Godly Homemaking wisdom for a peaceful and joyous home life. . ..
"Faint not; the miles to heaven are but few and short." -Samuel Rutherford
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From "On The Banks of Plum Creek"
"After Laura and Mary had washed and wiped the dishes, swept the floor, made their bed, and dusted, they settled down with their books. But the house was so cozy and pretty that Laura kept looking up at it."
- Laura Ingalls Wilder
Human Frailty of the Godly Soul
"The life of Luther might suffice to give a thousand instances, and he was by no means of the weaker sort. His great spirit was often in the seventh heaven of exultation, and as frequently on the borders of despair. His very deathbed was not free from tempests, and he sobbed himself into his last sleep like a greatly wearied child."
"As for her, like most women, she had but one ambition. To be a good wife and a good mother, and to be beloved by her husband and children, was all she asked. [She was] a busy, affectionate, cheerful little housewife, whose voice would never be heard in the streets, but whose memory would always live in a few faithful hearts."
- Elizabeth Prentiss, 1800's.
A married woman who stays home. This is a lifelong vocation. It is an old-fashioned term, and something to be proud of. Not a "domestic engineer." Not a "home manager." An old fashioned housewife, who keeps the home, and abides there. - Mrs. White
I have been trying to conserve my strength by resting. This resting has gotten to the point of making me feel weak and ill. The house does not look as lovely as I would like.
I have been walking through rooms acting as if the little messes around me were normal. All of my efforts have been focused on taking care of my two little grandbabies. Despite this, I felt as if I was the laziest mother in the world! (gentle smiles)
The other day, I decided to find 15 minutes to exercise. I did it just before bed so I could sleep! The next day I was so tired, I feel asleep much too early in the evening. Those few minutes of exercise (using ankle weights and light hand weights) paid off. Today, I had more energy. I was able to take care of the babies, deep clean the kitchen, and still have energy. My times of resting were more valuable and felt refreshing after doing all that work.
This was how my mother - in - law used to spend her days. She would work on dusting, organizing, polishing, and sweeping, then she would sit and relax in the living room. She was a classic housewife who had a lovely, well kept, yet humble home.
Indulging in resting for too long can make us sick. It can make us so weary that we feel trapped in a state of listless laziness. We miss out on so much if we do not take care of ourselves. We need a little bit of time each day to maintain our health.
As I realized that this morning, I put on a pretty apron and went to my kitchen. I have an old recording of Pasty Cline and played that on my kitchen radio while I worked. The sound make me think of the old time housewives who were dedicated to organizing, home cooking, and cheerfully caring for the family. It made me happy to work. It also helped my health to recover, and my strength and endurance to improve.
It was a joy to care for the grandbabies and my home. Yet I will admit that after doing my chores, it is lovely to relax on the little sofa in the parlour with one of the babies and indulge in a bit of restful "laziness."
I spend every waking moment caring for two of my grandbabies. Their every smile is my joy. Their falls and spills are my opportunity to comfort and encourage them. They brighten a room with their adorable presence.
When the infant cries, the toddler comforts her. I love to see how much they love and care about each other. I love to sit in the big chair, in the nursery corner, and read piles of books with them. They mostly point to pictures and repeat some of my words. They are learning.
I prepare bottles for baby, and simple lunches and snacks for the toddler. I dress them in their blanket sleepers after baths, and dress them in their nicest clothes for an outing. We are home, here at the Estate, for most of the time and it is a peaceful, happy place to be.
Sometimes there is crankiness or willful moments of temper, but we soothe them with our patient understanding and kindness. I have many helpers here.
I love that someone else makes my lunch, or brings me tea so I can "Play house" with the babies. I love that I have others to do some of my chores so I am free to sing lullabies and rock in the old chair with a baby.
I also love to do some of the cleaning while holding a baby. One morning I had to vacuum the downstairs carpet, and the toddler got his toy push mower and "vacuumed" along with me. I tell him we are "cleaning the mess." He thinks this is part of our daily routine and is entertained.
Many of us had dolls when we were little girls. We would have doll blankets and clothes and little beds. We would keep our rooms neat and care for our "babies." We did this so lovingly and patiently. This is what it feels like, now, as I get to care for these precious children. Yet, when I notice myself getting overtired or overwhelmed, I pick up one of the cherubs and kiss a chubby cheek and tell the baby what wonderful fun we are going to have in the nursery, and we go and play as if we have all the time in the world.
Several years ago, during a major oil crisis, gas prices rose to over $4.50 a gallon here in rural Vermont. This caused food prices to skyrocket, partly due to the cost of fuel for the freight trucks who were delivering inventory to all the supermarkets.
Many could not afford to drive to work and had to find ways to carpool, walk, or find some other form of transportation. I remember having to give up going to church and limiting youth group events for my (then) teenage children. It was shocking to realize we couldn't afford the gas to drive to church!
One of the hardest things during this time was having just enough food to feed one's family with little or nothing left over to share with a guest. Many did not entertain at home. Having company was rare and difficult. Offering just a cup of tea to a guest when one wanted to offer cake or pie was depressing!
Nobody wants to live in want or hunger. Nobody wants to feel like buying sugar to bake cookies would be a financial burden when the family needed more nutritious foods like vegetables or meat.
Food pantries in our county were suddenly full of the more affluent in our area. We were told that many could not afford to buy food and pay basic living expenses at the same time. One large church in our area was open on a daily basis and gave out emergency food boxes which were expected to last a family, or individual, for a couple of days. We were seeing both homeless and middle class in the same breadlines. Nobody wanted to be there. Nobody wanted to need charity, but the economy forced many to seek help just to eat.
Another church in our area had a monthly potluck supper offered right after the morning service. Almost everyone brought hot food, desserts, salads, bread and treats to share with each other. This way each family could contribute what they could and enjoy a nice big meal without feeling like they were getting a handout. This same church also provides a large spread of refreshments in the dining room after every Sunday service. Most of the food is brought in by members of the congregation and is a lovely way to comfort one another with both food and fellowship.
There were certain days of the week where local supermarkets would provide display tables with food samples. Children of customers were also given a cookie from the bakery or a piece of cheese from the deli. This made grocery shopping, on limited funds, a special outing and a way to gratefully enjoy a special treat. It benefited the stores as well since they were able to offer new foods, and have a nice way to encourage customers to shop.
Today, times are better. Gas prices have dropped to around $2.88 in our area. This is the lowest I have seen it here since before the oil crisis hit our nation. Yet, there will always be someone, or some family, struggling through a time of poverty, a time of "reduced circumstances." These are the people on a financial adventure who will overcome the difficulties with prayer, faith, hard work, and the blessing of a good church family.
One of the grown children called in the early evening. He just finished his shift at work and had locked the keys in his car. Could someone come by with a spare set and help? We looked out the window. It was not quite 5 o'clock. It was dark and snow was falling. The streets were slippery. Mister offered to drive. I went along for the ride.
Rural Vermont in the winter is a beautiful, peaceful place to be. I find it very restful when Mister does the driving. I can sit and enjoy the snowy landscape. Mister often reaches out to hold my hand as he drives along. He lets me listen to what I like on the car radio. At this time of year, Christmas music is playing continuously on our local station.
When we arrived at our destination, Mister got out and cleaned off our son's car. The door was opened with the spare key, and the engine was started to warm it up. I watched the two of them under a lamplight, talking, as snow fell all around them. I was thankful to be in a warm, cozy car.
As we drove back home, it was pleasant and quiet. I remembered our last outing, when we dropped off one of the vehicles for repairs early one morning. The drive home with Mister is always special because it doesn't happen very often.
In almost 3 decades of marriage, we have never had a "night out." We never went on a "date." It is not something we ever thought about. Our time outside the home or family was always practical. Our outings are essential errands. They have always been that way.
During these drives, we don't argue. We don't talk about any worries or problems because they don't enter our minds. We enjoy the car ride and the beauty around us. Mister makes sure the car heat is warm enough for me, and that I am comfortable. He opens the door for me and makes sure I am safe. These gentlemanly acts of kindness are what make the trips a little respite from the trials of life.
We are also very grateful when we arrive safely back at home. Despite our flaws and normal annoyances in daily life, we have work to do. It does not matter that we are both worn out. Our children and grandchildren need us. They need us to stand strong - together- and get back to the business at hand - the striving and cultivating of a godly lighthouse, despite a cold, imperfect world.
I had 30 minutes in the kitchen. Two of my grandbabies were in the nursery with their Uncle. He babysat while I went into my favorite room in the house. I got out the bundt pan and made a chocolate fudge cake. While I worked, I turned a CD sermon on my kitchen radio. It was by the late Dr. Curtis Hutson. It was so precious! At the time the sermon was recorded (I think it was in the 1990's), he had cancer. He was in his last days here in this world. Someone had to help him onto the pulpit, he was so weak and weary. He preached a beautiful, heart-stirring message, and he also broke into humble songs. I sat on my kitchen stool and frosted the cake, as gentle tears came to my eyes. These were tears of sweet happiness.
In old southern churches, congregants are often seen crying with a peaceful and joyous look in their eyes. Onlookers may not understand. But what is happening is that the message being preached (through a heart close to the Lord . . . a humble precious heart), causes a melting of the normal coldness and frost the world seeps onto our hearts. Our tears are ones of holiness. We are being warmed by the fire of godliness and it melts our souls. It makes us well. The tears, with a sweet smile, is a sign of happy joy in the Lord.
I was so grateful to be in the kitchen doing what I love on this special birthday. It is a good day to be revived and reflect upon one's life.
How much more work can I do for the Lord? Each day is an honor and a gift. Each birthday I am drawn closer to my last day here in this world. I am heaven bound. Not because of me, but because of the dear Lord who is longsuffering and merciful.
I am so grateful for the laborers in God's holy fields, who lift us all up and encourage us along the way - no matter how rough and difficult the road can be.