I want my family to love home. I want my girls to grow up and be eager to do the hard work of building a peaceful, joyful home in which to raise our grandchildren.
I want our sons to be attracted to Christian women who love and appreciate the importance of establishing a Christian home.
When I am feeling especially pressured by too many activities and commitments outside of our home, I read this quote from the late Peter Marshall (chaplain of the U.S. Senate and an eloquent speaker worth getting to know).
“There is beauty in homely things that many people have never seen:
sunlight through a jar of beach plum jelly;
a rainbow in soapsuds in dishwater;
an egg yolk in a blue bowl;
white ruffled curtains sifting moonlight;
the color of cranberry glass;
a little cottage with blue shutters;
crimson roses in an old stone crock;
the smell of newly baked bread;
candlelight on old brass;
the soft brown of a cocker’s eyes.”
If my children grow up to appreciate “beauty in homely things” I will praise the Lord.
When our children were small the clutter and spills and noise would sometimes overwhelm me. I apologized for needing quiet time with a book to read before bed because I felt selfish saying I “needed” that time. But that time helped me to remember that the “unseen” in my life is important and that I can use my home to teach my children about the God who speaks in a “still, small voice”. I can use our home to help everyone slow down and appreciate those “homely things”.
As a new mom I was surprised at the amount of time it took to organize the clutter and get to those “extras” that add beauty to a home (like polishing the piano and adding fresh flowers to the dinner table). It took a lot of time.
The children aren’t tiny any more; many of them are launching to adulthood and I am finding a different set of challenges. Young adults are often in and out of the home with their changing schedules. They may be up late and dashing out the door in the morning or coming in the door with a group of friends just about the time I am ready to call it a day.
Although it was physically exhausting to be pregnant and nursing with little people filling the house I was in complete control of the family and the schedule. I knew where everyone was and if they wanted to go anywhere they relied on my husband or myself to take them there. Let me tell you, those days are gone!
I thought my struggle to keep peace and beauty in the home would get easier but, instead, it’s gotten harder. Teens are a whole new ball of wax (as exceptional as my teens are;).
I find that I need to occasionally reassess our schedule when I am feeling exhausted and stressed and out-of-control. I know I can’t change some things (like my husband’s work schedule) but there are always areas of our family’s life I can control.
God created me to be a person who appreciates peace and quiet and since I am the woman who reigns in this home during the day I can insist on certain guidelines to curb the chaos!
Did you see that word insist in the last sentence? We women can put our foot down in certain areas to the benefit of our families. Someday our children will establish their own homes using their childhood home as a guideline (for good or ill). It’s important to keep this in mind :).
When we cultivate a rich home life, our children put down deep roots into peace, joy, beauty and “homely” things. These roots will help them withstand the thundering wave of a culture which values overcommitment, mindless consumerism, constant noise and chaos.
Here are a few changes I’ve decided are important to implement in our family this month in order to reestablish a quiet, joyful home. The changes are simple but they won’t be easy.
1) Play beautiful music first thing in the morning when everyone is struggling to be cheerful (;) to start the day off with our minds tuned toward beauty.
2) Pray every day for the peace of God to reign in our home (I’ve been inconsistent this winter). Make a concerted effort to gather everyone together for a short time of prayer and blessing on the home before they get busy for the day. Because the kids leave the house for outdoor play or to go to work first thing in the morning I may have to grab them one by one and pray with them.
3) Control the phone; especially my cell phone. Let family and friends know that I will not be answering my phone during certain hours but will return phone calls later on in the day. If it is an emergency they can leave a message or call twice and hang up. The same goes for the land line. I feel frazzled when I am constantly answering the phone in the midst of my talkative children.
4) Insist that my young adults (emphasis on the word adult) finish their household contributions (i.e., chores) before they leave the house for their various destinations. Summer can be a very difficult time to keep up with dishes and laundry because we head outdoors to enjoy the sunshine but tough patooties! Finish your job, Buster Brown!
5) Reestablish regular meal times. Realistically, we will not have the entire family together every night of the week but I can decide ahead of time which nights I will insist on everyone being home for dinner...and if they want to bring friends home for dinner they need to follow number four!
6) Get our front door fixed. It doesn’t latch well so it gets slammed frequently and the noise drives me crazy. Note to self; deal with the door!
7) Along with the noisy house theme, because our house is not well insulated every sound reverberates through the house late at night when I crave peace and quiet so… no going in and out of the garage door by the master bedroom after 9 pm.
8) Limit movie/computer usage (for the umpteenth time) to a few nights a week so there is less noise in the home (and in the kids minds:). This is easy to do now that warm weather is upon us but is much harder in the winter months. I’ll need to come up with a better solution for next the fall and winter.
9) Encourage with a schedule regular reading aloud time (the older children taking their turn with the younger children). Reading aloud slows us all down and bonds the children and the sound of a voice somewhere in the house reading a book out loud is a beautiful sound.
10) Deal with sin among the members of the family. Pray with each other over sinful actions and attitudes, encourage confession and repentance and service to each other so we may have peace and joy in our relationships.
11) Pray that we will all have happy memories of a joyful, peaceful, beautiful home. Life is short!