Friday, June 3, 2011

HOME: Some assembly required!

This spring, I've been noticing the robins as they've been gathering "stuff" to make a nest. Not sure why, because I've never really taken note of it before. But for some reason, this time around, it has caught my eye. The other day, on our stroll to the park, we noticed two birds "fighting" over the same sprig of something-or-other. We chuckled as they flitted at each other like two preschoolers competing for the same toy. Perhaps it was a particularly fluffy sprig. Or, perhaps, one bird's "condo" was in a nicer location and there was some competition goin' on. Who knows. It sure was cute though!

As I was arranging pots and flowers and envisioning gardens outside during a brief period of sunshine ;), I reflected on how it takes effort and intentionality to make a house --- a home. A place that is warm, inviting, comfortable. Safe. A place of laughter and a sense of "we're-in-this-thing-called-life-together." A place where it is "okay" to be characters in formation. 

No place has shaped me like my home has.

Some days (and weeks) go by, and I realize that my intentionality has slipped up a little. Perhaps it started through fatigue or that funk that accompanies a really "good" bad cold ;). Or it began when life got a little too full or that balance between yes-and-no was off. Then frustrations and tensions run a little higher, focus is skewed, and it all feels a little .... scrambly. I don't do well with scrambly :). 

And it suddenly dawns on me that I need to step back, re-evaluate what fits (and what doesn't) and how I'm going to respond to those usual triggers of frustration and discouragement rather than simply react to them.

This past week, I've been poking away at spring cleaning. (I finally tossed these outdated spices, bought who knows when!!, and was actually tempted to take a pic and post it just as proof that every once in a while, the spice cabinet is actually accessible!!) As I've organized and sorted, tossed and relocated ;P,  I've been mentally and emotionally sorting out what fits for our family. And it has been challenging, but good.

I find my contentment is most tested not by what I "have" (or don't have, because really most of our furniture is already-been-loved, and we just got a "new" table that is 35+ years old --- but is still in really great condition AND it can seat TWELVE people if we want to! Can't wait to use that space -- ahem, with guests, not by increasing the size of our family!) but by what I want to "get done." Not just chores, because somehow, those usually find a way of getting crossed of the list. But phone calls I have not made, books I have not read, space I have not created, friends I have not connected with, projects I have not finished.

I ask myself silly questions like -
"Leah, why on EARTH do you sign out 10 books when you KNOW that you will not be able to read them all?"
or "Why do you google YET MORE crochet patterns, knowing that you will not even tackle all the ones you've already been longing to try ;)?"
or "Why do you even attempt blogging when you think of all sorts of things to write but only ever get around to typing out a handful?"

Because I love books, and though I may never read them all, you'll never know what'll stand out and speak into your soul.
Because I love to crochet. And you never know what kind of pattern will jump out as a potential gift. I can't WAIT to post the most adorable project I've got on the go. If I ever finish it ;).
Because I love to write. I'm not a great writer, or particularly insightful or witty. I just enjoy writing. It's a hobby. It helps me figure out what fits, what doesn't. It helps me sort out life.

When I take a deep breath, and recognize the silly things that threaten to overwhelm me for what they are, I am far more attentive to creating a home that reflects who we are, whom we are becoming and, hopefully, most importantly, the One whom we want to honor. I am more available to respond to my children where they are at (instead of forcing an agenda or expectations) and am more attentive to my husband and the things he needs to hear from me too. I am more in tune with my own self, and take time to cultivate the essentials right now.

Not so long ago, I came across this quote that immediately made it my "fridge wall of inspiration" :). Every so often I actually LOOK at it, and it reminds me of the things my heart is learning right now! I tend to forget pretty quickly ;). This is one that speaks to me over and over and over...
"Practice is a patient, relaxed process of finding out what works and what doesn't... Either life is practice, or it is performance... it is surprise vs. control.... "professionalism" vs. amateur.... spontaneous vs. hesitant. None of us can be perfect. But everyone can be free. Which will you choose?" Mike Mason, Practicing the Presence of People.

As we practice life together, we refine each other (and there is a lot of refining work goin' on!!!!). We learn more about how to live life because of the One who has given life - His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. We practice, we fall down, we take a deep breath and say sorry and get back up again.

Perhaps I've noticed the nesting birds this spring because it resonates with the recognition that we too are a people under construction. As we build and shape and form, may the home we create be a haven for those in it and those welcome in it, as well as a testimony of grace to the One who offers it abundantly.


Chantelle - ThousandSquareFeet said...

Okay, I must disagree with one very important thing - you are a FABULOUS writer! You always have fantastic words of insight to share and I am so blessed to have you as a friend. Maybe all the inspiration will rub off on me!

a very sweet life! said...

Well, Chantelle, you are very gracious indeed :). Here's the thing - if I can pass along some "inspiration" then you can swap by sharing your domestic diva (and hospitality and gardening and sewing and building and crafting and teaching and designing) skills ;).

Robin Fehr said...

I always have found your home so comfortable, homey and inviting! I always feel peaceful there (unless my kids are bugging me... lol)
You've got your priorities in check girl!


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