The ordinary acts we practice everyday at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.
There are many articles and blog posts out there on "making home a haven." My intent with this post and most of my others, is to pass along the things that I find helpful or interesting. I rarely write something that I personally came up with or invented...
As homemakers, we have a huge opportunity to "set the tone" for our home...whether it is peaceful or chaotic, pleasant or tense, and yes, even clean/tidy or dirty/disorganized. While some may not see these things as affecting the overall atmosphere of our homes, THEY DO. God created us with senses, and our moods are very much affected by those senses. So, the challenge is, how do our homes look, smell, taste, sound, feel?
Smell is a huge one for me...especially this time of year when the air is cooling, I equate warm smells (pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla) with coziness. So, most days this week, if you came by my house, there would be a candle or two keeping things smelling cozy.
As your family members are coming home or guests are arriving or friends stopping by, think of how you can make your home smell inviting to them. Sometimes it's a home-cooked meal that you've spent a long time preparing, sometimes it's just opening a jar of spaghetti sauce to simmer on the stove, homemade or pre-made cookie dough baking in the oven, a mix of water/citrus peels/spices simmering on the stove, or just candles.
Sound is another big one for me. Both my husband and I grew up in homes where music was often present. For calm, I like instrumental music, especially piano based, such as Jim Brickman, George Winston, or John Tesh. But, for cleaning, it's good to have something a little more upbeat! :) Lately, I've been listening to my Autumn music...
check it out on amazon HERE
It's important for our families that our homes be orderly and clean. Now...if you walked into my house RIGHT NOW, you would find toys scattered around the family room floor/couches, toys scattered over my daughter's bedroom floor, 2 piles on my counter of things I need to go through, dog hair on the floor, fingerprints on the windows, etc. I'm not talking perfection here...but, having a place for things to belong is helpful for everyone in keeping things orderly. Keeping up with regular household cleaning/maintenance is good for everyone's health and well-being. Our God is a god of order and He created us that way too. Most people (that I know of anyway) will thrive in an atmosphere of cleanliness and order as opposed to filth and chaos. As mothers and homemakers, it is important that we pass this along to our children. Cleanliness and order make me very happy...or maybe you picked up on that. :)
Taste & feel are not as high on my list, but I still think they are important. Although, if taste is being used figuratively and not literally, I understand it a little better. Recently, I've been pondering over Psalm 34:8:
Taste and see that the Lord is good...
Specifically, is taste being used there in a figurative or literal sense? Haven't taken the time to research it yet, but I hope to, so I'll get back to you on that one. :) It IS important that we provide our families with food that tastes good...but typically we do that anyway. I think it's important to help our children develop a taste for those things that are good for them...children who are full of sugar and carbs are typically NOT pleasant children and NOT pleasant to be around. I definitely notice increased amounts of sugar in my daughter (even just a sugary breakfast like pancakes/syrup) affecting her mood. Caffeine has this same effect on adults...so, that one or two cups of coffee in the morning is helpful to get us going and give us some energy for the day, but after that, it might be good to switch to water to avoid becoming hyper or edgy, and thus setting a negative tone for our homes.
Feel definitely makes our houses cozy and comfortable. Furniture that is comfortable to relax on, blankets, pillows, linens, clean-smelling towels, freshly-washed sheets, etc. All of this will make our homes enticing places to be and our families will feel loved through these things, even though they may not even realize it.
Setting the tone for our homes and making them cozy and comfortable places to be for our families, friends, and guests, doesn't require us to spend a lot of money. Perhaps some for necessities, but the main thing that it requires from us is time. Time is a huge gift and a way that we can exercise self-discipline and show love to our families. Creating a peaceful place for our husbands and children to feel welcome has long-lasting benefits that are more important that a lot of other things we could be doing. You've heard the saying, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy..." And, it's very true. Our attitudes really do provide the example for our families, especially children. If we are grumpy and irritable, our kids probably will be too. If we are calm and disciplined, our kids probably will be too. If we are loving/respectful and sacrificial, our husbands probably will be too. It doesn't always work this way, but a lot of times emotions are cyclical and if we start the cycle positively, others will follow.
SO -- light a candle, put some nice music on, tidy up a little, fix a yummy snack, and spend some time with your family this weekend in the pleasant atmosphere of HOME.