Sunday, 17 April 2016
Home sweet home . . .
A man's home is his castle or so we are told. I was so impressed several years ago when I was in American and saw the size and beauty of the homes I was in. I had never seen such large or beautiful homes for "ordinary" folk in my life. For sure I have been in many majestic homes, but they were for the ultra rich and show pieces, and not what I would call "homes." They have no heart. And that is what makes a house a "home." Plenty of heart, and I have to say that all of the homes I visited in American had plenty of heart!
All of the homes of my childhood and indeed married life were very humble, small dwellings. Military housing. Cookie cutter houses. Size determined by the size of your family. Most were very small, even the ones designed to house larger families. I did have a lovely big house at one point . . . my ex and I built it ourselves and it was beautiful and built to my own design, but we were not in it for very long when we were yanked back out of it again. My soul has always longed to have a lovely old fashioned "Farm House" with plenty of room to stretch out in and plenty of heart. Not likely to happen on this side of the veil, unless we come into a huge sum of money, but never mind, there are still ways you can have the home you love even if it is small.
A home that embraces and welcomes is within all of our reach . . . and needn't be expensive to attain.
When I think of all of the homes I have enjoyed being in . . . harmony seems to be the key. All of the rooms blend together harmoniously without jarring. You don't step from a farm country kitchen to a living room from Versailles . . . with a Danish modern dining room. Rooms which harmonize with each other can create a more spacious and welcoming feeling . . . a home which is at peace.
Each room needs to be filled with things that have a purpose, with no one thing overwhelming everything else . . . things such as an oversized television, or a gigantic centrepiece on a dining table that is far too large for the space that it is on . . . or one which is too small. Harmony . . .
Cleanliness is next to Godliness, or so I have always been told, and it is a theme I embrace. I cannot stand lots of clutter, even if it is organized clutter and I have been on a quest this year to get rid of clutter. Clutter is far too overwhelming. I just feel a great weight off once it is gone, even if getting rid is a bit of a painful exercise. Too much stuff just weighs you down . . . use it, love it, or just get rid.
Outside our doors there is always something which needs doing, demands on our time, traffic that tests our limits, drama . . . our homes should be a refuge from all of that, a shelter from the storms which rage outside our walls and a part of that begins in having a home which is clean and uncluttered. First of all. . . a house which is filled with clutter is difficult to keep clean, and secondly . . . it is impossible to feel peace if everywhere you turn there is a "chore" waiting to be done. Keeping a house clean and uncluttered is the groundwork for loftier achievements.
Happiness, thriving relationships, intellectual stimulation, hobbies which nurture creativity and a sense of renewed enthusiasm and energy for life. A home should look "tended to" without it seeming to be "overdone" . . . and it needn't be expensive. Fluffed up pillows, a vase filled with flowers, freshly laundered throws, scented candles. Grace notes of sight and scent which help to make even the smallest home feel gracious and welcoming.
People who live in gracious homes tend not to be wasteful. They treat the things around them with duty and with care. Taps are not left running, lights are not left on when not being used, things are not acquired on impulse and without a lot of thought going into them. You don't jump on the sofas and beds. What is used is needed. What is bought is fully enjoyed. What is leftover is shared. You can have the same sofa for a lifetime if its well cared for and kept clean and maintained. It's amazing how much difference a new throw can make, or new pillow covers . . . with very little cost involved . . .
Everytime I look at my lounge, I see that it is filled with things that other people (no matter how kind) have given to us and Todd feels the need to accept . . . a HUGE china cabinet with mirrors and lights in it . . . it is a beautiful piece of furniture, and yes it is used, but it overwhelms the room. There are a bazillion pictures on the walls . . . because he admired them and someone gave them to us. I find it almost too much . . . with three gonging clocks . . . a grandmothers, a pendulum wall with Westminster chimes, and a huge mantle clock. Each is lovely . . . but do we really need three? This is an area where our WW2 and Postwar mentalities come into direct conflict with each other. We need to decide what to keep and what to dispose of. (Don't get me startd on the black glass tv stand which is a magnet for dust. I could dust it a hundred times a day and it never looks like I touched it.)
Just a few of the things I want to change.
Homes which preserve the "do-it-for-ourselves" traditions just seem to me to be happier places, more interesting places. They make me want to know the people who live there . . . to dig in with them and get my hands dirty . . . to make jam together, or to pick berries and bake pies . . . to make salad from the fresh leaves and radishes which grow in pots next to the back door.
I love curtains that look homemade . . . and crocheted throws, quilted pillow coverings, crochet placemats . . . a place for everything and everything in its place with a bit of whimsy on the side.
A home filled with comfy chairs that you want to nestle down into and read a good book, tables which beg a rousing game of cards to be played upon, windows that sparkle . . . a home filled with personality and life . . . and joy . . . with rooms that flow and invite, with nothing that jars . . . with a pulse and a rhythm which moves with and celebrates the seasons in small and meaningful ways. Filled with warmth and generosity of spirit.
They say that people fall in love with houses, but that houses never love you back, and I suppose that is very true in many ways, but I think that if you can take the time to manage your little part of the world, with energy and thought . . . and yes, heart . . . you can end up with a home that makes you want to return to it, that seems to grab you in a nice soft hug at the end of the day, filled with comfort and joy and peace. A home that welcomes all who enter into its doors. And you won't need a pair of ruby slippers to get there.
That's my goal. I'm working on it bit by tiny bit. I'll let you know how I get on.
We're staying home today because we have no car, but that doesn't mean we won't be feeling that Sunday spirit. We still haven't listened to all of the Conference talks so I think we may listen to a few of them. I've been listening them to in bed as I fall asleep over these past few evenings and its been really wonderful. Last night it was this one.
"When difficult things occur in our lives, what is our immediate response? Is it confusion or doubt or spiritual withdrawal? Is it a blow to our faith? Do we blame God or others for our circumstances? Or is our first response to remember who we are . . . that we are children of a loving God? Is that coupled with an absolute trust that He allows some earthly suffering because He knows it will bless us, like a refiner’s fire, to become like Him and to gain our eternal inheritance?"
~Elder Donald L Hallstrom
It is an amazing way to fall asleep . . . I highly recommend it!
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Easy Lemon Refrigerator Dessert.
Wherever you go and whatever you get up to today, don't forget!
═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░G░O░D⊰✿⊰L░O░V░E░S⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════
And I do too!