Saturday, January 3, 2009

Haven

Ha - ven (hā′vən)

noun

1. a port; harbor
2. any sheltered, safe place; refuge

Synonyms: refuge, shelter, oasis

* * * * * * * *

Do you feel that your home is a haven? Is it a place of safety and refuge for your family? Or is it a place of discord and chaos?

I spent many years feeling hopeless because my home was chaotic and filled with stress. I seemed powerless to make it better. As a stay at home wife and mother, I had grand expectations that life would be perfect, like a 50's sit-com. Why couldn't I be wearing a beautiful dress with pearls and heels while I vacuumed and baked fresh cookies? Why weren't my children's biggest faults the results of mere mischievousness, rather than outright rebellion and sinfulness?

The biggest question - how to gain control of my home, physically and emotionally - haunted my waking thoughts.

But what is a haven actually? Is it what we see in the pages of "Better Homes and Gardens?" Beautiful rooms with fresh flowers that look as if no one really lives there? Magazines and the internet are filled with advice on how to make your home a haven - candles, cozy blankets, fresh flowers, soothing colors. All that is well and good. But is a haven about what a home looks like or is it about what goes on there?

Is it more about the love than the looks?

I still am far from where I would like to be in this arena. More often than not, my home is still chaotic. Still messy, still stressful. But I would like to think that I've made great strides towards making our home a place where my family can come to and feel safe and find the opportunity to gain strength and nourishment. Here are a few of the steps I took:

Routine
- Implementing routines is one of the fastest ways to bring order and peace to both your home and your spirit. I know, I know - the idea of routine sounds dreary and monotonous to many of us. We want to be spontaneous free spirits, right? Well, that's great - to an extent. What many people don't realize is that by implementing routines, you free up time that allows you to be spontaneous. Your home is already clean, so you feel free to go meet a friend for coffee. Your exercise is done, so you don't feel guilt all day about not doing it. Because you have set goals and accomplished them by following your routine, you feel happier and more relaxed. A great place to start setting routines for yourself is Flylady. Yes, you will get an insane amount of emails if you sign up for them. But if you just print out the routines and follow them on your own, you will make great strides.

Prayer
- Nothing of true, lasting value can be accomplished without the help of God. Pray about your home, your attitudes, your family, their attitudes. Pray that God will help you to be kind and loving to one another. Pray that you will be responsive to one another in love. Pray that you will be the woman that God wants you to be.

Baby Steps
- Yes, we all want beautiful homes. We all wish that we could go out and shop till we drop to furnish our homes with all that our heart desires. That's not a reality for many of us. What I do is keep a running list of the things that would make our home more, well, "homey." I set aside a small portion (about 8 dollars) of my weekly allowance and save for what I want. Oftentimes, little, inexpensive touches can make a big difference.

Another way to implement baby steps is to tackle your home a bit at a time. Don't be overwhelmed at all there is to do, or by how far you have to go. Just start somewhere. Success in little things breeds success in big things. When you begin to notice a difference in just a small area, it motivates you to keep going.

Quality Time
- Quality doesn't replace quantity time, but how you choose to spend your time together makes a difference. This is an area where we still struggle, spending too many evenings sitting in front of the television. But we are improving and making efforts to find other ways to have fun together. Board games, going for walks, working on a project together, shooting hoops, learning something new together, etc., are all ways that we have spent time together lately that have bonded us together like and evening watching tv never would.

I want our home to be a refuge, a sanctuary. A place where we breathe a sigh of relief when we walk through the door. Home...It's one of the greatest words in the English language - fraught with possibilities. Don't spend another year wishing about what your home could be. Take those baby steps - implementing routines, prayer, doing a bit at a time, and building family bonds.

Soon your home will be the haven it was meant to be.

3 comments:

Robert said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. The past year or so I have been feeling like a huge failure in the areas of homemaking and motherhood. It's been a long struggle and you had some wonderful advice. Thanks for the reminder that making my home the place I want it to be is going to take more than a day to accomplish.

Erin

Mylinda said...

Great post, Lori! Thnks for the encourgment!

stacey said...

i always seem to bounce back and forth b/t getting in a tizzy about the perfection of my home and just chillin' about it. just that is exhausting!

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