Friday, November 07, 2014


SERENITY

Whiteface Mountain, Adirondacks, New York


That God exists, that He loves us, and is Himself a lover of beauty, are the thoughts that swirl through my mind when I gaze on this picture.  I am so grateful to realize that this vast, beautiful Creation is here not only to please Him, but to please us and to build us up.

When terrifying headlines and horrific images assault us, it is good to remember that serenity reigns in God's order, and the goodness, beauty, and comfort that our heavenly father shows us is ours forever.

It seems to me that when we are walking in the Spirit, and trying to live as Jesus has taught us, that we and our lives take on a very peaceful ambiance.  We are sort of like those mountains up there, settled and silent, strong and majestic as the clouds of serenity settle upon them like a veil.

That is how I want my life to be.  I want to be where God places me and to be and do whatever is in His will for me.  You know, we only have but so much time each day, and so much time in our entire lives, to be here, so why should we continue to punish ourselves by allowing the daily assaults of the world to crowd in upon us, destroying our peace, and sidetracking us with worry and fear?

I think the antidote for our troubled hearts and minds is to let them be still, as we bring to mind all that is good and holy, as in Philippians 4:8.  We can and should also make it a priority to step outside each day, and to breathe deeply some good, fresh air, and find something pleasing and beautiful to gaze upon.  It can be as simple as rain on a window or a clover in the grass.  Just drink it in and let it work its life and peace into your mind and soul.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

THE WEE ONES HAVE COME


I have been absent from this blog fairly much since the coming of our first grandchild, Abigail, who has lived with us off and on for over three years now.  She has been joined by her little cousin, Samuel, who has also lived with us off and on for the past couple of years.  These have been here, of course, with their requisite, respective adults. Long stories, best shared in increments, at some other time.

I will, by God's grace, attempt to revive this blog, seeing as I am down to four people in the home right now, all of whom have been raised already.  I have wanted to write several times, but left the drafts unfinished, due to a kind of melancholy over certain events in the last few years, but will, for Sarah's sake, make a brave new beginning.

Sarah, I remember you well, and got a lot out of your comments.  In fact, weirdly enough, I was thinking of you the other day, and so am delighted that you stopped by.  Thank you, that by taking the time to leave yet another encouraging comment, you have inspired me to start again.

God bless you!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

THE GLORIOUS CALLING OF HOMEKEEPING

Thank you, Hillary Rosen, for motivating me to start writing for my blog again.  Ms. Rosen is a Democratic strategist who commented last night on CNN that since Ann Romney never worked a day in her life, she and her wealthy husband were probably too out of touch with the American people to effectively lead.  As a stay at home wife, mother of five, grandmother, and a breast cancer survivor now stricken with MS, Mrs. Romney still has no value in the eyes of the feminists and those who kow-tow to them, it seems.  I think that Ann Romney, through her family life and health problems, has probably garnered much life experience, wisdom and understanding, and is most likely just the kind of role model that young women need right now.  And I believe it is time for those of us who live a traditional lifestyle to stop questioning our own value.  I don't need a paycheck to know I exist and am contributing to the betterment of the world.

As such, I would like to openly address the feminists, social engineers, and other elites on this subject.  I do not apologize for making my life's work the care and guarding of my home, nor for being my husband's helpmeet, nor for being the nurturer of my children and grandchild and a continued presence in their lives.  I am insignificant in the eyes of the world, and rejoice to be the "hidden woman", for I am free and in charge of my time and my work.  In fact, I no longer believe you oppose women like me because you think we are a worthless drag on society, but on some level you understand that we have great influence and it makes you uncomfortable.  We are the ones who have the time and vision to raise up the "ancient walls", and will not delegate our sacred duty to hirelings.

My free choice as a woman to live my life according to biblical principles is the one choice you will not tolerate.  In fact, your support of "choice" for women seems to be limited to the choice to abort babies and to get behind the plow like any good Soviet woman would have.  For years, we have kept silent while all that is good and wholesome has been denigrated and trampled into the ground.  Those of us who would like to continue to live our lives according to the values inherent in the Judeo-Christian worldview were first shamed and laughed into derision, and lately treated as the enemy of society.  I am aghast at how intolerant the elite have become.  Its so hypocritical.

Ann Romney is a brave woman and I applaud her for her choice to stay home. If she is wealthy, then God bless her, but I am sure she endured the weariness, heartache, doubts and hard work that are common to all mothers.  She seems to have raised a fine family of responsible adults, and her husband clearly adores her.
She has not allowed her health issues to get the better of her, and that takes courage and tenacity on her part.

As a stay at home wife and mother of five who is now raising an infant granddaughter, I am not wealthy, but I find I am working too long and hard to go out and pursue a career. If I ever get done here, or am not needed by my family, I will go see what's out there!   So far, I have a lot of job security right here at home.  I am, however, neither vapid, bored, nor boring. I am not "out of touch" with real life. Economics, for example, is a very palpable, tangible subject for me.  I abhor paying interest, so I have made a very deliberate and diligent effort to stay out of debt, with a "use it up, wear it out, make it over or do without" mentality, and it has been a very lucrative endeavor, I can assure you. We have maintained a good standard of living, even though my husband has been disabled for over six years now.  

Tonight I have a bone broth simmering on the stove, using the bones from a turkey I made this week.  I had served it with homemade stuffing, fluffy mashed potatoes, gravy,  green peas and a green salad with homemade vinagrette dressing, mmm, Hilary, you should have been there. Or for Easter where 12 us dined on manicotti made from scratch from my mother's recipe, followed by ham with all the sides, Italian Easter bread and ricotta cheesecake.  I had shopped for the best prices, wore last year's dress covered by an apron, and thoroughly enjoyed the day. We trust our guests left with full stomachs after a very enjoyable time of feasting and fellowship.  They seemed quite happy, at least!

I am an American woman, educated, informed, hard-working, and I vote. I may have no value in the eyes of many, but I am queen of my life. No paycheck, but right now my fragrant heirloom rosebushes are all in bloom!  Tomorrow, with God's help, I plan to head out to the fields and pick a nice juicy batch of early strawberries for us to enjoy over the weekend.  I feel very rich and free.

Is that why you are so unhappy with me?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

PEACE AND QUIET


The New Year in Southern Virginia
This photo and those following,  by Jeweli Hockensmith 



It seems that living in peace and quiet has become an almost unaffordable luxury to many of us.  A columnist in our newspaper today wrote about his visit to a float tank.  Never heard of that? Nor had I.  Two gentlemen have purchased these and opened a business in a local shopping center.  It seems that for $80 an hour you can shower, turn off the lights, get into a swimsuit (or go without), and get into one of these coffin-like tanks and float in heavily salted water, achieving an almost weightless state of being.  The columnist agreed that it was indeed a very peaceful, quiet and soothing experience, but lamented at the end of the column the fact that to achieve this incredible "lightness of being", he had to steal time from his busy schedule, drive through congested traffic to a busy strip mall and pay 80 dollars just to enjoy an hour of peace and quiet.  What is wrong with our lives, was the implied question.


Such is the condition of modern life for most, I suppose.  Is it any wonder that so many poor souls end up trying to achieve an artificial state of well-being by using substances?  Is there a way, realistically, to have our lives centered in peace and quiet in this hyper-drive world? Jesus said that in this world you will have tribulation, but that He has come that you might have peace.  Peace of heart and mind, soul and spirit.  Even in the midst of tribulation.  Even the soft-core kind, like deadlines and heavy traffic.

This peaceful, quiet life starts in the interior of  your being, when you invite Christ in, and let Him lead you in all things.  Sounds so easy, but I know lots of folk cannot imagine what I mean.  Well, when I surrendered my life to Christ at the age of 19, and following my wild teenage years, I felt an inner joy begin to permeate my being, and all the hills and valleys of life seemed to even out.  Everything for me took on a simplicity, like finally being able to focus the lenses on binoculars and see everything which once was hard to discern with sudden clarity and color.  My choices seemed like "no-brainers", and in following my beloved,  I naturally chose what was good and peaceful for my life, not even being aware of having to make a conscious choice most of the time.  For example, I no longer craved parties and drinking; I didn't have to make a deliberate decision to give up these things, I simply lost interest in them and ceased to think about them.  I obeyed because I wanted to.

When you are so busy in your relationship with Him that you naturally soak up His word and enjoy being with like-minded people, you tend to see what kinds of things lead to peace in your external life as well.  For instance, I purposed in my mind that when I would be married and have children I would give up the extra money a job would bring.  When that happened, my life was automatically so simple.  I remember holding my first baby, listening to the afternoon traffic report of the kitchen radio, and thanking God with much joy that I was home and not sitting out on the hot, congested highway, with its exhaust fumes and fuming, exhausted motorists trying to get home!

My supper was on the stove, and my baby was in my arms, and for me, God was in "His heaven" and all was indeed right with the world.  We were living in Navy housing, with all white walls and linoleum on the floors, but for me it was the Taj Mahal!

This is what I wish for all mothers and their children.  The men are emotionally equipped to get into the fray each day as long as they can come home to a safe haven where they can retreat and recoup, and this is what I wish for them.  A wise woman understands this and gives her man some space to let him do just that.  I know that days at home can be long and arduous, but if a wife will let her husband come home and be pampered a bit, he will love and appreciate her and put her above all else.

Everybody needs peace and quiet.  My mother always admonished me to make life simple for myself, to attend to my own business, and not go out of my way to make it hard.  Come up with a system for doing things, was her advice to me, don't take on more than you can handle, and make sure you get a little rest and recreation for yourself.  

Well, without that second income, most likely you will not have a lot of money to spend on a large or fancy house, and so you can handle the upkeep better.  Less space to fill, heat, cool and clean.  There is peace in that.  Doing most of your own work and repairs, taking care of your children if you are blessed with them, offering hospitality and being charitable as the Lord leads, are all things that make for a need to order your life well, and also make for an early bedtime!  That results in peace and quiet at the end of the day.

Just like the old kosher laws had a practical and health-promoting aspect to them, living a life like I have outlined will be in accordance with how our bodies function best.  I have read recently that women who go to bed by 10 p.m. each night substantially cut their breast-cancer risk because the protective/repairing hormones and inner workings of our bodies are in full gear during the hours between ten and midnight.  Haven't you ever noticed how much better you feel if you sleep from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., than if your eight hours of sleep go from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m.?  There really is something to this, I believe.

I am truly sorry for those who unnecessarily put stress and misery into their lives by overwork and too much busy-ness.  I say unnecessarily because folks will always list all the reasons it is so necessary to live (can you call it live) like this, but most of their "have-to's" are simply their own preferences.  Things like having to have a new car(s),  huge TVs and sound systems, dinners and drinking out on the town, designer clothes, I-phones, and the like. Or they have to keep themselves stirred up by all the news and politics or the lives of the celebrities.  You are not a bad person for wanting all of this, but if you have to have these, then you are choosing to let go of some freedom. And peace and quietness therewith.  

It helps, at the beginning of the year like this, to sit and kind of take stock of things.  What things in our lives are depriving us from the life-giving peace and quietness we crave?  Do we find we do not have time to step out of doors for some fresh air and have we forgotten to simply gaze at the night sky?  I found myself up at 5 a.m. New Year's morning, cleaning up the kitchen and putting things to rights as well as tending to my infant granddaughter who lives with us, and at one point I stepped outside to shake out a tablecloth.  There,  just outside my backdoor, in the still and silence was the crystalled universe itself!  Above the darkened windows and frosted rooftops the tall trees stretched their bare and graceful arms to the heavens crammed with countless, twinkling stars!

It may seem like such a trivial thing to you, but to me it was one of those moments when you know that God exists, and even if you were the only living being in His universe He would have made it all just for you, causing you to be filled with such awe and joy that you just have to stand there and receive!

I wish these kind of moments on the whole world, and may you possess the peace that passes understanding now and always.






Friday, July 01, 2011

SAFE PASTURE 




Do you sometimes feel like a shepherdess, as though a flock of vulnerable creatures depended upon you for safety, nourishment, and their very lives? I think in many ways we are shepherdesses whom God has entrusted with the safekeeping of many of His sheep. Be they our children, grandchildren, or those who would learn from us, we have a weighty responsibility to be a guiding hand through the sunny days and a bright beacon through the dark nights of life.

Just knowing myself too well, with my shortcomings and feebleness, I feel sometimes that I am not up to the task. And surely I am not. And neither are you. That is precisely why faith comes to us in those moments when we realize with stark certainty that we are not enough. We look up when all else fails and our strength and courage are spent, for we have looked in all the other places and found them dry and barren. So we cry out, and He comes and does for us, and through us, what we cannot.

Simply. Elegantly. Mostly in ways we never expected. How many of us have risen throughout the night to care for a fussy baby or sick child, knowing bitterly how exhausted we were at the end of the previous day, only to find the endless night and unrelenting needs of others asking the impossible of us? Where does one find the strength, the patience, the sheer ability to stay awake and keep serving, when we know that another such day fast approaches?

Only from God, I contend. His Holy Spirit power holds up the arms that hold the suffering child. His grace puts yet another lullaby or praise song on our lips, and we find the new day dawning with a tiny, yet sufficient boost of supernatural energy given to us to begin again.

Let us remember our patterns in Scripture. The love chapter in First Corinthians 13, and Proverbs 31, to name a few. Empowered by His unconditional love for us, may we extend that love to others, especially our little sheep. We must for their sake, and for His, walk in forgiveness, and in wisdom, for there are great things in store for us. With His help we are examples of what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Christ. There are many, close to us or on the periphery of our lives, who are watching, and hoping for a bit more light to keep them safely on the good path. Will we hold our little candles aloft for them and help them find their way?


Friday, June 10, 2011


THE LOVELY SMELL OF SUMMER

These are last year's petunias but a couple have volunteered themselves again.

Tonight my yellow roses are blooming along with the magenta ones and of course, my heirloom Souvenir de la Malmaison, reputed to have grown in the garden of Napoleon's wife, the Empress Josephine.  These fragrances are mixed with the honeysuckle and jasmine which are climbing over the fence.  All of these delicious perfumes waft together atop the earthy foundation of grass, bush and tree.  Summer down South is a heady, languid time.

I have not been at my writing in some time, owing to work outside the home, painting and redo-ing in my home and the birth of our first granddaughter, a little rosebud angel named Abigail.  She was born on June 1st, the official beginning of meteorological summer.

I am far too tired this evening to get fancy with posting pictures, but it is my fervent hope that I can get back to all of that soon.  I hope all my fellow defenders of hearth and home are still out there, fighting the good fight.  I love all the brave ladies who are my kindred spirits on the Internet, unafraid to live the life that God has called them to.  We can save our way of life, one person, one family at a time.  Don't allow anyone to tell you differently.
I hope and pray that everyone will have a blessed weekend and great time of worship. Hope to write again soon.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

A LOVELY PORTRAIT

Ref: 47
Title: Liverpool diocese nurse.
Date: Around 1910
Location: Liverpool
Creator: Unknown
Description:
Many of the nurses and doctors that visited the Homes were not paid and worked in their free time for this good cause.
Rights: © The Children's Society


I was reading, over at The Thinking Housewife blog about nineteenth century waifs. After clicking one of the pictures, I was brought to a site which houses several photos of institutionalized children of that period and workers who cared for them.

I was so moved by this picture of this kindly looking nurse.  As the caption states, many of the nurses and doctors who tended to the children in institutional care were not paid, but rather did it as an act of charity.
It is also true that nursing was considered more than a profession, but a true vocation, as one is called to the consecrated life.  Many nurses and school teachers (also a vocation), were single women, as were quite a few missionary ladies, who devoted themselves to their life's work in the service of others. 

The website hosting this photo is fascinating and goes into much detail about the lives of the children cared for by the Waifs and Strays of England during the late Victorian and Edwardian times. Here is the site:
http://www.hiddenlives.org.uk/