Thursday, October 21, 2010

No Place Like Home...

(A view of my bedroom. Not perfect, but cozy.)

This past weekend, I clocked about 26 hours of travel time between West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. I saw a lot of beautiful sights with blue skies and colorful foliage, deer standing at dusk in the fields beside the roads I travelled, geese and ducks resting in ponds between migration flights. What a pretty weekend.

(An old glass lamp and candle, both given to me by various family members.)
I saw many beautiful houses in what used to be some farmer's pasture. These houses were large, modern structures meant to "demonstrate" a family's wealth and status. But those houses were not impressive. Oh, to the majority of those passers-by, they could have been impressive, but to me, they were a sad reality of where we have come as a society.

(Old plates and cups, dried beans in jars and some of my many cookbooks.)
One neighborhood in particular lay in the path of a hill and many trees which happened to be blocking the rays of the setting sun. It was about 4:30 pm, and without exception, every house was dark inside. There were no lights in the windows, no sign of life within. They appeared cold, dark, forbidding almost.

(Glassware and doilies from family members on a dry hutch given to me by my mother.)
I wondered about the families that lived in these houses. I assumed they were typical, modern American families. Both parents presumably work outside the home, their 2.5 children attend school, sports, music, dance and other extra-curricular activities. This house is used as a "base" of operation, where one goes to shower, sleep, maybe eat a quick meal before heading out to the next frenetic activity.

( A piece of my textile art with a display of teacups and saucers, all from thrift stores.)
I guess the thing that bothered me most is the impression of "home" that the children in this society are getting. Rarely do you find mothers home before their children, with dinner simmering on the stove, maybe fresh bread or cookies coming out of the oven. Is there a candle lit somewhere, soft music swelling in the background? Is there time for a snuggle and story before Daddy gets home?
(An old wooden crate holding various knick-knacks hung on one wall in the kitchen.)
I told my husband this morning that I am a "freak of nature" in this modern world. But more than anything, I want to be here to give my children a sense of "home". I want them to have roots that penetrate their very hearts, making it impossible to get away from those treasures we all long for, even if we do so secretly. I want my children to go out into the world and to be home-sick. Not so that they are crippled and can't escape my apron strings, but so that they will be driven to provide a similar home for their own families.

(The mantle in the living room. Everything here was either given to me or I found at a thrift store.)
I want to provide a "Place of Grace" to my family. I don't ever expect to make the front of "House Beautiful" or to earn some fantastic reality show on HGTV. It's not even about that. It's about providing a place of comfort, beauty, warmth, love, peace and protection from the world. It's about doing the best I can with the resources God has given me to create an environment that is pleasing to the Lord. It's about making sure my family has the best...the best of my love, the best of my time, the best of my prayers, the best of my teaching, the best of my discipling.
(A hoosier recently given to me by my Aunt, with more teacups, saucers, and pretty plates that I have been collecting from thrift stores.)

Ladies, could I offer you some advice? Be willing to stand against the push and pull of society. Be willing to make your house a home in every sense of the word. Don't allow the "status quo" to force your house to become a "base of operations" but do everything in your power to make your home, well... a home.
With all my hopes for you,


Lisa Tomlins said...

Love this, Beth! Thanks for the lovely and encouraging reminder to keep our hearts focused on our homes. I needed that! :)

Anonymous said...

I believe you can be a great inspiration to mothers and should try to get speaking engagements. Oops...that would probably take away from your precious time and family. Sorry. But not many mothers stop to even consider how much they are 'just spinning their wheels' and going nowhere. Perhaps you could write a book that would be just as inspiring. May God Bless your dedication to serving Him in your best place - family.

Adrienne in Ohio said...

I have been so blessed to be able to stay home with our children. I love it that they run back to give me a hug before getting on the bus. Thanks for the encouragement to keep focused on our calling.