Friday, May 3, 2013

Overcoming Hard Times with Grace

Richmond on the Thames

In this economy, many of us are struggling. There is a confusion added to this, about standard of living.  We see magazine covers at supermarkets of beautiful homes and elaborately prepared foods.  We see television programs about rehabbing houses, and making them "livable" with the latest upgrades.  This is like an upgrade in standards, and it costs far more money than most of us can manage.

It used to be that thrift stores and churches had decent clothes available for free, or for a meager cost.  Many mothers used to talk about the missionary barrel.  When times were hard, they would find clothes and remake them with what they had at home.  They made lovely things with their own efforts, out of cast-offs.   

Mothers were able to create recipes based on what was left in the pantry, rather than what was for sale in the store.

Home repairs and maintenance was done to survive, with scrounged supplies, or inexpensive parts to make-do, for those with little money.

I realize we need certain skills to create out of little, but we can certainly learn. 

Money used to mean something different than it does today.  Money was for basic housing and basic needs, and an occasional treat, rather than for splurging and spending on what we want right now.  [Or what we think we need in this confusing, consumerist, culture.]

We need a good does of the history of the family during hard times.  We need to read about the depression-era mothers, the pilgrims, and the pioneers to find a way to overcome the culture of today, with dignity and grace.

Mrs. White

For Home-keeping Inspiration, order my book - For The Love of Christian Homemaking.  





Mrs. Laura Lane said...

I must agree. We've spent much of our married life living on the edge. There were a few years of prosperity when we were "living the American dream", but we were so laden with debt, we still struggled.

We're out of debt now. Praise God! Someday I hope to be able to buy a home of our own. In the meantime, God has provided a safe place to raise our children.

I grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder's books around the Bicentennial. I had a teacher, Mrs. Higgs, who taught me many craft skills instead of regular kids' art projects. These things, combined with a very creative mother's influence, have served me well in creating a use it up, wear it out, make it over (do) or do without ability in me.

Have a terrific Friday and weekend. I hope it is a well one for you.

Oh, I received your lovely book, Mother's Faith. It's a cold rainy/snowy day in Southwest Missouri, so I'm going to read for a bit today. I look forward to your encouragement. I have an adult son who is acting very self-willed right now.

Have a few moments? I wrote about my Thrifty Week at my blog today.

Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,


Housewife59 said...

I SO agree with this Mrs White. Wise words that have made me want to read more of the families, pilgrims and pioneers. Thank you for this thoughtful post

Lesley x

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this reminder. I recently finished reading Letters of a Woman Homesteader (which you can find online for free) and it was so inspirational to me. I hope to capture some of that pioneer spirit in my home too!

Lauren said...

I do not comment often but I do enjoy your blog. This post reminded me of a book that I have read recently called "No Time on My Hands" by Grace Snyder. It is the story of a woman who grew up in a family of a farmer with a sod house. Then, she married a rancher and ended up making the most amazing quilts. Although I am not sure she was a Christian, she has a wonderful story of "making do" all the time and felt blessed because she had no time on her hands. It really challenged me to be busy about my work despite my chronic health troubles and a new pregnancy.

Anyway, thank you for your encouragement in your blog. I appreciate it so much as a young mother with health problems.

Love in Christ,


Anonymous said...

Such a thoughtful & timely post, Mrs. White. Oh, how my creativity has been many times I think I have nothing left in my "bag of tricks" when it comes to meals for the family, or maybe a birthday gift for someone. In most cases I do manage to figure out something!

Necessity really IS the "mother of invention", I guess.


Anonymous said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed the book "Little House in the Ozarks: The Rediscovered Writings" by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Stephen W. Hines. It is a collection of her writings for a publication called Farmer's Week, and gives you an amazing glimpse into life at that time, making do with what she had. I hope others will enjoy it as much as I have.

I so enjoy your blog Mrs. White. :)

Much love,

Katrinka said...

I watched a special on PBS last night on the dustbowl days and the struggles and trials families went through. It made me so much more appreciative for what I have.

Unknown said...

This is now my favorite blog. I could not agree with you more.

The Prudent Homemaker said...

Making do--it's what we do, and what we've done.

The great thing is that my children have learned it, too. Not only that, but their friends (who are well-off) have also learned it from them. My daughter and her friends make gifts for one another for their birthday parties now, by making things over. It's been interesting to see what they make.

happyathome said...

Things have gotten even worse since you wrote this article Mrs White. I have noticed that it is hard now to find an adult jumper at a Thrift Shop to re-make into jumpers etc for grandchildren. All are machine made and from China. There is such a " throw away" clothing industry these days. The amount of clothing available that cost the little children and adults in Asia/China their health to make is truly disgusting. I have a Winter skirt cut out ready to make from fabric I brought at a Thrift store and I will remove the elastic ]from my Summer skirt and use it in the Winter skirt to save $. I have also cut an apron out of a duvet cover and I have made skirts for me from duvet covers that I can sometimes pick up for between $1 and $3. I am picky over the fabric and never have I had anyone say to me that they had a duvet cover in that fabric :-)
Houses in New Zealand's largest city Auckland are now around the million $ level now.