Our handmaidens and another free Postcard...
You know, for so many years I have heard women lament of not having any handmaidens, such as the Proverbs 31 woman mentions in verse 15, and it always astounds me how they have completely overlooked the handmaidens in their own homes today. I think Mrs Proverbs 31 would have loved some of the ones that work in my own home.
Growing up I saw my Nana work hard each day, never begrudgingly, and for us not having a fridge or washing machine or vacuum cleaner or hot water in the home was quite normal. I did not realise that some people around us had a real refrigerator, a twin tub washer, or that they could turn on a hot or cold tap right inside their own house. My little world revolved around the home Nana and Pop made for us and in comparison to many of their peers it could even be called primitive by late 1960's standards, in fact I was thirteen when Nana and Pop moved into a different flat, one which had hot and cold running water at the kitchen sink (though we had to light the gas for it). Up until then Nana boiled water in the old copper (which doubled as her washtub as it had a detachable wringer) and every few days she'd carry bucket loads of hot water from the copper, up the back path to the bathhouse and pour it in to the old tub for us to take turns bathing in.
Then the water had to be emptied from the tub, bucket by bucket, and the bathtub cleaned and dried. On in-between days Nana, Pop and I would scrub our hands, faces, feet, behind the ears and wash our hair under the cold tap by the back door. This was our normal and I never imagined life to be different.
I can still remember the Ice Man arriving every week to deposit a huge cube of ice in the Icebox because until I was thirteen we did not have a refrigerator.
Now, you know, I love the old days, the old ways, and enjoy learning the skills of those times, and there was a time where I expounded over and over how if it was good enough for Nana then we should all aim to step back and do things the way they used to be done. But things change. A child, which is still what I call myself before God, grows up and the Lord instils a bit more wisdom and common sense along the way.
When Nana finally got a twin tub washing machine in the early 1970's it was a gamechanger for her. She was getting older, around the same age I am now, and she did not have the strength of her younger years, so for the next ten years she delighted in her new handmaiden until she passed away in 1982.
And one day this came home to me as I studied Proverbs 31:10-31...the fact that if Nana were alive to day she would love a front loader like mine. She would have thoroughly enjoyed using my vacuum cleaner and steam mop. She would definitely find my two refrigerators quite a step above the small second hand Kelvinator she eventually got around the time we moved in 1972.
My dishwasher, iron, sewing machine, coffee machine, blender, oven, cooktop, hair dryer, hot and cold taps, water filter...every one of these is also a maidservant in my home, just as they are in yours.
Pondering lately how well my Nana kept house, how everything she owned was appreciated because my Pop worked hard to purchase them, how her little abode twinkled and shone with care and homemaker pride, how her days reflected a gentle unchanging rhythm of habits and routines...I've been struck by my own lack of appreciation for all the modern appliances which fill my home and make my life easier.
Though our homes are larger today on average, I can easily mop a three bedroom house far quicker than Nana could scrub the one-bedroom walk-through on her knees. I don't have to shop every day or two for fresh produce as she did, but can shop weekly and store it all in a larger fridge and freezer as well as the walk-in pantry. My washing is done one load per day, on a 30 minute eco cycle, before I hang it all out in the sun on the clothesline (I don't have a dryer nor want one). Nana spent many hours every Monday doing the weekly wash and until we got the twin tub (which was still far more work than our modern machines) she did it all by hand. Nana would take all the rugs outside and hang them over the clothesline to beat them with a huge broom to dislodge the dust each week. I just vacuum.
How wonderful are our handmaidens?!
I'm writing about this today because like most things in life that we take for granted, a lack of appreciation for what we now consider basic everyday items, can creep in to our hearts.
This next month, as you and I fill the washing machine, vacuum the carpets and rugs, cream butter and sugar in minutes with our electric mixer (Nana had a hand beater that took forever), brew a coffee, heat up leftovers in the microwave for dinner, or attend to any number of household requirements, let us give thanks for each of our labour-saving handmaidens, okay?
This week's Postcard from Heaven is number four in the series of six. Over the past year or more I think there have been many tears shed across the world, and many hearts do not realise that those tears matter deeply to our Heavenly Father.
If you know of someone who needs comfort, hope, or affirmation that their sorrows matter to God, this postcard would be a precious gift given from the heart or posted anonymously.
Perhaps your are the one who is in need of strong arms to carry you for a while, an ear to listen and a genuine infusion of compassion and love? Stitch this for your own heart dear one. Know, and do not doubt, that the Lord cares, and as it says in Psalm 56:8 -
"You keep track of all my sorrows; You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book."
Use the link below to download the free pattern.
DOWNLOAD "Postcards From Heaven" week 4.
Other things around HOME...
I clearly remember Nana mending, always mending, making things last. As I was going through my dress patterns the other day, looking for one to make that was cool and modest, a memory of Nana mending Pop's woollen socks came to mind. As with many memories, this led me on a journey of thought which eventuated in my decision not to make a dress, but to mend a few dresses which had been packed away due to various unravelling, holes and other problems.
Each day I've been working on one or another during the late afternoons while waiting for the washing to dry and the chickens to finish their free-range time.
I uncovered a few more items than can either be mended or repurposed after cleaning out the wardrobe in the bedroom and giving the inside a good scrub. It's funny what you find when you take things apart to clean. There was one bag of old things which made their way to the op shop, but everything in need of mending made a tidy pile in the sewing room. Which made me think how blessed I am to have a sewing machine as a handmaiden!
The south of our state is in Covid lockdown again, and up here in the north, for the first time we have mandatory wearing of face masks. As this has not been needed until now our dear Blossom set to work on her own sewing machine to make fully lined masks for the family. I prefer ties to elastic and she wisely chose to tear strips from one of Ross's old t-shirts for stretchy ties.
We tried them out yesterday when we went out shopping to stock up on essentials and she's made them very comfortable and quite easy to breathe through. I came home with a good number of glass jars for the pantry so as we won't be leaving home again for a while I can finally get in and sort out the walk in pantry, removing the last of the plastic containers and replacing with the glass. I'd wanted to do this last week but other things cropped up which needed more attention. Tomorrow this will be my focus and I'm very excited about it.
It's raining! Hang on for 5 minutes...
Well, I got the washing off the line just in time, one egg collected from the coop, and as dinner is already in the crock pot I shall brew myself a cup of Earl Grey and nibble one or two Ginger Kisses before returning to the mending.
How are YOU faring this week? I'd love to hear what's occupying your thoughts and time.
Bless you heaps,
PS: Block 3 of Simple Days is now in my shop. Go HERE to purchase as an instant download.
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