Monday, February 25, 2013

A Beautiful Home

The Queen Mother's Sitting Room, Glamis Castle, Highland Region, Scotland, United Kingdom

All I wanted to do this morning was sit in my parlour chair, with a cozy afghan, and read from Dickens.   We have heavy snow covering the trees and grounds of our Vermont property and I wanted a day of leisure.  But this will not make my home beautiful.

Before I have my pleasant time of recreation, I will do some housekeeping.  The family is still slumbering so it will be a quiet time of work.

I will sweep the floors, dust the parlour, clean the kitchen and do some laundry.   I will do a few little touches that make it feel lovely when one walks into a room.

Then, and only then, will I allow my laziness to come through as I sit in my little chair and delight in an 1800's classic, English, novel by Dickens.

Mrs. White

For Home-keeping Inspiration, order my book - For The Love of Christian Homemaking

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Industrious at Home

Stoops on 19th Century Brooklyn Row Houses

There is a lot of confusion about what goes on in an average home.   Modern families are distracted by television, home theaters, video games and the features of cell phones.  Sometimes, we are so busy with these types of entertainment, we forget what it is like to be industrious at home.

A day may start with opening drapes and shades. There might be a time of morning Bible reading - a little chapel in the quiet seclusion of home.   Next, some housework is started. Perhaps tidying up the rooms, starting laundry and then beginning a simple meal of breakfast to serve in a formal- sort- of- way at the kitchen table.  Do people still put salt and pepper or cream and sugar on the table, to share a meal with loved ones? Or does everyone grab food and run?

The mid morning hours are for general housekeeping. We clean the kitchen, dust, vacuum and straighten beds.  Once the house is in order, it may be time to sit and take a little break. Perhaps it is tea time? Or maybe time to chat and visit with the ones at home, while doing some knitting, embroidery, mending or sewing?

Lunch hour is like opening a little cafe for a time.  Some homemade food is prepared and lovingly served at the table.  We take a break from our home labors and join together for the noon meal. A prayer over the meal begins the time of fellowship. 

Before long, some may need a time of rest. Little ones are off to their naps after some time outdoors in the fresh air.  This break is helpful to prepare for the afternoon and coming evening.

Dinner is usually started in the early afternoon.  Some have helpers at home, while other homemakers do the work alone.  It is an exciting time - deciding what to make for the family's evening meal!

While food is baking in the oven, or simmering on the stove, we may find some time for reading and sipping on tea.  My mother-in-law always had fresh coffee which she enjoyed throughout the day.    We may do some last minute cleaning, finishing up the laundry, tidying rooms, and cleaning up the kitchen as we work at a more leisurely pace. 

Just before the dinner hour, it is time to wind down the day.  Sometimes guests stop by to visit.  We enjoy their company while we continue our industry.  If they arrive at a time when we can take a break, we may serve a little cake and tea and delight in the joy of being home.

Soon the family is seated at the table. Prayers are said. Conversation is started and the meal is enjoyed by all.   This relaxing time of eating together at a formal dinner, with napkins, and salt and pepper placed in the center of the table, is a delight.

At this dinner table, and throughout the day,  no one is secretly texting a friend.  No one is rushing off to play video games.  No one is talking about the television program they are missing out on.  No one is ignoring the family by endless phone or computer conversations.  Why? Because none of those things have been invented yet . . .  in this little home of industry. 

The evening hour has come. It is time to gather for family prayers and Bible reading.  Everyone has a bedtime. There is order and structure.  Everyone knows what is expected and they yield happily.   Once the day is finished, we look back and think what was done in this house that is anything special?  What was done that was industrious?

This home was full of service and love and old time family values.  This type of home is priceless!  The residents in this place, and the goings on there, will have a tremendous influence for generations to come.  We just need Homemakers willing to continue the tradition of being industrious at home.

Mrs. White

It need not be difficult - Simplicity of Old Fashioned Housekeeping.

There is more glory and honor in this than anything else - The Mother Who Isn't Busy.

Once we got married, we took one of these  - A Vow of Poverty.

For Home-keeping Inspiration, order my book - For The Love of Christian Homemaking

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Prayers Which Cannot Be Uttered

Book Illustration of Children Praying by Lizzie Lawson

When my children were very young, we watched a program on VHS called,  "Shalom Shabbat." It was adorable and starred Topol (from "Fiddler on the Roof").  He was an older gentleman who visited a school to celebrate the Sabbath with the students.  He was able to enjoy the Sabbath meal with one of the families. There are a variety of segments, which show us the different foods served in different countries and cultures.  There are also very short and precious stories using "clay type - cartoon" people.  It was a delightful program.

One segment that struck me was this little boy, sitting on the synagogue steps. There were Hebrew letters all around him and he was puzzled.  The Rabbi, on his way into the synagogue, noticed the boy and his dilemma.  He announced to the congregation that the service would be delayed. He told them about the young boy, saying that time was needed for the letters to reach heaven and form into a prayer.

Sometimes, in our own prayer life, we don't always know what to say.  At other times, we may be so overcome by the trials and pain in our lives, that a prayer is agonizing and exhausting.  What this boy and Rabbi teach us is that we don't always have to say something in our prayers.   There are times we are so weary and dumbfounded, that it is a precious blessing to just sit at the Master's feet, mute, and be comforted.  God knows what we would have said, or what we need.  . . He understands.

Mrs. White

For the Tough Times - The Note in Mother's Pocket.

If only we Mothers Had this - Amazing Dedication.

When Things are Going Wrong - Forgotten Kindness in Marriage.

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