Friday, July 3, 2015

Art Friday: Martin Gonzalez


Art Friday: Martin Gonzalez

I do love a good watercolour and I think these are pretty good, what do you think?

I find watercolours very peaceful, perhaps because the colours are soft and delicate and these certainly are calming to look at and enjoy.

How have you been this week? I have had a nasty cold much of the week which has slowed me down — a good thing from time to time I am told!! 











*****

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The changing fashions of children and teens


How would you describe modern children and teen wear?

I find much of teen wear unattractive, unfeminine, immodest and often just plain ugly.

As for younger children's clothes — well, that is a mixed bag, some are lovely and pretty, others much more questionable, especially when they try to replicate ugly adult wear for younger girls.

The changes in children and teen clothing has been quite remarkable over the last 100 years. In this blog post I thought it would be fun (and perhaps some what depressing) to look at the changes that have occurred.  I think the two pictures above says it all - things have changed and perhaps not for the best!! Dainty is not a word one would use for 2015 as they did in 1920!

The 1920s
Indulging our children: There was a time when mum went shopping and bought clothes for her children, clothing was practical and mother only bought what she could afford.  Most mothers these days buy what their children want (even if they can't afford to), partly because they don't want the fights that usually occur but because they want their children to "blend in" with current trends and be happy.   They also know that if they buy something their child dislikes, it will never be wore. 

Our little girls are born into a glittering world of choice and many mothers are willing to indulge their daughters many requests, especially when it comes to clothes, accessories, shoes and make-up. Modern girls own more clothes than any other generation and mothers are willing to spend big dollars building their daughters wardrobes and changing them when trends change. As girls grow they begin to care more about their peers opinions that their parents. They are strongly influenced by teen fashion magazines, popular TV shows, music, movie and reality TV stars  - they want the latest fashions, the right brand-names, want to look sexy and make endless trips to the mall with their girlfriends. And parents are willing to indulge their children's many demands far more than ever before. Parents are willing to run up credit card debit simple to make their children happy (to indulge them).

No modern girl or teen wants to be seen in hand-me-downs, out of fashion clothing or home made outfits - these are simply as NOT cool. 

The 1930s 
Hand-made was considered perfectly ok once. I grew up in the 1970s and my mother made most of my wardrobe simply because she couldn't afford to buy lots of shop-bought outfits. Not only did mum sew, she also knitted all our jumpers which I doubt I appreciated as much as I should have. She wasn't unique, many mothers sewed and knitted.  For many decades children just accepted the clothing their mothers either bought or made — clothing had a practical purpose and wasn't about peer pressure or following trends. 

How times have changed, many modern mothers can't sew, don't want to sew or don't have the time required to sew and most modern children wouldn't be seen dead in home-made clothing.  With so many cheap imports from China and India, parents are willing to buy clothing that won't last to keep just to keep their children happy.  Funnily, I have returned to making my own clothes because it is cheaper, but because I can customise and make what I want and not follow the trends!! How we come a full circle! 

The 1950s
Feminine dress was all the rage in the the 1950s and 60s  for girls and their mothers alike. It was the trend of the time and one that many of us look back on with fondness and nostalgia. And thanks to TV series like Mad Men some of these styles have crept back into fashion. These dresses for girls were about looking pretty and nothing to do with sexualisation as we have today, they were modest, respectable and girls looked like girls. Even the fabric was pretty and girly.  It was also an era where girls didn't wear make-up, didn't need lots of accessories and were perhaps more content with a few fancy frocks. 

The 1970s
Sexualisation of clothing — Clothes today, especially for teens, is all about being sexy, looking sexy and acting sexy. We now live in a world that is sexually saturated and for many girls, they are now so desensitised to sexual material they have no idea what impression they are making. No wonder boys are completely and utterly confused. Just go visit a local mall and see the number of girls in very brief shorts, dresses that hardly cover their bottoms and don't get me started on leggings and jumpers that cover nothing. Not only are girls clothing becoming more and more sexual, sex is everywhere; the shows they watch on TV, teen magazines, the popular movie and reality TV stars they follow (and copy) and the novels they read (many teens have read and watched "Fifty Shades of Grey" and the vampire romance genre).

Parents have lost control over their children's wardrobes (and probably many other aspects of their children's lives) and in their mission to create "happy" children, they have been responsible in leading their daughters in particular down a dangerous path. 

The 1990s
Copying what was on TV became quite the trend in the 1980's and 90s. This wasn't the era of feminine dress and if you did wear something pretty, you really did stand out. The internet hadn't taken over our lives at this stage, but TV shows were starting to have a big impact on what girls wore and of course they all wanted to look like their favourite star. My desire for a demin jacket was strongly influenced by what I saw on TV. It was also the start of magazines dedicated to teens and through these magazines marketers aimed directly at an untapped market — children and teens. 

Now - children's wear
Brand products such as Frozen for girls and superheroes for boys have been all the rage for a number of years but I think they are swamping the stores far more now than ever before. Famous characters now appear on babies clothing and continue throughout the child's life, however no longer just covering the fronts of T-shirts, you find them on baby and children's accessories, shoes, dress up clothes, birthday party themes, endless toys, books, manchester for the bedroom, even food from breakfast cereal , lollies to school lunch box items. For example, you can get almost anything with a "Frozen" character on it at present which is ok, until your daughter suddenly falls in love with the next character that comes along! And did I mention how expensive all this branded items are?

Modern parents are on the brand-name treadmill and for many there is simple no end to it and in the effort to keep their children happy, they are willing to go along with their endless demands.

This makes life tricky if you wish to avoid such trends and buy generic. 

How clothing has changed from one of practical wearing to just another consumer item to keep up with the latest trends. Clothes aren't about comfort any more, they are about impressing peers and looking like their Hollywood hero. 

Now - teen wear
******

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Have a yellow sort of day!!


I love bright cheery yellow.

If there was a colour that said JOY or HAPPINESS, yellow is that colour. 

Yellow brightens a sad day, yellow brings happiness, yellow is joy all wrapped up in one. 

Yellow brings warmth from the sunshine and beauty from daffodils.

Yellow isn't a colour that is angry or miserable. 

"Every day is a beautiful gift. 
Don't send it back unopened"

Don't waste a moment of today, think joy instead.




*****

Monday, June 29, 2015

Make what you do count

One can waste years of their adult life wanting something they don’t have — we only have one life on this earth, make what you do count.

I read over and over again from women who are either desperate to return home and become full time housewife or angry that their husbands are forcing them back into paid work. In their mission, they hate their jobs, they are miserable about their situation, they are not happy at home or with their husband’s decisions and their children are picking up their discontentment and sadness. To make it worse, other women keep reminding them of “how tough their life must be” and "you must return home quickly" only adding to their discontentment.

Life is short

make the best of what you have, be thankful that you are well and healthy and stop focusing on the negative. 

To be blunt — stop complaining and feeling self-pity and look at the positive because maybe, God is teaching you something. 

I work.

— that is the path the Lord has placed me on — I can accept or reject His plan, I may not want to go off to work every day but I have a choice.

I can be happy and thankful for what I do or whinge and complain. I know which one He wants me to be — be joyful, be happy, be thankful. Be content and NO COMPLAINING. 


We need to accept our situation and trust in the Lord. And believe it or not, many Christian women are working because that is what the Lord has asked those women to do. And when the time is right, the Lord makes other plans — not in our time, but in His. One needs to be patience and TRUST in the Lord at all times, even when we are doing things we don't want to.

If you have read Proverbs 31 recently, there is one thing you won’t read in any of these verses — there is no whinging or wanting to do something different. This is a woman that runs her home, cares for her family, buys from afar, undertakes tasks for her husband, sews, cares for her servants, reaches out to the poor, gets up early, goes to bed late and on top of all that, has a vineyard to care for. She is a one very BUSY woman with many and varied responsibilities both at home and outside her home, but she never complains, she isn’t miserable and she isn’t wanting for more. Instead her words are spoken with kindness and wisdom, her husband has complete trust in her and her “children rise up and call her blessed”. All those around her see her joy and happiness, they do not see a woman that is unhappy with her situation and grumbling to others about their husband's decisions.



We must have the same attitude with our lives, whether that be at home, caring for others or perhaps going off to work.

Rejoice everyday — find reasons to be happy — don’t grumble because you aren’t doing what you want —accept the Lord’s decisions, because He is right and just in all things.

Don’t waste any more hours of your life wanting things you don’t have. Get on with living the life that the LORD has given you. 

PS Sorry for sounding so harsh with this topic, but I despair when I read of women so miserable about their situation and think of how much time is wasted being unhappy and not doing the one thing the Lord has asked us to do — rejoice, be joyful . . . no matter what you are doing. 

**** 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Focus on the beauty in this sad world


I turned on the news yesterday to hear about the tragic killings of 70 innocent people and the wounding of others. We live in a sad sad world and even more than ever we need to keep close to God our Father, leaning in for safety and strength.  One can easily be overwhelmed and stressed by this constant news of death and destruction and the fear of the unknown — therefore we need to place our focus on . .

. . . whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)


Come unto Me, all ye that labor,
That sink beneath your load of care;
Come unto Me when shadows gather,
And raise your hearts to Me in prayer.
I wait to give your souls a blessing,
To lift you upward to My breast;
Come, weary, worn, and heavy-laden,
And I will give you rest.

Come unto Me, all ye that hunger,
When all your fairest hopes have died;
When all the joys that Earth can give you
Have left you still unsatisfied;
Her stony bread and broken cisterns
Your thirsting souls forever mock;

Come unto Me, and I will give you
The water from the Rock.
Come unto Me, ye brokenhearted 
Who walk alone life's thorny ways;
For you I felt Myself forsaken,
And now am with you all the days.
My love alone is everlasting;
The heart I made, shall I not fill?
Come, lonely, sad, your want confessing;
And all your longing still.

~ Annie Johnson Flint ~




Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30



Friday, June 26, 2015

Art Friday: Janet Kruskamp


Art Friday: Janet Kruskamp

Lots of colour this week - hope you enjoy these homey views. 

I have a cold this week, so my brain has been a little foggy making concentration a more difficult than usual!!! Trying to get as much sunshine as possible in my attempt to get rid of it quickly!

Have a lovely weekend. 













******

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Current reads


"So many books, so little time"

Like always, I have been plowing through my pile of books (which never gets any smaller as I keep on adding to it!) and I have selected three to share with you that I have really enjoyed. 

What have you been reading - which book was the highlight in recent months?

Any that you would recommend?


Joni and Ken: an untold love story: Ken and Joni Earckson Tada

I read this book whilst on holidays a few weeks ago and loved it - it was one of those books I could hardly put down. My elderly mother recommended it to me and I can see why. Joni and Ken talk truthful and honestly about their marriage (which at times almost fell apart), the battles they have fought, the harsh words to each other, the difficulties they have faced when coping with Joni's disability, her increasing pain and her recent battle with breast cancer.

Their marriage hasn't been perfect, they have hit many pot holes and struggled like the rest of us, however, the Lord has always been centre of all that they do. They are two people who have travelled a very difficult road together and if they can make it, the rest of us can too.  I first read about Joni when I was only a teenager and therefore have grown up reading about her disability and her love for the Lord - she is truly inspiring and this book has continued to show me, that through any problem, whilst the pain may be great - the Lord is always with us.

My only comment would be that if you do not know Joni's backstory (and how she became a quadriplegic) this book doesn't fill in those gaps particularly - it has been written for people like me, who have grown up with her.

God, who foresaw your tribulations, has especially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain. ~ C.S. Lewis




I have really enjoyed this book,  so much so, that  I ordered the other two books in the series!! 

The life of a woman today isn't really all that different from that of Mary and Martha in the New Testament. Like Mary, you long to sit at the Lord's feet...but the daily demands of a busy world just won't leave you alone. Like Martha, you love Jesus and really want to serve him...yet you struggle with weariness, resentment, and feelings of inadequacy.


Then comes Jesus, right into the midst of your busy Mary/Martha life-and he extends the same invitation he issued long ago to the two sisters of Bethany. Tenderly he invites you to choose "the better part"-a joyful life of "living-room" intimacy with him that flows naturally into "kitchen service" for him.

How can you make that choice? With her fresh approach to the familiar Bible story and its creative, practical strategies, Joanna shows how all of us-Marys and Marthas alike-can draw closer to our Lord, deepening our devotion, strengthening our service, and doing both with less stress and greater joy. (from the back cover of the book)

She is honest, she understands the struggles that women have (being like Martha) because she has been through them herself, she offers practical advice (and we all need that), its easy to read and re-visit. She shows how unbalanced many of us are - rushing about like mad-women when we need to slow down and sit at Christ's sit far more often than most of us do.  

The world clamours, "Do more! Be all that you can be!" But our Father whispers, "Be still and know that I am God".

It would be a great book to study with other women as it contains a twelve-week Bible study at the back. 

"I need to know, " we tell ourselves. "No," God answers softly, "You need to trust"

I would highly recommend it to other women!! But you can't have my copy, I have written all over it much to the horror of my cousin C!!! 



Testament of Youth: Vera Brittain



When war broke out in August 1914, 21-year-old Vera Brittain was planning on enrolling at Somerville College, Oxford.  By the end of her first year, she had fallen in love with a young soldier and resolved to become active in the war effort by volunteering as a nurse. Vera suffered through 12-hour days by reminding herself that nothing she endured was worse than what her fiancĂ©, Roland, experienced in the trenches. Roland was expected home on leave for Christmas 1915; on December 26, Vera received news that he had been killed at the front. Ten months later Vera herself was sent to Malta and then to France to serve in the hospitals nearer the front, where she witnessed firsthand the horrors of battle. When peace finally came, Vera had also lost her brother Edward and two close friends. As she walked the streets of London on November 11, 1918--Armistice Day--she felt alone in the crowds. (from Amazon)

"For the first time I realised, with all that full realisation meant, how completely everything that had hitherto made up my life had vanished with Edward and Roland, with Victor and Geoffrey. The War was over; a new age was beginning; but the dead were dead and would never return."

Vera Brittain and many many women in Britain suffered greatly as a consequence of World War One. Their brothers, husbands, boyfriends, lovers and friends went off to war with many never to return and those who did, were changed men - forever damaged from the horrors of war.  Vera lost a brother, her future husband and her two her brother's best friends - she suffered greatly and took a number of years to come to terms with the death of her loved ones. This was an age where there wasn't help for those suffering post traumatic stress disorder and I am sure many of her generation - men and women alike suffered very badly mentally.

Her reason for sharing her story:  "warning the next generation of the danger of succumbing out of naive idealism to the false glamour of war"

Great read (selected by our bookclub group), however if you have strong anti-femininist feelings you might struggle with parts of the book. Vera was never going to be a woman who sat at home and had afternoon teas (the maids did all the hard work), she went off to university and carved out a career for herself and was vocal about the insanity of war. She also fought for the women's rights. Regardless of this, it is an fascinating look at the social history of our recent past and the cost and consquence of war on women.

Recently made into a beautiful and touching film that really portrays lost and loneliness that these women suffered.  Tissues required!

*****

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