05 May 2016

May I Ask You a Question: "Why Do You Think Homemaking Is So Great?"

Woman Hanging Laundry - Camille Pissaro - Public Domain
From a purely "me first" standpoint, I live in a home and I want to live as comfortably as possible.  I am a woman and, therefore, want my surroundings to give me as much pleasure as possible.

God, in His infinite wisdom and/or sense of humor, decided to bless me with a family whom I love.  I want them to be happy and healthy and to achieve their best potential.  My homemaking supports those goals.

The most important reason that I make my home as lovely as possible is my belief that homemaking honors God.  Now, of course, the Almighty, the Creator of the universe does not need in any way the homemaking of one Cynthia Berenger.  Homemaking, I believe, can be a form of prayer, a way of expressing my gratitude to God for all He has given to me. 

02 May 2016

"May I Ask You a Question?" Day One: "Are You Doing the Question Thing Again?"

Courtesy of Microsoft
The short answer to the question noted above is in the affirmative.

The long answer is in the affirmative, with the proviso that I probably won't be able to write every day, so I have changed the name of the feature to "May I Ask You a Question?":  a little pun action here on LFW.  

I wasn't going to do the feature this year because I thought I would have to move again, but just this past weekend, I received a new lease offer with a rent increase so low that it doesn't make financial sense to move.  Yay!

If you have a question that you believe my little "woman-to-woman" ideas might help, please leave it as a comment on the blog or e-mail it to me.

Not having to move means that I can go forward with offering new classes that have been on hold since January because I didn't know if I was going to have to move.  

Have a fascinating day!

Agape always,

30 April 2016

April's Journaling Challenge - Day Thirty: A Bouquet

Courtesy of Dover Publishing
Have you kept up with your gratitude list?  I hope so.  One of the writings I like to do at month's end consists of reviewing my gratitude lists for over the month and recording the most meaningful instances on one page. I try to have one instance for each day. Despite all my efforts to the contrary, we are facing some "hard sleddin'" as Jennie Musgrave would say; thus, the exercise is particularly important this month. 

So, that is...

Today's Prompt:  Review your gratitude lists for the month and condense them into one list on this last day of the month.  If possible, try to have thirty instances, one for each day in April

Here is a craft idea related to this journal prompt.  Cut out a flower shape for each instance of gratitude.  You can use one shade of paper or as many as you like.  (Optional: Cut out a paper stem for each flower and a few leaves for each stem.)  After you write the condensed gratitude list, write one instance of gratitude on each flower.  On a poster board, sheet of construction paper, or sheet of tinted paper, paste the flowers in a way that looks beautiful to you.  You can add the optional greenery, too.

I appreciate your making this journaling journey with me.  Thank you!  Now, on to those May Questions.  I have a few to start out, but feel free to send  yours as a comment to the blog or to my e-mail.

Agape always,

29 April 2016

April's Journaling Challenge - Day Twenty-Nine: Interview with a Fascinating Woman

Sea Promenade - Michael Ancher - Public Domain
Today's Prompt:  Imagine that you have the opportunity to interview one of the fascinating women about whom Mrs. A wrote or another fascinating woman from history or literature.  What would you tell her?  What would you ask her about herself and her motivations?  About what problem or situation in your life would you seek her advice? How do you believe she might respond?  Please don't read below the break below until after you write in your journal.

If I had a chance, I would love to sit down with Elizabeth Bennet Darcy, whom I consider to be a fascinating woman from literature.  The first thing I would ask is if Mr. Darcy has any real-life rellies whom I might like!  Just kidding, more or less.  I perceive that she would laugh and remind me that Fitzwilliam Darcy was a figment of Jane Austen's imagination and, therefore, lacked any potential suitor-relatives.

I would tell her how much I admired her ability to stand up for herself without becoming nasty or losing her dignity as well as her ability to resist Mr. D's first declaration of love.  I would ask how she managed to have faith in her future happiness when her expectations looked so bleak.  I believe that Eliza would remind me of all of the Bible readings and wise sermons she heard in her youth and all the prayers she had uttered and that admitting defeat and sliding into despair simply was not part of her making.


The interview exercise, according to one of my Psychology professors, (I added the fascinating woman part) helps to show what is on one's mind on a subconscious level, as it were.  What do you think?  Did your "Interview with a Fascinating Woman" show you anything new about your life?

28 April 2016

April's Journaling Challenge - Day Twenty-Eight: Empathy

The Tea Party - Cassatt - Public Domain
I feel that one of the human qualities lacking today is empathy.  Many people under the age of forty spend hours every day looking at screens instead of each other.  Seeing other people's facial expressions and connecting those expressions to speech are important to developing empathy.  Over the past however many millennia, developing empathy occurred naturally for most people.  Some people repressed the development of empathy in order to protect themselves from feeling, but empathy lingered under the surface.

To develop empathy, we must accept other people, appreciate them for their better traits, try to put ourselves in their places, and then share all of that with them in an appropriate way. 

A few of my ideas include the following:
  • "I can tell you feel ______ by that news."
  • "I respect your ideas."
  • "I respect your opinion."
  • "I know that dealing with _____ can be frustrating."  
  • "I appreciate your sharing your thoughts with me.  Thank you."
Today's Prompt:  What could you do to develop and to express empathy to your nearest and dearest? What could you say the next time a loved one shares his or her emotion-laden experience with you? 

27 April 2016

April's Journaling Challenge - Day Twenty-Seven: Teacher Feature

Courtesy of Microsoft

Before this hoary-headed gentleman became a very successful money maven, he was my music teacher.  

I attended public school for a few years, and one of those years, I was blessed to be in one of Mr. Camarella's classes. We sang many beautiful pieces, pieces that would likely result in complaints today:  "Non Nobis,"  "Let Us Break Bread Together," and other Christian music. I learned a little guitar and piano and a lot about having a correct estimation of myself.  Two of his students, that I know of, sing semi-professionally, and before all of my online classes, I sing a few of his exercises to prepare my voice to speak for an hour-ish.  Considering that I have not seen the man in forty-two years, that's influence!

Grazie, Signor Camarella!

Today's Prompt: What special teacher impacted your life in a positive manner? Write your thoughts about her or him.  If doing so would be appropriate and safe, send him or her a letter expressing your gratitude.

26 April 2016

April's Journaling Challenge - Day Twenty-Six: Love and Be Loved?

Swan Heart - Courtesy of Wikipedia
From The Original Fascinating Womanhood Pamphlets we learn the following:

It is right and natural that every man and woman should love and be loved. It is right and natural that each individual should have his or her personal circle of friends – should attract others by his or her personal qualities. It is right and natural that every woman, when her time comes, should choose her life companion from among the men of her acquaintance – and should inspire him with reciprocal affection. 
These are Nature’s laws – God’s laws.

Today's Prompt:  What are your feelings after reading this quote? Some people consider FW teachings to be unnatural, and a few even regard them as manipulative.  However, if they truly are "Nature's laws -- God's laws," then the teachings could not be either of those things.  

Twelve years ago when I completed my application to become an FW teacher, one of the questions was (and I am paraphrasing) how I would respond to the allegation that FW was manipulative.  I answered that the teachings were so powerful that they could be used to manipulate men, but that when a woman with an angelic character put the teachings into practice, they only enhanced her loveliness.  That helps to explain the central importance of character as an FW teaching.
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