Category Archives: Home

House to Home

I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. Isaiah 48:17

A Home means therthe pathe are people in it, and there is love, security and memories created within that structure.  A House transforms into a Home when layers are added.

When I walk through our Home, I add layers by what I do. As I grow older, I am more purposeful in my actions. There is no right from wrong, too much, too little, because our Lord made each of us uniquely. There should never be guilt associated either. However you choose to layer your Home will be perfect if it’s done with a pure heart.

Many of the layers I add to my Home are done simply because I like them. It’s what I’m drawn to and fits my personality. Other layers are added as I watch my family; their reactions and desires. Layers for a Home can be found in sight, sense, smell, touch, etc.

I light candles because I love the scent and the warm flicker.

I use lamps as indirect lighting because it creates a peaceful, calm atmosphere.

I open curtains to start our day, and then close them at dusk to signal rest for our Home.

I have either flowers, a plant, leaves and acorns or something”alive” from outside in the Home to bring nature in.

readingI hug each member of our family and tell them I love them daily.

I bake in our Home so the smells of yumminess drift through the rooms.

I lay books, journals, newspapers and magazines on table tops to encourage the refreshment of reading, writing and stillness.

I place pictures of special moments in sight so they can enrich our memories.

I set a basket of soft blankets in our living room so that everyone can snuggle and stay longer.

These are not amazing things that I have discovered. I never even thought about any of them until recently. But once I put some thought to them, it brought joy to my heart. Layering your Home isn’t about how long the checklist can be. You already have layers in your Home just by being you.

Layer for you; how God designed you. Then Layer for family; each one unique. This will create a Home that is rich and full of Life.

As our blog shares more about the layers we love, please note: some will speak to your heart more than others. And some will be that tug from our Lord, nudging you to try them for yourself. A few will be for remembrance of childhood or loved ones. And absolutely none of them are to make any of us feel inadequate. Layers are used to enrich our Homes; a few, or many, depends entirely on the family and God’s design.

shammrock

 

 

 

Shifting Seasons

We all have these shifting seasons throughout our lives. They are sometimes smooth, while rocky at other times. None of us are exempt from the effects of both. In each season, I find myself looking for ways to be grounded in the Lord. It’s quite easy when the forecast is sunny. The blessings are flowing, the schedules are clicking, the famicloudsly is in harmony and everyone’s health is stellar. This is when my devotional time comes easily and my prayers are full of thankfulness. In these moments I feel
very put together. I LOVE this time of year!

But as I reflect back a few years ago as I was rocking my first son, the feelings were of awe, but also exhaustion. It didn’t dawn on me at the time that my season was permanently shifting as I rocked that sweet boy. I went from a very contained and orderly lifestyle into unknown territory. So I struggled with how to stay close to God. I mourned my quiet-times with Him. This is something that doesn’t just happen with new mothers, this touches all women in differing seasons. I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I was “just me;” not attached to this new little one. I then realized this was the new normal and I was forever attached by heart.  So as this started to sink in, I thought that if I could just have some quiet-time once more with the Lord then I could hold it all together. This is when something peculiar happened. I didn’t get it right away, but I sure do now, and I want to pass it on to you

This voice of guilt and despair came crashing into my thoughts. When I felt broken and weary from late-night feedings, household chores, church activities, etc., that voice would grow louder and yell thoughts like: “Not trusting!” “You’re failing!” “This is too much for you!” I would be too tired some days to read a Bible verse, or look at a devotional book. Sleep always won, and the voice of failure would too. So I want you to hear me say that none of that is from the Lord. I found this spot so consky through structurefusing; I was in love with my new baby, but mourning my individuality. I wasn’t looking for a way out; I just wanted to go from survive to thrive again.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

And so the Lord began to bring clarity to my thoughts…I began to sing praise songs out loud when holding my child. This calmed the baby, soothed my heart, and brought delight to my Heavenly Father. I placed scripture on the walls of our home, since I felt too weak to lift a Bible some days. I saw the Word of Life across my house (post-it notes totally count!). I reached out and asked some cherished friends for prayer support in this season. Please don’t listen to that voice of shame when you reflect on a way you may have behaved in the exhaustion. Don’t let the critical thoughts creep in and say you haven’t done enough. Our Lord will redeem and restore the time; He is not the voice of condemnation. And He will stand in those gaps that we cannot fill, that we are not meant to fill because we were not designed to be self-sufficient. We were made to walk beside Him, which is such a beautiful honor; such release if we can ever wrap our minds around it.sunset over house

The season shifted, and I now have my boys watching all that I do. I still may not have too many coherent thoughts in the noise of our home, but I have a Bible and that devo book by a chair in the living room. And I have given myself permission to not mentally record how often I read from them. However, I do find myself reading small glimpses in the middle of our crazy lifestyle. My children see me pick them up and look at them. Some days are so loud that I just hold that Bible while interacting with a son. I find myself returning more and more as I draw strength and peace from our Lord. I taped a prayer calendar inside my medicine cabinet, and I pray each day’s word over my family while brushing my teeth! This counts, and it works because there is power in prayer. A while back I also battled the voice of guilt on the topic of Bible Studies. If you have an opportunity and a desire, then by all means go! It will bless your socks off!! However, if you are in that season that makes it impossible, then don’t allow yourself to be labeled a failure; that is most assuredly not of our Lord. There is God-time in pushing a stroller through the neighborhood and taking in the beauty of the day. There is God-time in taking a nap with your young one and stopping to listen to them breathe in the silence. And there is God-time in Legos, coloring, story books and games.sky - golden streak

May we behold the beauty of this great King in the daily routines of our life.  (Meka)

Do not let the negative steal your days as you walk them out with Jesus. Or society invade your thoughts on right from wrong. Each day we have the opportunity to reach out to our God who is extending His hand for us always. Praise, pray, love, and honor;  personalize them for yourself  in each season that you walk into.

 

 

Words in our Home

The words we speak in our homes are so powerful. Words can be spoken in a way that edify and result in strengthening the connections we have with one another. Or our words can tear down and fray those tender threads that link us to our loved ones.

Words within a family carry underlying messages:

“I know you.” “You are meaningful to me.”
“I want to continue our story together.”
“We have something shared that’s unique to us.”

Not only the content, but the tone conveys so much….are we communicating warmth? criticism? rejection? belonging? This is a daily struggle. I have to be intentional DAILY in my choice of words, my timing, and especially my tone of voice. The words we have posted throughout our homes are as much for us as parents as they are for our children. They are reminders to maintain the peace, to speak truth, to be kind.

there's no place like home
“there’s no place like home”

When we think about the “tapes” in our heads from our own childhood, what do we hear? Think back to those tender junior high lunch encounters, those rowdy high school band trips, those tension-filled college interviews. How many of those events had a word or phrase etched into the memory? How many of these were more negative than positive because it felt seared into us at the time?

The lines repeated to us the most and grooved into us are most likely from our closest family members and carved in deeply during intense interactions filled with highly charged emotions. What are we as parents instilling in our children’s heads? What tracks are we laying down? When our child is in a tough spot, does our voice pop in with an encouraging tone “you’ve got this!” or a negative tug “what did you do NOW?” Home is where we practice our words and reactions with one another. It’s where the training ground is for communication.

My husband and I have been working toward fostering a ‘no criticism’ buffer around our dinner table, redirecting and reminding our sons to rephrase negative statements they make to one another. Recently, we capitalized on a sermon we heard about not using a filter of negativity with one another. The pastor’s message was about how much we “filter” over our interactions, not being true and genuine, often putting a negative spin on others to cast ourselves in a better light. Since we heard this message as a family, I made a #nofilter reminder sign and place it in the center of our table. When this reminder was first invoked, my #nofilteroldest son was particularly quiet throughout the meal. My middle son noticed this and complimented his brother on respecting the #nofilter rather than make critical comments to correct his younger siblings’ stories. We acknowledged both of their efforts and moved on, not dwelling on it. It’s a little reminder with a powerful impact: this time and place is a protected space to be yourself

The family dinner table is a small zone to cover, but so far seems manageable. It creates a safe zone when we all come together for a meal, especially if we’ve been scattered in different directions throughout a busy day. This safety zone invites us to linger a little longer over a meal because feelings aren’t being hurt by inadvertent comments or direct put-downs. It’s slowly becoming a family norm so we as parents don’t have to police the verbal barbs quite so much.

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

One night shortly after starting this new routine, I served baked apples as a fall treat. I suggested to my youngest, who was my dinner helper, to come up with a quick family game. He chose “Apples to Apples” to coincide with our dinner. We did a 10-minute round of the game, which ended in a greater sense of family closeness and much laughter at my husband’s expense. (Now we have a new family catch phrase “Glitter hands!” that we can use as a tension breaker, but that’s another story!) I think I had more energy to prolong the dinner into a family activity because we hadn’t been refereeing negativity. It’s a simple shift in a specific family routine that hopefully will gradually extend into other interactions.

Where might your #nofilter zone be? At your dinner table? In the car? At bedtime? During school drop-off? The 30-minutes right after a child’s sporting event?