The impetus for what I wrote below comes from this true story that I read on Susan Branch's blog. I am a huge fan of Susan Branch's artwork. Everything she draws and paints conjures up images of the home I wish to create. This story is rather long, but oh-so-worth-reading-to-the-end. We never know how we may impact the people we come in contact with.
I've been thinking about this blog, what it represents and how it may portray me as a person. Is it sending the message that I want to send? It is filled with little stories and pretty photos of "stuff", for sure. I hope it isn't sending the message that things are more important that people.
There is a quote in one of my favorite books, Totally Organized, by Bonnie McCullough, that I often stop and recite to myself silently. It goes like this: "People are more important than things. But the order of things affects people.'' I couldn't agree more. I want to focus on people, loving them and making them feel comfortable around me and in our home. In order to do that, I have to pay attention to the "things" that surround us, the details, if you will, of our home. That is homemaking.
What defines homemaking to me? Homemaking is way more than just cooking and cleaning, though it requires both. (Too bad that is often what the world thinks: a homemaker is a live-in maid.) To me, home is not the house or the "things"; it is the atmosphere. And my job as a homemaker is to create that atmosphere. I want the atmosphere of our home to be a safe, peaceful haven from the world outside our doors. I want those who live here and those who visit here to feel comfortable and happy. I want them to be well fed, both physically and spiritually. I want our home to reflect the love of Christ.
Ryan has a friend that comes over from time to time. He comes from a very disfunctional background. No child should have to experience what he did while growing up. One day I was in the kitchen, puttering around, doing what I do, and he was leaning against the island talking to me. He said, "When I get married, I want my wife to do what you do. I want her to stay home and take care of our house and children. That isn't the way I grew up, but that is what I want." I'm so happy that he can come here and experience what "home" is supposed to feel like.
One of Abby's friends came in the back door recently and said, "I love coming over here! There is always something cooking!" And she knows she is welcome to stay and eat. One of Brad's friends likes to eat over here because his mom doesn't cook very often. There was a time when I wouldn't have been comfortable hosting spur-of-the-moment dinner guests. I would be nervous that there wasn't enough food. Now I just say "stay and eat", because I know that we can stretch whatever we have. The God who fed five thousand with two fish and five little loaves of bread has shown me that He can feed an extra mouth or two at my house, and my family won't suffer for it!
My kids tease me because I have to play music at dinner. My mother always had pretty music playing at our house, so I grew up with it. I try to match the music to the food! If it is Italian food, out comes the 20 Romantic Italian Love Songs CD. Sometimes it's just classical piano. Whatever! But there is going to be music playing before I sit down at the table. It is part of the atmosphere that I love to create.
Decorating is part of creating the atmosphere. I like to change things, move them around, update them. It is part of my personality. And I think it keeps things interesting. I'm a romantic at heart. Romance is so much more than just the love between two people. It really has more to do with evoking feelings, conjuring up beautiful images of a place or time, creating or displaying something pretty. As a romantic, I am drawn to vintage furniture and accessories. For some reason, I love things that have a past. I love going home for a visit and seeing all the things I grew up with, even down to the kitchenware. So I love to decorate with things that have a past.
If you've read this far, I want to say that I hope I've shared a little about what I want to do with this blog. I want to share our lives, our home. I hope I may inspire someone, even in a small way, to see homemaking the way I do, as a valid and valued profession. I love my job.
PS- If you skipped the story linked at the top, pleeaassee go back and read it! :-)