Friday, May 1, 2015

Is My Home a Haven?

(An edited post from six years ago that is still true today.)

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. Proverbs 14:1

My organizing/cleaning streak has a  problem.

The more focused I am on my projects and my to-do list, the more frustrated I become at the little people that are not sharing my cleaning drive. I begin to think that the thing standing between me and an organized home is my children. 

Not a good attitude for a Godly mother.

It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house. Proverbs 25:24

A clean home is important. My husband appreciates a home that is in decent order. I try to keep our bedroom free of clutter to form an oasis in the avalanche of “stuff” that appears in a busy home. My goal (which I don't always meet) is to have the children do a quick toy pick-up before Ed gets home so that he doesn't need to shovel a path just to get to the couch. A reasonably clean kitchen and bathroom is needed for proper health and hygiene. Organized drawers and closets save frustration in searching for items. 

My home should be a comfortable place for my family. But what really makes a home a haven? Is it polished floors and immaculate counters? Is it picture perfect decorations and meticulous organization? Is it gourmet meals and picturesque desserts? 

Or is it place of emotional comfort and safety? A home that oozes love and encouragement to those who enter?

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. Proverbs 15:17

I spend my days concocting meals, scraping gunk off the high chair, and scrubbing grass stains off jeans. And I'm doing it all because I love my family. But some days I wonder if in the busyness of serving my children's physical needs do I neglect to connect to their inner needs?

How would my day's schedule change if I thought it would be the last I would spend with my husband and children?

What is more important, the to-do list or a game of Connect Four with the six-year-old? Trying a new recipe or reading yet another Richard Scary book?  My latest sewing project or a nap so that my husband doesn't come home to an exhausted, cranky wife?

I count it a privilege to make a home for the family I dearly love. I want my attitude, especially when my plans are turned on end, to reflect that love and the joy of the Lord.

How about you? I'd love to hear how you cultivate joy and peace in your home.

16 comments :

  1. As a Social Worker, I worked in a Domestic Violence Shelter for 7 years. The women would often complain angrily that their child was 'acting up just for attention' I taught parenting classes, and we discussed this often. My goal was to convey to them that 'yes, your child needs your attention, just as much as your child needs food and water, your child needs your attention. I would challenge them to try some things, and our workshops often erupted in wonderful laughter as the mom's and I would try to keep a balloon in the air. The lesson was 'look how cheap and easy it is to laugh and have fun with your children" On occasion, a mom would confess to me that after spending some 1-1 time with their 'problem child' dinner went better than it ever had before. Another lesson,,,it pays off!

    I raised my own 2 sons with alot of laughter and board games (not my favorite thing!) in the house. They are grown and we still laugh alot!! My older son had tremendous energy to burn, and I actually ran around the the track at the school yard with him, and we (really) did do push ups and jumping jacks together. As an adult he still loves to get up early and run for miles, I'm sure it helps him manage stress and cope with the demands of life, just as it did when he was a little guy.

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    1. Thanks for your great examples of simply enjoying your children.
      Gina

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  2. Loved your thoughts! I find for myself that all too often, I get so focused on my work, and what I want to accomplish, that I do neglect my children's need for attention. Something I work at daily, for sure :)

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  3. I recently found your blog and have found it a blessing. Thank you!
    One of my favorite ways to cultivate joy and peace within our home...even if it's not picked up...is to have a CD of instrumental hymns playing.

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  4. As a silent reader of your blog for about a yr I will comment today because your posts on decluttering and organization are an inspiration to me. As once a pack rat and procrastinator , and discovering by accident that to get rid of anything extra is much more stress free, I began to purge. 4 yrs later my mottos are still "you cannot organize clutter" and "clutter breeds clutter". Less stuff to try to organize, less shopping to fill our house with stuff, less goin to yard sales = more time for reading books, children playing outside, countless games of Uno, and some extra time for me to paint :) it touches every aspect of our life- more money to put into my husband's business, smaller house because we don't need a place for all our extra, then less house to clean, less debt because we didn't build a huge house.. More time for things that truly matter. So blessings to you as you find the balance between all things home and family :)

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    1. Dorcas-
      I love your testimony of the blessing of getting rid of clutter!
      Thank you!
      Gina

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  5. What a wonderful post. I loved being a mom. I had a daycare/preschool in my house after Bobby moved out. I loved the pitter patter of little feet. Yet, at the end of the day...I enjoyed the quietness. I could still hear echo's of laughter if I listened enough. LOL.
    I miss all of that.
    Bobby went to Heaven 8 years ago.
    I now live in Florida. Danny and I have a very quiet life when we are home.
    Is my house clean and kept up. Clean Yes...Overall. Not sparkling . It is home though and we love it.
    I do need to get motivated to SPRING CLEAN . Have a great weekend. Sarah

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  6. WOW, I hope I didn't wear you out with the long message.

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  7. A wise woman is one who puts her children before her home.

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  8. Again from the older generation looking back - it is all about balance, you have to try to keep the house clean enough to teach the kiddos good habits and yet be free to do the things that build character and make sure they know they are loved. Have the discipline that says 'chores before fun' and then make sure the fun stuff really is. And I think you have to be ready at a moments notice to chuck the schedule for an opportunity that comes along for memory making (within reason) Will you ever get it completely right - no! But from the other side looking back, the times you goofed are very seldom remembered at family gatherings!! Breathe!

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    1. Thanks for your insight. I love to hear from you older women!
      Gina

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  9. This post is very encouraging. I recently came across a book called "Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit" by Teri Maxwell. I read it all in one sitting. I didn't really think about what meek and quiet meant (since I am not used to the Bible version that uses the word meek) but something about it made me want to pick it up. It outlines a lot of what "steals" our meek and quiet spirit that we want to have in our homes (eg. our attitude) and what we can do about those things. It is very encouraging. I highly recommend it and it was an easy read.

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    1. I have never read that book but I've heard that it is good!
      Gina

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  10. I am kind of half and half on this...I personally cannot function if my house is a mess, cluttered, disorderly. Also, with RA since age 25 I cannot afford to trip and fall due to unpicked up toys etc. Now, I don't expect things to be totally spic and span, but a semblance of cleanliness is good. Also, toys need to stay in the play area, not the living room, to begin with. I always had the rule that only one thing could be out at a time...if they wanted to switch games they had to put the 1st away. If they want to do puzzles, put the legos away, for example. If they want to play, they were first to look for a sibling or more to play with. I should not be the first choice for playmate. I will join in but after a certain age, 10-11 for sure, the oldest should know how to be a play leader if needed. I like multi-age toys, like the play kitchen, with all the fake food and baby dolls and cribs, toy fridge and stove, broom, highchair, whatever you can fit a pint sized version of it into the space.....it took up one whole section of the basement and they could stay occupied there for hours, boys and girls both and their friends and cousins.

    We also have a lot of Legos which were played with in the same area, but separate. My husband took an old particle board door, but legs on it, and about a 3 inch rim around it. That was the play area for the Legos and then the containers of Duplos for the smaller children were down on the floor.

    The older children can help with watching the younger so you can have undivided time to clean, sew, cook, take a nap, whatever you need to do for yourself. If you're not fussy, there is an amazing amount of help the children can give you around the house every day, even the younger ones
    (except the baby of course). Set up a chore chart. As some one else said in a comment above, it is also about preparing good habits in them, which I think will then prepare them for being capable adults.

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    1. You shared some great ideas! I love the Lego table idea! I agree that it is a balance between spending time with our children and teaching them to work and play alone so that we have time for needed chores.
      Thanks,
      Gina

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  11. The choice between a sewing project or a nap was a reality for me today. I just got a new sewing machine and I toyed with the idea of starting a sewing project during naptime, but I was also really tired. I'm glad I chose the nap. It was the only way I made it through dinner (and squabbling children) prep and cleanup cheerfully. I don't always make the right choice. I'm trying to ask myself these days what is the most peaceful or peace-creating choice. I have to really pick and choose because I'm 8 months pregnant with our 3rd, and so there's just no chance of squeezing in as many tasks as I can when not pregnant. I'm having to pare down to the essentials more and more, and sometimes that means a simpler supper so I have time to take the children to the park (we live in a city and don't have much of a yard), or the laundry sits unfolded for a couple days. But eventually then I need to buckle down and take care of things around the house so we aren't living in complete clutter. It's a difficult balance. Thanks for posting your thoughts!

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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