Monday, January 29, 2018

Home Made Flour Tortillas and Low-Oxalate Foods

Painting by HenryMargetson

I received this recipe from my friend Janet. I have altered it to suit my own tastes and dietary requirements.

I use these ingredients:

There are many brands of unbleached flour but this is ground finer and easy to work with. There are other brands and it is also available in bulk foods at your market.  Fine flour is not the same as refined, and this is a fine flour, sifted, and there is some that is organic and is often mixed with barley flour.  I will explain at the end of the post why I use this flour. 

Any natural salt, such as pink, or real salt.  I like the Australian sea salt.

Light tasting olive oil, or oil of your choice. I use this because the oil is not too heavy in the fine flour and not overpowering in flavor.

2 and 1/2 cup unbleached light pastry flour  
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light tasting olive oil
1 cup warm water (her note says not from warm tap water)

Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl
In another bowl mix liquids
Combine both and mix until it forms a ball.  Don't worry about it being sticky.

Divide the dough into 12 parts and cover with a plate while you roll out one piece into a tortilla. 

Dough will be elastic. (It should not be the same consistency as a pie crust)

Dust the rolling surface with flour and press the dough into it, then turn over to the other side and roll out as large as you require. 

Place parchment paper between each tortilla after rolling it out.

Heat about a teaspoon of oil in pan, on medium heat.  Spread it around to about the size of your tortilla.

Brown each tortilla both sides and stack between parchment (optional). The tortilla will form brown spots on each side.

Adjust the heat if necessary.

The pan is supposed to be almost dry for cooking tortillas but you can add a drop of oil now and then. You want your tortillas to be dry, not greasy.

Prepare filling:

Everyone has their favorite taco filling. I brown the meat of my choice with dried onions, Italian seasoning and salt and melt in cream cheese after all that is cooked, to make a sauce, which gives a good flavor.

The difference between these home made tortillas and commercial ones is what happens to your teeth!  Children say they are much easier to chew, adults say they are not so rubbery and tough as commercial tortillas.

You can store the cooked tortillas in a ziplock bag  in the refrigerator for later use.

Some of us concerned about additives in our foods like this because there are only four natural ingredients rather than 20 unpronounceable things. Have you noticed the ingredient list on the tortilla package you buy? Some people are adversely affected by some of those ingredients.

I divide this recipe into fourths when I don't want to stand there rolling out all those tortillas and am pressed for time, or if there are only a few people to feed. I sometimes only make four tortillas.  The dough does not store as well as the cooked tortillas so I don't refrigerate the dough. It does not roll  out as well when it is not freshly made, but you can decide for yourself. You can also make smaller tortillas with this batch, which will make 24 small ones.

Low Oxalate Foods:

This is something that was originally discovered effective for people who had a tendency to form kidney stones, but later on it was found to be very effective for people suffering from sinus.

Oxalates in foods cause crystals to form in your membranes, creating pain. They are usually rough foods like whole grains, dark chocolate, and even broccoli.  You can get a low oxalate food list on the web.  

Find a list of high Oxalate foods on the web, and you may be able to see some foods which may be causing you pain.

Sometimes as we get older, or maybe after surgery, or pregnancy, and other things, the membranes 
in sinuses and kidney areas become thin and sensitive, and the high Oxalate foods  contribute to kidney stones and severe sinusitis or sinus headaches.

I never had a a problem with sinus til I began consuming whole grains (including oats and wheat.). I knew broccoli was very good for me and I liked potatoes and nuts a lot, and a whole host of high-oxalate foods.

While certain essential oils did help me AFTER I got a sinus infection, I found that eliminating some of these foods that were harsh on my membranes, prevented the sinus from coming in the first place.
Now, when I do have a little of the foods high in oxalates, I feel that twinge of pain in my face and I immediately know what food caused it.

I found it is okay to consume the foods higher in oxalates, when done so only occasionally and not in large amounts. 

One reason I use the unbleached flour is that it does not have the rough oxalates that form the crystals in the sensitive membranes of the body.  I make bread from this flour and other things requiring flour.

I learned also that some of these rough foods can be awfully hard on children's digestive systems.

The best information I have ever found on this subject is on the websites about Oxalate foods. The comments from people who share the outcome using low oxalate foods are a real education. 

Another thing to watch out for when dealing with the propensity to kidney stones is anxiety and outbursts of anger, which can cause certain kind of kidney stones to form.  It is so interesting how the emotions effect the health of the body.

I realize this may not benefit every reader, but perhaps may be of interest to some of you.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Gift Basket or Home Accent

Basket of Lilacs by Paul de Longpre

Ladies, if you have seen the "yard long" paintings on canvases that are a yard long, by 19th century painter Paul De Longpre, a French man who lived in California (whose son also became a painter) you know how beautiful they are.

There is a small town near here whose shops do not yield much, but I found a lovely wood basket in Goodwill and a really classic looking sprig of silk flowers, and have begun a bit of a vignette to lighten  a dark corner  in our home.

In 18th and 19th century paintings I have seen, basket styles are often, if not always, identical to baskets we see today.  Sometimes it is a comfort to see objects have remained the same in style, connecting us to our great grandmothers and thinking how they used the same common things. 

It needs to be dusted off, and freshened up.
Also I found this classic looking silk floral.  I know stores are changing their style of home goods, but it brings a smile when I find classics like this.

As I have learned more about the quality of tea cups,  only the new or barely used ones come home with me. I explained that some time ago. If you are looking at a cup at a thrift store, look at the rim, where you'll be drinking, and see if it is worn out.  Run your hand around the top of the cup and the edges if the saucer to detect any roughness.  Since I began doing that, I have only brought home what appears to be brand new teacups.  Never put them in the dishwasher and they will keep that nice smooth and shiny finish.  I do use soda bicarbonate to clean the stains but I am not sure if that is abrasive enough to wear off the nice finish.

Because an older cup sprung a leak, it was a delight to find this to replace it.

So here is it is, partially filled.  I may end up using it for a gift, since there are several people I know who need one. I will include some other homey things. Sometimes I practice "shop your house"  when I need a gift in a hurry. I find a basket, a pretty magazine, tea cup, quickly sew up a table runner or cloth, and make a card. 

 I realize some ladies would find no use for this kind of gift, but I do try to custom make it for the receiver. Books and writing materials, plants, sewing supplies, candles, special herbal things, etc. are sometimes included, depending on the interest of the person.

This teacup looked never-used, I guarantee.  The printing on the back says it's a part of a Royal Albert flower of the month collection, number 7.

Now if you are new here, you may wonder what in the world anything like this, or home decor or crafts, etc, have to do with the overall Titus 2 message of the home.

While I cannot prove with scripture that making the dwelling place lovely is essential, I do know it is scriptural to bring glory to God in all you do, in work, play, rest, creativity, vacation, hospitality and more.

It is also one of those ideas which I, and many other homemakers came across when  attempting to create a sense of well being in the home.

While  loveliness in the home is not any specific command,   it is a natural result of keeping house, which is part of the Christian woman's life.  Even in the rough-hewn log houses some of us lived in, we as children brought bouquets of wild flowers in in tin cans and jars for our dining tables, and gave our parents our own drawings and paintings to hang on the walls.

Mr. S. enjoys gifting the home with a needed new clock or a lamp, a new blanket or rug or such. He likes new office supplies and yard tools.

When difficult times come along, cheering up the house can alleviate some of the uncertainty.  In happy times, home decor can punctuate the atmosphere like a thank-you.  An accent of beauty somewhere, shows your loved ones you care about where they  live and what they have to see. The same applies to the homemaker's appearance in dress and grooming, but that is another subject. 

Adding something beautiful is a reflection of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who created a home on earth for us while we live, and gave us so much more, spiritually.  I don't think we should merely  "exist" at home. I think adding beauty to the home is a way of guiding and guarding the home, and glorifies God when the furnishings and decor are lovely.

When I am in someone else's home I feel the refinement and the gentleness they put into it, and detect it as an expression of how they feel about life, love, and Christ.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 - "He hath made everything beautiful in its season." 

Basket $4
Floral        .99
Tea cup and saucer $3
Discount 30% 
Total. $5.00

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sewing: Cotton Terry-Cloth Wash Cloths for Baby

Mother's always say the commercial washcloths for babies are not very nice, are made of synthetics and turn a dingy color, or are not absorbent and don't always stay soft. 

There is also a big difference between cotton Terry-cloth (toweling fabric) bath robes and the synthetic plush ones. The synthetics just don't feel good after a shower because they don't really absorb moisture, they tend to trap it.  It is very hard to find cotton terry cloth bathrobes.  

Someone here commented you could make one out of towels but I have not attempted it yet.  It would sure save a lot of trouble with the sewing, since the fabric shreds, gets caught in the feed mechanism, and is hard to unpick when you make a mistake. The seams all need to be over locked.

The people I have made these wash cloths for, even 5 years ago, say they are still using them for their children.

These are for the  basket in the previous post, to the lady who is having a girl.

One-fourth yard makes about 8 wash cloths, which I measire by folding the fabric evenly several times
And then cutting the cloths along the folds.

I then turn the dial on my machine to a satin stitch and stitch around each cloth, maybe twice, to keep it from shredding. It does use quite a bit of thread but I stitched twice all eight of these and still have a generous supply of thread on my spool.

I appliqued a little rosebud from another fabric just for an accent.

There will be more sewing to show you, soon.  As I have been sewing for other people, I sometimes forget to take pictures of the finished product. 

Here is what the gift basket looks like so far. I only have a couple more items to add.

A word of caution about sewing for other people, or doing for others in general, when you also have a family to look after. Make projects small enough so they are not time-consuming, and make sure you have sewn for your family members and treated them as the most special people in the world. Your children, husband, siblings and other family are first priority!  One of the problems of the modern Christian women is to put the needs of family aside while they accomodate so many others. Family will be with you forever and you will regret not making them the special things you made for others.  Your family is your first God-given "ministry" and the home is your "mission field."

Cost: the terry cloth is about $12 a yard. A fourth yard makes 8 cloths.  I get the cloth when it is on sale for half price. The ribbon is $1 for a spool of 3 yards, and thread is $2.50 a spool.

1/4 yard terry cloth at half price: $1.50
Ribbon: 1/2 yard: 16 cents
Thread: hard to calculate, but approximately 50 cents
Total: $2.16 for the gift.

Your labour, however, is worth more than I can estimate, because this is a custom made gift. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Serving One Another

(Tea Time by George Dunlop Leslie, 1865)

There may be others who wake up way too early in the morning but are not really ready to bounce around doing things in the house. Sometimes I wake up extremely early and do not want to disturb anyone else in the house with my busy noise.

This morning, Mr. S. was up early for an appointment, and seeing I was awake, asked me what my plans were for the day.  When I told him I had a lot to do, but joked that the maid had not yet brought me my tea to get me motivated,  he brought me this, with his own brand of enthusiasm:

He said he brought me hot tea, but when he looked around for flowers he could only find some in his file of clip art that he uses his newsletters and bulletins.  He is still literally cutting and pasting -- because he prefers it -- when it comes to printing. 

This is also a sample of his wry, dry, subtle wit. 

He said he was too impatient for the hired help to show up.  

Those of you who know Mr. S. will recognize that statement as humour, too, since he's not generally the impatient type, unless it concerns being on time for an appointment.

I know in Australia the husbands have been accustomed forever, (as long as I have known) to bringing their wives their morning coffee or tea. That has not quite reached us here in the US, that I am aware of,  but Mr. S. was favorably impressed by it. Some of the older men have assumed the practice here.

This is especially rejuvenating in the following situations:

-recently had a baby
-recently relocated and have a big job ahead settling in
-feeling ill or recovering from illness
-grieving the loss of a loved one
-needing encouragement in housework if it gets overwhelming
-much more.
-missing friends and loved ones

Mr. S. always knows what is bothering me, and he tries to make it better. If we have financial set-backs or just feeling the pinch after all the major monthly bills are paid out, he finds something to ease the situation, that "seems" luxurious and is a little distracting from any dour situation.("I am really sorry we will not be going on vacation in the tropics this week, but to make it up to you, maybe we could turn on the furnace and get it warmer in here!") His remarks are never, ever typical, amd always catch me off guard.  The real clip-art bouquet I didn't expect. 

In my observation, serving one another had a greater impact than trying to be a "leader" because serving is leading by example.  I think people get too obsessed with "leadership" and end up creating a bossy situation, which creates coldness in the heart! Since I do most of the food preparation, serving and house keeping, having something like this brought to me, reminds me how good it feels for the ones we serve.

What do you think?

...through the love serve  one another..Galations 5:13 (literal Koine Greek translation)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Baby Gift

(Painting by MaryCassatt) 

A friend of ours is having a baby girl soon, and this is a gift I am putting together for the mother and baby. I cannot describe how soft the Sherpa blanket is.  Included will be baby socks and a couple of cotton sleepers. This month's  Victoria magazine is eye-catching with pinks and reds so I inserted it with a tea cup. And a silk stem of pink lilacs. Before I take it to her, I will put some special Mother's Tea and scones in the gift.  The basket is from Dollar Tree, and the card is hand made.

 I don't know if any of you card makers save the all white insert packaging from merchandise, but I  do. I keep any free blank card stock in a drawer with craft supplies and find they are excellent materials for making cards.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Nap

Above: Daydreams by Paul Gustave Fisher

Do you remember when your mother advised you to take a nap during the day, possibly in the afternoon, to rest your eyes or get away from too much busyness?  

The art of the nap is not something we hear much about, in comparison to nutrution or excercise, and yet, those few minutes of sleep in the afternoon can aid nutrution and excerise and other aspects of health.

I don't like to nap in the bedroom because it seems too far away from the center of the house in the afternoon, so I retire a few minutes on my old wicker couch in the living room.  I may not feel tired but when the nap is over, there is such a nice feeling of renewal,

Napping in the day is said to aid in clear thinking, help you get over illness,  and reduce anxiety. To learn more advantages to a nap, do a search on natural health benefits to napping. There is a bank of knowlege about this. If you have ever felt down and discouraged, you might find that a nap changes your mood and makes you feel more assured and hopeful.
Couch on the Porch by Frederick Childe Hassam

If I owned a business with employees, I would require naps after lunch. All chairs in the employees individual work areas would be designed to recline comfortably for naps, and screens and fluorescent lights would be turned off. Window shades would be pulled down.  This would result in greater health and productivity at work, reduce illness, accidents and injuries, and there would less need for medication and hospitalization. It may even improve home life, as employees wouldn't be in such cranky moods when they went home to their families.

The work place needs to learn from the afore-time farmers, who took naps after lunch in the hottest part of the day. The custom of resting or napping in the heat of the day is quite ancient and you can even find such an activity recorded in the Bible. It is natural to sleep in the day, and it is really a disadvantage that we gave up our naps in childhood. We thought it was so grown up to give up the nap, but we might have had better health if we had not!

(My napping place)

 Ladies at home today tend to keeping going from one task to another til they are exhausted. A little nap in the middle of the day or in the afternoon is so health-giving.

Mr. S. who is from a farming family, takes a short nap each day in his office, and has done so since he was a young man.  By doing this, he gets an extra day out of a day, because he revives after a nap and feels a new lease on life. He has more energy than I do and rarely gets a headache, and hardly ever gets colds or feels sick when all that illness is going around. 

 He gets things done because he doesn't try to do everything  in one fell-swoop. He paces his tasks with regular intervals of rest and putting his feet up.  While I run perpetually behind, because I want to get it all done at once, he is always far ahead of me, more organized and his memory is much better. 

A Golden Daydream by Emily Mary Osbourne

Napping for ladies has a kind of art to it.  The napping area has to be as pleasant as possible, with a cool temperature. You are supposed to use a blanket and a pair of socks for warmth, instead of heating the room too warmly. The pillow you rest upon should be very comfortable. In my opinion there should be a special napping outfit to wear, (I say this tongue-in-cheek). Nap clothing for ladies should be comfortable. 


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January is National Hot Tea Month

When someone told me that, I felt so happy.  We need more like this: national walking on the beach month, national picnic month (I think there is that, in Australia), national reading month, national sewing month, national letter-writing month, national fresh bouquet month, national gloves and hat and dress month....there would not be enough months in a year for all the lovely things to enjoy. 

Giving a nod to national tea month, I took some photos of my guest room...

...and a page from the first winter (1987-88) issue of Victoria, 

...the cover of which you see here.

As some of us have become more interested in using plaids, I thought you would be interested in a cape they featured in one of the articles:

Things have really changed for me over the years. When I got that first issue, I had children at home, and enjoyed them so much!  Now I have 10 grandchildren, and cannot seem to catch up with everything. I try to sew clothing for them, but get waylaid by various interruptions in life and never really get as much done as I want to!

I realize not everyone likes tea, but drinking anything out of a tea cup, even hot apple juice with cinnamon, or coffee, is so refined and slows you down, makes it a ceremony and makes time stand a little more still.  I like to put berries in a cup and pour hot water and add a touch of honey. That is "tea" to me, and I noticed on Pinterest there are a lot of people doing that and calling it tea. I saw a pretty cup with a fragrant peel of orange floating in it and thought how delightful it is to hold a cup of tea with a wonderful natural scent, whether it be a fresh mint leaf or some lemon.

Several ways to present hot tea: 

-Tea time delivered to someone, with service (by you or written instructions) included.

-Tea time, or whatever beverage they prefer, by mail. That is so exciting, to open a box with homemade treats, a cup, a napkin, spoon, a little book, and more.

-Tea for yourself if you are alone. Take a photo, or paint a little water color in your water color journal, write a description, or just savor the moments.

-Travel tea. This is something I've been trying to get right so that the process flows smoothly and efficiently during car travel and still looks nice and appealing.

-Yard promenade tea.  I love to put an tea pot outside on the old bench under the tree, make a cup with some of the herbs available in the season, and walk slowly around the yard looking at things.

-Guest Room tea.  If I deliberately take time, I can sneak into the guest room, feel like a guest and have tea and croissants, trying to get a feel of how my guest might experience it.

-Sewing room tea time. Would not that be interesting, to find a sewing themed teapot or tea cup just for the special tray in the sewing room.

-Laundry room tea.  I have not figured that out, yet. 

-Correspondence tea.  Sit down with a tray on a side table with just a little cup of mint tea and read your mail or get some mail ready to send.

-My daily list/schedule tea.  Although I don't like schedules, there is always that long reminder list to make, and there should be a special tea blend for that. 

It is useless to wait for something special to happen or for someone to declare a special day. At home, the dull world does not rule us, so, at home, there are no rules from the outside world, and we decide! So we can declare it to be be Happy Day, Quiet Day, Beauty Day, Singing Day, Spa Day, Swing Day, Ship Cruise Day, Train Travel Day, Art Day, Fix Things Day,Learn  Something Day, and whatever day you want.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

House Portraits by Lynn Maust

It takes me months to post other peoples's requests, whether for a blog subject or something else. Some time ago, a long time acquaintance asked me to feature her house portraits and provide information where you may have her paint a portrait of your own house.

Above is the one she made from a photo of my residence, and below is another  she has done. These portraits you will frame, yourself.

For information regarding prices and other details, please contact her here:

Lynn comments here a lot, and is in Pennsylvania. 

Because my house is not my own, I had not considered it portrait-worthy, but I quite liked the sketch which made it so cheerful to me.  A century ago in Victorian culture, people made a point of getting their photos taken with their house in the back ground. You can sometimes find such photos in antique stores. Those generations before us  had a definite attachment and relationship to the dwelling in which they spent so many hours. Often the house was custom made for the couple when they married, and so the place was very personal. There were house portraits in those days, too, done by artists.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Attention to Real Health: Benefits of Sleep

Pinterest category Laura Ashley bedding

One of the benefits of being home is the privilege of living a little more slowly, and building up good health.

Real health care is not the same as medical care, unless you want to consider natures cures (foods, herbs, spices, salves, oils,  minerals, etc) to be medicine.  Sometimes when I hear a political discussion about free health care, I think of the free health care that has always been available since the beginning of time, that being rest, nutrition, water, fresh air, excercise, etc., of which we are already the health care providers. (Try and get insurance or government to provide that...for free....)

When we learn to care for ourselves as much as possible, it eliminates the conflict about who is going to "provide" it or pay for it, because quite a bit of our health is in our own ability. I'm not talking about broken bones or medical needs here, but taking care of yourself using God-made health care provision may prevent serious medical problems.

Of the many facets of health,  sleep and rest do not seem to be promoted as strongly as the others, but it interacts with all the othe things.

Pinterest - category natural bed linens

Consider changing to sheets and blankets that are from natural fibres such as cotton, bamboo, linen, hemp, wool, etc. Here in the US the stores seem to be over stocked with micro fibres, polyester, nylon, and other non-porous, non woven sheets and blankets. I am not sure how this effects our sleep, but I would rather have the natural, earthy fabrics similar to the ones people slept on not so long ago.

 I sympathize with people who have sleep problems, as their health is so adversely affected by it. They are more susceptible to viruses, colds, illness, depression, skin problems, appetite problems, memory problems, and general malaise. You don't have to be a great physician to suspect there might be an advantage to practicing the old ways.

Some people have been effected by the way bedding and sleepwear fabrics are treated in the factories.

Someone back in the 1960's apparently soaked cotton fabric in formaldehyde, then baked it to make it permanent press.   I am not certain if this is still done in manufacturing, so I always wash fabric and cotton sheets when they are new, in attempt to remove the wrinkle free treatment, or I look for special organic type cotton. Not everyone will be adversely affected by these added chemicals, but some people are, and it may affect the quality of their sleep.

Consider the detergents  and softeners we use for bedding and sleepwear. 

(Sometimes I feel like saying "No more Febreeze, please!" because I smell it everywhere in town, inside and outside of businesses and shopping areas, and even motels and restaurants.)

There is a cleaning vinegar available that works quite well in the washing machine and does not leave any vinegar scent. It works in the wash and in the rinse. 

Someone told me to add some orange or lemon essential oil to the rinse in the machine.   She also suggested I put a pleasant smelling essential oil on a cloth and wipe it across the pillow cases and sheets to aid in sleep.  There are all kinds of things the ancients did, I am sure, that many of us are now discovering.
Cotton sleepwear by Lanz of Salzburg 

While the physical comforts have to be considered when getting good sleep, there are other factors worth looking at:

Anxiety, grief, disorganization, uncertainty,  being always rushed and pressed for time, sudden changes, food additives, heavy responsibilities, weather, finances and things beyond your control, can affect your ability to truly rest.

Sometimes there are things in your life that you know are not quite right and need to change, that cause sleep problems.

Rising too early, using an alarm, and staying up too late can cause a sleep problem.  When I was homeschooling, I never used alarm clocks and I found the children adjusted to the light and the darkness and slept as long as they needed to. When they slept later or "slept in" I knew they may be fighting off a virus, or the body and mind needed the extra sleep for some other reason.

Adequate fresh air can also aid in sleep. This is something of a subject of its own. 

The water you bathe in or brush your teeth with may be chlorinated and that may have an effect on the quality of your sleep.

Too many added chemicals and pharmaceuticals in the body can cause sleep irregularities. This also is a subject that is covered by various physicians on the web.

The benefits of sleep are: better memory, better digestion and elimination, better appetite, better concentration and focus, a feeling of well-being, reduced anxiety, improved hair, nails, skin and complexion, normal stamina to do ordinary things, less accidents, ability to have a goal and achieve it, adequate creativity, and much more. 

The different aspects of health, such as nutrition and excercise, interact with one another, and affect one another. Your sleep health may have something to do with other health factors.

People frequently recite Philippians 4:8 as a remedy for uneasiness that may affect your ability to rest. We have, over the years quoted and thought of this phrase thousands of times when troubled and sleepless. To think on good and lovely things---yes, you are not just allowed to do that. You are supposed to do that. It helps so much to think of the loveliest and pleasant things when preparing to retire or rest.  I never understand how people can listen to so much bad news on the air waves so close to bed time.

Researching how to get sleep naturally will reveal the many benefits of sleep. I even read somewhere that people who were having a struggle with their weight were not getting enough sleep. I am still researching this myself. If you are interested in finding out more, look up "natural sleep" or "getting sleep naturally." Dr. Axe, Dr. Cherry, Dr. Amy Myers,  and many other nature focused physicians have extensive websites with information about sleep.

I am sure everyone who reads this knows what "burning the candle at both ends" means. And, I know God has provided ways for us to get good sleep.

Psalm 127:2  It is vain for you to rise up early, To take rest late, To eat the bread of toil; For so he giveth unto his beloved sleep.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

When Something Is Brought to You

Above (Pinterest, under the category of breakfast trays)

Recently I noticed the effect of having something handed to me.

While I am capable of helping myself to a cup of tea, there was a completely different and ennobling feeling when someone handed it to me.

Decades ago when I attended a decorum class for ladies, I learned of a gracious way to hand something to someone. Instead of roughly shoving the gift toward another person, we learned how to take the object, whether it was a book, a card, a cup of tea, flowers or a gift, and with a graceful motion, using the hand with palm up, or underhanded motion if you will, carefully waltz the object toward the person.

 This was for ladies of course. We certainly didn't insist men do it,  and one of the reasons for learning how to hand something that way to someone, was to become more graceful and ladylike. The point was not to become affectatious, but to keep from having mishaps and spills and accidents by using motions that were too abrupt.

Of course, how it is handed to you is not the main point of this post.  It doesn't really matter if something is awkwardly given. It is the transforming quality it has on your mood, the way it lifts your thinking, and brightens the moment when someone hands you something.

Most people enjoy going out to eat or staying in a hotel where things are done for them, because it makes them feel so special and pampered. It provides a temporary rest from their labors, and certainly most of us are often working and serving others. I believe it is the luxury hotel effect when someone hands you something pleasant.  I was amazed how a child's offering of handpicked wild flowers made me feel, like being transported to higher ground. And,  to the giver, the happy response from the recipient is a double delight.

One day when I wasn't feeling too great, my granddaughter  brought me a small tray with a tea cup, tea bag and a small container of hot water, along with one of her hand made get-get well notes.  I revived quite easily after that, even though I was perfectly capable and of preparing the tray myself.  There is just "something" about having it brought to me.

Another lady of my  acquaintance comes to the ladies class armed with a stack of tiny cellophane treat bags tied in silver or gold twist ties and ribbon, containing anything from pens and notepads to lip gloss and lotion, or a variety of her homemade baked items.  While all of us are familiar with Dollar Tree merchandise and have brought the same items home,  and can make our own breads and muffins, the way she prepares it as a gift and hands it to each lady, has an interesting, happy effect on us that transforms the countenance.

Mr. S. sometimes comes from his home office and hunts me down in whatever part of the house I disappear to, and says, "Can I bring you anything?"  I always accept, if it is convenient for him. If I ask for anything  that requires an ingredient that we have run out of, he will ask if I want him to go shopping and get it for me.  I don't always take him up on it because it's easy to take advantage of Mr. S.  If I said, "Oh yes, I am in the mood for twelve dancing clowns", Mr. S. would try to get them for me! He is just that accommodating.  He had a very good mother who taught him how how be kind and helpful and put the needs of others first.

It is so nice to have something handed to you. Is there a special ingredient in those common gifts of refreshments and small, useable, disposable items? Why do children love the inexpensive favors they get at celebrations and birthday parties?  It is the same with a homemaker, and so, even at home, when someone brings me any small thing (a branch of rosemary, a refreshing beverage, a tea cup)  I am swept away in a moment to a place of luxury.

Years ago there was a business that provided a subscription to a weekly gift of things used by homemakers, from personal-care items to home care, pretty kitchen towels and other things, even spices, etc.  While ladies at home can go out any time to the nearest market and get whatever they want, a package delivered to the door plucks the strings of the heart and plays a soothing melody for a long time. Having something handed to you is much different than going out and getting it.

Most people can afford to treat themselves to these things, but when someone hands them to you it adds an extra dimension to the enjoyment.  It is like being elevated to a high classed tea room or being a guest, but even more, there is a definite heavenly aura about it that stays with you for a long time.