Saturday, March 16, 2019

Have You Hugged Your House Lately?

Back in the 80s, I got my first job in an office. We had a word processor that was supposed to make our job easier. We had visions of all this “free” time in our future. Even funnier, I was a big believer in the power of computers: I had a degree in computer science after all.

The sales department gradually moved from hand written invoices to computers and software to spit out invoices with the click of a few buttons. Accounts payable eventually went to software that printed our checks for us. Wow! All we had to do was sit back and watch the checks spit out of the printer. Surely our breaks would be longer and more often because of so much automation.

The purchasing department went from calling vendors and placing orders over the phone, to faxing in orders, then to placing orders via email. Before I left the company after 28 years, many vendors had online options where I could place orders, check status, locate tracking numbers, and a host of other things without ever even contacting a salesperson.

Now that I work from home, it’s the same thing. I have a laptop, phone that’s connected to the world, washing machine, dryer, vacuum cleaner, dish washer, oven, stove, microwave, refrigerator, hot and cold running water, electric heat in the winter and electric A/C in the summer. Other than writing a check (or using automatic payments), I don’t have to do anything except pay for the electricity to run all those appliances and electronics.

Jump back to the 17th century and how people lived. Let’s specifically look at the farmer and the housewife. A household in the countryside was largely self-sufficient. The woman of the house had to bake bread, brew ale (since water wasn’t always safe to drink), cure bacon, salt meat, make jellies and jams, pickles, can vegetables. She had to make candles, sew all the family’s clothes and stuff bedding, tend the garden, the chickens and milk the cow and churn the butter.

The farmer planted the corn that fed his cows that fed his family. He saved seed for the next year. That bread, ale, bacon, and cheese his wife made to sustain them came from the animals and crops they grew on their farm. He chopped wood to cook their food and keep the family warm throughout the winter. He hunted for wild game to supplement their diet. By and large, farm families were self-sufficient and could survive for months, years even, without buying or trading for anything outside of what they could produce on their own.

In a word, they made do.

You’d think that with all these fancy gadgets, computers, phones… goodness, these days we can order our groceries from our phone, pay for them, then drive by the store on the way home from work and pick everything up. And if that’s not fast enough, someone else can prepare our burger and fries, and we just drive thru and eat it on the road.

But here’s the rub. On the surface, many of us seem to be just as busy, or busier, than our counterparts two and three centuries ago. But is that really the case? I’m generalizing of course, but even when we think we’re burning the candle at both ends, or thinking we’ll never get ahead, let’s stop and take a deep breath…

Think about living without electricity (and all the electronics that come with it), running water, an insulated home with a/c in the summer, heat in the winter. Think about either having to walk everywhere or hook up the wagon or saddle a horse. Think about having to lug gallons of water to wash clothes. Think about the worry over a sick child or a farming accident with no doctor or hospital within miles. I could go on and on…

Granted, everything isn’t rosy in 2019, and there are families who are struggling to survive, but I don’t think I want to go back in time to the 17th or 18th century.

Although I do love writing and reading about it. :)

I think I'll hug my house today!

What is the one thing you can’t imagine living without? And by one thing, I mean necessary thing. A loaded pizza from your favorite pizza joint isn’t exactly necessary… even though it does sound yummy! Some ideas of what I’m looking for… Electric lights vs. candles/lanterns? Stove vs. fireplace? Washing machine vs. hand washing? Heat-pump vs. fireplace? Automobile vs. walking/wagon?

Check out this Scavenger Hunt!

Have you heard about the Spring Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt? If not, you're just in time! It ends on the 17th, so hop over to Lisa Bergren's website at Stop #1 and get started. Make sure you enter my giveaway at Stop #21 at for a chance to win all three books in my Natchez Trace Novel series.

Go to Stop #1 to start your journey on the
Spring Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt, Stop #1


  1. What a good post!!! I think the one essential for me is the car. But it's because of our advanced highway system that families have become scattered, I think. If we put ourselves back 200 years, our family might not be 300 miles apart. Although, they or we could have decided to be adventurous and go out west for better opportunity so we might not be closer in distance after all. So maybe I'll go out and hug my car after I hug my house!!!

    1. So true, Connie! Let's hug our house and our car. And the next time we fly to see friends or family, hopefully the airline won't think it strange when we hug the airplane! lol

  2. Having visit President Lincoln's Log Cabin during the winter with period characters preparing for Christmas, I'm thankful for a warm home plus having electricity versus the fireplace and candles for heat and light. Great post.

    1. You are spot on, Marilyn. When I was a kid, we didn't have central heat and A/C. I'm from MS, so we were comfortably warm in the winter, but my life-goal was a cool house in the summer and a car with heat and a/c. :)

  3. Pam, I have a degree in Comp Sci too! LOL I can't imagine doing without all our appliances, etc... But you're right, we all seem to be busier than ever!