Friday, May 6, 2022

The Quiet Kindness of a Titus 2 Mother

Going to Church, 1853 by George Henry Durrie


Life was much slower in the early part of the last century. Home was the central focus of the family. Its foundation rested on the beauty of faith and trust in God. There was a great love for the Bible and a feeling of joy and peace in our churches.  

Young mothers learned to take care of a home and a family, by observation of their own relatives and neighbors.  It was common to bake bread and make homemade meals because there were no convenience foods readily available as there are today.  It was considered a necessity to garden and prepare nutritious meals to feed the family.  Mothers learned to do these things by helping in their own childhood homes. It was natural to take these skills into homes of their own.

The art of sewing, mending, embroidery, knitting and other homemaking skills were lovely ways to pass the time sitting with the family, or with guests, working out of a"work basket." Mothers were being productive with pleasant chores while accomplishing necessary home - work.  Little ones, as they sat nearby, learned these skills and began sewing and such because this was an important part of taking care of one's things.  When they became Mothers, the work of repairing tears in clothing or of knitting a scarf were easily done because they had accomplished these skills by working at these chores in their childhood homes.

The care of children, and the getting along with family, were daily lessons as one lived together in a home.  The Ten Commandments were taught and practiced. Prayers, kindness, forgiveness, patience, and other virtues were modeled by Mothers and Grandmothers.  Church attendance and charity work, done with a happy heart, helped form sweet characters and good hearts.  Manners were expected to be used, both at home, and in public.  This helped young girls to grow up to be peacemakers. They were able to encourage and teach pleasant interaction with those in their own homes.

A peaceful heart creates a quiet contentment in the soul. When this is cultivated in a Mother, over many years, she becomes the unknowing example to the young Mothers around her. 

 The love of home, of being home, becomes evident when one realizes how dearly much the family needs a place of cleanliness, rest, peace, and beauty.  The old time Mother will do the daily work of welcoming the family and guests, and make them feel comfortable and safe.  She helps provide them with rest and nourishing food so they can do their own work.  She cares for the children with a devoted love - rich with good will. She schedules her day with order by appointing times for meals, chores, baths, study, prayers, and rest. The family is blessed by this example.

Her quiet service is one of tenderness, understanding, patience, and a willingness to labor at a gentle pace. This protects her health and her nerves.This makes her a joy to be around. She is able to cheer others along because she does not rush or allow herself to take on more work than one can manage with calmness. 

The Titus 2 Mother teaches the young Mothers a love of home and family. She does this with a gracious spirit, kind deeds, and loving encouragement.  Through her quiet example, others are inspired to take care of husband, children, and home with a precious and enduring devotion. 

A Mother's work of homemaking is noble and worth more than the costliest ruby.  May we endeavor to find joy in this labor. This is a work of benevolence that will bless the generations that follow. 

Blessings

Mrs. White

From the Archives-

Precious Homemaking - A Covered Bridge and Graceful Living in Rural Vermont

Blessed by the Work - Old Fashioned Duty of a Homemaker

Teaching Grandchildren - Tea Time - The Importance of Formal Ceremony at Home.


 - To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -


  For Encouragement in Christian Homemaking, order Mrs. White's book, "Homemaking For Happiness: Wonderful Days at Home."

In this book, you will find essays, articles, and diary entries about life in a Christian home.

Entries are arranged by season, and include:  "Keeping a Frugal Kitchen;" "Missing the Lilacs;" "An Evening Walk in the Garden;" "At Grandmother's House;" and "Chores for Grandchildren."

You will also find a few photographs showing a little of the local landscape.

Paperback, 307 pages. 




Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Reducing Expenses

Library of Congress: Farm couple doing their bookkeeping at home in 1930.


In an effort to keep our expenses as low as possible, I have been enjoying some quiet, around the property, here in Vermont.  I am doing this to create a feeling of contentment for a simple life. I am thinking more and more about old fashioned living.

Normally I would have a CD of old hymns playing quietly in the background. Or perhaps I would leave the television on after watching an old DVD of something like a Deanna Durbin movie, or some old black-and-white tv show. I am remembering to shut these things off, and unplugging what is not in use.  I am watching and listening to less technology.   This will help keep our bills low because I am not thinking of something to buy. I am not running up the electric bill.  Watching television or listening to a CD are wonderful things to do, but must not take up all of our time.  These are for times of recreation. We cannot be resting all day long watching televison unless we are ill.  In my childhood home, my parents had a small, portable black-and-white television. It was probably stored in a closet somewhere because we never saw it unless one of us was sick in bed.  Then it was brought out to give us some amusement while we convalesced in our room.

I have been walking the property, here at our humble Estate.  The sound of the birds singing, the rushing of the river, and the gentle feeling of the blowing wind are quieting to the mind.  I see little purple and blue windflowers appearing on the lawn.  I see the trees and garden coming back to life, after a long, sleepy winter.  All these sights and sounds of nature bring a sense of joy to the heart, and a gentle feeling of contentment.

In previous generations, it was more common to live a life of careful thrift. This included wise spending, careful use of resources, and a consistent habit of saving.  The goal here was always to avoid waste.  Good financial management meant a cautious and orderly outlook when it came to the use of money. There was waiting, thought, and patience involved in overseeing the family funds.  Budgets, bills, and income were important considerations in planning for spending and saving.  This wisdom is still necessary today.  

We can reduce expenses in thoughtful, creative ways while still enjoying each day.  It is a blessing to have a little pocket money to spend, as long as the bills are being paid and there is a clear plan of saving. We must always save for a rainy day.  These come regularly over the years.  If we can find ways to avoid wasting money and choose instead to be orderly in our spending, we will have a great deal more peace and contentment in our lives.

Yesterday, as I washed the dishes in the kitchen sink, I looked out the back window and saw the rushing river on the border of our property.  It was a beautiful sight and makes me think of a vacation or a haven from the worries of the world.  A great deal of our time is spent in doing things: being productive, cleaning, cooking, taking care of the family, and (in an unhurried, pleasant way) going about our daily work.  This daily labor, of creating and caring for a happy home, costs nothing.  Being busy with this common labor, with a grateful heart, will naturally lead to less spending.

Blessings

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

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

Finding Genuine Happiness at Home - Peace be Upon This House.  

Old Time Frugal Living - A New England Winter on a Small Income


 

For old time encouragement in living simply on a limited income, order Mrs. White's book:

"An Old Fashioned Budget: Humble Financial Management for the Christian Housewife"

This slim, 77 page, paperback book is available for sale through Amazon.







Thursday, March 3, 2022

A Home to Keep

"Home for the Holidays" by Todd Williams

 

I heard the sound of birds chirping in the trees. These are snow birds and are so sweet. The snow is steadily falling and making our scenery so white and lovely.  The singing of the birds adds to the beauty of our winter days.  

As I worked throughout the house today, I kept looking out the window at the peaceful landscape.  We live in a rural New England village.  It is a beautiful time of year for a quiet rest and the enjoyment of home.  Our wood stove is running, keeping us cozy, while we go about the chores.

 I am grateful to have a home to keep. The work of homemaking provides a sanctuary of rest from the outside world.   I ironed a fresh tablecloth to put on the parlour table. I did some vacuuming, the regular kitchen work, and organized my desk. There is always dusting to do, or some work to pretty up the house. These little tasks bring me happiness and a feeling of contentment. 

The grandchildren have been frequent guests at our old Estate. They love to help with the housekeeping.  One of the grand-girls was looking for something to do.  I asked her, "Would you like to carpet - sweep the parlour?"  She was delighted!  Her brother looked interested so I gave him the option to do another chore.  We have all different sized brooms in our kitchen. There is a child's size one that is much enjoyed by the children. We also have a sturdy, tall one which was made by the Amish.  I said to my grandson, "Would you like to sweep the kitchen floor? You can use any broom you like."  He eagerly went off to work!  The children have fun with the housekeeping tools. They also love to help me set the table for lunch, and to tidy up after the meals. Grandchildren are the joy of my life.

On quiet days, when there is no company, I keep busy doing small chores throughout the day.  I have tea breaks, little rests to read in a comfortable chair, and special times of just sitting and watching an old black-and-white comedy on DVD.  I will manage the bills and finances in the early hours of the morning.  Then I read my Bible and pray, enjoying the precious time of rest for the soul. 

There is joy in ordinary living.

Blessings

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Old Fashioned Happiness - Standard of Living.  

Tea Time - The Importance of Formal Ceremony at Home.

Old Time Thrift - Retirement Planning for the Poor.






Find Home-keeping Inspiration, in Mrs.White's book -Mother's Book of Home Economics .  Paperback, 312 pages.







Sunday, January 9, 2022

Trials of Winter Homemaking

Winter Scenery at a lake near Mrs. White's Home.


This is such a cold time of year.  I have frequent errands during the week and the bitter cold is making me feel numb and weary.   I am grateful, however, for a warm house and a warm car.

Our heat was not working properly last week.  We called a technician who came right over.  He was able to replace a part in the furnace and that fixed the problem.  I am amazed there are people who will leave a warm house and drive out in the freezing cold to help others!  I am very thankful.

A few days before this, our kitchen oven stopped working. I have been told that modern appliances don't last as long as they used to.  We have had this one for about six years.  Since I am used to this kind of trial, we immediately switched to stove top cooking only.   I stopped baking muffins, cookies, pizza, etc.  It is not possible to run out the door to buy a new oven.  So we adapt and make the best of what we have.  I have also noticed that the price of new appliances is unbearably high. We will wait it out.

I started having oatmeal in the morning instead of my homemade muffins.  I am making homemade soups and spaghetti. We will still eat well.  We will be okay.

Some of the things I wanted to do this year include walking each day.  To keep track of my commitment, I write it down on a calendar whenever I walk. Some days I will walk twice, which is wonderful.  I either walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, or I will walk about the house for a steady 30 minutes.  This is a good goal for maintaining my health this year.

I am also reading a daily devotional. It is very brief, and takes only minutes to read, but it is packed with powerful spiritual food which I love.  The book is called, "Daily Food for Christians" and was originally published around 1830 by the American Tract Society.

 

Interior pages from "Daily Food for Christians."

 

I first heard about the "Daily Food" book from the writings of Elizabeth Prentiss. She owned one of these and loved it.  It has been recently republished by the Legacy of Home Press and I am so happy to have my own copy.

 

"Daily Food for Christians" - The Legacy of Home Press edition.

 I wrote the preface for this book and added beautiful floral illustrations from Currier & Ives, from the 1800's.  You can find more about this book at the Legacy of Home Press publishing blog

The other day I was visiting at the home of some of my grandchildren.  Their Uncle was expected to visit at any moment.  One of the older children and I were watching for him out the front window.  There is a steep hill to get up to the house.  We finally saw him driving up the snowy road when his car got stuck.  The tires were spinning and he was only half-way up the hill. I immediately cried out to the Lord in prayer to help him get up the hill.  Very quickly, his car moved and he easily drove the rest of the way without further trouble. My grandson turned to look at me in surprise.  We were both so grateful and blessed by a quick answer to prayer!

Homemaking in winter is a challenge and an adventure.  Each day I try to do as much cleaning and decorating as I can to make things look pleasant around us.  I also do the shopping and errands since my husband is disabled and stays at home.  We are living in very difficult times, but each day I find great joy in listening to hymns as I clean, or singing hymns as I go about the work.  I offer up quiet prayers for help, or thanksgiving, as I go along.  This brings me a peace and closeness with the Lord that is comforting and sustaining.

The other day, I opened some of the windows in the upstairs parlour, as if it were a pretty spring day.  There is snow outside and some icicles on the house, but there was little wind.  I was able to get some beautiful mountain air into our home and it was lovely.  After a little while, I shut the windows and the house was cozy and comfortable. We have a wood pellet stove on the second floor and we often turn it on in the early evening hours.  Sitting by this fire reminds me of old stories by Charles Dickens, such as "Dombey and Son."  I love to read by the fire, even if I only have a few minutes. I have books all over the house so I can read a little whenever I get a chance, and then save my place with a bookmark for the next time.

Winter is a beautiful time of year, but spring will also be here before long.  Happy days are ahead for us all.  

Blessings 

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Homemade Lessons from my Aunt - Manners Learned at the Finishing School.

Finding Happiness in - Poor and Pretty Living.  

In case you wondered - The Secret to a Clean House.




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. 







Sunday, December 19, 2021

A Quiet Christmas

Library of Congress:  A snowy afternoon in Vermont, 1940.


Early this evening, I bundled up in my scarf and coat. I put on my fur-lined boots and gloves. Then I went outside with my husband for a quiet, winter walk on the grounds of our Estate.  The snow was falling gently around us as we looked at the Christmas lights on our house.   These are wonderful days, of the Christmas season, in our rural village.

This year I want to have a quiet Christmas.  The world around us will be shut out.  Inside our home there will be noise and a bustle of activity. This is the pleasant sound of family.  But the stresses of the culture and the troubles of the world will not be a part of our Christmas. We will have an old time rest - of joy and peace and happiness. 

If one wants to be happy, one must do happy things.  I am going to put on my holiday apron and bake a white cake with chocolate frosting.  This will be a special treat for the evening.  Tomorrow I will make sugar cookies using my bell-shaped cookie cutter.  Then I will make old fashioned Christmas fudge.  

I have a CD of an orchestra playing carols. The volume is low and provides a cheery background noise as I go about my housekeeping.  I hear "O Holy Night" and "O Come, Come, Emanuel" by the Philadelphia Orchestra. It sounds lovely.

May God bless our homes with peace and joy this Christmas.

Blessings

Mrs. White

 

 From the Archives -

Always Remember - The House Comes First.


We Must Learn  - To Earn and Not to Spend.

Essential Frugality -  A New England Winter on a Small Income.