Friday, August 26, 2016

Art Friday: Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

Also known as the "Woman in Gold"

Artist: Gustav Klimit (1862 - 1918) Austrian

Dimensions: 138 x 138 cm (54 x 54 inches)

The picture was painted in Vienna and commissioned by Adele's husband Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. As a wealthy industrialist who had made his fortune in the sugar industry, he sponsored the arts and favoured and supported Gustav Klimt. Adele Bloch-Bauer became the only model who was painted twice by Klimt when he completed a second picture of her, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, in 1912.

This painting became famous because of what happened to it during World War Two and the fight for ownership by Maria Viktoria Bloch-Bauer, the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer. The Nazis stole many many paintings from private Jewish families during the war and in recent years many of these families have fought to have them returned. The battles have taken years but many have won, such as Maria Viktoria Bloch-Bauer.

In her will, it is claimed that Adele Bloch-Bauer asked her husband to donate the Klimt paintings to the Austrian State Gallery upon his death and by World War Two, the painting was in the hands of the Nazis. The rich Jewish family lost everything, including all their jewel, such as the one worn in this painting and their entire art collection. 

Maria Viktoria Bloch-Bauer, the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer had believed that the Klimt paintings had legitimately ended up in the Austrian National Gallery. But when she was 82, she learned that the title to the paintings was hers, and she vowed to get them back. In 1999, she and her lawyer tried to sue the Austrian government. It had kept the paintings based on Adele’s will in which she made a “kind request,” that Ferdinand donate the paintings to the state museum after his death, which took place in 1945. For many years, Maria fought the Austrian government with great zest. “They will delay, delay, delay, hoping I will die,” she told The Los Angeles Times in 2001, with no end in sight to her case. “But I will do them the pleasure of staying alive.”

Maria and her lawyer had argued as far as the Supreme Court that the case should be heard in America and they won. However, in 2004, they went to independent arbitration where three Austrian academics decided that the paintings should be returned. In 2006, the paintings arrived with fanfare in Los Angeles. At the time, it was the largest single return, in monetary terms, of Nazi-looted art.
Ronald Lauder, a businessman and philanthropist who had loved Adele's face from boyhood, happily paid $135 million to enshrine her in his Neue Galerie in Manhattan. At the time, it was the largest sum ever paid for a painting. 

The story of this painting and the fight for it to be return to its rightful own has been made into a movie "The woman in Gold"  starting Helen Miriam — well worth watching. 

Adele Bloch-Bauer: Adele Bloch-Bauer gave the impression of a refined mixture of romantic personae: sick and fragile on the one hand and a self-conscious and proud salon lady on the other. Indeed, Bloch-Bauer may have found her rôle models in romantic literature. She studied German, French and English classical literature by herself, at her own initiative. She was delicate, tending to be sick, and gave the impression of someone who suffered. Her narrow face appeared elegant and intellectual as well as arrogant and smug. She was often caught in the unladylike modern habit of smoking. 

Information in this blog post have been sourced from the following: 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Growing older

It is my birthday this week and I have reached a significant age. This is the one age that I am not overly keen on reaching as it feels so old.  But I was pulled up sharp by this quote — my sister died as a tiny baby, she never reached 10 or 20 and certainly never got to 50. A friend I went to school with died from cancer in hers 30s. She was vivacious woman, full of life and energy — taken too soon.

Age is only a number — it does not define who you are

We must be thankful for every year that the Lord gives us and enjoy each precious moment because we will never enjoy it again and we have no idea of tomorrow. 

Remember you only have one life — this is not a dress rehearsal

Old age doesn't mean the end of fun or laughter, nor does it mean giving up and having no more adventures. I do pray that I have many more years to live and that those years are full of living. Whilst I am not keen about being 50, one can do very little about it. I can't stop reaching 50, so I need to embrace it instead !! 

Learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t be so serious!

Anyway, God has a very special job for older women. In fact, He doesn't want me to sit moaning  and groaning about getting older — He wants me to help younger women and what a gift that is to be given. A very precious gift indeed.

The older women likewise . . . that they be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (Titus 2:3-5)

I hope through this blog I have been able to guide younger women in this very tough and stressful world — a world where it is hard to find anyone who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ or anyone who cares.  I hope I have been able to show why it is important to love (and obey) our husbands, love our children and why taking caring of ours homes is something we need to do (even if we don't enjoy it). 

No matter our age, we need to keep smiling, keep being joyful, be grateful daily, share kindness with others, be tolerant in a world that is not, be understanding in a world that isn't interested. Share our love for the Lord to those who do not care.  

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!” 

~ Marjorie Pay Hinckley ~

Monday, August 22, 2016

Working mothers love their children too

I love my children and would travel to the moon and back for them — and they know this.  They know my love is endless and that I would drop anything to be at their side. I have done this many times and will do it again until the day I die or incapable of doing so.

Working mothers love their children just as much as mothers who stay home. Just because some women work does not reduce their love for their children, it never has and it never will. 

Of course there are mothers who struggle with loving their children but this has NOTHING to do with working, they have other much more complex issues going on. 

It saddens me greatly that there are Christian women who believe this and spread the message that only women who are at home 24/7 can truely love their children. 

Have you ever wondered if mothers of the past were with their children 24/7? The answer is no — rich women had nannies and had far less real contact with their children than modern mothers. Young boys were send to boarding school from a very early age and many hardly ever saw their parents and this did affect some quite considerably. In poor families, children were often looked after by older siblings because mother had to work (in the Victorian era onwards) or earlier times (before formalised work) she work on the farm or ran home based cottage industries to make enough money for the family. Children of the past were looked after by many different people and they grew up fast, they really didn't have a choice.  And don't forget the life expectancy of mothers wasn't very high and many young children grew up with no mothers  at all (like my parents). Most poor to middle class children went to school and those in rural areas had time off to attend to the farm — children grew up tough, it is only in recent years have we soften our approach to childhood and extended childhood far beyond only a few generations ago. My father by the age of 12 was expected to work as hard as the adult men — and that meant heavy lifting and lots of manual farm work. 

It isn't about the amount of a time mother spends with her children — it is the quality of time that is far more important. 

The bible doesn't talk about women working — why, because when Paul was writing there was no formalised work, even for men—certainly not as we think of it today. Women did work in home based industries and on the land — they worked along side their husbands and I wouldn't be surprised if the children were also working along side as well.  The women who didn't work in any form (even in their own homes) were the rich and it was to these women that Paul told them to stop their idle chatter and gossiping and get back home and do something. 

Lets watch over our families with love and do the very best we can and stop judging other women — remember "Everyone has a different story".

Working mothers have been burned by judgment of others who did not care to understand their individual situations. They have been told that they are damaging their children by leaving them in childcare and that they are missing precious moments of their children’s lives. They have lived in guilt and fear. Worst of all, Christians have stood by and let this happen, sometimes partaking in the criticism themselves. . . . . At the end of the day, working mom or not, we all are going to fall short of perfection in our lives because we are simply human. This is why God gives us His incredible grace,” (Marrazzo)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Art Friday: Sunday church

Sunday church

I don't know about you, but Sundays was the one day where I had to dress in my "Sunday best" and stay clean and tidy all day :) I wore a hat to morning meeting and had to be very well behaved all day. Sundays was the day of quiet play, letter writing or reading (Christian literature only). We didn't attend a church as in these paintings, rather had a family gathering which we called "Sunday Meeting".

Shawn Barton
"Going To Church" By Providence Lithograph Co., 1936

Church picnic
Grace COSSINGTON SMITH Church interior
After Church - Stevan Dohanos

Dane Tilghman - Going-to-Church
Gullah African-American Art by John W. Jones at Gallery Chuma, Charleston, SC
Sunday Sermon 

Country Church by Corbert Gauthier

Alexei Danilovich Kivshenko - In A Church [1881]

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The many skills women need

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about the taking an audit of the skills that young women need when when they marry and start a family. One of my readers asked if I could do a post looking at what skills a young modern women needs when they marry and set up home for the first time and when they have children. 

Women do a lot of things and the list is diverse. None of us go into marriage knowing everything, but there are basics we really should know and should have been taught growing up i.e. how to cook a simple meal, how to wash the clothes, vacuum, make a bed etc... If we are lacking these skills we will run into problems on day one. 

Basic "female" skills are becoming endangered with fewer young women able to iron a shirt, cook a roast chicken or hem a skirt. Just as more modern men are unable to complete traditional male tasks, new research shows Generation Y women can't do the chores their mothers and grandmothers did daily (source)

Sadly many young girls are not taught these basic skills by their mothers (nor are they taught it at school) and when they move out, many don't have a clue. Most modern wives no longer understands (or perhaps even cares) how vital her role is in the home and how important she is to the happiness in the home.  If the wife doesn't' keep the home clean and tidy, is a poor cook, doesn't stock the pantry, beds left unmade, washing piling up — the home isn't much of a home — and it isn't a place where her husband will want to spend time or a place to invite others to.

So what skills do we all need to have: 
  • We need to know how to clean our homes as a clean home is vital to our health and wellbeing. Cleaning can be overwhelming and an area that many women struggle with. To keep on top of cleaning, create a schedule—what needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly, annually or in a particular season of the year.  However, we all need to be flexible with our lists otherwise they start to control us. Cleaning is not always exciting and women tend to find ways of avoiding it—make sure you have all the tools of the trade (mops, bucket, vacuum cleaner, sponges, brushes, clothes etc..) and pop on some music and start work!!
  • We need to know know how to cook healthy meals—without healthy meals the health of ourselves and our families will suffer. We need to have basic skills in cooking (including how to cut up food, how to prepare food, the different methods of cooking etc) and understand the importances of healthy fresh food compared to processed foods which are high in salt and sugar. 
  • We need to know how to plan a menu for the week—without a menu it can be difficult to know what to buy and it can increase the cost of the grocery bill as one tends to buy things they may not need. To create a menu, one needs to be able to search for recipes, be able to read a recipe and work out if it is to complicated to make or if its simple.
  • We all need to know how stock the fridge and pantry— to buy wisely and not waste money. Creating a master shopping list is always very handy as it will contain all the basics we buy each week and will save time thinking about what you might needs. When buying food, we need to understand food safety (how and where to store the food) and how long particular foods will last.
  • We all need to know how to tidy the house — putting things away (everything has a home), not creating clutter that requires extra cleaning and keeping drawers and cupboards in order.
  • We need to be able to wash to clothes, knowing what should be washed with what and understanding the different needs of different fabrics. With washing comes ironing, not something enjoyed by all, but something that does need doing.Washing also includes changing bed sheets, washing towels, tea-towels ect...
  • We all need to be able to manage a budget  and balance the books—how much do things cost, how much to spend on food and other items in the house. This also includes having an understand of household bills such as water, power and communication bills. Winter heating bills can often come as a shock to new householders if they are not use to paying bills.
  • Time management is very important for us all and much more important these days with social media and other forms of technology that can interrupt our day and steel us away from what we should be doing. Poor time management can result in meals not cooked on time, children late for school, appointments missed. We need to understand the importances of important from urgent, how to say no, leaving a bargain for the unexpected, working smarter and not harder etc..

Once children arrive there are others skills that mum need to know—taking care of baby is the biggest one (and the most time consuming), but as baby grows mum learns about all sorts of things she may never have done before:  

  • Doctors appointments/looking after sick children
  • Liaising with school/nursery over everyday issues 
  • Packing schoolbags
  • Doing/supervising homework
  • Arranging childcare
  • Arranging applications for primary/secondary school
  • Arranging play dates
  • Taking children activities
  • Organising birthday parties
  • Buying clothes
  • Reading bedtime stories
  • Taxi service for the many activities children do. 
  • Health and safety of your family
  • Arts and craft activities
These jobs we learn as we go and sometimes they don't go as smoothly as they might. If in doubt, ask a friend to help — someone who has children and done these things before. Only the other day I over heard one dad talking to another day about parent-teacher interviews. One had never been to one before and wanted some tips — this is what we need to do when in doubt. Ask early before you spend months struggling.

And then there are all the other things women do that don't often get included in the training:
  • Organising Christmas
  • Buying family presents/cards
  • Organising birthday presents for family members
  • Booking holidays
  • Organising parties
  • Organising car insurance
  • Organising home insurance
  • Organising payment of utility bills
  • Helping others at church, local charity etc..
  • Helping the neighbours 
  • Growing one's own vegetables
  • Gardening and growing flowers.

Links of interest:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Colouring-in downloads

Colouring-in is so enjoyable, so much so, I thought I would find some to share with you. Why not print these off and have some relaxing fun. 

Colouring-in is calming and peaceful and one that you can do with your children. Perhaps introduce it to your husband, you never know, he might love it too!!

Happy colouring :)


Monday, August 15, 2016

Cutting the apron string

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6


One of the hardest things to do as a parent is letting go. Allowing your children to spread their wings and fly. 

All parents must allow their children to fly, you can not keep them under your wing forever. 

Do you remember when you were a child and you learnt to spread your wings: you left home, you started to make your own decisions, formed your own opinions that may have been different to your parents, you feel in love, you married, you have children. You may have made mistakes, but that is a necessary part of life —without mistakes we do not learn. Life is painful, but we all make it through

We have all survived.

So will your children. 

But you will need courage and a trust in the Lord to allow your children to do what you did. 

It isn't easy but it is necessary. Whilst they are young you need to start thinking about this — do you wait until the very last minute or do you allow them to spread their wings gradually. 

* When will you allow them to have a sleep over at a friend's house?

* When will you allow them to catch a bus without an adult?

* When will you allow them to go shopping with friends?

* When will you allow them to travel to visit family and stay awhile?

* Climb a tree without supervision?

* When will you allow them to make their own decisions even if it means they may fail at times?

* When will you allow them to choose their own reading material that perhaps you don't necessarily agree with?

* When will you allow them to find a part-time job?

* What about attending university (college)?

* Choosing a career?

* When will you let them learn to drive a car?

* When will you allow them to go on a date?

My eldest son visited his grandparents alone when he was six years old — I put him on the plane and grandma picked him up. He spent a week with his grandparents loved it. My children were allow to catch buses in their early teens and had sleep overs at primary school.  I gave my children mobile phones so they could keep in contact with me if they felt uncertain and they always knew I could pick them up if necessary. 

We cannot keep them wrapped up and no matter how painful it is, we must let go. We have to let them develop independences because if we don't they will find it so much harder to cope, in fact for some children it can be crippling and  incredibly stressful if they have not had a gradual introduction towards independences.

Whilst we think it is a good idea to moddycoddle our children, it isn't, in fact we are setting them up for all sorts of problems later in life.  I grew up with much more freedom that modern children — the change that has occurred in parenting in the last 20 years has not necessarily been good — helicopter parents creates both anxious parents and anxious children. Childhood is stretching longer and longer and we are far more protective of our children in their teens than ever before. We protect them from getting hurt, we avoid burdening them from problems and in some families the children and young adults are so shielded from real-world events that they do not know what is happening in other parts of the world or even in other suburbs in their own city. They don't have an understanding of major issues such as the homeless and the poor and of politics — these are people that will grow up and become adults with little resiliences — and without resiliences it can be hard to adapt to a work situation or even mixing in society (which we have to do).  

I believe it is important to gradually let them fly because allowing it only at the last minute is unfair on your child and they are much more likely to become stressed and anxious if they haven't had a gradual lead-up to this. We all must leave home and fend for ourselves. This isn't new, it has been happening for centuries and we must give freedom to our children too and not make this transition difficult or painful. In fact everything we teach them leads to this point.


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