The Wife’s Influence on the Home

“In the last analysis, home happiness depends on the wife. Her spirit gives the home its atmosphere. Her hands fashion its beauty. Her heart makes its love. And the end is so worthy, so noble, so divine, that no woman who has been called to be a wife, and has listened to the call, should consider any price too great to pay, to be the light, the joy, the blessing, the inspiration of a home.”
J.R.R. Miller
Dear ladies,
Does it seem a heavy burden that Reverend Miller puts upon wives? I’ve read several things that he has written. Some paint such an ideal picture of a wife, I wonder if perhaps some of his quotes might be discouraging to wives. I think his intention was to encourage women in their high calling—to show what can be and maybe ought to be. There is truth in his writings, but they can make a woman feel burdened down with perfectionism. Read more….

An Open Letter to a Lady Discouraged by Poverty

My friend Jes, of Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, recently received a comment on her post  “Swept and Good Order” ~ The Mistress of the House. I felt compelled to respond to the comment and share it with you.

Dear Discouraged,

I feel so glad that you chose to share your discouragement with Jes. She shared some good ideas. I know what its like not to be able to fix things up like you’d like to. Even after 28 years, most of what we own was either given to us (usually second hand) or bought second hand.

Please don’t be discouraged. You’ve got to get creative. Find the things that cheer you. Maybe a candle burning (often cheap at yard sales), music playing (try Pandora or Spotify on-line if you don’t have a collection), the fragrance of supper simmering on the stove shouldn’t be underestimated!

I find that when I think about what I can do instead of what I cannot do, it helps.

When I didn’t have furniture for my living room, I baked cinnamon rolls and sold them to businesses in town for their break times. I bought my furniture from Craig’s List. Perhaps there’s something you could do to make a few dollars here and there.  I get to squirrel away all the money I make by selling books on-line to buy my school books and whatever I can use PayPal for.

As for hospitality,  years ago we had people over even when we had to sit on the floor.

We once went for Sunday dinner to someone’s house, and they served a simple bean soup with cornbread.  Inexpensive, true, but hospitality was given as they shared what they had with us, and we enjoyed our time very much. Their situation and home was similar to yours, but it was the friendship offered that I remembered.

If blogs and Pinterest discourage you, don’t look at them! If you do look, just let them be jumping off points to think about what you can do with what you have available to you.

For now, think about the things you have that you do enjoy and how you might make the best of them.

Here are a couple of posts from my blog that might be encouraging to you:

40 Ways to Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without

A Few Ways to Enjoy Homemaking

Sincerely,

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

Doing It at Wal-Mart

Don’t be afraid.  What can happen?  So what if you get caught?  Do you think anyone will be shocked?  Maybe.  But you know, I’m sure He shocked quite a lot of folks Himself. 

A couple of nights ago, I was walking through Wal-Mart with my friend Ellen.  We saw a friend and stopped to talk.  She was rather unsettled because she’d just learned that her husband was going on a business trip out of the country the next morning.  Very short notice.  We talked and encouraged.  Then, right there in front of God and everyone, I did it!  I prayed!  No one panicked.  God heard and my friend was blessed and encouraged.  

A little while later, we were passing the electronics department.  I overheard a lady telling her co-worker that her foot was really hurting.  I walked on by; then, I stopped.   It was clear that she needed prayer.  Was I going to obey God and pray with her?  The Holy Spirit gave me the boldness to turn around and ask her, “May I pray with you?”  She eagerly said yes and told me the problem.  I prayed with her right then and there aloud.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.  Faith also comes by hearing someone pray for you in in faith.  I hope that faith was imparted to this lady as well as healing power from God through Jesus Christ.

If we don’t start doing things like this now, how will we have the courage to do them when things get tougher for Christians?

Just Something to Think About…

Laura

Lower Incomes and Loss of Employment

Many of the writers of the blogs I’ve been reading as well as many of my readers are facing uncertain times.  Many are facing lower incomes or loss of employment.  It is frightening.  We ladies like our security.  We like our comforts, whatever they may be.  We like knowing that the bills will be paid, that we can buy groceries, shoes for the kids, whatever we need, and a few extras. 

Over the last five years my husband went from $60 K job to now working part-time for less than $300 a week.  He’s looking for full-time work and has been for months.  Our reality has changed dramatically.  Life doesn’t look like I thought it would or even like I’d like it to; but, I’m getting so much closer to God through this.   God has provided in amazing ways.  We were able to move to a caretaker’s cottage and take care of a country estate four the absentee owner in return for rent.  Money has come from unexpected sources with perfect timing.  Just yesterday I was thinking of some things that our children need.  I have no way of providing those things.  Today, an envelope arrived with no return address.  It was filled with cash.  Yes, cash.  There was an envelope with the children’s names and an envelope with Lowell and Laura on it.  Praise God!  We can buy wood so we can keep warm!  The children need shoes.  We can buy them!  Praise God!  God is so faithful to take care of us.  God bless the sender, who obviously sent it in faith.

My point in sharing this is that you can survive.  You’ll have to learn some new skills, learn to be content, learn to make do; but, you can do this.  You have to lean into God and get that Word hidden in your heart.  Talk to Him.  He is great at showing you every bargain if you talk to Him all the way through the store and ask Him to show them to you.  God bless you through this!
I’ve written a lot about what God’s done over the last couple of years.  Although I write on WordPress now, I have a list of my best writings on the top of my old blog, http://harvestlanecottage.blogspot.com .  You might take a look.

Blessings upon blessings to you!

Laura

Thanking and Trusting God

Dear Readers,

I received a question about my post, “Thank God for what you have. Trust God for what you need,” this morning.   The question was about where I found the quote.  Honestly, I don’t remember where I heard or read it. I may have seen it on a wall plaque or something. It’s not a direct quote from scripture.  However, I do know that it’s true from reading the Word of God and through the miracles He’s done in my family’s life.

I wrote the post back in Feb. last year. My husband did find work; but, he is now doing temporary work again. It encourages me to read how God got me through last time my husband was out of work; because, God’s Word and His provision are timeless.

I encourage you to pray, read His word, and be thankful. Thanking Him for every little thing changes your focus. You can do all things through Christ who Strengthens you!  I spent a lot of time in the book of Philippians, especially chapter 4, during the time that I wrote that post. It has some great truths…

“4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Take a look through my posts both at Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage and Harvest Lane Cottage. I’ve written a lot about hope, trusting God, and faith in hard times. It’s been how I have been living life for the last five years.

 You might also like to read my husband’s blog for the Kingdom Business Journal. You can also find the steps to peace with God, as explained by Rev. Billy Graham, here.

 May God bless you with hope, peace, and eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

God bless you,

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

I Am in Awe.

I’m in Awe! I am in awe of a Love that would choose to suffer so much for another. I am in awe of a Love that would not answer back to lies and false accusations. I am in awe of a Love that is so strong, it would not cry out for mercy when brutally struck and beaten over and over. I am in awe of a Love that would be silent when He could have stopped the torture at any moment. I am in awe of a Love that would love and ask God’s forgiveness for His torturers, mockers, persecutors, and executioners because “they know not what they do.” I am in awe because He is awesome. I am in awe because Jesus is God’s Son and He is Love. I thank You God. I thank You Jesus. There is no way to express the gratitude I feel because I am in awe that You did this for me and for every person who will accept Your death and resurrection as payment for their sins. I believe! Thank You for doing this so that we might have eternal life. Amen

Just Something to Think About….

God’s Chisel

Hey Y’all,

This is an incredible video.  It is actually a must see.

Click on the link below.

Click the link below to view it now:
 
 
God’s Chisel
 
When God chisels the dead weight out of our lives it can be very painful. In one of their most requested skits, Tommy and Eddie give a very creative look at a typical believer having to go through the process of discipline.
I’m so glad my husband shared it with me.
Laura

Surviving or Thriving

My husband and I are writing on the same subject today just for fun.  The subject he chose is Surviving or Thriving.  The fun part is that neither of us has talked about the topic nor knows what the other is going to write about.  Wonder what he wrote about ?  Find out here.  I’ll just fill in that little link when I’m done.

Surviving or thriving.  Which one are you doing?  A whole list of things can figure into that question.  Sickness?  Health?  Ease? Difficulties?  Hopeful?  Hopeless?  Encouraged?  Discouraged?  Have enough?  Scraping by?  Plenty or want?  Lots of things play into the whole surviving and thriving mentality.  Yes, I said mentality.  It’s the same word my husband used to say to me.   I have done both.  The difference for me was how I looked at my situation, whether I saw life’s problems as normal challenges or punishments, and that horrible word, attitude! 

We’ve been married almost 23 years.  If we’d been able to look into a crystal ball (I wouldn’t have anyway Deut. 18:10), we would have been too scared to get married!  Like anyone’s life, we’ve had ups and downs, but it seems like it’s been a whole lot of downs.  I know I’ve had a whole lot of downs.  Even in what I now know were good times, I had downs.  Unfortunately, I was always seeing the glass half empty.  I still do sometimes, but I’m getting better about that.  Thank you Jesus! 

I’ve learned a lot the last few years through a whole lot of stressful circumstances.   My mother battled cancer and died.  We sold houses and moved every few years.  We went through lay-offs, starting a business, the business closing, extreme financial problems, and various relationship troubles that resulted from the stress of it all.  Add to this my extremely painful back troubles, other physical ailments, several surgeries for me, and three additional children being born.  The new babies and our oldest son were the best part of it all.  We’ve been doubly blessed to have four.  We’ve had ten really tough years.  As this was all happening, sometimes my faith in God was strong.  Sometimes I just felt like God was punishing us.  What did we have to do to get out of the current mess?  What did God want?  It consumed me.  God is so merciful.  He took us through it all, and He’s taught me that this is life.  At 43 years old, I’ve finally grown up enough to realize that it’s normal to face challenge after challenge.  Everyone faces them.  It’s whether we allow troubles and challenges to drive us away from God and our family or closer to God and our family that really matters.  This brings me to the word I hate.  

Attitude!  I don’t even like the sound of it.  Maybe because as a teenager I was criticized for my attitude.  Maybe  it’s because I’ve heard it from my husband.  Oops, did I say that?  Maybe it’s because I know my attitude has been bad so much.   Perhaps this is one of the hardest parts of  going through hard times.  It’s so easy to complain and about what we need or what we want.  If only we could see it all through God’s eyes.  Looking back, I see that God has actually given us what we truly needed whether we wanted it or not.  The hard times have driven us to Him in desperation.    There have been sins in my life and in my husband’s life that lead to some of these problems.  There  are still consequences we must pay for those sins.  But the guilt has been paid for by the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.  In it all, I was so desperate for God to help us.  It caused me to focus on Him a lot.   Psalm 34 was enormously helpful to me in this.  Verse 17 says, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”  He has and He still is delivering me daily from all our troubles.  He tends to deliver me through them rather than from them.    It’s a very good thing to be desperate for God.  Though we were consumed with the day to day surviving, God was bringing us to a place of thriving in His love and care.

If you’re surviving or barely surviving, read the Psalms, read Philippians.  They are both so encouraging when you’re fearful.  He loves us so much, He told us not to fear over and over.  He holds our times in His hands.   Seek, knock, ask, He’ll answer.   Trust God to bring you to a place of Thriving in Him.

Lord God, I ask that you would bring hope, peace, and a new attitude to each person who reads this and to me, also.  You CAN do it.  I believe you WILL do it.  Thank you Lord!

Laura

Choosing to Thrive

Go read My Honey’s post here.   It brought a smile to my face.  His attitude really helped pull me through when I was dragging.

Trapped…and Released

“Based on the information available today and the terms of the contract in force today, benefits will be available if the service is medically necessary.” Ten, twenty, thirty, forty times a day I would repeat that phrase. I was a customer service correspondent for Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I answered the phone all day long, explaining benefits, helping with medical claims that weren’t processed correctly or were misunderstood. I couldn’t answer the phone, fill out a form, or sneeze without putting a tally mark on a piece of paper so that my employer would be able to keep track of every moment of my day. I felt, with my headset attached to the phone system and my computer in front of me, like a dog on a chain. I was trapped. I must admit that for the most part, in the almost 18 years since I’ve been home with my children, that I’ve either forgotten or blocked out most of what it was like to be stuck in a job that I didn’t like, making too much money to quit, but not enough to get ahead. I was so young I didn’t appreciate the medical benefits except for maternity! I still remember the day, January 18, 1991 as my emancipation day, the day I was released! ~smile~

I think it’s good for me to remember, to appreciate the freedom I have now in comparison. No. I don’t have money to buy things I want most of the time. No, I can’t do all the things I want to, unless they’re free. Yes, it’s worth it. Being home with my children has been a wonderful privilege that my husband, God, and my willingness to go without have offered me. My children are different than they would have been if I’d been at work and they’d been at school. I thank God that I’ve been there to instill our beliefs, our faith, and our values in their lives as well as to teach them.

I also think that it’s good for me to reflect on what I would have been like, what I might have done, if not for Jesus, and on what I did do before Jesus. Our Pastor spoke Sunday about a man who killed many people at a Christmas party last week. He said that apart from Christ and the Holy Spirit in him, he could have been that man. Any one of us could have been that man. If we didn’t have Jesus, we would be at the mercy of whatever the world and Satan enticed us with. Desperation, fatigue, worry, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, anger, as well as a host of other pressures and sins would assail us.

Thank God for Jesus Christ and the work of salvation that he did at the cross. We have the opportunity to be reconciled to God, to have a clean conscience and a clean slate before Him in spite of our past sins. We have to choose to accept Jesus’ death being the payment for our sins and believe that he is resurrected, at God’s right hand in Heaven. Then, we must wash ourselves by reading the Word of God, the Holy Bible, daily, asking for God to fill us over and over with His Holy Spirit.

I need to remember what I was and what God had done for me through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I need to press forward, focusing more and more on God’s word and what He wants to do in me, my family, my church, and my community.

I ask God to bless you all as you think reflectively upon these things.

Laura
Thankful to be home and His

Thankful Thursday….

This is my first Thankful Thursday post.  It seems a good thing to record things for which we are thankful.  A few years ago, when all looked bleak, I started a thankful journal.  I had to.  It was during a time when there was so much bad in my life, that I had to find those good things to thank the Lord for or I’d not have made it. 

So, here we go….

Philippians 4:6 is a life verse for me.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

 Things for which I am thankful this Thursday…

my marriage is permanent, no matter what

clean air to breath…

I have hope in my Jesus for all my troubles…

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…

I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus…

my children are healthy…

my husband has found some temporary work…

God is in control…

It’s going to be alright….

Those are my thoughts, I thank you my Creator God for all of these things. 

~~~~~~~

Now, go see what the other ladies are thankful for at Iris’ blog.

 

Have a blessed day!

Laura

Happy at Home