Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Old Time Homemaking

Part of the Grounds at Mrs. White's home in Vermont.

Last week, in the early hours of the morning, we had to drive through a nearby town.  The roads were quiet and peaceful without much traffic.  As we were enjoying the scenery, an unusual sight appeared. It was a beautiful horse and buggy coming down the road.  An Amish family were sitting comfortably in four of the seats, heading home from an early morning drive.  This is a rare vision, for us, because a few Amish families only moved here a few years ago.  I am always inspired by their quiet, old fashioned way of living.  It was like watching a living museum as we passed by them.  I wanted some of their peace, knowing they never watch the news or hear it on the radio.  They continue on each day living their daily, precious ways that many of us have lost sight of. It is a way of being in the world, but not of it.  It is great trust and faith in the Lord for all things.

This has encouraged me in my homemaking.  The last few weeks, I have been home a great deal. I am avoiding the stores as much as possible. I have plenty of time to pace myself throughout the day. I clean and cook and rest. It is a blessing to be productive at home, doing the old time work that housewives have always done throughout the generations.

 We have had to set up a garden this year.  The seeds were ordered in the beginning of April.  Our last frost, in our region, is in late May.  We have been enjoying wonderful, homegrown food.  Even though we do not have much money, I have been able to go outside, each day, and gather a modest harvest to have a simple lunch.

Fresh peas and lettuce from Mrs. White's garden.

 It is easier to live on a small income when one must rely on Yankee ingenuity to get by with limited resources. Even though we have a great deal to learn about growing our own food, and getting the energy to do the work, we have been able to enjoy fresh food from our own property.

Yankee - style garden with homemade posts at Mrs. White's Vermont home.

My husband has been gathering whatever scrap supplies he could find, from our garage, to build a humble garden this season. (His disability causes him to work much slower than he would like. He has to take many breaks.)  We are growing peas, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, strawberries, and blueberries.  We hope to add more next year.

I love to take a break from my housework to go outside and walk the grounds.  We found some wild blackberries at the perimeter of the property.  It was such a sweet treat on a hot summer day.  As we walk, we check the plants, our flowers, linger at the river behind our humble Estate, and then stop to do some necessary weeding of the garden.  We walk and work together so the burden does not rest too heavily on one person.

Sometimes, in the late afternoon, I go into one of the front rooms.  I have rearranged furniture and set up a card table in this room.  I like to listen to an old record of gospel music, sit at the table, enjoying the view, and do a little writing.  Some days I will simply sit by the french doors and do some hand-sewing.  This is an incredible room to just think on that which is lovely and feel the blessing of peace and joy, knowing the Lord will take care of us.

A Room for Writing and Sewing at Mrs. White's Vermont Home. (An old gospel record is on the table.)

I have been listening to The Isom Lee Trio.  This was a church singing group of a father and his two adult daughters.  Mr. Lee was a preacher who encouraged and inspired whoever was blessed to hear his sermons.  Many years ago, my father gave me a tape of Reverend's Lee's last sermon. It is incredible and such a blessing.  Now I have a record of their old time gospel singing. The songs and piano are something like you would hear in old southern churches.  It is from another time, a precious time, of faith and godly living that we dearly need in these modern days.

Dad had a record player here, when he and mother used to live with us.  They lived here with us for 9 years. At one point we had four generations living together in this old house.  I now keep his record player in our front room.  While I sit and hand sew cloth napkins, or do some mending, I can listen to the hymns of Tennessee Ernie Ford or the Isom Lee Trio on the old record player.

The Record Player in Mrs. White's cedar cabinet in the front room, here in Vermont.

Listening to the gospel songs, from the old days, encourages me in living the old ways. This was a time when family was the center of home life rather than materialism or the constant pursuit of entertainment.  It was a time when money was used for practical purposes and frivolity was rare.

Here at our Vermont Estate, we live simply and on my husband's income. We are a one - income family. I am a housewife and am grateful for the privilege of staying home. But there is a cost.  There is a great deal of old time work to live within one's humble means.  We must think of duty and practicality.  There is plenty of work we must do, each day, even if we struggle with our health.  We are very careful with the funds we are provided with. We have to find ways to save money for emergencies, annual bills, and repairs.  One of my children called it a "Walton's Budget," referring to "The Waltons" television program.  The family saved up to meet the needs of problems and necessities. They always expected many rainy days and had to save all they could. I love that thought of calling it a "Walton's Budget."  These modern days, people save for vacations, to buy a new boat, or to go on a shopping spree.   Many have no idea how to live on a limited income.  It is old time family homemaking. It is a way of life that brings great peace and rest in simple living with a great faith in God.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Wisdom from Colonial Days - To Earn and Not to Spend.

Good Management - The Housekeeper's Budget.

Old Time Ways - Standard of Living.

Find Home-keeping Inspiration, and little visits from our home, 
 in Mrs.White's book - For The Love of Christian Homemaking.  
Paperback, 274 pages.

An Invitation - Just click on this link to Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. (Be sure to check your email to verify your subscription request, so it will go through.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Time for Some Rest - A Visit to Mrs. Lincoln's Home in Vermont

The Lincoln's summer home in Vermont.

I think we need a little rest and recreation.  Perhaps we can forget about what is happening in the world, and just take a short break.  Shall we go and visit Mrs. Lincoln's Home?

We visited the city of Manchester, here in Vermont, late last summer.  We were able to tour the summer mansion of the Lincoln family. We also walked part of the grounds. It was an incredibly, restful place to see. I was also inspired as I thought about home life in 1910. This was a time before television, computers, easy transportation, and modern distractions were able to drastically change the culture and our way of living.

The property consists of nearly 400 acres and was purchased by the son of Abraham Lincoln around the year of 1904.   I was intrigued by the sense of quiet, peacefulness as we walked towards the large home.

The entryway is beautifully decorated and was clearly designed to welcome the family and their guests. It looks comforting and beautiful.

The front entrance of the Lincoln home in Vermont.

As we walk into the house, we see the main room before us. It is large and bright with sunshine. The home is supplied with stunning flowers taken directly from the grounds of the property.  There is a back door right behind the couch.  Soon we will go out there and see the flower gardens and enjoy the view.

The front room is the center of the 1st floor of the Lincoln Home.

To the right of this front room is the main parlour.  It has a piano, a fireplace, and beautiful chairs.  I noticed there is a small library of books in nearly all the rooms of this house.

Main Parlour on the 1st floor of the Lincoln Home.

I can just imagine the family enjoying an afternoon of reading by the fire, or listening to Mrs. Lincoln play the piano to entertain the family. Did you know that Mrs. Lincoln was a trained pianist?  She learned this accomplishment to amuse and brighten the days of her family and guests. It was a lovely way to pass the time and add some much needed culture to their daily lives at home.  There is another piano in her private sitting room upstairs. We will see it in just a few minutes.  I want to linger downstairs just a little longer.

The dining room is elegant and beautiful.  The room is bright and cheerful. This room is to the left of the main, front room.  You will notice a stately portrait of Mr. Lincoln above the fireplace.  He looks handsome and distinguished in his suit.  It gives the property a thoughtful sense of history and a realization that a real family lived in this beautiful home.  They dined in this lovely room.

Dining Room on the 1st floor of the Lincoln Home in Vermont.

 Just to the left of the fireplace, there is a doorway leading to the butler's pantry.  This is a small room, with the kitchen just on the other side.  The butler's pantry is the first room on the left side of the house which leads to rooms which were used by the staff.

Butler's Pantry at the Lincoln Home in Vermont.

Would you like to see the kitchen?  It is charming! It is a nice, sunny room with lots of little tables for making pies and bread, or rolling out cookie dough.   It has been set up to look like the cook had been baking and preparing delicious food for the household. It gives me a happy feeling thinking of old time kitchens and an old fashioned life.

Kitchen at the Lincoln House in Vermont.

 Across the hall, from the kitchen, is the butler's bedroom. It is as neat as a pin!  Then we see the dining room that is used by the servants.  It is so cozy in here. I would love to just sit and enjoy this quiet room while doing some knitting.  There is a dining table in the center of the room. To the right, is a charming lamp and a seating area.  There is a work basket for mending and knitting.  This is right next to a beautiful rocking chair.

Private dining room for the staff at the Lincoln Home in Vermont.

Shall we head back to the other side of the house?  There is a magnificent hallway connecting the rooms on the first floor.

Hallway connecting the rooms on the first floor at the Lincoln Home.

Next I want to show you the guest bedroom.  It is beautifully decorated. I love the cozy lamps, pretty carpet, and lovely wallpaper.  This room also has a writing desk, complete with stationary supplies, in case the guest would like to write a letter.

Guest Bedroom at the Lincoln House in Vermont.

There are more rooms on the first floor, but I think we better just glance at Mr. Lincoln's library so we do not disturb anyone in there. Then we can go upstairs to see some of the rooms used by Mrs. Lincoln.  Here is the stately Library:

The Library at the Lincoln House in Vermont.

Shall we go upstairs?  We will take a little rest in the sitting room at the top of the stairs.  This is the private parlour of Mrs. Lincoln.  There are charming, pink couches, where we can sit and have tea.  Should we do some hand- embroidery or just have some cookies?

Mrs. Lincoln's Sitting room in Vermont.

On the other side of this bright, sunny room, is a writing desk and a piano.  Perhaps someone will play for us while we have a tea break.

Piano in the sitting room at the Lincoln house in Vermont.

To the left of the sitting room is Mrs. Lincoln's bedroom.  It is connected by a door to her sitting room.  Just across the hall from this is a bedroom just for her grandchildren!  It is a dreamy room with a lovely table and chairs for checkers.

The Grandchildren's bedroom at the Lincoln House in Vermont.

 I have to show you the other side of this darling room.  There are some toys, books, a cozy fireplace, and a comfortable chair where Mrs. Lincoln can sit and read to the children.  It is such a cozy, happy room for the little ones to enjoy.  If you look closely at the mirror, you might be able to see me taking the photograph. Oops!  Pardon me!

Other side of the Grandchildren's Bedroom at the Lincoln house. (With Mrs. White in the mirror!)

We really must not take any more of the family's time. Shall we go out to the back garden?  The flowers and scenery are stunning!

Flower Gardens behind the Lincoln House in Vermont.

 It is incredible to walk around and enjoy the restful view of this property. It is so quiet here and just lovely.  Can you imagine coming out here and gathering some flowers to decorate the house?

Back view of the Lincoln house in Vermont.

We will walk to the other side of the back garden and rest on this nice bench.  Won't you join me?

Mrs. White at the Lincoln House in Vermont.

I had a nice, restful visit. I hope you did too. Thank you for coming along with me.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Making the Best of Things - Poor and Pretty Living.

A Homemade project to Delight grand-girl - Tea Napkins.

What Many of us Crave - An Ordinary Life at Home.

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking."

Find stories of home life, with photographs of my home, in this encouraging book. 

 Paperback, 200 pages. 

An Invitation - Just click on this link to Subscribe to The Legacy of Home  and have it delivered directly to your email. (Be sure to check your email to verify your subscription request, so it will go through.)

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Heritage of Family Bibles

Bible for Grandbaby, with lace hem tape for bookmarks, at Mrs. White's Home.

My father was often seen reading his Bible.  He would be in the recliner with a nearby lamp to brighten the text as he read.  I would also see him sitting at a desk as he studied the Scriptures.  I will always remember that about him. When we children were young, he gave each of us a Bible of our own, with our name inscribed on the cover.  It is a cherished possession that I still have all these many years later.

When my own five children were little, they were each given Bibles once they were old enough to read.   I would gather them around me, after saying, "go get your Bibles."  Each had their own and took turns reading.  We also had hymn books to sing from.  This was daily worship or family Bible time.  It was a little church in our home.

Now that I am a grandmother of eleven, I have the same opportunity to share my love of the old family Bible.  The babies see our Bibles here at home.  They want to take down a copy and settle on the couch to read.  A couple of years ago, when one of the boys started Kindergarten, he wanted to borrow my Bible.  I said it was time for me to order one for him to keep for his own.  A few weeks later, when it arrived in the mail, he was so happy and thankful.  It is a traditional black Bible. He reads it each day and loves it.

Last year, one of the grand - girls entered Kindergarten.  Some weeks ago, she asked me something like, "Do you remember when you gave a Bible to my brother?"   I knew she wanted her own copy.  I love these precious opportunities to share something that I cherish. I like to wait until they show an interest. I want to know they are ready.  I quickly ordered a pink one this time.  It is a "gift and award" KJV Bible from Hendrickson publishers. (They cost about $5 each.)

I handed this very special book to my little grand-girl.  She is a new reader and will take her time with the words inside.  I showed her the index and how to find the page where the Psalms could be found.  We turned the pages to Psalm 117.   I told her it was a special chapter that her Mother used to read to me all the time.  Then I wanted to save the page for her, but the Bible does not have a ribbon book marker.

Grand-girl and I took a quick look inside my sewing box. We found a little package of white lace hem material.  We cut out a couple of pieces. I told her, "These will be your book marks.  You can keep one on the page for Psalm 117.  The other book mark is for any special page you want."  She was so happy and proud of her new treasure.

The other day, the Mother of these dear children told me that they sit and read their Bibles together.  These are the same, sweet grandbabies that have gone to church with me a few times when they were younger.  I would give them tiny baby Bibles of blue and pink. One for each child to hold as we sat in the pew of church.  I remember them being so sweet and respectful. They were so well behaved at having the privilege of getting all dressed up and going to church with grandmother.

There is a beautiful Christian heritage of owning Bibles in the home.  This legacy of reading and cherishing the Word of God is such a blessing to the family.  It is something little ones should remember about Mother and Dad.  They should remember this about Grandmother and Grandfather. The love of the Bible ought to be passed on throughout the generations.  This can be done by example and by just catching that sweet spirit of seeing such joy and peace in reading the old family Bible.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Always Remember this - The House Comes First.

Wisdom from Colonial Days - To Earn and Not to Spend.

A Blessing in Hard Times - Peaceful Homemaking

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking."

Find stories of home life, with photographs of my home, in this encouraging book. 

 Paperback, 200 pages. 

An Invitation - Just click on this link to Subscribe to The Legacy of Home  and have it delivered directly to your email. (Be sure to check your email to verify your subscription request, so it will go through.)

Monday, April 27, 2020

Reviving the Prayer Journal

The Landscape in Vermont near Mrs. White's Home.  (Photograph taken last year.)

When I was a young wife and mother, I had so many worries and troubles.  There were daily struggles for finances, transportation, and getting the things we needed.  I had no hope for any of it, except from the Lord.  I used to write little prayers in a diary.  I would write out the date and then say something like:

"Our car has broken down again. It will cost $200 for repairs. How will we pay for this?  There is no money in the budget. We have no savings.  I give this burden to you, Lord. Please help us."

This would be written at the top of the page.  The lower portion of the paper was saved to write out the answer and the blessing.

You might wonder how we managed to get by with a broken down car while we waited for the Lord to help.  I will tell you. . . We walked, or gratefully accepted rides from family members to get us to the store, or co-workers helped get my husband to work.  It was more difficult, but we got through until the blessing came.

Once the prayer was answered, I would go back and find the page it had been written on, and I would write out the blessing. The answer might have been something like:

"An unexpected job came up for my husband.  He was able to do the extra work for a couple of weeks. This money paid for the car repair. Thank you!" (The answer always came about in an unexpected way!)

At other times, the prayers and the worries were so hard to bear.  There would be shoes needed for the children.  We may not have had enough food.  My husband was laid off work or lost jobs and those were the hardest times to manage.  I would write down the prayers and the needs and then get back to mothering and homemaking.  I would leave it with the Lord.  Sometimes he answered those prayers before the end of the day. At other times, I waited weeks.  But always the prayers were answered.  I learned to depend on God for all things in this way.  I learned not to rush out and try to fix it all myself. I gained patience and faith and trust and was greatly blessed with a journal of answered prayers.

Our lives are not to revolve around material things, shopping, and money.  The answer to every problem in life is not being rich or having an abundance of possessions.  We are to trust the Lord, working with Him in faith, works, and prayers. This creates an incredible bond and a closeness to our Heavenly Father.   We might say, "How should I manage this, or please guide me in this decision."  We pray, "Lord, please take care of me. Please help."   We say this each day, just like we ask for our daily bread.  The Lord cares for the sparrows who have no home.  He provides us with incredible beauty in sunrises, landscapes, the chirping of sweet birds, and the stunning display of flowers.  There is beauty in trust and faith in the Lord.  He knows all our needs in all times.  He waits for us to ask and to trust in Him.  This is what makes life so precious.

Perhaps this is a good time to revive the old time prayer journal.  Any notebook will work well for this.  It is like a diary of needs and the asking for help from our dear Lord.  Then we write the blessings, the answers, and all the ways the Lord Himself has taken care of us, His dear children.

We can also look back and read these precious entries so that we will always remember that it is the Lord who has provided, and not we ourselves.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills!  He has the power to give and take wealth, as well as life.  Oh, there is great peace in putting our very lives in His hands and trusting Him for each of our numbered days.  We are grateful for His goodness and His precious care. 

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

The Reality - Retirement Planning for the Poor.

It means everything to be - Just a Housewife.

Happy times with Family - Living a Quiet Life.

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking."

Find stories of home life, with photographs of my home, in this encouraging book. 

 Paperback, 200 pages. 

An Invitation - Just click on this link to Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. (Be sure to check your email to verify your subscription request, so it will go through.)

Monday, March 30, 2020

Patience and Faith while Staying Home

Library of Congress: Abraham Lincoln and his family - painted by S.B. Waugh, 1800's. 

There have been incredibly difficult times throughout the generations.  We have endured wars, plagues, The Great Depression, storms, and many great losses.  Through it all, those who have courage and bravery have endured with a steady calm of patience and faith in the Lord.

This morning I was reading from the writings of beloved author, Elizabeth Prentiss.  I read some from her life and letters, "More Love to Thee" and her book "Urbane and His Friends," which has some of her letters in the back of the book.  I was intrigued by some similarities of what she lived through compared to our current crisis with the virus pandemic.  Her daily life and the care of her home and family, through painful events, is what inspired me. She continued to be a good wife, mother, and homemaker regardless of the suffering she endured.

 In 1853, she was shocked by the sudden death of her cousin, Louise Shipman.  Miss Shipman had been staying with the family and had become ill.  Elizabeth had been taking care of her, with the help of the doctor who made visits to the home.  The illness had been sudden and shocking.  She described how very dear and blessed she felt to have had Louise there in their midst. She was a sweet and kind girl. Elizabeth described her thus:  "Her patience was very remarkable and touching. I never saw a sick person so gentle, so considerate, so little disposed to think of self."

Shortly after this, another member of the house, one of her children, became ill. Then her brother, who had been visiting, became ill.   On page 140 of her Life and Letters, it is said that Mrs. Prentiss "became a nurse to them both, and passed the next two months quarantined within her own walls."

Mrs. Prentiss wrote letters and took care of the home each day.   She wrote to a friend: "I was very sorry not to see Dr. S., who called with your letter, but I am in quarantine, and cut off from the world."   I imagine the friend had "called" by coming to the house and brought the mail, but was not able to see anyone in the house. 

Later, in her letters, around 1864 she talks of the national struggle, which is now called (from what I gather) The Civil War.  She wrote to a friend: "My spunk has got a backbone of its own and that is deep-seated conviction, that this is a holy war, and that God himself sanctions it.   He spares nothing precious when He has a work to do."   Yet, news was slow to reach her.  She mentioned that she had not had any news for a week. On page 220 of her letters she says, "I know next to nothing about what is going on in the world."  Her husband kept up to date with the news and shared his thoughts with her.  I am sure the national crisis kept her praying.  But she kept on with the care of her family and home. She took long walks with her children, laughing with them, enjoying each day, and took great care of them.  They were her life and her focus.

In her letters, around this time, she mentioned hearing the dreadful noise of coughing from a soldier, in the neighborhood, who had consumption.  Such sadness!  In April of 1865 she was shocked to hear of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  These were perilous and frightening times in which she lived!

Nearly her entire life she suffered from physical weakness and sickness. She had a frail constitution. Despite this, she strove to live all of her life for the Lord.  She is the author of the beloved book, "Stepping Heavenward" and has blessed many wives and mothers since it's publication in 1869.

I was greatly encouraged from my readings this morning.  It was especially meaningful because of the dreadful time of uncertainty we are living through today.  But I will say that the constant bombardment of news and reports from the media might overtake our every thought and keep us in a state of terror and anxiety.  Yes, there is a dreadful "plague" hovering around and overtaking many.  But this cannot consume our lives.  We are aware of our duties to do our part in stopping the spread of this virus.  We can do this.  But perhaps we should not be spending too much time being updated on the dreadful news going on in our communities and throughout the world.  In my Mother's day, she and Dad would watch the evening news at 6 o'clock.  It was a once a day recap from their local state telling its residents what they needed to know. Then they went back to doing their part of taking care of their family and home.  This is what life is all about - the quiet dignity of caring for those in one's own home.

No matter what is going on around us, we would do well to give our cares and worries and fears to the Lord in prayer. We must trust Him who loves us dearly.  Then let us get back to the business at hand - of nursing and ministering to those in our own homes, protecting them, cheering them on, with great patience and courage as we wait out this storm.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Inspired by D.L. Moody's Mother - Poverty in the 1800's.

The Lord still hears us - Prayers Which Cannot Be Uttered.

Encouragement in Kitchen work - Basic Cookery.

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking."

Find stories of home life, with photographs of my home, in this encouraging book. 

 Paperback, 200 pages. 

An Invitation - Just click on this link to Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. (Be sure to check your email to verify your subscription request, so it will go through.)