Monday, April 30, 2012

Remembering Ribbons: Medieval Times ~ Reformation

Portrait of a Young Woman (In Detail) by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, 1490

As we continue our Remembering Ribbon Series, we are reminded how versatile they have been in history. We last read in Biblical Times, how God himself utilized these brilliant bands in Numbers 15:38 (then called ribband). Now we find them in the Middle Ages and through the Rennaissance, with a completely different use.

Peddlers in the Middle Ages sold ribbons throughout Europe and the Medieval and Renaissance generations were able to purchase some that were strewn with gold and silver threads.  They also offered lovely silk ones which were obtained from the Orient. The ribbons sold at the beginning were made with raw edges since the modern day ribbon with selvedges (finished edges) were not created until the 1500's. In the 16th Century, ribbons were associated with luxury to the point that the English Parliament tried to make laws stating only nobility could wear them.

Young Maiden Reading a Book by Pierre-Auguste Cot
Ribbons in the Medieval Times and Rennasiance era were sometimes worn as a headband across the forehead with hair loose and long. However, you would rarely see a married women with that sort of flowing hairstyle. It was solely for the young maidens and girls as females in that time wore a covering of some sort because of their Christian faith (which does bring some interesting thoughts to mind). During these periods, most of the hair was covered using hats, veils and nets of various styles with ribbons utilized as decoration underneath these items.

Windflowers by John William Waterhouse
Ribbons were also wrapped and tied around the sleeves which produced the romantic look we see in all the Victorian Era paintings (as shown above) which depict this chivalrous time period where men were remembered as knights and women were considered ladies, damsels or maidens.

Portrait of a Young Woman by Sandro Botticelli, 1485
Italy however, seemed to be an exception when it came to hair visibility (the claims are because of the warmer climates) and in the wealthier population, ribbons were worn in a more ornate fashion, wound around and through braids. The Italian women also wore two long braids with ribbon woven through and then coiled them around the head while some covered these loose braids with a linen cloth.

Beatrice d'Este by Ambrogio de Predis, 1490
We can see that the Renaissance women embraced these lovely strands of silk as they managed to wear them as a fore-band while still covering the head with some sort of net or fancy snood.

La Belle Ferronniere by Leonardo Da Vinci (Fashion 1490-1496)

Ribbons were also worn to attach the sleeves to the rest of the dresses in the later styles.

Huguenot Lovers on St. Bartholomew's Day by John Everett Millais

During the closing of these magnificent eras, there was great tumult in Europe over Biblical beliefs. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the French Protestants (known as Huguenots) were being persecuted by the powerful Roman Catholic church. Many were killed, while others fled to safer countries to worship freely. France at that time was a major supplier of silk ribbons to Europe and when these persecuted people left their homes, they took with them their skills of weaving and ribbon making which afforded countries like Switzerland and England (where many relocated), to have their own manufacturing of ribbon goods just as fine as they had in the past, purchased from France. 

One of the most tragic display of ribbons occurred during the bloody slaughter in 1572 of the Huguenots which is now known as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Those sympathetic to the Roman Catholic cause were told to wear white ribbons or bands on their arms while the rest of the crowd of over 5,000 French Protestants were to be slaughtered for their faith. The famous painting above by the sentimental, Victorian Era painter, depicts the woman trying to protect her loved one by attempting to place the white band on his arm. We can see his loyalty to his God as he embraces her while keeping the ribbon sash from making its mark.

The Huguenots created a ribbon of their own to signify their devotion and faith (with some historians claiming it entered the scene as early as 1562) which is called the Huguenot Cross. It is traditionally dangled from a ribbon of white, edged with stripes of French blue and gold, though today it is now commonly found as a piece of jewelry in pendant form. 

And so, the ribbon continues to reveal itself as a historic symbol as it is woven through the ups and downs of history while carefully adorning women at the same time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Marmee's Hope Chest

"'What did mother give you out of the treasure-box?" asked Amy, who had not been present at the opening of a certain cedar chest, in which Mrs. March kept a few relics of past splendor, as gifts for her girls when the proper time came."
When we think of cedar chests or hope chests, we think of new items to be taken with us for use in a future home. I think that we can also glean from Marmee and keep a little chest of treasures that can be stored away for special moments.

Young maidens may want to tuck away items that they have out grown but still hold sentiment such as a dress hand made by grandmother or a special doll (yes, even a teddy bear!). Perhaps one day their daughter or granddaughter will appreciate these little glimpses from their past.

Mothers can stow away items that were precious to her growing up and save them to give delight one day. I used to collect vintage beaded purses as a young lady and I have tucked away my favorites to pass down to my sweet one when she reaches a certain age. There are also some trinkets that were dear to me that I plan on giving in those milestone moments of her life.

What prized possessions will you store away for when that "proper time" comes?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Countess Juliana von Stolberg

"Lavender: A reminder of your first herbal lesson.
It speaks to you of devotion and virtue-two things you will always need
if you are to become a true noblewoman.
It will cheer you on a gray day, with its purple colour,
and its aroma will add beauty to the room you sleep."

~Oma (Countess Juliana von Stolberg)

Who is Countess Juliana von Stolberg?

Countess Juliana von Stolberg (1506-1580), a gifted herbal healer, was given the endearing title, "Queen Mother of the Netherlands" by her people. She was responsible for raising her family of 17 to trust in the Lord which furthered a movement that led to religious freedom for the persecuted people of Holland and beyond.

Interesting facts about her life:
  • Juliana was raised a Roman Catholic but later converted to Lutheranism and Calvinism.
  • Her first marriage lasted six years and after her husband's death, she remarried Willem von Nassau in which they shared Protestant beliefs and taught them to their 17 children. This marriage lasted for 28 years until he passed away.
  • Juliana spent her time managing her large household (a castle to be exact!), growing an herb garden and tending to the needs of her family and nearby villagers with medicinal remedies created from her herbs. She even had her own apothecary on the premises in which she stored her dried herbs and recipes that would be lovingly turned into poultices, salves and teas. Juliana and her husband also ran a school for the nobleman's children and she continued to run that alone as a widower, for the rest of her life.
  • She lived in turbulent times during the rule of King Philip II of Spain and therefore lost four of her five sons to the cause of religious freedom and independence for modern day Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. (King Phillip wanted all his subjects to worship like himself, Roman Catholic, which was unfortunate for the vast Dutch Protestant population who were being persecuted because of their beliefs.) Juliana's son, William of Orange (also known as William the Silent) was basically the "George Washington" of Holland (and was later assassinated because of his stances). She helped to fund this cause and sold many of the family treasures in order to accomplish it (eventually the Netherlands become independent in 1648).
  • Juliana was also a mentor to her grand-daughter Maria, who lived with her while her father (William of Orange) was at war and taught her in all the arts of healing with herbs. Her godly influence later caused Maria to form an orphan home in which she would also educate the young ladies there in the wisdom of natural cures.
  • Dr. Oma, as she was called by the local villagers (which means grandmother in Dutch) lived to be 74 years of age and died in her own bed in Dillenberg Castle with a legacy of 123 grandchildren.

Dillenburg Castle 1540, Home of Juliana von Stolberg

What is special to me in this woman, is that she knew the truth about reform. It starts in the family. She raised her 17 children with the Bible as their foundation and the beliefs that man should not be martyred for what they believe but should have "freedom of religion" (does this sound familiar?). During a time in history where blood was spilled because of your faith, this teaching through her children flourished into a cause of freedom! This once again shows the influence of mothers and the important ministry they have within the walls of their own little castle, called home.

It is also interesting to note that some trace the ideals of religious freedom in America to this family's cause. The pilgrims (puritans) left England and lived in Holland to avoid religious persecution. While there they must have gleaned from the ideas of freedom in Holland and taken them to the New World to form a government who would respect all persons.

Dr. Oma ~ The Healing Wisdom of Countess Juliana von Stolberg (Chosen Daughter Series). I recommend this book for ages 12 and up because of some of the content. There is the subject of adultery and insanity in the stepmother that might be confusing to younger readers. Another point I would discuss with my daughter is that the secondary character (Maria the granddaughter) married a man whom was an alcoholic and that does warrant a conversation. Beyond that, it is a very educational and endearing read of a grandmother passing on her godly faith and healing knowledge down to her granddaughter along with the history of the Dutch people. I especially appreciated the medicinal healing parts in this book because I think that is an important art that our young women would benefit from and I hope that this book would create a desire to learn more in this area.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Angel on My Shoulder

Angel on My Shoulder by Mary Jane Q Cross

The Dove Is Home With Us
by Mary Jane Q Cross

White Valiant soars, as souls await, relying on God to seal our fate
Ghostly morning, silent dawn, our Dove away in unearthly calm

Heart takes pause, hands be still, beat thy wings with Thunder thrill
Off and away, out of sight, may she find where we shall alight?

Never to leave or forsake, home again her grace we take
Wait again, rest and be loved, Seven days more for the flight of the Dove.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Keeping a Nature Journal

Buy at
Book with Rose

There are many hobbies I wish I had pursued when I was a young lady and keeping a nature journal is at the top of that list. There is so much good that can be offered to one when they take the time to capture in a few words or sketches, a glimpse of God's creation. 

It broadens your scope of knowledge in the areas of biology, enhances your appreciation of creation, enables you to view life with more detailed lenses, promotes art through drawings of nature, encourages quiet time with God and His goodness, provides peace in a stressful world, creates a legacy in which to treasure and pass down to the next generation (which in turn may encourage your daughters to begin their own).

Many thoughtful women of the past took notes on nature and we will glean from their goodness in future posts. In the meantime, let us dwell on a way to implement this into your life…
  • Procure a journal, composition book, binder in which to enter your sketches, information and observations.
  • Some quality colored pencils will enhance your artwork and entries.
  • Go outside and get comfortable. Look around and sketch what catches your attention.
  • Bring a poem book of nature or the Scriptures to add depth to a scene you are watching. Include some words that relates to what you are watching and sketching in your journal entry.
  • Another option is a field guide to identify what you are observing. You can enter the latin names and any other interesting scientific information on the subject you are observing next to your nature sketch.
  • You can also write your thoughts, personal poetry and how you view the nature scenes next to your sketches.
  • Perhaps one day you will draw a picture and include a Bible verse, another day a sketch with some pertaining poetry and another day, your own verses from the heart. Let it be a mix of sweet samples in your journal!
  • Try and discipline yourself to observe nature once a week for at least 15 minutes including one nature journal entry. You may find this time sacred to your soul and it will encourage you to continue and grow in your knowledge of the living world and the One who created it all.

Ideas on picture scenes to record:
  • Birds and their nests
  • Feathers
  • Flowers
  • Leaves
  • Trees
  • Insects

Some nature inspired books:
  • The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady (Excellent for women of all ages to enjoy! I just love the pictures in this book.)
    • "This is a facsimile reproduction of a naturalist's diary for the year 1906. Edith Holden recorded in words and paintings the flora and fauna of the British countryside through the changing seasons of the year."
  • Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola (Excellent for mothers to promote nature study and I think older girls would appreciate this book as well. This is a personal favorite of mine and is written in a fictional story format.)
    • "Karen Andreola, renowned interpreter of the Charlotte Mason method of education, has written a unique sort of book in the homeschool world. Pocketful of Pinecones is a teacher's guide to nature study cleverly disguised as a heartwarming story written in the form of a mother's diary. Woven into the story are: More than 100 examples of what to look for on a nature walk, Latin names for the living things to observed by the characters, Study questions, Nature poems and verses."
  • Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock (This is the grandaddy of nature study books but is quite in depth with information and nature study questions. This book is excellent for those who are serious about nature study.)
    • A matchless handbook for decades, this classic work has been the natural history bible for countless teachers and others who seek information about their environment. Written originally for those elementary school teachers who knew little of common plants and animals, and even less about the earth beneath their feet and the skies overhead, this book is for the most part as valid and helpful today as it was when first written in 1911-and revised in the spirit of its authors by a group of naturalists in 1939. Anna Botsford Comstock very appropriately took the view that we should know first and best the things closest to us. Only then, when we have an intimate knowledge of our neighbors, should we, journey farther afield to learn about more distant things. Teachers and children will find the material in this book invaluable in that regard. Details of the most common, but in some ways the most interesting, things are brought out, first by careful, nontechnical descriptions of the things themselves and later by thoughtful questions and study units. Because the most common things are treated in greatest detail, materials for study are easy to find. Whether the reader lives in the inner city or in the rural outback, the handbook is a treasure trove of information. A teacher does not need to know much about nature to use this handbook. The information is there for the novice and the expert alike. All that is needed is an inquiring mind, senses to observe, and a willingness to think about nature on a personal level. To enter this book in search of information about any common organism, stone, or object in the sky is to open the door to a fresh and lively acquaintance with one's environment.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Beauty of Modesty ~ A Collection of Quotes

Spring Maiden by Thomas Francis Dicksee

MOD'EST, a. [L. modestus, from modus, a limit.]
1. Properly, restrained by a sense of propriety; hence, not forward or bold; not presumptuous or arrogant; not boastful; as a modest youth; a modest man.
2. Not bold or forward; as a modest maid. The word may be thus used without reference to chastity.
"The blushing beauties of a modest maid." ~ Dryden
3. Not loose; not lewd.
"Mrs. Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife." ~ Shakespeare
4. Moderate; not excessive or extreme; not extravagant; as a modest request; modest joy; a modest computation.
~ Webster's 1828 Dictionary

After Service by Edmund Blair Leighton

"How does a woman look who loves the Lord? What should be her distinguishing external qualities? Though there are greatly different opinions about how one should look, I think there are some basic, yet very important principles on which we would all agree.

First of all, as His jewels, our greatest focus should be on a countenance which reflects the One we love, and nothing that would distract." 

~ by Jennifer J. Lamp, Excerpt from His Chosen Bride

Little Women by Jessie Wilcox Smith

"You have a good many little gifts and virtues, but there is no need of parading them, for conceit spoils the finest genius. There is not much danger that real talent or goodness will be overlooked long, and the great charm of all power is modesty."

~ Louisa May Alcott, Excerpt from Little Women

Julia Gathering Roses by Daniel Ridgway Knight

“Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of her honor.”

~ Noah Webster

Reminiscences by William John Montaigne

“One of the first evidences of a real lady, is that she should be modest. By modesty we mean that she shall not say, do, nor wear anything that would cause her to appear gaudy, ill-bred, or unchaste. There should be nothing about her to attract unfavorable attention, nothing in her dress or manner that would give a man an excuse for vulgar comment. When we dress contrary to the rule of modesty we give excuse for unwholesome thoughts in the mind of those who look upon us, and every girl who oversteps these bounds makes herself liable to misunderstanding and insult, though she may be innocent of any such intention.”

~ Margaret Hale, Excerpt from North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Girl Reading by Charles Edward Perugini

"Every young woman should dress well, that is, neatly, tastefully, modestly, whether she be rich or poor. Conspicuous dressing is vulgar. True refinement avoids anything showy and flashy: it never dresses better than it can afford, and yet it is always well dressed, even in simple muslin or plain calico."

~ J.R. Miller

The Shrine by John Waterhouse

"When a woman veils her body in modest clothing, she is not hiding herself from men. On the contrary, she is revealing her dignity to them."

~ Unknown

Cutting Roses by Daniel Ridgway Knight

"So we cannot look around at others for examples. We must have a conscience toward God ourselves, and answer these questions before Him in our own hearts.  As for myself I cannot wear what I know is not becomingly modest for a Christian to wear."

~ by Mabel Hale, Excerpt from Beautiful Girlhood, Revised by Karen Andreola

The Song of the Nightingale by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

~ 1 Peter 3:3-4

Biondina by Frederic Lord Leighton

"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array…"

~ 1 Timothy 2:9

Prayer by George Frederick Watts

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

~ Romans 12:1-2

These quotes on modesty would also make excellent copywork for young ladies. ~ JES

You may also be interested in:

This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making Mondays, Modest Mom Monday's, Monday's Musings, Titus 2sdays, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Teach Me Tuesday, Raising Homemakers, Make Bake Create, Wise Woman Link Up, Christian Homemaking, So Much at Home, Homemaking Thursdays, Hearts for Home Thursdays, and Growing in Grace Thursdays. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Remember Noah's Wife

"And the LORD said unto Noah,
Come thou and all thy house into the ark;
for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation."
~ Genesis 7:1

In the Scriptures, there is one nameless woman that speaks so passionately to me as an example of a God-fearing female, help meet to her husband, and faithful mother to her children. May I present Noah's wife... The Bible does not name her but her reputation stands strong and unblemished. She is never rebuked though never described in nature or appearance either.  One can only surmise that this woman served God with a "meek and quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:4).  Noah's wife should be an example for all of us in the beauty of serving with a submissive spirit despite all the chaos that surrounds us. We should teach her story to our daughters and may it be a good reminder to us mothers for peer pressure from the world is a strong enemy and one that she faced daily for at least one hundred years of her life!

Have you ever considered what it would take to be Noah's help meet? Some of us may think about our current circumstances and say we have it hard living with this man we call a husband, but would you be strong enough to join your husband against the whole world? This would include her family as well for she was the only one in her lineage that was on the ark. How many times did they insult her husband and the godly lifestyle they had chosen? After spending 100 years building the ark, with everyone laughing, mocking and jeering, would you still be able to stand by your man or would you grow ashamed? Would you constantly question your husband regarding the ark? Would you create doubt in your home and continually ask, "Are you sure God told you to build an ark?" (How similar it sounds to the cunning voice in the garden so many years ago.) How much does the outside world and it's opinions affect you in your household? Whose side are you on when the comments come flying?

Today, we can read in the Scriptures the following:
"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." Genesis 6:8 
"But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee." ~ Genesis 6:18
But, Noah's wife didn't have access to this information nor was it mentioned that she had any personal correspondence with God in the same way her husband had. She had to decide at one point in her life if she was going to trust and obey, or question the authority of God like her relative would later do and turn back to become a pillar of salt. In Luke 7:32, we are warned to "Remember Lot's wife" and now I present to you, as an encouragement to us all, to "Remember Noah's wife." She chose to follow her husband, support him in his calling, endure the harsh words, hard work and hostile environment in that ultra wicked time.

Married Maidens & Mothers

We as women don't always know what work God is calling our husbands to. We may not even understand it. But our calling is to embrace it and to be a help meet to him (Genesis 2:18). Sadly, this is often the hardest challenge in a marriage for many women. To be in a position of looking "different" is hard. It is especially hard to endure criticism when it can come from their own dear, loved ones!  In their heart they agree with the biblical stands which were mutually made with their spouse, but they can not handle the outside pressure and begin to buckle when it does come. They are weakened at the insults thrown at her and her husband's decisions and allow it to slowly break down their once happy and united home. This is where we must "remember Noah's wife".

Single Maidens

Some of you may feel this peer pressure under the biblical leadership your father purposes for his family. This is excellent training for you to observe your mother and how she handles those awkward situations and comments for your time will come when the world questions your choices and to learn to accept being "different" now will only help to fortify you in your future role as wife.

Stand Strong

Dear reader, at some point in your Christian walk, your family decisions will be scrutinized, criticized and scorned. The world may not like the large size of your family, the way you choose to raise them, educate them or even dress them. You will get attacked verbally and sadly it may come from places you never dreamed. But, it can be no other way for it is written that "if ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:19).

“Fear of others will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
~ Proverbs 29:25

Do not let the gossip, words of malice or sarcastic comments penetrate you. Do not entertain thoughts that would make you second guess your father's biblical stand for the family or your husband's godly choices of lifestyle. Stay focused on the Scriptures for there you will find like minded people and the will of God! Many women are in agreement with the  decisions made that are based on the Word but when the testing comes they are quick to pull back and question the wisdom of following the biblical commands. They may even bring up words like "legalistic" or too much "law" when in reality they fear they are not looking like "everyone else". They are different. What we must remember is that Christ called us to be a "peculiar people"(1 Peter 2:9). We shouldn't blend in.

Sisters, our matriarch Mrs. Noah fought these same battles many years ago. Be comforted, for her family did survive to tell the story! Next time you feel distraught, frustrated and that the whole of creation seems against you and your loved ones, "remember Noah's wife"… and the shelter and safety she had from all those massive floods and fountains of water because she followed the path of God. She found that truth and security was in God and not the crowds of people around her. She knew...

"It is better to trust in the LORD
than to put confidence in man."
~ Psalm 118:8

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you,
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:
for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

~Matthew 5:10-12

Women in the Ark Series:
Noah's Knowledgable Daughter-in-Law's (A Lesson in Preparedness)
Waiting for Shem, Ham and Japheth (Importance of Finding a Godly Spouse)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...