When it comes to homemaking, I have tried to find a balance between having a home that is a place of security and belonging for my family, a place of welcome to others and a practical place where training takes place. Our house serves many purposes.
When I was first married I was very interested in interior decorating – especially living in small spaces and decorating them to be functional and pleasant. Then along came children and my home had an added purpose – to be a place where my children were trained. Some of the ‘nice’ things took a step back as I focused on my children. But there have always been a few things that make me happy regardless of living in a shed, caravan, small house or a large house (and yes, I’ve lived in all those options).
- Flowers on my bathroom bench
- Red tea-towels (plain, spotted, or striped)
- Table runner and center piece on the dining table
- Candles and essential oils to give the house a ‘smell’
- Matching mugs
- Decorated walls (I am not a minimalist!)
Do you know what makes you happy?
Making your home Beautiful
I’ve often thought about what is it that makes a home beautiful? I have a preconceived idea of what beautiful is – and it creates a false expectation. When I hear ‘beautiful home’ I envisage overstuffed vases of full rose blooms, lace table clothes, linen covered chairs and heavily framed paintings on the wall all in a dimly lit room. Other days I envisage a spacious home with all walls, and furniture painted just off white, with splashes of colour and a few seaside images on the wall. It is a false image because really those things don’t make me happy, they don’t fit my lifestyle (I live in the tropics, on a farm) and they don’t reflect me at all!
We need to hold an image of ‘beauty’ that fits with our reality. Beauty can be simple – or it can be ornate, it can be polished or homemade, it can be bursting with colour or monochrome. One isn’t more beautiful than the other – the key is that we find something that is beautiful – to us – and enjoy it – fill our home with beauty.
What is beautiful to you?
“A Christian, who realizes he has been made in the image of the Creator God and is therefore meant to be creative on a finite level, should certainly have more understanding of his responsibility to treat God’s creation with sensitivity, and should develop his talents to do something to beautify his little spot on the earth’s surface.” Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking
Create an Atmosphere of Beauty
An atmosphere of beauty is more than the visual things that we fill our home with; more than the furniture, the knick-knacks, the colour scheme or pictures on the wall. An atmosphere is a feeling – and we create this feeling by our attitude. Our attitude to our home, our attitude to what goes on in our home, and our attitude to those who walk in the door (both family, friends, and the stranger).
The first step towards creating an atmosphere of beauty is to be content. We can live in less than ideal situations, we can have limited resources limiting our ability to make changes, and yet, we can find contentment. Our contentment comes from having our eyes on eternal things – on Jesus, on the things that he wants of us – to love God and to love our neighbour. The physical things can help us, for example they can provide a platform to be hospitable, but they can also hinder us by creating a comparison with others, and a dissatisfaction and discontent. By being content with having little, or having much, and being willing to share whatever you have you are able to move beyond the materialistic attitude of today that drives so much of making a home beautiful.
When we focus on relationships – relationships with our own family and then relationships with other people who are in our life or cross our path, we create an atmosphere of beauty. Love is beauty – and love, this other centered kind of love, is a reflection of Jesus – the first creator of beauty. I know that I have been welcomed into homes where my friend has apologised for the clutter, the dirty floor, or the lack of baking and yet we have the most wonderful heart to heart time. I have been welcomed regardless of the external trappings of the house. This is what I remember – the atmosphere of friendship, of beauty, of love.
Proverbs 21:19 Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.
Other versions use the words contentious, vexing, fretful, angry, irritable – if we allow our focus about our home (what we don’t have) to become any one of these emotions it will spill out to our attitude, which will affect our relationships – not only to our husband, but to our children, to our extended family, to our neighbour and to the stranger we meet along the way.
Beauty – inside and out
What we want then is beauty on the inside and the outside – inside our heart, and outside being our physical home. The solution is gratefulness and creativity.
Cultivating gratefulness happens when we focus on what we have, rather than on what we don’t have, and we focus on who has given: God. Gratefulness is much like the word ‘bubbles’ – did you know you can’t say ‘bubbles’ with anger? Neither can you be frustrated or annoyed or discontent when you start thanking God for the things he has done for you, his provision for you, and the things you do have. Gratefulness is the beginning of contentment.
Even in the situations we find ourselves in, God has given each of us an ability to create beauty, physical beauty. I don’t know your natural abilities, I don’t know the resources you have – but a pot plant grown from a cutting can create life in an otherwise drab corner of your home, a beautiful tea towel can create a table runner and bring a splash of colour to an otherwise austere room, tea-towels only cost a couple of dollars.
I remember coming home one day, feeling pretty tired, and when I went to the bathroom there was a small glass bottle with a few cheap “silk” flowers sitting beside my toothbrush. One of my daughters had created a vase from a bottle, by wrapping string around and around, and then using a few cheap artificial flowers she bought joy to my heart. It had been a while since I had taken the time to make beauty in my bathroom – and it wasn’t very much, but it made me happy!
So a few questions to leave you with
- Do you have a realistic understanding of what beauty is in your home? Or do you have unreal expectations and then avoid any beautification?
- Have you found a heart of contentment with what you have?
- Are you willing to share whatever you do have – be it little, or be it much?
- Is there just one thing, one little thing, that you can change in your home that would make you happy?
And another quote from Edith Schaeffer:
“There needs to be a homemaker exercising some measure of skill, imagination, creativity, desire to fulfill needs and give pleasure to others in the family. How precious a thing is the human family? Is it not worth some sacrifice in time, energy, safety, discomfort, work? Does anything come forth without work?”
Also sharing and linking with others:
Throughout the week I share with one, or more of these blogs (see more details on my Link Parties page)
Monday’s Musings, Thoughtful Spot, Mama Monday Musings, Hip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Coffee and Conversation, Finishing Strong (Middle & Highschool years), Capture your Journey, Thriving Thursdays, Hearts for Home, Shine Blog Hop, All things with Purpose, A Little R & R, From House to Home, Fellowship Fridays, Homeschooling Highschool Linkup,Weekly Wrap-up, Collage Fridays, My Week in Review, Tip Tuesday with Debbie in Shape