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Live life with your kids Issue 380
June 05, 2015
|Hi there! ....
This morning I was up early getting things ready for a men's breakfast that Peter hosts every month. As I was cooking muffins and making coffee I was reflecting over the last few weeks and some of the thoughts that I've had.
One of my take-aways from the conference was that regardless of the situations we find ourselves in God is faithful and will provide. I have been particularly thinking of how God has provided for our kids. We live in a remote part of Australia, with a transient population - and it can be easy to wonder if we should be somewhere else. It is easy to think that somewhere else will provide more - or better - than what our current situation offers. But that is green grass on the other side of the fence type of thinking! We have had wonderful, unique and particular opportunities, in part because of where we live. The kids have had one on one opportunities to chat and workshop with some of Australia's top picture book authors and illustrators. They've coached, been on committees and volunteered. There has been opportunity to develop their unique talents with other adults - lifting them to a higher standard. They've had further education opportunities with supportive staff as well as employment opportunities. And we still have a few more years till everyone is over 20! My heart is encouraged in typing this list, I hope your heart is encouraged too. One of the speakers at the conference lived in an even more remote place and her children have all been given unique and amazing opportunities. We need to keep our eyes (and heart) on God, not on the toughness of our situation.
This idea played out in Joshua's graduation as well. As you may have been aware, he was accepted into a 14 week internship over near Canberra for Christians in public policy / public life. You can read about his graduation here. Josh doesn't know what is next for him - he is taking a few weeks to have a break and to think and pray about his options.
It's nice to be back home and to have all the kids around once again. As far as homeschooling goes, Daniel has pretty much finished painting his room and will move onto a new unit of study next week. Naomi has revived her Duke of Edinburgh Award and starting to plan towards that goal.
If you didn't get to the Mum Heart Conference - the key sessions are available to download. Mum Heart Conference 2015 sessions
This week I'm sharing a blog post: Homemaking with things that make me Happy! (click here to read online) Live life with your Kids!
Homemaking with things that make me Happy!
When it comes to homemaking, I have tried to find a balance between having a home that is a place of security and belonging for my family, a place of welcome to others and a practical place where training takes place. Our house serves many purposes.
When I was first married I was very interested in interior decorating – especially living in small spaces and decorating them to be functional and pleasant. Then along came children and my home had an added purpose – to be a place where my children were trained. Some of the ‘nice’ things took a step back as I focused on my children. But there have always been a few things that make me happy regardless of living in a shed, caravan, small house or a large house (and yes, I’ve lived in all those options).
Do you know what makes you happy?
Making your home Beautiful
I’ve often thought about what is it that makes a home beautiful? I have a preconceived idea of what beautiful is – and it creates a false expectation. When I hear ‘beautiful home’ I envisage overstuffed vases of full rose blooms, lace table clothes, linen covered chairs and heavily framed paintings on the wall all in a dimly lit room. Other days I envisage a spacious home with all walls, and furniture painted just off white, with splashes of colour and a few seaside images on the wall. It is a false image because really those things don’t make me happy, they don’t fit my lifestyle (I live in the tropics, on a farm) and they don’t reflect me at all!
We need to hold an image of ‘beauty’ that fits with our reality. Beauty can be simple – or it can be ornate, it can be polished or homemade, it can be bursting with colour or monochrome. One isn’t more beautiful than the other – the key is that we find something that is beautiful – to us – and enjoy it – fill our home with beauty.
What is beautiful to you?
“A Christian, who realizes he has been made in the image of the Creator God and is therefore meant to be creative on a finite level, should certainly have more understanding of his responsibility to treat God's creation with sensitivity, and should develop his talents to do something to beautify his little spot on the earth's surface.” Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking
Create an Atmosphere of Beauty
An atmosphere of beauty is more than the visual things that we fill our home with; more than the furniture, the knick-knacks, the colour scheme or pictures on the wall. An atmosphere is a feeling – and we create this feeling by our attitude. Our attitude to our home, our attitude to what goes on in our home, and our attitude to those who walk in the door (both family, friends, and the stranger).
The first step towards creating an atmosphere of beauty is to be content. We can live in less than ideal situations, we can have limited resources limiting our ability to make changes, and yet, we can find contentment. Our contentment comes from having our eyes on eternal things – on Jesus, on the things that he wants of us – to love God and to love our neighbour. The physical things can help us, for example they can provide a platform to be hospitable, but they can also hinder us by creating a comparison with others, and a dissatisfaction and discontent. By being content with having little, or having much, and being willing to share whatever you have you are able to move beyond the materialistic attitude of today that drives so much of making a home beautiful.
When we focus on relationships – relationships with our own family and then relationships with other people who are in our life or cross our path, we create an atmosphere of beauty. Love is beauty – and love, this other centered kind of love, is a reflection of Jesus – the first creator of beauty. I know that I have been welcomed into homes where my friend has apologised for the clutter, the dirty floor, or the lack of baking and yet we have the most wonderful heart to heart time. I have been welcomed regardless of the external trappings of the house. This is what I remember – the atmosphere of friendship, of beauty, of love.
Proverbs 21:19 Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.
Other versions use the words contentious, vexing, fretful, angry, irritable – if we allow our focus about our home (what we don’t have) to become any one of these emotions it will spill out to our attitude, which will affect our relationships – not only to our husband, but to our children, to our extended family, to our neighbour and to the stranger we meet along the way.
Beauty – inside and out
What we want then is beauty on the inside and the outside – inside our heart, and outside being our physical home. The solution is gratefulness and creativity.
Cultivating gratefulness happens when we focus on what we have, rather than on what we don’t have, and we focus on who has given: God. Gratefulness is much like the word ‘bubbles’ – did you know you can’t say ‘bubbles’ with anger? Neither can you be frustrated or annoyed or discontent when you start thanking God for the things he has done for you, his provision for you, and the things you do have. Gratefulness is the beginning of contentment.
Even in the situations we find ourselves in, God has given each of us an ability to create beauty, physical beauty. I don’t know your natural abilities, I don’t know the resources you have – but a pot plant grown from a cutting can create life in an otherwise drab corner of your home, a beautiful tea towel can create a table runner and bring a splash of colour to an otherwise austere room, tea-towels only cost a couple of dollars.
I remember coming home one day, feeling pretty tired, and when I went to the bathroom there was a small glass bottle with a few cheap “silk” flowers sitting beside my toothbrush. One of my daughters had created a vase from a bottle, by wrapping string around and around, and then using a few cheap artificial flowers she bought joy to my heart. It had been a while since I had taken the time to make beauty in my bathroom – and it wasn’t very much, but it made me happy!
So a few questions to leave you with
And another quote from Edith Schaeffer:
“There needs to be a homemaker exercising some measure of skill, imagination, creativity, desire to fulfill needs and give pleasure to others in the family. How precious a thing is the human family? Is it not worth some sacrifice in time, energy, safety, discomfort, work? Does anything come forth without work?”
Other blog posts I've written recently:
Taking your Children to a Restaurant, including some training tips from a friend in the comments section.
Setting Goals: There's nothing special about January - We took a family night to each write a bucket list!
And digging into the archives I reposted: I've already told you once!
Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.
Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.
Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?
This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.
Contact me: If you have any comments, questions or content ideas I'd love to hear from you.
Make your comment here.
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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter
Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!
The newsletter will also keep you updated with all additions to Lifestyle-Homeschool
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