donderdag 30 oktober 2014

More On Home Businesses

I have been thinking about this whole Proverbs 31 controversy and there is one thing which comes to mind: Christian women are often encouraged to start a business whether they need money or not, and this money-making activity is seen as something spiritual. Other activities a lady at home can pursue  are not seen in this light. For instance, if you say that you spent several hours reading a book or watching a movie, the reaction will be totally different, even if the book/film had a Christian content.

Now some families obviously need the extra income which the wife brings and it's better if she can earn it from home, especially if the couple have small children. Other ladies have creative hobbies which they can turn into the source of income with little inconvenience. So far so good, but what if the family are wealthy? Suppose the husband is a doctor, and the wife would rather play tennis in her free time then sell stuff on the net? Does it make her a bad person/woman?

It's interesting that when men keep working long hours for the sake of making money they are  called workaholics  and criticised for neglecting their families. I've read somewhere about a woman who was on the TV explaining how she had to divorce her husband because he was always working and didn't give her enough attention. So when a man makes money for the sake of  money, it's wrong, but we praise women who do the same! Isn't it strange?

I detect a feminist double standard over here. Feminism, unfortunately, has crept into the church, too. Now Jesse Powell from Secular Patriarchy posted an article today where he points out that money and money-making is masculine:

Money is masculine. Let us remember that. Work or paid employment is masculine; work then pays us money so money by extension is masculine as well. Making money is something that men are good at and that women are not so good at; making money being a strength for men and a weakness for women. This is consistent with money being masculine or an area of male superiority.

If his theory is correct, it means that by criticising hard-working men as workaholics and encouraging women to start businesses and make money we encourage men to become more feminine and women more masculine, thus promoting androgyny which is exactly according to the spirit of this age with its emphasis on so-called equality. Definitely something to ponder over!

woensdag 29 oktober 2014

Why Do We Have Feminism?

Because Western men have collectively lost...should I say, their brains? Well, you know what I mean!
When they find back what they lost, feminism will soon be over.

Warning: keep in mind an obligatory disclaimer; language and content some may deem offensive, but I couldn't bring myself to link to the original blog.

dinsdag 28 oktober 2014

Breakfast Ideas: Onion-Cheese Scones

The recipe serves 4.

You will need:

2c flour + 2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
30g butter, cubed
50g cheese, grated
1tsp dried parsley
1/2 of a small onion, chopped finely
1 egg, beaten
ab. 1.75 dl milk

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add butter and knead through. Stir in cheese, parsley and onion. Add milk and egg, all at once,beat till the soft dough forms, turn onto the floured surface and knead for 1-2 min. With the help of a rolling pin, form the dough into a circle ab. 1cm thick and cut into 8 wedges. Transfer the wedges onto the greased and floured baking sheet, brush with milk. Bake at 230°C for 10-15 min till light brown in colour. Serve warm or cold.

maandag 27 oktober 2014

A New Look

So I added some new placemats to my collection and a vintage bottle as a candlestick:

I wasn't so sure of the colour at first, but changed my mind

The more colour the better, especially during the winter, don't you think?

So I added this wreath:

Here is a close-up:

In general, I'm content with the way my kitchen looks in the morning, it certainly cheers you up, especially when you are not a morning person, like myself.

vrijdag 24 oktober 2014

The Importance Of Good Housekeeping

Your home is a mess and so is your life. I forgot where I first read the phrase, probably at Darla Shine's site, but I remember thinking how true it was. Unfortunately, nowadays many people don't seem to realise the importance of having a clean and well-organised home.

For instance, Cheryl Mendelson in her book Home Comforts writes about the sad state of American housekeeping and points out that "These deficiencies...can have serious effects on health. The decline of home cooking and regular home meals...coincide with skyrocketing rates of obesity...Allergy and asthma rates...are exacerbated by modern housekeeping practises. Those who live in disorderly and untended homes suffer higher accident rates. Inadequate cleanliness in the kitchen poses the danger of foodborne illness. Germs and mold...can cause infections and allergies." (H.C., p.8. Scribner, 2005).

While she is correct in identifying the problem and praising the diligent housewives of the past eras, Mrs Mendelson stops short of proposing a logical solution of restoring the old system and suggests instead that housekeeping tasks are divided between various households members, which is probably better than when the house is totally neglected, but certainly inferior to the situation when there is one person who is in charge of the household and generally responsible for the state of affairs at home.

When Home Comforts was first published in the end of the 1990s, it was probably too politically incorrect to suggest the return to the traditional division of labour, but 15 years later things have changed and there is an abundance of sites supporting people (chiefly women, of course) who choose to stay home. However, the accents have changed subtly. We talk, as I just did, about stay-at-homes, whether they are a stay-at-home mom or even in some situations, a stay-at-home wife. It has become sort of accepted choice for some women to stay home, as long as they don't designate themselves as housewives, apparently.

Well, you will ask me, what's the difference? The point is, you can stay home and do little to no housekeeping. You can even spend as little time at home as possible, being engaged in various activities, volunteering, ministries and such. Christians are hardly better in this regard as they promote the work-at-home model when the wife is engaged in home businesses the whole day long, and this purely economic activity is seen as something spiritual. This, and she can homeschool (which is positive in itself), however, the necessity of creating a cosy and orderly home is seldom stressed at all.

If one tries to question it, out comes the (in)famous Proverbs 31 lady with her supposedly business activities. It's noteworthy that there were also some things which this lady didn't do. Her energy was directed to her own household and not that of someone else. It was her husband, not herself who was known in the gates discussing politics with the elders of the land. She obviously wasn't engaged in any social causes, and didn't spend her time trying to change the world. She gave to the poor and needy but the Scriptures don't mention her going on mission trips to the foreign lands. She helped those around her, her actual neighbours.

She also looked well to the ways of her household and spent most of her time at home. It's hardly a secret that one of the tenets of feminism was rebellion against traditional female domestic duties. Again, to quote Cheryl Mendelson: "Feminist historians...have complained that the 1950s woman foolishly wasted on superfluous "work" the time she saved by using technological innovations. In calling the work superfluous, they devalue the goals of that era's housewives..." (p. 13).

"Advertisements and television programs offer degraded images of household work and workers...It is scarcely surprising...that so many people imagine housekeeping to be boring, frustrating, repetitive, unintelligent drudgery. I cannot agree (In fact, having...practised law...I can assure you that it is actually lawyers who are most familiar with the experience of unintelligent drudgery)." (p.10).

Well, I don't agree, either! I haven't practised law but I used to teach university and it had a great deal of repetitive drudgery, too! I think every sort of job has it drudgery element. Mrs Mendelson compares the declining middle class domestic standards (including the shipment of young children to daycare) with the life of the industrial poor a hundred years ago. The truth is that material possessions aren't what makes one middle class (or, at least, it's not the only thing that counts). If your house looks like that of Daisy and Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances on any given day, you aren't really middle class, despite having a TV set in every room of the house and going on vacation three times a year.

When speaking of a  well-ordered household, I don't mean to say that it always will be ideally clean, or that people should be afraid to let a crumb fall to the ground while eating a cookie or that children shouldn't be allowed to have friends over because they make a mess (there are families like that), however, a house should be well organised with the minimum cleanliness standards met. It means that the lady of the house will have to devote at least some time to domestic chores every day. The rewards, however, are great. As Mrs Mendelson rightly notes: ` is your housekeeping that makes your home alive...´ (p.7).

woensdag 22 oktober 2014

Women:Sugar And Spice And Everything Nice Or...?

The evil females of European folklore.

Whatever the refined Victorian gentlemen thought about their ladies as "angels in the home" surely wasn't based on the traditional European folk culture which often had something unpleasant to say about women. Take, for instance, this song, based on the story of one sister killing the other and stealing her fiance. When the bard who had found the body came to the wedding feast and touched the lute, the wicked sister fell dead.

Apparently, in some European countries, such as Iceland, there was an extreme shortage of men, which led to only 47% of all women being married which could explain the attitudes demonstrated above. This shortage wasn't restricted only to mortal women, though, but also to the realm of elves, as shown by an Icelandic story about a guy who went to visit his mother and ended up dead after having refused to marry an elvish maiden (here is an instrumental version).

BTW, one of the versions of the appearance of elves states that they were unwashed and poorly treated children of Eve whom she tried to hide from God. Icelanders really had few illusions about mother's love being a universal virtue as is clearly demonstrated by one of their creepiest folk songs called Modir min i kvi kvi about a farmer's help who brought her illegitimate child to the forest to die wrapped in her best dress. When later she was complaining that she had nothing to wear for a dancing party, her daughter's ghost came and offered her her rags, driving the unlucky woman mad.

Of course, in Germanic folklore there were also Brünhild and Kriemhild who caused a lot of warriors to die because they couldn't settle peacefully the question of whose husband was more important, and the wife of Gunarr in Saga of Njall who was said to be born to be a curse for men and many others. So, I'm not so sure about sugar and spice, after all...

maandag 20 oktober 2014

Á Sprengisandi

Contrary to the title on YouTube, it's not a folk song, it was written by an Icelandic composer Sigvaldi Kaldalóns.