Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Week II -- Day II -- Making a House into a Home

The wise woman builds her house,

But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

Proverbs 14:1 NASB

Making a House a Home

An Essential Key: Love is in the Details:

The most beautiful things in life consist of tiny, often intricate details. All of God’s nature is a display of this truth about beauty. The beautiful, white snowdrift is made up of tiny snowflakes. A towering tree is composed of many branches covered with single leaves. The loveliness of a rose is found in the velvety petals. God created beauty out of infinite details, set in an orderly fashion and following the rules of His creation. Certainly, as women, we should strive to follow the pattern set by our Creator.

A woman’s life is composed of details. From her appearance to her home, there are hundreds of details combining to make a picture of orderly beauty, of hundreds of details combing into make a picture of a mess. Details must always be carefully thought out and completed.

When we do a task, such as setting a dinner table, we should set a nice table, perhaps even with a small vase of flowers or a candle for a centerpiece.

(unscented candles are better with food). It need not be elaborate or expensive, just a thoughtful touch. Step back and think “Is anything missing?” (salt and pepper, for example).

Doing dishes and cleanup requires attention to detail. Dishes and silverware need to be clean. Sticky counter tops need a thorough wiping.

Proper personal appearance is dependent on the details: body cleanliness, trimmed fingernails, clean hair, well pressed clothes, polished shoes, etc. Details comprise the whole.

Details in the daily schedule are important as well. Being able to calmly handle all the occurrences in a day is often just a matter of prioritizing and scheduling all those details!

Details in decorating, sewing and crafts are mandatory to an item being made well. Do we not admire a handmade quilt with beautiful even stitches? That is not talent. It is patient attention to detail.

Details in relationships are the most important of all details. If we care for the details of our family members, especially our husbands, it is possible to have a harmonious relationship. Caring for details takes thoughtfulness on our part. It means thinking about what the other person needs and trying to provide those needs. It can be something as simple as having the house straightened and peaceful when a husband or roommates walk through the door. The secret of life of beauty if found in the details of that life. Everywhere you go, and in everything you see, notice the details. Your example will teach others to notice the details as well.

Adapted from an article by

Keepers of the Faith

(Note: There is a balance. You can get too caught up in the details and miss the big picture, as the Pharisees who focused on the externals and missed God’s heart)

Detail to consider: Is your calendar of birthdays and anniversaries up to date? Mine's not. I'm going to take advantage of being around families during the holidays to update my card list. I have a "Special Occasions" Notebook made especially for sending cards. It has a pocket for each month of the year, where you can store cards for occasions, and a place on the pocket where you can write a birthday or some other occasion that occurs annually during that month. Whatever system you use, remember that keeping track of our loved ones special days makes them feel cared for.

Another detail to consider: How's it going with your holiday gift list and your holiday card list?

Check out this list of free holiday crafts.

Remember: It will never be all done. Once done, it won't stay that way forever. The key is to be consistent, but not compulsive about creating a warm, welcoming, orderly and love-filled home.

Holiday gifts to encourage the arts of keeping a home:

I hear many older women lament that young girls are not interested in the home arts today. Yet, when I worked in a craft store a few years ago, I was happily surprised by how many young people were among our customers.

Here are some ideas for gifts that might encourage an interest in the home arts. Of course, these gifts will go over better if a girl has shown some interest in learning the home arts and crafts. However, you never know what lifelong pleasure you may give to a young person if you intrigue their interest in domestic arts at a young age.

Here are some ideas to spur your thinking:

Girls ages 3-6: A doll; a pretty doll dress; offer to make a dress for a girl's doll and let her help you pick out material and trim; storybooks about happy families; cooking and/or cleaning toys; doll furniture; a plastic tea set; a real tea cup and saucer that mother keeps in a safe place and brings out for special occasions (could be a flea market find so that if it does get broken, it's no loss); children's apron

Girls ages 6-9: Craft store certificate; cross-stitch kit based on girl's skill and interest level; craft store apron, tote, or T-shirt and trim and fabric paints to use to decorate it; offer to teach her how to make doll dress and let her help you pick out the materials; children's cookbook, children's sewing book; kit for growing flowers or herbs in pots; if you know the family has a garden -- her own pretty little gardening gloves and a pastel handled trowel; kit to make garden stepping stone and offer to supervise. Flea store find tea cup and saucer

Girls ages 9-12: craft store certificates; sewing basket filled with things needed for hand stitching; Knifty Knitter and supplies; children's cookbook; children's sewing book; jewelry making supplies; candle making supplies; craft kits appropriate to girl's interest and skill level. T-shirt, tote, or craft store apron with items to decorate it. (With some items, ask mom first as many will require some level of supervision). Tea cup and saucer

Girls 12-18: craft or sewing store certificates; T-shirt or tote; art books, sewing books, cooking books, or craft books, especially ones geared to that age; take a cake making or sewing class with your daughter (this can be expensive, so count the cost first); jewelry making supplies; Kniftty Knitter and supplies or knitting needles, yarn, and a simple pattern; keeper vase with fresh flowers in it; scrapbook supplies; beginner's quilting kit

Young ladies 18-25: craft or sewing store certificates, cookbooks, sewing books, books on household management; scrapbook supplies; a homemade notebook with family recipes, home keeping tips that you collect from friends and families and pretty pictures;



Sandy said...

I was wondering how you decide who to send cards to. My husband has a large extended family that we don't see/hear from for most of the year. He has a brother and sister he talks to each month along with his mom, but the others not so much. My family doesn't send cards or letters either, not even thank-you cards. I would like to make more of an effort at written correspondence, but I wonder if it's worth the time and effort, and postage costs, to send to family who I don't think care if they hear from us or not. Would it be a good idea for future generations if I started a new family tradition? Or will I just be that crazy aunt that always sends birthday cards but no one really knowsa her?

Wenonah4th said...

Do you want the moving post to fit in to the making-a-house-a-home "unit", or something later? I'll write it shortly if you want it for this.

Ridenour Family said...

Sandy- This is just my two cents, but I don't think that anyone is unhappy about getting a birthday card; even if it is from that crazy aunt (; I send cards to our extended family, but I make it a point to have a rule on who I send to, even if we aren't very close to them. i.e. I send to all our aunts/uncles/cousins and their families. If you don't- you may hurt feelings, and that isn't the point! You want to bless people and make them feel special on their special day, and I don't think that you can send to too many (unless money is a constraint). If this is the case, I'd simply move my circle in, and send to a closer knit group of family. Personally, if I received a birthday card signed from a total stranger, it would still make me smile! (hope this helps)

Elizabeth said...

Hi Sandy:

You have such a sweet heart to want to start a new family tradition of card-giving.

I always tried to keep up with all of our nieces' and nephews' birthdays each year, but I have to say that I have not done the best job. I admire my sister in law who set out to be the aunt who always was an encouragement to all her nieces and nephews. Who doesn't love getting a card for his or her birthday?

What I am better at is giving cards to people from church for various reasons: to encourage, to congratulate, to express sympathy, etc.

Though I do email and talk on the phone with our adult children and spouses, I like to send something written or a little gift at least once a month. I also like to give DH cards from time to time.

I sort of make it a hobby or game to seek out people who could use a card and write one and give it or send it. I was inspired by reading about an elderly woman who was shut in by the frailties of age, but who had written hundreds and hundreds of cards to encourage people.

Sometimes, I will bake a little something to give with a card. I based that on a character in a book I read who was always baking something and delivering it with a scripture attached.

I don't know that there's a right or wrong here, but it's always appropriate to send thank-you cards. I think it would be lovely if you and your children started sending thank you notes for gifts or for kindnesses shown. By doing so, you could be starting a new family tradition, as you say.a

Any older family members, especially those who are shut in, will always enjoy receiving cards and letters -- even if they don't always write back. It means so much to an older person's day to receive something written.

Parents like to receive a note once in a while of encouragement. You might surprise your parents and your husband's mom with a note telling them how much you love and appreciate them.

If your families are not used to sending cards, start small and build on that. Begin with thank-yous for presents and move on to little notes of encouragement. I don't think it's necessary to write to everyone in a large extended family if postage and time are a problem. But, selecting a few close people and blessing them with a note now and again could be very encouraging.

For more ideas, you might want to read "Special Delivery" by Jane McWhorter. You can find it for sale on the Internet.

Postage is an issue these days, so don't feel guilty if you can't afford to send lots of cards via snail mail. Just focus on doing what you can when you can.

Hi Katie:

Just send it along whenever you're ready, and I'll work it in to whatever subject we're on. :)

Hi Ridenour: I totally agree with your encouragement.

Pauline said...

Hi Elizabeth

Again a challenging and thought provoking post "O)
You really have done a wonderful job with these and I am really enjoying them and getting a LOT out of it.

Posting my link here for week 2 day2.

Blessings in Christ