Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Blessings of Old Fashioned Work ~ Part Two



"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
~ Genesis 3:19

Ever since sin entered the world, work became a sweaty and toilsome event. Most people go out of their way to avoid it... But is the fruit of idleness that sweet?  I think it may be costing us and in many different ways. In fact, it may be that old fashioned labor yields the sweetest fruit.


“There is nothing wrong with God's plan that man should
earn his bread by the sweat of his brow.” 

Working with our hands blesses our emotional, financial, spiritual and even physical needs. A good dose of honest labor keeps us healthy with its therapeutic and stress relieving abilities along with the common, everyday use of our muscles for exercise. 


“Gardens are not made by singing 'Oh, how beautiful!' and sitting in the shade.” 
~ Rudyard Kipling, Complete Verse

For example, the act of growing your own produce creates a gentle workout for the homemaker, in slow and steady movements. It affords us a moment of fresh air, a de-cluttering of our over-stimulated minds, and a splash of sunshine while stretching out our burdened bodies to keep ourselves agile and strong. The outcome is much more than just vegetables.


We can also consider the sweet blessings of sweat. Our loved ones are being subjected to many diseases in this modern world. An overload of toxins in our body is said to be a major contributor to many of our health problems. Can it be that we are depriving ourselves of the healing powers of sweat since much of our lives are being spent sedentary in front of a screen? Are we removing that opportunity to release excess toxins that are brewing havoc in our bodies when we pass on that old fashioned work?

(Note: What is Making Me Sick? and Your Genes are Not Your Destiny are both favorite videos featuring Dr. Micheal Bernui which shares this thought along with some other encouraging ways to live healthy lives from a godly perspective.)


"Labor, honest labor, is mighty and beautiful. "

The act of sweating also: "improves circulation, accelerates metabolism, opens skin pores, cleanses the skin, boosts the immune system, uses energy and burns calories, relaxes body and mind, great for stress relief, helps body release toxins, sweating is a form of exercise, helps body to regulate its temperature and cool down, anti-aging – produces softer skin, releases endorphins that help with pain, improves tone and flexibility of skin, critical factor in body’s hydration process, contains natural antibiotics that destroy harmful skin bacteria, can reduce cholesterol and sodium levels and may improve sleep."  (source)

It makes one wonder, what have we given up?


There is also our physicial need of vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) to consider. Sunshine cheerfully gives this to us! Fifteen minutes of time in the sun without sunscreen is recommended by the Nat'l Institution of Health. This is especially important for older women because it gets harder for your body to produce vitamin D as you age. This time in the sun will benefit in the following areas including an overactive immune system, heart disease, osteoporosis, breast, colon cancers, helps fight insomnia and depression. It also aids your body to absorb calcium and utilize magnesium which affects many areas of the human body (source).


“Go on with your work as usual, for work is a blessed solace.” 
~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Old fashioned labor is also a wonderful stress-releiver which promotes health in its own right. There is healing power in scrubbing and scouring as we release bottled up emotions, hurts and pains. It can be quite soothing to the soul! One can even bring some indoor work to the outdoors in order to breathe in the fresh air, soak in the vitamin D while applying some elbow-grease to those long awaited household tasks.

“There's nothing like active employment, I suppose, to console the afflicted.” 
~ Anne Brontë



It is so easy for the modern-day homemaker to curl up and hibernate in our cozy and comfortable cottages but is this the healthy lifestyle that God intended for His people? While I am not suggesting that women go out and break their backs like some of our ancestors were forced to do because of poverty and survival, I have been contemplating my own level of activity on our farm. I have been consciously attempting to labor more in the outdoors with the fresh air, in the clean earth and surrounded by God's fascinating creation. Are you interested in rebuilding an old fashioned lifestyle consisting of a daily dose of gentle womanly labor?


A good start would be to spend at least thirty minutes each day in some form of physical, outdoor work:

Some ideas could be picking fruit from a bursting tree, purposely stretching your limbs to find that ripe tender piece and gently lowering it into a basket.

Perhaps you can do some foraging by taking a brisk walk in search of medicinal plants. Harvest your herbs by the bunches to be dried into teas and/or made into tinctures. Or use your findings to prepare a fresh, daily brew of herbal tea for your family. You can call the moments spent searching, your "tea time". Bring the children along!

For some of us it could be the useful act of hanging clothes to dry in the sweet summer sun!



Consider raking up leaves, pulling of weeds, sweeping the sidewalks, stacking up firewood, pruning, planting an herb garden, or even doing some decorative landscaping.

Last year I took over the lawn. My husband was struggling to keep it up during the busy harvest (when hay grows, grass grows!) so I adopted that old push mower as my own. Since our back yard is large, it takes me between 3-4 hours to complete. In the summer heat I am exhausted and sweaty, but it feels so good! I listen to inspirational music and the process is very therapeutic. (It is also toddler friendly since at the time, my little nephew was with us, and it kept him busy playing "run away from the mower" the entire time.)

Let us look around and see what we could be contributing with our hands that will in turn, contribute to the health and happiness of our body, soul, and ultimately our future.


"Industry has a physical blessing; limbs strengthened by exercise, and sinews braced by exertion; every organ performing its legitimate duty, and kept in its appointed office; the blood circulated by motion, and the joints pliant from use; disease repelled by internal vigor; appetite created by the calls of increasing strength; rest rendered welcome by previous labor; sleep becomes acceptable after busy working..."


{See part one part twopart threepart four and part five of this series.}


This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sHomestead Barn HopAmaze Me MondayMonday's MusingsMarriage MondayTitus 2sdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysRaising HomemakersMake Bake CreateWise Woman Link UpWow Us Wednesdays, Wildcrafting WednesdayThe ScoopCoffee and ConversationSo Much at HomeHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeHearts for Home ThursdaysGrowing in Grace ThursdaysHome Acre HopFrom the Farm Blog HopFarmgirl FridayFront Porch Friday Blog HopSimple Meals FridayCultivate NourishingSimply Natural Saturdays and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. Paintings by George Faulkner Wetherbee, Julien Dupre, Camille Pissarro, Berthe Morisot and Daniel Ridgeway Knight.

53 comments:

  1. What a great post to ponder this afternoon...
    I have often thought about this...this paragraph you added:

    "We can also consider the sweet blessings of sweat. Our loved ones are being subjected to many diseases in this modern world. An overload of toxins in our body is said to be a major contributor to many of our health problems. Can it be that we are depriving ourselves of the healing powers of sweat since much of our lives are being spent sedentary in front of a screen? Are we removing that opportunity to release excess toxins that are brewing havoc in our bodies when we pass on that old fashioned work?"

    I know it's true for me... I don't sweat enough. I have rough, dry skin! I'm low on Vitamin D. ...
    I think I "fear" the achy body pains we get initially....

    Well.... that has been all changing for me this summer - as I have had opportunity to spend more time in a garden. More than I have in a long time. And while, yes!, I am sore afterwards - I also feel really good both mentally and physically....

    I really appreciate this series... thanks!

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    1. As I (almost) head into my forties, these are my concerns too! Prevention is best and it is never too late to dig in there! I am so glad you have found time to do that! Your family will really be blessed by your efforts to stay healthy! Thank you for taking the time to share! :)

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  2. Thank you, dear Jes!
    It is so true, but sometimes I need it to read it again.
    You are a wise women! And I'm so glad that I have found your blog!
    Blessings!

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    1. I think we all need reminders Carolien... I type this to myself too :)

      Nice hearing from you again!

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  3. Hi Jes,

    Just finished reading Parts 1 and 2, and thought I'd comment here. How very true your words are, especially in this day and age, when so many of us are leading such a sedentary lifestyle, one that has been proven most detrimental to our health, contributing to so many different ailments and conditions. I am the first to admit that, lately, I've been spending more time than I should in front of the screen, as I get all of my news, entertainment and correspondence on the web! Aside from my household chores, I take care of my flowers, and sweep and tidy the grounds, but it's my husband who does most of the intense physical labour in the garden, ON TOP of his job as a contractor!

    Thank you for sharing this thought provoking post; I will seriously rethink my daily routine!

    Poppy

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    1. I am blessed to have a hard working husband too. The garden is his "baby" but I really should be more involved with the weeding... This subject has been on my mind lately as I slowly enter into the 40 zone and want to keep off of prescription medications in my "golden years"... Thanks for taking the time to comment Poppy :)

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  4. What a great post JES, every point you've made is a valid one and the suggestions are very good. Even if your work cannot be moved outdoors taking a daily or at least weekly "constitutional" can be very beneficial.

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    1. Yes, we need to do what we can! Some days I can't take my daily walk but I know I worked on the farm so I am at peace... Some days I am indoors all day so I force myself to schedule a brisk walk. We do need to work with our situation... As long as we get moving! :)

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  5. I enjoy taking care of my chickens. It never takes 30 minutes and I usually spend some time walking around the garden.

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    1. Having animals is a great way to get us outside! They need us and it blesses us with some sunshine and movement :) Thanks for sharing Julie!

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  6. Yes, I very much enjoy the work on the farm, but running for exercise is something I dread. Lovely post!

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    1. Thanks for sharing Jennifer! Back in the day I used to enjoy running but now it is a bit hard on my back...

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  7. What a beautiful post. I am reading "Folks It Just Aint Normal" by J. Salatin & he refers to children working/helping as a right of passage. I love that. Let them feel the pride of a job well done as opposed to screen time. The benefits are for all ages:)

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    1. Joel Salatin is a neat man! I love his ideas! And yes, the benefits are for all... When there is a job to be done here, we completely encourage child labor :) It builds character!

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  8. The paintings you chose are beautiful, and make me want to get out in our gardens. I agree with what you wrote here about the value of gardening and outdoor work. Gardening brings us exercise, joy, flowers and delicious food too and I often pray in the garden.

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    1. Yes, prayer and the outdoors are a beautiful, peaceful an strengthening pair... Thank you for sharing Terra!

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  9. I have been trying to get at least 30 - 60 minutes a day of natural sunlight and work up a good sweat. I may not smell or look the prettiest, but I sure do feel good when I am done. This time of year I get out early in the morning for the 100 degree afternoons hit. There is something so refreshing about be in all God's glory first thing in the morning.

    I just love this: Are you interested in rebuilding an old fashioned lifestyle consisting of a daily dose of gentle womanly labor? I strive for this every day!

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    1. How wonderful! You are also very wise to get out early in the morning in the summer because once it is nice and hot, all our good intentions go out the door! Plus, heat stroke is in a pretty thing... Thanks for taking the time to share here :)

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  10. Hi Jes, I love all your old fashioned photos for this lovely post. Yes it is wonderful to grow your own crop in the garden. I love gardening and I'm teaching my daughter about planting. She planted from seeds basil and it grew so nice this summer. Take care and have a wonderful weekend.
    Julie

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    1. That is great, you are instilling a love for the outdoors! I wish I had been encouraged more when I was young... Thank you for sharing Julie! :)

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  11. So many wonderful points! It is a joy to read this post and think on our purpose as God intended. It truly shows that we were meant to get out and enjoy the outdoors with some work. In the summer it's hard since it gets to 104 or so most days here, but I love the feeling of doing things outside like putting in a new garden and just good work with my hands.

    Blessings!

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    1. Yes, summer is a bit harder! You either have to get out there early or do some choring in the late afternoon/early evening (my favorite time to be outside but you do lose some sunshine)... Thank you for sharing here today Jazzmin!

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  12. Excellent article! If it weren't night time, I'd go out and work right now!
    Blessings,
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

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    1. You are funny! But there is always tomorrow :)

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  13. So beautifully written, Jes! I absolutely loved this post - thank you for sharing! And the paintings are just gorgeous:). Blessings, Kelly-Anne

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    1. The paintings are favorites of mine too! May you have a beautiful and peaceful weekend :)

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  14. Well said, my friend. My husband is always looking for new employees, but he always has the same complaint, "All these young guys are so lazy, and expect to get a paycheck for nothing!" My hubby has a work ethic like no one else I know, and that means he sets the bar really high for prospective employees.
    And we are making sure that we are instilling a strong work ethic in our children. They don't necessarily like pulling weeds in hot weather, but they know what the reward is: delicious veggies! So they don't complain. :) Have a lovely week-end!
    ~Lisa

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    1. I think our husbands were made from the same mould (which is why he ends up doing all the work himself)! And yes, we need to pass this lost art of "work" down to our children... They will appreciate it later :) "Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth." ~ Proverbs 10:4... It was nice hearing from you Lisa :)

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  15. Wonderful post, JES! I love working around the house and outside, too. And I'm usually rewarded with a good night's rest in return, which I love. Love the paintings - there's that striped skirt and peasant blouse again. I.must.have.them. :)
    Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Ah, I forget to mention the good nights rest! That makes for good health too :) And I am still keeping an eye out for the perfect striped fabric!

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  16. Hi Jes...Thank you for sharing this educational post in such a beautiful way. Your paintings are gorgeous. I am so glad I met you. I love your blog.
    Your New Friend
    Julie

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    1. Nice to have you here Julie! Thank you for taking the time to comment! :)

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  17. Thank you for coming by. It is sweet of you to always visit. I enjoyed this post. Your photos are beautiful. Thank you for sharing. will you join me and pray about my blogging future? I am considering taking a break from posting. As hard as I've worked to draw in traffic it is just not happening. I only get a couple a visits and comments. I post daily. I am considering changing my routine and only doing a couple of posts and spending my time visiting wonderful blogs like your more regularly. You've been a blessing to me. Will you pray with me?

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    1. Of course! Keep in mind also that many visit without commenting... It showed that 20 people came by your blog on last weeks link up entry.

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  18. This is such an encouraging post Ma'am Jes,especially for a new stay-at-home mom like me, how I wish I could stay in a place where I can have my own little garden too. God Bless you more=)

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    1. Hi there Jang! You could plant some veggies in pots on a porch or herbs in a windowsill if you don't have a yard... Have a lovely week!

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  19. I enjoy working in the vegie patch, or flower gardens, hanging up the clean laundry on the line; but alas winter has had me cosy inside. A bit of sunshine peaks through my window, perhaps I'll take a walk and write a list of what needs my attention. Thanks for the inspiration that motivates. God Bless!

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    1. Oh, a nice walk with a list in hand sounds like a wonderful idea! Thanks for taking the time to share Marie :)

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  20. This is such a good post, Jes..... and those tomatoes taste all the sweeter for the work it takes to help them thrive... I have also heard that the lymph nodes under the arms and in the breast tissue clog up so easily these days... that the hard physical labor of days past kept that all moving, but now we don't tend to do that... and more physical problems arise. Working isn't always fun, but it is good and it is satisfying. Thank you for posting this. :)

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    1. I hadn't heard that about the lymph nodes but that is good to know, one more reason to keep active! Thanks for taking the time to share!

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  21. My Mother and I were recently discussing how good it is to put in a hard days work. Work is not the dirty word that many seem to think it is. It is a good, wholesome and God given activity which can also be very fun. This year I have been reminded of muscles that I hadn't used much as we have been clearing land and building a garage and house. It has been good to really work hard and work together as a family too.

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    1. I completely agree with you Abbi! Thank you for taking the time to share :)

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  22. This is so true (and I love your pictures). I especially like the Vitamin D part - it is so easy for people to forget how important the sun is sometimes! Thanks for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop :) Feel free to come back to www.PintSizeFarm.com or any of the other hosts and share another!

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  23. I have just discovered your blog and I am enjoying it greatly. This post is a wonderful reminder for me to get out in the sun and do some work today. We have a 3 acre property so it's unlikely I would ever be unable to find something to do! Sometimes I get so preoccupied with all the work inside the house that I forget everything that needs doing outside, too, that might benefit my health as well.

    My grandmother is 96 years old and she still lives on her own quite capably. She has believed in hard work all her life. She is especially fond of gardening and even to this day spends as much as several hours per day outside tending her flowers. Her daughters often chide her for overworking herself, but I believe it is because she does work hard, and is always making new plans for projects she wants to do, that she has stayed healthy to such an advanced age.

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    1. Wow, thank you for sharing about your grandmother! That is wonderful to hear! May I be like her at that age!!! :) Thanks for taking the time to comment here and glad you introduced yourself!

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  24. Beautiful and inspiring post, as always . Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to encourage via this comment! :)

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  25. Congratulations, JES! This post was #3 most read and I featured it on the new link up this week. This could become a weekly thing because your posts are simply wonderful. Come link up again!
    God bless.
    Chris

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  26. I found you at Stephanie's party. I confess that I have gotten rather lazy of late, and this series of yours is a good wake-up call for me. You make so many good points, and I appreciate your sharing.

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  27. I was just browsing articles on your site that I'd missed and am really enjoying this series on work. It is really speaking to my heart. I have a one year old right now and plenty to do but definitely sometimes finding myself avoiding things. The fruits are not good! The painting in this series are also inspiring. None of those beautiful gardens planted themselves. They remind me that women have always worked, pruned, planted, cooked, toiled, washed to make their homes pleasant places. Thank you for the work you put into your beautiful blog.

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    1. What a wonderful comment! Thank you for sharing :)

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