woensdag 26 november 2014

My Thoughts On Modesty

I was asked to write about modesty, especially modesty in the church. Now modesty is such a difficult topic, because people tend to take it personally. For instance, if you write that one should probably avoid wearing skirts which don't hit the knee, a woman who wears shorter skirts will more often than not take it as a personal insult and get offended.

Offended individuals then start writing you nasty letters and comments and as a result, few dare to touch this important topic any more, which is a shame. Things get more complicated because we as a society live in the times when anything goes. That is, we can't get a consensus on what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.

A hundred years ago most people agreed on basic things, such as that marriage was between one man and one woman, divorce should be restricted to special cases, dresses and skirts are feminine clothes, while pants aren't and it's better for the children when their mother is married to their father and stays home. However, these and similar ideas have become highly controversial nowadays, and even among self-proclaimed conservatives there will probably no agreement on some of these issues.

If folks can't even agree on what constitutes proper female and male attire, how do we expect them to figure out which clothes are modest and which are not? Add to this the mass media which actively promote attention whoring, especially among the young and impressionable and we get the mess we have now.

So what's a girl to do? First, I'd like to say that modesty begins in one's heart. Modesty is not only about outside, but also about inside. It's closely connected to the desire to maintain privacy. Modesty is the opposite of attention whoring. You may dress like a nun and still be immodest in your manners and behaviour. Our society encourages us to let it all hang out and to discuss the most intimate details of our lives with virtual strangers. It happens in real life, but also on the internet, what with Facebook and stuff like that.

A truly refined person isn't an attention whore. Such a person won't be posting half-naked selfies on the internet or become an emotional basket case in public.  Our previous monarch, Queen Beatrix was famous for never showing her emotions. Once there was an attack on the royal family during a holiday and she appeared on the TV visibly upset. People kept discussing how unusual it was for her. I always thought how she was such a good example of keeping private affairs private.

As for the clothes, first, I'd like to say that one should try to dress according to the occasion. There is formal and casual attire (I wrote about it before and gave examples, if you are interested, search the label style). Second, one should try to dress according to one's age. A short dress on a young girl trying to attract a potential husband is understandable, but not so much on her grandmother. If you are a married woman, dress as such and don't try to copy your teenage daughter.

Those who write about modesty will often point out that certain clothes will promote male lust which gets feminists all upset. They then start nonsensical campaigns, such as infamous slut walks , trying to persuade young women that the way they present themselves doesn't matter. Things don't work that way in real life, however, those arguments always strike me as arguing from pragmatism.

Yes, it's true that we subconsciously divide people into categories according to the way they dress, though progressives may hate it. It's true that a woman who is perceived as slutty will get more attention of a sexual kind and even place herself in jeopardy, but the unwanted male attention shouldn't be your only reason to dress modestly. For me, modesty is first of all, about self-respect. Any woman struggling with this issue should ask herself a question, which image is she trying to project? How does she want to be remembered?

As a mother of the family or as a cougar? As a wholesome young person or as a trashy trailer park type? A lady or a tramp? Remember, that people are visual creatures (TV advertising works) and that first impression is hard to change.

I'd like to point out that it's a good thing not to fall into another extreme (in general, extremes of all sorts should be avoided). You don't have to wear a burqa, generally speaking. Unless you belong to a religious minority with strict modesty rules, such as Amish, you'll be all right by just avoiding too short, too tight and too low cut.

I'd say for me personally it's also important to look feminine. A woman could be totally covered and thus be "modest" but if you have to look several times to figure out whether it's a male or female, I'd say she is doing something wrong. Here, of course, the question of wearing pants comes. Traditionally, starting with our Germanic ancestors, pants were considered male attire. Of course, nowadays women wear trousers for all occasions and you hardly will shock anyone by doing it. I did notice one thing, though. The overwhelming majority of men doesn't adorn themselves with skirts/dresses, and even those Scottish types chiefly wear their national garb during costume parties.

I wonder why is it so?May be, because men are still proud to be men? Shouldn't we then be proud of being women and dress distinctly feminine? It's definitely something to ponder when you make your clothing choices. Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject of modesty in comments section!

maandag 24 november 2014

Housewives Are Good For The Environment

Traditional housewives are the champions in recycling and thus good for the environment. That all comes with living frugally on one income:)

Take, for instance, this dress:





It is a famous European brand which normally sells for in-between 150 and 250 euros. However, I bought it for 7 euro in a goodwill type store (we have a huge one in our city which sells all sorts of stuff, including clothes, books, computers etc).

Please pay attention to the lamp: it was made by my father-in-law (handwork!), and recently we changed the lampshade to suit our new decor. We found it at the same store for 1.75.

We got this small cabinet for free (someone put it outside to get rid of it). My husband recently gave it a new look by painting it white and green. He also designed and made the side table standing next to it:


Isn't it cute? I bought the drawers very cheaply in Xenos, a Dutch store. In general, I like our new look, and it didn't cost us a fortune.



zondag 23 november 2014

Life Without Women Would Be Boring

Some frivolous music for Monday morning, just to cheer you up (yes, it's past midnight over here);



A very approximate translation from German is mine:

Friends, I have decided to quit the night life. Let's drink to the earnestness of life and I probably will have to find a job.

I have decided to give up girls,
Not one of them will ever tempt me.
If the thousand hearts break, I don't care...

My decision is taken, it's over with love 
and yet,
Life without women is boring just like
The rose won't blossom without sun...

(What he sings here is somewhat different from the classic version)
I was nearly married a couple of times
But my luck was with me.
Many women dreamed of me as their husband,
However, it was just a waste of time
As I'd rather stay free...
(sings something along the lines that marriage is prison for men)
I was never true to any woman.

(A mental note, Boni is exactly the type of man to avoid, even though as far as I remember he gets married in the end!:)

zaterdag 22 november 2014

More On Sigurd

I realise not everybody shares my interest in Nordic myths, but please bear with me...:)

Just to explain what Regin Smiður is all about. Grane was Sigurd's horse which was the descendant of Sleipnir, the horse of Odin (you can read more about it over here) . Regin the Smith was one of the three sons of the dwarf king Hreidmar, the brother of Otter and Fafnir. When Otter was killed by Loki, Hreidmar asked for weregild (compensation for the unlawful killing) and so Loki had to give him the treasures which he had stolen from the dwarf named Andvari.

However, the greedy king was still unsatisfied and Loki had to give him Andvari's magic ring which had been cursed by its rightful owner. As the result of the curse, Fafnir killed his father, took the treasure and ran away, without sharing with Regin, who swore revenge. Fafnir's love for gold caused him to turn into a horrible dragon and he spent day and night watching over his treasure.

Regin chose to live among mortals whom he taught all kinds of metalwork and he waited till finally he chose Sigurd as the instrument of his revenge. Sigurd promised to help but asked for a sword which wouldn't be broken in any battle. Regin made two swords, but Sugurd broke both of them easily. Regin then remembered about the broken sword of Sigmund (Sigurd's father) which he had received from Odin, and forged a new sword out of the remnants of it.

Sigurd killed the dragon and started roasting his heart for Regin, as the latter had asked him, but as he was testing whether it was ready he suddenly started understanding the birds' language and discovered that Regin was planning to betray him, thus he killed the dwarf and took the gold and the ring (which didn't bring him any good, but that's another story).

BTW, you can see where Tolkien got his inspiration:)

dinsdag 18 november 2014

How Men Fought And Died For Palimony

O.K, not really for palimony, but for pensions for mistresses and women's rights.

I have been planning to write about the subject for quite some time, but the sheer gruesomeness of this story prevented me. It all started when someone gave me the Short Version of World History by one J.W. Pik, the edition of 1934.  It was there that I read about Paris Commune and its demise.

Now, of course, I heard about Paris Commune before, but it was long ago and I never gave much thought to it. It was just a historical fact. This time I became interested and checked Wikipedia, which as usual, supplied me with many details of the story absent in the book. Naturally, I was especially interested in the feminist angle of the famous uprising.

So first the short summary of the facts: Paris Commune events happened during and after the Franco-Prussian war, after the Second Empire collapsed and the National Assembly proclaimed the new French Republic. At that time, the population of France was sharply divided between conservative Catholics who chiefly lived in the countryside and various radicals and socialists living in big cities such as Paris. A lot of them supported First International and wanted to make France socialist.


As the war progressed and Germans surrounded Paris, the discontent among the radicals grew and there were several small uprisings. When the armistice was signed, the country held general elections where Catholic candidates won, except in Paris, where socialist took the majority of seats. The rift between the conservatives in the Assembly and the radicals was quickly growing and turned violent as the Paris National Guard refused to return some old-fashioned cannons to the regular army, despite the demands of the lawfully elected national Parliament.

On the 19th of March, 1871, National Guard took power and proclaimed new elections for a city council, which were supported only by 48% of registered voters. For the Central Committee of the National Guard it was enough though and thus Paris Commune came into being.

It started with introducing the old Republican Calendar and the red flag and establishing progressive democracy, which included: taking away the property of the  Church as a part of separating Church and State, pensions for mistresses of National Guardsmen killed in action and struggle against Western patriarchy (represented by Western capitalism).

To get rid of patriarchy, the following was proposed:

gender equality
wages equality
right of divorce
professional (secular) education for girls
erasing of the distinction in status between wives and mistresses, and consequently, their children

While the feminist movement consisted chiefly of women, some of whom even joined men on the barricades, it's obvious that they wouldn't go anywhere far, were it not for men, and all the Commune leaders were male.

The French government sent the troops to suppress the uprising. It's interesting that while the Commune leaders stated that they were against death penalty, when the situation deteriorated they quickly took the law allowing execution of hostages (among whom were many priests). In fact, the law stated that if one person who was on the side of the Commune gets executed by the lawful government, the Commune will execute "a triple number of hostages" in retaliation. The National Assembly reacted by establishing military tribunals.

Among the notable achievements of the Commune was the destruction of the Vendome Column erected to celebrate Napoleonic Victories. The Column was accused of being a symbol of "brute force" and barbarism (and was probably oppressive to women, too, taking into account its shape). The idea came from the painter Mr Courbet.

The Commune was also against military conscription but forced every able-bodied man to become a member of the National Guard, thus creating an army of 200,000. The officers were elected though, and not always according to their capability. As the result, the army lacked discipline and necessary skills. They were hardly a match for the regular army. When it entered the city, the situation quickly became desperate for its defenders who lacked all the organisational skills and distrusted their commanders.

After the uprising was suppressed, the reprisals started. The Wiki article mentions that several women who manned the barricades were executed alongside with men, however, as usual, men bore the brunt of it. Till this day, it's not known how many exactly were killed after short show trials (which mostly included examining their hands for the traces of the gun powder), however the number of casualties during the "Bloody Week" most commonly named is ten thousand.

The leaders of Commune were tried separately, including the feminist leader Louise Michel. Evil French Males refused to give her a death sentence though and sent her to New Caledonia instead where she had to work as a schoolteacher. 9 years later she returned to France and resumed her career in fighting patriarchy by inciting the people to pillage the bakery. She was imprisoned again, then pardoned, then arrested again etc etc, until her death in 1905.

 It's interesting that already in those times, men (or some men at least) were much inclined to admire the ferociousness of women who supposedly fought alongside men like tigresses and set fire to many buildings. Though nowadays the historians believe it to be a myth (why men tend to get obsessed with female warriors is beyond my comprehension), at that time the myth cost some unlucky women dearly as they were accused of arson and murdered.

What conclusion can we draw from the story above? I'll leave it to you, dear reader. For me, it shows how feminism would never take root so to say, without men who aided and abetted it and were ready to fight and die for among other things, women's rights.

maandag 17 november 2014

Sigurd Slays The Dragon

This is the Danish variant of Regin Smiður, a folk song made popular by Tyr:




Grane bar guld af hede, 
Grane bar guld af hede, 
Sigurd svinger sværdet i vrede.
 Sigurd over ormen vandt, 
Grane bar guldet af heden.

Grane carried the gold from the heath, Sigurd swings the sword in anger...
The legend says he came from the Low Lands!

You can read the whole text of the song and the translation (in comments) if you watch the video on YouTube.

woensdag 12 november 2014

Church Ladies On The Mission Field

A friend asked me to write about this topic yesterday. Women who attend conservative churches sometimes complain that they feel restricted since they can't be a preacher or an elder. They feel like all the positions of importance belong to men, and they can't do anything of value.

It's interesting that this has been the complaint of Western feminists for a long time: the idea that the traditional female role is narrow and restrictive and only men get to do things which really matter.

I have always attributed it to envy, though for the life of me, I can't understand why women would be envious of men whose life has always been quite hard and with the positions of authority which they have traditionally occupied, came heavy responsibilities and duties. It's also profoundly not true that women content with the traditional female occupations of being a wife, mother and homemaker are not important and contribute nothing. In fact, God gave women the proper place for their ministry and practicing good works - their own family.

I'm not talking only about taking care of one's own (nuclear) family. The lady at home can practice hospitality, offer friendship and support for those who need it, visit elderly relatives and new mothers, minister to the neighbour children who come to her house to play with her own kids etc etc. She  can influence others with her modest and feminine clothes.

Women at home even can prevent some crimes from happening as they function as a sort of a neighbourhood watch. Everybody knows that  criminals prefer to commit burglaries in the two-income neighbourhoods which are virtually empty during the daytime.

Nowadays, some things are glorified while the importance of others is minimised. When a woman goes on a mission trip to some far-away country, she will be invariably portrayed as a heroine of faith, while wives and mothers at home often are looked down upon. However, if confronted about your choices, you can point out that you already have your own mission field: you are a missionary for the traditional Christian womanhood and your mission field is your home.

maandag 10 november 2014

Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Spelt Muffins

The original recipe was from a magazine called LandIdee Christmas 2014 edition, however as usual, I adjusted it.

You will need:

1c spelt (dinkel) flour
1c the mixture of rye, whole wheat and spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
salt
ab. 60 g dried apricots, chopped finely
30-40g walnuts, chopped
3 eggs
5 TBSP brown sugar
150 ml milk + 50 ml virgin olive oil

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, apricots and walnuts. In another bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, milk and oil, then add to the flour mixture, stir until combined. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 200*C (400*F) for about 15 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Yield: 12 muffins.


zaterdag 8 november 2014

How Romantic Movement Destroyed Marriage

Romantic movement (is)...a group of writers, artists etc. who followed their feelings and emotions rather than logical thought or reason...It first became popular in the late 18th century...(Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture, 1992).

The destruction of marriage didn't start in the 1990, and  neither when divorce was made easier in the middle of the 19th century. It started with Romantic movement which prioritised feelings over common sense as perfectly shown in the first novel of Jane Austen Sense And Sensibility.

As most of you probably know,  Sense And Sensibility is a story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Marianne is thoroughly romantic in all her notions and has a disregard for prudence and society conventions. She is totally governed by her feelings and passions with a predictable result of falling in love with a handsome cad John Willoughby who jilts her for a wealthier woman. Elinor, on the other hand, practises quite admirable self-control and restraint.

When Dashwoods find themselves in reduced circumstances after the death of their father and have to move, one of their new acquaintances, Colonel Brandon falls in love with Marianne. He is a rich man of an admirable character but Marianne finds the whole idea ridiculous since he is 35 years old and according to her: "...must have long outlived any sensation of that kind." (p.35, Penguin Books, 1994).

When Elinor points out that Marianne who is only 17 is probably too young for him, but he could marry a woman of 27, the latter remarks that a woman so advanced in years can't hope to inspire affection in any man but could marry for the financial reason. However, in Marianne's eyes: "...it would be no marriage at all...it would seem only a commercial exchange" (p.36).

In the end of the book, Marianne marries the colonel feeling only friendship and esteem and later learns to love her husband. Their marriage, according to the author, is happy and prosperous and thoroughly refutes the romantic nonsense. This makes the book quite traditional, especially comparing to some of her other stories.

Among other opinions of Marianne was the disapproval of second affections (though her own father had been married two times) and  the idea that money is wholly unimportant when one considers getting married. Elinor, on the other hand, is financially prudent. Since Edward (that's the guy she loves, for those who haven't read the book), is dependent on his mother she realises that they can't marry without her agreement and help, despite their mutual affection.

Marianne shows contempt for the rules of decorum by writing to Willoughby, even though they aren't engaged. When her sister points out the impropriety of it, she answers that she felt herself: "... to be as solemnly engaged to him as if the strictest legal covenant had bound us to each other." (p.181); to which Elinor answers: "I can believe it...but unfortunately, he did not feel the same." (idem).

As you can see, romanticism introduced the idea that legal ceremonies and formalities are of no importance, together with any financial issue which may arise and the only thing which makes a marriage valid is feelings. A couple can marry out of convenience, but it's not really marriage at all and similarly, the society conventions should go out of the window when feelings are involved. Nowadays we have couples living together who declare that they feel they are married even as they totally disregard the established way of doing it.

However, if feelings are the only thing which makes a marriage valid, then obviously when one's feelings change, it should be grounds for divorce. So it's probably not surprising that when the romantic ideas became widespread divorce became easier till finally we got a no fault divorce.

Another pernicious idea of the Romantic movement was the existence of a so-called soul mate. I have written about it before, so I won't repeat myself. I wish, however, to point out that since marriage is obviously all about your feelings and finding a perfect soul mate, then why reducing it to the union of one man and one woman? Why, anyone can be a soul mate, can't they? Why not marrying several of your best friends, your sister or your cat?

 Since it's all about the soul then apparently the body doesn't matter, the marriage doesn't have to be consummated and two persons who are completely celibate should be still considered legally married to each other. Do we need any other proof that liberalism (of which the Romantic movement was the predecessor) is a modern gnostic cult?

donderdag 6 november 2014

Lord Of The Rings, A Game Review

I'm not going to write about computer gaming (which I frankly find an incredibly boring subject), this is a review of a board game.

                                       

Lord Of The Rings was produced by 999Games, which as far as I know is a German company, though this particular game was marketed for sale in English-speaking countries which probably explains the politically correct "she or he" in the game description. however, besides this small but irritating detail, it is really a great game (I will add that I was lucky enough to find it complete in a Goodwill type store for 5 euro).

LOTR can be played by 2-5 participants, starting by the age of 12. It has rather complicated rules, so it makes sense to read the manual several times before beginning. The difference between it and other board games I played, is that though there is a competitive element present, you don't play against each other, but as a group against the Dark Lord (in the form of  the Eye of Sauron).

                                                

Each participant represents one of the Hobbits: Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin and Fatty, each of them possessing some special qualities. The Ring is also present and the one who carries it may put it on and use Its power on certain occasions.
                                                                

     
The game has 3 levels (beginners, intermediate and advanced) and makes use of 5 maps: the first one is the corruption path where the hobbits and Sauron every time come closer to each other plus the general journey map from Bag End to Mordor, with 4 additional scenario maps (Moria, Helm's Deep, Shelob's Lair and Mordor), with the group objective being to throw the One Ring into the volcano.

                                               

To achieve it, the participants make use of cards, chips and dice. They are allowed to discuss their strategy but cannot show their cards to each other. LOTR promotes cooperation and working together as a group. It's quite interesting and may be recommended to any family with older children tired of spending their evenings in front of the TV or behind the computer screen. Once you know the rules, it takes about 1 1/2 hour to play and is great fun.

UPDATE:I uploaded pictures, as requested.


woensdag 5 november 2014

A Weekend Walk In The Forest

The past weekend we had a spell of very warm weather (the temperature was about +18*C in the afternoon) so we decided to spend it outside and went to Hoge Veluwe, a national park. Here are some pictures: