Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Comes in Like a Lion




Dear Mildred,

     Storms raged last night, damaging the roof to my bantam pen and ushering in temperate weather behind it.  The next 10 days look very British, but the green we are experiencing in nature is unlike any other.  The green that only temperate weather can offer, such as on the hills and moors of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England greets me this morning.

     Busy-ness is also my May.  Upon purchasing a painting at a tag sale, Mr. Scott loved it so much he declared we redecorate the bedroom using the painting as the central muse.  Of course, him being the hard working man that he is to provide for us, the redecorating falls into my hands.  I gleefully take hold.  We have chosen the palest of pink for the walls, a color that is reluctant to cover up the ghastly blue it was before despite using primer and a primer-based paint.  Oddly enough it covered the green and red (it was a farm-themed nursery before it became our room) just fine, but that blue is determined to haunt us as it ghosts through the pale pink.

     It matters little, though, I think, because I just love that I am redecorating the bedroom!!  It is so fresh and airy and has prompted another round of purging.  


     Speaking of purging, what does your wardrobe look like?  We really have very little space to store our clothing here, and yet we have quite a lot of clothing.  I have whittled the children's down quite a bit, Mr Scott's is his responsibility, but I am having quite the challenge deciding what stays and what goes in my wardrobe. 

     I have this fancy notion that I should like to make my own clothing, but I never do break out the sewing machine to do so.  Perhaps if I whittled out the faded, dowdy,and ill-fitting, I may be forced to do so, especially since I find so little in the stores that I like or that fits well.  I am constantly tugging at waistline, hemlines, necklines, cuffs, and underarms trying to get modern off-the-rack clothing to fit and lay nicely.  And the fabrics!  Ugh!  They are horrid feeling plastic monsters that fall apart in the washing.

     Perhaps I have convinced myself.  But, oh, when to fit in sewing when I have so much housework and gardening to catch up with!

     Someday....

Sincerely,


Kate

Monday, April 24, 2017

Finally Green!


Dear Mildred,

     The world outside my window has transformed!  It is finally green!  Not that pale yellowy-green of a very young spring, but a true green...still young, but maturing. The leaves have not yet filled in the trees but the grasses of the fields and lawns are that shade of green only spring can offer.

     I adore it.  My birds eat at it.  My rabbits scratch at their hutch doors for me to pick some for them, and I gladly do.  My neighbors tinker on their lawn mowers in anticipation.  

     It is long-awaited and I feel refreshed and renewed.  It refracts through my windows and reflects on my walls.  It is in the air and all eyes turn upwards to the nurseries in the branches, waiting for the buds to pop and those leaves to stretch and mature.  Just as with the grasses, the leaves will surprise us.  Seemingly overnight they will unfurl and one morning we look out our windows or take out the trash or drive to work and realize the trees are dressed and debuted.  

     Spring is here.

Sincerely,

Kate


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Homemaking Myth



Dear Mildred,

     It is amazing how letting a lie take root in your heart, even just a small portion of a lie, can have a profound affect on you. I realized recently that a source of anxiety, unhappiness, and frustration in me was rooted in believing the lie that housewifery is worthless compared to having a paid career.

     Now, I would have been the first to defend being a housewife in a debate.  I would be the first to encourage a fellow housewife who is feel like a drudge.  I like to proudly announce that I am a homemaker when asked what my occupation is.  But, deep down I realized I still harbored the myth that being a housewife is somehow lacking.

     That belief affected my joy and abilities in performing my duties.  There was the constant, nagging, biting demon at the back of my neck saying, "it's not enough, it's not enough."  I felt like I had to do more and more and more and attain this unreachable standard and then finally, finally, I would feel like I have contributed and proven my worth.  That, anxiety, though was a homewrecker.  I felt brain-fogged and muddled by it.  I couldn't focus enough to even do whatever "enough" was.  I had no joy in it anymore and found fault in too much.

     I think what snapped me out of it was hearing my husband defend homemaking and appreciating what I do coupled with just being fed up with my own self-manufactured rat race.  Also, my state recently instituted free college for residences and I considered enrolling.  The problem is I have no idea what career path I would even consider!  I realized I have always had a heart for homemaking and that is where I am happiest, healthiest, and most productive.  

     I have plenty to take care of here and keep me busy from before sunrise to well after sunset.  And now that I do not believe the lie anymore and evicted it from my heart, I can see the joy and the importance and the value in what I do.  I am more focused and getting so much more done than I ever did under that yoke of anxiety.  "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light," thus saith the Lord.  

Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott

Monday, April 17, 2017

Gardening: A Joyful Obligation



Dear Mildred,

     Though the nights are still cold, it seems winter is behind us enough to begin gardening.  The purple crocuses have given way to the yellow daffodils and forsythia.  Infant leaves are beginning to emerge on the trees.

     Every year I am told by well meaning loved ones that I ought not to put so much effort into gardening.  It's too much what with the children and the housekeeping and all.  Every autumn I grump at my failure upon keeping up with the garden and tell myself to make it smaller in the spring.  Every spring I scheme up ways to make it bigger and more productive.

     I feel a moral obligation to garden.  After all, I have the land.  It feels like such a waste to have an open expanse of mowed grass where a garden would thrive.  I have the skill.  I may as well use what my father taught me.  I have the need.  It isn't cheap to buy organic, locally grown, fresh produce. I have the love.  I do enjoy gardening, even if I am not a P. Allen Smith.  


     Spring opens up hope that perhaps this year I will keep up on the weeds.  This year I will not let produce go to waste.  This year I will have a flower garden about which neighbors will remark.

     This year, I am more realistic than idealistic about my gardening.  It is what it is because I can only do so much.  Still, a bit of effort and all that.

     I put in some bulbs and tubers I purchased at Aldi today.  Afterward I prepared two raised beds and planted spinach, lettuce, cabbage, kale, and peas.  It felt good to stick my hands in dirt.  It felt so accomplished to shovel out my own compost to use in the beds.

     Have you done any gardening yet?  I look forward to hearing about your green thumb!

Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott

Friday, April 7, 2017

Estate Sales



Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     Today finds me in better spirits thanks to my youngest being cheerfully willing to accompany me to two estate sales and a book sale.  In true irony to my previous letter of complaint about a houseful of piles and stuff, I blew my entire week's pay ($60) on estate sale finds.

     I love estate sales.  Pawing through a deceased person's belongings and gleefully making a pile of findings while low-balling the grieving family seems morbidly atrocious, but, alas, I enjoy it and it lifts my attitude.  Two years ago I walked out of one with a free bottle of Chanel #5 among my treasures!  How could I be unhappy about that!?

     Today, my purchases included:

A television.  I have been wanting one for the playroom downstairs.  Sometimes, while doing my housework in the main part of the house I don't want to hear another episode of Wild Kratts or Duck Dynasty.  Now, I can send my kiddos downstairs while I enjoy peace upstairs.

A Big Boss frozen treat maker.  It is my hope that the lure of ice cream-like frozen concoctions of fruit will lure my daughter to eat more healthfully.

A necklace.

Fence posts.  Because I always need to repair fences around here.

Garden tools.  Because my kiddos are always breaking mine or losing them every year.

A lamp that clips onto something.  My son needed one for under his loft bed.

A vintage outfit in pink and gray houndstooth.

Vintage roller skates complete with carrying bag, roller skating manual, and two pairs of knee pads.  For my daughter.

A Mark Eden Bust Enhancer.  Because it is vintage cheeky fun.  I just had to.

A vintage hardcover copy of Don Quixote.

A 1949 Boy Scout manual.  For my oldest boy who likes those kinds of books.


A stack of vintage 1960's women's magazines.

A paper bag stuffed full of stuff from a $5 fill-a-bag basement.  It included 4 stuffed
animals, a vintage magazine, turpentine, linseed oil, bug spray, spray paint, old files (for hubby to repurpose), a trowel, a square, a yard stick, sandpaper, and I am sure I am forgetting something.  


     It was such a fun haul!  There are more tomorrow, but I am out of my fun money.

     Do you go to estate sales?

Sincerely,


Mrs. D. Scott

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Piles

Albert Lynch

Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     Spring cleaning is in full swing.  How is your spring cleaning coming along?

     Piles.  A large family in a small house seems to equal piles.  Piles of clothes, piles of books, piles of toys, piles of papers, piles of projects, piles of blankets, pillows, shoes, mittens, cereal boxes.....

     I have to admit, dear friend, that I am getting to my breaking point concerning these piles.  My life seems to be a perpetual cycle of cleaning and moving piles.  Much of it is the season we are in.  The children are no longer babies, so the baby piles have moved out.  The children are no longer toddlers, so the toddler piles have moved along.  However, they are still fast-growing, ever-changing kiddos, so I am in a new season of shifting things around.  Plus, now that homeschooling is largely a thing of the past now, I have homeschooling piles that will be heading out the door.  

     Still, it is a challenge to have a large, hobby-loving family wadded into this little cottage with very little storage space.  It would be such a luxury to have room for things and a place for everything.  Right now the only possibility for that would be to become extreme minimalists, and that isn't going to happen.  My family loves their stuff and hobbies.

     Unfortunately, it feels like my life and talents are being snuffed out by it all as I spend day after day cleaning, organizing, discarding, moving, and trying to make work all of this.  There is very little time, energy, money, or space for my own peace of mind and utilization of talents.

     As soon as this rainy weather pattern blows out to sea I will be able to at least turn my focus out of doors.  That'll boost my spirit.  There are piles out of doors, too, but at least there's elbow room and places to put it and fresh air.

Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott


Monday, April 3, 2017

The Thaw Reveals

Dominique Amendola

Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     April has arrived!  Winter is officially over!  Spring!  My favorite season!  

     I love spring, even early spring when nothing is pretty yet.  The snows have melted away and uncovered a brown, muddy, ugly world.  My poor yard is littered in broken toys long forgotten once the first snows fell.  There are bits of trash the blew out of vehicles and neighborhood trash cans on those windy winter day.  Sticks, leaves, pine cones and needles, fowl feces, and gardens still asleep under autumn's ruin. There is just so much to do!


     Inside is just as bad.  This long bout of illness has left me two months behind in spring cleaning.  Not to mention that it also put my family two months ahead in building up messes!  I am still suffering the affects of all those back-to-back ailments, but the warmer temperatures and peeks of sunshine bolster me.  

     My due-date for spring clean up, inside and out, is Memorial Day.  That is when we host a big family picnic and I want my property in tip-top shape.

     What has the thaw revealed in your yard? 

Sincerely yours,

Mrs. D. Scott



Monday, March 27, 2017

And so, Gilbert and Sullivan This Morning



Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     How do you find the modern world, dear friend?  I have always been called an old soul.  The past has always been a fantasy of mine.  

     I am finding the modern world more and more vulgar, loud, dark, overwhelming, and over stimulating.  I can no longer watch most modern movies or television shows not only for moral reasons, but because the action, lighting, camera work, and sound effects drive me away.

     Today's fashions leave me yawning and bored, or shocked and dismayed.  Today's music yields little inspiration or joy.  Beauty and loveliness have been replaced with vulgarity and sex appeal.  Etiquette and decorum has been replaced with anything goes.

     I'm sorry.  It is tiresome to be an audience to anyone who complains about times present.  I know every generation has done so, yearning for the rose-colored past.  I am not idly complaining, though.  I do realize that I have a choice.  I have control in my own life.

     And so, I played Gilbert and Sullivan this morning.  And while I am still in jeggings (oh, I am getting so bored with jeggings, but they are comfy and easy) I wear a silk blouse.  And I write to you.  Lovely!

Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott



Sunday, March 26, 2017

And So it Lingers


Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     My sincere apologies for not writing to you in such a long time.  My illness will not abate.  What started as strep throat turned into a cold, then bronchitis, and now a sinus infection.  I have religiously taken my vitamins and supplements since October and yet my immune system cannot keep up.  It needs sunshine and dirt. 

     The calendar says spring arrived March 20th, but indeed it has not here. Winter lingers with arctic temperatures combined with March winds-winds that ought to be bringing in the warmer weather that melts snow and coaxes the crocuses out of hiding. There is no such spring right now.  Just cold, gray, windy, icy winter.

     There is good news, though.  Our chicks have hatched!  20 adorable little balls of fluff and peeping have broken out of their shells and into our lives here.  The children are particularly fond of them and have already named several.  We have Fuzzbert and Sleepy, that I recall, and I named one Penguin, though now we have two or three with the same markings making it impossible to tell which one is actually Penguin.

     All of the eggs came from our own hens this year.  Next year I plan on ordering out to bring in new breeds.  Black Copper Marans are on my list.  I love how dark and chocolate-like their eggs are.


     Have you been planning your garden?

Sincerely,


Mrs. D. Scott

     

Friday, March 10, 2017

Miserable March


Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     Wintertime tends to linger long past its welcome here.  March is notoriously a cruel month.  I have already had crocuses during a spring-spell, only to have them destroyed by winds and arctic temperatures.  I just looked at the extended forecast and this March continues to be consistently miserable.

     Gray.  Cold.  Windy.  COLD!  


     I try not to make it a habit to complain about the weather, especially since it is normal conversation here.  It gets rather tiring hearing people say, "It was the worst winter ever," every single year.  We've actually had a mild and pleasant winter with few snowfalls, and even fewer storms.  But! March is tiresome.  We are all itching for spring.

     There is only one thing to be done about it, and that is to endure March with some effort in being positive.  My positive effort is wanting to spring clean the house.  I hope to do so.  This recent illness has knocked me down quite a bit.  I spent yesterday in bed.  So much needs dusting and wiping and washing after a long winter.  Now is the time to do it before the warmer weather and sunshine beckons me to abandon the indoors and begin my work out of doors.

    And if my health fails to uphold me on a ladder, wiping dust off high shelves and corners, then there are always books.  March can be endured with books.

    How do you endure March, dear friend?  Are you reading anything exciting right now?

Sincerely,


Mrs. D. Scott

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Medicinal Herbs

                                         

Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     May this letter find you well in body.  As for me, some sort of germ has come upon me.  I am not sure what sort it is, but my neck, throat, and ears are sore from swollen glands.  The germ is receiving a blitzkrieg of natural remedies.

     Since my throat feels tight and swallowing is a challenge, it is soup for lunch.  I have a delicious chicken bone broth in which I added the following:

1. Red Cabbage:  anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial

2.Celery:  good for weak conditions, and boy, do I feel weaker than normal

3. Garlic: antibiotic, expectorant


4.  Turmeric: anti-inflammatory, immune booster

I also have spinach, carrots, bay, zucchini, mineral salt, pepper, and onion powder.

I think I will also toss in some Thyme, which is an antiseptic, expectorant, antimicrobial, and antibiotic.


The bone broth gelled up nicely, too, so it has the healing properties of gelatin.

    Teas have been my main source of fluid.  Green tea, oolong tea, black tea, herbal tea (agrimony and chamomile).  I have been taking grapefruit seed extract, vitamin C, bromelain (heals mucus membranes), echinacea (immune booster), goldenseal (reduces phlegm and heals mucus membranes) and also making compresses of essential oil blends with vitamin E oil for lymphatic draining.

     On top of all that, I am taking baths in either epsom salts or apple cider vinegar.  Mineral salt water gargles and listerine gargles are part of my routine.

     I admit, it is all very tiresome, but at the same time, it has been a long, hard winter of illnesses in our home.  I thankfully didn't catch all of them, but eventually a body wears down, especially after a winter in.  A good sunny, warm day with the ability to soak my body in the sun will do a lot to boost my immunity again.


Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott





Monday, March 6, 2017

Miss Cuthbert



Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     Just a short note today.  Growing up I always wanted to be Anne Shirley, but now I realize I am so much more a Marilla.  And while there is no romance and thrill in that (as many of us women want to be the exciting heroine) there is a sense of peace and satisfaction.  I am content to be a Marilla....with a bit of Anne's influence.

     Perhaps that is why, deep in the recesses of my bosom (hat tip to Anne there), despite being smothered by my feeling that I ought to aspire to be an Anne, I always had a warm spot for Marilla.  I inwardly nodded at her practical wisdom and cringed at Anne's drama (why couldn't she just behave!  But, then she wouldn't be Anne....see I am a Marilla.)

     Although, I can completely see my daughter being very much an Anne type, which only reinforces my Marilla role all that much more.

     Yes, quite content.

Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott


http://strangersandpilgrimsonearth.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-art-of-home-making-mondays-please.html


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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My 7 Lenten Tasks



Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     A blessed Lent to you, dear friend. How are you observing this Lenten Season?  Is it of great importance to your denomination?

     I love New Years and I love Lent.  Both are great opportunities to shake off the cobwebs and chains of bad habits and adjust my focus back on the Lord and true priorities in life.  This year I have chosen several ways to observe Lent.  I did not choose them lightly or flippantly.  There is a reason behind every one:

1.  I have logged off of Facebook.  I sorrowfully admit to an addiction to that line of social media and would be embarrassed to know how much time I have actually wasted on it.  It has increased stress and sorrow in my life and taken focus off of my job as wife and mother.  I have grabbed Facebook before grabbing my Bible over and over and over again.  So, for Lent, no Facebook.  I look forward to how much time I find for myself!

2. I put my chocolate stash away.  Yes, it is cliche to say, "I give up chocolate for Lent," but it is more than that.  I am not giving up chocolate per se.  If my mother serves her delicious chocolate pudding pie, or my child offers half of his chocolate cookie to me, I will eat.  This is about my personal, private, share with no one, needless calories stash.  I have a very hard time actually fasting because of health issues, so I am giving up extra, needless nibbles and indulgences.

3. I am choosing to dress up more.  I don't know why.  I suppose I want to feel more intentional with my life, rather than just living in "survival mode" and whatever is easiest.  


4. I will be using up what I have in the house.  So, no extra purchases unless needful or beneficial.

5.  Be more intentionally social.  I am a hermit.  I am severely introverted, shy, and I have social anxiety disorder, but I do get lonely and know it is good to be hospitable and social (especially away from social media.)

6.  Of course, more time with the Lord.  I will put on worship music.  I will read the Word more.  I will focus on God more.

7.  Read more.  This goes hand-in-hand with social media.  I would spend so much time on Facebook that I stopped reading books!  I have a kindle account full of books.  I will be reading them.

     That will be my Lent, dear friend.

Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Importance of Keeping House



Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     Vintage women's magazines are a bit of a passion for me.  I love collecting the housekeeping ones from the 1930's-1960's.  Within their pages are articles and ads that reveal just how important women's work was in the home.  It seems it was just taken for granted that women wanted to, and were needed to keep the home and thus keep the nation.

     I also have a collection of Bettina's cookbooks, a fictional lady who prides herself on keeping a lovely, modest home and feeding her family well on economy.  (A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband with Bettina's Best Recipes, A Thousand Ways to Please a Family with Bettina's Best Recipes.)

     Additionally, I have vintage housekeeping booklets meant for new brides as they take up housekeeping.  

     One thing is very apparent in all of these sources:  housekeeping was an important career for the betterment of the family unit, and thus our nation.

     I never really saw it that way before.  I always figured it was just a quaint way to go about my day, because, frankly, I hate the idea of having a boring old day job, and I loathe the idea of trying to balance one with raising children.  So, while I have been able to, I have been a stay-at-home woman.

    Something happened recently that really shifted my thinking, though.  My youngest son was diagnosed with allergies.  Usually stuff, really, but it hit me.  Listening to him sniff and snuffle and sounding like he's talking through a glass of water breaks my mother's heart.  The doctor told me that I need to make sure the dust and mildew of the house is kept down, and the air purified to help him.

     Now, my house isn't filthy and unkempt. But, coming home and seeing that it isn't immaculate worries me.  We live in a small cottage, and we are a larger family.  That means there is generally more dust and less air.  To accomplish cleanliness and health for my family truly is a full time job!

     My grandmother keeps her home immaculate, and always has.  She had a routine every week that kept her house spotless.  One may say that a well-kept house is the sign of a wasted life, but it certainly helped keep her and her family healthy and well.  

     It isn't drudgery.  It is life-saving!

     I am not sure how much longer I have to be a stay-at-home woman, so I am renewed and determined to make the most of it.  Lent starts tomorrow, so this is a perfect time to make changes.  

     Oh, and to purchase just one more vintage magazine before Lent...in which I promised not to spend needlessly on myself during that time.

Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott
housewife

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Chapel


Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     The Lenten Season is coming very soon.  How do you prepare for and observe Lent?

     This time of year always has me more introspective of my Christian walk.  One past incident came to mind recently and I have been meditating upon it.

     Several years ago, Mister Scott went through a time of serious illness that had him hospitalized several times.  I would visit him and we would try to have a merry time together in his room while the fog of worry and concern that illness, especially that of the breadwinner, brings.  

     When it was time for me to depart, the exiting hallway had a side door that led to a non-denominational (though heavily Catholic leaning) chapel.  I would walk by it numerous times; the dim light, the soothing water fountain, the kneeling bench at the alter, the plush chairs facing the crucifix all seeming to inviting.

     So, one time, I did venture in.  It was empty of other people, and I perched myself on the edge of a chair and tried to pray.  But, I felt so uncomfortable and like I didn't belong!  Therefore, I left, wondering why I felt so ill-at-ease.

     Three reasons came to mind as I contemplated my inability to worship in the little chapel:

     1. It was Catholic and thus not for Protestants like me.  (As if a Catholic atmosphere hinders Protestant worship.  How can that be?  While we may vastly disagree on theology, ultimately, Catholics love and serve our Savior, too.)

     2. I felt too worldly in my dress.  I dressed up for hubby.  Skinny jeans, tight tops, high heels, full make-up.  I wanted him to see me sexy and know his wife was still "keeping it together."  But, I felt so worldly.  That little chapel seemed to whisper of prayer veils and modestly feminine attire fit for removing the focus from ourselves and onto the Lord.  


     3.  Lastly, I actually felt silly in there.  I didn't want to appear vulnerable. I didn't want to cry.  I didn't want anyone to see me and judge me.  Openly worshiping and praying is very hard for me.  I am more of a prayer closet person.  I am uncomfortable with PDW (Public Displays of Worship).  I don't like to pray over meals in restaurants.  I don't like to raise my hands in church.  But, in my shower, my bedroom, my car, I can praise and worship all I want.

     Am I ashamed of God?  No!  Probably more ashamed of myself.  This goes back to #2, how I was dressed, but it also goes beyond that. Maybe it is an indication that I have too much compromise, too much self in my life.  Maybe it is a personality flaw I ought to overcome.  Maybe both.  Maybe habits.  Maybe fears.

     Maybe someday I will more humbly enter that chapel again.


Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mother's Child: The Sweet Hello



Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     Children are a heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.  How are your dear little ones?

     Mama's boy holds such a negative connotation in our culture.  It brings to mind a co-dependent man-child who is lorded over by and dotes upon his domineering and controlling mother.  It makes me cringe, though, when a young boy-child is name-called "mama's boy" simply because he seeks out his mother for comfort, as any child ought to do. It is God-given and natural.

     Mother's child is my preferred term.  Not only is it sweeter sounding and is not part of our derogatory colloquialisms, but it is also gender-neutral, which lessens gender-biased judgments.

     I wax political, but ultimately, I am writing about my second son.  While they are all, of course, my mother's children, Little Master B has a special love for me right now that warms my heart.  He is at that age, you know, where mothers are their first loves - old enough to be conversationalists and companions, but young enough to still depend upon mother dear.

     His evidence of special love for me is apparent in his eyes, large and rimmed with long lashes, and in his chirpy little voice.  "Hello, mom," he says, in the sweetest way possible.  It brightens my day.  It awakens me.  It blesses me.

     Even his teacher at school has fallen for his genuine affection and loving nature.  Sweetheart, sweetie, darling, and such a good boy are all adjectives applied to his character.  He is a special one, as they all are in their own ways.  Each one warms my heart differently, but today I write of how he warms mine.

     He was the one baby I could really relax and enjoy.  My oldest, being the first, was a challenge for me as all my preconceived notions and expectations fell to the wayside. It took me by surprise that I wasn't the naturally perfect mother I imagined myself to be.  My daughter came next and little did I know in her infancy that she had special needs, which in turn made her a very challenging baby and toddler.  I wish I could go back and do it over for her, but I just didn't know.  I had never heard of babies having sensory processing disorder and migraines.  My youngest boy, I unfortunately suffered strong postpartum depression.  I did my best to enjoy and hold onto his infancy since I knew he would be my last, but depression is merciless.


     Little Master B, however, oh, how I enjoyed him.  I nursed him without boundaries.  I wore him and held him and co-slept, staring at his adorable pokey little profile.  He didn't cry for the first 3 months.  He didn't need to.  He was content, as was I.  I knew there was something unique and special about him.  There really is.  

     I refuse to name favorites among my children, because how can you pinpoint a favorite among so many wonderful variants?  Each are uniquely marvelous and uniquely flawed in their own, miraculous ways.  I adore them all!  And Little Master B. is certainly a shining star.  This mother's child.  Even within a simple, sweet "hello."

Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott


Monday, February 20, 2017

For Richer or Poorer



Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     Wouldn't it be fun to be wealthy enough to put together a home as you please?  

     One of my favorite little things to do since I was a young teen is to open to the back of Country Living magazines and explore the house plans they used to have listed.  I would go room by room and picture myself living there and how I would utilize the spaces.

     Today, I picked up a back issue and found a luxurious sprawling ranch.  The master suite was almost 1/3 of the house!  It had a bedroom with sitting area with french doors to the deck and a fireplace.  Attached was a study room.  Beyond the sitting area was a huge walk in closet and full bathroom with soaking tub and shower!  Let me tell you, I was ready to move right in and stay in that master suite for a long, long time!  

     It is fun to imagine, but I try not to let it eat away at my reality.  Considering that the closet in that house is about the same size, if not bigger, than my current bedroom, I have to be careful to not turn green.  I also realize that we are humble folks and to furnish such a space as I would want it to be furnished would require a lottery win.

     Then, there was the other day when I patted my trusty rusty minivan on the dusty, faded dashboard and thanked God for it.  It isn't pretty.  It isn't luxurious.  The radio doesn't work, the heater's tricky, and the driver's side window doesn't roll down.  But, she gets me safely from A to B and doesn't cost me an arm and a leg to keep.


     I have a heart for junk.  I have a love for used.  Probably because I grew up on second hand and make-do.  I learned to appreciate it and make the most of it.  It is very difficult for me to get anything brand new, and always a rare treat when I do, so I have come to find the creativity and joy in hand-me-downs and yard sale finds.  

     My little cottage is very much a patchwork of whatever I could cob together to make it work, and I like it.  Oh, sure, I would love to walk into the furniture store and custom order a new living room suite.  It would be so much easier to just buy a loft bed for my 2nd son rather than scrounging for how I can make one.  But, I appreciate the effort and creativity and money saving that goes into my scavenging.

     Oh, please don't think that I am fishing for back door sympathy or making myself out to be woe-is-me impoverished.  I am doing neither.  I am just thinking "out loud," and frankly, I am getting the itch to go junking again!  Spring is coming.


Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott

Saturday, February 18, 2017

In Sickness and in Health



Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     It has been a little while since we wrote to each other.  I do hope you are well. This winter has been unkind to many a body.  

     My ability to write you has been hindered by illnesses.  The children and Mister Scott have been affected back-to-back with ailments both acute and chronic.  Two are now on antibiotics.  Holistics worked well with two of the four, but the others just could not shake it.  As such, I have been caregiver and making sure I do not succumb to the various germs going around. Rest is of utmost importance, as well as good nutrition.

     Thanks be to God for providing the funds for me to spend so much of grocery budget (and beyond) on supplements, medications, and nourishing foods.  I am spending more time in the kitchen making broths and soups and simple meals to build a body and soul up.  Yesterday was my first minestrone soup and it came out so well!  Today, was my usual chicken soup with added baby dumplings.  I have vegetable broth at the ready for yet another soup.

     I read somewhere once that the famed Tasha Tudor owed her longevity partly do a steady diet of teas and soups.  I don't doubt it!  Along with living her life as she pleased, and thus happily with little stress; active and engaging her mind, as well as good genetics, she had an enviable autumn and winter of her days.


     In keeping with the theme of improving health, and in light of the spring-like weather we are having today, I will be taking a winter's walk in the woods soon, followed by an evening of Sabbath rest.  May your Sabbath be restful, too.

Sincerely,


Mrs. D. Scott

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Idolatry of Leisure and Self-Importance



Dear Mrs. Rothwood,  

     I have a confession, dear friend.  I realized recently that I resented work and effort.  As I loaded wood into our stove and shoveled snow so I could get to our winter food stores, I realized how weak I had become physically and how anger was building up within me.  Just the day before, I lost my temper over the messy state of the house, knowing full-well that much of the problem lay within my own capabilities and my lack of enacting them.  

     Oh, I longed for rest and leisure.  There was a time I sorely needed it because I did work so hard.  Then, I got used to it.  Mister Scott was able to be home more from his job, and his health improved greatly and he took on more of the workload.  I enjoyed the pampering of lounging while someone else put in the effort.  After all, I deserved a break!  Young Mister Scott has a God-given work ethic that I am so appreciative of, and is now of the age where his efforts actually make a dent in the daily tasks.  I started relying on him.  I noticed instead of leading my children to tidiness, I barked orders from a reclined state doing mindless nothings.

     Everything I resented was in my power to change!

     The Good Lord convicted me!  The Bible says that He gives us rest.  He leads us beside the still waters.  He restores our soul.  Not mindless entertainments.  Not idle hands and idle minds.   Yes, He gives us rest, and we do have times of leisure and entertainment afforded to us, but not every day!  We are here to work.  Our retirement as Christians truly comes after we are freed from the earthly bodies.  Until then we are called to work for Christ, and as part of the consequence of sin, we are made to work to live here on earth so long as we are physically and mentally capable of doing so.

     We are to do all things to the Glory of God!  I never really grasped that before today.  I feel energized and elated knowing that I am NOT entitled to daily leisure and entertainments.  I may need it.  I may need a break, a time-out, a bit of rest, but I am not lazily entitled to it.  I am here to work, not resent work.


Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott


Monday, February 13, 2017

Changing Light



Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     Yesterday's snow storm has turned into today's clear, sunny day.  This time of year, when February clouds give up the sky to the glory of the sun reflecting bright off the freshly fallen snow, I notice a change.  No longer is the sun so low in the sky.  No longer does she abed before the supper bell. No longer do her rays shy away from my living room picture window and peek out only from behind the trees.  It almost feels like a New Year the way the sun shines now.

     This new light brings a new realization. It reveals the toll the winter hibernation has taken on my little cottage.  It illuminates cob webs that sneaked into corners unnoticed in the December and January darkness.  It reveals dust on the edges of high shelves.  It lays bare the drips and grease of cooking!

     Oh!  It sounds as if I don't clean at all!  I assure you I clean practically non-stop, but as I said, so much does get hidden in winter darkness.

     I have already tackled some of the tasks.  It feels delightful having the sun shine on crisp and clean!  As the temperature rises above freezing during the daytime hours, I will be able to throw open windows and shake and beat the dust out of the linens and upholsteries.  

     I prefer cleaning in late winter and early spring because once the snow melts off I am out of doors in the gardens and coops. So much needs attention outside in the spring that I cannot be bothered with interior work.

     When do you do your spring cleaning, Mildred, dear?  How did you fare in yesterday's snowfall?

Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott

Thursday, February 9, 2017

On Truth and Authority



Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

    My mother and I are very similar.  We look the same and we tend to think similarly. We both muse how as children we could easily sit quietly and obediently at school or church and would be rather annoyed at the other children misbehaving and being rambunctious.  

     My own children are, well, children!  They have normal levels of concern for authority and empathy, while my mother's and mine are amplified.  It does get under my skin, and I frequently mourn over it with my mother as we shake our heads in an inability to understand it.   

     My notice of my own way of thinking and concern for my children in this matter was increased this morning.  Today, the children have a snow day from school.  During breakfast I pulled down a Bible and flipped to Proverbs.  As I scanned through the familiar verses, I would pause and read some out loud.  I noticed that my voice had the same tone of reverent authority as my mother's.  That tone of unquestioning Truth being spoken...and you'd better believe it! I believe it, because like my mother I just do. I don't tend to question authority much, and certainly not the Bible.  It's in there, so it must be true!  But, do my children feel the same?

     I am not against one questioning the authority of the Bible.  My oldest already questions Creationism.  It's good that he does as it helps him study God's Word, dig deep in his faith, and build a foundation of faith and truth.  I am simple.  I am content in just believing without ample evidences (though I do find it very interesting, but am more apt to absorb it from outside sources rather than delve into its study, myself). 

     Don't get me wrong.  I am no lemming.  I know that there are corrupt or mistaken people out there who twist authority and truth.  In this day and age I find I trust the authority of news media, and even that of friends "in the know" because so much seems sensationalized and turned on its head.  It is hard to discern truth from lie, manipulation from fact.

     Perhaps that is why I find myself clinging so to the faithful authority of the Bible.  I know in my heart of hearts that it is Truth and God is the author of that Truth. It is truth I can trust and hold on to and I wish to understand more of it.


     I hope you, too, believe in God's Truth. How do you feel about it?

Sincerely,

Mrs. D. Scott

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Stormy Weather and an Anniversary




Dear Mrs. Rothwood,

     It is a pleasure to write to you again.  Having the opportunity to express  myself through writing to someone is an exercise in creativity that I sorely need.  It is simply too easy these days to succumb myself to idle scrolling through quick bursts, clickbait, and soundbyte social medias.  I feel my brain turning back on, so to speak.

     How did you fare in the ice storm last night?  We lost no electricity, though we slept fitfully, the mister and I.  Storms always make me nervous in my adulthood.  I miss the days of blissful, peaceful sleep as I rested assured of my father's tender-loving, and capable care.  I knew, no matter the outcome of the storm, that we would be supplied - warm, water, food, light.  Even now, 15 years in my own home, every storm I consider the possibility of returning to my father's home to be under his protection and care rather than flying solo here.

     While I know that you are not speculative and judgmental, I am sure you had the passing thought of, "what about Mister Scott?"  You see, he is one of the top men in his career and storms often call him out to help others.  That leaves me to the running of the household, including emergency situations.

     Speaking of 15 years away from my father's home and the capable and talented Mister Scott, today is our 15th wedding anniversary! The time has surely flown and continues to pass quickly.  We had some challenging years, Mister Scott and I, as we endured the baby years and his career challenges.  It really grew us and I am happy to say we are the better for it!  Celebration of our happy occasion won't occur until this week-end*.  A simple affair of stomping about the Capital city.

     Please write back soon.  I look forward to hearing from you.  There is beauty in our correspondence that puts an old-fashioned light into our modern world.

Sincerely yours,

Mrs. D. Scott

*For some reason I enjoy the charm of a hyphenated "week-end."  It seemed a popular way to write it around the turn of the 20th century.