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 am getting my strength back. I am amazed at how quickly I am getting better. Around this time last year, I was bedridden for almost a month! I thought I was in for a rough time. I am so grateful to be able to recover without any worries of errands or missing events. It has turned into a blessing to be without a car.
Yesterday, official word came in that our car is not fixable. I am now permanently without a vehicle. Mister has managed to get his old Cadillac running. He hopes to work on it, for those little errands he will take me on. But mostly, I am home.
There have been many trials here at home in the last couple of months. I have gotten run down. The family has stepped in and taken on much of the housekeeping, though they don't "love" the work as much as I do. (gentle smiles)
As I have been ordered on bed rest by my children and husband, they have not seen me sneak into a room, here and there, to put away an item, straighten a chair, polish a counter, etc. Then I head back to my bed to watch old movies and wait for one of the children to bring me hot tea in a pretty cup. I was on total bed rest for the first day, then was able to start moving again. I do take it slow and I will continue to rest as much as possible.
One of the hardest things for mothers is to rest when there is a baby in the house! Grandbaby needs to be hugged, and rocked, and walked in the carriage. He needs his tours of the property and humble gardens. He needs someone to sing hymns and comfort him. One can only rest around baby's needs! Grandmothers find it very hard to resist taking care of a little one! Perhaps having him here, has helped me to get better so much faster?
Have you toured our property yet? You can see part of the grounds and Mister's Cadillac. Just look on the right sidebar of the blog for the link. While we live in financial poverty, we are very blessed here at home.
Late yesterday evening, my frailness came back. It was like an unseen wind that suddenly appeared. I know it is time to rest.
At first, I felt like I was trying to get ready for a long journey. I made preparations with the children, and warned my husband. "Don't be alarmed," I told them. "But my weariness has come back." There is a weakness in my legs that requires me to use my crutches.
I needed the family to take over much of my homemaking. I gave instructions and requests, while glancing around the rooms yearning for a body that worked. It felt like I was walking away from a dearly loved project. I did not want to be bedridden without my dishes to wash, or my floors to sweep. But I will yield to the forced rest.
I have this pretty tray, and will have one of the children polish it up. They can use this to bring me snacks and refreshments during my confinement. I have old movies to pick out, while I am in the quiet chambers. The family will go on, in the other rooms of this large old Estate, without me. They will check on me, and visit me throughout the day, but they will be doing all the work.
Perhaps one will take a break and watch a movie with me? Perhaps someone will bake brownies as a special treat? And maybe someone will remember to do the laundry, and hang the clothes on the line, while I am recovering from something I cannot see?
Please do not worry about me, dear friends. I have been used to this for decades. I will be okay again. These sweet rests are very precious. They are a blessing, and a gift in disguise.
I think we all have these ideals of being a good housekeeper. We have set chores, like washing floors, dusting and polishing on a regular basis. One day last week, I enjoyed an entire day of just cleaning. The house looked lovely. I took short breaks as needed, and paced myself accordingly to avoid becoming tired. I was able to work in the kitchen and cook nice meals. It was the perfect housekeeping day.
But sometimes the "ideal" housewife is impossible. We are a culture of exhausted mothers. We have sicknesses, and distractions that are making it harder and harder for us to enjoy our work in the home. Being our "own" boss would imply that we could stop all unhealthy activities and interferences so we could focus entirely on mothering, homemaking and being a good wife. But few of us have such courage. Or is it something we have to continually strive for?
The last few days have been miserable for me. I am unbearably weary from health difficulties. I decided, late yesterday afternoon, to put myself on bed - rest for a few days. It's not that I even do too much around the home, it is that my health has been declining for such a long time, there is little I can do anymore. More rest requires me to stop what I love to do. I love and adore keeping house. I love vacuuming and washing floors and cooking meals. It is what I delight in. But my health will not allow it. So back to bed I must go, for a time of respite. Then I will emerge ready to keep house, but at a slower and slower pace.
Yet, I will never give up. . . I will certainly take times of rest and recovery. But I will never stop trying to keep this house for my precious family. We housewives will get knocked down by many things in this life. We must always get up and keep at it. Rest, yes, but keep going. Heaven is waiting at the end, and the eternal rest will be glorious!
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.
There is a sense of peace and incomprehensible joy which comes from a Mother who is fully dependent on the Lord. Many of these kinds of mothers have been through tremendous suffering. Sometimes all we can see is amask of their pain, but they smile knowingly.
Other mothers are obviously suffering with physical ailments. Perhaps they have a disease or need a wheelchair to get around. Some have failing eyesight, or use a cane to walk.
When they take these trials patiently, and trust God with all their might, they are blessed beyond measure.
Personally, I have struggled withchronic illnessfor most of my life. I have often needed crutches or a cane to get around. Some have prayed for my healing at the most difficult moments. I have found relief and have been grateful. Others have suggested that I can have complete healing through prayer. But I say this . . . Why would I want to be healed of something that draws me to the Lord? Why would I want to have a "thorn" removed that keeps me on the right path? This physical trial in my life comes and goes. When it is gone, I live a normal, productive life and I enjoy it. But when the trial comes back, I love it just as much as perfect health. I love it because it quiets and calms me. It makes me think of eternal things, and gives me a yearning to live for others instead of myself.
There are also happy moments of suffering. This time of year is the most difficult for me. The sun is brighter in New England and this brings on symptoms of difficulty walking, among other things. I also bump into things and fall, but my children and I have the most fun from these trials. We laugh about them. We smile and make jokes and we love it! The other night, when one of my teens saw me using my cane (a rare occurrence) while I made dinner, He smiled, but I could see worry in his eyes. The next day, My daughter was helping me make lunch. She had me sit on a kitchen stool while she took my cane. She did all kinds of tricks to make me laugh.
I understand it is hard for people to see a "young looking" mother with a cane, but this is my lot in life and I am grateful. Why would I writhe under this affliction? This is the cup the Lord has given me to drink and I will gladly yield.
There are mood swings that affect the attitude; and then there are mood swings that affect a housewife's ability to clean.
Most of the time I want to clean, with an artist's creative heart. Other times, I clean for part of the day and am content. But sometimes, there is a mood of "recovery" that comes over me. This is when life has been overly busy or there have been too many events in a short amount of time and I get mood weary of housework. This is a special time, because I am weary, but not sick. I am good humored. I tend to make a lot of jokes with my family about my apparent lack of work.
One of my teens was doing a list of chores today. I then reminded him to make dinner. (smiles) He said, good naturedly, "I'm doing all your work now!" I told him, in my sweetest voice, "We all have to work around here." I then paused and said quietly. . . "Except me." He laughed. He knows I am in "recovery mode."
Earlier, we were in the car on an errand. We talked about how important hard work is and how we must all earn money for the things we want. I said those words again. . . "Except me." The children know I have a contract. But we make jokes about it. They know I work hard in the home. They also know I am in "recovery mode," which means I get all dressed up to do "nothing."
When I am recovering from cleaning or too much activity, I am peaceful and quiet and smiling a lot. I read and watch television. I do a little housework - just enough - and delegate the rest.
This is the sweetest time for me. I pace myself and enjoy home and life. But I know the most exciting part will come very soon - in a day or two - when all my energy has returned, and I am able to clean and work hard again. This, of course, is my favorite thing of all - taking pride in a lovely, well-kept home. I can't wait!
I have been resting a lot lately. When weariness comes, we have to re-evaluate what housework is most important. . . Or what errands are essential. It's very important to recover when one is ill or worn out.
The other day, I watched Ever After with one of my girls. I love the clothes in those days. I even like some of the peasant clothes! Sometimes I wish we could have custom made clothes, rather than depending on the local store for the latest fashion. I am rarely happy with the clothing choices in the stores.
Today, I have to keep resting. I am going to find something pleasant to watch on television and just try to recover from whatever has this grip on me. I am hoping I will feel better by the beginning of next week.
I miss cleaning and cooking and wearing my apron. I miss listening to gospel music while I work. I miss the view from my parlour window while I read. I feel like I've entered into some kind of confinement and must be temporarily bedridden.
But there is serenity in resting. I am dressed up in a full-length Edwardian dress I made many years ago. It is black with delicate gold flowers. It has an empire waist and small, gathered sleeves. (I bought the fabric on clearance for one dollar and can't believe I managed to make this dress out of it!) . . . It is comfortable and peaceful to wear certain kinds of clothing.
Yesterday, as I did a few minor tasks around the house, I took many breaks. Then went back to bed. I thought of Beth in Little Women. I thought of how her heart had been weakened from Scarlet Fever. But she was happy at home. She loved the peacefulness and slowness of a happy, quiet life at home. And today, I will forget about any worries or troubles and just enjoy the serenity of illness.
When Mr. White and I bought our old colonial house, I wanted it to earn its keep. What I mean is the house had to pay for itself. It has 14 rooms and 2 acres of land. I wanted it to be an income - producing property.
We are not farmers. We know nothing about animals or gardening. We are city people. So we did what we knew best. I opened a day-care and did bookkeeping for local businesses. While this was going on, we also ran our country store, which was across the street. It was a busy, productive life. And yes, the house paid for itself!
The best part about the industry in this home was that every single family member was involved in each business. I didn't have to do any of it alone. It was a team effort and we all thrived on it.
Yet, seasons change. The children started to grow up and headed off to colleges. We sold the store. I got sick (again) and couldn't do much of anything. I am still weary and have trouble, but can function okay with rest. It seems our productivity died out when Mama couldn't orchestrate the plans anymore.
Mr. White no longer owns his own business (our store) and works at a regular job. He certainly has plenty of free time, but we are craving the use of our creativity. We long for industry in this home.
This will take some serious effort. We will come up with plans and ideas and start seeing what becomes of it. Still, it will be hard when Mama often feels like an invalid. What I want to see, more than anything, is the rest of my family thriving in self-made businesses without me. I want to be the cheerleader, off in the sidelines. I want to watch them delight in their own ideas and accomplishments, and I want them to joyfully succeed in their own endeavors. Because, frankly, I am tired. (gentle smiles)
It's been a rough week around here. We've had thunderstorms, power outages and internet loss. My teenagers and older children have been through trials. I've heard frustration. . and complaints . . and tried to soothe the tears. The world around us can be a painful place.
I have been working here- and- there around the house, as I have been able. But the mere act of getting up in the morning is becoming too much. I am exhausted. Maybe this is another forced rest?
I am going to have to really pace myself. Earlier today, I actually craved a cane. I thought it would help keep me steady. It's not that something is wrong with me, necessarily, just that life throws a lot of painful things my way. While I can endure it emotionally, it takes a physical toll.
This is why I love the seclusion of home.
This is the place where I can recover. This is the precious place where hearts can be made whole. . . and weary souls can find rest.
I just finished reading a few chapters in the Bible. It is getting late, but I want to do a little housework. I have been in pain all day and resting. . . I miss cleaning. I miss the work of making a home. . .
Sometimes, when I am in too much pain, I think about taking Tylenol, just to make the pain stop so I can have a normal life. But I don't. I would rather rest and avoid the medicine. After a few days, it always goes away. It gets better.
I will try to rest more often so I am not on my feet too much. That is when the pain comes. I can only do so much before I wear out.
I am sure I will be fine by tomorrow, but I just don't like missing out on homekeeping. It is a quiet, reflective art - to make and keep a home.
I think I will turn on some soothing Classical music and tidy up for a little while. Then I can rest, content and happy.
I love to look out the window and see the landscape of our property. My living room is on the second floor of our house, so I can see the grounds from a higher level. I love to sit in my favorite chair near the window. I have a small stool beside me for my tea, or my sewing box. I am often in that chair on my "bad days." Those days when I am physically incapable of doing much. Today is one of those days.
I am weak and overwhelmed and need to have a slower pace today. I will not do much. I need to rest and enjoy a quiet, gentle day with no important activity.
I was planning to bake a cake, but I will have Amy (15) do it for me instead. I am so thankful it is raining. For some reason, it feels nicer to rest on rainy days.
I will do a little sewing, read my Bible and listen to gospel music. Then I will lay down for a long rest this afternoon and into the evening. I will have to just accept a day of being a semi-invalid so I will recover quickly. Perhaps I will be better tomorrow or in a few days? May it be so.
I have struggled with chronic illness for many years. In 1997, I was diagnosed with cancer and have not been the same since. However, I have many months of seeming perfect health, but then I have periods of total weakness and feeling like an invalid. There are times when I cannot walk and need crutches to support myself.
Most of the time, I "take it" cheerfully. It is like a forced break from all the things I try to do. It is time to sit quietly and enjoy some rest. Yet, I will do it with grace and glamor!
I love the above photograph of Donna Reed. In her day, women kept up their looks even when ill. This morning, I swept my hair up, into a french twist, put on some extra makeup (like the 60's look), and have on my pretty red house-robe. I will rest in style.
I plan to give the children lists of housework to do for me. Someone will take charge of the kitchen. Another will take over laundry. I will also have one of them plan a special supper. If I see them keeping up the house, I will be able to rest content.
My grandmother had multiple sclerosis and, for as long as I can remember, lived in her wheelchair. She also lived with us from the time I was 3 years old until she died when I was 11. She was wonderful! She directed and managed the house, and everyone, from her chair. She had dignity and spunk and knew how to run a house. She also continued to do whatever work she could from that wheelchair. She could sit at the table and work on preparing dough for tortellini. She is my inspiration.
If I am to be an invalid, I will still have a lovely home. I will manage from my chair and I will be grateful even in this trial.
Mrs. White (in gentle tears)
This video is of my favorite gospel song, "I Can't Even Walk, Without you Holding my Hand." It is sung by the Kingsmen Quartet. This is what my illness makes me remember. It is not by my strength I live, but through His!
My dear, precious son has had a relapse. He has been suffering and looking ill for the past few days. I am working harder here at home, making sure he has all he needs to get his health back. It seems like every couple of months he has a relapse.
It is so sad to see my 17 year old doing so poorly. But today, I will smile and be a cheerful nurse. I will do everything I can to help him get better and to keep his spirits up.
I will also work on my spring cleaning and organizing throughout the day. I will make lovely, simple meals and make my family happy. Mama is home and all is well.
Many homeschooling mothers are going through their daily lives, worn out and sometimes in pain. They could be chronically ill, have a temporary illness or even just struggling through a difficult pregnancy. These dear mothers still have to spend the day teaching and training their children. It can be very difficult, but not impossible.
I like to call them, "couch mothers." I am one of them. I remember, many years ago, shortly after being treated for cancer, when I was resting on the couch. I was almost too tired to speak. The children would gather around me and see if I needed anything. They would wait on me, even in their own clumsy, imperfect way. I remember how well we got along during those times. I was never mad at them. I was never out of patience or short tempered. I was "mute" and "silent" under the hand of God, and I was helpless.
I would direct their school lessons (and chores) from the couch. I was laying down, almost all the time, just suffering. But I would smile through it, with loving compassion for my precious children. Who knew if I was going to die any day? So my spirit was calm with a "supernatural" kindness coming through me. It seemed like I only had this saintliness when I was helpless or very ill. So, in a way, it was a blessing!
I was never one of those mothers who had lots of energy or could do all kinds of things. When my children played in the park, I sat quietly on a bench. They would come check on me, or ask me if I needed anything.
If we were cooking or baking in the kitchen, I was in a chair at the table. Someone would bring me the ingredients and I would work from my seat, until I couldn't do any more. Then one of the children would take over for me.
There were times when I dearly needed to sleep all the time. But I would force myself to sit up in bed and do a quick Bible time with the children. Then when they left the room, I would cry from exhaustion.
Things do change and I am much better now. But I will never have the energy or strength of a healthy mother. I still rest a lot. I still do much of my homeschooling from a chair and I still worry, at times, about leaving this world before they are grown. This is simply a lack of faith and trust on my part. It is not for me to worry about.
For the past week, I have been in very bad shape. But I will get better. I will be up and around again. I will be cleaning and scrubbing and enjoying my home. It will just take time.
I pray you are all well and enjoying this lovely winter morning.
I am trying to get back into my homemaking routine. My 16 year old son, Matthew, is finished with his tests at the hospital. Pending biopsy results in a few days, he has Crohns Disease *. We are thankful to finally find out what is wrong and hopeful to work with the doctors to get him comfortable and healthy again.
In the meantime, the best thing to do is our regular routine. I want to turn on the old gospel music, and slowly clean my kitchen. I have been gone for a few days. My plan to stay home all week is interrupted only by hospital and doctor trips, but that is okay. I am going to have to make a list of things I want to do at home because my mind is unclear and I need some focus.
Here is what I want to accomplish:
1. Spend one hour in Bible study, quiet reading.
2. Clean my whole kitchen and make a nice lunch.
3. Tidy up the livingroom and set a pretty table.
4. Read a book to my 11 year old son. I will probably pick one of those darling old stories from the early 1900's. We have a collection of books like: "The Widow's Son" ; "Choice Stories for the family"; "The Young Christian" , etc. I am sure I can find something to keep his interest.
5. Sit on the front porch and chat with Amy (14) about her dreams and goals for the summer. (This should be good). I will do some hand sewing while I listen to her.
6. Do the laundry.
7. Sweep the floors
8. Bake brownies.
It all sounds very relaxing to me. I will get to work on it right now. Hope things are going well in your homes.
"And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." - Galatians 6:9
May I just say one more thing? (of course, it's my blog after all)......smiles........ When there is a crisis going on in my home, be it illness, or some other trial, I find it comforting to hear about your lives. I enjoy hearing good things that are happening with you or even your trials. It is a diversion for me. So please, keep sharing your life! It is missionary work, and you are all lighthouses guiding others to the light of peace and joy, heaven and God.
* Edited update - There was a mistake in diagnosis. He does not have Crohn's. It was a temporary case of severe acid reflux which caused so much damage. As of Oct. 2010, he is all healed!
I never really knew what the Ronald McDonald house was. That is, until recently. My 16 year old son and I have reservations to stay there this week while he is undergoing tests at the hospital. We have to drive into the city and he has to be near the hospital for a couple of days.
The Ronald McDonald House is a charitable organization that provides temporary housing for children under the age of 21 and their families, while the child is undergoing medical care in local hospitals. This is for those who have to travel long distances and are too far from home. It is a blessing.
Yesterday, My parents (who live with us) and Amy (14) had a yard sale out in the front yard. They did really well. Amy sold quite a few things. At the end of the day, she came into the house, put all her money on the livingroom floor and counted it. Her brother was sitting in a chair nearby. Then she gave him half the money. Why? "Because," she said, "He is sick and cannot work anymore. I want him to have some money." What a precious sister. What dear children. Thank God.
The last few days have been rough, (with my son being ill), but life is getting back to normal. The best thing for me is to get back into my homemaking. I am going to tidy up my kitchen, prepare a nice supper and just enjoy listening to some good old southern gospel music. It is raining here in Vermont. The landscape is beautiful as the sun hits the dark green grass out front. Our house is quiet. But life stirs inside as we go about our regular routine. All is well.
Here is a quote that I find inspiring:
" Upon three things the world stands: The Torah (Scripture); The Worship of God; The bestowal of Lovingkindness." - Shimon the Righteous
The greatest thing a housewife can do is keep a pleasant disposition and make her home a peaceful and loving place to be, for all who gather there.