25 November 2014

Mrs. B's Little "Woman-to-Woman" Thanksgiving Hints

Courtesy of Microsoft.


Things were going better for a few days, but Monday night and tonight, the smell from our neighbor's apartment returned.  We are now living, essentially, in a one-bedroom/one-bath apartment while paying for a two-bedroom/two-bath apartment. 

Still, I don't intend to let that spoil our family's celebration of God's blessing and bounty.  We are going to enjoy our usual feast of roast turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, butter flake biscuits, cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie.  We enjoy most of these foods only on Thanksgiving, and I am not going to let all this change our routine any more than absolutely necessary.

I have a few hints that have helped me over the years.  Your results may vary.

1.  When I bring home the turkey from the store, I place it breast-side down in a pan in the refrigerator.  That way, the moisture from the fatty back meat drains toward the breast meat.

2.  I use a Reynolds roasting bag, carefully following instructions, to roast the turkey. 

2a. I also tear off some of the fat around the cavity and place it under the skin of the breast.  I make sure to wash my hands thoroughly before and after.

3.  To "dress up" a boxed stuffing, I use three-quarters cup orange juice, one-quarter cup lemon juice, and one-half cup of the drippings from the roasted turkey to substitute for the liquid.  Because of the fat from the roasted turkey drippings, I eliminate the butter or margarine called for on the bag.  I also stir in half a pound of cooked sausage.

4.  I always have at least one craft for the youngsters.  Many times Thanksgiving Day equals inclement weather, and I feel that asking youngsters to sit around for hours with not much to do makes for an unhappy day.

5.  Since I prefer a non-soggy pie crust, I partially cook the pumpkin pie filling before pouring it into the prepared pie crust, taking care not to burn myself with the hot filling.  Then, I finish the pie in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour.

6.  I put together my biscuit mix and my gravy thickener and seasonings before Thursday.  In those last few minutes before serving, I find it easier to prepare those foods that really cannot be made ahead.

I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.  Please keep us in your prayers as we keep you in ours.

Agape always,
Cynthia


24 November 2014

"There's No Place Like Home!"

Courtesy of Microsoft.

These shoes were the closest I could find to Dorothy's red slippers! The noxious odor has been identified and my home smells like a home again.  Family members and I are feeling better. Belongings are being dealt with carefully.

I beg you to continue your prayers as we are not yet out of the woods.  I have decided to go ahead with our Thanksgiving dinner and may invite another neighbor who has been helpful.  I continue to pray for you all each day.  

Agape always,
Cynthia

15 November 2014

Homemaking in Challenging Circumstances

Courtesy of Microsoft.

Dear Ladies,

Thanks for reading my last post and for all the kind e-mails and comments.

Due to the smell emanating from my neighbors' home,  I have become, involuntarily, a homemaker in somewhat challenging circumstances.  The family members who were sleeping in the room that shares a wall with the neighboring home are sleeping in my room on air mattresses donated by a friend.  To sleep in my room is a treat for them; after prayers and bedtime routine, we tell stories and sing until I am the only one left awake.  The situation is not ideal.  They could sleep in the living room, but that room tends to be quite drafty and cold from October through February.  Their clothing and bedding has been given a sanitizing wash at the local laundromat and is now being stored in my room, too. I don't know what I am going to do with the furniture in that room: time and more research will tell.

The hallway bathroom that shares a wall with the neighbors' home has been decontaminated as much as I am able to do, and except for my going in there to run the plumbing and wipe down the counters a couple of times a week, the bathroom will remain unused until the situation is positively resolved.  I am grateful (even more than usual) for the blessing of two bathrooms.

To encourage all of us who are homemaking in challenging circumstances, here follows a lady's homemaking in extreme circumstances experience, as excerpted from my book A Fascinating Companion:

"Let me give you an example of a woman who was a Domestic Goddess in extreme circumstances. I knew a woman whose family was without a permanent address for several months. They were homeless because of a mistake that the husband had innocently made. The family home became their car and three small tents at a campground, and yet, this woman made sure that the tents were clean and as comfortable and attractive as possible and that the family's meals were nutritious and tasty although they were prepared on a small cook stove and the barbecues that the campground had set up.  The family ate at a picnic table, but that table was clean and rendered attractive through the use of a tablecloth and a centerpiece. 

"She shopped for food each day because they lacked reliable refrigeration. She laundered their clothing at a laundromat once a week. She did everything in her power to bolster her family's spirits during this trying time, and...her husband and children remembered their time of homelessness as being a time that she held the family together. This lady was truly a Domestic Goddess. 

"To truly enjoy being a homemaker, we need to give our domestic duties a place of importance in our lives. Homemaking duties are not more important than the people in the home, their health and happiness. At the same time, to serve the people in the home and to help them to be healthy and happy, we need to do our work will joy and vigor, going the extra mile to do our jobs well."


Hugs and love!   Please keep the prayers going.

Agape always,
Cynthia

10 November 2014

Tender Mercies

Young Mother Sewing - Mary Cassatt - Public Domain



Dear Ladies,

For the last several weeks, we have been unwell: not actively ill but a lingering feeling of malaise.  We came to find out that one of my neighbors has been doing something, and his actions have negatively impacted our health. That's all that I can reveal publicly. 

My vocation and my jobs have been attended to, but anything extra (such as my love of connecting with other homemakers via this blog) has fallen by the wayside.  Since we have discovered the cause, we have been able to work around the cause, and I expect that we will feel better sooner rather than later. 

I trust that you all pray for us regularly, and I dare to ask that you include a specific request for our protection.  The next months--until the neighbor is evicted or decides to leave on his own--could be very dangerous for us. If I had the money to leave and to move to someplace better, I would do so; perhaps pray for that, too?  God is always good, even when our lives don't take the route we thought they would.

Much love to you and yours!    

"Let Thy tender mercies come unto me, and I shall live: for Thy law is my meditation" (Psalm 118: 77).  I have certainly appreciated all of God's care these past few weeks.  We did not know what was going on, but God did and does. 

Agape always,
Cynthia

PS: In this time of relative quiet, I have thought of a way that I might be able to consider remarriage, all as God wills, of course.

16 October 2014

Want to Feel Happier? Walk this Way...

Leighton - Sunday Morning - 1891 - Public Domain

(The Leighton kick continues but nears its end [I believe].)

As I have been wont to write over the years, sometimes changes occur from the inside out, but sometimes changes occur from the outside to the inside.  A study by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (published by the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry) suggests that changing our walks may contribute to changing our moods.

How interesting, I perceive, that the original Fascinating Womanhood pamphlets recommended something similar nearly a century ago: 

"Now there is walking that consists merely in getting somewhere and there is walking that is an inspiration and a joy in itself. Yours is to be the latter. Walk briskly, throw your shoulders back, hold your abdomen in, and stretch your spine until you feel as erect and tall as you can be. Don’t slouch. Imagine, if you wish, that you are a motion picture actress, and that every step you take is being registered by the camera. You can, if you try, make your walk a thing of grace and beauty, attractive in itself" (The Original Fascinating Womanhood Pamphlets, page 73).

We cannot do everything on our own, but we can do a great deal to help ourselves. Perhaps changing one little something could commence a number of other positive changes?

As always, I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.

Agape always,
Cynthia

12 October 2014

What is the Prime Question Courting Women Need to Ask Themselves?

The Accolade - Leighton - ca. 1900 - Public Domain
(I have been on a Leighton kick lately.)

Women in or seeking courtship sometimes hang themselves up on trivial matters:  Does he have a college education?  Does he belong to the same denomination?  Do we want the same number of children?  Do my parents like him?  Does he make me laugh?  

All of these matters are possible considerations, some of them less important than others, but I believe that the number one question courting women need to ask themselves is "Can I follow this man as he follows God?"  This question presumes, of course, that the man is following God, which would undercoat the entire courtship.

In any organization, one person is the earthly leader.  In Christian marriage, as far as I have been taught and as far as I note in God's word (Col 3 and other places), that person is the husband.  God leads the husband; the husband leads the wife and (if so blessed) the children. 

That prime consideration means that friendship and courtship time should be spent in prayerful discernment and long hours of conversation and observation.  Listen to him, and listen to his family and friends.  You'll have plenty of time for smooch fests after you marry; courtship is the time for talk fests.  The answer to "Can I follow this man?" does not evidence itself in a few hours, days, or weeks.  Usually, at least a year is required, but that time might be lessened if you knew each other casually for a while or if you have friends or relatives in common who would be willing to share their thoughts.

I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.

Agape always,
Cynthia

06 October 2014

Backup Husbands? (Not for the Youngsters)

Tristan and Isolde - Edmund Leighton - 1902 - Public Domain
Today's art was chosen with care, for it depicts the cruel sin of infidelity in a setting of beautiful detail.  Leighton exceeds his usual quality in this painting. He takes great pains to highlight the depravity of unfaithfulness by making the figures, their clothing, the setting appear even more exquisite than usual.  Infidelity can be a paradox like that:  Infidelity lures people with its siren song, "Life will be better over here, with this one."  That siren song is a bunch of hooey!  As the cliché goes, "No matter where you go, there you are."  

Recently a new study was done by Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne which suggested that people were using social media to keep in touch with "back burners"--folks who are defined as "a desired potential or continuing romantic/sexual partner with whom one communicates, but to whom one is not exclusively committed" (study abstract).  According to the study abstract I read, the concept of the "back burner" associate is  nothing new.  However, using social media to communicate with "back burners" is new.

Add to this study the survey that suggests that half of the married women surveyed have a "Plan B" husband waiting in the wings just in case good ol' "Plan A" does not work out.  

Oh, dear!

First of all, I am always concerned about any children involved.  What sort of stability are the children enjoying in their homes?  Mom/dad/both parents remaining ever-vigilant in their search for another spouse instead of giving themselves fully and completely to the present spouse leaves the home in a constant state of flux. Children are highly intuitive, I believe, and while they might not be able to place an exact label on what transpires in their homes, they do recognize immediately when something goes awry.

And what of the "Plan B" people?  People are subjects, not objects.  We all have feelings, don't we?  The "Plan Bs" deserve not to be strung along for another person's amusement, security, or convenience. 

For Christians, the situation becomes even more complex, given the teachings of Jesus about divorce and remarriage in Mark 10:1-12.  

I suggest that rather than having a "Plan B," women devote themselves fully to the husbands they have now.   Help your husband to give you the love you need by becoming the Ideal Woman as delineated in the original pamphlets and as amplified in Mrs. Andelin's book.  When you become the Ideal Woman, his love for you is almost always awakened.  We ladies become "Plan AH" (AH stands for Angela Human), then leave the "Plan Bs" to find Ideal Women of their own.

As always, I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.

Agape always,
Cynthia
 
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