Thursday, April 14, 2011

Simple Living: Peace at Home

I had an email, from a lovely mother of many, who asked if I could share more about finding the actual *time* to have peace and simplicity in the home. Let me start off by saying that each family is so different. The fact that I have three children compared to six, seven, eight or nine children (which is a truly wonderful blessing to you who have such a beautifully large family!) can change the dynamics a bit. So my methods and ideas aren't the do-all-end-all...they are what works for me!
Also, let me also say that my home is filled with laughter, tears, chatter and even (yes, it's true) arguments between children. They are each individuals and as parents, we are teaching them, as they grow and mature, *how* to properly express and take care of themselves. This includes teaching them to pick up messes they leave around the house and the proper ways to handle situations (especially with each other).

So, with all that in mind, let's dive in, a bit, into some things I feel are important for a peace-filled home!

I want to start with the suggestion, that if you don't already, get into the Word. Read it, think on it, soak it in. Many mothers say that they just have *no* time to read their Bible. I say, if you have time to be on the internet...then you have time to be reading God's Word. It is the *best* way to start and/or finish the day! A cheerful mother makes for a much more cheerful home!

**On that note, I also want to admit that some days I am just *not* cheerful, at all. Especially when, for example, we have multiple days of rain in a row...where it is just cloudy, dreary and depressing out...days like that I can tend to feel pretty low. I *do* find that lighting some nice smelling candles in the house really helps with that though!**

Now, in my home, I am constantly "picking up"...and also have the children do the same. When there is a matchbox car on the floor that no one is playing with...I will have one of the children get it and put it away. I will pick up trash that may be sitting around somewhere. I like to keep blankets folded (they get used often in this house...but when not in use...I fold 'em up!). When places in your home are cluttered (or covered in a deep layer of dust) it can take away any feeling of calm or peace that you may have. I feel that it is *very* important to have your children help with this. They need to learn that things can not just sit around when not in use. When I wash dishes, Madelyn will put them away. Keeping up with things around the home is a *big* time saver!

I also find, for us, smells in a home can be very relaxing (or terribly unpleasant). Candles, essential oils, open windows...all can make the smell of your home pleasant and inviting. Some people (like my mom, for instance) are sensitive to smells. Candles, perfumes and the like can give them headaches etc. If you have a sensitive-sniffer ;) then maybe just using some essential oils in your cleaning and airing out your home with the windows open may be better than burning candles. I also love to light oil lamps. I recommend the smokeless, odorless oil for those, as the regular oil is quite stinky! ;)

Maybe for some, peacefulness equates to complete silence. For me, however, I enjoy beautiful music, hearing the wind chimes bump together in the breeze, & laughter of my children. Another sound I love is hearing the children ride their bikes...hearing them out on the basketball court, in the back, makes me smile. I also love the sounds of the children breathing while they nap...or even Ruthie (my shadow-like dog)...I am listening to her rhythmic breathing right now, as she sleeps! (Don't get me wrong though...a bit of quiet is nice too!) The sounds of the dogs barking or the children arguing are not ones I love...but do happen every day, at times.

Finding peace in your home isn't about sitting for hours, sipping tea, while reading a delightful book and listening to classical music. It's about loving the moments...the good and the bad...that make your house a home. It's about taking the things that are the most unpleasant (clutter, yelling, arguments, daily mess etc.) and finding ways to handle them well. There are times in every day (even if they only last 5 minutes!) where we can sit, rest, breathe. It's not about surviving the day...but savoring it. Sure...some days are harder than others. Life includes struggles and battles....hurts and pains. But praying through them and learning from them is how we become better parents and *people*.

I made a little list of different things I find to be helpers in achieving a more simple home:

* Make a checklist of things to accomplish the next day. (There is such a feeling of satisfaction in checking things off as you go!)

* If you see something that needs done, do it! (Don't procrastinate!)

* Let the children help! (Even if they don't do it perfectly...they need to learn...and you need the help!)

* Purge things, often. Donate a lot! (How much *stuff* do we need!?)

* Baking from scratch is best!

* Turn off the TV!

* Spend time reading to your children and let them read to you!

* Eat supper at the table as a family!

* If you and/or your children are involved in too many activities, you may want to cut a few out (even church activities). Home is the best place to be. It *is* possible to be involved in too many things!

* Let the children run, play and use their imaginations outside!

* Remember that you are creating a cozy home ~ not a cold, lifeless museum.

* Some important advice I took in, when reading Mrs. Dunwoody's book was: "Strive for excellence not perfection." Yes, yes, yes! :)

I hope you have found some ideas that will benefit you, here, today. I hope I have helped. I am just a mama, like you, trying my best to do what is right...each and every day. I make mistakes (a lot of them) and am so far from perfection! However, I know that perfection is not obtainable...so I strive for excellence instead. I'm still far from that...but striving!! ;)

I'm so glad you stopped by! I know I was a bit long-winded today...but I had a lot I wanted to say...and even now, I am trying to think if there is anything I missed. But, the day is slipping by and I have much to do! The sun is up and shining brightly! I have clothes to hang out and schooling to do! I hope you are enjoying your week! :)

Warmly,
Katy :)

Linked up at: Strangers & Pilgrims

He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30

20 comments:

  1. I just loved this Katy!! Thank you because I have no idea how to keep a home. And I am 41 and have never been good at it. But with your help (sent by our amazing God) I am getting better and better every day. I have three young children and don't want them to grow up in a messy home and then go on to have messy homes themselves.

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  2. You're so right Katy, it really is about how we look at it and what our expectations are. I know that personally I feel more relaxed if we don't have somewhere to run all the time either.

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  3. Hi again Katy. I so agree with you on how to take care of ourselves. How we present ourselves shows that we care about our image. We do not need fancy clothes or anything fancy to to look good. Keeping a neat house and appearance is all that is needed.My friends(in a loving way) tease me about ironing my kids clothes before sending them to school and even the soccer uniforms.Doing laundry,ironing and beds made are a must for me everyday.I am very happy to be able to share my feeling with someone that is like me. Thank you
    Have a great day
    jean

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  4. Katy, thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. We live very busy lives and with three very active children chaos can certainly take over. I am going to try some of your suggestions and create some loving, peaceful moments. Thanks, SUE

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  5. A lovely post today. Thank you Katy. :)

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  6. Thank you For this lovely post! Pretty much everything you've said I already know but you know how it is....we forget that those simple steps actually make a huge difference!!! For example reading Gods word every day....really just a few minutes of my time but it puts me in the right mind set for the entire day! So worth it!
    Thank you so much for the reminder...all of um really....it's been a busy past 2-3 weeks and I just need to slow down a bit. Life just isnt nearly perfect....but it is the wonderful life God has chosen for me today! I will enjoy it and do the very best I can!
    Thank you!
    Have a wonderful day!!

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  7. This is so wonderful and so true! Another thing to mention (you might have mentioned it) that makes for a peaceful mom (thus, a home) is to get up early, before the kids. I know you do this too. :) I am immediately flustered if my kids end up waking ME up instead of my waking THEM up. :)

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  8. Also, the Lord has really helped me with the procrastination issue. I used to leave a toy on the floor for the kids to pick up (like, if they were outside playing) later or I would leave it there until I got to their room to pick up. Now, I pick up whatever I see. There is still plenty for the kids to pick up when they are around! :)

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  9. What a delightful post, Katy! I feel peaceful after having simply read it! I'm off to tidy some clutter now... :)

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  10. I have followed your blog now for while now...I didn't realize until your last couple of post just how judgemental you are...some mom's have no choice but to work...I'm a stay at home mom by choice, but I also support my friends that are working mom's...I just didn't think it was up to us to judge anyone like that...I thought there was only "One Judge"...but I guess I was mistaken...Sadly I will no longer be following your blog...:(

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  11. Anon.

    Did you read the post right before this one? I completely opened my heart and explained myself. I'm sorry you feel that way, but I feel that if you had actually read each of my posts, you would know what I am truly saying.

    ...and why is it that whenever someone has something "not nice" to say, they do it anonymously?

    Best wishes to you and I am sorry you feel led to stop reading.

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  12. Your Posts are always so warm and welcoming. I love posts like this one that is so pure and true. Even though I am only 20yrs old and still have sometime before I become a mom and a wife, I get excited to become those things and a home owner because of what I read from your blogs. I hope when I start a family and get my own house that I can have a "Peaceful Home" like you have built in your own.
    God Bless!

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  13. Chin up girl; you are an amazing woman and mother and your children are fortunate to have you as your mother; as your family is also very fortunate. When I know someone is mad at me or cursing me privately, it helps to know they are leaving someone else alone. I, for one, enjoy reading your blog. However, I wish you would stop showing all those homemade goodies that make me HUNGRY or show me how to make them. LOL

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  14. What a refreshing post Katy. Thank you for reminding me about so much from this post. I strive to get it all together and with the help of the Lord and being led to people such as yourself I know I will.

    Thanks again for posting from your heart my friend.

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  15. Wonderful post, Katy! I am so thankful the Lord led me to your blog! Thanks for sharing your heart, your family and your home with us.

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  16. Katy just awesome Post. so filled
    with "Wisdom" which comes from
    spending time in the Word (Bible)...
    Such a blessing you are.... for
    sharing from the heart...

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  17. Hi, Katy. Just found your blog through Rosie's Ramblings. I was wondering if you've ever had trouble with the lamp oil you use? I, too, love the oil lamps and use that same oil, but recently I've been having major problems with my lungs getting super congested and scratchy when I burn it. I see Rosie's family uses red kerosene, which quite honestly, kind of scares me! Any alternative ideas?

    Don't worry about the negative comment. Examine yourself to see if there's any truth to it, pray for the commentor, and keep serving God with all your might! It's nice that people can freely comment, as long as you know how to handle the nay-sayers. We're all different!

    One really great blog I've found is Passionate Homemaking and Inspired to Action, which are both powerful in equipping Christian women to keep the right focus in their homes. Thanks for your blog!

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  18. A wonderful list and so true. I find I need to remind myself that all I am doing is about loving those in my life. The love is more important, then what I am doing. Clarice

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  19. I was reading through some of your old posts, and thankfully found this one! How inspiring to read this! Thanks for taking the time to write this, it was JUST what I needed to read today!

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I am always so grateful to read your comments! I thank you for the time you took to visit and share your thoughts with me. :o)
May you enter as a stranger and leave as a friend!
Warmly, Katy