Saturday, August 1, 2015

Puttering Around the Estate
Visiting by the back fence at Mrs White's Vermont Estate

I am called away from home many times during the week.  There are appointments to keep and essential visits to make.  I have also been industrious in the kitchen, baking muffins most mornings.  Since blueberries are in season, it doesn't cost much to make fresh blueberry muffins. I have also made banana muffins and chocolate chip.  This is a nice, filling breakfast food to delight the family.

The other afternoon, my oldest grandchild (almost 3) came into the kitchen asking for cookies.  I told him "there are no cookies here."  But I gave him a cup of juice and a portion of a muffin.  He smiled and was content.  I remembered when he was just a 9 month old baby. I would take him for walks in my gardens and show him the flowers and the strawberry patch. I would tell him all about the land. He would look at me content, and he would sigh and then hug me.  This was the same happiness he showed when I gave him the refreshments the other day. So very precious.

Since Mister is recovering from his accident, I am by his side almost always.  But it happened that I was needed elsewhere. There was a crisis and I had to go out.   Mister wanted me to go help another family and said it was good.  Then I thanked him for allowing me to help someone else, because I knew it was a great sacrifice for him to be without me during his difficult time. (Our teenage son would remain at home with him.)

Soon the crisis was over and I was home.  Mister and I had appointments the next morning and there was a visit to make.  By the time we came home I was shaky and worn out.  I rested for a little while and then recovered my strength. There was sweet kitchen work to do in my purple kitchen with the old southern gospel playing on the radio.  The dishes seemed to wash themselves and I happily worked.

Then it was time for a walk around the grounds. I picked fresh and colorful wildflowers for a little white vase on the kitchen window-sill.  I checked my strawberry patch, and looked at the rushing river at the back border of the Estate.

The day seemed to pass so quickly, as many days do when we are in our older years. I walked through many of the rooms in the house until I settled myself in the little back parlour to read "Great Expectations." I was having such fun resting with this great work of literature that when my teenage son entered for a visit, I had to explain portions to him, and suffered him to listen to me read several pages of this 1800's novel.  We had a lovely time, but soon it was back to domestic duty and checking on Mister.

Many days will come when I will be called away from the Estate to help others.  When I return home, I will always delight in the little home tasks as I putter around the Estate.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Our current trial - Mister is Not able to Work.

Even though I am back online, and blogging again,  I am still writing these - Letters from the Estate by Mail. 

This is an excellent book - Corrie ten Boom, "In My Father's House."

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Thursday, July 23, 2015

To Earn and Not to Spend

Hoje Taastrup Church, Outside Copenhagen

In Colonial days, girls and young ladies were taught diligence and productivity.  Some of the things they were trained to do:

1. Cook all the meals, keep a garden, and preserve food. 

2. Wash, dry and iron clothing, and do mending to make everything last.

3. They often had a loom in their homes where they would take wool from the sheep and process it into some usable material to make clothes for the family.

4.  They were taught embroidery, and cross stitching.  Girls would do their needlework in a "sampler" with sayings, proverbs, and poems that had great meaning.

One of the poems presented diligence and hard work in the home, ending with the words:

"To Earn and Not to Spend." *

This reminded me of the book, "Farmer Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The mother was incredibly productive and prudent in her homemaking.  She made pies and bread and stews.  She made sure her children were washed and clean and that they wore carefully kept clothing. If there was a rip in a shirt or in a dress, she would sew it up, as she sat by the fire in the evenings.  Mothers, in those days, had work baskets in the parlour.  This is where they would do their handwork after the chores were finished for the day.  There was a time for everything and a time for each task.  There was order in the home.  This was the secret to a comfortable, peaceful life.

These Mothers had abundance from their gardens and they would fill the pantry shelves and root cellars with plenty of food. This cost them nothing but labor.  This was part of "earning" and not "spending."    

Today, there are many ways we mothers are "spending" money that might not be best.

I used to stock up on (many) large cans of coffee when they were marked down in price, thinking I was saving Mister money.  But lately, I have come to realize that this excessive inventory was tying up money that was needed for the savings bank.  It was needed for "rainy days" and for other needs.   It put me into the mode of always stocking up on many different things to the point that money was being spent on a monthly basis to "save" rather than taking all that money and putting it into the bank.

The definition of "saving" used to mean putting it aside, not trading it for goods or services.

Today, we are told that we are "saving money" when we buy things.  This is part of the problem of we mothers losing our productivity in the home. We are not as diligent in our work of producing. We are too busy consuming, buying all kinds of things.  We are taught to buy all the time.

I love the simple poem from the old days that urges ladies -

 "To Earn and Not to Spend."

These are certainly wise words, from just a simple sampler stitched by young ladies from Colonial days.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Remembering - Memories of Ironing and Other Chores.

Craving - An Old Fashioned Home.

Encouragement - When Mother Feels Unappreciated.

* [Edited  - updated note:  I originally read the saying mentioned above in a book, but have found it in its entirety and included it below for those who are interested.]

 “A Dialogue between a thriving Tradesman and his Wife about the Education of Their Daughter.”

Prithee, good Madam, let her first be able,
To read a Chapter truly, in the Bible,
That she may’nt mispronounce God’s People, Popel,
Nor read Cunstable for Constantinople;
Make her expert and ready at her Prayers,
That God may keep her from the Devil's Snares;
Teach her what’s useful, how to shun deluding,
To roast, to toast, to boil and mix a pudding.
To knit, to spin, to sew, to make or mend,
To scrub, to rub, to earn and not to spend,
I tell thee Wife, once more, I’ll have her bred
To Book’ry, Cook’ry, Thimble, Needle, Thread.

  - Boston Evening - Post, December 10, 1744. 

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Blessed by the Morning Kitchen Work
Visiting by the back fence at Mrs White's Vermont Estate

I wanted to make a nice batch of banana muffins this morning.  There was an old gospel song in my head and I started looking for a CD.  The song was by an old southern quartet "The Inspirations" called, "When I wake up to Sleep No More."  I was delighted when I managed to find it among some old tapes that my father had made for me, with his gentle handwriting on the outer paper. It says, "For Sharon - gospel singing - The Inspirations."

This tape went on my kitchen radio near the back window.  It is raining and dark this morning and the wind is blowing the curtains.  Oh, how I love the sounds of old gospel music that is familiar to me.  My father had sung many of these songs in our childhood home on weekend mornings as he puttered around the house doing projects or making something in the kitchen.

As I busily labored over the complicated recipe for my special muffins, my back started to hurt, but there was great joy in my heart as song after song of heavenly peace echoed through my kitchen.

I thought of heaven and all the work I am doing to "occupy" in the will of the Lord, and in the Lord's work, as a guard and keeper of this home.  Soon I heard the old song, "Is that footsteps that I hear?" Which talks about heavenly footsteps walking towards us getting ready to sound the trumpet to call us home!

Some may focus their time and energy on great riches, and the exciting world of money or traveling to foreign lands and distant cities. Some may focus on climbing corporate ladders, or getting great fame, or accomplishing amazing things.  But this old New England housewife is doing a quiet work of seeking holiness and making home a godly haven, following the lighted path my father lit for me, to follow him to the heavenly gates.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

I will never regret staying Home - A Humble Parlour as a School of Theology.

For those difficult times - Prayers which Cannot be Uttered.

Caring for Babies - Bedtime at the Estate.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Mass Exodus of Women Coming Home

Immigrant Family Looking At Statue Of Liberty From Ellis Island

The old town church bell began to ring.  There was heard a shout!  It was a call throughout the land for Mothers everywhere to return home.  "The children need you!"  Came the cry.  "Your husbands need you," was the preacher's sermon from the front church steps.  "This nation needs a great Christian revival for Mothers to get back on the old fashioned path of being at home. . . . This is your post.  Stand by!  Stand Fast!  The country is in turmoil.  There is misery and suffering everywhere.  We need all the Mothers in the home.  Dig in your heels and make your homes lighthouses of holiness and service.  Don't let the enemy invade the hearts of our homes.  Don't let the enemy get a foothold in or they will slowly erode and take away the godly home."

There was a cry of repentance and lamentation.  There were tears of conviction and a softening of cold, worldly hearts which had been hardened by materialism, the seeking of money, and a life of seeking constant recreation.  Work must be done in the home!  A sense of joy, pride, and relief filled these mothers minds.  There was heavenly work to do and they were coming from the byways and highways, back to their own homes.  A Mother's place was being restored everywhere.

As the sun rose the next morning, there were mothers on their knees in prayer. They were reading their Bibles.  They were making homemade breakfasts, doing the laundry, wearing aprons, and caring for all who entered their doors. They were soldiers for the HOME.

Every house had a Mother in her post in every community across this land.  Every child in every neighborhood had security and peace knowing that a loving, godly mother was always home. Their innocence had been restored and protected.

Husbands were now known in the gates for their work in civic and church duty.  They were no longer coming home to empty houses, or having to take on the extra task of Mother's work.  They could provide the living again.  They could serve the community and take on church work.  They had a loving wife at home, who cared for her family, and provided a place of rest.

All the prayers and Bible reading from the mothers infiltrated the lighthouses and brought holiness into the children's souls.  Mother was there to train them up to do a mighty work for the Lord.  Mother was always there to make nutritious meals, to keep the home pretty and clean, and to have the patience of a saint to care for her charges.

This revival of Mothers at Home affected the land and the nation.  Godly children grew up with integrity and honour.  They took political offices, held places of authority in both business and government, and their actions and lives turned the tides and won the war against the threat of ungodly ruin and sinful devastation.

The tide was turned.  Mothers helped win the war because they heard the preacher's cry.  They heard the bell from the town church which called all citizens to stand fast, to stand by, and to take action!  The land was restored to order as all the mothers were called out of the world, and back into their homes. 

They sacrificed much, they sacrificed energy, money, and fulfillment. And by their actions, of a mass exodus of Mothers back home, these women restored a godly nation!

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

You can Make it!  - How the Old Time Mothers Survived Poverty.

What it looks like (A foreshadow of the call to Heaven) - Suppertime in a Rural Home

Remembering - The Blessing of Being a Half - Southern Mama.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Monday, July 13, 2015

Mister is Not Able to Work
Visiting by the back fence at Mrs White's Vermont Estate

A couple of months ago, Mister was in an accident.  He has not been able to work.  He is under medical care and must spend time in convalescence.  We are now living on a smaller, fixed income.  This has been a shocking change in our lives.  I have been so used to my husband as the provider and protector of our home. And now I am taking care of him.

For the first month I went with him to all of his doctor appointments.  I would bring one of my favorite books, Dombey and Son by Dickens, and would read in the waiting room.  I did all the shopping and driving.  Back at home, I would sit with him and just try to keep him calm.  He didn't like what was happening to him. He wanted to work and to be okay.   He would sit by the front window, cane beside him, and look out at the front landscape of our property and wish he could do the labor of caring for the grounds.  This had always been his job and he loved it.  It was hard to see the yard look so neglected and him feeling helpless.  One of our boys has taken over this job.

Slowly, we are learning how to cope from day to day.   We enjoy our little car trips to the doctors.  Then we come home and rest while Mister has his coffee.  I will go outside for my daily walk about the grounds to see the wildflowers growing by the barn, or to look at the river at the back border.  I tell him all about my "adventures."  Then it is time for us both to rest.

We read the Bible together and pray each day.  We know he will heal and things will get back to normal again.  For now, it feels like we are feeble and elderly, living a quiet life with physical suffering.  But there is great peace and faith in our souls.

This is the cup we have been given.  We will gladly drink it.   

In the midst of all this, we find time to laugh, to dream, and to enjoy our children and grandchildren. Life has to go on, no matter what else may come.   I have become stronger with more endurance because of all the extra work I must do here at home.  This morning, I put on my apron and opened all the windows. The birds are singing a sweet melody in the front garden.  I am going to make tea and have a homemade blueberry muffin.  Soon it will be time for homeschool with my teenager. Then I will talk to my older children on the telephone.  I will visit with the grandbabies and delight in their presence.  But most of all, I will take care of Mister, here at home, where I will always be. 

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Missing the days of - Depending on Mister.

What Life is Like - Living Without Credit Cards.

A great blessing to be one of these - The Old Time Housewife.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


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