03 September 2015

Domestic Queen Day Three: Learn About, Prepare, and Enjoy a Historical Food

Courtesy of Microsoft.

I don't know about you, but I can find myself in an intellectual as well as a culinary rut.  Life can become so busy--even overwhelming--that I don't learn much in the way of new material and I prepare the same foods repeatedly.  

Since September 3 is Welsh Rarebit Day (who knew?), I decided to learn about the dish's history and to prepare it for my family for our main course.  I plan to serve sliced tomatoes and cucumbers as a side dish.  In addition to the recipe in the Wikipedia cookbook, I found one in a Domestic Science Textbook from a century ago.  I surmise that some sort of Cheddar cheese is meant by "American cheese" in the recipe.

If you already know about Welsh Rarebit, perhaps you could learn about and prepare Chicken Marengo, rumored to be one of the Little Corporal's favorites.

Agape always,

02 September 2015

Domestic Queen Day Two: Sapphires at One's Fingertips

The Logan Sapphire, Courtesy of the National Museum of Natural History

September's birthstone is the sapphire, and since purchasing jewelry is not in my budget, I am going to substitute by giving myself a manicure and a pedicure with sapphire-colored polish.  I have chosen Essie's Aruba Blue (not an affiliate link) as my shade.  Remember that while sapphires are usually blue, they come in almost all colors.  Women who don't use nail polish can have a plain mani-pedi instead.  

Being well-groomed: it's a queenly thing.

Agape always,

01 September 2015

What Makes a Woman Beautiful? (Domestic Queen Day One)

Courtesy of Dover Books
I suppose everyone would have his or her own answer to that question.  From my perspective, the most important requirement for true beauty would be a woman's relationship with God.  Others might say that physical perfection is the most important requirement.  From the page fifty-three of my transcription The Original Fascinating Womanhood Pamphlets we can learn the following answer to the above question (italics retained from the original):

We will begin with Thackeray, and determine, if possible, just exactly what it was that made him consider Amelia beautiful, both in appearance and in disposition. In the quotation already given, you will notice, he indicates that she is a “kind, fresh, smiling, artless, tender little domestic goddess.” A
few pages further on he calls her “poor, little tender heart.” At another place he attributes to her “such a kindly, smiling, tender, gentle, generous heart of her own.” He admits that others might not consider her beautiful: “Indeed, I am afraid that her nose was rather short than otherwise, and her cheeks a great deal too round for a heroine; but her faced blushed with rosy health, and her lips with the freshest of smiles, and she had a pair of eyes which sparkled with the brightest and honestest of good humor,
except, indeed, when they filled with tears, and that was a great deal too often; for the silly thing would cry over a dead canary or over a mouse that the cat haply had seized upon; or over the end of a novel, were it ever so stupid, etc.” Elsewhere we learn that the “sweet fresh little voice went right into the Captain’s heart, and nestled there.” Her manner, her attitude toward events, her actions, contribute materially toward making her winsome. She is subject to “little cares, fears, tears, timid misgivings.”  “She went fluttering to Lieutenant George Osborne’s heart as if it was the only natural home for her to
nestle in.” She trembles when anyone is harsh. Altogether she is “too modest, too tender, too trustful, too weak, too much woman” for any man to know without feeling called upon to protect, to cherish, and to fondle her.

The idea of the Domestic Goddess (change the word goddess to something else if it offends you; I prefer Domestic Queen), which Mrs. Andelin--now of blessed memory--expanded upon from The Original Fascinating Womanhood Pamphlets, first came from William Makepeace Thackeray, a mournful and romantic man.  I believe that Amelia was a tribute to his mother as well as his beloved, but severely ill, wife.

The above paragraph contains, I believe, the essential nugget of the FW philosophy:  beauty is primarily spiritual.  It also subtracts credence from the idea that being a Domestic Goddess is primarily about keeping a clean house.  Rather, I perceive that outside of one's relationship with God, finding joy in everyday life remains key to beauty and to becoming a Domestic Goddess.

September is a great time to concentrate on our families, our homes, and ourselves.  I have planned a series of thirty ideas to help us to become more joyful in our everyday lives.  I hope that you enjoy them.

Today's idea is easy: take a few minutes to write your own answer to the question, "What Makes a Woman Beautiful?"  You can even make a list if writing prose isn't your cup of cocoa.  That's what I did...

What Makes a Woman Beautiful?  ~  Cynthia Berenger

1.  A relationship with God
2.  The fruit of the Holy Spirit
3.  Serving God through serving family and others
4.  Finding joy in everyday experiences and sharing that joy with others
5.  Appreciating the simple pleasures of life
6.  Making the most of one's appearance and health
7.  Developing talents

If you'd like to write on  your own blog, I would appreciate a link.  If you'd like to share your ideas via a comment, I would enjoy that, too.

Agape always,

29 August 2015

The Day My Mother "Joined" the PTA :-)

Courtesy of Microsoft

The quite comical story from Yahoo! News--"Hilarious Letter from PTA Speaks the Truth"--reminded me of my own mother's membership in the PTA.  

I attended public school one year, and students experienced significant social pressure during the PTA membership drive.  When the parent (let's be honest: the mother) joined the PTA, the child was given a spray-painted rock on which "You are special" had been stenciled and his or her name was written on a paper leaf that was stapled to a big paper tree in the cafeteria.  Everyone could see whose name was (and was not) on the tree.

My mother was a comely, committed, and capable career woman that year, having divorced my father, and she had no interest in joining the PTA.  The first weeks of the membership drive passed with my name being the only one in my class not on the tree and with my receiving little jibes from my classmates.  

Finally, I could stand it no longer.  I completed one of the many membership forms that had been sent home me with me and placed it along with the fifty-cent membership fee from my allowance in an envelope.  After carrying my precious cargo to school, I slid the envelope along the blond, Danish-modern teacher's desk.  My teacher tore open the envelope and glanced at the form.  How she didn't fall out of her chair laughing amazes me to this day!  She had to have recognized my printing and handwriting.  Instead of laughing or calling me out on my forgery, Miss B dutifully handed me my rock and said, "I will make sure to tell Mrs. McD to add your name to the tree."

Deo Gratias, my parents reunited the following year and I returned to beloved, blessed home education, where the PTA consisted of the folks at the dining room table.

Agape always,

28 August 2015

Rumors of My Demise are Greatly Exaggerated...

Courtesy of Microsoft

Dear Ladies,

I appreciate all of the e-mails and comments of support.  Thank you.  I hope to start blogging again soon and plan to do something fun for September.

We have experienced a great many changes in the past few months, most of them positive, all of them accepted with a thankful heart (eventually).  

Agape always,

28 May 2015

RIP Tabaitha Brown (Plain Torah Keeper)

Courtesy of Microsoft
Through one of those Internet happenstances, I learned just a moment ago of the death in March of one of my favorite bloggers:  Tabaitha "Tabby" Brown, also known as Plain Torah Keeper.  

The last I knew of her was earlier this year when she announced a new relationship had come into her life; just over two months later, Tabby passed. I admire Tabby for overcoming so much and for avoiding bitterness as she did so.  I admired her, as well, for being content to live her daily life, serving God and her family.  Tabby's writings have been removed from Blogger; however, you can read some of her writings on the "Wayback Machine":  On the Narrow Path of Set Apart Womanhood.

Agape always,

A Praise Report and Classes

Young Mother Sewing - Mary Cassatt - Public Domain

Dear Ladies,

I want to thank everyone who has prayed and who has offered to help us.  Further, I want to give a praise report.  Somehow I was able to arrive home safely, even though my car had been harmed in a way that should have made it unnavigable.  Thanks be to God!

I wanted to let everyone know that I do have three places available in the Marriage Enrichment Advanced class.  Two more ladies have finished in May, and a third lady has not been active in several months.  The Marriage Enrichment Basic class always has room for new students.

In addition, I am in real need due to a situation beyond my control and I must relocate to a new home without really wishing to do so at this time.  I have found an appropriate (I hope) place for us to live.  The place isn't what I had hoped for, but it will suffice for a time, all as God wills.  Please continue to keep us in prayer.

Agape always,

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