New Address for the Generic Mum

Hi everyone, especially to my loyal followers.

I’ve been quite busy, lately, setting up my two new blogs: 19th Century Life

and A Beautiful Home.

19th Century Life is about culture in the 19th Century (no surprises there!) and will soon feature a shop, where fine art prints from the 19th century can be purchased.

A Beautiful Home embodies all that I had intended for this blog, and more: beauty, family and faith.

They are both new, and like all of you, I never seem to have enough hours in the day in which to complete my tasks, but I hope they will eventually be sites that will inspire, satisfy and encourage you all.

Please drop by my new sites, so we can share ideas and conversations.

I hope you will continue to follow me on my new sites.

Blessings to you all,

Kathy.women's lives pic 2

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A Beautiful Idea.

I thought I would continue today with the story of how I came up with my business idea. You must remember, that I haven’t yet opened my shop or made a single sale, so it’s possible that I should be writing this twenty years in the future, when Bill Gates is asking me for advice.

Any way, someone asked me how I blend being a Catholic with running a business, so maybe my thoughts will be of some interest.

A few days ago, I wrote about the struggle I had had with the concept of supplementing my husband’s income. This is not meant to be a criticism of those mothers who work outside the home – it’s just a personal obstacle that I had about my own situation. So, I first went to Book of Proverbs for some illumination.

Then I came across a helpful little book at the library – about using the biblical principles found in “Proverbs” to assist in running a business. It was a Protestant book, and had a lot of useful ideas, as well as case-studies. It mentioned the company, “Chick-Fil-A” which we don’t have in Australia, but I was familiar with the name, because I had read about their opposition to Obama’s HHS. Anyway, Chick-Fil-A chooses not to open on the Sabbath, and, despite that, has grown into a very successful business. The owner said that he had been thanked by some of his competitors, who said that they would never have gotten off the ground if he had opened on Sundays, so it just goes to show how God’s providence takes into account those without faith, as well as the faithful.

Around this time, I did some brainstorming in my trusty journal – I knew there was an idea in there somewhere, waiting to see the light of day. I wrote down my skill set (craft/logistics/business, knows what its like to be tired/frustrated/having limited resources) and some markets I could see weren’t being catered to (home-educators/ busy mothers/semi crafty people who need some help to get started/people who love beautiful things but can’t afford them). And so my idea was born – put together kits for homewares that people can make themselves. Sort of like a cross between Martha Stewart and Ikea. It was easy to come up with some simple projects inspired by my favourite textile artists, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. I can envisage more projects to come, with a specifically Catholic theme, inspired by the work of Pugin, and which revolve around the Liturgical Year.

“The Most Beautiful Thing this side of Heaven.”

I know that I’m not a great artist who can transform a lump of silver into a beautiful ring, or a blank canvas into something that will inspire generations, but I think that I possess the sort of creativity that John Paul II called the ‘genius of woman.’ (One of my sons has suggested that this ‘genius’ refers to our ability to remove layers of make-up from our faces.)

I can see the business staying very small, more like a hobby, or growing into something bigger. It’s like a blog, in that regard – we never quite know where it will take us.

No beautiful home

We have been experiencing technical difficulties, here at the Clubbhouse, but all seems to be resolved for now.

My daughter, son-in-law, and new baby are staying with us for a few days, which is a great blessing for our family.

I have had reason to think about the problem of homelessness, lately. I saw a brief story on the news a few nights ago on this subject. According to the latest census, homelessness in some states has risen by 20% during the last three years. Authorities cannot account for this increase, and neither can I. It is so hard to imagine that so many people can slip through the cracks in Australia, because, despite what we may think about many of the government’s policies, we really do have a good social welfare system. There are unemployment benefits, which some can exist on for years, until they are entitled to an age pension. Chronic illness, sole parenthood and being a full-time student also attract benefits. We also have a free medical system in operation, but that is beginning to break down, due to lack of funding and mismanagement – free health care IS available, though.

So how can so many people become homeless? Can some people go through life with absolutely no support? No family? No friends? No contact?

A man who had previously been living in his car for eight years, was featured on the TV show. We didn’t hear anything of his background, other than a few words from the man himself. He said that he had sunk very low, and spiralled lower and lower, until he found himself homeless. We weren’t told how he came to eventually have a home again. It looked like a public-housing apartment; it was clean and plain, and he looked very contented and grateful. That sounds like a recipe for a beautiful home…

Another reason that homelessness and displacement have been on my mind is because a refugee family has come into my life. Truly, refugees are the poorest of the poor, because they have not only lost family, possessions and their homes, but their whole culture is torn from them, and they are thrust into the unfamiliar world of Western life. The language is new, the sounds and scents are all new, and, if the refugees are Moslems, as in this family’s case, then they may be treated with a degree of suspicion. At the very least, they could hardly be unaware that many citizens regard such displaced people as financial burdens. Let’s hope that we never feel this way about refugees.

St. John Chrysostom is quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.” So, it’s pretty clear to me that if we don’t share with the poor, then we are stealing from them.

It might appear contradictory for me to post photographs and articles regarding beauty, material possessions and craft on this blog. But, this is the crux of what ‘A Beautiful Home’ is all about. I know that I must take care of my family first, or else they would be the destitute ones. So, that’s a given. And I believe that a beautiful environment is very important to everyone’s mental health, stimulates creativity, and creates a sense of continuity in our lives. There seems to me to be a certain balance in a home where a beautiful prayer-life prevails-(eg the Rosary), alongside classical music and fine art, rather than with violent video games and heavy metal. I know that this is an ideal that is not always possible to attain, even in my home, but I hope it explains where I am coming from.

Here is this week’s addition to my home (It is hard to beat that little baby, though.) The fabric panel came from an Etsy shop. It is based on a beautiful wool and silk tapestry designed by Edward Burne-Jones and Henry Dearle, who was a protege of William Morris. The tapestry in turn is based on a stained-glass window design by EBJ.

“Angeli Laudantes” fabric version

The tapestry version

The stained-glass window design

I know that I am not an eloquent person, but I plan to continue to explore the themes of beauty, art and charity, as I find my voice in my blog.