Home is where it all begins- ‘every spirit builds itself a house’

During the nineteenth century the home was viewed as “heaven on earth,” a hallowed haven in an uncertain world. When man, woman, or child crossed the threshold they were safe. “Not only from injury,” wrote John Ruskin, “but from all terror, doubt and division.” Today many of us cast a nostalgic glance backward. The Victorian era seems so calm, gentle, and gracious…so completely opposite from our own. Yet the four decades spanning the Civil War to turn of the century were among the most politically, socially, and economically turbulent years in our history. Why, then should a period of such profound upheaval comes down to us not only as an age of innocence but also as one of stability and tranquility?

I believe, in a larger part, it is because of a legacy of love left to us by our great grandmothers who reigned over their hearths as surely as Victoria did over her empire. Victorian women may not have had the vote or the trappings of power {including personal disposable income and independence} but they were the moral, spiritual, and physical center of the home, responsible for creating a welcome retreat of beauty, comfort, and contentment that would protect, nurture, and sustain those they love. To achieve this, ordinary middle class women elevated the pursuit of domestic bliss to an extraordinary art form, from white-linen Sunday dinners to blue-checked gingham Independence Day picnics. Women approached the domestic arts…cooking, decorating, gardening, handcrafts and entertaining…not as burdens but as a form of personal expression and a means of persuasion. Traditions that celebrated the jobs of home and family acted as the mystical mortar that held bodies and soul together in a tumultuous society that was changing at the speed of light.

“Home is where we start from,” T.S. Eliot observes. Today, a century after he was born, “home” is a place where many women are longing to return, if not literally, then figuratively. Begin believing that the time, energy, and emotion you invest daily in the soul craft of home caring…craving holds no more guarantees for us then it did for our Victorian foremothers. Yet they faced the future with full hearts, determined to create a lasting work of art: a happy, secure, and beautiful retreat of love and laughter. “We can too.” Author unknown

Millie’s quote for today, every spirit builds itself a house, and beyond its house a world, and beyond its world a heaven. Know then that world exist for you.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

My thought for today, home is where the heart is.

Mildred Higgins

russandmiss@netzero.net