Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Mottoes in a Humble Home

The Lord's Prayer - Cross stitch by a family member of Mrs. White's

It was common for families to have a "Motto" to decorate the walls of their homes.  This might be a painting, some hand-printed letters, or something homemade in cross stitch.  Mottoes are considered "words to live by."  These can be Bible verses, comforting phrases, or common wisdom.

Girls in Colonial days would practice their handiwork by creating mottoes out of cross stitch. I have a replica of one such piece in my home. 

A Replica of an 1800's cross stitch in Mrs. White's home

The artist would stitch her name and the date.  Here is what is stitched in the above photograph:

"My Mother taught me
how to sew
And at the time
I did not know
That with every stitch
I now complete
with every row
I do so neat
My Mother's heart
is there with me
Guiding my hand for all to see

In an old episode of Father Knows Best there was a visiting salesman who asked Mrs. Anderson if she wanted to buy a "motto for her home."  This was something that he had made and framed himself and it was inexpensive.    These days, the term "motto" is not as common. But we do decorate our homes in this way, even if we just call it wall art or some other modern term.

I used to hand write out Bible verses and do a bit of humble artwork along with the writing. This was  like a homemade motto to decorate the home.

Hand-written Bible Verse by Mrs. White

I would just use a plain white index card to write out the verse, such as Psalm 37:3 in the photograph above.  Then I would tape it to construction paper to create a sort of frame for the card.  This one was placed on the wall in a child's bedroom.

We have also picked up little paintings from yard sales.  These may cost as little as ten cents or as much as a dollar.

"The Difference" obtained from a yard sale. This is on the parlour wall in Mrs. White's home.

Reading these sayings is so comforting!  They cheer one along the road of life!

When you enter our house, there is a door knocker that the grand-children love to use when they visit. I can hear the loud rapping on the door and I run to let them in.  Just below this door knocker is an old, beat up "Wall - Plate" inscribed with the main motto of our home, directly from Scripture.

Door Knocker and Scripture motto at Mrs. White's home.

The verse is from Joshua 24:15,  ". . . as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  {The wall - plate, for those who are long -time readers, was something I bought early in my marriage at a tiny Christian store. It has been with us for nearly three decades, and has been in every apartment or home we have lived in.  It had been lost for a few years, but was recently found and restored to its rightful place.}

There are both humble mottoes and newer ones in our home.  One of my favorites contains the hymn, "Amazing Grace" with a beautiful painting above it.

Amazing Grace Wall art in Mrs. White's Day room.

I originally saw the Amazing Grace painting in a flower shop of a funeral home in rural Alabama.  It was a sad time, but I was so cheered by this painting.  In every funeral of my family, the service closes with everyone singing "Amazing Grace."  Shortly after seeing this, I came across this smaller version in a gallery's bankruptcy sale in the lobby of a rural mall. I was so happy to buy it at a fraction of its cost.  It inspires my faith and comforts me every time I look at it.

We also have magnets that cheer us along. This one has a beautiful lighthouse and is paired with a comforting Scripture verse.

Magnet in Mrs. White's home.

We keep this on the front of the refrigerator. I love the ocean scene, the light from the lighthouse, and the precious words from Psalm 27:1.

On the wall of my bedroom is a beautiful painting that brings me great peace. 

Painting in Mrs. White's Home.

I had originally bought this for my mother right after she became a widow.  Dad was her cowboy, her protector.  The verse from Isaiah 46:4, along with the beautiful picture, brought her great comfort and peace.  Now that Mother has gone home to Heaven to be with Dad, this painting is in my room to remind me of the precious promise of our Lord.

There are difficult days when we all get very anxious and worried. This is especially true when we are worried about the trials and troubles of teenagers and grown children.  A very dear lady made this gift for me:

Cross stitch of Philippians 4:6-7 in Mrs. White's Home

She did the cross stitch and her husband made the frame. This is a precious gift that really brings me a great deal of peace. When I start to worry, I just read this and I give all my burdens and worries to the Lord.

We have a lovely painting right in our parlour, above the coat rack. We found it at a yard sale, many years ago.   It is so pretty and contains The Lord's Prayer.

The Lord's Prayer painting on Mrs. White's parlour wall.

It is lovely to have pretty things to look at throughout the home.  The sayings bring us comfort, remind us of our focus, and encourage us.  Anyone who enters our home knows what our motto is!

I came across a photograph from the Library of Congress.  A Photographer from the U.S. Farm Administration visited a family and took some pictures. Here is one of a boy sitting next to a Motto in his home:

Library of Congress: "George Ray Campbell and the motto by which his family lives, Washington, D.C., 1943"
The Motto says, "Jesus Never Fails."

There is another picture to go with this one, of this young boy with his mother in their kitchen. It is an old time Christian family like many of us, even today.

Library of Congress: 1943 "Washington, D.C. The Campbell family at home after church."

A humble home is a place where materialism is not the focus.   It is a place of rest and old time values.  It is where the simple life originates. Filling our surroundings with old time mottoes of comfort and encouragement is a precious way to build our courage and faith. It will bring a smile of cheer, and a nod of contented peace.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

We Must Always Remember - The House Comes First.

Getting Through Hard Times - A New England Winter on a Small Income.

Create Happiness in - Poor and Pretty Living.

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking." Paperback, 200 pages. 

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Deborah Montgomery said...

My son made a collection of Bible verses on index cards when he was a young teenager. I love to pull one out and display it. It is especially nice to see the verse in his handwriting.
Happy New Year, Mrs. White. xo Deborah

Christine said...

I never really thought about a motto for our home.
Now, I'm thinking what would it be?

Kay said...

Greetings Mrs. White,
As usual, you have written another wonderful post...calms and comforts me just to read your words! I get so excited when you put up a new post-thank you so much for taking the time to encourage us this way. I loved reading all the different mottoes and sayings from around your home. Yes, these scriptures & poems, etc. are all very good to look at and help us as we journey here on earth. I pray that this year will be a blessed one for you and your family. One day at a time, until that day when HE calls us home!
Kay W.

Debby in Kansas said...

I remember a sampler from the old movie, "Gidget". Gidget is suffering through her relationship with Moondoggy and her mom shows her a sampler saying something about women bringing out the best in men and telling her that she doesn't have to do anything, that's it's up to him. I loved that, even when I was a stupid 80's teenager!!

We've had many up in my houses as I grew up. Not samplers, but small plaques. I painted one in Sunday School when I was 10 or so. It's that plaster of paris that takes acrylic paint. It says, "Cashing all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you" from 1 Peter. I do have two cross-stitched pieces. One is Ecclesiastes- "There is a time...." and another family tree that has the "Train up a child...." Funny enough, both of those were gifts to my husband from the woman he dated before me. Given while they were dating. He was surprised I would display them, but they're beaufiful and I love what's on them.

Patty B said...

This is a beautiful article! I enjoyed seeing the photos of your mottos and artwork. We, too, have many Biblical mottos on our walls. Our favorites say "This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it". As I sit here with coffee cup reading your blog, my cup says "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" - the same words as your door knocker motto! It seems like Christian homes are quite in the minority these days, so we are even more proud to proclaim to the world that we follow Christ.

Jessica R said...

Hello, Mrs. White,

This post was beautiful! I loved to see all the mottoes you have displayed in your home; they are all beautiful. I agree that it helps to have meaningful and lovely sayings on our walls to remind us of those things that are most important.

I've noticed that there are coloring books for adults at many stores these days, some of them at the dollar stores. These have beautiful designs and inspirational sayings, even verses from the Bible. These could be colored and then pasted or taped onto colored card stock. Then they could be put up on the wall and arranged in a pretty layout. I think that's an inexpensive option, in addition to all the ideas you mentioned.

I am so grateful for the encouragement you give on your blog for being godly housewives! Thank you!


Unknown said...

Dear Mrs. White,
Happy New Year to you and your family! I loved your post on "mottoes". I have always loved them and felt like a rare bird as not many share my passion. The motto you gave your Mother and the reason behind it is breathtaking, as is the verse...and the beautiful horse with cowboy. It myst provide you much comfort now. It also appeals to us as we are horse people and riders as well, with my daughter having her lesson tomorrow rain or shine! I think it's so encouraging to see mottoes around a house as they are a support / reminders for the occupants, while letting visitors what is valued. Your front door motto is another favorite. One of the favorites in my kitchen is, "Hands to work; hearts to God" which is Quaker. Many blessings to you in this new year! Paige

Mrs. White said...

Deborah, what a treasure to have those cards your son wrote out!

Christine, I would love to hear what you come up with!

Kay, thank you so much!!

Debby, that "Gidget" sampler sounds like good advice! The plaques you have sound wonderful!

Patty, you are so right! Your mottoes sound encouraging and inspiring!

Jessica, I love your idea of making mottoes from inspirational coloring books. There are so many things we can do to spread these precious words throughout our homes! I appreciate your encouragement so much!

Paige, Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. Your kitchen motto is beautiful!

God bless you all! I appreciate your taking the time to comment and am grateful for your visits.

Hartslove said...

Hi Mrs. White. Since you wrote this article, I began to notice images of mottoes in various places. This morning I realized I have one beside my bed, though I hadn't called it a "motto". It is a pretty framed print with flowers and a hummingbird, with "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." I liked to begin my days with this attitude. Today I saw yet another motto on the Gentle Domesticity group on Facebook. (wonderful group of sisters in grace with a heart toward home) Someone shared a framed motto she stitched for her mother 26 years ago. I commented on it and mentioned your article here, including a reference. Maybe some will come and read your article.
Alexine in Maryland, US