I have a coffee mug that I got several years ago while visiting Washington, D.C., which says, “I cannot live without books” (Thomas Jefferson). This is exactly how I feel. I am a reader. I love books—all kinds! To me, the perfect afternoon would include a hot cup of tea, a crisp fall day, and a good book. Ahhh.... :-)
I particularly enjoy reading about American pioneer women in the 1800s. What a life those women led! Their stories always inspire me to be stronger...to be better. One book, perhaps my favorite, is called Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke. I grew up on this book. I've probably read it a hundred times! :-) One of the things that draws me to this book (and others like it) is the way the women work so hard to create a home of beauty amidst the hardships of pioneer life. And I don't just mean the physical aspects of the home (although that is definitely part of it), but also the beauty of the spirit of the home.
I do love picturing the main character as she tidies her small space, hangs home-made curtains on her windows and braids rag rugs for her floors. I can picture her with tea and cookies ready just in case a visitor stops by; or instead, with a loaf of bread, on her way to a neighbor in need. Many times she is in her kitchen preparing simple yet hearty dishes for her family's noon-day meal. Perhaps she's sewing a quilt from scraps or just sitting on the front porch after a long day, talking with her husband and watching her children play. I love reading about these kinds of details. I delight in the beauty, peace and love it implies.
I've always appreciated the art of homemaking. There are certainly aspects of it that I'm not very good at, but I appreciate it all the same and am slowly learning new things and getting better at it. I firmly believe that God has called me to be a keeper of my home (Titus 2:5). The definition of “keeper” is “a person charged with responsibility for the preservation and conservation of something valuable.” And while the “home” can definitely be defined as the structure of a house, it means so much more than that! We're talking about our families and our loved ones...our heart! And we as women ARE the heart of the home! We can make or break its spirit.
So, we are called to look after, manage and preserve every aspect of what “home” is to us. It will look different for each of us. For me it means loving and helping my husband by joyfully managing the duties of the home (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.) as well as by being a joyful (again) SAHM to our boys. And no, it ISN'T easy! It's hard work! In fact, it's by far the most challenging thing I have ever done. But it's also the most rewarding.
Many times we don't see the rewards right away. We don't see the value in what we do because the everyday can get tiresome. All we see are the hardships. If that's where you are at the moment, I understand. I've been there, too. But let me just remind you that the value of what you do each day as a wife and mom and homemaker is immeasurable! Don't let the world tell you otherwise.
Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us.” How true! Let's begin to consider what type of home we want to shape/create. Will it be one of unconditional love, grace, peace, and joy? A home that puts the needs of others first? That forgives and forgets? That looks for the beauty in everything? A home that is clean and orderly? YES--to all of the above! :-)
Of course, we could never do any of this on our own. We need God to help us each and every day. Remember, you are not in this alone! God's Word says, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will (emphasis added) perform it...” (Philippians 1:6). Isn't this promise so encouraging?
Okay. So with all that in mind, let's begin the process of defrumping our homes! To me, that just means making our homes a special place to be. We will start out small and, step-by-step, begin making improvements. NO being overwhelmed allowed (that was to myself)! ;-)
In my future posts, I will explore things like hospitality, entertaining, cleaning, organizing, crafting, and decorating...basically, anything and everything to do with creating a happy home. Remember, this is a journey for me too. I am in no way an expert. Just a regular gal with a heart for my home. :-)
So here's what I'll be thinking about this week. I hope you'll join me!
- What areas do I enjoy most about my home?
- What areas do I think need the most work?
- What obstacles are keeping me from making improvements in these areas?
- Looking at each room of my house and the outside as well, what is one project per room that I would like to work on over the coming months?
Linking up here...