Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sweet Fragrance

 Sweet Fragrance

     The Lady-of-the-House has added more pink to the garden this year without her left hand knowing what her right hand was doing. She likes pink unconsciously.

     Raspberry colored bamboo pots hold an odd collection of growing things. Do you see the tiny leafed herb? It is miniature basil.  When the Lady-of-the-House spotted it at a nursery she thought is so cute she did an impulse-buy.

     Although this funny bonsai-like basil is as deliciously fragrant as the regular basil she keeps near the kitchen door, she could only bring herself to pinch a few of its leaves so far for culinary use. She more frequently robs the regular basil for seasoning pasta, soup or herbed yeast rolls along with thyme and crushed fennel seed.


     Behind the miniature basil is a strawberry scented geranium. The little flowers are interesting combination of pinks while the leaves offer an aroma of strawberry shortcake.

     Most of her lavender plants over-wintered. Some did not. The bumblebees and dragonflies visit this little patch of potent blooms. Lavender is the traditional ingredient so appreciated in the soap and sachets of the Lady-of-the-House.

     She and the Man-of-the-House are also reminded of other smells while they sit outside on the back patio. Living in a neighborhood of small working farms that use organic fertilizer supplied in abundance by black and white cows, periodically puts a much heavier scent in the air. The Man-of-the-House is usually first to notice the direction of the breeze when the fields are being “dressed” and notifies the Lady-of-the-House.

     She is prepared, however, with the fragrant herbs that dot the borders of the patio. She snips off a leaf of this and that and keeps them in a shirt pocket while she stitches in a lawn chair. She hands a leaf or two to the Man-of-the-House.

      During their conversations the Lady-of-the-House can often be heard to say one of the following:

“I think so, too.”  (Her most common phrase.)
“I couldn’t agree with you more.”
That’s true.”
“I couldn’t have said it better.”
“You’re right, there.”
“I understand, Darling.”
“Yes, precisely.”
“How could anyone think otherwise?”
“That’s the most sensible thing I’ve heard in a long time.”
“That’s for sure.”
“I believe it.”
“You can say that again.”
“That sounds right.”

     She doesn’t always know exactly what the Man-of-the-House is talking about, especially when it comes to the science fiction he reads, the customer complaints he finds posted about the inadequacies of a product he thought he was getting ready to purchase on-line, an article he found remarkable via facebook, or the strange techno-talk comprised of computer-vocabulary he and his son use. 

     But if it sounds favorable she will smile and show she is listening by adding the sweet fragrance of a positive, friendly remark. Sometimes Man-of-the-House will touch upon something that specifically resonates with her, some injustice that upsets her, news of how children are being mistreated, etc. Then she shows more feeling within her reply.

     Other times she simply, in good conscience, cannot agree. She may say one of the following:

“I’m of a different opinion.”
“How can you say that?”
“Darling, that can’t possibly be true.”
“I wish I could believe you.”
“Isn't that an exaggeration?”
“Seemingly so, but I beg to differ.”
“We don’t see eye to eye, that’s all.”

     This ushers in a lively discussion. The Man-of-the-House plays the polite salesman with his ideas. A little banter and debate adds interest to the day.

     It was a different story when they were newly wed. The Man-of-the-House played the salesman more emphatically. He was an energetic young man then and worked as a traveling sales representative with a wide territory. He was, and still is, a natural salesman. On his sales’ calls he was always a polite and congenial conversationalist, genuinely caring about meeting a mutual benefit in the exchange, never about meeting a hard-and-fast quota impressed upon him by his higher-ups.

The pink bags of lavender fit inside a partially lined pouch.

     At home, somehow, when it came to ideas in conversation, he was peeved if his young wife disagreed with him. And she was troubled if he disagreed with her. The fact that disagreements were rare made the occurrence seem all the more uncomfortable and out-of-place. The young Lady-of-House didn’t wish to be a wife who patronized  - agreeing with her husband just to avoid conflict. Any and all conflict to this sensitive-plant of a girl (married at age 19) made her feel sick. But for the sake of truth the boat would just have to rock and they would have to steady themselves with kindness. “Always be kind and true” is the motto. . . . no matter what. 

     Perhaps she was being unreasonable but often a disagreement would require that she say, “I still don’t agree” several times even as the salesman tried to overcome her objections. He finally took her word for it. As time went on this married couple got more used to one another. A subtle disagreement was absorbed with less fuss. Today a discussion* doesn’t rock the boat the same way it once did.

     It is a sweet fragrance when friends agree. But on the rare moments when they do differ, they can always differ with Christian kindness – that is . . . if they don’t take themselves too seriously.    

*Not to be confused with wifely submission.

     Thanks for stopping by.

     I hope the Lady-of-the-House put a smile in your day with her flowers, cross stitched-on-linen sachets and a jovial, handy hint on the marriage relationship.  

Karen Andreola 


  1. have placed a smile upon my face!
    Lovely sachets!


  2. Your post reminds me of Mr. Monk's phrase, "I could be wrong, But I don't think so!" It is nice to disagree amicably, isn't it.

    Has the Man-of-the-House ever read Orson Scott Card's Ender series? My family of science-fiction afficianados thoroughly enjoys his work.


  3. Oh goodie, you are smiling.
    Yes, Dean read, a long time ago, the earliest Ender series.
    I think I'll use that phrase sometime: "I could be wrong, but I don't think so."
    Thank you Ladies, you made me smile, too.
    Karen A.

  4. I have to share Karen, that disagreeing with my husband is not a pastime, but we are quite different and have very distinctive opinions on mostly everything :)

    I enjoyed reading this and seeing your beautiful sachets :) I am doing those for Christmas this year.


  5. Your posts always make me smile!
    I can just smell those delicious herbs - how lovely and happy to have all those pots and plantings round your patio!
    Husbands do love wifely support and I have found over the years that as long as disagreement does not become the normal or usual response to ideas or discussions, it can usually be accepted in good spirit. Kind words do indeed go far! Lastly, thank you for sharing the precious cross stitched sachet pouches - they are so pretty, Karen!

  6. Your sachets are so lovely! I am just working on some cross stitch designs for my children's names and the Bible verses that describe the Bible character for whom we named them. It has been years since I have cross stitched.

    Your post reminded me of 2 Corinthians 2:15 and the fragrance of Christ.

  7. Thank you, Karen, I have not had any disagreements with my husband of late...but with other extended family members. I needed your gentle reminder to be gentle in my truthful response. The sachets are lovely as well. Our gentle and heart attitudes come up before God as a sweet smelling savor.

  8. I wanted to add that I love the comment with the "I could be wrong, but I don't think so" quote...another gentle response to tuck into the heart.

  9. Is the Man of the House like Carol's husband in your Appleton books? I do hope you're writing more, even if it's just for digital publication.

  10. You put a smile on my face also! It's such a peaceful image of your life together you paint here.
    I woke up in the middle of the night today because the air smelled so incredibly sweet. The smell of the freshly cut fields around our house mingled with roses and honeysuckle, sweeter than the best perfume I ever smelled. And I was sort of sad - summer is on it's best and sweetest right now, and soon it will turn... In the morning, I got a dewy blossom of our pink "Madame Knorr"-rose for my bedside table to remind me to enjoy this season every second.
    I love your pretty lavender sachets!
    Enjoy this wonderful season! Martina

  11. A wonderful and wise post. Kindness and truthfulness always adds a sweet scent to any home. Clarice

  12. Hello Karen,
    I too, was married at 19 and we are entering our 42nd year together and we still don't agree on some things. However as we have grown in this marriage we have become very comfortable with each other. He is my very best friend. I think the loveliest part of our marriage is the fact that our faith has grown at the same pace and it is wonderful to share and discuss what the Lord is showing each other. i think your sachet are so sweet. Lavender is such a nice fragrance. Yes you have also made me smile.
    Blessings Gail

  13. I am reminded of the quote by Ruth Bell Graham, "If two people in a marriage agree on everything, then one of them is unnecessary". :)

    I am setting up my "new to me" room to make it easier to work on creative projects.

  14. I love my lavender! Some of mine didn't over winter well, but I'll still have plenty for presents. I'm hoping to make a lavender wreath this year. Lovely!

  15. Dear Karen, What a lovely post! It indeed put a smile on my face. I loved your stitched sachets! I will have to put that on my to craft list! ;o)

    Your garden is lovely!! I love all of the pink touches! I would love to smell your plant that smells like strawberry shortcake! YUM! ;o)

    Blessing dear friend!
    Love, Heather

  16. It's nice to see your pink garden pots--very feminine. The garden is in it's prime in June, isn't it?

    Your post brings a big smile--so many ways to agree to disagree--or be of one mind.



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  18. Great post! I can't wait to show my daughter the sachets. She's been wanting to cross stitch something.

    My husband used to think I always agreed with him. But then he found out I would just quit talking. :-). We've been married 12 years now, and it is easier to disagree amicably.

  19. My weekend has taken an unexpected turn. My husband is out of town on business, and the trip has been extended through Sunday. I was at the fabric store when he called with the news. Happily, I have several pieces of material to keep me busy while he is gone. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with glasses of milk are on the menu!

    One of the projects is a tote bag for my niece's birthday. I'm delighted with the pattern and the fabrics. I nervous about actually being able to make the tote...

    I tell my children that it's a sad individual who will never try anything new. I'm tasting my own medicine!


  20. Yes, dear Karen, you certainly did put a smile on my face today that remained for sometime. All good things you spoke about on this post.

    Though I must say the sight of the beauty of your lilies made me initially chagrinned because the deer so impolitely bit off everyone of my blooming lilies last night while we were sleeping oh so peacefully inside!

    I really like your cross-stitched bags with the cotton linings...may I copy your idea?

  21. Dear Karen,
    Thanks for the reminder that disagreeing is part of marriage, and can be an done with a Christ like attitude, my husband and I are very different and I find it stressful to have a different opinion but he works with me letting me know that it's ok to be me :). And we sure do balance each other out!
    Love the strawberry geranium I'll have to keep my eyes open for one, Have you had any humming birds visit yours yet?
    May the Lord Bless you,

  22. Dear Ladies,
    Yes, the Man-of-the-House is something like Michael of Lessons of Blackberry Inn. It is convenient for an author to use characteristics of the people she knows and just change the hair color. In this case I didn't change the hair color.

    Oh, the scents this spring were particularly sweet it seemed. The lilly-of-the-valley, the honeysuckle and the roses floated their scents on the breeze during our walks.

    Ruth Bell Graham's quote is appreciated. She was a woman of truth, gentleness and humor in her speech, a combination I admire.

    Yes, please use the sachet idea. Feel free to pass it on to your blog friends. It isn't unique to me. A lavender bag once found itself in my washer and dryer accidently. It scented the wash wonderfully. Some time later I had read of a homemaker who placed them in her clothes dryer intentionally, claiming that they remain fragrant for at least three runs. I plan to make some plain bags of lavender for the dryer.

    Recently, my son and I were sitting on the back patio and the distinctive hum of a hummingbird caught our notice. It didn't visit the geranium but it did whizz over our heads to the place where my red bee balm used to grow (last year). I removed a large clump of the bee balm this spring because it was taking over the garden and always takes on mildew. One red flower remains and the hummingbird sped away, leaving the patio area tweeting loudly as if in protest of our meager offerings. You can't please everybody.

    It is a pleasure to read your comments.
    Thank you,
    Karen A.

  23. Oh my, Mrs. Lady of the House, I learned a lesson from you today about my man of the house!