Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November Moments

The month has seemed to fly by!
Everything has been going well, I apologize for the lack of updating, it really has been too long!!
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The acoustics of the season keep me outside, enjoying the crisp Autumn air--There seems to be a rythym in the woods, a diligent spirit of preparation in nature...Knowing our still, mild days will only last for a short while--yet we eagerly anticipate the upcoming days ahead.

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Our pear trees have bloomed--perhaps believing the fantastic hope that Spring is here, or rather, forgetting we still have a cold winter season to yet experience. However, the abundance of flowers here at the Cottage has been most welcome, especially among the fallen leaves of crimson and gold.

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I recently returned home from the wonderful state of Ohio! I traveled up with friends to attend a wedding, and I'm so glad I did--it was a beautiful event! The ceremony and reception was so unique! Notice the bride's vintage style veil :)
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A Candlelit Evening spent with friends

In the outdoor kitchen, 'swamp stew' has been prepared on the old woodstove...


and final preparations are made as friends begin to arrive.


After we ate, everyone gathered around the bonfire, and I was asked to share my experience at the rural village where I 'lived' as if it were the 1860's.

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I mentioned how one day the Impressment agents came by the homestead demanding we pay our taxes upfront. Without cash, we had to pay in produce and precious food preserves for them to collect. Distraught, I asked the head cook how we would get by without the food--She answered that we would just have to manage without. That scenario was just one of many 'dramatic moments' that we experienced during the event! I must admit, it was a bit of an adjustment to come back to 'everyday life'--but I look back and am thankful for the experience!
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Garden update

I planted Snow peas as an experiment :) They're doing well along with the greens (collards, kale, turnips). We harvested our sweet potatoes, and the yeild was a little over 50 lbs! I also planted garlic this month.

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::From a dear reader::

A question on Contentment:
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"I went to college, got my degree and am now working on my Master’s in Education online. I’m having a hard time enjoying my place in life.
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I’ve have been struggling with my role of being a homemaker and housewife. I came across your blog and found it to be amazingly refreshing. It is so crazy how society places such a stigma on being a stay-at-home mother or housewife, but I wouldn’t trust anyone else to raise my son or take care of my home.
Unfortunately, I have found myself playing into the lies that I am not good enough in this role. I know God calls us all to something greater- and His ideas of greatness are often very different than ours.
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Do you have any tips on contentment? Is your current lifestyle choice something you desire to continue for the duration of your life?"--Mrs. M.
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Dear Mrs. M,
Thank you for your question!

Being content at home definetely takes a state of mind and personal conviction that I've had to grow in. Yet, as time goes by, I'm finding this path to be a blessing. I can relate to questioning whether I'm 'good enough' in this (aspiring) role...but I take comfort in these words:
"A wise man will hear, and will increase learning;
and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels." Proverbs 1:5
~
Honestly, I've just been trying to ask questions, gain knowledge (in practical life skills and arts), and using my time at home as productively as I can.
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~Mother chopping vegetables for soup~

What has nurtured my heart toward home has been my Mother's example, and in turn she has appreciated the example of various mentors throughout the years. Here are books that cultivated her desire for homemaking while still working (before homeschooling and staying at home)
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"The spirit of Loveliness" by Emilie Barnes -- "Love in every room" by Karla Dornacher,

"A Mothers Heart" by Ellyn Sanna & "Wholeheart Education" by Clay Clarkson
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~Bringing a touch of Autumn indoors~
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In the meantime, my family does stay active with attending various events, volunteering and a host of other things, but I believe what has helped me most in contentment has been to love being at home. At the end of the day, coming home to our little Cottage is a retreat for us.
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~My Mother clearing out weeds and undergrowth~
I appreciate that my parents have always shared their vision for our home with my siblings and I, and have passed on a Pioneering spirit that has been a blessing. I understand that not everyone's family unit is the same, but for us thus far, I don't look back with any regrets but look to the future with excitement!
~
Dear Readers, What are your tips on Contentment? I'd love to hear from you!!

28 comments:

Stephanie Ann said...

I love that photo of your mother! I also like that you addressed a reader question. It's so sweet and refreshing. It's so weird how fast the norm becomes abnormal.In less than 50 years it has become unacceptable to do the job that women had been doing for hundreds of years.

I don't think it is wrong if a woman wants to work but I do think it is wrong that people assume "homemaker" means useless or lazy. What job is harder or more important?

dlogan said...

I recently read this,"Comparison is the death of contentment." Trust your heart dear readers, and God provides a way for self-understanding. I think a mother's heart and hard work is the true foundation of a blessed home. Eventually this is honored!

Blessings,Darby

Rynarda said...

I can't speak much to the topic of contentment. It's something I'm really struggling with myself as I wait for God to provide my husband a job so that I can start the transition out of the work-world. I hate that work keeps me from putting my energy my focus on him and the house like I want to. I do think that we humans have an innate tendency to think that the grass is greener on the other side. It would be tempting to blame that on the Fall, but I actually think that maybe it's part of how God designed us so that we would be inventive and creative (although I'll certainly admit that the Fall has resulted in a strong tendency to go overboard on it).

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

I think it is wise to find a Christian woman who oozes with contentment and ask her to be your mentor.

Growing up, I knew nothing about being a homemaker. When I first became a SAHM, I was miserable, because I was fighting against the current. The magazine "Above Rubies" became my mentor. All of those precious women encouraged me in the high-calling of motherhood. I learned to not only be content, but to be joyful, thrive and flourish in my home.

I now have six children, I homeschool, and have been a SAHM for 12 years. It just gets better. I also have no desire to go back to work after they are all grown and gone. I want to be a SAHM grandma, too! I want to be available to my family if they need me.

Suzanne said...

Another wonderful book is Sally Clarkson's The Mission of Motherhood. I have been a sahm for about 12 years now. Previously, I worked pt as a college teacher. It is a complete joy to stay at home. I think not listening to the naysayers and being convicted in your role is key to contentment:-)

AJ said...

For me, contentment is trusting in God at this very moment. Whether you are single or married, have children or do not, working or staying home trust in God because HE has plan for you. HE may have you experiencing your current situation to prepare you for the future. I'm married with no children and I work full-time. I trust in God and ask him for my "path" in life. Right now, it's providing for my household and helping my mom. Right now, it's having the time to make quilts and blankets for charity. Right now, it's being able to baby-sit for someone else. Right now, I am content.

AuntLou said...

My two cents worth:
My biggest struggle was with the view others seemed to take of me. Even my sister-in-law, a SAHM who homeschooled, picked up cleaning jobs as soon as she could manage it, while I found it difficult to keep my home and family without adding extras. My husband's full support helped. I also concentrated on cutting corners, financially, which helped us pay off our little house.

I expected to work "out" after my son graduated, at least part-time. Mom died that same Spring and God closed the two doors I tried. My husband had need for extra support the next year, then my father, who lives next door.

I am selling a little on Ebay, but not enough to call it income, and while struggling with depression and anxiety, still find myself getting off balance, at times. This has been so often the case that, reluctantly, I hired the lady who cleans for my father to come in twice a month. She is cheerful and encouraging. She is not shocked at my stacks and lacks. I didn't want to spend the money, but I now feel the Lord is in it.

My husband's attitude, even with the ups and downs, and a deepening awareness of how much my heavenly Father does love me, are my anchor. The availability I have to precious people in pain via the phone or internet or in person, blesses me, too.

God bless you! :)

Elizabeth Williams said...

So many good and encouraging things here. I found myself asking, "What am I supposed to be doing now?" after becoming a stay at home mother. It is amazing to me that when the hearts desire is truly pure, God works things out to fullfil that desire. Gradually over the last few years God is causing a change in me, through His Word, through fellowship or mentoring and through websites such as this. Praise God. My daughter wants to be a SAHM but must work. My advice to her and to all those mom's who find themselves in that situation, is: to find God and contentment in whatever situation you are in. He is able to give you that and to change your situation if it is His Best for you. Thank you for this beautiful, beautiful blog.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mia,
After having our only child, my husband and I agreed on my being a SAHM. Sure we're heavily in debt without my pay, but, I am happy to be here for both my son (who is now 15 and homeschooling with SOS) and my husband who works 2nd shift. We lack alot of "new items" but we don't lack love for one another. I thank God so very much for my life and family. Yes, we all have to prioritize what is most important in each of our lives, and what our Heavenly Father feels is best for us.Time is short, enjoy each other and don't worry about the trivial things. Aim for Eternity!

Ariadone said...

For a young lady who is so creative and energetic and loving as you are it would easily be that yu feel the urge to go out into the world and chase an exciting, trilling, speed-up modern life, anxious to experience it all...There for indeed I feel like your parents and your lovely family have done an extradordinairy "job" with passing on skills to breahth life as it is to you now and be content. It sobers up to find that contentment, wich is mostly for older people who have lived a full life with many waves alraidy, is needed for peacemaking at the coming end of earthly life.
Your blog is a gift to us readers..your words are so gentle and your heart so kind...The up-speed society in my country, The Netherlands, would starttle you completely...but my children ( 18, 22 and 24 ) are shaping their lives into this society. In them I see the urge to travel to places of more wild nature and easy pace, my daughter travelled to Australia and my son just returned from his beloved Sweden, where the land is vast and the woods are free for hiking and camping out and the roads are long and quiet.
Bless you, Sweetheart.
Lieve groeten
Godeliva van Ariadone

Colleen said...

You have such a beautiful blog! I love how you dress in old fashioned clothes. (I'm attempting to make a vest kind of like the one your sister made.) Your old fashioned picnics and other events are so exciting to read about.

~Colleen

Rhonda said...

I have been married for almost 30 years to the same man. I had my first child at age 20. We had 2 more girls, 15 months apart. They now have left home, and now I have a 5 yr. old girl and a 14 month old girl. I trust in the Lord with my life, and his blessings. I am 49 yrs.old, and I have grandchildren the same age as my 2 youngest. One never knows what Life will bring to us, but Just embrace it and look at each day a a gift from the Lord! This is my contentment in my life! I also count your lovely blog, Mia, as a great blessing to my life!
Rhonda

Shan said...

Dearest Mia,

It is so lovely to find such a young heart that is content to serve and be such a blessing to others.

Yours so kindredly,
Shan
Honey Hill Farm

Rebecca's Reflections said...

Beautiful blog! I just started mine. :) Right now I am working to help my husband bring in extra income but I am still a homemaker and maybe I will be again full time someday soon, in this I am content. Blessings!

Leslie said...

I love the pictures of your mother and the one of the bee in the flowers. Your blog is a treasure, and I'm so glad I found it. It keeps me feeling hopeful about life.

Autumn said...

Thank you for the update! Your pictures are lovely, as usual.
When I struggle with contentment, I read James 1:2

Anonymous said...

Contentment is one of the fruits of gratitude. Cultivate a grateful heart and you will be content.

Know, and be grateful for, your worth as a child of God, as a wife, and as a mother.

Here is a quotation from Daniel Webster (and I've seen slightly different versions of it). It touches on the value of nurturing children.

If we work upon marble,
it will perish.
If we work on brass,
time will efface it.
If we rear temples,
they will crumple into dust.
But if we work upon immortal minds;
And we imbue them with principles,
With the just fear of God
and love of our fellow men,
we engrave on those tablets
something that will brighten to all eternity.
http://www.quotationpark.com/authors/WEBSTER,%20Daniel.html

Vicki said...

Hello Mia! I just wanted to say that I think your photos are just beautiful. You are so good at capturing the sunlight coming through the trees!

Contentment is something that everyone struggles with, I think. Whenever I feel discontent or wish that my life were different, I think about this verse:

Hebrews 13:5 (King James Version)

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

It has been a great help to me to remember that whatever else I may or may not have or be, I have the Lord with me as my King and Guide, and that is really all I need.

Blessings!

Love in Christ,
Vicki

Angel Wings and Apron Strings said...

Dear Mia, thank you for another beautiful and feminine post. I always look forward to what you write. Your photos are sweet and so delightful!
As for contentment, I believe it is something to be learned, with the help of God's grace.
It often entails lowering our desires and submitting to whatever state the Lord places us in. For some, perhaps that means going without some material goods or finance. It always includes some degree of sacrifice..personal or communal.
To be content one must be grateful. Not always easy for any of us :-)
But so worth it!
The main thing is to guard ourselves against covetousness and envy. Sure killers of a thankful and content heart!
blessings..Trish

Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

As always, a visit to you blog brings joy and blessing to my life, Mia. As to the question your visitor posed:

I believe that contentment has much to do with TRUSTING in the Lord's Providence and Plan for our lives.
If we are centered in His word and do our best to open our hearts to seeking and doing His will...then we can TRUST (i.e. and be content) that where ever we are in life and whatever our current circumstance...it is all that we need for it is what He has allowed...

I'd also like to offer two quotes that will hopefully add encouragement when doubts creep in as to whether or not one is qualified or up to the job of being a stay at home mother...

"God does not call the qualified; but rather, qualifies those He calls"

and

as our Lord told Saint Faustina "Fear not, for I will make up where you are lacking"...

That brings me such comfort in my own personal journey...believe me...there have been many times when I doubted my ability and skill to raise ten children and teach them at home without a college degree...I too, have children as young as...and even some younger...than my grandchildren...

Contentment, I think, is a matter of SOUL, rather than a matter of circumstance...it comes from knowing that "all is well that is in the hand of GOD".

Gerie said...

My tips for contentment is this:

Find out what the Holy Spirit's plan is for that day.

It never occured to me that even as we wake up to a new day, with a list of things to accomplish, That the Holy Spirit is also striving to accomplish His work, through us.

We have a choice, we can either help Him or hinder Him.

If we chooose the former, when we go to bed at night, there will be a sense of contentment, because we accomplished His will first, in our day.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mia,
Such a great post. The Clarkson book was the first i ever read on homeschooling, it was a wonderful first! Contentment is as others have said a choice with a focus on God's graciousness towards us. We deserve nothing except eternal punishment. He made a way thru Jesus for us to come to Him now and eternally. Amazing!!! This is the jumping off point for me in learning to be content. It is a learning!!!! Praise God for His Holy Spirit that enables us to learn and grow and shine for Him. Thanks for your blog Mia, such and encouragement for so many. tammyp

Ien said...

For me contentment lies in simple things like watching a bird play in the trees, baking bread, seeing my daughter being happy, praying and speaking with God, ... just being instead of wanting to be.

Acacia said...

Aww...too sweet, Mia!
I totally agree with every word you said. Nowadays, women think of home making as an old fashioned thing to do...they think of it as not having a job! NO...it's definetly NOT that. They do SO much as to raise their children up in the way of the Lord. Don't you think? Thank you so, very much, Mia.
Love your sister in Christ,
Acacia

Terri said...

I have been at stay at home mom and wife for the past 15 years. It was a financial struggle at times and it was a hard thing to do when money was tight and others felt I was not doing my part.

I relied heavily upon my husband's emotional support at those times. His view point after 14 years "Being home IS your ministry and the one God has called you to."

I agree with previous comment: Gratitude is key. Focus every day on the positive things that took place. My second bit of advice is to remember being at home is a vocation not a vacation.
And last, I work hard in my home. I believe my husband works hard for the money he earns each day. I work hard to make sure I save all I can. Whether I make a set of curtains or take time to figure out how to stretch a cut of meat to feed us twice or how to refinish a thrift shop find to furnish our home, I have worked hard at the end of the day and that leads to a deep sense of accomplishment, which makes for contentment.

♥ LaĆ­se Carla ♥ said...

I love your posts! God bless you ever!

Hugs from Brazil (=

www.ladycarla.blogspot.com

Amy Jo said...

I've been missing a new post from you.. so I decided to revisit some of your old posts. I really think your blog should become a book. It would be so wonderful to have it to look at. I think it is so unusual that your whole family has agreed on this lovely and blessed life... Your family is such an inspiration and testimony of God's grace and love.
Blessings,
Amy Jo

Mrs_TigerBlue said...

Dear Mia,

I happened to come across your awesome blog. I was seeking information on Modesty especially for my daughters, 10 and 4 years old respectively. From what I have read and seen on your blog, this resonates with my heart as a Hmemaker, Mother, and a Wife seeking change in how I want to provide and teach my daughters. Not only that, you, through our
Heavenly Father, are showing me that at this time in my life, I am anointed to be a Homemaker and to enjoy this to the fulleest and be in gratitude to the Lord. Thank you, dear Miss Mia~

In Christ,

Thembi Nelson