Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Titus-2 Homemaking Encouragement Inspired by Louisa M. Alcott


"Mother went to see Uncle S. J. May, and I was house-keeper. Gave my mind to it so energetically that I dreamed dip-toast, talked apple-sauce, thought pies, and wept drop-cakes..."
~ Louisa May Alcott, Her Life, Letters, and Journals

Growing up in a home teaming with intellectual writers, philosophers, naturalists and poets, you may think that homemaking was the last thing on the mind of Louisa May Alcott. But "au contraire", her writing shows it was an important part of her life. Today we highlight five Titus-2 encouragements which are inspired by the nourishing novels of Ms. Alcott that will help you to love your home!


1. Be Serious About Homemaking

"Housekeeping ain't no joke..."
~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

I have heard some say, "I am just a housewife" but that is not so if we put our whole heart into it! If we are serious about homemaking, it becomes a noble career. Be interested in all the little details around you. One way to become a serious homemaker is to read books on the subject! My favorite "professional" homemaking book is Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House (Interestingly enough, it is written by a woman lawyer who had such a love for the nuts and bolts of homemaking that she wrote a thorough book on the subject! She too thought that "housekeeping ain't no joke!").

There is nothing like knowledge to show you are serious about your "work". Learn the proper order of things, the right way to clean, how to wisely maintain what you have and so forth. Make out old fashioned ledgers and record your household budget. Prepare meal plans, seasonal homemaking lists and chore charts. Organize your household and do monthly maintenances if you have the time. Ask other women how they do things and see if you can fine-tune your household, your finances, your systems. Talk to your mother, grandmother or other older women in your life about what they have learned along the way and glean their wisdom. You will be taken seriously once you seriously love what you do and investing your time and energy is the best way to show your devotion. 

"That they (the aged women) may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home..."
~ Titus 2:4-5


2. Housekeeping is an Accomplishment

“Well, now there is a very excellent, necessary, and womanly accomplishment that my girl should not be without, for it is a help to rich and poor, and the comfort of families depends upon it. This fine talent is neglected nowadays and considered old-fashioned, which is a sad mistake and one that I don't mean to make in bringing up my girl. It should be part of every girl's eductation, and I know of a most accomplished lady who will teach you in the best and pleasantest manner."

"Oh, what is it?" cried Rose eagerly, charmed to be met in this helpful and cordial way.

"Housekeeping!" answered Dr. Alec.

“Is that an accomplishment?” asked Rose, while her face fell, for she had indulged in all sorts of vague, delightful dreams.

“Yes; it is one of the most beautiful as well as useful of all the arts a woman can learn. Not so romantic, perhaps, as singing, painting, writing, or teaching, even; but one that makes many happy and comfortable, and home the sweetest place in the world. Yes, you may open your big eyes; but it is a fact that I had rather see you a good housekeeper than the greatest belle in the city. It need not interfere with any talent you may possess, but it is a necessary part of your training.”

“Who is the lady?” asked Rose, rather impressed by her uncle’s earnest speech.

“Aunt Plenty.”

“Is she accomplished?” began Rose in a wondering tone, for this great-aunt of hers had seemed the least cultivated of them all.

“In the good old-fashioned way she is very accomplished, and has made this house a happy home to us all, ever since we can remember. She is not elegant, but genuinely good, and so beloved and respected that there will be universal mourning for her when her place is empty. No one can fill it, for the solid, homely virtues of the dear soul have gone out of fashion, as I say, and nothing new can be half so satisfactory, to me at least.”

Let her teach you how to be what she has been a skillful, frugal, cheerful housewife; the maker and the keeper of a happy home, and by and by you will see what a valuable lesson it is.”
~ Louisa May Alcott, Eight Cousins

I have met various women (many of whom were college graduates) that were taught many interesting things in their early education. Sadly, homemaking was not one of them and the poor souls struggle desperately to keep their household in order. Ironically, many of these same women are no longer in the professional work force and the one career they didn't train for was where they ended up -- in the home! The same women that can nurse patients in the sick ward, run the finances of a large corporation and teach multiple children in the classroom, may not know how to run an efficient home. What this shows is that housekeeping is certainly an accomplishment! Don't let anyone tell you different.

"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
~ Proverbs 31:27-31


3. Housework is Healing

“Things worry me sometimes, but I just catch up a broom and sweep, or wash hard, or walk, or go at something with all my might, and I usually find that by the time I get through the worry is gone, or I’ve got courage enough to bear it without grumbling,” answered Polly, cutting the brown loaf energetically.

“I can’t do those things, you know; there’s no need of it, and I don’t think they’d cure my worrying,” said Fanny, languidly feeding Ashputtel, who sat decorously beside her, at the table, winking at the cream pot.

“A little poverty would do you good, Fan; just enough necessity to keep you busy till you find how good work is; and when you once learn that, you won’t complain of ennui any more,” returned Polly, who had taken kindly the hard lesson which twenty years of cheerful poverty had taught her."

~ Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl

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

Ever since the fall, mankind has been given the responsibility of work to the sweat of our brow. This can be viewed as a negative experience or a positive one if you choose it to be. When we are faced with excess anxiety and stress, we can be like loaded cannons! What better place to divert that negative energy than into some old fashioned labor. By the time the floors have been scrubbed, the dishes have been washed and the house is sparkling and tidy, you can reflect at that moment that you do feel just a bit better! The nerves have been spent on something positive. A smile is now most likely to be given to those in the household instead of bottled up anger or wrath. Keeping busy can help us to rule our emotions! Housework can be healing.

"The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute."
~ Proverbs 12:24


4.  Housework is "Good"

"She smiled, said nothing, and with Hannah's help did their neglected work, keeping home pleasant and the domestic machinery running smoothly. It was astonishing what a peculiar and uncomfortable state of things was produced by the `resting and reveling' process. The days kept getting longer and longer, the weather was unusually variable and so were tempers, and unsettled feeling possessed everyone, and Satan found plenty of mischief for the idle hands to do."
~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

As the old adage goes, "idle time is the devil's workshop". With the modern day lifestyle, we are all set up for this ungodly craft. Though we stay at home, we can still keep busy in the laziest of ways. Social networking can be the biggest web to catch its prey. Instead of "keeping the home", we can spend our time tearing it down by focusing on the latest "news", learning gossip on you-know-who's FB page and/or browsing blogs of carefree lifestyles and wishing ours wasn't so burdened. Scripture warns us of slothful behavior. It all leads down a dark and dreary path. Old fashioned housework in the home cultivates a clean temple. When spending the time to love and raise our children, make healthy and nourishing meals, keep the house clean for when hubby enters at the end of a long day or when we decorate our little cottages with delight, we will be less likely to cause that spiritual mischief! Yes dear ladies, housework is a good thing.

"And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully."
~ 1 Timothy 5:13-14


5. Homemaking Can Make You Happy

"Very busy and very happy were Rose’s days now, for in the morning she went about the house with Aunt Plenty attending to linen-closets and store-rooms, pickling and preserving, exploring garret and cellar to see that all was right, and learning, in the good old-fashioned manner, to look well after the ways of the household. In the afternoon, after her walk or drive, she sat with Aunt Peace plying her needle, while Aunt Plenty, whose eyes were failing, knitted and chatted briskly, telling many a pleasant story of old times, till the three were moved to laugh and cry together, for the busy needles were embroidering all sorts of bright patterns on the lives of the workers, though they seemed to be only stitching cotton and darning hose. It was a pretty sight to see the rosy-faced little maid sitting between the two old ladies, listening dutifully to their instructions, and cheering the lessons with her lively chatter and blithe laugh."
~ Louisa May Alcott, Eight Cousins

There is something so nourishing and noble in the making of a home! All of our senses are occupied in the matter when we truly love to follow the inspired urging to "keep the home". Here our creativity flourishes and our talents are magnified. There is such a variety in our life! The Almighty was generous to make seasons so each part of our lifestyle has a monthly rhythm. In the spring, we are preparing the earth and planting, airing out the linens, cleaning up the cobwebs. In the summer, we are harvesting, preserving and enjoying the warm days with BBQs and ice cream! In the autumn, we have a slower pace but a beautiful canvas to enjoy of falling leaves and plenty of apple and pumpkin treats. In the winter, we hibernate in our cozy homes like little cubs. We light the fireplace, bring out hot mugs of chocolate and read nourishing novels together. In between it all, we can be our best. If you love numbers, you are coordinating your finances, if you love art, you are embellishing your home, if you love nesting, you are building up your pantry and preparing all sorts of projects to make your home run smoothly. There is delight for all parts of us in the home and it can make you very happy if you realize you have much to offer it!

"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls."
~ Jeremiah 6:16


Thank you for joining us in the homemaking world of Louisa May Alcott! If you enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in Titus 2 Homemaking Lessons Inspired by Jane Austen and Frugal Homemaking Lessons from The Great Depression Inspired by Janette Oke. We will be sharing more in this inspirational literary series shortly. In the meantime, I leave you with a few more encouraging words by Ms. Alcott...


"The homeliest tasks get beautiful if loving hands do them."
~ Louisa May Alcott

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

12 comments:

  1. Eight Cousins was my favourite childhood novel. I still have my copy that I bought with my weekly allowance. I had to lay-by the book in order to afford it. Thank you for this post. What struck me most was the words from 1 Tim "And withal they learn to be idle..." One thinks about being idle, or falling into idleness unwitingly but learning to be idle seems to indicate a more deliberate intent. Very interesting.

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  2. What a delightful post full of homemaking encouragement. (Now, I want to read all those L.M.A. books again.:) My favorite place ever is home with no other place even close in value. Several years ago when our youngest was homeschooled we were involved in historical re-enactment as part of her history studies. Our tasks for a special event were demonstrating Revolutionary era open-fire cooking for the public school children and their teachers. Of course a lot of the children asked questions, but it was the ones from the TEACHERS that I will never forget! "Is that a real fire?" from one teacher and "Is that a real potato you're peeling?" from another still astound me nearly twenty years after I first heard them.
    Have a lovely day!

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  3. What a delightful post full of homemaking encouragement. (Now, I want to read all those L.M.A. books again.:) My favorite place ever is home with no other place even close in value. Several years ago when our youngest was homeschooled we were involved in historical re-enactment as part of her history studies. Our tasks for a special event were demonstrating Revolutionary era open-fire cooking for the public school children and their teachers. Of course a lot of the children asked questions, but it was the ones from the TEACHERS that I will never forget! "Is that a real fire?" from one teacher and "Is that a real potato you're peeling?" from another still astound me nearly twenty years after I first heard them.
    Have a lovely day!

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  4. I love these posts!! These inspire me to get back to my homemaking and enjoying it! #4 is really great.... so true.... and I'm finding it best to just turn it all off! Life is so much more peaceful without the constant bad news, meaningless facebook posts, etc. Love this!

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  5. What a delightful and inspiring post, JES. I needed a bit of inspiration today as I have been feeling out of sorts.

    I just love it when you quote classic literature. Thank you so much for the work you put into your beautiful blog.

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  6. Welcome Back, Jes! I hope you had a wonderful visit with family.

    Add me to the many that enjoyed this post so much. I've also been feeling out of sorts lately and had just reached a conclusion yesterday, so it's so amazing I should find this post today! I shared it with my husband last night and am glad that he's giving me full support rather than trying to talk me out of it!

    In a nutshell, I'm active at church. We're fortunate that our church has so much to bring people in for fellowship, but I've taken on way too much this summer and I'm EXHAUSTED. I've let myself go, my home isn't the way I like it, & I have way too many things that need doing, finishing, etc. So, I've decided to abstain from my extra activities for about 4-6 wks. to get my life/home in order again. I love swimming outdoors at the Y and I've missed so much of this summer trying to do everything. Well, there's only a few more weeks before the pool will be emptied. Since swimming is so good for both my body and soul, that is the one outside activity I will keep. The rest of my attention will be to making my home a haven again. I miss my daily housekeeping and I certainly miss the order and peace it brings to my life!

    This post was exactly what I needed to read right now! It confirms exactly what I was feeling & thinking about my life right now! Pure soul food! Thank you!!

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  7. This is such a lovely post, beautiful to read and look at. I have a blog devoted to Louisa called Louisa May Alcott is My Passion www.louisamayalcottismypassion.com if you wanted to come and visit. I also would like to invite you to look at my book, a devotional using Louisa's writings and verses from scripture -- it's part of a series called Literary Portals to Prayer and the book is called "Louisa May Alcott Illuminated by The Message." (you can see it when you go to my site). There are other classic authors in the series. I am sharing your post on my Louisa May Alcott is My Passion Facebook page -- want my readers to see it.

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  8. I really appreciated this post as I never learned that housekeeping was anything other than chores that HAD to be done, or punishment for something else. Other than cooking and baking, it was never taught as anything fun or creative, cleaning was the price you paid for having a meal.

    It will take some time for me to get this mental adjustment, but I think it will help my struggles in this area.

    Davette B

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  9. How true this is Jes! The children hovered around their Mother reading the letter is what impacts me the most. When you value the home as a Godly sanctuary the children will reap the rewards. In some homes the family is hardly there all week long. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

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  10. This post was simply wonderful Jes. Thank you so much. Very inspiring and beautifully written. Xo

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  11. This is excellent!! Thank you.
    God bless
    Mrs.O

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  12. I just love how you added the little excerpts from Louisa May Alcott. I love classic novels. This is so beautifully written!!!

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