Monday, October 31, 2011

Ode to Beautiful Girlhood

Silver Bells

When I first saw these paintings by the English-born, American painter, Pati Bannister, I was immediately in love with her renditions of girlhood. The dresses on these girls are dreamy, the hairstyles are classical and lovely (you may want to try some out) and the backgrounds are beautiful. I just had to share some of my favorites and hope that these landscapes of life will inspire you to live in pure and peaceful surroundings.  You may not own the land but you can have the gentle ambiance within the walls of your own, home-sweet-home...

Show and Tell

The Cottage Garden

Puddings and Pies
Rose Garden



Crowning Glory


Quiet Corner


Sunday Afternoon



Buttons and Bows

Red, White and Blue

White House


The Swing

Crystal Bowl

Morning Mist

Rambling Rose

Cuckoo Clock

Lilies of the Field



Paradise Cove



Flowers, tea and dresses along with girls in beautiful tresses…

(Photos Courtesy of: Pati Bannister official site)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tamar's Tears

The Desolation of Tamar
After reading, 2 Samuel, Chapter 13:1-19, my heart was burning from the incident. This passage perfectly illustrates the topic of lust verses love for our daughters. I know it is a harsh situation but when your daughter is of age to understand this topic, read the following with her. If you are a maiden then I pray these words convict your heart…

For he thought he loved her...
"1: And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her

2: And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her. 

3: But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man. 

4: And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king's son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister. 

5: And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand. 

6: So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand. 

7: Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon's house, and dress him meat. 

8: So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes. 

9: And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him. 

10: And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. 

11: And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister. 

12: And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly. 

13: And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee. 

14: Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her. 

15: Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone. 

16: And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her. 
17: Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her. 
18: And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king's daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her. 
19: And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying." 
~ 2 Samuel, Chapter 13:1-19
What happened to his "vexing" love?...

Our daughters must be told that some men will declare their lust in the name of love, they will declare their admiration in the name of love and they may even declare their false intentions to spend their life with you in the name of love, but until they have sought a true, God honoring relationship and dedicate their life to you in the form of a God ordained marriage, then such a love does not exist yet...

Young ladies, guard your hearts and your bodies as the living temple for once these men receive that special part of you, most are through with their so called love as Amnon illustrated to us in the tragic tale of Tamar… He only THOUGHT he loved her… and a HATRED greater than that so-called "love" replaced it.

God's way of purity is a protection for the maiden… It safeguards her heart for the one worthy of her life and love. Poor Tamar! If only King David was not so lax in his child-rearing! He should have protected her from those closed quarters! Dear maidens, do not despise the wise counsel of your parents in this area for their desire is to prevent a similar fate!

"True love" will spend time to get to know you, your plans, your relationship with God. True love will respect you and walk you up the isle nobly with your hand in his, like a treasure he intends to protect.

On the Threshold (of a Proposal) by Edmund Blair Leighton
Books about purity and godly relationships…

Younger girls:

The Garden Wall: A Story of Love Based on I Corinthians 13 by Jennie Bishop (picture book)
The Three Weavers: A Picture Book, Retold by Mark Hamby (picture book)

Older girls:

The Three Weavers by Annie Fellows Johnston (allegorical novel)
Of Knights and Fair Maidens by Jeff and Danielle Myers (instructional book)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Novels by Elizabeth Prentiss ~ A Regal Reading List

If you like to read novels but want something more "nourishing" for the soul, then Elizabeth Prentiss is the answer. What I really appreciate about her books is that she encourages women in their daily walk, routine and relationships. When reading her novels you think, "so I am not the only one with this problem and here is a way to conquer it!" Listed below are some of her writings that I recommend (and own) for women of different ages and stages in their lives:

Age 4 - 6 years
  • Little Susy Stories (Read about five year old Susy and all her tutors in life such as Mrs. Love and Mr. Patience. A delight for little ones which gently instructs.)
Age 6 - 9 years
  • Little Threads ("It was Mrs. Prentiss' intent that this little gem would be a tool for children to learn obedience. Read about the contrasting lives of Tangle Thread and Golden Thread (both young girls), one the cause of much grief for her godly mother, and the other the only bright spot in her poor mother's world." ~ Publisher)
Ages 13 - 99 years
  • The Flower of the Family ~ A Tale of Domestic Life for Girls (If only I had read this as a young lady! Read how Lucy copes with her many struggles while growing up with the guidance of her parents and love of her God.)
Ages 16 - 99 years
  • Stepping Heavenward ("Stepping Heavenward is an intimate journal of a young woman who struggles with ordinary daily life just as we do. Her life is a constant struggle to "step heavenward" as she deals with disappointment, heartache, and tragedy. You'll find it hard to believe that this journal has not be written with your own pen!" ~ Publisher) My favorite!
  • Aunt Jane's Hero (This is a story of a young man in search of a bride and how God works in their marriage to bring them both closer to Him. This is another excellent novel! From the publisher; "Aunt Jane's hero, Horace Wheeler, was handsome, quick-witted and poor. Horace's one desire was to be in love, which lead him even into proposing. Aunt Jane was a sincere, kind-hearted Christian widow who was not always appreciated for her words of wisdom or her little "sermons". Those little sermons interfered with the good times Horace had with the less serious youth he kept company with. Horace's unfailing sense of humor and easy manner made him a favorite in his crowd. Aunt Jane's prayers continually followed Horace after enlisting in the Civil War where he became a different person; not only physically but spiritually. Aunt Jane's Hero is a well told Christian story of how God can work in the life of young people." ~ Publisher)
For Mothers
  • The Home at Greylock (I am currently reading this book and am half way done so far. This novel is gaged toward child rearing and is a little different from her other novels. It is not a book that you devour quickly but rather a book that you read in short intervals. It does have some good insight though some might not agree with all her suggestions.)
Here is a sample quote from this book that I have appreciated thus far:
"Only I want to thank you for not plaguing me with exhortations. It wouldn't have done me any good. And I think a great deal more of how people act than of how they talk. One's words can cheat; one's life can't."
~ Elizabeth Prentiss, The Home at Greylock

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Desire to Be Beautiful

A Beauty by John Everett Millais

"A desire to be beautiful is not unwomanly. A woman who is not beautiful cannot properly fill her place. But, mark you, true beauty is not of the face, but of the soul. There is a beauty so deep and lasting that it will shine out of the homeliest face and make it comely. This is the beauty to be first sought and admired. It is a quality of the mind and heart and is manifested in word and deed. A happy heart, a smiling face, loving words and deeds, and a desire to be of service, will make any girl beautiful."

~ An excerpt from Beautiful Girlhood by Mabel Hale

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Elizabeth Prentiss

Elizabeth Prentiss

“To love Christ more, is the deepest need, the constant cry of my soul…
Out in the woods and on my bed and out driving,
when I am happy and busy,
and when I am sad and idle,
the whisper keeps going up for
more love, more love, more love!”

~ Elizabeth Prentiss

Who is Elizabeth Prentiss?

She was an American author, born on October 26, 1818 in Portland, Maine. She had written many inspiring books, for a variety of ages, and all to the glory of God. Mrs. Prentiss is best known for her novel, Stepping Heavenward (which is my all time favorite fuel for staying focused on God!) as well as for writing the hymn, "More Love to Thee". 

Interesting facts about her life:
  • Her father was a Congregational pastor (who came from a long line of ministers) and revival preacher  with a puritan foundation and history.  The family gathered three times a day for prayer.
  • In 1845, she married George Lewis Prentiss who also became a pastor.  They had six children with only four that survived infancy (one child died a newborn and the other at age four).
  • The couple seemed to have had a beautiful bond in their marriage and it appears that George Lewis Prentiss was a very encouraging husband. As biographer, Marion Harland, wrote of him, "as a woman I linger pridefully upon the truth that to other qualities which challenge respect he (George Lewis Prentiss) united that rare nobility of nature that enabled him to value aright the talents of the woman he had wedded; to foster these wisely and generously, and to rejoice sincerely in her renown. The growth of their dual being into oneness and beauty was never warped or checked by jealousy of a strain we would brand as " unmanly," could we do away with the truth that that man is exceptionally magnanimous, and his self-poise phenomenally steady, who takes pleasure in bearing his wife extolled for the exercise of such powers as he believes himself to possess."
  • Her first story, "Little Susy's Six Birthdays" was published in 1853 and took her only ten days to write!
  • At 22 she wrote, "I never knew what it was to feel well." Throughout her life she struggled with many chronic health problems such as angina, insomnia and neuralgia.  Despite her many illnesses, she managed to to be a useful servant of the Lord, hoping to "do some good."
  • Quoted of Elizabeth Prentiss by biographer, Marion Harland, "Never, in all this season of toil and pain, were domestic and church duties neglected. From her well-ordered kitchen came palatable food for her own family and delicacies for the sick. Wherever sorrow and disease went she followed, as obeying a direct call from Him who pleased not Himself. She was never too busy to console the bereaved with spoken or written words; to help her children with their lessons ; to study treatises on science, metaphysics, and theology, and to have a spare hour for lighter current literature. Maternity was with her more than instinct; it was a passion, triumphing over debility, pain, and the engrossments of literary and pastoral life. "Mamma" was always, when at home, within call, and seldom so ill that she could not be referee, counsellor, and playfellow. If the suspicion of mysticism obtrudes itself upon him who reads of religious fervors too exalted for the appreciation of the average Christian, he cannot deny that the product of conflict and ecstasy was intensely practical piety. Her achievements for the good of her kind would have been remarkable for a robust woman, to whom headache and sleeplessness were strangers. In her they were simply inexplicable, unless we refer them, as she did, to ever-renewed supplies of strength from an inexhaustible Source."
  • She died in 1878 at the age of 60 and the hymn that she wrote, "More Love to Thee" was sung at her funeral.
(Web Source 1Web Source 2)

Though Mrs. Prentiss had many sorrows and sadness in her life, she focused on the love of Christ and to Christ which sustained her in all circumstances. Her writings seem to say to us, "I have been there, I have hurt, I have lost, I have regrets, but through it all, I have loved Christ! And because of this, I want to love you and you and you…" Doesn't this mentality sum up the two greatest commandments given to us?

"Much of my experience of life has cost me a great price and 
I wish to use it for strengthening and comforting other souls."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Homestead Blessings DVD Series

If you haven't yet heard of these videos, then I must introduce them to you since they have truly been a blessing in our household… (We own every single one!) I call them the "Proverbs 31 DVD's". The West ladies show mothers and maidens all kinds of homestead arts such as candle making, sewing, quilting, crafting, herbs, gardening, bread making, cheese making, etc., and all in an easy to understand way. You will walk away encouraged and inspired to implement some of these lost arts into your household. If you are already a veteran homemaker, then you will walk away with some great ideas. These young ladies are excellent examples for daughters which I really appreciate. Their modest dress, industrious hands, and their smiling faces presents very pleasant role models. So far there are 11 DVD's in this series. They are:

"She looketh well to the ways of her household,
and eateth not the bread of idleness."
~ Proverbs 31:27

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Autumn Foliage

Autumn Foliage by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe
This painting of an autumn scene by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe really sets the mood for the season. This American born painter was known for her historical genre pictures and used painting as a means of supporting herself when her father died. I love those fall colors and the beautiful dress the young lady is wearing. What era do you think is depicted based on her clothing?

Autumn Activity:

Fall is a beautiful season to take long walks and ponder on the finer things of life.  Why not make it a point to do an autumn stroll once a week? Not only is walking soothing for the soul, but it is also healthy for the heart! The Regency Era appreciated this sort of exercise as you may notice from the many meanderings of the characters in the Jane Austen books.
“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn--that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness--that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.” 
~ Jane Austen, Excerpt from Persuasion
Henrietta Musgrove and Anne Elliot walking on the shore at Lyme,
Illustrated by Barbara Brown

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Views on Vashti

Banishment of Vashti by Paolo Veronese

It was ordered…
"To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal,
to shew the people and the princes her beauty:
for she was fair to look upon."
Esther 1:11

Queen Vashti, the wife who was banished because she was not obedient to the whim of her husband the king... There are many views that have been maintained on this beautiful woman, most of them painting her in a negative light.

Vashti Deposed by Ernest Normand
I always had an impression of haughtiness regarding her character,
but is there more thoughts to ponder regarding this fearless female?

Some may say that she should have responded to the desire of her husband the king, but would that have been a modest display on her part? Is this story that cut and dry? One commentary declared her a "worldly woman" while another declared her as a "woman of great moral courage"...

Anguished Portrait of Vashti by Kirsten Coco
(The link above takes you to the website of the artist Kirsten Coco, with her own version of Vashti.)

It was ordered…
"To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal,
to shew the people and the princes her beauty:
for she was fair to look upon."
Esther 1:11

I guess the important question would be, "just what exactly was the king asking of her" in his drunken state? Some opinions are that she was just to be on display for her beauty while others suggest that she was being asked to be viewed wearing only her crown royal… That would drastically change the nature of this story. Was this a situation of obeying God rather than man?

Could there be two heroines in the Book of Esther? 

What is your view on Vashti? Is she a "heroine of the faith"?

Please leave your views on Vashti in the comment box below. I am most anxious to hear your opinion on this delicate subject of submission… It would be interesting to hear from a variety of ages and stages of women. (I will be posting a follow up to what your opinions conclude if I get enough of a response so please share…)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...