Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Trying to Keep the Heart at Home

I'm not sure why, but my home has been looking anything but haven-like lately. I know what it is I should be doing, but I find myself doing just the opposite. Laundry needs folding? I think I'll sit and read this magazine. Dry dishes in the dish drainer, awaiting their journey back into the cupboards? Hmm...I think I'll read some of my favorite blogs. Aaack! Why can't I get myself in domestic gear?

I have spent many hours devising a house cleaning schedule. After trial and error, I developed a morning and evening routine that works. I have it posted in my Home Management Notebook. I am well aware what tasks are supposed to be done on what days. Everything looks good on paper. But follow-through? That seems to be sorely lacking.

I am one of those people who feels weighed down by clutter and disorder. I would even go so far as to say that a messy house depresses me. This blog has been neglected lately because this space is supposed to be about how I attempt to make all aspects of my family's life comforting and secure and peaceful. How can I write a post for a blog called "Our Haven on Earth" when my husband keeps asking me when I'm going to clear the clutter off our kitchen counter? Or the miscellaneous spills that were never wiped off the stove burner drip pans set off the smoke detector? {In my defense on that last one, our smoke detector is too close to the stove and seems to be super-duper sensitive to boot} Those occurrences hardly seem like they would take place in a "haven." To ignore that fact and wax poetic about homekeeping would make me feel like the world's biggest hypocrite. A fake.

So, I've been doing some thinking. Something must change. But, before we can change something deep-rooted in ourselves or our thinking, it helps to understand the "whys" behind the issue.

Why am I suddenly having trouble taking care of my home and myself? Okay, not taking care of myself is not really a new issue, but I have been more neglectful than usual of my needs and desires as of late. That's a post for another day. But why the domesticity nosedive?

I have noticed, since we began house-hunting in May, that I seem to have "checked out" of the home we currently inhabit, and have set my sights on the future home instead. Mind you, we haven't actually found the future home yet! But just the idea that we will soon (hopefully) be leaving this house in favor of greener pastures, has led me to abandon any energy or focus that I would normally be putting into here.

But then I realized that God has already blessed us with a comfortable and cozy space to call home. We are living in it right now. Today. Maybe He is waiting for me to show my appreciation and gratitude for our current living situation before He blesses us with the housing situation we desire. Sure, our current home has limitations and drawbacks, but it is also where we hang our hats. At least for the time being. Whether we move out next month or next year, I need to stake claim on the house we inhabit now. Victoria Moran, the author of one of my favorite homemaking books, "Shelter for the Spirit," puts it best:

"This is your home, whether you own it, rent it, or were born into it. Home is where you go to refuel--physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You no more need to own the house for this personal refueling than you need to own the service station to get gas. When your soul claims an address as its own, it doesn't matter if you stay there six months or the rest of your life. While you occupy the space, it is undeniably yours."

I've written in the past about trying to be more present and "live in the moment." I have been successful doing this with regard to my children. It has taken practice and diligence, but I've managed to be more connected during our crazy days. Many times I have had to remind myself to take a deep breath, slow down, savor, and throw myself right into their lives and whatever activity they're doing at that moment. Kids are so great at living in the moment. It's the only way they know how to live.

So, now that I'm comfortably and more naturally being present where my children are concerned, it's time I add a new challenge: being present in my home. My belief has always been, and still is, that "house" and "home" are two different things. To me, a house is a structure. An inanimate object. But a home shelters us physically and emotionally. It is literally pulsating with life. A home is where love gathers. A place where we "shore up" in order to cope with the world outside our familiar front door. That is why I always refer to myself as a homemaker rather than a housewife.

I need to get back to the me that loves "making home." She's in there, I know she is. Heck, I hear she's even got a blog devoted to it! :) Got a little sidetracked lately, that's all. I blame it on the summer heat.
Well, I'm off to tidy up the mayhem around me (really, I'm going to shut this computer off right after I post this). Typing my thoughts out in this fashion seems to have lit a little fire under me. Sorry for the rambling and jumbled-up parts (which pretty much pertains to the entire post). My thoughts were everywhere tonight. Thank you to any faithful readers who followed along this discombobulated path of a post!


  1. I can relate to being slightly depressed by a messy home. Just another way that I feel like you and I are kindred spirits. Walking in after a days work and seeing all the little things that need to be done just make my head spin. I often opt to head upstairs and find my good and reaiable friend the DVD. What is it about this summer? I also haven't been able to stick to any type of routine. You aren't alone my friend.

    I say bring on Fall and the crisp Colorado air to wipe away the summer blues and give us a fresh start.

    Don't be too hard on yourself remember baby steps! Did you ever see "What About Bob?" If not, you need to!

  2. Ugh! You know me, I have used movies/tv more times than I can count when I really should have been tackling the mounds of messes around me instead.

    Let's hope we can both buckle down into a rhythm that works for us once the heat of summer has passed. At least, I'm choosing to blame it on the heat (what will my excuse be once Fall is here??)