Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fix your eyes on the lovely things

We don't live in a perfect world. All around us, terrible things are happening: wars, crimes, and all sorts of perversity we don't want our dear children to know about. Sometimes, it feels as though even a temporary escape is impossible, unless you retire to a summer cottage somewhere in Lapland - which isn't an option for most of us, including me (as much as I'd love to).

We can't ignore reality. But it's part of our sacred work to provide a safe, comfortable, secure, welcoming, nurturing haven here at home - for our husbands, who return tired and in need of rest after a long, hard day at work; for our littles, who need to grow and mature before they are ready to face the hardships of this world; for older children, who need to feel there's a place to return to where they will be welcomed, held and loved.

This is why we must be very careful about what and who (and when, and how much) we let into our homes, into our lives, and into the lives of our precious dear ones. I've been in homes when the TV is on at all hours when the family is awake - and it's so easy to be lost in anxiety when you listen to its alarming messages. Tension, agitation and anxiety sell, so this is mostly what you will find on TV. I've been in homes where parents don't want the children to read secular newspapers, yet leave those newspapers spread out on the coffee table and say, "don't touch these". Can you think of a more foolproof way to make sure the children do read those newspapers?

We can't forever shelter our family from the world, but we can protect our home, our little corner of the world, from negative influences. I'm not talking only about the dangerous, the immoral and corrupt, but also about the ugly, vulgar and unlovely - superficial books, tasteless music, and hundreds of websites with thousands of articles and interactive games which don't contribute to the development of mind or heart.

Surround yourself by lovely things that set a positive tone to your home. Cheerfully do your housework to good, uplifting music. Read good books - inspiring, educational books that feel like visiting with a good old friend every time you read through them. Do hand crafts and use them to decorate your home. Bake, cook, write, paint, work in the garden, enjoy the rustle of wind while you hang out the laundry in your back yard or on your balcony. Learn new skills. Have people over for tea, keep in touch with good old friends, call your family regularly. Limit time-wasters as much as possible, because time is so precious, and an idle mind is dangerously fruitful ground for discontentment and negative attitudes.

Enjoy the present. Every day is a gift that will never return. Every day is another step in independence taken by your children, so enjoy them while they are little bundles in your arms. Savor those chubby little cheeks, the tiny hands, the precious little feet. We don't know how long we have, so now is the perfect time to love those dear husbands, children, parents, grandparents and friends of ours.

Take the time to enjoy simple things. Each of them is a gift - every cup of tea with fresh home-baked cookies, every child's kiss, every dish waiting in the sink to be washed. Don't over pack your life with activities that might be good and worthwhile, but will turn your days into one hectic race when there are too many of them.

Take the time, every day, to pray and realize that God is Love. And every thing we love and enjoy here on earth is a reflection of His deep, everlasting love.

This is a reminder to myself as much as to anyone else. I chose this photo from our garden as an illustration, because there's something very pure and beautiful in this first single white flower among the bare branches.

I hope your day is as lovely as mine. I have so much more to write, but I must go because so many things are calling to be done. Cooking, a walk to the grocery store, a garden to tend to. A little baby to nurture, hold and love. I hope today will be a day of happiness and cherishing the gifts we all have - too many to count.

Your friend,

Mrs. T


jAne said...

**there's something very pure and beautiful in this first single white flower among the bare branches**

So true.

Embracing simplicity brings unexpected and precious joys. :o)


Persuaded said...

oh anna, my dear.. what a gem of a post this is! you have encapsulated my philosophy of life, and so beautifully well. i just may have to link to you, if you don't mind.

what a wonderful post to start the day with♥

Karen said...

Good morning from the US! What a lovely post. I like the picture too. You have a talent for photography. These days, it can be hard to remember how much we have to be grateful for so reminders like this are great.

Tracey McBride said...

Dear Mrs. Anna,

You are wise beyond your young years. I agree with every point.

Years ago, I read an article about television in the home. It offered a simple question for parents to ask when deciding which television programs or movies/dvds were appropriate for their children and family to watch.

Ask yourself.

Would I allow that person (or those people) into my home in real life?

This strategy worked well for our family when our children were young.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts ideas so beautifully.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the garden photo. I, too, have been overwhelmed by the stark beauty of that first flower on a tree or bush as I walk around my yard & garden. It amazes me that anything even makes it through the winter....so miraculous!


Anonymous said...

God's glory is all around us if only we take notice and time to see. Thank you, Mrs. T, for causing me to remember this. It is something I have too long forgotten.

Karen (Canadian Soldier's Wife) said...

What a lovely, sweet post this was... and so timely. Thanks for sharing :)

Mrs. Anna T said...


You are always welcome to link to me. :o)


Most of the photos are taken by my husband. He has an eye for beauty!

Bethany Hudson said...

Anna, I can't express to you what a breath of fresh air this post was to me this morning. Music to my soul. Thank you.

MaryT said...

Live in the moment - the key to happiness, and one of the hardest things to accomplish ;)

Elizabeth said...

This was beautiful; thank you for posting it !

Sharon said...

Such good advice. Yes, it is so easy to get so busy doing the good that we neglect the best. Thanks for these reminders. -Sharon

Anonymous said...

Dearest Anna,

Just what I need to read today. You have such a way with words, flowing, smooth, there's tranquility with this post and I love it.

I'm going to enjoy my day, too. Hope yours is lovely. I know that positive attitude can make all the difference.


Mrs. Rabe said...

Awesome post Mrs.Anna!

Holly said...

I loved what you have said here, Anna. So much so that for the second time I have put a link of your blog on my blog. Thanks for the inspiration.


Neuropoet said...

I hadn't had the chance to stop by for a few days, so I loved "catching up with you and yours" this evening. Its wonderful to know that there is someone out there who's philosophy of life is so like mine -- even if she is on the other side of the world from me. :) May you continue to know the blessings in each moment of your day, Anna, and enjoy them all!

Peace be with you my friend,

momof3girls said...

Our home should be a haven for our family - thank you for encouraging us all in to guard our hearts and home and make this a daily practice!

Anonymous said...

I have never posted, but I have lurked a lot and read your posts. You have an incredible, mature, yet beautiful and gentle way of getting your point across. This post is so beautiful. And even though I see through the pictures that you are a beautiful young woman, you have a beautiful, old soul. I did not have the wisdom you have when I was your age. I have learned a lot and blessed by your thoughts. God bless you.


Analytical Adam said...

Anna T Wrote> I've never met a mother to many grown children who looks at her family and says, "I wish I didn't have my fifth, sixth and seventh children".

I wish though they were concerned about other women having children as some women who have many children are threatened by other women getting married young even though they got married and had children young. I guess they have something to hide. Sadly there are women that get pleasure from their own children and openly admit this plesure yet sadly do not want other women to have this plesure and don't want fathers to have this plesure as well in teaching the children values as chiildren learn different dominant values from each parent that are important . I have seen women like on Frumster. Some divorced women who have children want other women to put career first and put off having children even though they had children in their 20's. Very very selfish. Same for older women who have children for whatever reason don't want other younger women to have children. It is easy to want children for yourself. It is harder to want children for others since those children will be competing with your children at some point. Sadly some women (and some men as well who have large families and marry young women but use other young nubile women for their own organization or for their own selfish purposes but don't push a women to get married.) You have this with men (espeically Rabbi's) as well that have very large families and are happy about it yet they tell women that most men don't want to have children which is simply not true. Just for selfish reasons most men want to have children.

Of course this is very selfish thinking and not looking at the bigger picture which sadly some of both genders have not learned proper values.

Analytical Adam said...

Dear Mrs. Anna:

Thanks for your uplifting words which I agree for the most part althogh there does need to be a middle ground and at some point children need to have a proper perspective of their problems and that many people have difficult lives and situations beyond their control worse then what they have and they should try to make the world a more just place so good people will be rewarded and bad selfish people will not be rewarded.

The only thing I did want to say since I am a guy and as you know I do feel that the Orthodox world hasn't really produced creative men (and I do feel a lot of false propoganda is said about Jewish men that I have to say has hurt me) in the things they are good at and using their strong analytical and spacial skills for good (most inventions that helped society and in Israel as well are not created by Orthodox Jewish men) boys have other activities that helped develop their skills and that they enjoy doing and hopefully can help society in some way with their skills. Hopefully G-d willing one day you willl have a son as well.


Buffy said...

How very true. It's always easy to concentrate on what's wrong in our lives and the world in general. Really, your life is a reflection of what you spend your time thinking about. This is why two people will do the same activity and one will be content and another bored.

It follows that you will think most about the things you have come into contact with, whether on TV or in a book or just talking with friends. It is unfortunate that so much we are exposed to is negative and grimy. I think you have some good ideas to keep our heads above water and breathing the clean air.

Organizing Mommy said...

What happy thoughts. If you came to the states, I would love to meet you. I love your mention of Lapland. I think it is Finland, correct? Now I am from a part of the U.S. where the Finnish people settled. It is called the U.P. of Michigan. That is where I grew up. God's beauty is all around there. Blessings.

Mrs. Lindblom said...

What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing.