The house where we raised our children was, shall I say, less than nice. When we moved in, there were three different wallpapers in the same room, purple kitchen cupboards with pink sponge painting on them, (Gag!) and bathroom tile that looked like a three-year-old did it with lots and lots of glue! It was bad! We had to remove carpet from one of our daughter’s bedrooms and couldn’t afford to replace it so she had a plywood floor. Our bedroom was in the basement and had a cement floor. On top of all that, the house was olive green. Blech. It was just not a pretty house.
Over time we were able to paint the house, turn the seven-foot tall weeds into a decent yard, and paint the god awful purple and pink kitchen cupboards white. Wow, was that a job! We never could afford carpet while we lived there and there remained a lot of things that were not aesthetically pleasing about the house.
Even though our house was not pretty, people that would come to our house always commented on how “nice” our house was. I am pretty sure I managed a “thank you” after picking up my jaw off the floor each time!
I tried to figure out what it was that made people say that. It certainly wasn’t our super nice furniture! Although my mother in law’s hand-me-down 1970’s couch might have been cool once, it really wasn’t. It couldn’t be the beautiful artwork hanging on the walls that had been carefully selected from our exclusive GoodWill.
I am fairly certain that is was the feeling you got when you walked in our home and not the Thrift store curtains and well-overused second- hand piano that gave our guests that impression. It felt clean, peaceful and full of love.
I really struggled when we first moved there with all the work that needed to be done, the painting, the fixing, trying to make it look nice plus all the housework and laundry and cooking and homeschooling for a family of five. Then we took in a neighbor girl and we were a family of six! Family friends were struggling so I took on cooking and cleaning for them.
I struggled, it was hard, I did it, but my attitude was awful. I raised my voice at my kids when they didn’t do their chores in a timely manner. I complained to my husband about everything I had to do. I nagged him to do things. I was miserable and I was making my family miserable.
I remember one day saying “God, something has to change!” and in my head, I heard “yes, you do.” Uuughh……that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I knew it was right though. I said “ok, but you are going to have to help me!”
It was then that I came up with my mantra. “Make every room better, every time you are in it, even if it is just to smile.”. I repeat that over and over in my head as I move about my house. Now, I don’t know if smiling in an empty room really makes the room better, but I know it makes my attitude about cleaning and serving my family better!
When I began to do that, my heart started to change. Love gives. I wanted to serve and bless my family. I began to develop a system to keep our house clean without stress. It made such a difference in our home! It was then that people would comment on how beautiful our home was! It wasn’t just clean. It felt peaceful.
We can learn every trick in the book about cleaning and organizing and making things look nice, but if all we have is a clean house and a resentful attitude it will be felt. Your family will feel it, your guests will feel it.
“My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,”
Isaiah 32:18 NKJV
I am far from perfect and I still have to pray and overcome a bad attitude now and then. I get tired, sometimes exhausted and need to remind myself that my time with my kids is short. It is my heart’s desire to bless my family as much as I can, as long as I can. To create happy, loving memories of a home with that “feeling”.