Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Long Awaited Present

Golden Hours

One day last year, my daughter Nicole (23) called me from the city where she lives.   A book store was going out of business and she had bought me a little treasure. It was "The Prize Winner of Defiance."   We had both seen the movie a few times and loved it. But to read the actual book, with so many more details, and much more to learn from, would be wonderful!

I waited for her to mail me the book.  She lived too far away for me to visit very often, so mailing a package seemed the only way.  Months went by and no sign of the book. We both visited each other and forgot about it.

Then one day this week, I was in the city helping her move when I came across the book in a pile on the windowsill. "My book?" I smiled at her. She nodded. I shoved it into my purse and we quickly finished our work and headed out.

Back at home, these last few days, during my homemaking breaks, I have been sitting on parlour chairs, propped up in bed, or on the front porch and reading the little treasure.    It is a memoir by Terry Ryan about her mother who had 10 children. They lived in dire straits, with an alcoholic father, but the mother was ingenious and courageous.  I love the time period (1950's), the community, the values, the trivia about the church and all the little remembrances of such a childhood and family. It fascinates me that the mother didn't know how to drive! I love that many mothers were home more than we are today.

I will share two passages with you I just read this morning:

1. After walking to the police station to pick up her teenage son who had gotten into a little trouble:
"It's pretty discouraging, Rog.  I've spent most of my life trying to raise a bunch of kids under some pretty trying circumstances, only to see you do something as stupid as this."

2. This glimpse of the times is incredible -
"Mom gave birth every two years or so, not that there was any system to it - birth control wasn't even discussed in Catholic households in the 1940's and 1950's."

The book includes the Mother's routine, as a writer, who entered an enormous amount of contests sponsored by companies like "Dial soap," and "Quaker oats."  These are entertaining and I loved the description of her ironing while she wrote, or sitting in the living room with the children and sharing her ideas with them.  Her many wins are incredible!

But the most endearing thing for me, is reading about her daily struggles, her humor and her life as a blessed mother of many children.   Reading this book, during my breaks here at home, has given me a surge of inspiration, which has been greatly needed!

Mrs. White

A Precious effort - Beauty in the Home.

Remembering - Creating a 1950's - Like Childhood.

Old Fashioned Etiquette - Mrs. or Miss and other Titles of Respect.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Laundry Giveaway

During this month, I separated my review/ commercial commitments from this blog. I created a new blog just for my (slow paced) reviews. This will make my life much easier!

The New Blog is called, "Old Time Homemaking Reviews," and has a picture of my parlour, on a winter evening, here in Vermont.

I announced the change about a week ago, on facebook.  But today, the first "real" post went live. It is a giveaway for an incredible laundry gift pack from All Laundry Detergent.

Please feel welcome to head over there and enter for a chance to win!

Mrs. White

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Mother Who Isn't Busy

Geraniums On A Country Porch

Serving a family and keeping a home takes a lot of time. Doing it peacefully, without much else to occupy the energy, will leave a lasting impression.

When Mother is available all day long, for whatever needs arise, she is cherished and counted on.   Can you imagine the mother who wants to see her family fed and full and happy, and who enjoys making snacks and meals for her loved ones?  Imagine she never says, "just a minute. I have to finish my own thing first."

Imagine this same mother spending time with each family member, doing what they enjoy.   Imagine her going outside with the teen boys and cheering them on in their games.  Imagine her chatting with her girls and doing projects they want to do.  Imagine her sitting in the parlour chair, serving tea, and happily getting up to serve someone in need. 

She can't do any of this, cheerfully, unless she isn't busy.

This mother will find great peace and contentment in serving her family. Notice, she is not the slave. She is not the doormat. She is greatly esteemed, respected and dearly loved. She is NEEDED and wanted.   Her children and husband seek her out for help, comfort, and her presence because they know they are her entire world. They are her hobby, her project, her joy.

Yet, she will deal with moods and messes. She learns to handle them with grace and dignity.  She will guide the characters of those in her charge, and she will do it sweetly. Her example of patient, methodical work with a cheerful attitude (despite trials or tears) will pour inspiration and love into their minds and hearts.

And if she ever has those overwhelmed moments, or faces difficulties, she will go into her prayer closet and get help from the one who knows all and sees all. She will get her comfort there, and she will be renewed and ready to joyfully get back to her life of not being busy.

Sometimes, when we strive to do our own thing, the real thing we are destined to do gets neglected and trampled over.   The greatest goal of a mother and wife, is to dedicate her days to the lifetime vocation of home and family.

Mrs. White

Have you Taken This yet? - A Vow of Poverty.

Cleaning for THEM - The Kitchen is Ready!

Learning from -  The Charm of the Old Days.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Security of Home Routines

Blooming Cottage Flowers

On weekend mornings, my father would listen to old country gospel music in the kitchen while he and Mother made breakfast for us all. We children were teenagers and would sleep as late as we could.   They would make a big pancake breakfast and it had such a delightful scent.  It was a lovely way for us all to wake up.

Dad worked hard as a laborer. He kept a solid, predictable, calm routine in the home. We knew he would be watching westerns on Saturday afternoons. We knew he would be in the garage working on a project, or fixing the family cars.  He did yard work and kept a garden.  He also came home from work at the same time every day.  Looking back at his life, HE was what kept things steady, no matter what was going on in our family.

Parents are like guardian angels. They are there to guide and watch over their children. But they do not get burned, or harmed, or pulled down, into their children's troubles.  They are unscathed and strong.  This helps build up courage in our children. This teaches them, as they mature in this life.

Our routines in the home are what keep things safe and secure.  If our children (old or young) are struggling in this life, and they see Mother and Father cooking like always, or cleaning like always, or putting away the dinner dishes, like always, the children are comforted.   On the other hand, if Mother and Father stop all they normally do and indulge in despair, and dwell on the trials so that it cripples the routine, the entire family is brought down.

Tonight, as I turn on the lamp light in the parlour, and sit in my favorite chair to do my Prentiss study, my children will feel a sense of security.   As we finish up our evening routine and smile the smile of peace, and contented joy, despite any hidden tears, the children will feel the warmth and love of home. And they will heal from whatever harm the world has tried to cause. Somehow, home and family will prevail.

Mrs. White

Sweet Childhood Memories - Manners Learned at the Finishing School.

We Need this all Year Round - Mothers with Christmas Courage.

I'll Still be Here, When the Children are Grown - Sitting Alone at The Kitchen Table.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

A Vow of Poverty

Small Girl Walking Down the Poverty Stricken Town of Hemphill in Appalachia

It always happens. . . We Mothers start building up our savings and something comes along to take it away. But most often, the need is for those around us, especially our own children.

Godly Mothers and Fathers often make a subconscious vow when they start a family. The vow is one of poverty.  This means they pledge to spend the majority of their money on the needs of their children. ("Needs" not "Wants.")

We never see these kinds of mothers in costly array, or in fine homes.  We don't see them shopping idly in boutiques, or dining in elegant restaurants. These mothers use their material resources to care for the poor, and the needy, even if that is often their (old or young) children.

Old Time Mothers in Poverty would scrimp and save and find ways to make sure their children had decent shoes, nutritious foods and a humble home.

When money came in and was saved for a rainy day, Mother was delighted to have the cash to feed a hungry, weary soul, who had entered her cozy parlour to take a break from the painful world.

All money that is used for selfish needs, all health that is consumed to glorify self, all worries of reputation fall by the wayside for the godly mothers.  She seeks not her own gratifications. 

The vow of poverty is not a promise to live a destitute life. It is a pledge to use all that goes through her hands, to bless and encourage those around her.

If I pledge my "wealth" and my "health" and my "reputation" for the ministry of my own family and for those that come through my door, I have made a vow of poverty for the Lord.

This means I will spend on that which is eternal.  I will find a way to serve despite my health issues.  I will not care what others say or think of me, but only care of the view from God's eyes.

Mrs. White

What Would Happen? - If I Visit You at the Dinner Hour.

We Need to Be Here - As Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing at Home.

Please Don't be One of These - Bossy Wives.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Knowing When To Quit

Actress Jennifer Jones Playing the Piano with Her Two Little Boys at Home

Homemaking is an endless occupation. There are chores and errands and cooking to do. We also have our own ideas for projects and hobbies. I am often overwhelmed to the point that I have to force myself to sit down.

Today I thought about making a new dress, starting a knitting project, catching up on some book reading and baking some muffins.  I had so many ideas racing through my mind that all I could do was sit at the table, look at my son (John) and say, "I am bored."  How could that be?  Because I was so overwhelmed with my plans that I couldn't do anything. I finally played a game of "Charlie Brown" Yahtzee with John so I could get my mind to stop and relax.  (The pictures on the dice and can made us smile, and cheered me up!)

Pacing myself is one of the hardest of trials in my life at home.  I did manage to clean several rooms, go out on an errand, read, make a nice lunch and bake a cake.  Finally, late this afternoon, I decided that it was time to quit. It was time to be finished for the day. It was time to stop doing anything and just be at peace.

My evening will be one of relaxing. I will enjoy hobbies at my own pace and listen to classical music. I will light a lilac - scented candle and knit, or hand-sew, in my cozy parlour. I will drink tea and not worry about anything. 

Just a little while ago, I told my youngest child (age 15), we are finished for the day. No more chores.  Everything is perfectly neat. If it gets messed up in the next few hours, we will just leave it for the morning. He was delighted!  He was off duty from helping me and I was off duty from housework (and of nagging for help! - smiles)

 Sometimes, one of the greatest secrets of joyful homemaking is knowing when to quit.

Mrs. White

The importance of Mother's Cleaning Recovery

All about Proper Manners - Getting Along in Marriage.

Help from my Son on a Very Sad Day - Presents To Cheer Me up

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sweet Rest

An Interior with a Woman Reading at a Table

A sudden unseen wind came along and quieted my life.  I spent days in utter exhaustion,  mostly bedridden.  There was a calmness in my soul that was grateful for the rest. I didn't realize I was run down. 

After a couple of days, I tried to get up. I turned on the kitchen radio to hear some old gospel music. I cleaned and smiled. But I was weak.  I didn't get far. After a few minutes, I went back to bed.

Each day, that first week, I kept trying to get up. One early morning, while the world was still asleep, I triumphed in tidying my entire parlour and kitchen. I listened to the birds while I worked. Even though I was shaky and weary, I was thrilled with the joy of housekeeping. 

But it was too much for me.  Mr. White ordered me on total bed rest for a week. I was not to get up or do anything. I was to "hire" help.

I "hired" a 15 year old Butler. (My youngest son)   Every precious morning, I "ordered" my breakfast. He made me oatmeal or toast and brought me tea. He checked on me throughout the day and brought sweet summer beverages.  He made sure I had old movies to watch.  He let me "order" my lunches and dinners. I was grateful for his service.

In his own way, he did some of my neglected housework.   I was content, despite the chaos of disorder around me.  I yielded to the forced rest, and it was doing its work.

In one of the old movies I watched, the heroine had been in an accident. She was in a wheelchair and unable to walk for 6 months. He doctor advised her to stay home and rest.  His advice calmed me.  I didn't feel as "useless" as I had been.

Children came and visited me in my "sick room." They talked and made me laugh. I was cheered.  I learned to enjoy the quiet life of ministering through my words, rather than my work.

And then one morning I became stronger. I had energy. I was able to do an errand. I brought my cane for extra support and always had someone with me. My chauffeur often did the driving.

Eventually, I went to Church again, with the cane by my side. I was delighted.  A few more days went by and I started reading more of my Bible. I had even more energy.  But I knew I wasn't yet ready to take on the joy of housekeeping.

Until it happened. . . One sweet afternoon, a precious comfort came to me. I was listening to old gospel hymns on my kitchen radio and cleaning for the first time in several days.  The comfort was a dear passage in the bible. It was about Peter's Mother - in - Law. (Matt 8:14 -15)   She was down sick with a fever. The Lord healed her. What did she do? She got up and ministered to them!  These two precious little verses were brought to my mind (out of nowhere) as I worked, like a message from Heaven. I was okay and I was blessed!

And so,  my healing has come and I am able to tend to my home and family again. I am well, but not the same.  I will keep the "Butler" and continue to "order" some of my meals, because I need that extra help. But I will be able to clean, here and there, and delight in the ministry of home.

Mrs. White

Strength for the Weary - When Mama is an Invalid.

Very Sweet to Have - The Comfort of a Dressing Room.

Always Remember this - Money Can't Fix Everything.

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