Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mother Was Here

A Kitchen Interior

The baby kept me very busy today.   Sometimes, he will play happily on a quilt, or in his little seat. Then I can do the dishes, or start a load of laundry.  We all take turns holding him, while someone makes supper, a snack, or cleans up a mess. We work in the middle of the joy of this blessing of a baby in our home.

This afternoon, no one was around while I took care of baby and kept the house. The kitchen had its noon mess, waiting for attention.  While the baby played, I deep cleaned the stove top and one of the counters.  These two areas were spotless, while the other half of the kitchen was neglected.  But those clean sections brought me great happiness.  Looking at them, sent a precious message to say, "Mother was Here."

Years ago, my father used to joke about our childhood home. He said the house was such a mess that if the police had come, they wouldn't know if there had "been a struggle."  For the life of me, I cannot remember our house even slightly messy. This must have happened when we were all babies and toddlers.  But it is fun to imagine my very neat mother, with a messy house.  She knew what was most important.  I am sure she had clean spots in her house that sent the bless-ed message that, "Mother was Here."

We all know that babies don't keep.  Lately, I spend most of my time sitting by the window, in my grandmother's old rocking chair, holding her great-great grandchild, and wondering how happy she must be, smiling down at us from heaven.  

Each Mother, in each generation, leaves legacies, memories, creations and sweet lessons. Their diligent work in the home, and their caring for babies, is their greatest accomplishment in life.

How precious is the comforting evidence in our daily lives, that "Mother was Here."

Mrs. White

Please Be One of These - The Mother Who Isn't Busy.

A Precious Home Life - Security of Home Routines.

I am - A Mother of Sinners.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

The Care and Keeping of Home

Potato Digging in the Kitchen Garden

There are so many things I would like to do at home, but they are all related to recreation. This makes it difficult for me to actually work in, and around the home.  I would rather have a day of ease and enjoyment.  This is mostly a daily battle. 

I have to make housework fun and pleasant so it seems like recreation.  Yesterday, I kept calling for my 15 year old son, John. I told him, "We should spend some time together. Since I love cleaning, let's do that!"  He would just smile and walk away.   He thinks I am funny. But I was serious. (gentle smiles)

There has to be some way I can make housework exciting for my family.  Sometimes we talk and laugh while we work. This is a great way to pass the time, and get things accomplished. But here is the problem - it is not really about getting things accomplished, it's about enjoying the process of maintaining a home.

Right now, here in New England, it is shockingly beautiful outside. I think I will sweep the porch. Maybe someone will rake the leaves while I am out there. Then we can sit and visit before coming back inside.

I  can also ask someone to help me bake cinnamon rolls.  I am sure plenty of people will help us eat them!  There is fun in family - centered homemaking.

Little Girls used to dream about having a house and a family of their own. Now that we are grown up, isn't housekeeping and motherhood just as exciting as it was then? Or did we forget to make our own fun, and enjoy playing house?

Creating meals, setting tables, washing dishes, baking, and reading to children are all lovely activities.  .  . There can be joy in cleaning and organizing.

I wonder. . .  Can't we all just wake up excited to be able to wash our floors?    Maybe If I ask John to help me. . . .

Mrs. White

What would happen? - If I Visit you at The Dinner Hour.

I'd Love to Have one of These - A Jane Austen Day - When Mother is Worn Out.

Do You Wash Your Dustpan? - A Little Visit - Happy Homemaking.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mother's Glory

"Christmas Morning", December 24, 1955

One of the greatest delights of motherhood is taking pride in our young children. We work hard to bathe, feed, educate, train and clothe them.  They are like precious cherubs who delight us and give us joy.  We love and adore them.

Our most difficult task, however, is instilling virtue and moral values into their characters. We take them to Sunday school and Church events.  We read the Bible and pray with them. We make Bible time and family worship a daily habit, hoping and praying it will take root in their souls and give them the peace that passeth all understanding, and lead them to their eternal home.

As time goes on, our little ones get into the middle years and things get harder. They begin taking different paths and making childish decisions that cause them harm.  When they are teenagers and young adults, they may fall into a great many trials. And this will make a mother weep.  She may go into a deep despair and be heartbroken for many years.

The bravest of mothers will smile through this dark time, and bring as much heavenly light into the home as she possibly can. She will still seek holiness and will endure, knowing the dawn will soon come.

One great day, Mother's glory will shine forth.  The glory is -  finally realizing that it is God that molds and shapes a holy soul, and it is HE who gets the glory.  If the child had grown, with ease, under mothers dedicated care, without a fault or a trial, then her skills and talents would have received all the praise.  Nay, let it not be so.

That family  may have shined here on this earth, but the brighter reward is the holy warmth of the Lord which shaped the souls of mother's children.  It is the mothers tears and work and turmoil through the years that is praised. But the final result, the reality of Mother's glory, is the humble and broken gratefulness of seeing God work in their lives, of God stepping in and doing the miracles, and of God making holy citizens out of the descendants in Mother's house.

The glory is the Lord's.  Remember this the next time you fall into weeping for your children. 

Mrs. White

A Good Reason for Not cleaning - Mother's Cleaning Recovery.

Teaching Unselfishness at Home - Just for Company.

Precious Memories - When Television was Special.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

I Don't Need a To - Do List

Two Little Girls Help their Mother with the Laundry on Washday

I have come to realize that I only need a list of things to do, when I have been slacking, or out of it. I know that sounds harsh, but when I do my daily, normal routine, I don't need a list.

Why would I have to read a piece of paper to tell me to wash the dishes? Or if I notice the floor needs sweeping, will I check my list first?

Making a daily list can limit our joy and creativity in homemaking.  There are certainly times for a list (for example - during spring cleaning, or when extra things need doing).  But for daily work, a list can be a hindrance.  It interferes with the normal flow of the day.  It makes one focus more on the paper, than on what we see before us.

I want to wake up each day, and be so good at my job as a homemaker, that I know what to do without being told (by a list).  I want to wash mirrors, dust furniture, wash floors and sparkle counters because I see that it needs to be done, not because of a piece of paper.

Early yesterday morning, I had the care of my grandbaby.  He is such a treasure. I sterilized bottles, made a batch of formula, and prepared his morning bottle.  I also washed dishes and tidied up the rooms, while he played. Then I sat in my parlour chair and delighted in feeding and holding him.  After he fell asleep, I gently placed him in the crib for his nap.  I went back to creating a happy and orderly home, while frequently checking on him. 

No list in the world could have given me such joy, as taking care of the baby while doing my homemaking duties.

Mrs. White

I am - Not Happily Married.

Such joy in Cleaning - It's Time to Make the Rooms Shine.

For Those Difficult Days - Make the Mess Look Pretty.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

The Morning Work

English Cottage I

The sun has not yet risen.  .  .  The house is quiet. . .  There is pleasant work waiting for me. . .  I turned on the parlour heater and will start polishing and cleaning before my family wakes up.

I will turn on some quiet classical music (Mozart) and I will work by lamp-light.   It will be a lovely morning of work.

When the family wakes up, all will be clean and neat. . . all will be well.  Their morning moods will not phase me, because I will have been in the quiet sanctuary of a godly home.  I will be prepared with the armour of kindness, patience, endurance, and I will be full of a slow and sweet temper.

This will happen because of the seclusion of my morning work.

Some rise early to run, exercise, or go to the gym. But this housewife rises early for the precious joy of keeping the home.

Mrs. White

Sweet Childhood Remembrance - Memories of Ironing and Other Chores.

I want to be just like this - Something to Ponder.

A Very Special Place - The Comfort of a Dressing Room. (With a link to hear my voice.)

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Do Not Disturb

Fall Foliage Surrounds an Open Gate

At any moment, we are troubled by many things. Our peace, in this world, is always on the brink of danger. A feeling of calmness, that things are okay, is often elusive.

The main offense, that robs us of our peace, are the words of others.  This may be news, gossip, slander, troubles, or facts.  When someone speaks words of discord to us, or speaks words of facts that will upset us, they have spoken something dangerous that will disturb our souls

Everything we see, or hear, or experience, does not have to be shared with others.  What we say to others, can cause them harm, even if the information is true.   What we share with others, even in confidence, can cause them pain, even if that was not the intention.  Do not trouble the mind of others.  Do not disturb their peace.

The Chofetz Chaim tells us that "Loshan hora (lit., evil talk) is defined as information which is either derogatory or potentially harmful to another individual.. . . . A statement that could potentially bring harm to someone - be it financial, physical, psychological or otherwise - is loshon hora, even if the information is not negative."

I cannot even count the number of times someone told me something, or shared some news with me, that I considered to be gossip.  They considered it to be telling me something important or what I needed to know, but I considered it a disturbing of my peace.  Often, people tell me things just before I face a trial.  Or just before I am about to go to sleep.  Then I am troubled for hours.  But I keep the "news" to myself, so as not to spread the harm of a disturbed mind. 

Will there ever come a day when genuine gossip will cease?  Genuine gossip is sharing truth with others.  Even this is a vexation of spirit.  Why bring people down with facts and news and sad things?

When will we learn to speak life into others? When will we learn to share positive, uplifting words that will encourage a weary soul? 

Be quiet. . . Be meek. . . Keep it to yourself. . .  It is a blessing,  a good deed,  to spare someone the pain of negative talk.  More often than not, they really don't need to know what you are about to say.

Mrs. White

P.S. It just occurred to me that homes where there is constant drama and misery are homes where gossip and sharing of the latest troubles are daily conversations. While homes where the residents use restraint and discretion in speech are happy and peaceful.

Grace Kelly wouldn't be one of these - Bossy Wives.

Fill the Mind with This - A Humble Parlour as a School of Theology.

A Precious Time - The Respite Before Church.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

The Behind - the - Scenes Mother

Back Street

There is a quiet kind of mother, many strive to be.   She is in the background of the home.  She is meek, yet strong.  She is steadfast and tough in her convictions, yet not bold in her demeanor.    She does those little things for her family and home that no one really notices, unless she is not there.

She seeks no applause.  She seeks no praise.  She is content with her crucial work, behind-the-scenes of her family.  She believes in her husband and children. She stands behind them, watching them in their daily lives, and quietly cheering them on, with gratefulness.  She has no need to praise her children in the gates (to all the neighbors and friends), because this is not to be their earthly reward. She has great discrection, sharing only polite words, and not the personal good and bad of her family.

She does not ask many questions of her loved ones. She is not constantly trying to get "information" out of them, or try to get into "their business."  Because she trusts them with their decisions and choices, knowing that God is on their side.  She has no need of fear or worry.   When things go wrong, or the children make mistakes (as will often be the case), she leaves the burden in Heaven.  For she is wise and brave enough to know there is a plan in the unseen, for which she has no control over. She must trust the Master with those details.

She takes her worries and "what ifs" and pleadings to the Lord in prayer. And then she leaves them there.

This dear quiet mother is the joy and hope of the home.   She is on a lighted path to Heaven. Many will watch her daily life, and want to follow her to that eternal HOME.

Mrs. White

I will do This - No Matter What It Cost Me.

Can you See this? - The Smiling Mask of Mother's Pain.

Be One of these - The Mother Who Will Not Accept Reality.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

The Duties of Home

Magpie Lane, Oxford, Illustration from the 'History of Oxford' Engraved by J. Bluck (Fl.1791-1831)

In hospitals, "housekeeping" comes in each morning and cleans the rooms. Trash is removed, the floor is swept, the room is disinfected and everything is put back to "rights."   These same tasks are duties that must be done in the home.  However, sadly, housework today is often neglected because our mentality of "freedom," catering to our moods, and the idea that chores are to be done on a flexible schedule (in other words: when one feels like it).

Honestly, I fight with this attitude myself. It is a daily battle.  But we must do our sweeping and our washing and our cleaning and our cooking, all at routine, expected times. This brings order in the home. It brings stability, and it keeps things pleasant and clean.

The best way to do this, is to make it a habit. There should be morning duties. There should be afternoon tasks, and evening work. This is a highly valuable job and it should be done with pride, despite our lazy moods.   I am as much to blame as anyone else!    Underneath it all, I have the mindset of an entitled, pampered, slacker. (gentle smiles)  This is why I often have to set a "mood" to clean and keep house.

I have to turn on a sermon, or old gospel music, on my kitchen radio. I have to light candles, fluff pillows, and straighten the drapes before I can start anything.   Once I commence my work, I love it!  I love to vacuum carpets, polish furniture, shine mirrors and do dishes by the back window.  The hard part, for most of us, is just putting down the cup of tea, setting aside a good book, and getting out of a comfortable parlour chair to do the chores.

Mrs. White

Please be one of these! - A Wife Who Does Not Complain.

Is It True? - Only Rich People Have Clean Houses.

For Those Very Sad Times - Trouble with Teenagers.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Forgotten Kindness in Marriage

Old Age Essay: an Affectionate Elderly Couple

There is a joke that once a couple gets married, all the nice gestures end. Things like opening doors for a lady, or baking a favorite dessert for a gentleman, just don't happen anymore. Why is this often the case? Because so many worldly cares come in and rob us of our best behavior.  We get caught  up in trials and worries, and have trouble taking the time to do nice things for those in our own homes.

Lately, this seems to have happened in our house.    Mr. White and I have been on alert-mode, solving problems.  There has been little time for slowing down.  Today, we had a lovely time annoying each other (smiles), and then apologizing. 

Then he made the first effort. . . He turned on The Waltons on Television. He knows I love that program.  He would never watch it, unless he was being nice to me.   I was grateful.  Later, while I cleaned the kitchen, I asked him if he would like something to eat.   These were the little gestures of affection that we had been neglecting. 

It was time to shut out the worries, the problems, the trials, and just slow down our home life and be nice

Then we took a drive to the hospital where our second grandchild had just been born.  We both held the new little treasure. It is a girl, and she is very precious.  When it was time to leave, Mr. White opened the car door for me.  I was content and happy. 

It only takes a few minutes to swallow our pride, control our temper, and be nice.  These little sweet actions can help make a marriage a precious, cherished institution. It also makes home a little heaven on earth.

Mrs. White

Are you one of these? - The Old Time Housewife.

It Happens - When Mother Is Late for Her Shift.

When There Isn't Much Money - To Encourage the Downcast Housewife.

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Choose Your Propaganda

Secret Garden

Whatever you focus your mind on, that is what you will become. Is that a scary thought? Or does it explain a lot of our doubts, confusion, and our misery.

The wonderful thing about the United States is that we are a free country.  However, we are constantly bombarded with propaganda from biased media.  Our minds are always under attack with ungodly ads, news, and "lifestyles" paraded before us, in our everyday lives.

Most of us cannot become reclusive and hide out in the deep woods, living in a cozy cottage. But we can recreate such a retreat in our daily choices. It is up to us:

1. What we read.
2. What we watch on television.
3. What we see on a computer.
4. Where we go.
5. What we will listen to on the radio.
6. What kinds of people we will be friends with.
7. What kind of church we will be a part of.

The last few days, I have heard plenty of reality shows, news, and horrible "trivial" propaganda coming from the people around me, and the programs they watch. It is causing a restlessness and a misery inside me.

To counteract this, I am choosing propaganda that will re-new my mind, my soul and my heart.  I am going to get all dressed up today and sit in my parlour. I will do my normal duties throughout the day, while listening to gospel or sermons on my kitchen radio. I will read and sing from my hymn book. I will do my Prentiss study.  I will also read from three books I have chosen from my home library:

1. "Nearing Home" by Billy Graham.
2. "Raising Your Children for Christ" by Andrew Murray.
3. "Not Regina" by Christmas Carol Kauffman.

In order to live a joyful, godly life, one must have a mind on heavenly matters.  We must seek for it as hidden treasures. We must yearn for it, and be disciplined enough to do certain religious duties.  We must avoid the bad propaganda that will cripple and destroy our mind.

  It all really comes down to freedom of choice - our free will.  Choose this day which propaganda you will hear.

Mrs. White

You Can Have  - The Cleanest House Ever!

Are You One of These? - A Mother of Sinners.

It is All I Ever Wanted To Be - Just a Regular Mom.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Shocked by Blessings

"Evening Picnic", August 18, 1951

I've had such a heavy burden hanging over me for such a long time. There are so many worries and they are all financial.  

Mr. White and I worry about our soaring heating costs here in Vermont. Each winter, the bills make one want to weep.   There is never enough money.

We have had car trouble and car repair bills. Our grown children are dealing with unemployment issues. Even though they seek out jobs and try so hard, there are no jobs.  They have their own bills to pay and food to buy.  Why is there no work in this country, for people who are willing to earn a living?

Our household has no debt - no credit cards and no car loans. Our only debt is our small mortgage. We live without Credit Cards.  We live simply. Our needs are minimal and include basic living  expenses - like food, heat, housing and clothes.  In this economy, we struggle even with this.

Trusting the Lord with these troubles is all we can do.  As a housewife, and the one in charge of the household funds, I work hard here at home - cleaning, cooking, and managing the money.  I do my part.  The rest of us do our own jobs.  We have to leave it in God's hands.

Yet, every now and then, something amazing happens to give me great joy and relief.  I have been praying all week about a car repair bill.  I begged the Lord to let it be less than $200. That was all the money I had.  Half of it came from this blog. The other half was what one of my children pitched in to help pay household expenses.  This morning the call came in. The bill was just as I had hoped! It was under the $200.  I almost cried.  What a blessing. I had been trying to figure out how I was going to pay it, had it been another hundred or two.  But now, my worry is gone.

Recently, a letter came in the mail from a blog reader.  It was so precious and sweet. The reader felt led to send me money.  I have no idea who this person was.  I had never even heard of them.  But the money they sent helped with our upcoming heating costs.  This was a shocking and unexpected blessing for which I will always be grateful.

When these kinds of things happen, pressure is lessened and we can smile more. We can go out for a walk, or have an ice cream with the children. We can laugh without hidden tears.  It frees us, and helps us understand who holds the real wealth.  We remember that He who watches over the sparrow, watches over us.

We still have many worries, as so many households do these days.   But these little blessings, these little miracles, keep us going and keep our faith strong.  We will be okay.  We will pray over each trial and we will wait on the Lord.

Mrs. White

Home as an Inviting Place - The Light in the Window.

Why is This? - No One Respects Homemaking Anymore.

What Would It Be Like? - If I Visit You at The Dinner Hour.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Don't Let it Become a House of Sorrow

Blue Moon

I was standing in my parlour, just standing there, in misery.  So many wonderful things were happening and then this.  It was another trial. One that brought tears of frustration and pain.  Mr. White and my boys helped us through it.  They were the protectors, and the problem solvers.  But I was still fearful and shaky.

John walked over to me. He is 15.  He opened his Bible and started to read Psalm 23.  Matt (19) had a hand on the door to go outside. He paused and listened.  Suddenly all was calm. None of it mattered anymore. We were comforted and soothed. We could move on.  We could forgive, offer grace and mercy, and let the Lord handle the trial.

Have you ever seen those medicine commercials for those suffering from depression? I often watch the people sitting in the chair, or not getting out of bed, and think, I would LOVE to do that! I would love to sit near  a window all day, staring out at the landscape, and not have to worry, or do anything.  And this is the temptation, when the whole world seems to be crashing down on us. However, these moments of suffering are passing. They don't last!  They are the dark night. We have to fight our way through them, using our weak flashlight (our positive attitude) until we make it to the dawn.

Every single home has troubles that come and go.  We will have calm times, and happy times, and joyful times.  Sadly, these may only last a few moments, but we have to hang on to them. We remember them, and reminisce about them, and bring them back, to get us through those other times.

Last night, I opened my hymnbook and sang with John. We sang, "Bringing in the Sheaves."  We sang it over and over again. Singing these old hymns remind us  that we will suffer in this life, but the reward will come.  Our work will last. It is important.  This is our comfort.

But please don't let the disappointments, financial worries, disagreements, or the sorrow for sins around us, bring down the gray hairs of sorrow on your homes.  Let them not be houses of mourning.  We have to do the work of smiling, laughing, joking and making light of things. We have to seek out the rainbows, and open the curtains to see the sunshine! 

Each moment, each morning, let all bitterness and grudges fall away. Start new with a smile and some love, and a heart of cheerful service.  Make your home a happy place, despite the trouble. If you do that, you will be the greatest wife and mother on this earth!

Mrs. White

When Mr. White and I started our family, we took - A Vow of Poverty.

What My Aunt Taught Me - Manners Learned at the Finishing School.

Every Home Should Have - A Housewife on Duty.

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