding.  Only crude people lived in hovels with no decor.

The beautiful houses of the Victorian times were made by men, and the women decorated them with soft, filmy, lace curtains. The frames on paintings that hang on the walls were ornate, usually carved by men.

Kitchen: some people think that masculine is "plain" and feminine is "ornate" but this is not necessarily so. From Baroque to Victorian, the embellishments were created by men, and were admired by women.

No piece of furniture in previous eras was without curved Queen Anne wood legs, and no table was without a lace tablecloth; no bed without a crocheted bedspread.  Lamps, and all accessories from lighting to plants, to florals, were all what today would be called "feminine," due to the carvings on them (many wood or plaster roses, ribbons and scenes) and yet this was considered by men as good taste. So I will proceed from here to answer this common question about how to furnish a home today without it being too feminine.
Rainy Day by Frank Benson. It looks like this painting of the 1800's had all the feminine comforts: rugs, vases, wall hangings, cushions, etc. 
Victorian-era homes of the 1800's contained the parlour for the women and the library for the men.
In the 1950's the houses were smaller, but the man had his reading chair by the fire, and the woman had her little rocking chair with her sewing basket beside it.

In modern times there are now dens and offices for the men, and the sewing and craft room for the women.

However I think we can blend these things nicely.
My general reply will be that the basics of the house--the floors, walls, lamps,  some furniture and windows; the bigger things, will be more "masculine" , since that is what is being built today, and the finishing touches, such flowers, candles and holders, --the smaller things--dishes, some curtains or window treatments, cushions for the chairs and lounge, bedding, towels, bathroom things, wreaths, arrangements on the mantel, etc. would provide more of the feminine touches.  A mix of furniture is acceptable if you can get colors and textiles to look good together.

 In the 1960's until the 1980's there were some excellent decor ideas that suited both male and female and everyone was happy with it, but recently this male and female decor has become prominent.  My goal is to show how to use things to give a nice blend.

To qualify myself: I don't believe any previous historical decor was considered to be male or female in style, because before our present time, even lace was considered acceptable and even promoted by men who designed homes.

Mr. S. does not care what I do with the house but I leave his office alone and his lounge chair will only occasionally be draped over with his mother's white chenille cotton bedspread when I have a ladies tea.

 The dishes are all "feminine" but you have to understand the era he grew up in was still the woman's realm inside the house, and he loved his mother's decor, her dishes, her priscilla curtains (ruffled), her lace covers on the arm chairs, her floral arrangements and the little porcelain soap dish in the bathroom.  He doesn't mind at all if it is not completely "masculine." The only thing that I make sure of is that the furniture is comfortable for men, and that the coffee and tea are hot and the food is good. The bathroom must have things easily accessible, such as towels and soap, and nothing to stumble over that is 'decor'. His bedroom side table must not have "decor" on it besides his lamp, because he would knock it over.  We try to keep most of the tables empty of any kind of decor except for lamps, however, when I'm having a tea, I'm a little more liberal with the decor. It is not a matter of feminine or masculine with us, but of practical usefulness.

cottage style

Some interior decorators have suggested if you have things from your mother or grandmother, keep them and make yourself a room with all that coziness and old fashioned-ness, and then leave the main rooms to be rather plain and masculine. However, if you are a homemaker and you want to be happy at home, you will have to feel you have free reign in the home.

On my sidebar is a lady in Prince Edward Island in Canada, called Aiken House and Gardens, and she has a farmhouse and she and her husband are always remodeling and decorating, and her husband builds shelves and special things to accommodate all her collections of dishes and teacups, and decor items. Browse through her pictures and see how they both live in a house with her taste, which I think is also his taste, since he is always helping her look for a new chair or couch for a certain purpose in the house.

 As a couple grows older together, their tastes mesh a lot. Mr. S. likes to go help me find a comfortable chair, and he also enjoys looking at decor with me.  He bases his tastes on the farm in Kansas where he grew up, so he doesn't mind if I have an old milk bottle in the house filled with flowers or a copper cow bell sitting on a shelf. He fondly remembers his grandmothers and their crochet items all over the house, with ceramic plant holders and ornate candle holders, even though you would have thought they were "poor."  These things lighten up the home and make the family feel a type of luxury.

Variety of styles: Victorian, Cottage, Old World, Country, Farm

Choosing a "style" could be the answer to determining what would suit both men and women. Try typing in and and browsing cottage style, farmhouse style, Victorian style, European style, homestead, rustic, prairie, country style, salvage, hotel lobby, Colonial, craftsman, saltbox, Southern, Georgian ( style similar to colonial), French, modern, utilitarian, ship, etc. and see if there are elements both male and female could live with.

I repeat, that from the beginning I don't think there was a feminine or masculine style. I know back in the 1950's there was Pa's chair and Ma's chair, and they both had a little table and lamp beside it that suited their likes.  However, Pa never objected to the lace curtains or the painting of the kitty-cat on the wall.

My father in law, a great big blustery German man who 'ruled the roost" bragged that the pillowcases  they used were given to them on their wedding by his mother. Those pillowcases are now in my home, have crocheted edges of roses and vines, and are in pink. My FIL also liked the flower arrangements and curtains, the cushions, the fancy china, and silverware that was embellished with delicate florals, and never complained, but insisted on using them. Not for a moment was his masculinity or authority ever threatened by such "feminine" decor. A man of reason knows that these things make a house into a home.

In the house, above, some people may erroneously judge the hanging flowers, the picket fence, the flower boxes and other embellishments as "feminine" but those things, maybe added by a lady to give life and comfort to a house, are appealing to everyone.

If you are staying  home as a homemaker, you need to consider what you would like to see all day and what you are going to have to wash, clean, rearrange, etc.  
The woman is the keeper of the home, and a man who is reasonable, will want her her choose the things that make her feel happy and content at home.
Also, if you can judge your style by what really touches your heart, what makes you smile, what makes you feel grounded and happy, there is a good guide in my opinion
Also, observe those homes you visit and see what you like and don't like about them.

Before I knew a thing about interior decor, I lived on a homestead with my parents and siblings. My taste developed from there. I loved the crochet and quilt and glassware that gave that rough place some refinement. My father and other men of the era did not object to feminine things in the home. They were once bachelors and they married, expecting their wives to make the homes finer and more cozy and comfortable, and pretty.
You will observe the interior seems rough and rather masculine but the embellishments of flowers and chandeliers and color appeal to everyone too.

Fox and Jacobs interior 
Many years ago I toured homes in Texas being built out on the plains by a company called Fox and Jacobs. I wish I had taken pictures, as I have no record of how delightfully the interior decor appealed to both men and women!  There were window seats and bays that had such beautiful decor on them.  The house hunters, especially the men, enjoyed touring these homes, and the interior decor was appealing to the men as well as the women. 
French Interior.

Some basics of decor, which most of us are helpless to change, are:

These elements are usually already in the house, which also are not easily changed:
sinks, tubs
shelves on the walls

Kitchen sink,cabinets,etc.

Then, there are these, which we have more freedom to choose and are easily changed to suit us:


Finally, there are these smaller items which most of us feel we can afford to change or add, because they are not expensive, and can also be used according to seasons:
lighting (lamps)
coverings (table cloths, bedding)

The basics (floors, windows, walls) could be masculine, and the other things more feminine.
However, in my own preference and opinion, I think the woman should make the home, guide it and guard it. The man builds the house, the woman fills it.  But today men have more interest in what goes in a house, yet, many of them want whatever makes the woman content and happy.

It seems like men suddenly became very opinionated about home decor, but it may also be a manufactured opinion in order to sell people on the idea of masculine verses feminine. The two should blend together.  If a man doesn't like the woman's decor, it could be that they have chosen a modern style in house and furniture, and don't realize how to use it to suit both.

A woman should have in her home, her childhood collections in a trunk or shelf, her homemade things that please her, her dishes and china. Those were basics of decor from time immemorial.  She had a hope chest in which she collected hand made kitchen towels, fancy crystal and silver things, candle holders, picture frames, and quilts. All these were considered the feminine things she would bring to the house her husband had built for her.

My own belief is that decor the woman's realm, but I don't want to give people ideas that they run wild with, when they lack knowledge.

A man provides a  house. A woman makes a home.
A man builds the house. The woman fills it with  precious things.  In my house I  have included the precious things from my husband's mother, because he likes seeing them, and they would be considered "feminine" to many moderns. However, in the past, this was not a negative thing. Men got married so they could have a woman in the house to make it a home with the table cloths, candles and other embellishments.

"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.
By knowledge the rooms are filled with all pleasant and precious riches."
Proverbs 24:3-4

To deride the things a woman loves and brings into her home for beauty, is to lack knowledge of what is pleasant and precious, not just aesthetically, but to a woman's heart. If men want to encourage their wives to be more feminine, they need to be understanding of their love of beauty.

I want to add one last observation: When you see the old Victorian style homes from the 1800's, each one was different than the other; no two alike unless reversed floor plans, but they were built by men for their wives or future wives.  These houses had feminine sweetness along with masculine strength.  Today many designers and builders are going back to those "folk-Victorian" styles because of their beauty and their appeal.  Just because something is attractive and beautiful does not mean it is exclusively female!

In today's world of design, we have other things to consider, such as children's bedrooms, which or more defined as masculinen and feminine.  Since we have those rooms in which to express more feminine and masculine aspects of decor, then hopefully, no sensible woman will decorate the family room like a little girl's bedroom, or the man's den like a boys room.  Keeping those things in the realm of the bedrooms, means you can choose different styles mentioned earlier in the post, for the more public, shared rooms, being the kitchen, living room, family room, den, bathrooms, porches, etc. The list of decor styles earlier in the post (farmhouse, rustic, modern, homestead, country, French, Victorian, Mediterranean, etc) will not be too feminine.

Friday, November 09, 2018

The Many Aspects of Home Life

Above: From my mantel arrangement: crystal lily votive candle holder and mantel clock, and plate holder.

 Hello Ladies,

Today I will try to adequately answer a question that was posed to me regarding the content of this blog:
Dear Lydia,

I  like reading your blog because I am looking for teaching on what I might do to carry out my responsibilities at home. However, I notice you write about many other subjects that do not seem to be related to those subjects.  Also it does not appear that you use scripture in every post,  do not often approach the subject of marriage or child rearing, or that you do not major in winning souls.  I see mostly, sewing, decorating, travel, garden and tea parties. Yet, you claim this is a Titus 2 blog. Can you explain this?

Signed: Wife, Mother, Homemaker

My Answer:

Dear WMH,

Thank you for your viewership and your comment.  This is a log on the different aspects of life at home for me, and not necessarily everyone else. In the life of any lady at home, there will be many different things that happen, not just washing dishes or doing laundry.  It is not only about one thing. In a marriage, people do many different things as a team to keep the house safe and secure, and they do things for other people too.  It is about a whole life, not just isolated parts of it.

Also I think there is "teaching" in the way we live, the things we do, and the and the way we present ourselves visually, and the things we say.  This blog has to cover many different aspects of home  life, because what it is all about is what you would do in life itself, not marriage or child rearing alone. We did many different things with our children, and our marriage is shown not just by what we believe about it but about the way we interact.

I show pictures of my own house because then I do not have to go to the trouble to find out if I've taken a copyrighted photo,  and it also shares what I might be doing in a room. I'm quite keen on keeping the decor interesting and fresh because it makes the home a happy and interesting place. While my children were growing up I wanted them to experience the refining touches and art, in the home. I will  also be posting the answer to a question about home interiors soon. 

My husband has been an evangelist for the Lord's church for over 50 years, and my life has been surrounded by soul winning sermons and teaching, and church things. We are involved in Bible studies throughout the week, including the regular Ladies Bible Class of the church here in the Manse.  We are saturated in instruction, Bible studies and hospitality and fellowship in the church, therefore, I use this blog as an outlet for other interests I have, which of course, always embody the life of a Christian woman.

 This little blog is a content of some of my own interests, and not a soul-winning blog or a marriage blog or a child rearing blog, but it represents all the things in life you would experience as a wife,  mother and homemaker. I find relaxation and reprieve in the kitchen and sewing room and I like to keep the decor interesting, even though I'm not pushing those things for everyone. I'm just sharing some of the aspects of my life, as most bloggers do.

I have many excellent sources for Bible study on the sidebar, and will be adding some on marriage that I think are scripturally sound. Because of all that we do in the Bible teaching area, I prefer to use my blog for the other interests I have. However, I try to make the subjects relevant to home living.  Also, I was a homeschooler, and learned to observe things and research them, such as the tow paths, the canals, and other geography. I like some history and some word meanings as well as Koine Greek, which Mr. S. and I once took studies in. I am also interested in nature's health benefits. So I share all aspects of life.

Of course I'm dedicated to Titus 2 and want to careful not to exclude other aspects of the Bible. It isn't good to focus on only one scripture, because one also must be able to tie it in to the other teachings of the New Testament and avoid using one scripture to the exclusion of other scriptures. It is easy to get the idea that Titus 2 is the only thing in the Bible that applies to Christian women, but a wise woman will be able to study other parts of the Bible and tie it in to her commitment to the home.  It is so important to teach the whole thing, not just one part of it. In keeping with that thought, this is why my blog goes into other subjects.

 The crystal lily votive candle holder can be found at Goodwill or TJ Maxx.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Some Sweet Scenes

 Yesterday I took a few pictures during a brief day trip on the McKenzie Highway, and got a picture of the McKenzie river....
 ...and the grassy green area on the left is the site of an old tow path. There is a river on the other side of it.  These are paths that were created beside bodies of water to tow (pull) small boats either by horse and cart, by a person walking beside a horse. You can see pictures when you type in "tow path".

A cable was attached to the boat so that the person and the horse pulling it might guide it along the river.  These paths are no longer used but it is very dangerous to drive a car on them (although they actually are roads) because of sudden floods. I have read that cyclists use these old roads, but with caution. It looks like it might be a very romantic, scenic place to walk also, but there are some warning signs to keep off the area. The tow paths are well maintained and mowed.

In spite of that, these tow paths are fascinating due to their place in history. There are so few of them left in the US, and it is interesting that there is one here in Oregon that we actually drive by quite regularly. You can see on the left up on the side of the road, more of that grassy tow path.

We enjoyed our day trip as our little motorcar hummed pleasantly past these sparkling scenes. I snapped all the pictures while the car was still in motion.  There are a lot of turn-outs and stopping places but we always came upon them so suddenly there was no time to pull over, it was not easy to turn around to back-track, and there were no signs indicating upcoming rest stops.

 We like the picturesque-ness of the old highways. Now and then we saw a lodge, a bed and breakfast, or an inn tucked away in the woods with the lights on. One day I want to stop and spend the night in one, so keep your donations coming! (that was a joke, ladies).

These would be great scenes from the window of a tea room, but alack and alas, such a luxury is not to be found, even on the 10 day, 4,000 mile old-highway trip we took recently.  That is why I have that folding table set that fits nicely in the car. I must say, however, that there were plenty of rest stops on the old highways we took across the desert and prairies, which had very nicely maintained picnic areas under awnings in many places along the 9 states we traveled, particularly in Apache country.

We drove 300 miles today, past the lava fields and  through the Willamette National Forest. That is pronounced will-AM it.

I made a list of all the things I needed to finish at home, before going anywhere, I mean anywhere else.  Finally I have developed a system of making sure the house is company ready (for us) when I get back from a drive or a road trip. Since we were only gone for a day, we left a few small lights on and a couple of solar lights inside and outside happily greeted us upon our return.  It was a luxury to come home to a clean kitchen and bathroom with the towels all laid out and the bed made. I felt more like an important guest at a roadside inn,  rather than the housekeeper who had left 13 hours earlier.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Light Post

Garden Light Post by Perl Photography

Good Morning,

After posting maps and canals and other geography yesterday,  I thought I would go light today with some tidbits of home.

Mr. S. does not stand still long enough for a good photo, but I was able to stop him in the middle of his work for a fashion pose. Mr. S. is the model of fashion for men over 70. I did not have a hat for this outfit but he has a new shovel to go with! It is like my matching umbrellas.

 In true gentlenan-farmer form, the new shovel still has the tag on it. I must extol the virtues of this shovel, in another post. It needs a good review and we are liking it more than any other shovel.

He is the vinedresser for those grapes behind him.  The leaves match his yellow plaid shirt.

He has been digging in the garden to get it ready for the coming rain and cool temperature.

There will be another picture here soon of a tow path we drove by recently. I wrote about tow paths a year ago. Well, there are some around here but not being used anymore.

Monday, November 05, 2018

A Very Early Morning (Plus the Corinth Canal)

Gladys on the Veranda by Harold Knight, English 1874-1961

For early risers or those who have not awakened too early on purpose, I found this painting of a lady on a balcony.  I am so thankful for my little front step, because I was able, with the help of other people, to make a real porch out of it. It has the look of a gazebo and I like to step out on it when it rains.

I wanted you to see the unbelievable price on those modest, shirthwaist-style dresses, similar to the April Cornell label,  I have been plugging recently.  I got them when they were $15, $11, and then $9 and then $5. Now they are $3. I wish I had the business sense and optimism to purchase the lot of them and re-sell or give away, but I don't want a backlog of things in my house that I may not be able to get rid of.
I wonder if we will see anything like them here again. 

 I was walking through the arbor just now and recalling a recent discussion and video viewing in our ladies class about the land path between the ancient city of Corinth and two bodies of water long before the isthmus (canal) was created by the Bulgarians.

 One reason we enrich our class with these subjects is that so many of us are also homeschoolers and it is a trait to study different aspects of the scripture such as history, geography, culture, language, textiles, the economy of the times, horticulture and many other things. These are
"keys" to see what we call "the whole picture." It increases our understanding and appreciation of what we read.  Even with the scriptures that refer to women, we must not isolate them, but see them as part of a whole, which includes other parts of the Bible.

 Concerning the path between Corinth and Greece, travelers could leave their boats on one side of the 3 mile path and walk to the other sea, the Agean,  where a boat would be waiting to take them to Italy and other places. Some people would put their smaller craft on a wagon to be drawn by horses to the other side, then lowered it into the sea on the other side to continue their journey.   Here is a picture of the current canal, but you can imagine it was once a road:
In the middle of the picture you can see a straight line from one sea to the other. That used to be a footpath or road. The canal is 26 feet wide. For all you sewing ladies, that is 8 yards.
Corinth Canal is the original 3 mile road from sea to sea.
I see from Google earth there are a couple of highways and bridges going over the canal.

Can you imagine walking through this for 3 miles, sheltered from the hot sun and weather, with a roof on it?  It is similar to the covered bridges here.

 In one of the videos we watched (which I hope to post here when I find it, or maybe you can find it), the narrator described the ancient pathway as something of a grand arbor made by the Romans of the day (oh yes, much like mine, haha) with columns on both sides of the road a roof,  along the 3 mile distance, covered in roses and vines! Can you think what that might have been like for a weary fisherman, tradesman or such, to alight from their ships to enjoy the three mile +  trek across inside this lovely oasis?
Picture this covered with cooling vines and flowers for 3 miles.

Others would send their boats with the crew around to the other side to await them when they reached the other side. The pathway was also a center of trade. Along the path were all manner of tradesmen in cloth, metals, foods, building materials and such. 

We all thought it was amazing that the path was not merely utilitarian, but that someone had thought to shelter those who walked across.  Some ladies remarked how thoughtful it was, or that it was remarkable because it was being shown as something beautiful to experience.

If I can , I will find an art rendition of this path.

It was much like the public rose gardens today with the covered arches over the walking paths.

The Apostle Paul and others in the New Testament walked across this pathway between Corinth and the Peloponnese, to get another ship to take them around to other places. Some people with smaller crafts would put them on a wagon drawn by horses and then launch them back into the gulf on the other side. Other people walked through the pathway while their ship went around to the other side to wait for them.

To see more of this land, type in Tour of Ancient Corinth on Youtube. There are several people who give the Biblical accounts and the historical accounts of travel on this little road.

On the left  on this map is that tiny area called Corinth and the canal.

This is a commercial canvas art print of something similar:

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Are Appliances Real Servants?

Hanging Out the Linen by Charles Courtney Curran

I got a comment on an old post, "Questions and Answers About the Proverbs 31 Woman" and my answer was too long for the comments, which are limited in size.

Here is the comment:

Those "servants' that she had, we have in: washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, stove tops, ovens, faucets with hot water, toilets, stores to buy clothes in, and so many more things that women in those days didn't have. Therefore, we all do have "servants!" :)

Here are my more of my  thoughts on this matter:

These things are aids, and tools, rather than servants.

I have tested out this assumption that "the appliances are servants", but it is not sufficient.While they are "aids" and "tools" like brooms, washboards,  clotheslines and other cleaning and serving tools of previous eras,  they are still not entirely servants, and here is why:

A servant would never leave the clean laundry plucked from the line in a basket for the lady of the house to fold. The homemaker has to do it today, to complete the job.  I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that. To conclude that a washer and a dryer is a complete servant, is not observing the matter quite the way it really is.

Labor saving devices are not equivalent to the servants described in the Proverbs 31 passage.

I've visited places  where servants are in every home. Even though they use the washer and dryers, vacuums, blenders, dishwashers, these servants are on their feet all day long washing the things that wont go in the dishwasher, sweeping the floors and carpets, putting away the clean towels, putting the sheets back on the beds, going to the grocery stores  (in cars) and shopping for food, preparing the food, then setting the table, bringing food to the table, removing the used dishes after a meal, wiping the table, and all the things you and I do in our own homes.  There are no appliances that do all that.

A servant would not say "You've got a washer and a dryer and a dishwasher and a stove.. Why do you need a servant? Why do you need to hire me?  With all that equipment, you already have servants! You have electric servants."  A servant or maid or hired workman knows that in spite of the electronic aids, there is always extra work to do,  otherwise they would quit their jobs and say that everyone that has a dishwasher or a sweeper already has a servant.

We can't think of these things as complete servants, or the clothes would stay on the line, the dishes would stay in the sink and never get loaded in the dishwasher. (I prove it every day!) Someone has to load the dishwasher. Servants today would load the dishwasher, and then put everything away after the dishes are dry, but to call the dishwasher a servant, is not the complete picture. The dishwasher only washes and rinses. It does not insert the dishes inside, it does not take them out. It does not wipe the cabinets. There is not a huge time difference between doing it yourself and using the dishwasher. I've experimented and observed that it is a great help, but not the complete service people think it is.

I hope this explains my point of view.

The Victorians invented most of the time saving devices,  for example, the home sewing machine, but it is not a full time or complete servant. We still have to cut out the cloth (no machine will lay out the pattern) and then we have to sit at the machine.  Servants would do a complete job. Appliances only do part of the job.  We might not have to chop our food by hand but we do have to cook it and clean up the stove afterwards.

The same is with the computer. If you want to write some worksheets for students, you have to sit there and do it, and the printer will copy it off but it still requires a great deal of effort on your part.

The servants  of the Proverbs 31 woman carried out  the work we still as housewives do today: go get the produce out of the garden, prepare the meals, hang up the clothes, make the beds, sweep, clear the table, set the table, clean out the pantry etc.

In your comment, you listed "stores to buy clothes in, which they didn't have back in those days". From my research and study, I have found that it was quite common to have merchants that sold clothing throughout history.  The description of the Proverbs 31 woman said that she gave her hand made garments to the merchant, who sold them in the  market. Markets have always existed and clothes were available to buy. That's really nothing to do with the subject of servants, but I wanted to clear up the notion that people "in olden times" didn't have shops with ready made clothing. On the Passover journeys it was a custom to do some shopping in the markets before going back home. Apparently these middle eastern markets of the "Bible times" were huge and teaming with life and merchandise.

You are right in saying a store is like a servant, in the sense that we do not have to labor to make our own clothes. Stores can be a type of servant, since everything is already prepared, and even the produce is already picked. However we still have to go and get it and load it in and out of the car and put it away. A real servant would do all that for you.  I grew up in a very large family and the grocery shopping was time consuming hard work, although we appreciated not having to produce all those groceries ourselves.

There just isn't a complete labor-free device. They still haven't invented an electric gadget to clean the toilet or wash the tub and sink and mop the floor in a bathroom. Washing and disinfecting around all those things in the bathroom requires human effort. We may use aids such as scrub brushes, but the soap and wash rags cannot do anything if left on their own. We have vacuums but they can do nothing without our own labor.

But all in all, its good to have as many conveniences as you can to make life easier for you and give you lots of rest.

And if you are comparing the working woman to the homemaker full time, while calling the washer and dryer and dishwasher "servants", the homemaker has no greater advantage over the working woman; they all have the same appliances. The woman at home has more time for the extra labor required to complete the appliance jobs.

I have heard the "appliances as servants" several times but I never thought it was a very well-researched conclusion.

When women at home are overcome with work,  falling behind due to illness, or other obligations, unavoidable emergencies, etc. there aren't really any electric servants that can help as well as the human hands of friends and relatives and maybe even a few hired servants to help them get their houses back into control. There just aren't any electric conveniences that can do that all on their own.

But thanks for your kind comment.

If someone could get the dishwasher to also clear the table and wipe it clean, then rinse off the dishes and put them inside the washer, then unload and put away, and also clear off the working space in the kitchen and mop the floor, I would say we are making progress with the electric servants.

A friend just phoned me and said these appliances are power tools for the home. We all like power tools and I especially like the electric screwdriver and sander, but I would never say it was my servant. Power tools are all useless unless there is a person using them.  The same goes for our dishwashers and other things: they are totally useless without someone working them.

If you call a washer and dryer and dishwasher and sweeper a "servant" and you have to hire a servant, and the servant uses these servants, then  I suppose the appliances would be servants of the servants.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Summer's Lease

Garden pictures taken today.

Summer is still nesting
in the garden while the leaves are dancing around.

Every morning I take a cup of herbal tea and walk around outside to see what has transpired since the previous day, and invariably I leave the cup somewhere when I stop to pull up weeds or grass, or pick lavender and rosemary.  In a little while I am going to have a tea for some ladies and we will have a tea cup location hunt. No, they wont be able to use their google on the cell phones. I will draw them maps of where I think I've been!  It could be by the clothes lines, near the tool shed, on the garden ledge, over by the water where I turn it on for the sprinkler, on the swing, and other places. I'll either give them the tea cup they find or give them a prize. Otherwise I won't see the lost tea cups til spring when Mr. S. mows the grass. I use mismatched tea cups that don't belong to a set and are not of value, when I go on walkabout.
Speaking of maps, I got a map from every place we travelled two weeks ago and marked them with the dates.  Do you like maps?  We used to draw treasure maps for each other when we were childen at home and we always hid a treasure for someone to find.

How do you like the way the leaves curl as they dry and then are blown into the house?  In summer it is the pink blossoms from the flowering trees that line the entry of the house.

Once again Mr. S. is my fashion model for a day working in the yard. I like the way his hat color looks with the white parts of the red plaid shirt.  Look at that red tree in the background. His outfit just goes perfectly.

Maybe I will see you here tomorrow!


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