Happy November to my dear blog friends!
Every week, I join Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for her tea party. Which is one of the reasons you see so much tea here. But I'm excited that she is changing her party from Tea Time Tuesday to No Place Like Home, a blog party where we can share all things home-related. Whew! I have a lot of teacups, but I was running out of ones to share.
|Okay . . . I haven't completely run out. Here's my new (to me) Royal Albert November chrysanthemum teacup.|
In honor of this new focus, I'd like to share some of my own thoughts about home, and specifically, why I have chosen to be a homemaker all these years. I gave up a career as a technical writer when our first child was born because I wanted a slower, more home-centered life for myself and my family. I've never regretted it.
I've always thought that a home should be a sanctuary, a place of respite from the storms of life, a shelter for our loved ones.
There's a lot of beauty and goodness in the world. I try to take the time to look for it. But we all know the world can also be dangerous, harrowing, stressful, and lonely. Besides the wider conflict and issues, our own days can be filled with rude and unkind co-workers, traffic snarls and delays, looming deadlines, pressures to perform and conform, and a myriad of other stressors that deplete and weary us.
When my loved ones, both family and friends, enter our home I want them to feel that, for the time being, they can lay their burdens down. That they are welcomed and loved, pampered and fed.
Some of the ways of doing this include cooking lots of favorite, homemade meals, putting fresh, clean sheets on the beds, arranging flowers and candles on the dinner table, and building a cozy fire in the evenings.
But these aren't the most important things.
When push comes to shove, it's always better to order pizza or scramble some eggs, and spend the time and energy saved listening and loving.
This is one gift I feel I have been able to give by being at home. The gift of time.
Children and friends need a listening ear. Even more important than delicious, home-cooked foods or nicely decorated rooms, is a mom and friend who takes the time to sit and really listen. Not to lecture or advise, but just to listen.
Yes, beautifully arranged flowers, softly glowing candles, freshly baked muffins . . . these are a privilege for the homemaker to provide, and they add a wonderfully homey touch. But it is time and love that most make a home.
I had to be on bed rest for all my pregnancies. One Christmas, when I was pregnant with our second child, I was unable to do any decorating or baking at all. I remember sitting on the couch with our three-year-old daughter, looking at the Christmas tree, hastily put up and decorated by my overworked husband, ornaments crooked and unevenly spaced. I could see hairballs from our golden retriever gently scudding across the hardwood floors. Dinner had been canned soup. I had no idea what shape the kitchen was in or how much laundry was piled up (so thankful for a faithful husband and friends who lent a hand).
I told myself that, Lord willing, I would have years to cook and clean. Right now wasn't the time. My daughter didn't care about fancy cookies or neatly stacked piles of clean laundry anyway. She was just happy to have my undivided attention there on the couch, to have a mom who wasn't distracted by all the details of daily life.
As evening fell, we sat with my husband in the darkness looking at the twinkling Christmas lights. Cuddled together, we told stories and sang Christmas carols. We relaxed into the deep peace of home.
I have thought of that Christmas many times since when I have gotten myself all stressed about having things "perfect." What's that saying? "People don't care what you do, but how you make them feel."
This is home to me. Not perfection, but comfort and safety and love.
Joining Sandi for No Place Like Home.