Saturday, June 25, 2022

Small Things - 6.25.22

"Life is not, for most of us, a pageant of splendor, but is made up of many small things, rather like an old-fashioned piecework quilt. No two people have the same, but we all have our own, whether it be listening to Beethoven's fifth with a beloved friend, or seeing a neighbor at the back door with a basket of white dahlias. Or after a long, hard day, having the family say, "That was a good supper."

GLADYS TABER

In no particular order, here are six small things that inspired me this week.

I absolutely love this and plan on typing it up (and personalizing it) and posting it on my refrigerator door. I also signed up for their free 20 day devotional, Making Your Home Glorious.  You can find it at the top of the page.


I've followed The Cottage Fairy on You Tube for smoe time now, but I think her latest video is one of my favorites.

4. I've really enjoying perusing the contents available at The Thankful Homemaker, and I particularly enjoyed this episode ofher podcast, EP 79: Homemaking Matters: A Good God Working Out His Purposes in the Midst of Our Ordinary Days

5. Emily P. Freeman (one of my favorite people!), is doing a Psalm Summer series. She just did Psalm 91 (my life Psalm!), and it's wonderful!

6. This article took me back, to Cox's Department Store in downtown Fort Worth, and the one time I ate there with my then mother-in-law.  Before that day I somehow never knew the restaurant existed, but to be honest I never recall my mom shopping at Cox's.  But I do remember their elaborte window displays at Christmas time and they had the best Santa Claus! I think my first three pictures with Santa were taken there, before the mall opened near us, and the stores downtown slowly faded away. Department Stores hold such a special place in my memories from childhood. Did you ever eat lunch in a department store restaurant? 

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Gentle Arts

“For the gentle arts are just that, gentle.  They do no demand to be practiced. No one is obliged to pursue them. They have not been taken up by any government department and regulated and repackaged with health and safety messages and warnings. They are a matter of individual and personal choice. They can be enjoyed by anyone with an interest and the ability to thread a needle, break an egg, choose a color or wield a pair of scissors. They don’t require complicated skills, qualifications, training or equipment. They don’t take up much space, create dirt and mess (although you may find yourself leaving the house covered in little threads or fibers) or impinge on others’ lives.

What they do require, though, is a conscious choice to do something “old-fashioned’ and “quaint”, to choose not to buy and consume endlessly, but to make and create for a change.

The gentle arts are not all-or-nothing decisions though. Fortunately, there are no legal guidelines about how much is good for you. So you can consider yourself a practioner whether you decide to bake a cake or knit a sock once in a while, or live a life packed with quilting and stitching. It’s the awareness of the worth of the gentle arts that counts, the ability to see that the feminists of the 1970’s were misguided when they thought that teaching young girls to devalue domesticity constituted progress.

Just as its possible to combine the gentle arts with all sorts of lifestyles - full time work, part-time work, unpaid work - so it’s possible to combine a range of skills. Many how-to craft books catergorize readers as knitters or quilters or embroiderers, without considering the possibility that they may be all of these, and more. Anyone who likes knitting may enjoy crochet, those who work with a needle may love hand-quilting  or embroidering, an embroiderer may want to bake cakes as a subject for a textile piece. And so the connections go on to create a world of colorful tactile possibilites that are limited only by your reluctance to try something new.”

- JANE BROCKET
The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art and the Comforts of Home

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Four Scriptural Images of Home

Making a home involves constructing and maintaining an environment in which people can flourish in ways in which God desires for people to flourish. Four images, each of them rooted in Christian scripture and tradition, suggest themselves as ways in which Christians can picture what home is for and thus some of what might be involved in making a home.

❈ AN INN
"In the first place, a home is an inn. An inn is a place where a traveler can find a meal and shelter for the night, usually in the company of other travelers. It is a modest sort of place, offering simple accomodations to people of modest means, and with normal, forseeable human needs. Joseph and Mary sought refuge at an inn when Mary's time of delivery drew near. The Good Samaritan took the man who had fallen among theives to an inn, where he cared for the man. So also should a home be a place where it is safe to be if you are hungry or tired, or sick, or a new parent, or newly born yourself, for that matter, because meals and beds and the care that goes with them are available there as a matter of course.

❈ A SANCTUARY
A home is also a sanctuary. A santuary is a place to set apart for encounter, whose separateness exists for the sake of relationship. When God led the people of Israel out of Egypt, he commanded them to build him a sanctuary so that he could dwell in their midst. The psalmist sings of entering the sanctuary of God and having his despair turn to confidence as he encounters God and God's renewing comfort. A sanctuary, in other words, is not a cocoon whose inhabitants dwell in splendid, inpenetrable isolation. A sanctuary has boundaries that are meant to be crossed. A home, likewise, should be a place with a door that can be opened and closed. A place whose very separateness serves to foster relationship both within and across its boundaries. 

 A CITY
A home is a city. Again and again in scripture we find God's desire for human flourishing expressed in terms of a city, from the earthly Jerusalem of the prophet and psalmist, to the heavenly Jerusalem of Revelation. A city is an active place, there are a lot of people there, and they are busy with a lot of things. A city is very different from a suburb, the central notion of which involves getting away from other people and the everyday commotion of urban life. Often we can be surprised when running a household involves more or less continuous activity. We shouldn't be. The life of a city ebbs and flows with the hour and the season, but it never ceases altogether; so it is with the life of a home.

❈ A CASTLE
And finally, a home is a castle. When scripture describes the dwelling place that God designs for himself and for humans, it does so in terms that call to mind the rich ceremonious beauty of a castle with all its pomp and pageantry; the tabernacle, with all its rich fabrics and woods, the jewel-encrusted New Jerusalem. This kind of labor-intensive richness is out of fashion nowadays; and we want everything to be quick and easy, or we think we do. But there is something in the human soul that longs for beauty beyond necessity. Of course, it is easier not to make the bed. But there is a substantial difference between turning down a neatly made bed in the evening and lying down in a mess of sheets left from the night before. To be beautiful, a home need not be luxurious in size or in contents. The beauty of a well-kept home may arise simply from structure and ritual and attention to detail, things that can be present even in the most modest of homes.



- MARGARET KIM PETERSON
Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Longing For The Comforts Of Home

"One of the most fundamental of human longings is the longing for home. We long for a place that feels like the right place, where we belong,  where we ourselves are longed for and welcomed.  And for all its spiritual and psychological dimensions, this longing is physical and material as well.  We want there to be a place where waiting for us is a room, a bed, a chair, a meal - the things that meet the basic needs of embodied things like ourselves.  We want “the comforts of home”, not just somewhere away from home - a fancy hotel, say - but at home, where, we sense, they are supposed to be.” 

- MARGARET KIM PETERSON
Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life

Life is busy right now, and about to become even busier for a season.  I'm still not at liberty to be more specific, but keep checking back, especially around the first of July!  I'll be able to share more then.

In the mean time, I've immersed myself in all things homekeeping, especially vintage housekeeping, which still resonates so deeply with me. I can't get enough of images like these, the sweet scenes of home and a wife and mother tending to the needs of her family.  Don't get me wrong, I don't judge or begrudge any woman the right to pursue a career, that's just not at the heart of who I am and feel called to be, and as such, its what you'll always find this reflected here in this space.

Growing up, I was blessed to have a mother in the home. My mother didn't go to work until I was in high school  and it was a great comfort to me.  Regardless of what may have been happening in my life, knowing my mother was home and available to me at any moment grounded me, I suppose you could say. I liked knowing she was there and would be there to greet me any time I returned. Though our relationship wasn't perfect, her choice to be a stay-at-home mom is a gift I will always treasure, and it greatly influenced my life as a young girl.

Something I enjoy is perusing the plethora of vintage housekeeping books that are available on the Internet Archives. While nothing replaces the real deal of holding a book in your hand, since there is no way I could or should own every book that catches my eye, the archives serves as a useful tool.

A few favorites I've come across are the Mrs. Beeton's Books. Her first book, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, published in 1836, was an instant success. There are actually what look to be a number of updated and revised versions at the archives, including;


and this one looks interesting,


I just love perusing these old texts, which are often filled with practical, as well as a lot of out-dated but still fun ideas. If you enjoy vintage housekeeping, too, I encourage you to spend some time searching them out on the archives.  I often do an initial search on Pinterest, which usually provides me with a number of images of covers and titles and then seek them out on the archives. I find them quite fun, like stepping back to a time when life seemed simpler.