Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Sharing the Culture

Today I am sharing the loveliness with you. It is easy to be content at home in such surroundings.

 As I was recently culling and perusing through some of our vast collections of publications and books, I found some that were  full of beautiful photographs of places faraway places,  interspersed the interiors of homes, the flora, food, arts, poetry and literature of those beautiful climes.  

I looked up from the glossy pages and my eyes met this beautiful scene and thought to myself how we ladies at home could each make a book of our own with equally beautiful photos, accompanied by the food of our own area, and add some of our own stories, poems, art and culture.

Did you ever investigate what culture really is? When you do, you will discover how to create your own culture at home, and how each family member helps to establish the habits and customs of the home.

We are sometimes told that here on the north American continent, we have no "culture" but that is not true.  The people who say that are referring to the lack of landmarks and buildings older than 350 years. 

 It is true there are no ancient historical structures, but when you hear such a statement, consider this: The land of the US is still as old as the rest of the world.  It just has no physical evidence of man-made structures or man-made art, poetry, literature and music dating back a thousand or more years. That does not mean there is no culture. There certainly is culture here, but it is a different kind of culture.

Although we do not walk in the shadows of thousand year old castles or paintings and music, we still have culture here in America. It is just younger.  We still have our music, our inventions, and our roads from several hundreds of years. 

 Our land has the same old Creation as  in Europe. It was created on the same day as theirs. Our mountains and rocks are aged and have many fossils from the great flood.  Our rivers and lakes are just as old as those in other countries.

The oldest towns with brick streets are certainly not more than 400 years old but what is very ancient and historic is the Scripture we read that has been preserved by God longer than some civilizations in the world. Everyone has access to a Bible and many homes have multiple copies of it. A great deal of our culture is derived from the Bible.

And, in a land where there are no man-made castles, we have opportunity to be be creative.  Is there no art of previous centuries? That's an opportunity to create some of your own.

Mr. S. sometimes uses an illustration about a business in the 1920's which sent salesmen to undeveloped parts of the country in the mid-west to see if their products might be sold to the people there.

One salesman came back and said, "No one uses these products in that part of the country, so there is no use setting up your business there."

Another salesman came back and reported, "No one has access to your products. No one uses them. It is a perfect place to set up a shop, and there is no competition."

One person saw nothing, and the other saw an opportunity for something.**

Living at home is a great opportunity to make your own history, and your own culture.

There are hundreds of farms across Canada and the US and many are generational. That means their forefathers plowed and planted that same land many times and produced crops that often fed other parts of the world too. No, they did not build castles and moats and paint great masterpieces but there was a different kind of history and a different sort of culture that was passed on for others to enjoy.

The tall stacks of hay each harvest are our castles, and the sunrises are our art, which our children attempt to paint on paper with their little watercolor sets. Those are our masterpieces. Our voices singing hymns in church is our music.  So, please don't say there is no culture here.

You might look off into the distance as see something beautiful and realize that people in other countries save up their money for a long time just to come and see the things you look at every day.

I was looking on Pinterest for farm clothing or farm fashion (another idea for my sewing!) and came across this wonderful painting of a girl in the field. I like the way the colors coordinate and compliment the surrounding field, and it goes along with what I try to do with my fabric and sewing.

I would certainly like to create a pattern for that ruffled blouse 😊

There are thousands of wonderful and talented artists in America, so we do have art here. This one is by James Griffin.

**I realize its a reality in many businesses, that some businesses are not going to be able to thrive in certain conditions, certain locations, certain cultures and times.  It takes a very persistent and determined person to establish a set of values, establish a business, and keep up their talents when they are surrounded by unfavorable conditions.  However the illustration was just to make a point about how we as homemakers might look at a problem that needs to be solved.

Monday, August 26, 2019

"It is Good"

 I do love the misty scenes of the valley with the distant veiled mountain range.

Above: fields have been plowed again and awaiting a new crop. The shaded row of trees and foliage  looks like a city!

Hello Ladies,

Did you notice in the Creation account in Genesis how God created something, then looked at it and said, "It is good"?

I adopted that policy for my children when they cleaned up their rooms. Do a good enough job that you can stand back and survey the situation and say "It is good."  

Homemaking involves a lot of creativity. It is not only about cleaning!  After all the sweeping and straightening, we need to make it smile-worthy, if possible!  And children will certainly respond to that.

If we can only look at this work of the home as an opportunity, not a suffering or a punishment, it will become a labor of love and a work of art.

Many years ago when businesses were lagging and customer-employee relationships were not so good, some very enterprising people developed courses for business people to take, to help them have better results.

They were trying to get business owners and employees to look at their employment, not as a drudgery but as an opportunity.

It caused the employees to approach their jobs with a new perspective.

I attended one of these in the 1980's, which was taught by a small business owner. The course became so popular and 
there were so many requests for his speeches, that he
 had to sell his business and go into full-time speaking for people in trade.

This was so long ago that I can't remember much about it, but I came across the workbook the other day (you know, because we keep everything fro 1952 ;-)--you will have to go to the video where I explained this!).

One thing that always remained in my mind, that was related in this conference was something he said:

"Your customer is your livelihood. When they buy something, you make a profit and you can pay your bills and buy food for your family. If you are rude to a customer, you lose money. They will go somewhere else to trade if they are not treated well. Who wants a bad experience when all they are doing is buying something they need?

He said something like this:

"So often in the shops, the employee is standing around having a conversation with another employee, and then a CUSTOMER walks in and they act like the customer just ruined their day! The customer interrupted them, and now the employee has to serve that person.

"Business owners and employees don't realize that when a customer walks in, although it is work, it is also an opportunity. They will not only be able to sell them something they are needing, but also use it as an opportunity to make the customer want to give them return business. If they are glad to see the customer, the customer will linger longer, recommend it to their friends, and return the next payday. When the product they are looking for is not available, the employee or owner can offer to order it for them."

These courses created a big change in the way the customer was viewed. No longer was a customer a nuisance, but became the source of prosperity to others. 

In changing things so much, the businesses also became more palatable to the customer. They began to admire business and want to create their own.

When you see the relationship between the customer and the business, it is easier to understand why our homes must be viewed, not with a grudging attitude, but with a desire to make home ife good for ourselves.

What we put into something is what we get out of it. We reap what we sow, as the Bible says.

Today as I was out walking I noticed what a lovely hue of blue the sky was above the trees and I wanted to share it with you. You see the Manse nestled there behind it all. I thought of how pretty it all is and how I must strive to make the Manse, humble cottage though it be, the best I can, and how labor brings good results. "In all labor there is profit," the Bible says, and I am sure that isn't meaning just monetary profit, because homemaking is so much more and is profitable in other ways too.

Visiually, it is nice to stand back after putting something in order, and say to yourself, "It is good."
It might be profitable to you to arrange some flowers, fresh or fake, in a bowl to finish off your tidy room.
I found this on Pinterest, but there was no reference to the artist there.

I know this concept that I've related here, will generate some discussion.

There was also a community group formed from the customer/business relationship in 1912 called The Better Business Bureau.  I found over the years that it was a great way to give feedback to good businesses that treated customers well, and also to report anything that was not so good. The only businesses you could never get to cooperate were the state-run places! There was a drivers license place where many customers were waiting, and one of the employees, feeling the pressure of a backlog of people waiting to be served, began to yell loudly at the customers. Several people reported this to the BBB but nothing ever came of it. State run businesses have no competition, so the customer can only go to that one place to get what they need, and that is a great disadvantage.

When the customer HAS to come back to that one and only place that has the product or service he needs, there is no incentive for the employee to behave politely. The employee cannot lose his job or lose the business when there is no fear the customer will give his business to a competing enterprise.

In a way this can be applied to the home. We don't want our families going to someone else's house and saying, "My neighbor's house is cleaner, neater," etc.  Of course they might do that, but at least we need to keep this in mind and do our best to make the home a place we prefer over other places.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Many Books

Painting: Carl Vilhelm Holsoe (Danish artist, 1863-1935)

Hello Ladies,

As I have been sorting through an accumulation of books and other publications, I hear Solomon's words, "of the making of many books there is no end, and much study is wearying to the body." (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

Those words were always at the forefront of my mind when I acquired a book, but I wasn't paying attention to how many volumes I was accumulating, and would one day have to clean, sort, cull, etc. and consequently, as Emma said, there is a grim job to be done. 

I could never hope to remember all the things in books, but most of them were interesting or informative in some way and I enjoy owning them. Yet, I know I only retained a very small percentage of what was in them, if any. Still, it has been convenient to be able to look up something. Half of these books are cookbooks, old and young! 

Naturally, I came across some religious books that dealt with the home. Some were books of sermons and others were ladies Bible class books on family life, many from the 1940's and 50's.  The smallest book, missing its  cover, said, "Let nothing come between you."

I thought they were interesting but one thing I observed over the years: You can't learn how to raise children or have a happy marriage by reading human-authored books on those subjects.  Each one will have a slight bias, based on the author's own experience and religious views.

You have to learn by getting to know those people you live with.  Also, it crossed my mind, and maybe this is far-fetched, but what if you were a husband or a child that was completely trusting in his wife or mother, and used to talking over things, working things  out between you, and one day the woman you loved so much decided to follow a book, in order to develop a relationship between you.

I would actually feel betrayed if my mother decided to follow books written by other people, "experts" in order to raise me, and I think I would feel a little left out if Mr. S. started following a book on marriage, instead of talking with me. I would feel the books had come between us.  I don't think we can use books as our guides in relationships, because, unlike cooking or cleaning or building a house, it is a lot different when dealing with a human being that you love.

As a wife or a child, I might think, "I guess the rules are changing again, since my husband/ parent read the latest book. The ups and downs of such changes, based on someone's book, might remove whatever trust I had.

There is a new marriage book out every year, isn't there?
Type in "marriage books" on Pinterest and see how many come up!

(picture from pinterest)

 Besides that, everyone has their own individual personality, and not every method described in these books will not be applicable to all people.

But I am just sharing this as a possibility. You might not see a problem with it.

It is one reason I do not publish a book on marriage. 

The only thing I can do is encourage younger women to LOVE their husband and children.  And if you read I Corinthians 13, you can see how to do that!!

Among other things, the passage says love is patient and kind. Can we be patient and kind? That is part of love.

It also says love doesn't gloat or be happy at someone's mistakes. We can teach our children not to do that to their siblings.  That is love!

As you read through 1st Corinthians 13, maybe you can apply each "love is..." phrase to yourself and ask how you can achieve it.

There: that's my book on marriage!

What do you think?
Please leave a comment.

(picture from Pinterest)

Friday, August 23, 2019

Ladies Bible Class: Provoking One Another to Love and Good Deeds

Painting: Stepping Stones by Thomas Brooks (British 1818-1892)

Hello Ladies,

I'm trying to get some things completed in the house to make time for another "Listen as you work" video, and I wanted to first post something about one of the ladies classes we had. As you know we meet each Thursday and this has been going on for many years before I was here. The ladies like to read a chapter and then make observations about it and it is always so interesting.

We were reading Hebrews 10, and lighted upon verse 24. Of course we take it in context of the surrounding sentences, but several of the ladies commented on this particular statement:

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,"

Aside from knowing this means to encourage one another to assemble together and not be neglectful of worship, the discussion was on how to provoke one another to love and good works.

Provoke, in the original Greek, means to stir up, to motivate, stimulate and encourage.

Although we in the English world often associate "provoking" with something unpleasant, the word "provoke" is a verb and can be used for either good or bad.  In several verses it is used in the negative, but this passage urges Christians to motivate one another to love and good works.

Someone brought up the concept of "out-doing" one another in love. I like that there can be competitiveness in showing love. In a family, this is so important to the children, as they learn to love one another and put members of the family first, over other people.

Several of the ladies had some very good ideas to present, on how to do this!

What are your thoughts? How would you go about provoking (stir up. motivate)? Remember, it is an action word, a verb. 

I like the painting, above and have looked at some of the other paintings of Thomas Brooks, such as this one:

One day if I can get the time, I would like to make a book of some of the 18th and 19th century paintings.  In Home school, we would look at the painting and tell what we thought was going on, or "the story" in the painting. Then we would try to imitate the painting in some way.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Ladies Bible Class: Shine as Lights in the World

Painting by Richard S. Johnson

Today I have chosen paintings of ladies; paintings that have a lot of light in them, because I want to tell you something the ladies discussed in the Ladies Bible Class.  

We always read straight from the Bible rather than having a workbook. We ditched work sheets and workbooks and study books years ago for many reasons, and have had a good result by sifting through the scriptures verse by verse. We read a chapter each time we meet and each person tries to make an observation about what was read. 

Painting by Carolyn Troy

This time we were reading Philippians 2:14-16 and discovered something that we really needed.

If you grew up hearing people tell you that "the world is going to Hell in a hand-basket" you will know why we thought this passage was so profound.

We had  been previously discussing how to handle the gloom and doom and depressing talk of even religious people; those who should be expressing hope and optimism. When we came upon these verses one of the ladies mentioned that it was an anecdote to defeat, and  I thought you would like to have a look at it. 

At the Cottage Door by William Henry Margetson

Yes, when you have a steady diet of the news media, you will always be made aware of what an ugly, poor, filthy, decaying, unhealthy, dangerous, sinful place the world is.

And it may be true in many parts of the world.  I live out in the country and am not exposed to it.  Most of us in this neck-of-the-woods are homemakers and have our own havens of rest, free from the prying eyes of the world. Our homes have become little independent countries where we create the peace and love we really want in the world.

Lady in an Interior Carl Vilhelm Holsøe [Danish artist, 1863-1935]

We listen to the never ending mantra "We are doomed. Society is lost."

Often people quote this part of that passage:

"... a crooked and perverse generation..."

but never read the very next sentence in the passage, which has the happy alternative.

People love to be gloomy and morose, talking about how awful things are, but rarely tell you what the uplifting alternative is.

When you ask them what can be done about it, they can't give clear answers. While we are supposed to be an educated society, I find that even among Christians there is sometime a big dose of the false belief of "Fatalism," which is an ancient religious philosophy.

 Philippians 2:14-16 is the opposite of fatalism, and gives us a task that I think is rather exciting and holds all kinds of creative possibilities.

I'll post Philippians 2:14-16 here and let you sift through it and find the answer.

"Do all things without grumbling or disputing,

that you may be blameless and innocent,

children of God without blemish

in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,

among who you shine as lights in the world,

holding fast to the word of life..."

These words generated a quite a lively discussion that day, so much so that we were still talking about it with great enthusiasm while we took tea after the class.

Someone pointed out the loaded meaning in that last line, "holding fast to the words of life."

Ladies at home have a great opportunity to generate the kind of light this passage mentions, and to teach it to their children.  Living it,  makes the home the best place to be and brings relief from the world's problems.
Sandra Kuck "A Mother's Gentle Touch"

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Bright Spot

MUNKÁCSY, Mihály Hungarian Realist (1844-1900)_Woman Arranging Flowers between 1881 and 1882

The Rose of All Roses (by Wilhelm Menzler


Today I  am sharing a flower arrangement, and to go with the theme,  I found 19th century art of ladies arranging flowers.

Occasionally I see a beautiful floral arrangement in a pedestal bowl of crystal or silver, or milk glass, and wonder how I could have one without spending too much, and perhaps give it away or use it as a centerpiece for one of the Ladies Bible Classes.  Our ladies all have lovely flower gardens from their country estates, and so we have fresh flowers at the table, but I thought it would be fun to make one of these pedestal bowls and an arrangement.

These two plastic bowls are from the wedding section of Dollar Tree.  I like the lightweight aspect and also that they are disposable so I haven't made anything permanent and I can recycle the project. 

I used the white Rustoleum spray paint with primer that sticks to plastic, and hot glued the two bowls together, using the smaller one to make a pedestal. 

The florals and styrofoam are also from Dollar Tree for approximately $2.00

On Pinterest, type in "Floral Arrangements in Pedestal Bowls" or "Floral Arrangements in bowls" and see what you get.

Now there is a bright spot on a table that, before, made me yawn every time I walked past it ;-)

I tied a strip of metallic ribbon around the neck of it; also from Dollar Tree.

Although I appreciate seasonal colors, I always try to incorporate the colors in the room, so the bouquet is part of the decor. I like those pale peach mums (chrysanthemums) from Dollar Tree. Each floral bunch usually has 6 blossoms.

Friday, August 16, 2019

A Little Recreation for the Home

As the evenings are still very light here, all I need sometimes is a led-lite to brighten a hall, corner or a little bathroom.

 I often see this candle on Victorian Trading Co. (candle not included)
which was recently reduced
 in price from $30 to about $15,
but postage would be added, which would make the expense higher.

I  decided to try my hand at creating a similar one, and although it isn't the same (I'd like to see the original), I'm happy with the results.
The glass vase and the candle holder, above, are from Dollar Tree, for a total of $2.00

I also got the led-lite pillar candle for a dollar, and the rest is made from things around my craft room: white paint, lace cut from a worn out old skirt, glued on with decoupage glue (also from Dollar Tree which I had on hand from a previous project) and gorilla glue to attach the vase to the stem. I would not recommend gorilla glue--use some E-6000 or hot glue instead, if you attempt this. Gorilla glue leaves industrial style thick dried yellow residue on it. 

I did not know it was possible to paint those clear glass candle holders white to make it look like milk glass, until I tried it today.  I used Rustoleum white gloss with primer. You can get this at Hobby Lobby or your local farm hardware store. Use flat paint  if you want more of a chalk paint look. I like the shiny look because it has the appearance of milk glass, which is rare to find.

One day every couple of weeks I try to do something creative. Last week it was the old truck and today the candle was all I could manage.  I like the way it looks in front of the dining window and it makes me feel like I got something high-end. 

I would estimate the cost to be approximately $3.50 if you want to include the minutest amount of glue, paint and old lace.

I like the way it looks in the dining window as the evening approaches.
The led-lite pillar just happens to give off a pink glow which goes quite nicely with the mauve curtain and other things around here.

 That is one of my MIL's doilies her sister made for her. I figure it is better to use them rather than keeping them in a box.

It is best to use led lite candles in these types of containers, because they are difficult to clean when you get wax in them.

  I notice the original from Victorian Trading has a taller candle pedestal, which you might find at Goodwill. Dollar Tree only has these short ones.

Here is  similar one made with a small crackled-look  jar from Dollar Tree glued to the candle holder, which makes an elegant pedestal candle light:

Please tell me how you like this one.
 Mirage (brand) led-lites look like real wax candles and glow just as well.

"Delight-Living" at Home

As I go about routine jobs I have to remind myself to look for something else, something beyond it all, which gives more heart and meaning and enthusiasm for the tasks at hand. 

This, above, is particularly enjoyable: to see that blue sky with the  tree limbs outlined, as I pin up my laundry to get a good sun-starch! I am never fast enough to catch that bunny with the camera as he hops away with his big white fluffy tail up, like the white tailed deer.

I’m enjoying the dusty view from the front window of The Manse:

The scenery looks like a patina-treated painting.

And oh, I walked around Hob-Lob while Mr. S. did some errands in the city, and ...

they sure know how to tug at my emotions:

Old trucks are very sentimental here in the US and Canada and we keep them around just for memory sake!

I wanted to take all the truck paintings and metal truck wall decor home with me!

The paintings of the old trucks are better than chocolate, I tell ya! Some of these are printed on wood and boards--what a great idea that goes with the whole truck culture.

Want to know how to actually get an old truck?  Have a 16 year old son that buys his first truck that is already so worn out,  it won't last much longer. When it breaks down after a few years, there you have it, as a prop.

In the last few years, the big trend with young people was to have an OLD truck, not a new one. They wanted their grandpa's truck or something very old with a lot of dings and scratches on it.  I have lost count of the YOUNG men , teen aged and a little older, who have come to the door asking to buy that old truck in my back field, even though it doesn't work. They want an old one. Car companies take note!  I'm sure you can create old farm truck replicas.

 Just had to take a picture of this sign for Mr. S. because WD-40 and duct tape are his favorite tools.

It is rare to get a photo of the sun RISE because I'm usually getting dressed and cooking breakfast, but I did get one yesterday!

Finally, this at HL is a motto I tried to bring my children up with and practice it myself because I wanted them to look forward to how they could do well in life. We tried to build each other up, move forward, not label each other, not dwell on wounds, and spend time to develop our talents and skills.

Hoping to get another vid out soon!

Love you!


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Homemaker Support: Listen While You Do Something

A week has transpired since I last spoke to you on video. The video is not very long this time; only 26 minutes, but I hope you can still do something with that time to help your home function well.

We are having stormy weather, and I tried to relate the importance of using those dark days of  inclement weather for something good.

Today I broadcast from this truck, which I created into a vacation retreat. We are so busy, I don't see any chance of getting away very soon, so I made myself a little resort here. Some friends came over and had lunch with me there! It took me several days to clean the truck and get it set up. I put everything in from the sides, as the furniture is all lightweight and waterproof. 

It is a perfect getaway for rest and relaxation because there are no distractions.  

Below is a picture of the weather-proof settee and weather resistant cushions where I was located while I was speaking to you.

I very much value your comments so please be generous and leave a lot of them!