Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Home Is the Real World

When the rush is over, and all is said, and all is done, everyone comes home to a world of their own making. This is a place that is regulated by those who live here. While family members may be consulted, the arranging, maintaining and appearance of this place is largely determined by the woman at home. No one in their right mind wants the wife and mother to be miserable in her own home. That is why it is essential that she be encouraged to exercise her experience and judgement in the placement of furniture, the colors and the types of things that she will be living with.

One example that I can relate is that of the woman who wants a chair in a certain place while she reads or does her crafts and needlework. She knows where the light will be and over which shoulder it will come, providing the best advantage to do her work. She knows why she wants the bookshelf arranged in a particular order, because, while at home she obeserves the habits and preferences of her loved ones. She has to be able to control this domain, and determine the kinds of things that come in to her house. She will know what irritates her and what gives her a homey, peaceful feeling. She has to have free reign in the house, to control the clutter and to create the scene that gives her a sound mind.

I doubt very much anyone really wants to drive a homemaker into a state of confusion, but nonetheless, that is what happens when the living room is so cluttered there is nowhere to sit and enjoy the home, and the bedrooms are so full of clutter that the doors will not open, or the kitchen is full of things that do not function as kitchen tools. Order, then, is one of the most important things in giving the home a peaceful atmosphere. The homemaker is free to control this and can discover her own methods that are effective. She doesn't have to be told what to do, any more than the ant has to be told what to do, because her very instincts tell her that the home must be a pleasant place and that she must diligently oversee this mission. (Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. )Although it may not come natural to all women, after home living for a certain amount of time, most people can develop a feeling for the kind of atmosphere they want in their houses.

Think, if you will, of the impression you would get when you dropped by the house of a friend or relative. Perhaps having arrived when the hostess was not expecting you and was away from home, you may have peeked into the window. Inside, you see the sweetest room, and though not entirely matching, it is complete with every element that pleases the heart. Let us say this is a seating area with a plump cushion on it, and though it is for support of the back when seated, it is also pleasingly decorative; maybe with an embroidered hummingbird and a flower.

Your eyes pan around the room in a virtual tour, resting upon the little side tables with bearing shiny lamps and little books with gold-embossed titles. Then you see a potted lily in its full bloom, placed inside a pretty container. The pictures on the wall and the colorful area rug all invite you in. You see the hostess's knitting or crochet in a basket next to her chair. A tea set sits ready to serve, on a low table in the middle of the room.

Although the entire house may not be up to viewing by company or outsiders, we might consider the impression we give from the front window. People are not always influenced by attending a lecture or reading a book. Sometimes we can do more than we realize just by the appearance of our homes through the front window.

Paintings by Susan Rios: An Elegant Affair, and Beyond the Green Door, are available for purchase from Pierpoint Galleries online. These posters are a lot less money than an original painting, and can be a great inspiration at home because of the beauty and calmness they portray. If we surround ourselves in such elegance, we can develop a feeling of dignity for our role as homemakers.


Anonymous said...

Reading this made me think that you took a peak inside my own heart.

God Bless your sweet heart

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post.
Thank you.

Candy said...

So true! I LOVED this post! Thanks so much Lady Lydia :)

Sunny Ellis said...

I feel like this is a dream world that I will never live in. I want so badly to have an organized house, I just never learned as a child. I keep trying and failing. I feel like a failure as a wife. I don't want to have children until I can bring them into an organized peaceful home even though I know that DH and I have SO MUCH LOVE to give to them. I feel defeated.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for encouraging women to use their best judgement in arranging and decorating their home. I agree that "no one in their right mind wants a wife and mother to be miserable in her own home. Unfortunately, my husband sees my efforts at making our nest comfortable and homey as a waste of time and money. My tastes are very inexpensive--I acquired most of our furniture at thrift stores and garage sales (I am amazed at the beautiful things people don't want). I love to sew and can use paint and gorilla glue to fix just about anything. When I lived alone, people who visited my home always commented on how warm and cozy it felt. I don't want to make my husband unhappy, but he gets angry when I do anything to make the house nice. He told me my efforts mean that I am not happy with our home as it is. I love our home; I am just nesting as women love to do. I still long to make things homey, but I have pretty much given up trying because it isn't worth fighting about if my husband is so opposed to the idea. It is not an issue of money and I have been careful not to make our house overly feminine. Do you have any advice for me? I have read most of your blog and have applied your ideas and the ideas of other Christian housewife bloggers, and I see great improvement in the quality of my homemaking and our family life. I would greatly appreciate your feedback on how handle this issue. Mrs G

Anonymous said...

fantastic post!!!

Anonymous said...

And yet the wife and mother is pushed, pushed, pushed. Pushed to leave her home, to be a little production robot, bring home that pay, keep the spending party going at all costs. On the flip side, I even think that we who are keepers at home still face enormous temptations to drive ourselves to be and to do above and beyond, in order to justify our stay-at-home existence. It is possible to over-decorate, to take on too many DIY projects, insist on serving only the latest fad of health food diet, keep farm animals, make soap, volunteer too much, shop too much, seek to adopt babies from foreign countries after we are middle-aged and we've raised our own, go on mission trips, and shake down everyone we know to sponsor our walks, runs, and whatever. We decide the church our husbands feel comfortable in is either not celebrating the sabbath on the right day, or its not Godly, conservative, modest dressing, or (you fill in the blank) enough, so we go on a campaign to uproot our families and run someplace else. We can stir up too much change at home, walking around with pinched faces and making sanctimonious judgments about the things our family enjoys, set out a few too many doilies, hide his bowling trophies because they do not fit into the decorative "look" we're after, and generally become tedious killjoys to our own families.

I came up with the above list rather quickly, since I have engaged in most of that behavior at one time or another myself. Looking back at it now, I can conclude that the Lord was in very little of it. Mostly it was the flesh, pride, and a propensity to follow everybody else's agenda but the one the Lord had truly set out for me.

Once again, I hearken back to my youth and remember that the ladies then had a sense of proportion and priorities that we lack today because we are also tainted by worldly values and, hence, are afraid of not being "enough". I mean that the ladies back then, by and large, would not dream of taking on projects, meetings, or whatever instead of first making sure that the laundry was done and put away for the day, and a good supper put on the table. They attended church and social activities after they had first taken care of their duties at home, and they ENJOYED these social times because their priorities were met. They were able to meet their priorities because they weren't carrying the rest of the world on their shoulders. They were indeed saving the world by saving their own little corner of it. In other words, they weren't ashamed of their vocation and trying to enhance it with what amounts to self-flagellation, PR and publicity stunts.

A lot of women would get their work done by lunch time, have lunch, take a little nap, and awake refreshed and ready to cook supper and finish the rest of their day, WITHOUT GUILT. Afternoon was also a time to do needlework, or have a neighbor in for a cup of tea or coffee. Taking care of family, house and maybe a little gardening was a dignified and good life for a woman, and she also expected to enjoy times of refreshment and recreation.

I'm just bringing this up because I would like to see us return to some sanity, and I would like to know what others think, be it negative or positive. I can only imagine what offense I may have given others, which is not my intention, but I would really like to encourage each one of us to see what is on our list and ask themselves the hard questions, starting with, "Is this something the Lord truly wants me to do or is there an idol behind it? Thanks.


Lydia said...

Today's woman feel's pushed because if she is staying home she feels she has to justify it and show something to the world. My opinion is that she doesn't have to justify it to anyone and she actually doesn't have to appear to accomplish anything. Her very presence in the home is important. I know the women of the past certainly didn't feel guilty about being home. Nor should they, today. After all, they are not asking for a paycheck! They are doing it for love. My daughter just had a baby and I'm always reminding her not to be overly concerned about the housework or making everything herself. She can have help once a week and even a cook if she likes. The main point is that the children be safely cared for and that she not be too tired to love them. And even those without children have a right to be ill or tired and not do anything all day if it is necessary. A wife is more than a housekeeper.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for validating that a woman's presence in the home is enough. I just hate to see the younger women simply drive themselves (and maybe their families) insane with all this extra activity out of some kind of misplaced guilt about staying home. In a lot of cases, the church gets infected the same vices as the world or else some kind of weird distortion of the same. The pity is also that today's homekeepers do not feel they are even entitled to any kind of relaxation or social activities, because they somehow feel the world is looking over their shoulders, accusing them of having lives of nothing but inactivity and laziness. What nonsense.

Tessa said...

This is a bit late however I did notice Sunny Ellis' post. I used to feel the same way. I had a terrible time of keeping everything neat, uncluttered and organized. I encourage you to buy or check out the Flylady book. Or go to It seems that some Christian ladies do not approve of this book. I haven't any issue with it personally but I'm a Unitarian Universalist (I can hear the gasps of surprise already!). Anyhoo, her book has been of enourmous help to me and several people I know.
I really love to read the articles by Lady Lydia and all the others who contribute. Even though I'm not a Christian, it is good to see a community of women learning and growing together toward becoming better wives and mothers. As for myself, It's what I was born to do!

Mrs. Manzie

Julie said...

To Anonymous,

(Whose husband won't let you decorate.) My heart goes out to you, but it's good that you are trying to honor your husband's wishes.
What if every time you need to replace something, you replace it with something beautiful? It is possible to make a cozy home (without decorating, so to speak)by just using beautiful everyday things.
For example, when your dishtowels need replacing, you can replace them with beautiful dishtowels for the same cost as utilitarian "functional only" dishtowels. You could do this with sheets, bathtowels, dishes, or just about anything.

Julie said...

Welcome, Mrs. Manzie!