Readers, you know me. You know that 1) I have a passion for keeping my home and 2) that I am a teacher and that 3) those two things usually don't reconcile. I've been thinking about a dear friend, and reminding myself that much of the feeling of our home can come from us as the keepers of it. There are little things that we can do, that don't include having a spotless house, to promote a feeling of peace and tranquility in our homes. To remind myself and you, especially at this time of year, here is a list of a few things you can do to generate peace in your home.
- Light candles. This time of year is so dark, so candlelight can really take some of the shadows away in the evening. Plus, the scents of holiday candles are delightful, calming and welcoming. If you have little ones, like I do, a couple candles high on tables out of reach are all that you need; I'm not suggesting you cover your kitchen table with votives.
- Play music (and turn off the TV). I came from a music home; my dad was always playing some kind of music, especially during dinner. On the flip side, our family is not really a TV family. We only have one TV, and it is not on the same floor as the kitchen and dining room. Playing music allows conversations to occur, it allows your children to imagine and play, and it keeps our senses from becoming overwhelmed. We have many different types of music, even Christmas music, in our collection. If we're stressed, flustered or upset, I'll play something mellow without words: smooth jazz or classical. If we're happy and in good spirits, I'll play something upbeat that the whole family likes. If you don't know where to start, consider starting with worship music. You may be amazed at the impact of worship music playing in the background, both the beautiful melodies and the beautiful words.
- Serve graciously. We as wives and mothers often feel drained, like if we don't do something, it won't get done. That attitude, unfortunately, can sometimes make us bitter and begrudging toward the people whom God has given us to serve. Pray for humility, knowing that every day is better than we deserve, and serve your family with love and grace.
- Speak kindly. On one of the blogs I follow, a blogger noted that Michelle Duggar said (and I paraphrase because I tried to find the quote and I couldn't) we need to build up our children with kindness twice as much as we admonish them. TWICE! Not that our children don't need correction; they do. But that much more we should be encouraging them, teaching and instructing them, asking them things and listening to their thoughts. That advice is sobering to me, and I think about it a lot. The impact this could have on our homes is extraordinary.
- Pray fiercely. This is not a cop-out item. We as wives and mothers must pray fiercely and earnestly for our homes. For our husbands and their leadership. For our children and their salvation/sanctification. For our own spirits of humility, gentleness and realistic expectations. Often, we underestimate the power of prayer, or we forget that prayer isn't for its own sake, but to the Creator of the Universe. If anything can bring peace and rest to a home, it is our Heavenly Father in Whom our souls have found their peace and rest.
P.S. Drinking in the Word was not stated, but implied. Look here or here for an Advent Bible study to start tomorrow, and maybe try a family Advent calendar.