Archive | lessons from the past

The Old Fashioned Girl Part One: Little Miss Mommy

I have always said that there is an art to loading the dishwasher.

My father is very talented at washing windows without leaving smears and my mother is a renowned “speed folder” when it comes to laundry. Another thing I’ve always said is that I “love old fashioned things,” and that I am “an old fashioned girl,” and want to raise my children “the old fashioned way.” I don’t know what comes to your mind when I say these things so I shall elaborate. When I use the term “old fashioned” I am sometimes referring to cute vintage dresses, fraying hardcover books from antique stores or homemade bread. But, when I tell someone that I want to be old fashioned, I am referring to more than just retro styles and “neat old stuff.”

I see much appealing about “the olden days.” Anywhere from a few years back to the 1950’s to centuries ago. But, on the other hand, I see much appealing about our day and age. I am thankful for much of the technology, advances in science and medicine and modern transportation. When I am grown and doing what I know God has asked me to do; being a wife and mother; I want to give my children as many benefits as I can in a sweet combination of yesterday and today. I want them to have plenty of land to roam about on…and bug spray. I want them to have homemade jam on freshly baked biscuits…with disposable napkins. When they are sick I want to give them hot chicken noodle soup and tea…and tylenol. Big windows with checked curtains to open up in the morning…and lock safely at night. A garden full of tasty, hard earned vegetables…with an irrigation system perhaps. Do you see what I mean?

Secondly, there is an art to keeping house. A lost art. Here’s a quote from dear Uncle Alec in Louisa May Alcott’s lovely book Eight Cousins:

Well, now, there is one very excellent, necessary, and womanly accomplishment that no girl should be without, for it is a help to rich and poor, and the comfort of families depends upon it. This fine talent is neglected nowadays, and considered old-fashioned, which is a sad mistake, and one that I don’t mean to make in bringing up my girl. It should be a part of every girl’s education, and I know of a most accomplished lady who will teach you in the best and pleasantest manner.” ” Oh, what is it ? ” cried Rose eagerly, charmed to be met in this helpful and cordial way. ” Housekeeping! ” answered Dr. Alec. “Is that an accomplishment?” asked Rose, while her face fell, for she had indulged in all sorts of vague, delightful dreams. ” Yes; it is one of the most beautiful as well as useful of all the arts a woman can learn. Not so romantic, perhaps, as singing, painting, writing, or teaching, even; but one that makes many happy and comfortable, and home the sweetest place in the world. Yes, you may open your big eyes; but it is a fact that I had rather see you a good housekeeper than the greatest belle in the city. It need not interfere with any talent you may possess, but it is a. necessary part of your training, and I hope that you will set about it at once, now that you are well and strong.”

And two quotes from a great book called Beautiful Girlhood chapter title Home Life:

“A girl should have her full share of responsibility in the home. She should go about her work willingly, not as if it were an irksome duty which she was ill-disposed to perform. She should count herself one of the family, one of the children, having only equal rights and privileges with the rest.” ….

“Have you seen her, the ideal big sister? She is ever ready to kiss away the bumps and bruises of little heads and hearts, she knows just how to mend broken dolls and balls, she likes to pop corn and make candy for little people to eat, she knows such wonderful stories to tell or read, she will pick up and put out of sight those evidences of childish neglect that might bring little people into trouble, she understands and is a companion for everyone of them. Yes, many homes have just such older daughters as that.The girl who is learning day by day to be a good daughter at home and a good sister to the young children, is also learning day by day how to make in time a good wife and a good mother. She is getting ready for the greatest work a woman can do.”

And now a passage from The Holy Bible that every good Christian girl has heard. Read it again for there is no better example than what God himself asks us to read:

Proverbs 31

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.18 She sees that her trading is profitable and her lamp does not go out at night.19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

This passage does not say that the best sort of wife/mother always has perfectly manicured nails, nor does it say that her yard holds the most inflatable snowmen during the holidays. It praises her for her patient, continual work. The bible tells us to do everything as if we are doing it for Christ himself.

There is an art to keeping house and keeping house is praise-worthy.

Thirdly, it is never too early. I am taking a baby-sitting class soon so that I can be officially Red Cross Certified in hopes that this will help me if I ever want to seek employment as a baby sitter. But, I have worked/lived at an orphanage, the church nursery and as a domestic baby sitter before; I have five younger siblings and plenty of little cousins. I can change diapers, scrub floors, dust mantels, do laundry, bathe children, cook dinner and tell pretty good bed time stories (if I do say so myself.)

The point is, little girls become little ladies, little brides and little mommies. What you say, everything you do, and everything you teach will affect them in a moment, tomorrow and twenty years from now. It is never too early to begin training them for what M. Hale calls “the greatest work a woman can do.”

It isn’t weak to keep house and be a stay-at-home-mother. It is brave! In this day and age it is truly courageous! The strength it must take…the courage to hold the lives of babies (who will someday be men and women) in your own hands and give them your life and time and love-to raise them physically, mentally, emotionally and, most importantly, spiritually. So along with patience, hard work and love, I feel that there is another aspect of home-making not to be forgotten: courage.

Everly Pleasant

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Roast Beef with a side of Dispair

Never wear masks-not sad ones nor happy ones.

Today I was inspired to write about The Roast Beef aspect of sorrow, lament and despair.
I have said before:

“I knew that living real meant real pain when I chose this life (The Roast Beef Life).”
(See The Storm and mostly after it a post from October 14th)

The Roast Beef Life (see my post The Roast Beef Life) is based on passion. I am more proud of my enemies who fight for what is wrong then my allies who don’t fight for what is right. The Roast Beef Life means exuberant jubilee and rejoicing when blessings fall from Heaven and painful sorrow and despair, sincere lament and honest heart ache when we lose, when we can see Satan’s orders carried out on this planet. I hate confusion, uncertainty, indecisiveness. Be truly happy or truly sad, truly good or truly bad.

2 Samuel 1:17
David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and ordered that the men of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar):

The bible actually says to “be taught this lament.” What has just happened is that David has been met with someone “with his clothes torn and dust on his head.” He is mourning and bringing grim news. He says that there was a battle and that Saul and Jonathan have both perished. If you ever want to read a story of friendship, read that of Jonathan and David. They were like brothers and so David is very much grieved. He and his men tear their clothes and fast and then David commands that a lament be taught-a sort of poem or song of sorrow in honor of the fallen men. David does not change the subject, watch a dumb movie and “get over it.” Sorrow is something to be accepted. It has its place, its time. It also ends. Let it run its course and then pass.

“You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head, but you can prevent their making a nest in your hair.”
A Chinese Proverb

The definition of lament:

la·ment
1.
to feel or express sorrow or regret for: to lament his absence.
2.
to mourn for or over. –verb (used without object)
3.
to feel, show, or express grief, sorrow, or regret.
4.
to mourn deeply. –noun
5.
an expression of grief or sorrow.
6.
a formal expression of sorrow or mourning, esp. in verse or song; an elegy or dirge.
[Origin: 1520–30; (n.) <>

And some quotes by people I’ve never heard of and comments by me:

“The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.”
Jim Rohn

It is important not to block all emotion. With one leaves the other. Accept both sorrow and joy. They go hand-in-hand.

“The word ‘happiness’ would lose is meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”
Carl Gustav Jung

To remove a word you remove it’s meaning. If you lose happiness you lose also sadness, with bad also goes good.

“Oh the gladness of their gladness when they’re glad, And the sadness of their sadness when they’re sad; But the gladness of their gladness, and the sadness of their sadness, Are as nothing to their badness when they’re bad.”

This is a quote by J. M. Barrie. I believe it is about fairies. This is part of the reason I like fairies-they’re very roast beefy. Really sad when they’re sad, really happy when they’re happy. I don’t think that you should be really bad. That simply wouldn’t be good.

Everly Pleasant

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Snail Mail: A soapbox entry

Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I am a advocate for snail mail.
Back when I was your age, we used to LICK THE ENVELOPES. Can you believe that?
So tonight I shall soapbox (that was a verb) about letters. Enjoy the picture, quotations and opinions.

There must be millions of people all over the world who never get any love letters . . . I could be their leader.
Charlie Brown

Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, thus friends absent speak
John Donne

And this is an excerpt from a wonderful book I received as a Christmas present called “What Jane Austen ate and Charles Dickens knew.” It is a book about the everyday life, details and culture of the English people of the 1800’s. Something to remember: M.P. means member of Parliament.
The chapter titled The Mail:
Letters!
Letters told you whether or not you had inherited the estate-whether someone had agreed to marry you-whether cousin Frank was lost at sea-whether a lost heir was actually alive and in New Zealand was now returning to claim his fortune. The mail was expensive except to M.P.s, who, until 1840, could “frank” it, i.e., send it free. Postage was billed on the basis of the number of miles the letter traveled in England, fourpence for the first fifteen miles, eightpence for the eighty, and so on up to seventeen pence for the letter going seven hundred miles. In addition, if you put any enclosures in the letter (even a second piece of notepaper)
the charge was double. And the recipient always paid, not the sender.
(it goes on to say that generous people allowed their relations/friends to write all the time despite the fact that they would have to pay to open it and that many people gave their mail to an M.P. uncle or someone who could “frank” it for them…)

More genteel ways to save postage included using lots of abbreviations in one’s letters and also “crossing,” or turning the letter at a right angle after one had written on a page and writing over it. In general, says Miss Bates of a correspondent to the heroine in Emma, “she fills the whole paper and crosses half. My mother often wonders that I can make it out so well. She often says when the letter is first opened, “Well, Hetty, now I think you will be put to it to make out all that checker-work.”
Until the 1840’s envelopes were not in widespread use so you wrote your letter on a sheet of paper, folded in up and then sealed it and that was you de facto envelope. In Jane Austen, we find the characters using a wafer to seal their missives. This was a small disk made of gum and flour which you licked and then stuck on to the letter to close it. Alternatively, there were seals-gentlemen sometimes carried them on a chain hanging from their waistcoat-which were dipped in beeswax or a similar compound that was melted with the aid of a little desk taper and then applied to the letter. Red sealing wax was for business, other colors for social correspondence, and black for mourning. “In those days there was an art in folding and sealing.” wrote Jane Austen’s nephew in a memoir to his aunt in 1870. “No adhesive envelopes made all easy. Some people’s letters always looked loose and untidy; but her paper was sure to make the right folds, and her sealing-wax to drop into the right place.”
(it goes on to say that in The mayor of Casterbridge a character seals her letter poorly, it opens and is read by the wrong person.)

The day came, of course, when letters were not the only means of communication across long distances in the country. By 1857 most of the large towns in England were linked by telegraph and in 1879 the first telephone exchange in the country appeared in London.

And this concludes Snail Mail: A soapbox entry. That was a lot of writing! I didn’t copy and paste that from somewhere…no sir! I looked at the book in my lap and typed like a mad woman!
Everly Pleasant

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