Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The Hour for Lighting Lamps

“At dusk, before the dark sets in, the gas should be lighted in the halls and bathroom, the lamps lighted in the rooms to give the house a cheery look to the home-comer. Nothing seems more forlorn to a man returning from business, than to find a dark house or its mistress away,” says Alice L. James in her 1911 book on home keeping.

This sounds so appealing on a day like today. In my yesterday’s post, I cheerily proclaimed that I was going outside for some fresh air and sunshine. I didn’t realized that clouds were moving in. I did manage to eat a bite on our back deck, and then to cut back vines that grow on my mailbox. Soon, light sprinkles became heavier, sending me back inside. I was grateful, though, to have had some happy time puttering about the yard.

The rain let up just in time for last night’s trick-or-treaters. Today, it’s rainy and colder. We’ve just switched from daylight savings time back to regular time, so the darkness is setting in earlier.

On such nights, how delightful it is to come in from the cold and the dark to a room in which candles are flickering, a lamp is casting a soft light, and a fire is glowing in the fireplace.

I love light! In fact, I have a bad habit of flipping on too many switches. My husband teases me by asking me, “Do you have stock in the power company?” I will try this winter to use more candles and less costly electricity.

It always seems to me that at the hour that Alice Walker is talking about – the hour for lighting lamps – it’s always good for me to check how my inner lamp is shining, as well. Sometimes, I hit a late afternoon slump, in which I can become brusque, grumpy, or anxious. At those times, it helps me to eat a nourishing snack or to put my feet up for a few moments. My greatest help comes when I take a few minutes to pray.

When my children were small, this was often the time when they would whine. They could be happy all day long, but something about passing the marker of 4:00 in the afternoon got to them. My mother told me that this is often called, "the crying hour." The wise mother isn't shocked by this. She calmly helps her children deal with their feelings so that they do not whine. She meets their needs. She exerts a soothing influence.

This brings me back to prayer! I found that if my own sprits were flagging, I couldn't be a soothing influence in the household. If I found myself growing as whiny as the children, I would ask them to say a short prayer with me. That usually refreshed our hearts, and we started our evening with happy hearts.

Tonight, dear hubby and I are driving some distance to meet with a small church near an army base. They invited us to come and have dinner and some worship time with them. I'm not especially looking forward to the cold and rainy drive, but I am looking forward to the warm smiles that I will see when I get there.

I always admire those women who seem to fill their homes with the light of a warm, serene, faith-filled, and loving heart. Women like these seem to carry that comforting glow with them no matter where they go. They are the ones you want to see on your doorstep when you are sick, overwhelmed, or otherwise hurting. They are also the ones around whom you can relax and have fun. Even if they have to talk to you about some serious matter -- perhaps even point out a matter in which you need correction -- they always leave you feeling loved.

I fall so short, but I do want to be such a light. After all, the lamp that really makes a home cozy is the one that shines in our hearts.

6 comments:

Mrs. Kelly said...

I've just found your blog and am enjoying it immensely! May I ask where you found the homekeeping book by Alice Walker that you are quoting from? Is it available online, I hope, I hope, I hope:)

Blessings,
Mrs. Kelly
mom to 6 in PA

Elizabeth said...

Hi Mrs. Kelly,

I'm so happy you're enjoying your visits at A Merry Rose. Yes, this wonderful book, along with many other old homemaking volumes, is online. I got the link from a fellow blooger:

http://www.digitalbookindex.com/_search/search010homeecohomemgmta.asp

Enjoy!

Elizabeth said...

That should be blogger, not blooger.

Mrs Blythe said...

I loved this post Elizabeth! I love warm low-lights on in my home. I do love candles but I don't use them much on account of the children, but I can light them when they have gone to bed.

Mrs. Kelly said...

I went searching and found the book under the author Alice L. James, just in cast anyone else is looking:)

Thank you again, Elizabeth!

Blessings,
Mrs. Kelly

Elizabeth said...

Hi Mrs. Kelly,

Thank you so much for pointing out that the author of the book is Alice L. James, not Walker. I don't know how I got so mixed up. I will go back and correct the posts!