Saturday, October 26, 2013

beauty{full}: home

So. Figuring out this homemaking thing hasn't been the easiest thing I've ever done. I remember telling the Man when we were discussing when to have kids that I'd like a couple years of having a living room that wasn't completely covered in children's toys. Actually, let's be honest, I said five to ten years of "adult space". About that...

At any rate, the Man and I spent the first four months of our married life in temporary lodging on a tiny Army base in Texas: one bedroom with attached bath, a mini-fridge and a microwave. Don't believe me? The blog has photographic evidence. And then the day we signed on our first apartment, we found out the Man was deploying and that I was pregnant. Needless to say, this threw a wrench in my homemaking plans. I'm still trying to catch up. Right now, I'm living in sheer terror that I'm going to accidentally step on some left out toy that I couldn't see due to The Belly and crash ungracefully to the floor, thereby ending up with multiple injuries that will require me to ask for even more help than I am currently humbling myself to request. Needless to say, I have become the Pick Up Nazi lately.

I've had to learn the basics of caring for and decorating a home through three pregnancies, three moves, and two deployments, and it just hasn't come naturally. I've never gotten to a place where I've felt like things were perfect and I could call it a day and rest on my laurels. Part of this is my tendency towards perfectionism; part of this is that when I think we are actually getting settled, we hit yet another transition; and part of this is just the nature of having a home full of growing children with changing needs.

Thankfully, I have some wonderful people to learn from, including both of my mothers and a whole host of friends who model for me what it is like to create a beautiful home (beautiful, not perfect). I also read good books. Here are a few truths that I am fighting to implement into our home life:

Homemaking is about making a home, not about making perfection. A perfect home is an authentic, creative, animated space where Peace and Christ and Beauty are embraced. {Perfect does not equate to immaculate.}

I have these words (and the other 9 Helps) taped up inside my laundry room. I need the constant reminder that "perfect" for our family doesn't mean "perfect" in my normal sense of the word. There will be dog fur trapped underneath the legs of the coffee table, there will be toy trains peaking out from beneath the TV stand, and sometimes there will be stuffed animals joining us at the dinner table.

Surrounding myself with God's Word:
In everything give thanks.
Even the fact that the boys are using my curling iron as a baseball bat.
Just for today, I will ask for His grace to transfigure all things into beauty. He's working to redeem all things, in His time, into the image of His Son. 

These grace prayers are taped up by my kitchen sink (yes, my husband has lovingly pointed out that this is tacky--and I deserve that), and I pray through them daily. Because there are daily dishes. And yes, even those dishes are being redeemed somehow into His Image. I pray that I am too. If you go looking for these grace prayers on Ann Voskamp's blog, I believe she has updated to a different version from the one I have.

See how well my pathetic house plant is doing?
And please don't judge the candle:
it was leftover from last year.
Waste not, want not.
The point of keeping a home is not to be perfectionistic or neurotic about cleanliness and order but to create a life of balance that brings joy to your world and those around you.
(Sally Clarkson, Desperate, p. 112)

I wrote about this book a few months ago, and it continues to challenge me. In fact, I selflessly mailed my copy to my mom-in-love, per her request, only to have a friend give me another copy last month! I was more excited than I care to admit. This was one of the moments that gave me a little kick in the rear. I am both perfectionistic and neurotic (sadly, not just about cleanliness and order). I demand that everything be put away at the end of the day though I have been repeatedly challenged to allow my children to more fully explore their art by occasionally leaving things out--really cool train tracks have even made it a few days. But I'm the first to tell you that a completely trashed room makes my skin itch. Literally. Don't even get me started on how annoyed I am to be physically incapable of doing most of the cleaning of the house right now (I am playing mind games with myself in regard to the spider webs that have taken over our front porch--it's in character for the month!). I have to, have to, sit back and ask myself if the goal is a clean and orderly house or the "life of balance" that brings joy to our family.

My happy fall bookshelf.
The reality is that a family, eating, creating dirty dishes, playing, making messes, and having fun simply generates lots and lots of work. The constant stream of work will never really stop flowing: it will only change and morph over time. Your home will never be perfect, but accepting housework challenges as a part of a normal life and embracing them as part of a regular rhythm will allow you to enjoy the people in your home. When you do, your children have the potential to remember home as a place of harmony and positivity.
(Sally Clarkson, Desperate, p. 113)

That concept of a regular helps me. A lot. I am a scheduler, a planner. I like routine. And I function better in it. So do the boys. With twins on the way, our routine is about to get chucked out the window and we will have to regroup yet again. That scares to mess out of me. And that's okay. We will get back to our rhythm eventually; it just might've shifted into a slightly more complex tempo than it was previously.

The most beautiful thing happening in our home:
snuggles and reading about Jesus.

Don't neglect to see the beauty of the life around you while being over-whelmed by the duties of life.
(Sally Clarkson, Desperate, p. 159)

I don't want to miss it. And I know you don't want to either. I want the making of my home to be about actually making a home not fulfilling some deep-seated desire for perfection (whether in decorating, cleaning, or organizing). I want to see the beauty that is already there and allow it to inspire me to create more beauty.

{One of the small ways I have sought to bring beauty into our home is to non-creepily stalk bloggers who provide free printables that I can incorporate into our seasonal decor: a quick and cheap-as-free fix for my decorating boredom. You can find the Give Thanks printable here, the Galatians 6:9 one here, and the Autumn Essentials printable here.}

{If you're looking for the rest of this series, all the links can be found here. Thank you so much for joining with me this month.}

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