Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Prelude to the Journey From House to Home

We are finally on the last leg of our massive moving adventure! We have found a house and plans are in motion to close on June 21. I am beyond excited to think of seeing long-packed-away (18 months now!) family photos, paintings that I've done, and other personal items that were just that - too personal - to be on display when our house was on the market.

While I am not a homebody necessarily, I am whole-heartedly and joyfully, a homemaker and I have already begun making plans for our new place. The whole of the interior is very neutral and so all of my pent-up decorating and nesting will begin to be unleashed in just over a month!

One of my favorite sections at the library is design and decor books, but I have had no need for them for a year and a half! Now, now I have permission again to peruse the pages for inspiration. And speaking of that, Pintrest has been a delight for that as well. Especially since my tastes have changed over the years, it is interesting to use my Pintrest boards to actually discover what I like nowadays. I really didn't know exactly what with or how I wanted to start with colors for the new place, but now I am narrowing down ideas and am getting excited!

Thrift stores, antique malls, and garage sales will all become fair game again. A long-time favorite pastime, these too have been off my list these last 18 months of paring down to make us as streamlined and mobile as possible for what will amount to 3 - yes three - moves in 8 months! So while I am a lover of a clutter-free life and am not looking to fill up my house with unnecessary stuff, I am also hoping and praying not to be going anywhere for a long, long time.

Recently I commented on my friend tonia's blog,

As I am preparing and praying over our new house (we have a purchase agreement currently) becoming a HOME and what God wants it to be, I am excited and nervous all at the same time. Home means a great deal to me and the idea of not moving again for a long time means just about as much. I am about to turn the page on a new chapter and wonder, wanting so much to love it all, what I will find?

New neighbors and community. New streets with which to become familiar. New parks for biking and hiking. New libraries, stores, restaurants. Which will become familiar? Where will we choose to... or just naturally become... regulars?

There is so much that goes into making a house into a home. My home is my work and my ministry and a vehicle through which I can practice one of my spiritual gifts of hospitality. I am not someone who believes that women should not work outside the home and though there are more women returning to stay at home with their children when they are young, often, unless you are a homeschooling parent, it seems to be acually looked down upon if a woman really just wished to remain a homemaker.

I'm not advocating one way or another and I don't know where I will even be when my little birds fledge the nest. Sometimes a person or family has no choice to remain at home, if for no other reason than health benefits a company can provide. There are real and hard choices to be made and each case is different. But I will argue that it is not always financially necessary for a family to be a two-income home and that if money is not necessarily made or brought in by a homemaker, it can certainly be conserved to a great degree. We, for example, in the years 14 1/2 years that I have been home with my children, have actually paid off all our debt. Presently, we are even completely debt-free, beause we don't even have a mortgage... though that will soon change! ;) I am not saying that to boast, but to make a point that one can live comfortably and happily on one income. I am just arguing that it is possible.

Something I wrote in my journal a few months back is something that guides my thinking in the way I value my work: The world needs God's expression of Mother-love and it needs it in the comfort of the home setting, not just being nursed in a hospital or other care setting. Again, I am not suggesting that women who work outside the home do not provide this. It is just that I have found that one of the benefits of my work is that I am available.

For years I have been available for neighbors' children needing a ride to school in the rain or when a parent could not pick them up. I have been available for children whose parents were not yet home and a storm sprang up and they knew they could come to my house for a little bit of safe-feeling. I have been available when animals have been found and need to be returned home, when a neighbor just wanted to run to the store or had to work when her child was home sick. It didn't mean that I was always inundated with requests and it didn't even always mean that I had to actually go and do anything, but the fact that I was there and that most people have expected me to be there I believe is a value to neighborhood and community that is not there if no one stays at home. That our home may be a refuge of comfort to people other than my own family is an extension of hospitality and, to me, a tiny reflection of kingdom living.

I hope that if you are someone who has been feeling down or frustrated being in your home - whether you are there full or part-time or if you are new to staying at home or feel a little aimless or in a rut in your home, having been there so long - that you you will look with fresh eyes at your home and your position. I hope that you realize the potential that is there for creativity, learning, offering healing, a listening ear... for joy.

And if you don't believe me, hear the words of one of my favorite authors and illustrators and just people in general (I seriously can't wait to meet her in heaven!), Tasha Tudor:

 I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It's an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren't stupid because you're a housewife. When you're stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.

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