Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January is National Hot Tea Month

When someone told me that, I felt so happy.  We need more like this: national walking on the beach month, national picnic month (I think there is that, in Australia), national reading month, national sewing month, national letter-writing month, national fresh bouquet month, national gloves and hat and dress month....there would not be enough months in a year for all the lovely things to enjoy. 

Giving a nod to national tea month, I took some photos of my guest room...

...and a page from the first winter (1987-88) issue of Victoria, 

...the cover of which you see here.

As some of us have become more interested in using plaids, I thought you would be interested in a cape they featured in one of the articles:

Things have really changed for me over the years. When I got that first issue, I had children at home, and enjoyed them so much!  Now I have 10 grandchildren, and cannot seem to catch up with everything. I try to sew clothing for them, but get waylaid by various interruptions in life and never really get as much done as I want to!

I realize not everyone likes tea, but drinking anything out of a tea cup, even hot apple juice with cinnamon, or coffee, is so refined and slows you down, makes it a ceremony and makes time stand a little more still.  I like to put berries in a cup and pour hot water and add a touch of honey. That is "tea" to me, and I noticed on Pinterest there are a lot of people doing that and calling it tea. I saw a pretty cup with a fragrant peel of orange floating in it and thought how delightful it is to hold a cup of tea with a wonderful natural scent, whether it be a fresh mint leaf or some lemon.

Several ways to present hot tea: 

-Tea time delivered to someone, with service (by you or written instructions) included.

-Tea time, or whatever beverage they prefer, by mail. That is so exciting, to open a box with homemade treats, a cup, a napkin, spoon, a little book, and more.

-Tea for yourself if you are alone. Take a photo, or paint a little water color in your water color journal, write a description, or just savor the moments.

-Travel tea. This is something I've been trying to get right so that the process flows smoothly and efficiently during car travel and still looks nice and appealing.

-Yard promenade tea.  I love to put an tea pot outside on the old bench under the tree, make a cup with some of the herbs available in the season, and walk slowly around the yard looking at things.

-Guest Room tea.  If I deliberately take time, I can sneak into the guest room, feel like a guest and have tea and croissants, trying to get a feel of how my guest might experience it.

-Sewing room tea time. Would not that be interesting, to find a sewing themed teapot or tea cup just for the special tray in the sewing room.

-Laundry room tea.  I have not figured that out, yet. 

-Correspondence tea.  Sit down with a tray on a side table with just a little cup of mint tea and read your mail or get some mail ready to send.

-My daily list/schedule tea.  Although I don't like schedules, there is always that long reminder list to make, and there should be a special tea blend for that. 

It is useless to wait for something special to happen or for someone to declare a special day. At home, the dull world does not rule us, we rule! So we can declare it to be be Happy Day, Quiet Day, Beauty Day, Singing Day, Spa Day, Swing Day, Ship Cruise Day, Train Travel Day, Art Day, Fix Things Day,Learn  Something Day, and whatever day you want.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

House Portraits by Lynn Maust

It takes me months to post other peoples's requests, whether for a blog subject or something else. Some time ago, a long time acquaintance asked me to feature her house portraits and provide information where you may have her paint a portrait of your own house.

Above is the one she made from a photo of my residence, and below is another  she has done. These portraits you will frame, yourself.

For information regarding prices and other details, please contact her here:

Lynn comments here a lot, and is in Pennsylvania. 

Because my house is not my own, I had not considered it portrait-worthy, but I quite liked the sketch which made it so cheerful to me.  A century ago in Victorian culture, people made a point of getting their photos taken with their house in the back ground. You can sometimes find such photos in antique stores. Those generations before us  had a definite attachment and relationship to the dwelling in which they spent so many hours. Often the house was custom made for the couple when they married, and so the place was very personal. There were house portraits in those days, too, done by artists.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Attention to Real Health: Benefits of Sleep

Pinterest category Laura Ashley bedding

One of the benefits of being home is the privilege of living a little more slowly, and building up good health.

Real health care is not the same as medical care, unless you want to consider natures cures (foods, herbs, spices, salves, oils,  minerals, etc) to be medicine.  Sometimes when I hear a political discussion about free health care, I think of the free health care that has always been available since the beginning of time, that being rest, nutrition, water, fresh air, excercise, etc., of which we are already the health care providers. (Try and get insurance or government to provide that...for free....)

When we learn to care for ourselves as much as possible, it eliminates the conflict about who is going to "provide" it or pay for it, because quite a bit of our health is in our own ability. I'm not talking about broken bones or medical needs here, but taking care of yourself using God-made health care provision may prevent serious medical problems.

Of the many facets of health,  sleep and rest do not seem to be promoted as strongly as the others, but it interacts with all the othe things.

Pinterest - category natural bed linens

Consider changing to sheets and blankets that are from natural fibres such as cotton, bamboo, linen, hemp, wool, etc. Here in the US the stores seem to be over stocked with micro fibres, polyester, nylon, and other non-porous, non woven sheets and blankets. I am not sure how this effects our sleep, but I would rather have the natural, earthy fabrics similar to the ones people slept on not so long ago.

 I sympathize with people who have sleep problems, as their health is so adversely affected by it. They are more susceptible to viruses, colds, illness, depression, skin problems, appetite problems, memory problems, and general malaise. You don't have to be a great physician to suspect there might be an advantage to practicing the old ways.

Some people have been effected by the way bedding and sleepwear fabrics are treated in the factories.

Someone back in the 1960's apparently soaked cotton fabric in formaldehyde, then baked it to make it permanent press.   I am not certain if this is still done in manufacturing, so I always wash fabric and cotton sheets when they are new, in attempt to remove the wrinkle free treatment, or I look for special organic type cotton. Not everyone will be adversely affected by these added chemicals, but some people are, and it may affect the quality of their sleep.

Consider the detergents  and softeners we use for bedding and sleepwear. 

(Sometimes I feel like saying "No more Febreeze, please!" because I smell it everywhere in town, inside and outside of businesses and shopping areas, and even motels and restaurants.)

There is a cleaning vinegar available that works quite well in the washing machine and does not leave any vinegar scent. It works in the wash and in the rinse. 

Someone told me to add some orange or lemon essential oil to the rinse in the machine.   She also suggested I put a pleasant smelling essential oil on a cloth and wipe it across the pillow cases and sheets to aid in sleep.  There are all kinds of things the ancients did, I am sure, that many of us are now discovering.
Cotton sleepwear by Lanz of Salzburg 

While the physical comforts have to be considered when getting good sleep, there are other factors worth looking at:

Anxiety, grief, disorganization, uncertainty,  being always rushed and pressed for time, sudden changes, food additives, heavy responsibilities, weather, finances and things beyond your control, can affect your ability to truly rest.

Sometimes there are things in your life that you know are not quite right and need to change, that cause sleep problems.

Rising too early, using an alarm, and staying up too late can cause a sleep problem.  When I was homeschooling, I never used alarm clocks and I found the children adjusted to the light and the darkness and slept as long as they needed to. When they slept later or "slept in" I knew they may be fighting off a virus, or the body and mind needed the extra sleep for some other reason.

Adequate fresh air can also aid in sleep. This is something of a subject of its own. 

The water you bathe in or brush your teeth with may be chlorinated and that may have an effect on the quality of your sleep.

Too many added chemicals and pharmaceuticals in the body can cause sleep irregularities. This also is a subject that is covered by various physicians on the web.

The benefits of sleep are: better memory, better digestion and elimination, better appetite, better concentration and focus, a feeling of well-being, reduced anxiety, improved hair, nails, skin and complexion, normal stamina to do ordinary things, less accidents, ability to have a goal and achieve it, adequate creativity, and much more. 

The different aspects of health, such as nutrition and excercise, interact with one another, and affect one another. Your sleep health may have something to do with other health factors.

People frequently recite Philippians 4:8 as a remedy for uneasiness that may affect your ability to rest. We have, over the years quoted and thought of this phrase thousands of times when troubled and sleepless. To think on good and lovely things---yes, you are not just allowed to do that. You are supposed to do that. It helps so much to think of the loveliest and pleasant things when preparing to retire or rest.  I never understand how people can listen to so much bad news on the air waves so close to bed time.

Researching how to get sleep naturally will reveal the many benefits of sleep. I even read somewhere that people who were having a struggle with their weight were not getting enough sleep. I am still researching this myself. If you are interested in finding out more, look up "natural sleep" or "getting sleep naturally." Dr. Axe, Dr. Cherry, Dr. Amy Myers,  and many other nature focused physicians have extensive websites with information about sleep.

I am sure everyone who reads this knows what "burning the candle at both ends" means. And, I know God has provided ways for us to get good sleep.

Psalm 127:2  It is vain for you to rise up early, To take rest late, To eat the bread of toil; For so he giveth unto his beloved sleep.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

When Something Is Brought to You

Above (Pinterest, under the category of breakfast trays)

Recently I noticed the effect of having something handed to me.

While I am capable of helping myself to a cup of tea, there was a completely different and ennobling feeling when someone handed it to me.

Decades ago when I attended a decorum class for ladies, I learned of a gracious way to hand something to someone. Instead of roughly shoving the gift toward another person, we learned how to take the object, whether it was a book, a card, a cup of tea, flowers or a gift, and with a graceful motion, using the hand with palm up, or underhanded motion if you will, carefully waltz the object toward the person.

 This was for ladies of course. We certainly didn't insist men do it,  and one of the reasons for learning how to hand something that way to someone, was to become more graceful and ladylike. The point was not to become affectatious, but to keep from having mishaps and spills and accidents by using motions that were too abrupt.

Of course, how it is handed to you is not the main point of this post.  It doesn't really matter if something is awkwardly given. It is the transforming quality it has on your mood, the way it lifts your thinking, and brightens the moment when someone hands you something.

Most people enjoy going out to eat or staying in a hotel where things are done for them, because it makes them feel so special and pampered. It provides a temporary rest from their labors, and certainly most of us are often working and serving others. I believe it is the luxury hotel effect when someone hands you something pleasant.  I was amazed how a child's offering of handpicked wild flowers made me feel, like being transported to higher ground. And,  to the giver, the happy response from the recipient is a double delight.

One day when I wasn't feeling too great, my granddaughter  brought me a small tray with a tea cup, tea bag and a small container of hot water, along with one of her hand made get-get well notes.  I revived quite easily after that, even though I was perfectly capable and of preparing the tray myself.  There is just "something" about having it brought to me.

Another lady of my  acquaintance comes to the ladies class armed with a stack of tiny cellophane treat bags tied in silver or gold twist ties and ribbon, containing anything from pens and notepads to lip gloss and lotion, or a variety of her homemade baked items.  While all of us are familiar with Dollar Tree merchandise and have brought the same items home,  and can make our own breads and muffins, the way she prepares it as a gift and hands it to each lady, has an interesting, happy effect on us that transforms the countenance.

Mr. S. sometimes comes from his home office and hunts me down in whatever part of the house I disappear to, and says, "Can I bring you anything?"  I always accept, if it is convenient for him. If I ask for anything  that requires an ingredient that we have run out of, he will ask if I want him to go shopping and get it for me.  I don't always take him up on it because it's easy to take advantage of Mr. S.  If I said, "Oh yes, I am in the mood for twelve dancing clowns", Mr. S. would try to get them for me! He is just that accommodating.  He had a very good mother who taught him how how be kind and helpful and put the needs of others first.

It is so nice to have something handed to you. Is there a special ingredient in those common gifts of refreshments and small, useable, disposable items? Why do children love the inexpensive favors they get at celebrations and birthday parties?  It is the same with a homemaker, and so, even at home, when someone brings me any small thing (a branch of rosemary, a refreshing beverage, a tea cup)  I am swept away in a moment to a place of luxury.

Years ago there was a business that provided a subscription to a weekly gift of things used by homemakers, from personal-care items to home care, pretty kitchen towels and other things, even spices, etc.  While ladies at home can go out any time to the nearest market and get whatever they want, a package delivered to the door plucks the strings of the heart and plays a soothing melody for a long time. Having something handed to you is much different than going out and getting it.

Most people can afford to treat themselves to these things, but when someone hands them to you it adds an extra dimension to the enjoyment.  It is like being elevated to a high classed tea room or being a guest, but even more, there is a definite heavenly aura about it that stays with you for a long time.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Organizing for Your Lifestyle by Jane Stoller

(Picture from Pinterest category pale pink notebooks and pens.)

An editor has given me Jane Stoller's book "Organizing For Your Lifestyle",  and I agreed to write a review. 

To order:

I know it is very hard work to write a book, so I want to read this one carefully, especially because it has so much well-planned detail in it. Here is how it has helped me so far as I have read it:

Due to the tremendous amount of activity in my life - sewing for myself and others, extending hospitality, traveling to see family members, meal preparation (we try to eat at home most of the time)  and other things that absorb my time, organization has fallen off the wagon, and I mean really off!

I am not naturally organized and am always looking for a better plan. This shows how to adapt organization to your own way of life.

The book rightly suggests that it is a great deal simpler to organize when there are not so many things to sort through, and the chapters feature different rooms of the house.

Several good points Jane has made (as I have read so far) are:

-There is a connection between disorder in the home, and anxiety. The anxiety lessens as you get more organized. 

 I know anxiety is a big concern today, as it weakens the body and mind and produces all kinds of maladies. I listened to a health practioner, an MD on a radio program back in the 1970's giving hands-on remedies for anxiety, and one thing he suggested for women at home, was organizing a spice collection or a kitchen drawer. He said after moving one or two things, check how you feel and then move and organize more. The hands, he said, engage the mind and trigger off a feeling of well-being when organizing.  I have tried this even when I have been ill in bed. Reaching over to tidy up my side table and dust everything with a clean tissue, put me at ease and helped me rest better.

-Personal  organization tailored to your own lifestyle can make you healthier. 

Jane makes the point that your excercise and eating habits are better when your posessions and your rooms are culled and organized. I know this is true, because I am less likely to grab just anything to eat, when I am not so frustrated and confused by a disorganized kitchen, and I'm more eager to excercise when my house is in order.

-Decluttering helps us feel better. My mind whirls and spins with a thousand disjointed thoughts when I am not organized.  As anxiety increases, the fight-or-flight feeling (mostly flight!) takes over and causes loss of focus on the things that would bring on the most calm.

-We sleep better when we are organized. 

-We spend less money when we are organized. In my own case, I know if I had the money I spent replacing things I lost somewhere in the house in the last 45 years, I might be rich!

These points alone are enough to make me have a stronger desire and personal enthusiasm for organizing my posessions.

Because I have been getting up every so often to organize something, I have not been reading this book very fast, but I hope to complete this review on another post.

I particularly like the line drawings and sketches of orderly closets and shelves, and the description of how to organize things by how often you use them.

Note: Like all books, none can know your needs and the details in your life. It is good to be discerning. My own organization has been interrupted, like many of you, by the busyness of family life, weddings, illness of parents, care of parents and their homes, etc., births, emergencies of all kinds. Please note that I don't endorse everything written in books, nor do at endorse everything on every blog on my blogroll. I try to choose books and blogs that may be helpful or edifying in some way. 

Friday, January 05, 2018

A Vintage Pattern and Some Fabric Called Snuggle

Photo: Pinteresr, Ralph Lauren teapot

Florals look so complimentary when paired with plaid and tartan prints.  There was a company in Oregon that had shops in the malls called "Daisy Kingdom" which featured fabrics and patterns that designed plaids and roses together and the effect was so sweet. The company isn't there anymore but some of their patterns are still sold in Simplicity pattern books, and the older ones can be found at etsy stores.

These two show how she combined plaids with florals:

Pattern photos from Pinterest.

I finished my green plaid dress from the "Snuggle" brand flannel I got on sale at Joann fabrics, and was just unable to get any real good photo of me in it. Most of the people that took my picture were not  able to take good fashion sewing photos, as they are used to taking pictures of scenery, so I gave up and took one of my own, which isn't much better!

This dress has a lot of tucks and ruffles you can't see in the picture. I have worn it to a couple of social events, and I migh end up putting it on the dress form to show, although this is one dress that looks better worn than on the dress form.

Hopefully I can get a proper photo-shoot for this dress, since, as a sewing project, it was a dream to put together and it is a style and fabric that gives a feeling of happiness.  This fabric doesn't shred or separate the needle stitches, acting more like a high quality cotton. I made a fascinator and bow to go with, and I will certainly try to get someone to take some proper pictures to share here.  

I now have this piece of Snuggle flannel,

 which I would like to transform into the look of this vintage Pattern, New Look 6151. I did not buy this pattern because I likely have a similar skirt pattern, and, judging by the looks of it, I think the shawl is a swath of fabric draped different ways, and might not actually require a pattern.

I don't wear plaid at all, as I have not figured out how to make it look good on me, but with the recent green dress I made, I wore a long white scarf with it to soften the boxy print. In th 1980's, white blouses were worn a lot, or battenburg collars. I found that any color or print would be worn, even if it didn't really go with your complexion, if there was a white collar or a white blouse, or something near the face in a flattering color. 

I also wanted to share a recent find at Goodwill: a teacup, which shows no signs of use, made by Paragon.  The prices are going up at thrift stores, and this one cost $4 but I used my 20% off donate coupon when I took in some donations.  Ladies who come to tea always like using a new cup and this one had already been used a couple of times here.
I picked up that piece of lichen that fell from a tree outside, because I thought it was interesting, looks a lot like kale, and is a lovely sage green, a prominent color in my house.

I perceive that ladies who are used to reading this blog are not as interested in "conflict" type posts, and I don't enjoy writing them as much as other subjects. I have one more "caution" type post coming up, and hope especially that young people will read them.  Being a social, people-oriented type can bring its hazards, and while it is important to be interdependent with your own family, it is also wise to be cautious when it comes to peer-dependency.

Examples of plaid garments posted on Pinterest:

This one is from Pendleton wool company:

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Being Cautious About Mentors

In my previous post, "Being Cautious About Authors," referring to books on marriage, I brought up several reasons not to depend on personality tests and formulas found in marriage books. Every year there are new marriage books on the market, and though many of them may have some good principles, no book is perfect, and you can't expect any book completely fit your needs.

That being stated, I do believe in keeping books for reference and research and furthering my knowledge of what is being taught. Some books are helpful, but some are not fit for the family library if they are not in keeping with certain standards.

The same can be said for choosing a mentor. Finding a mentor was foreign to many of us born in the 1940's and 1950's. I had not heard of it until recently. Confident people, raised by pioneer parents  who liked the challenge of figuring out their own problems and fixing things, didn't need mentors. My parents were in their 20's when I was very young, and throughout my life at home with them, I can't recall them ever needing anyone's help, or wanting it, in their personal lives.  Their own parents had patterned a way of life that they followed in their adult years. They loved their independence and they enjoyed finding out how to do things; how to be successful. 

With so many broken families in the last generation, young women who lack the advantage of parents and grandparents examples in life have found it necessary to find mentors who could share their knowledge with them.

When we were growing up, we were told that people, no matter how good, could always disappoint you, and while it is a blessing to have fellowship and trust and learning from each other, the final mentoring is from the word of God. It is never good to put your hopes completely in a mentor, because people can always disappoint you and let you down. 

If you treat people as friends and share good information from them, they can remain friends, but if you elevate them to the level of mentors, then there will be a real let-down when they have problems or make blunders.  Friendships can yield a lot of mentoring and still remain friendships even though they fail or have shortcomings. It is when we put others on a pedestal that we suffer so much disappointment when they fall.  

This is also something to keep in mind regarding our parents. We expected them to mentor us and guide us, and many grown children were not gracious enough to accept that their parents could not be perfect; that they had human failings, that they were growing and learning and maturing like everyone else. 

When you realize a mentor is just a person, and keep your expectations at a human  level, you won't be disappointed when you find out they are not your ideal, spiritually, created in your image. If you regard them as equal human beings, you can forgive them easily when they don't measure up or when they give faulty advice. 

Our parents cautioned us not to become peer-dependent, or enamored of anyone. They would say, 

                                                "Even they have feet of clay."

This expression came from the book of Daniel in the Bible, where King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed that he saw a statue made of gold, sliver, and brass, but with feet of clay.

Daniel interpreted the vision to mean that the clay represented the weakness of the Babylonian empire and its collapse.

Knowing that all people have feet of clay will help you become strong and less peer-dependent or mentor-dependent. In fact, mentors ought to "work themselves out of a job" by teaching you thoroughly enough to make you less dependent on them. 

I am not sure that a mentor is something the Bible speaks of, unless by mentor, people are referring to the ones God put on their lives, such as parents, the church and other types of teachers.

 In addition to being cautious about authors and books, be reasonable about mentors. We want mentors but they will never have the same kind of faultless perfection as Christ. 

It is good to know people who will lift you up and to be able to lift others up when they need it. Those are the most precious friendships, but we have to be careful not to elevate anyone so high that we become crushed when they do not live up to our expectations. 

This disappointment can be avoided when you make a decision to become that example you always wanted from someone else.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Being Cautious About Authors

It has been on my mind for a long time to caution ladies about following authors and their advice on marriage and child-training.

It might be safer to read homemaking and housekeeping books than marriage books.

There was a book published a few years ago that some of the home schoolers latched on to and followed. I ended up with several copies of it because people began sending it to me.  It divided husbands into personality types and then applied problems to the personality type.

I couldn't find any Biblical evidence of labeling people this way, and have seen over the years how easy it is to mis-judge someone based on a few quirks and characteristics.

Someone who seems at first to be very dynamic and knowledgeable may not be that way upon further acquaintance, and another person who seems quiet and steady and wise may be the opposite beneath his exterior.  

Ladies married a number of years also find out that people are in different stages of growth and personal development throughout life, and may increase their wisdom and abilities over time. They may be labeled one way at first, and given another personality label at last.   We may find the so called leader may do better as a follower and the adventurous person may become more comfortable with things remaining the same in his life.

People change as they adjust to adversity and change their character as they learn and grow.

Throughout history attempts have been made to revive the pre-Christian secular practice of typing personalities. In the 1970's a marriage book by Tim and Beverly LaHaye wrote of four basic temperament types (using ancient pagan philosophy, which they do not admit in the book). Since then, others have written books using the same beliefs, not really knowing what fleshly things these temperament types are based on. Further research on this can be found here

The problem with books on marriage is this: there is never a book about your own mate, and no one can understand your marriage completely excepting you.

The wife is the best expert on her husband, herself and her marriage.

This is also one reason there are so few posts about marriage on this blog and I don't actually recommend any book. I believe the principles in some books may be helpful but I still think the wife is the best "book" for her marriage. She knows more about her husband than any book or counselor. She is the best advisor and counsellor for her husband.

While there is nothing completely wrong with reading a book on marriage, I think it's better to look at it with interest but to be careful not to put your faith in it as a cure for your husband. In the end, it is the wife who has the knowledge to manage her own marriage.

I realize many women lack confidence or are puzzled at the behavior of their husbands, and are searching inside marriage books for answers. These answers may help, for awhile, but the wife is the deciding factor in what goes on in the home.  If she is a real helper, she will tell her husband when something is not right, when something has to change, and what she won't put up with. 

Women who seek counselling usually discover the counsellor knows only what you tell them about you. They have not lived in your home for the last 5 years and do not know your history or the habits of the husband. Eventually, most wives discover that they actually have the ability and the key to creating a happy home life, and that counselling sometimes makes things worse, especially when one person knows how to manipulate the counsellor.

The best counsellor in a marriage is the woman. I say this because women are relationship-oriented and the thing that is most on her mind is how to keep love and peace and happiness in the home.  

There isn't anything wrong with discussing a problem with someone who can help find solutions, or with someone who has some marriage experience and has been through some difficulties and learned from them.  Ultimately though, it is the wife who will know what she wants in marriage, and can relate that to the husband.

In the Victorian era when familiy sensibilities dominated the culture, the husband and wife's behavior toward each other would have been observed by extended family, and someone would have got a good talking to from a father, brother, grandfather, mother, aunt, etc.  Today, without this kind of support for each other, women, often in desperation will seek help from the reading of many books.

However, no matter how much good knowledge these books contain, you, the wife, know more than you even think you do, about what is happening with you or your husband.

Particularly in some of the more recent marriage books published new in the last 20 years, is a lot of scriptural error regarding marriage.

There is a misplaced sense of submission and a misunderstanding of headship, often pushed to an extreme, in these books. One author even wrote that wives must never do what they really want to do, but only what the husband wants her to do. There is no scriptural  evidence for this, yet many authors wrest meanings from what would have otherwise been beautiful Biblical concepts, into unyielding rules that make one or both mates unhappy.

Another common point of error in these new religious marriage books is the teaching that a husband is "prophet, priest and King" in marriage. Only Christ is prophet, priest and King. 

Some of these errors are caused by a misreading of the Bible, and a lack of knowledge of the "sense" of words used in scripture.  It is always good to dig deeper and learn the meaning of words and the sense  in which they are used, because without that understanding, it is easy to teach error. The sense and intention of words in scripture is another study in itself. 

So this is why today I say "Watch out for those authors" and take their writings as opinions, and be sure to investigate the teachings both scripturally, historically and with a discerning eye before you follow them. 

When an author uses a verse from the Bible, be sure and read what it says before and after that verse, to get the full meaning of it. I have seen some people rely only on what a preacher says but never look up the surrounding scriptures to see if he is preaching it in its full meaning.

There are no two people exactly alike, and so, in marriage, the husband and wife can often solve their own problems without books and counsellors.  If the wife would remember to be a good "helper" and speak up when she sees her husband doing something wrong, and will help him stay on the right track by reminding him what makes her happy/unhappy, (no one else can do it) she becomes a better counsellor than any book or therapist.

I know I could say a lot more about this, but today my message is "Please be careful not to follow any marriage or child-rearing book whole heartedly." 

When you read scripture, remember that the sentences were not originally numbered into verses like they are today. They were more often read as paragraphs.  Sometimes these authors take one verse or sentence and highlight it, without the surrounding sentences. In reading about marriage on the Bible, it is good to remember that no one verse should contradict any other teaching.  So, when an author writes that you have to go along with everything your husband wants, to take into consideration what the rest of the Bible has to say. 

Also remember that men are not zapped with some special spiritual superiority just because they get married. If they make a foolish decision, it doesn't become wise just because they are a husband. This is why a marriage needs two people. The wife has to learn to be a good help meet. If her husband is falsely leading the family in the wrong way, she has to help him find a better way. There is a reason the Bible calls a woman a helper fit for him. It is not about helping him plow a field or construct a house, as some authors insist. It is about helping him succeed as a person, make good decisions, and do what will benefit them both the best way. 

While it is great to read of other people's observations and books about marriage, it is wise to be cautious about using their experience and advice in your own marriage. The wife often has the answer to marriage problems but lacks the confidence to do anything about it because of a false sense of submission, but God never intended submission to become passivity or for people to use it to their own detriment.  I know many people who, through misguided submission, went along with very unwise decisions and lost their happiness in the home. 

 Women used to have a lot of spunk and be able to manage their marriages, but a generation seems to have skipped observing how grandma handled grandpa, and how they interacted with each other. Lacking that, we have turned to authors for our knowledge.

You, as a wife, know more about your husband than anyone else. It is okay to tell him what you need or what bothers you.  Some authors offer bad advice to refrain from telling the husband anything that bothers them.

It would take many more pages of discussion to explain this, but for now, I will repeat the warning about embracing the teachings of some of the recent authors on marriage. Some of the newest authors have taken their inspiration from other books that read more into the Bible than is there, advising things that are not right.

Solomon said,

Ecclesiastes 12:12  And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Added: where there are sound principles, common sense, and time worn values I recognize from our great grandparents who also were Christians, I accept books on marriage, but with caution. In spite of anything a good marriage book says, the wife knows her husband best. Those books that are well balanced and not teaching one-sided deference or acquiescence, I do not object to. However, even the oldest marriage books and commentaries regarding marriage must line up with scripture. The recent flood of religious marriage books  are heavy on the psychology and religion of "patriarchy." I never went along with all that when the bloggers began touting it, because I wasn't sure of it and had not heard of it until blogging began. I don't believe the scriptures teach it above all other spiritual teachings the way this movement does.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Deliberately Relaxing

  I am sure if you read one of my previous posts about relaxation that you have tried to relax, but if you are like me and many others, while you are sitting still drinking tea, your mind is in a whirl with all the things you must do. As I stated previously, the Australians do much better at deliberately relaxing.

  It is often impossible for me to follow the idea of leisure which I so often post here, because of my heritage.  My husband's Grandmother in Kansas, would say to her farmer husband when he came in to sit a spell (or set a spell, as they said), "Sonny, (that was his nickname for as long as anyone could remember) while you are resting, how about fixing the roof (fence, porch, driveway)."   No wonder we think about these things when we are in a relaxed position. So, you see, we all came by it legitimately.

One thing that kept us sitting still yesterday, was a new Hallmark movie, "The Christmas Train."  I rarely buy a video unless it is extraordinary and haven't bought one since  "Love Finds You in Charm." I may buy this one when it appears in the Hallmark store. 

This one  reminds me of the old technicolor movies with the clear color, beautiful sound, the layers of scenery and the feeling of warmth. I like also that it is a clean movie with no mind-bending agenda. It was just a story.

Hallmark usually operates on a less than lavish budget, but this is a "hall of fame" production, which means they pulled out all the stops, and really decorated the train stations and the inside of the train was wonderful. It looks like a big cinema production, the kind you would go to the theatre to see. If you get a chance, watch some of the cast interviews, especially Dermot Mulroney, the central figure of the story, describe how the movie set was made into a train so realistically that the movie of scenery going past the train Windows made the performers a little dizzy when they looked at it. They felt they were on a real train. They did film quite a bit of the movie on actual trains.

Now, you might be thinking a quarter way through this movie that this is a slow story with a typical sappy romantic theme, but that is just to throw you off the mystery, to which there are clues all through the script. I had to watch it several times to see where the characters slipped up and left hints of what was really going on.

 Mr. S., who mainly likes old westerns and car-chases, stayed up late and watched this with me and it kept his attention. He wasn't secretly writing ideas and plans and schedules in his little notebook like he usually does when he's not interested in something. All attention was on board the train. Men like anything with a vehicle in it, whether a boat or a plane. I'm not so sure they are as crazy about coaches, barouches and wagons, but a train moves slightly faster.

Some of the details of the movie I enjoyed: the chess game with a surprise outcome, the song about the Christmas train, which I believe was sung by the male lead of the movie, Agnes, the lady who is a resident train passenger for some unexplained reason, the movie producer who wants to have a script about train passengers, and the sleigh scene. There is a pleasing mix of generations in this film.

The only thing missing was a scene of afternoon tea being served in tea cups, but this wasn't the Royal Scotsman.  Even "When Calls the Heart" pictures the Mountie having tea in th saloon. More tea scenes, please, Hallmark! Since so many of their movies are filmed in Canada, proper tea sets should be accessible. 

There was such an unexpected twist at the end. I never saw it coming. 

I liked that  although the story had some friction  in it from past resentments coming from the two main characters, they had the grace to be kind to one another.   

I think it has to be viewed several times before you can pick up some of the details in the script. 

You can go to and  see behind the scenes and interviews with the performers.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Susan Rios Card

California artist Susan Rios send this card on email today and I want to share it. On email, it is animated with snow falling! You can see more of her art on and other places and n the web where she sells her paintings and prints.

Last year, Hallmark produced this video, a caper around Oregon, which is about a young woman trying to get to her Mother's place for Christmas. She is a creator of hand made ornaments and on the way home manages to pick me a free puppy and travel with an FBI agent, unknown to her, which results in an amusing mayhem.

I like both these Canadian performers, and especially Meghan Ory's wonderful smile! A wonderful 2016 production. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Today

I have a couple of early morning pictures for you from my home. It all looks much better in real life, but I want to post a greeting and am busy sewing, so I don't gave anything to show except these. My kitchen is looking better and I've asked for new canisters to complete the look, but Mr. S. would rather I go get them myself and then tell everyone it is a gift from him. Does anyone else do that?

 I was delighted that nice songs are being put on signs, and this one is from the song "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas":

Tomorrow is Christmas in Australia. They are a day ahead of us. I've had several Australian Christmases and really enjoy their deliberate relaxation, which is part of their lifestyle.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Little Sewing

This is the daughter version of the ensemble I made with the green plaid flannel snowflake fabric. The outfits looked a lot better on them, than this photo shows. I made a matching shawl collar scarf that could be tied in front or on the side, and the effect was quite pretty and energizing, I thought. I bought them cotton pullover shirts to go with.

I'm sorry this is all for this post. I never got the kitchen ready for a photograph because there was always some activity there, so maybe tomorrow,

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My Seasonal Decor 5

The kitchen is a very active part of my home, and not as easy to make show-worthy, so I am sharing only one section of it today. Above you see part of the porch scene, using holly cut from the trees around here. It is frozen in the container, as we had a sudden cold spell.

I have used this lunch box for many different things, including a serving dish to hold snacks. This year I have lined it with the rosemary and Sage which is growing prolifically in the cold months. Small apples and led-lite flameless candles complete the vignette and the whole thing smells very pleasant.

In a kitchen not designed for a kitchen table, I was determined to add one, even if just for looks, and I'm glad I did because people often sit there and talk to me while I am working in the kitchen.

I'm using two outdoor chairs with the table because I don't like leaving them in the harsh elements this time of year.

Some of the shops are selling chalk boards and plaques and paintings quoting the lines from the song "Winter Wonderland" which Is so delightful.  I tried to think of a phrase from that song that I had not seen in a shop, and came up with this one:

But then, I noticed on Pinterest how popular this phrase was already:

How do the Australians handle this song, when it is the hottest time of year?

This year, in consideration of our friends and rellies limited living spaces, we gave them these:

One reason I didn't get the other side of the kitchen ready to photograph is I've been attempting to make these again, and my kitchen isn't quite recovered:

I'm not going to tell you how many years I've tried to make croissants, or how many recipes I've used. This year I almost got it. The flavor was perfect and they puffed into nice layers.  I think I know what mistakes I've been making over the years ---rolling the dough too thinly and blending it too well makes it turn out like bread.  Thick layers rolled loosely puts more space inside the croissant. 

 But of course I've watched videos and read tutorials and still not quite where I want to be in making these. One mistake I've made is trying to make them with the same texture and appearance of the commercial ones found in the grocery stores.  These taste so much better and the texture is still light, and not rubbery like the bakery made ones. Also they toast really nicely when split and are still tender melt in your mouth.  The recipe is  the book called "Bread" which is a historical and educational cookbook, but I do not think the recipe matters as much as how the dough is rolled.

I can't use the store bought croissants as a guideline to what they should be like.  The homemade ones are very different. The commercial ones are the replicas!

Ingredients: butter, eggs, milk, flour, yeast, salt.

Shelf life: if you are alert you can save some and make them last more than an hour.


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