I have always wanted t o be a homesteader. I have always thought that it would be such a blessing to be able to have a home that is not only comfortable but also self sustaining. To be self sufficient is such a dream of mine. Some chickens, some rabbits. Needless to say though, I was a girl raised in the big city and while we did have a little garden we kept, we were definitely not anywhere near what I envision for my family. One day, God willing .
There is so much for us to learn. And really, when I think hard about it, even just in keeping the home. So much to learn! I can attest to being a bit envious of those who were raised in homes were they were trained from a very young age, in keeping the home. The art of making a house a home. It’s not as easy as we might think it should be. I have been learning that slowly as I have begun reading through books that are meant to do just what I need: train a lady in how to keep a home; the science and art of it all.
Right now I am reading: Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson. And from the very first page I knew this was a book I needed to read, slowly and carefully. She says, “When you keep house, you use your head, your heart, and your hands together to create a home – the place where you live the most important parts of your private life.”
How true it is! Is our home a safe haven to our families? Is it a place where others come and feel that peace and presence of God? I have never had a passion for domesticity but I do hope to learning grow so that keeping home will become a passion of mine, as time goes on. Certainly there is nothing that matters more than a home that serves the Lord. There is much for me to consider, there are many things for me to learn and things for me to unlearn too. Because our perception of things is so important. Even when it is wrong.
Take for example my perception, for most of my life, that housework is dull. Its for those who cannot do anything else; for so long I saw keeping a home as something that was boring and meaningless. We did this when we could do nothing else. Yet I have learned and continue to learn that nothing could be further from the truth. There is so much power in keeping a home. Housekeeping matters. It is how order is kept, it is how security is provided, it is keeping things clean and organized. Showing care and love for your family as you make a home (I love how Cheryl Mendelson immediately speaks to the importance of keeping home instead of playing house).
Do we identify ourselves with our home? Is our affection seen in the things that we do? I fear too often my home is kept with less affection and more irritation. You see, I love things being tidy and in their order – I have four children too – If I consider my actions and heart as I clean, too often I do not believe I am showing this work as being one for the Lord. It is done often, in a grudging fashion – I am weary and tired – I admit often to feeling like I am in a losing battle – I am one of five and just cannot keep up with everyone else’s “mess”. But thinking this way – no matter how true it may or may not be – it does not help me to embrace my home. It does not encourage or inspire me to work in my home, as to the Lord. It is a wrong way of thinking. And we are told, “Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise”.
We can enjoy and embrace keeping a home my friends! But we have to learn what it really means. We have to be willing to orient ourselves to the place we live in; to consider more deeply what it is we want our home to be. Not just for us but for those outside. It is said, “housekeeping much be empathetic, empathy being a form of intelligence that creates feelings of home. And so good housekeepers know intuitively what needs to be done in their homes because they know how their homes make people feel”.
How do we answer that questions?
We need routines; we need honesty and reflection within as well as without. There ought to be a rhythm to our home, as to our life, and they ought to echo one another. We all feel satisfaction when we are in a place that is neat and tidy; where you feel free to rest, you can embrace peace and enjoy where you are when you are there. We/I cannot continue to be wiling to live with “good enough” when it comes to my home. There is always opportunity for better. And I do not mean we need to buy a new home or nicer furniture but simply that there is a method to caring for those things we are so blessed to have. There is also a method to maintaining our home and all we have. I think of minimalism here; I have been in fact removing many things from our home as of late. Seeking more peace in our home by having less. I think it works too!
It is said that the home is the center of our life; it is the heartbeat of the family. If that is the case we simply cannot allow ourselves to fall into that trap that says time on our home and in our home is wasted. It has been said that whoever loves the end also loves the means; if we love things that well-kept we will come to enjoy the process of keeping things well-kept. As we take action, in learning and caring for our home, we will find more comfort and joy in the fruits of our labor. As well as finding freedom to engage more and more in those things that we find to be worthwhile, honorable work.
I hope you will consider joining me as I move through this book, and some others as well, in the days to come. Let us together, grow and learn to love this fine art (and science) which is keeping our home. Next time: we are easing into a routine. I think this one may be a tough one for me; I do dislike routines – and yet, I know the need that is present for one in our home. So do join me here and feel free to share and link up too!
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