Thursday, April 30, 2009

Creating a home

I love to spend time creating my home. It is so satisfying to see people who take the time to create comfortable and inspiring living spaces for their family. I am not talking about decor or furniture. You can really create spaces of living for your family without spending much money or even any money.

The spirit in the home
Creating living spaces really starts with the mother and father and their attitude in making a home. "If mama ain't happy, then nobodys happy." I firmly believe the mother's spiritual, emotional and physical health need to be taken into consideration before anything else.  Examine yourself. Examine your feelings. Though we are not to live off our feelings, God does give us feelings to help us probe deeper: "Why do I feel this way? What can I do about it?"  Feelings should not be dismissed, nor should they be what rules our life. Time spent with the Lord--praying, reading His word-- will ensure our feelings line up with His truth. This will hopefully spill out into creating the kind of home we desire.

My own essentials
I have in my mind a few essentials that I like in my home. Do you need these in your home? I don't know. These are things that I  personally love to see in a home: 
~Books. I love a home with lots and lots of books. I try to put books in all rooms of my house so any family member or guest can pick up something and look at it. 
~Hardwood floors. This is not a *necessity* but something I love. Hardwood floors are easy to clean, free of allergens, and pleasing to look at. It's one thing I look at when looking at a home.
~Sunshine. My home must have light in it. God's heavenly light brings beauty to everything! I love a home with lots of sunlight.
~Creative supplies. I keep a cabinet of craft supplies for my children. They have free reign to take out whatever they want and work on it.
~A big dining table. Family meals are an important part of creating my home. I try to use my dining table for almost everything we do, and as a center meeting point for our family.
~Music. I love that music is so prevalent in our home. My children have a radio with CDs in their room that they can listen to. There is music in the kitchen. We do a lot of "kitchen dancing" in there. My husband plays guitar and mandolin and will play to them. I love hearing a child practice music. Music lifts the soul.
~Indoor/Outdoor spaces. I love that our deck is off our kitchen area. In warmer months, my children live freely indoor and out. They can go on the deck to eat, play, read, or do crafts at their leisure. I like that it flows easily from indoor to out. Is it my dream farm? No, but it suits us now. =)
~Children. I have a like/dislike affair with my children's messes. On one hand, they are evidence of life in the home, on the other hand, they always have to be cleaned up. However, that being said, I love to see evidence of children in the home.
~Lack of clutter. Spaces that are neatly organized are very appealing to me. Rooms with clutter are distracting and hard to live in. Please--I am not perfect in this area, but it is something that I continually strive for. A general rule I like is "A place for everything, and everything in its place." It makes life much easier.


I talked about some resources that I like in creating a home here.
Edith Schaeffer's book The Hidden Art of Homemaking is a book I go to for continual renewal of perspective in creating my home.
Sally Clarkson writes about the spirit of home in her books and on her blog. Here are two recent posts about that which I enjoyed: Here and here.

I know there are so many other resources. Do you have any to share?


Aimee said...

I have loved Sally's posts on the spirit or culture of a home's given Mike and I a wonderful springboard of conversation about where our "parenting focus" needs to be. I am with you on hardwood floors, uncluttered/organized spaces and a big dining table. My list would add "big comfy couches" and lots of soft quilts/throws and handmade touches. :)

tonia said...

i love your lists, andrea. we are currently in a home with carpet...after i waited 10 years to get hardwoods in the house we sold...and the Lord is challenging me to love it. :) it is a challenge and then some. oh little heart, be content!!!

the Lord is really teaching me that the spirit of a home is more important than the furnishings. i am trying to learn!!

Sandi said...

We have alot of similarities. We do the "kitchen dancing" mostly during dinner clean as a family.

My husband plays bass, my daughter piano and we just purchased a beginner guitar for our 5 yr old. Me, well I watch and listen while nuring the littlest up and coming musician :o)

Clutter makes me mental and I am always getting rid of stuff.
I love hardwood too and how when the sunshine hits it the room is even that much brighter....not to mention the easy clean.

Thanks for sharing and for stopping by my place :o)

Prairie Chick said...

oh am I ever with you, our lists are SO similar. Hardwood, sunshine, music, the big

From a more abstract perspective I love routine, the routine of moving through the day hanging the laundry, washing the dishes, crashing on the hammock or swing or couch for read alouds. The "predictability" and clockwork of our day (even it is not tied to the clock, but more just the routine of it) is so crucial to my "homey" feeling.

Anonymous said...

I also enjoy all those ideas that Sally Clarkson and Edith Schaeffer write about. I've loved reading your blog to spur me on in keeping our home as uncluttered and lovely as possible.

One "big rock" I will mention is that we have a nice family breakfast...and we try to buttermilk pancakes a few times per month. I like for our table to look simply beautiful.

May God bless you and all of your family (including the tiniest member). Mary Brooke

JJ said...

I love when you write about home!

Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson is a great resource.

I love Alexandra Stoddard's books for inspiration. Specifically, Living a Beautiful Life, Creating a Beautiful Home and Open Your Eyes.

Look forward to reading Edith Schaffer...

MamaBear said...

I agree! LOVE sunshine streaming in, especially over a clean shiny, smiling kitchen SINK! The less clutter the better. A good friend once said, the amount of clutter and disorder on the outside sometimes is a good indicator of how the "inside" may look too... Interesting thought hey? I detest carpeting, what winds up underneath is just plain gross. I do love to see some greenery around my house(fake though, as I don't like the dirt/bugs inside and we have asthma around here), it adds some life without being knick-knacky. Finally, one of my favorite homey things, is breeze. I designed our new house to utilize cross breezes, love the fresh air floating around the house...aahhh spring!

Eve said...

I love this post! I echo every word you said. I really like the book Keeping House by Margaret Kim Peterson. We are all influenced by our environment whether we know it or not. Our homes can lift people's spirits and point them to the God of beauty and light without us saying a word.
p.s. how do I get a profile pic attached here?

Anonymous said...

baking. "Specially the smell of it throughout the home and seeing the bikkie (cookie) jar full. Meals made with love...
Fragrance - nice pot pourri and FLOWERS - fresh flowers just picked from my garden is a great joy.
I would love to know what sort of music wafts through your homes from other readers? I love calming instrumental music most of the time, but sometimes want to lighten up and listen to some "groovy" music to cook by (or dance to in the kitchen :)
blessings from Barb in Australia

Anonymous said...

oh - and quilts of course!
Hand sewn stitcheries and... photographs on display.