Monday, February 04, 2008
Blogger Book Club
At the Blogger Book Club
we're up to Chapter Six in the book, "Thrift in the Household."
In this chapter, the author makes the case that the biggest resource a homemaker must manage is her own health and strength. She suggests that the homemaker not be too fanatical about getting every bit of dirt out of the house, as, after all, we are exposed to dirt outdoors every day. She also suggests that the housewife take on only those tasks that are essential and that she can perform. Much of what we do around the house, she says, we do for what others will think of how pretty our house is and not because it is really essential.
Of the woman who always feels as if she has too much to do, the author writes, "Rest will do her more good than any medicine and help more to keep her well, and the housemother should rest some part of every day as soon as she is conscious of weariness; even fifteen minutes' relaxation will do her good, and after it she will go on with renewed energy." P. 98
That's sort of ironic for me, today, as I am battling a respiratory bug that's going around, and I was kicking myself for taking a long nap this morning. I also sat down to read the thrift book for a few moments, because I'm not finding the strength right now to be up and vacuuming, as I long to do. I promised to be at a dinner meeting tonight, and I volunteered to bring a dish, as well. But, now, I'm considering whether it's wise for me to go out tonight. I hate to miss anything else though, as I stayed home from church sick yesterday. So, you can see that I needed to read this quote today!
Here's another quote that Hadias asked us to consider:
“Do the duty that lies nearest," but be sure it is a duty. You can recognize a duty because it is something that makes you and your family physically well, that develops them spiritually and morally, and does not take from you more than you are able to give. Your first duty is to make yourself so lovely that your family want to be with you. Nothing is worth while to you or them that does not help you to be dear to them. P.100
I agree, but up to a point. Yes, it is a great duty to keep a lovely disposition so that the family will enjoy the home. It is easier to do this if you choose a simple home life, rather than chasing after too many things at once.
Proverbs says better a dry crust, with peace, than a house full of feasting with strife. And, Jesus encouraged Martha to choose the one thing that was needed, rather than to become distracted and anxious over many things.
I do think the author's point is well taken that you must think through your reserves of time and energy and choose only those activities which move you toward your lifetime goal. Hobbies and activities and household projects are great, but you can't do every single one that strikes your fancy -- at least not all in one season. I've found that out the hard way. LOL.
However, our ultimate rest has to be in Christ and not in our ability to schedule. Our faith and service to the Lord, new babies, family needs, special events like weddings, etc., do not always present themselves according to our timetable. I think that's where the home manager needs to stay flexible. I think, also, that there will be times when even the best home manager -- the woman who has taken care to choose her activities wisely -- will encounter times of physical and emotional fatigue. Streamlining your life so that you have more time and strength, yet remaining flexible to the Lord's plans for your days and weeks and years, is an admirable goal.
Doing the duty that is nearest is a great way to get unstuck if you feel overwhelmed. Sometimes, you need to plan ahead and do those duties that yield longterm results. But, if, in the moment, you're not sure what to do next, it's always good to pray, "What would be beneficial right now," and dive into that. From there, you'll generally know what to do next, and so on.
Here's another interesting quote:
Of all the wastes about the household this is the one irreparable, and as the housewife is wasting it she seems to think she is doing something very commendable. She will save her pennies and waste her life by overwork and lack of sleep, and in the end she spends all she has tried to accumulate, in the vain effort to be well again. P. 91
I agree that it can be a false economy to spend valuable health and strength in order to save money. This is a dilemma that I often think about as I make choices.
For example, I am going to make my living room drapes, because that was the only way I could afford ones in the material and colors that I need. A seamstress wanted around $500 to make one panel in my desired material! I would need 4 panels in all, so that would take me way out of my project budget.
I found some in a similar style in the Country Curtains catalog, and I considered buying them, as they were so much more reasonably priced. However, the material really wouldn't have suited my color scheme, So, I ended up buying the material I really want. I was able to get a great price for it at a place called The Fabric House. I will save money by sewing my own curtains.
Now, I am not the world's most experienced seamstress, so I will have to invest more time than an advanced seamstress would in order to turn out a quality product. If the regular seamstress has to measure twice and cut once, I have to measure four times and cut once. LOL. And, I think my motto should be, "As you sew, so you shall rip~smile~," meaning that I may have to re-do some seams.
If I had been able to find some ready-made for a reasonable price, I might have spent more in terms of total dollars. But, I would have saved considerable time, and I would have been assured of good quality.
As it is, I will end up with exactly what I want, and I will acquire more sewing experience in the process. I hope that I can do a passably good job on them.
There are trade-offs in everything, I guess. Sometimes, it pays to choose time and energy over money, and, sometimes, it's the other way around.