It seems I just keep seeing examples of this! Perhaps the Lord wants me to get the message?
My neighbor, Edith, is a delightful little old lady, and I stay with her sometimes because she has Alzheimer's and can't be left alone. We talk mostly about the past, and she tells me about her mama.
She had ten children ("and they all lived!" Edith tells me triumphantly).
To wash clothes, she had to haul water from the stream and wash them on the board. After washing, she hung the clothes up to dry and ironed every single piece, down to the underwear. (This would not have been an electric iron with a nice little dial for temperature control, either.)
To get clothes in the first place, she had to sew every stitch. Imagine keeping up on your sewing to clothe 10 children! Edith says the clothes she made were prettier and more stylish and longer-lasting than anything you could get in the store. Her mom never bought a pattern, but just looked at the current styles and somehow knew how to make them. She also found time to knit, crochet, weave, and embroider.
In order to eat, she had to raise every vegetable the family would eat for the year in her garden. She kept her enormous garden completely weed-free, and at harvest time, she had to do canning every day to put it all up for the winter. She raised her meat and butchered hogs in the fall. She made sausage, smoked the meat, and canned it in order to preserve it for the winter.
Daily meals were not a fast-food, throw-it-in-the-microwave affair. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were cooked, sit-down meals. Breakfast, for instance, would be biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, toast, fried strawberries, and coffee. All this was cooked in a wood-burning cookstove, requiring precisely-cut kindling and the know-how to get the temperature exactly right with coals. After the meal, there was invariably a mountain of dishes to be washed by hand, in water that was drawn by hand, made hot by heating it in a kettle over the fire.
Does that sound like it's taking up enough of her day? In the midst of all that, she also accomplished the following:
• House was mopped every day.
• House was dusted every day.
• House was kept immaculate, spotless, always.
• The yard was always picked up from all sticks, leaves, and other material.
• Extensive flower gardens were always weeded.
Where does one find time for leisure or personal devotions in a schedule like that? Yet Edith says, "Mama was always reading the Bible. She read the Bible all the time. And prayed and prayed." She would also sit down at her organ and play beautiful music and sing.
"How did she do that?" I asked. "How did she have time to get all that done?"
"Oh, she worked all the time," Edith said matter-of-factly. "She didn't have time to sit down. Goodness, she didn't know what it was to sit down. She worked from morning till night."
THAT is dedication. That is inspiring. That puts me to shame! I have a time-saving gadget for just about every single one of Mrs. Montgomery's jobs (water out of the faucet, washing machine, clothes from the store, food from the store, dishwasher, etc.), and yet I don't get my ironing or dusting done, my room goes weeks between vacuumings, and a mountain of "To-do" projects piles up--when I don't even have any children!
Let me apply a little diligence to my own situation and see if it, too, could not blossom into productivity!