Thursday, February 16, 2012

When There Isn't Much

Wooden Shack in Oil Boomtown, with Sign That Says " I Do Sewing"

When someone would get a new apartment, we'd go take a look and start cleaning it. We'd all pitch in and get that new home ready for the family. Sometimes that apartment wasn't much to look at. But with all of us cleaning, we'd make it look pleasant and happy.

There are times in life where we take a "step down" in our standards. These are times when we have lost much or are just struggling. We have to live in a smaller home, or deal with a broken-down car. The best way to deal with this is to look at it as an adventure. Remembering, that we still have our skills and talents.

 Years ago, when our family owned a country store,  I would sit behind the cash register, in the evening, while some of my younger children would play on the front porch. My husband would be working the kitchen, making food for customers. It was a small town and the community was wonderful. I would sit back there and hand-sew while I waited for a customer to come up to the front register. Our home was upstairs in an apartment.  I used to sew for a few of the people. Someone needed mending, another needed a hem taken care of. I did it in a motherly way and didn't want money.  We had moved from a grand neighborhood in suburban Massachusetts. We experienced major culture shock when we moved to Vermont. But this was not a step down. Life was entirely different, but better.

I like to think of Ma Ingalls and the many times Pa had the family move. Ma would make do living in the wagon, while she waited for Pa to build a house. She would sweep the dirt floor, and use her homemade quilts for bedding.  She had very few possessions, but made each home cheerful because she kept things clean and neat. She also kept a routine. Those children knew what to expect. They had regular meals and chore time and play time.  My own Mother has made a home in many places and has always added nice touches here and there, even without money.

It used to be that when a bachelor got married, he loved the daily nurturing tasks a woman brought to the home. She would fluff pillows, make beds, sweep floors, iron curtains, and make the meals look pleasant.  She added life to the home with her creativity. She added rainbows and cheer with her attitude and acceptance of what she was provided with. She made things go far with what she was given.

Wherever we go, wherever we live, regardless of our circumstances, we can manage beautifully in a tent, a cabin, shack or house. We can do this with our talents and skills. Have you thought of how The Swiss Family Robinson survived on an island?  They were inventive, creative and used survival skills to manage each day. It is certainly not the ideal, but we can cope and cope beautifully in most situations.

This very thought, survival, can make us so grateful for each day. It gives us the motivation to get up and make a lovely breakfast, clean the house, and get all dressed up.  We can serve our family in love and devotion.

But when depression hits and makes things very difficult, as we dwell on our suffering, this is the time to get out the Bible and read the Psalms for comfort and guidance. This is the time to sing from the hymn books and to listen to the old time sermons. This is the greatest comfort you will ever find.

May your homes be like little sanctuaries of happiness and godliness.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

When the Children get Older - Sitting Alone at the Kitchen Table.

Thinking of Yesteryear - The Charm of the Old Days.


Anonymous said...

I found your blog just two days ago and I have been so blessed by it.
It seems as if at times you are speaking directly to me.
I praise God for giving me the gift of your blog!
Thank you so very much!
God bless,

WhatIfWeAllCared? said...

Downsizing can be a true blessing, too. Deliberately being happy with less and less, instead of looking to material things for peace and joy, looking to Him who gives us each new day!
Every day I make a conscious effot to eliminate something superficial from my life~ extra silverware, clothes, food... Anything that I honestly don't need, but could bless someone else's life. My family is so fortunate as I have a steady paycheck at a flexible job and we have our own home.
Although we do live way below the poverty level, we have so much more than money can buy~ we have love, peace and integrity in our walk.

Sarah said...

These thoughts are so encouraging! Thanks!

Cameron said...

Your blog is inspiration and encourgement to young wives and mothers in our time. You are reminding us how wives managed to run a household on barely any money in the depression and 1800s. It helps lift our spirits knowing if those women managed to survive, we can survive this hard time too.. Its our jobs to make our homes a HOME and be homemakers for Jesus and our husbands :)
Many blessings

Dawn said...

Great words of encouragement. I will look at the upcoming changes in my family's life as "an adventure". Thank you. I am reading the Little House series again. I find wonderful lessons in the pages of these books.

Cindi said...

I love Little House on the Prairie! My all time favorite show because it focuses on family, faith and a simple more meaningful life. Thanks for the reminders and reference.

Holly said...

I was dealing with depression with our circumstances about a year ago. I started to focus on praying more and being grateful for what we do have and it made all the difference. Even in our hardest of times, we have always had what we needed and more.

Thanks for this wonderful post!

Cassidy said...

This is so true and such a happy outlook that reaches through the screen. Thank you! Cass

Tammy said...

Lovely post! Thank you.

Sarita @ An Off Grid Life said...

When times are challenging, I often think of the pioneer wives and mothers who helped establish Canada and the United States. Simpler times and simpler lives, but much more challenging in so many ways. Today when we are discouraged or down we can always visit blogs such as yours for uplifting words of encouragement and I thank you for your lovely posts!