Tag Archives: Home Life

Start with the Dust Bunnies

4 Mar

One of the funniest books I’ve read on marital relations is Laura Jenson Walker’s Dated Jekyll, Married Hyde.

In her chapter on neatness, Laura wrote, “Everyone has different standards of clean.

“Like my mom and aunts for instance, who wouldn’t know a dust bunny if it hopped right up to them.

“My mom raised my sister Lisa and me the same house-cleaning way,” she said, “Except that all of our dust bunnies have names.” (1)

Later, she wrote about a friend named Pat who had a husband who left various items of clothes strewn around the house. One day he came home from work to find his wife  had decorated their apartment.

“Pat had quite artistically hung his socks over a chair, draped his shirt over a picture frame,and dangled his underwear from the dining room light fixture,” Laura said. “We women call that decorating with a point.” (2)

Several television shows have highlighted the differences between people ~ not always husband and wife ~ who are messies and neatniks. The most famous couple was Felix and Oscar on The Odd Couple.

The guiding line for me has always been the anonymous saying that a home should be “clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.” It’s easy to go to extremes. I’ve grieved over the stresses of a hoarding household with nowhere to turn or breathe. But I’ve also cringed in the presence of a fussy homemaker who eyed everything I did, afraid I’d mess up her picture-perfect home. Neither is healthy or happy!

At the end of her chapter on neatness, Laura shared the verse: Isaiah 32:18: “My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” We do need to relax in our homes. They are a unique place for us to let down our hair, kick off our shoes, and be at ease. But there does need to be a point at which we clean and organize, or our homes won’t stay peaceful havens of rest.

The Proverbs 31 Woman took time to work on her home. We don’t know whether she had dust bunnies, but she probably had a dirt or stone floor in her home. Regardless, it is obvious from verses 10-31 that she was an industrious woman, caring well for her household.

There are many “systems” for housework that list the essentials of cleaning and organization. [I’m sure you have positive resources that help you keep things in line, and I’d love hear from you.]

But at the risk of simplifying this subject too much, I believe there are some basic questions every person needs to ask when considering their home:

  • Does my home honor God?
  • Does my home look welcoming? Warm and inviting?
  • Is my home uncluttered and calm?
  • Can I or my family grow and learn here?
  • Is my home healthy ~ clean, but not fussy?
  • Does my home contribute to joy and laughter? Can I open it to serve others?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then what needs to change? [I know that Marcia Ramsland, The Organizing Pro, has lots of ideas for positive changes that organize one’s life as well as the home.]

Make changes one small step at a time, but methodically. Start with those pesky dust bunnies, perhaps.

[I think my boys’ first pets were dust bunnies (LOL), but that changed when I discovered what those dirty fluffballs contained! Seriously. Dust bunnies aren’t so harmless! They can harbor all sorts of nasty things that affect your health!]

So get a plan, and write down steps of things you want to change. Check them off as you complete them or make them part of your lifestyle ~ and you will soon have a more relaxed, efficient, God-honoring home.

[Now…  as for getting messies to go along with neatnicks’ plans? That’s another story! I hear there’s a Messies Anonymous group online!]

(1) Laura Jenson Walker, Dated Jekyll, Married Hyde: Delighting in the Differences Between Men and Women (Bethany House Publ., 1997), p. 129

(2) Ibid, p. 130

Spend Holiday Time Together!

5 Dec

This is one of my (Dawn’s) favorite LOL’s in our book, LOL with God … and I remembered it while my husband and I were out to dinner … both using our cell phone calendars to plan our Christmas holiday events.

At a restaurant, a waitress told my brother- and sister-in-law, Tom and Janice, that two days earlier, she was waiting on a table of 10 people. After a short time, the manager asked her why she hadn’t taken their order yet.

“They all have their hands close to their chests, and their heads are bowed,” she said. “They’re praying, and I don’t want to disturb them.”

“No,” the manager said. “Look closer.”

To her surprise, the waitress realized the people weren’t praying; they were all on their cell phones, texting people! (1)

I had to laugh when I saw this Christmas card on a friend’s Facebook page!

That’s almost too true to be funny, isn’t it?

We can be right next to each other during the holidays, and completely miss spending time with each other. We can get so caught up in the activities of the season or in preparations  for big events that we don’t take time for significant, daily communication with those we love  ~ and by that, I mean chatting about more than, “What should we buy Uncle Jake?”

Good communication skills are often overlooked at Christmas when family members feel pressured and busy.

Remember these communication tips:

  1. Listen carefully to what a person is actually saying, not what you think he or she is saying.
  2. Make eye contact. Interaction is more personal and successful when you look into a person’s eyes.
  3. Think a moment before you answer. You’ll never regret something foolish that you didn’t say (Proverbs 18:13). It helps to think so you can give a wise answer (Ecclesiastes 5:2a; Proverbs 15:2, 28).
  4. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Listen to understand, not to judge (Proverbs 17:27). Especially during the holidays with its added stresses, be forgiving, not quarrelsome (Proverbs 13:10; 17:142 Timothy 2:23a)
  5. Respect the person, even if you don’t agree with his or her opinion or perspective.
  6. Build trust by being open and honest (Proverbs 24:26; Ephesians 4:25-27). Admit when you don’t know an answer, but offer to help the person find an answer or solution.
  7. Speak with kindness, gentleness, and love (Proverbs 15:1; 16:24; Philippians 4:5; Ephesians 4:15a).
  8. Voice your appreciation … often (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Along with practicing good communication, plan some quality time together. Sharing experiences is a gift that keeps giving. It creates warm memories and closer bonds.

Here are some fun Christmas ideas ~ Continue reading

Moms Know Best

8 May

Ham in a PanA young wife was in the kitchen cooking her first Easter meal.  Before placing the ham in a large roasting pan, she cut off an ample section from one of the ends.

“Why did you do that?” her husband asked.

“Well, I really don’t know why but that’s the way my mother did it.”

Determined to get an answer for her husband, the young wife called her mother who said, “That’s the way my mother did it.”

A call to Grandma revealed the answer. “My dear, the reason I cut the end off of the ham was because I didn’t have a pan big enough to hold it.” 

That has always been a favorite story of mine, and it’s often used to illustrate why we shouldn’t use unfounded traditions of the past.   But now, as a mom of three young boys, I’m starting to see the great importance of building meaningful traditions.

My own mother was a pro at creating meaningful traditions!  The evening meal, where our family sat together at the dinner table, was a tradition in our home.  Mom worked hard to make each mealtime a ministry.

Whether it was a Texas-themed table setting to celebrate our roots on “Alamo Day,” green milk on St. Patrick’s day, heart-shaped meatloaf and mashed potatoes for Valentine’s Day, or just the calm assurance that at the end of the school day I knew our family would stop everything to sit down and eat together… mealtime was a good time for me.  It was a time I listened to my dad’s prayers, laughed and shared, learned life’s lessons, and felt heard and loved and cared for.

These are the times I know helped shape my godly understanding, build strength of character, and bind  our family tightly together like no other time. Before we left the table, we participated in a short devotional time that I now realize was specifically child-centered. Mom took cooking and serving from being routine chores to being an avenue for ministry through her planning, preparation, presentation, and prayers.  Every time she served us, she was also serving the Lord (Col. 3:23).

I haven’t quite mastered the art of preparing the gourmet meals each evening as my mother did, but I haven’t lost the concepts she showed me … creating time each day to show my family a deep love not only by meeting a need of satisfying a physical hunger for food, but creating time to show love, care, understanding, and talking about God’s truth.  Whether it’s picking a dinner that my child knows was made especially because it is his favorite, or everyone sharing a favorite memory for each piece of pizza they eat, I hope my children will feel the same sense of security of family that those times created for me.

So, on this Mother’s Day, I’d like to thank my mom for helping me to see the importance of making mealtime a ministry.  I raise my glass of green milk to you!

DeedraDeedra Scherm has been married for 14 years to Kris and Mom to David (6), Keifer (4), and Charlie (21 months.)

Deedra is an author, producer, inventor, and President and CEO of Lemon Vision Productions (www.lemonvision.com) a company that creates inspired media for kids.  Deedra loves fun games, great food, and fantastic movies, but her most cherished times are those surrounded by family.

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