Sunday, March 16, 2008

Making your home a Haven: Introduction

As we go through this book discussion I am just going to record my thoughts on certain questions and things within the book. Sometimes I may go off on my own topic that is related to the chapter. If you have a specific question about the chapter post it in the comments and I will happily respond (you can check a box in the comment section and all comments will be sent to your e-mail box!). I have also decided to show actual pictures of my house, instead of other folks homes, so it may get scary! Also, as we approach chapter 6 I may offer a couple of at my house "BASIC COOKING" instruction dates, for folks like me that are lost or nearly lost in the kitchen. There will also be periodic calls for recipes so keep your eyes peeled! Finally, I've asked Cyndy Salzmann to comment if she can, so hopefully we will benefit from the authors own insights.

Introduction: Surviving without Alice
Comments on page 7 "Chaos"..."Each day I waded through piles of laundry, stacks of papers, inches of dust and a mountain of frustration. We ate at fast-food places so often my children complained they were getting duplicates of the toys in the kids meals. My husband no longer looked in his drawer for underwear-he went straight to the dryer and let out a war whoop of delight if he found a clean pair."
Well this is what we want to escape. This is what we are putting off and we are putting on order. Because we do not serve a God of chaos but a God of order! I grew up in a household where I received no training to be a housewife. I was blessed by different folks in my adult life who came along side me and taught me to cook (Carol McVay, Wayne's wonderful step mom), clean (Vangie Clark - Grandma), how to decorate (Kelli Hudson) and to most importantly how love the Lord (Mrs Nordstrom (Grace & LHBC), Presley & Pratt from Central Baptist).

Thoughts on question 2: This chapter reminded me of the ideas that I had before I came home to be a homemaker. I really thought it was going to be easy. My house would always be clean and I would like like a hip brown version (Halle Berry) of June Cleaver! When I first got home it was so hard to transition from working women to homemaker. My first couple of months I treated homemaking as a kind of extended vacation and did not approach homemaking as my job. Consequently, my family was hungry or poorly feed (because I was a horrible cook!), the house was dirty and the laundry undone. The worst part is that I really felt like it was partially Wayne's fault because he wouldn't help me. So not only was I not doing my job I was irritated with my husband because he would not do my job. My house had CHAOS (Can't have anyone over syndrome...a flylady saying) and I was sure it was some else's fault! I'm sure when Wayne got home he didn't feel relief comfort, peace, safety or love how could he there was no place to sit & nothing to eat!

Genesis 2:18 says: " The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."."

For me this was the hardest transition to recognize that this is my job and not Wayne's. That he can help me if he chooses to but if he doesn't want to he doesn't have to. I never go to his job and help him work (thus he is still employed!) and meet his deadlines! As we just read the Bible clearly says I am suppose to help him not the other way around. So it was difficult for me to realize that I was his helper, he was not mine. Also that I was serving the Lord by helping him and making sure he had clean socks, underwear , ironed shirts, pants, food etc..

Also as we've added children things have become more challenging and I can see why the Proverbs 31 women gets up before sunrise. You have to get time in with the Lord to start your house off on the right foot. I am still trying to get up early enough to get Wayne's breakfast made, right now I make extras and save/freeze them for him. He heats it in the morning and he goes off on his merry way...feed!

Homeschooling and housekeeping do not go together well because they both take up a lot of time. I often have to make sure I focus completely on what I am doing until I am done. So I school from 9-12 and homemake after school is done.

I have the children do purposeful chores which is both a challenge and a joy. My kids clean windows, baseboards, bathrooms (excluding toilets & tubs), load dishes, fold some laundry, sort all laundry, put some laundry away.... So it is a joy that they do many things for me that I no longer have to do. But the training of the children does take some time. I am unable to do any of my chores while the two younger ones are doing their chores. I have to stay on top of them. Yes, Pearson (2 1/2 ) has chores!

Thoughts on question 8: says the following about haven:

1.a harbor or port.
2.any place of shelter and safety; refuge; asylum. –verb (used with object) shelter, as in a haven.

I think my home is more of a haven now then it has ever been but it could definitely use fine tuning. I decorate in a way that is kid friendly, welcoming and easy to keep up. You'll notice my couch is not facing the window, we simply can fit more people into the house the way the furniture is arranged.We have 30 folks (adults & kids) that attend our HOPE group on Wednesdays, 3 neighbor kids, Maass' on Sunday etc... Accordingly our house is decorated to entertain. All three girls share one room so we can keep a room open for guests. We have concrete floors so folks can spill anything and I can smile all the way to the Biff (aka Swiffer). As I am writing this I am realizing I do not decorate for me I decorate with the others in mind. Don't get me wrong I'm a chicken freak and you'll see them all over my house but I really do think of the Lord & others before myself.

Since I have always done well with some structure I usually work off of lists and schedules. Accordingly, I love Flylady which provides me with my daily marching orders. I also use Microsoft outlooks calendar, tasks & e-mail. My final weapon is a miniature spiral I keep in my purse that I jot down my to do list & errands. These tools enable me to professionally manage my house and things seem to get done in a more orderly fashion.

So, when you come to my house you will (hopefully for your sake) not say forget the plates I'm gonna eat right off these floors! But hopefully, you won't be distracted by clutter, lots of work undone, feet sticking to floors and too many mounds of laundry. But what I hope you say is I feel right at home, and that you are able to kick up your feet, and your able to have your crawler on the floor and most of all I hope you feel loved here. The main thing I have come to realize is that I serve God through serving my family and you.

Thoughts on question 10: Mondays are really hard days for me because on Sunday I really try hard to rest and not fuss. So on Monday the house is totaled. I am working with my family to help keep the house up a little better on Sundays but as of today Monday morning rolls around and I am unable to concentrate on school until I get this place under control. I am going to have to start getting up earlier so I can neaten before school. Laundry has always been my arch nemesis. Currently, my challenge is learning to manage my new house. Especially, the laundry room which is trying to become a catch all. I am on a laundry schedule that works pretty well for me now but still I find it to be difficult to keep up at times. Additionally, right now I do not have enough hangers to hang up all of our clothes, since I threw some away in the move. That does not help my laundry situation!

Please share....Is homemaking what you thought it would be or is it different if so how? What challenges are you facing in your home? Take a minute to visualize your home as a haven. What do you see? Share this vision with the blog!

Happy Homemaking



5 Chicks and a Farmer said...

This is all really good! I've been staying home since before kids, and I'm still trying to find out how to balance everything. There is so much fighting for our attention on a daily basis. We don't have t.v. anymore. That was a big help for me. Not that I would sit and watch it all day long, but during naps instead of being EXTRA productive I would come up with the excuse of wanting to rest too! When in reality, I could have two whole hours to focus on tasks that might be difficult to do while the girls are awake.

Laundry is ALWAYS a struggle for me.

Have a great week!

5 Chicks and a Farmer said...

Jason wanted me to tell you that we have up to 13 roosters you can have. Obviously you probably won't want 13, but let us know how many you do want! Okay? Then you will be the official 'Rooster Hill'. Love the name!


The Houstons said...

Well, first let me tell you that I used to live in CS and was a member of Living Hope, but my husband is in the military and 2 weeks after our son, Noah was born,(jan 19th) we moved up to Missouri to be with him until he finishes Corp of Engineering training to then make the biggest move of our lives yet, Germany! With all that said, I wasn't sure if you'd remember us, if Im not mistaken, your husband knew mine, Jonathan, because he worked sound board with him some nights.(sorry for all that writing, I just wanted to assure you I wasnt some random weirdo reading your blog;) )

Homemaking was definitely more than I made it out to be. Especially now, with a 2 month old. I knew exactly what you were saying about Wayne and not getting help from him when WE are the ones who are supposed to be helping them! It has been such a challenge getting up and spending time with the Lord first, especially with night feedings and such...but Im learning. I also identify with your ideas on decorating, just to being inviting and very accommodating for others. Laundry has been an issue as of late because we don't have a machine in our home, since we are only here for a few months and then off to Germany... so I will have to come up with a solid schedule once I have machines! ...and hopefully find resources to making homemade detergent ...seems like all you lovely Living Hope ladies have been making it lately and I want in on the fun!

Thats all for now. Being able to stay in touch with the Living Hope body through blogs has been such a blessing to me so far away. I hope you don't mind me checking in on Rooster Hill:)

Maass Family said...

Homemaking is not as easy as I thought it would be. I thought my house would always be clean, I would be available to play with my child(ren) all day, dinner would be waiting at 6:00 sharp (I don't know who I thught would be making this for me)...etc.

My biggest challenge is the same as yours...finding a balance between housework and homeschool. Most husbands get off work at 5:00 and get home around 5:20/5:30. My hubby gets off work at 3:30 and gets home from work at 4:00. So I lose "working time."

I'm still trying to be consistent with my quiet time early in the morning (thanks to you spurring me on, love 'ya:) and my day really gets off on the right foot as long as I do. We generally school from 9-12, take a lunch break from 12-1, and finish school from 1-2ish. I get laundry going as soon as I finish my quiet time and put it in the dryer at lunch time so I can hang it up and fold it as soon as the dryer buzzer goes off. That is a GREAT tip there that has transformed laundry for you pull your clothes out of the dryer, hang them on a hanger and fold them up at the dryer. Do not put them in a basket that "you'll get to later." Then it doesn't have a chance to get behind! I also have been following the same laundry schedule that has worked wonders for me for about a year and a half now:

Monday - towels
Tuesdays - sheets (blankets once a month)
Wednesdays - colors
Thursdays - jeans
Fridays - whites
Saturday and Sunday I DO NO LAUNDRY because there is nothing to do!!!

Hope that helps someone else the way it has helped me.

I agree with what you said about it being our job and not our husbands to take care of our home. Your right, we do not go to work and help them do their jobs, why should they then come home from their job and help us do ours? When my husband comes home we go out and work together side by side on the ranch (and you of all people know what a transformation this is for me!). At abot 5:00ish I come back in to prepare dinner so we can sit down at 6:00 as a family. If it's the weekend and I've worked outside with him all day shoveling 6 tons of compost by hand (yes, we've done that a few Saturdays), at the end of the day I pull out a freezer meal (one that I've cooked and frozen, not a microwave dinner) and he usually helps (by his own generosity) to clean up so we can both rest.

I think homemaking is something that will change all the time as the seasons in your life change (adding more children, children going off to college, moving, etc.). I know for me, I used to be a perfectionist (still am at some things). But God has shown me it's more important that I spend time with my son in school, outdoors with him and his interests, and working as a helper to my husband rather than there being nothing out of place, not a speck of dust anywhere, and not being able to enjoy my family. Now, I keep every room picked up, keep the bathrooms and kitchen cleaned up (too many germs in those two areas) and as for the rest of the house...if it gets dusted, great! If it gets mopped, swell! If the ceiling fans are cleaned and the walls are washed, super! But if I don't get to those things because I'm watching my son jump on the trampoline (something important to him), weeding the garden while my hubby builds our chicken coop, or just need to spend time elsewhere, it's okay! I used to not be able to say that:)

Now, if I could just find the time to update our homemaking website, I'd be superwoman!


Unknown said...

Boy howdy was homemaking more stressful than I expected. I think in part it was because so many other folks felt I should have a "real" job. How can you have a "real" job when you can barely handle your home? (Which God says is our real job!)
Add to that I felt badly because I really wanted to home school, but Beloved did not, so I added guilt of not doing what *I* thought was right to my inability to handle the daily chores.
My home was a disaster, I did work on and off, both inside and outside my home (20 years as a day care provider) Then suddenly something clicked. The boys were high school age by then, but I began slowly to get my act together. I changed from jeans to skirts around this time (Thanks Miss Maggie!) and began to focus more on being a woman of God, not just a housekeeper.
Now, my home is not perfect, but I don't worry about unexpected guests as much, and when guests are expected, I am not up until 2 in the morning scrambling to get things done! I do also work outside the home, both boys are gone now, well grown, one is here one moved out of state, and I am decluttering as I realize I do not need this or that.
I am more focused on my Beloved, and caring for him, and our home. My job, believe it or not, is only 4 days a week and 4-6 hours a day, but it gives me the anchor I need to schedule around.
My biggest struggle still is being able to move something out that some one I care about gave me, even if I have no use for it at all.

Cyndy Salzmann said...

Hello ladies! I am very honored that you are using my book for your study.

I can so identify with many of your comments. I remember feeling like such a failure as I tried to manage my "unmanageable" home. I would have rather been anywhere than in the midst of all that clutter -- and LAUNDRY. BTW -- I still hate laundry but i take comfort from Gen 2:20 "They were naked and not ashamed." : )

Seriously- I want to encourage you to realize that God didn't make a mistake when he created you. He gave you unique gifts, talents and insights to accomplish all that he has given you to do. Ask Him to show you how to use your natural gifts -- to manage your home for His glory.

BTW -- I can see that Kyle is a great teacher! You are blessed.

Hugs and prayers, Cyndy

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