Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Random Tuesday #13

~ Easter eggs ~

Every Easter my Auntie Helen would give my brothers and I one Easter egg each (and one each for our parents).  Whilst we didn't celebrate Easter, it was her way of making sure we didn't feel left out and looking back it was so very special of her. 

I still love Easter Eggs, perhaps because I love chocolate. My son and daughter-in-law came around in mid March with my chocolate, they just couldn't wait to give it to me later!!  Its already been eaten. 

Whilst most of us are happy with a simple chocolate egg or bunny, how about a Faberge Egg!! Tsar Alexander III gave his wife Marie an egg in 1885 and this started a tradition followed by his son Tsar Nicolas II who gave his wife an egg each year until 1916. The most expensive egg was 2,460 pounds at the time, which in current terms would be around 1.87 million pounds. Now that is one expensive egg for Easter!! The same egg was sold in 2002 for US$9.6 million.

Of the 50 eggs Faberge made for the Imperial family from 1885 through to 1916, 42 have survived. 

Do you give easter eggs to your family?


Monday, March 30, 2015

Why do I work?

Why do I work?

The reason why I am going to share this with  you is because some Christian women jump to conclusions about women working and they are generally wrong. Whilst their comments don't generally hurt me, they can be very upsetting (and pressuring) for other women to be called un-Christian because they work.  

So why do I go to work every day and my husband stays at home?  It is very simple, to allow my husband to do something he feels very passionate about.

I can’t think of a better reason to work and isn’t it my job to help my husband as his helpmate?

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)

It isn’t about me, it is about my husband. 

Love . . .  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7)

Our home hasn’t fallen apart whilst I have been at work (and nor is it being neglected) and it is a small sacrifice that I can make that will make all the differences to the lives of the many people he is helping.

My husband feels very strongly about bullying in the workplace. I am not talking about the mild sort of bullying, I am talking about bullying that pushes people over the edge to the brink of suicide, where they can hardly function in society. This is far more common than you think and it happens in many workplaces. Someone needs to stand up for these victims and be their voice and be there when they need help and advice. Whilst my husband helps many people who are suffering badly (for free), I work. My small help makes a huge differences to many others. And to be honest, we aren’t suffering because I am working.

I have read many time “I will never work” — think about it, if you are capable of working and your husband believes in something very strongly, aren’t you in fact being a little selfish — it isn’t about you at all.  It is about your husband and if the situation arises where you may have to work, believe me, God makes it much easier than you think. Some would argue that my husband (who is now almost 60) should be out working and earning an income regardless, without going into personal details — he can spend all day (and well into the evening) helping these vulnerable people, some phone calls can last more than 2 hours. He is busy almost every day of the week and often on weekends. I am happy to work and pay the bills whilst he does his bit to help these people.

And, to be honest, I am still able to care for my home, make the home cooked meals my husband enjoys, potter in the garden and do the many of hobbies I enjoy including quilting. And it might surprise you, but as an older woman I can can still reach out and help others in many different ways too! Our children are all grown up (which does make it much easier) and I have a job that fits very well into our lifestyle and allows me flexibility with holidays and I am home at a reasonable hour every day. It isn’t the end of the world and the sky hasn’t fallen in and my husband does help by doing a few jobs around the house such as vacuum cleaning.

Being a helpmate to one’s husband comes in all different shapes and sizes and this is my major role in helping my husband, who in turn is helping many others.

I hope those who are critical are more understanding (you may not agree with our decision but that is ok) about why I (and many others) go off to work. I am completely content in the decisions the LORD has made for me and I do not sit at work grumbling about my lot in life and asking the Lord to change things (which none of us should). If He sees fit, He will makes the necessary changes, not me. It is simple . . . Trust in the Lord.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: 
he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. 
(2 Samuel 22:31)


Friday, March 27, 2015

Art Friday: Richard Macneil

Art Friday: Richard Macneil

Some brightly coloured paintings to cheer up your day.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A brief history of women and work

In the middle of the 1800s, 42% of American women and 25% of British women were in paid employment. By the end of the 19th century, 50% of Dutch women were in the work force.

We have an imagine of women in the past at home caring for their families living in a tranquil environment. Life was anything but for the majority of the population, they were working out of necessity, men and women. It was the differences between food on the table and starvation . . . or the Workhouse. 

We can thank the myth to the literature of the day and the artists who have painted beautifully dressed women gliding about at home. These of course were the middle to upper class women and even at home, they had maids to do most of the work and nannies to care for the children. Life was leisure, something unknown to 100's of 1,000s of women. 

Throughout history women have moved in and out of paid labour, however, I am probably the first generation (Generation X) to make this decision according to my wishes and not the men in power. I use the word men as they have decided if women were allow to work or not, not women themselves. Sadly in past centuries, cutting women off from paid work has had detrimental consequences, especially for widows and spinsters. 

Most households during the Victorian era drew income from a number of sources, with many women and juveniles adding to wage earning even if their employment was usually more intermittent and low-paid than that of adult males. Even though the male breadwinner's wage was increasingly regarded as the ideal and even the norm, in practice many households were dependent upon female earnings, especially those households run by widows.

Family budgets from the Victorian era suggest that around 30-40 per cent of women from working class families contributed significantly to household incomes. Probably something similar to today.

Whilst literature (or perhaps more accurately propaganda) wanted to show women as "Angels of the Home", sadly for many women, especially widows and spinsters, it was anything but. These women,  including widowed middle class women were rarely women of leisure. Many carried on their husband businesses after their deaths, many were governesses, nannies or worked in trade such as dressmaking, book-keeping or office work.  Domestic service of all kinds was the single largest employer of women . . . 40% of female occupations stated in the census of 1851. As factories grew, more women became labourers and worked in the factories, women in places like Wales could be found in the mines. In rural areas, they worked along side their husbands on the farm. 

We often think of women in past eras as delicate and weak, in fact, they were strong women, probably much stronger than women today. We often think of women in the past having afternoon naps and feeling unwell (just think of Jane Austen books). For these working women, that wasn't an option . . . taking rest was for women of leisure, those in upper-class families. 

Like today, these women also had to care for their homes and their families. Older children helped their mother to care for the younger children, younger children went off to school during the day (only the wealthy could afford home-tutors) and when they reached 12ish, they too started to work and earn an income which was much needed by the family. Many of these women worked very long hours and came home exhausted (work life was far harder in 1850 compared to 2014) and many women (and children) worked in dangerous conditions as work health and safety was unheard of. Illness, disability and even death was an every-day possibility. 

Another change to working life was the move from almost all men working at home in home-based businesses to working away from home in larger businesses owned by someone else (i.e. a factory). In 1800 in New York, less than 5% of men had a workplace outside the house; by 1820, it was 25%, and by 1840, it was 70%. For centuries men worked at home and beside them was their wife working in equal partnership. These new practices also saw women leave the home to work in factories, workshops, shops or in domestic service. Homes that had once been the centre of activity as a place of work, became a private sphere as a place of family and child-rearing, but that is another story for another time.

The Victorian's were very good at creating myths that we still look back on today. They wanted to create the imagine of peace and contentment, good health and harmony. The new industrialists even commissioned paintings of happy mothers and children wearing crisp white outfits looking beautiful and feminine because it was in such stark contrast to reality - the life of the factory. Just watch the BBC mini-series "North and South" from the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell to see what life must have been like for the poor in Industrial Britain. Life was tough and hard and the smell and hunger must have been unimaginable at times. 

Many women today work in paid labour, just as they have in the past. However, mum is now working in much improved and safer conditions, her hours are shorter, she is earning more, someone is concerned about her rights in the workplace, her children are far better cared for and she has far more time at home. At least if women need to work today, they are in a much better environment.

Whilst it isn't perfect for mum to work with younger children, we can be thankful that women now have a choice - she can work or stay at home and if she does need to work, she can choose between full-time and part-time employment.  Many workplaces now have flexible hours that are perfect for mothers with school aged children. If she is a single mother as a result of widowhood or divorce, the government will support her until she can gets back on her feet. It is important to look at the reality of the past and not the glossy myth that has been created.  Life was not rosy for many women and women have worked for centuries and many have managed home and work just as many women do today. Women are able to do this, it can be difficult, but, as in the past, it isn't impossible. 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Random Tuesday #12

~ Icecream ~

What is your favourite flavoured ice-cream?

I love caramel with chocolate coated almonds with fresh strawberries


Monday, March 23, 2015

Room by room: Laundry

The Laundry

What is your laundry like?

Mine is a small, tiny, shoe box size unattractive space that I don't really like but it does it's job and as someone said on my Facebook page "it could be worse" and that is so true.  Even though my laundry has many faults, I have tried to make it look as attractive as possible. The walls are bright yellow (to add cheerfulness) and I have added some art to the walls. On the door leading to the laundry I have added a sign to make it a little more "fun"!! It is a work in progress and with some time and money, it could be improved.

My laundry doesn't look like any of the pictures below - these look like fabulous laundries but I am unlikely to ever have one like this. But whilst I will never have one like these, they do contain some very good ideas that I could use for my tiny space. 

We all need a place to wash clothes, however not everyone has a laundry. My friend Cathy has her front loading washing machine/drier in her kitchen underneath her central counter. Others have their's in a cupboard, sometimes in the hallway. Others have a room separate from the house. Mine is near the back door, just off the kitchen.

The laundry is a place for washing clothes. I have a washing machine and a dead clothes drier. The latter is about to be ditched and not replaced as we hardly ever use it. I have a sink where I do hand washing and I still use my son's nappy bucket - now 27 years old and going strong.

I do not iron in my laundry as I simply don't have the space. The dirty washing is in a basket in the bathroom. My laundry is also used for hanging coats and storing all sorts of oddments that my husband brings inside from the shed! There are many uses for the laundry depending on space. But regardless of its many uses, it can be an attractive space.

So how can you brighten up a boring room without spending big dollars:

  • Paint the walls with bright paint or wallpaper to make it cheery
  • All fun posters, signs, murals, whimsical artwork or wall decals
  • Find brightly coloured baskets
  • Find some interesting glass jars for storage
  • Add some interesting tiles
  • Pretty curtains always lift a room
  • Interesting shelving and hooks
  • Give it a theme, i.e. beach theme
Here are some other ideas to brighten up the space. I particularly like the "lost sock" idea as it adds some fun to the room. 

If I don't do the laundry today, 
I'm gonna have to buy new clothes tomorrow. 

(Anna Paquin)

And to be honest, I am not complaining about my small space - it is WAY better than the days of laundries done like this!!


Friday, March 20, 2015


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