Howdy Darlin’! Thank you so much for joining me here at Sugar Pie Farmhouse! Today’s blog post is all about how making a warm and wonderful Home, Sweet, Home is essential to the well being of our family.
Likewise it’s crucial to the well being of our society and our country. There’s a very old poem written in 1881, by William Ross Wallace, titled “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World”. It speaks of the powerful influence that a mother holds in shaping the lives of her children and in turn, a nation.
Not only is motherhood and homemaking of monumental importance it’s a wonderful privilege! There are lots of things we can do to create a warm and wonderful home but I would like to share 5 things that will go a long way to making your home glow with love and joy.
I am so passionate about encouraging women to keep the home-fires burning–to spark a revival in the hearts of homemakers to preserve their homes for the sake of their families. 1. Choose to be a happy Mama: The first key to a warm and wonderful home starts inside your heart. Discontentment steals our joy. So does complaining about our circumstances ( if we complain out loud so will our kids). We all have goals, desires and things we are hoping for in regards to our home and family but in the meantime we must find contentment in the blessings that God has given us.
If we don’t, Mama won’t be happy. And a happy Mama is the key ingredient needed in the recipe for a happy home. So we’ve got to make up our mind to be thankful and to choose joy. We must open our eyes and look for those things that we’ve been blessed with. It’s something that we have to be intentional about Every. Single. Day.
As mama’s we have the choice to be a nurturing, patient, loving presence in our home.
We can be a cozy, glowing light in a dark world for our family. But how can we choose joy when life is sometimes so hard? Ask God to be your strength and to help you. He will, dear sister. Think about what you have been blessed with. You woke up this morning. You’re blessed Sugar. You can see to read this. You’re blessed Honey. There are people who love you. God loves you more than you can imagine! YOU ARE BLESSED DARLIN’!
Here’s a few practical and tangible ways to get happy:
* Put on some happy music …1940’s, Bluegrass, Southern Gospel or Christmas tunes always work for me!
* Put some makeup on after you get dressed in the morning…it always makes me feel a lot perkier!
* SMILE! Scientists have concluded that “Once the smiling muscles in our face contract, there’s a positive feedback loop that goes back to the brain and reinforces our feeling of joy. To put more succinctly: Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.” They even say that people who smile a lot are happier and live longer! Let me see those pearly whites! :D
* Make your house smell good! Simmer orange and apple peels with cinnamon and cloves with water in a crockpot or light a yummy candle.
* Drink plenty of water! Studies show that even mild dehydration can influence mood, energy levels and the ability to think clearly.
* Go for a walk outdoors…the fresh air will do you good!
* Dance! Or any kind of exercise will sweep the blues away!
* Plan ahead and prepare for things so you’re not running around like a headless chicken, becoming stressed and agitated.
* Change your thoughts, change your life. Proverbs 3:27 says “As a man thinks in his heart so is he”. Make up your mind to be the kind of mama and wife that blesses your loved ones, lifting them up instead of tearing them down.
* Pray and give God your praise and Thanksgiving!
* Choose to be joyful so your home can be filled with sweetness.
” Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.” ~Unknown
Speaking of sweetness, most jam recipes calls for a lot of sugar. I mean a lot! According to the experts the reason is the sugar acts as a preservative and it also increases the pectin’s ability to jell. Without the sugar, bacteria can set in and spoil the batch. It got me thinkin’…when we add sweetness ( love and grace) to our homelife it preserves our family, draws us closer and makes our home a nurturing and emotionally safe place. Without it joy and peace cannot thrive, instead, bitterness, loneliness and anger are likely to well up, making home a harsh place to live. Sugar Pie Darlin’, that’s not what we want! What’s a gal to do to sprinkle sweetness at home?
Memorize these scriptures and keep them in your heart:
1. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
2. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
3. Philippians 4: 13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
We have the God of the Universe to help us!
2. Choose to Cherish: We must choose to cherish our home because we cherish our family.
To cherish means to adore, protect, defend, care for, hold dear, honor, preserve, safeguard and treasure. We want the very best for our family so we must do what it takes to create an atmosphere of safety, comfort, joy and love. This is something too, that we must be intentional about.
To cherish our home means to TAKE CHARGE LIKE MAMA BEARS! We’ve got to protect our home from the enemies of procrastination and neglect. What I mean by this is, when we become too distracted with other things to take care of our home by keeping it clean and tidy, organized and stocked with food and necessities we are allowing the enemy of neglect and procrastination to invade our home. A home that is filled with chaos and clutter, that is unsanitary and dirty does not make for a healthy, safe, cozy and joyful environment for our family.
This is the essence of the Mama Bear attitude! LoL!! It’s what we need to fight procrastination or any other distractions that keep us from creating a safe, cozy, happy home for our kids and grandkids! We need to be fierce about it!
If we want the best for our family (and of course we do!) then we must stand up, Mama Bear style with hands on our hips, and declare a vow to action and protection against procrastination that threatens to steal the comfort, peace and cheerfulness in our household.
I’m not talking about perfection here. I talking about the basics. A clean kitchen, trash thrown away, the family room tidied up, floors swept, bathrooms scrubbed and germ free, fresh sheets on the beds, clean laundry.
I’m also talking about the enemy of Faded Priorities. Placing other things above our home-loving responsibilities. Like, over-committing ourselves to obligations outside of our home, or spending all of our time and energy doing extra curricular activities, whether it’s shopping, crafting, watching TV, cruising the internet, talking or texting on the phone, etc. I enjoy doing all of those things but my goal is to have my household in order first.
Of course there are those days for whatever reason–whether it’s an illness, something urgent that’s come up, or a too-crazy-schedule-for-too-many-days-in-a-row– that we all have where our house gets out of control. That’s life. It’s gonna happen. But little by little we’ve got to get our priorities back in order, and make our home that cozy place once more where our family will be blessed.
We’ve got to choose! Do we want to live with our family in a slippy, slappy, sloppy house or a clean, cozy, happy house? Ummmm…let’s see…I choose the clean, cozy, happy house! Then once again it’s hands-on-hips time, roll up your sleeves, tie a cute apron on and get crackin’!
Sistah, I am preachin’ to the choir here! I’ve had my own share of wrestling with that enemy called procrastination. I can come up with some real doozies of excuses for not doing something I should do, but don’t want to.
But here’s the secret that I discovered; the stepladder to jumping back on the bandwagon, to keep your house in order, is to Raise Your Standards. Decide how you want your house to look, feel, smell, sound, and how you want to live your life. Get a vision. See the whole picture. Then make a decision, a promise, a vow, to form the kind of habits you need to get the results you want. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. We can do this!
THEN you’ve got to make sure you don’t allow moods, feelings or excuses to keep you from it. Think about it; why would we allow some weak excuse, or “I don’t feel like it right now” feeling to hold us back from creating the warm and wonderful home that our family needs and the kind of life we want to live? Tell those excuses and moods “YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!” ( I’m snapping my fingers right now!) This “Raise Your Standards” concept can be applied to anything that you need to change in your life. Alrighty now! Time to put our foot down! That’s it! Hands on hips! :D
Practically speaking, here’s something to get you started:
1. Find a pretty and comfy spot to sit, pour your self something yummy to drink and make a list of several words that describe the way you want your home to look and feel. Write down a plan of action next to each word… one sentence that explains something you must do each day to make it happen.
2. Post it somewhere so you can see it every day (remember the old saying “Our of sight, out of mind”). Then start!
Another thing you can do is to Print out a short list of family rules that will Raise Your Family’s Standards. Pretty soon these will become habits, and you won’t need the list. Here’s a few ideas:
* Always clean the kitchen right after supper. This includes scrubbing the kitchen sink and counters, sweeping the floor, emptying the trash and starting the dishwasher. (Gals, don’t we want our kitchen to greet us with a spic and span smile each mornin’…all shiny and bright and smellin’ sweet? Yes we do!)
* Everyone takes 15 minutes before bedtime to tidy up the house, put toys away, fluff sofa pillows, put away cups or dishes left on coffee table, lay out clothes for the next day, etc. (you can set the timer and put on music to make it fun)
* Give lots of hugs and praise when you catch someone doing something good…or just ‘cuz you love ’em!
* Speak with kindness. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
“Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor, it is anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.” ~Unknown
3. Choose to make it cozy: Give your family that “Welcome Home” feeling! Greet them with a kiss, a hug and a smile. Little things mean a lot! Let them know you are glad they’re home.
* Write ”I love my family” on a chalkboard for them to see.
* Bring beauty into your home! A vase of fresh cut flowers. A bowl of fruit. A lit candle.
* Make your house smell good! Open the windows or make a meal in your crockpot…supper cookin’ always makes a house smell homey!
* Have the table set for supper early…it sends a sweet message to your dear ones that they are cared for…it tells them “Mama’s fixin’ to cook up a tummy-warmin”-lip-smackin’-mouth-watering-hearty dinner soon!
* Eat together and make Suppertime enjoyable!
* Bake a pie! Or a sweet treat every once in a while!
* Let your honey’s know that everything’s gonna be alright now that their home.
* I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…make your house a place your family wants to come home to.
The atmosphere or the tone of our home is equally as important as the ambiance we’ve created. We could have a house that’s oh-so-charming and beautiful, but if the air is filled with tension, indifference and anger it won’t be cozy, no matter how cute it is. Our attitude, behavior and words set the dial on the thermostat to either warm and welcoming or cold and angry. We must be mindful of our actions and reactions. Rick Warren says “Kindness is never wasted energy”.
Say the words:
~ “I love you”
~ “I’m so proud of you”
~ “I’m sorry”
~ “Great job!”
~ “let me help you with that!”
~ “I’d be happy to!”
~ “Please” & “thank you!”
~ “I forgive you”
~ “Can I bring you something? A snack or something to drink?”
~ “Do you need a hug?”
4. Choose to Make Happy Memories with Happy Traditions!
Everyday we are making memories, good or bad, happy or sad. Once again, we need to be mindful of the kinds of memories we are stamping into the hearts of our family. Memories that they will take with them through their entire life. It gives our family a sense of security and belonging. What kinds of memories will your family have about you and the home you’ve created? Happy memories are made in a happy home. It could be as simple and sweet as the tradition of making pancakes every Saturday morning, pizza and a movie on Friday nights, or going to church on Sundays. Each season there’s a bountiful supply of ideas and things we can do, make, eat and places we can go to have fun with our family.
Pinterest is loaded with free ideas, crafts and recipes to inspire us! And here are a few ideas to think about incorporating into your homelife:
* Read a chapter book aloud to the whole family every night. At the stopping point, ask what they think will happen next in anticipation for the next reading.
* Find a spot, perhaps in the hallway and string a clothesline along the wall to clothespin artwork or papers with good marks for the whole family to see, or just put them on the fridge…let your kids know you’re proud of them.
* Create a signature dish, one the family loves and serve it often.
* Alway’s hug your honeys hello and goodbye.
* Bedtime prayers and devotions create a strong faith and a feeling of safety.
* Pick one thing to do each season with your family:
~ Summertime: plant a garden, make jam, go for a walk at sunset, go get ice-cream, have BBQ’s, run through the sprinklers, make a fresh blackberry pie or cobbler.
~ Fall: sip hot cider in front of a crackling fireplace on the first cold Autumn night, pick out a pumpkin, collect fall leaves, make gingersnap cookies.
~ Winter: Find a craft to do for Christmas gifts, put together a shoebox of goodies for needful children for Samaritans Purse, make Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses, watch Christmas movies.
~ Spring: Go through a seed catalog together to pick out plants for your summer garden, draw family names out of a basket and do a good deed for them each week, have an Easter Egg hunt, enjoy a drive to look at the budding trees.
5. Choose to Pray and Have Devotions: Praying for our family and with our family is one of the most precious things we can do. Prayer brings the family closer, it causes us to remember that the Lord is with us and will help us. It teaches our kids to depend on God and to be thankful for His blessings and provision. Prayer and reading God’s Word in the Bible is where we get wisdom, comfort, joy, peace and strength. We learn about God’s love for us…which is priceless! It will always bring good fruit which will feed our soul.
Here are some resources and ideas for you and your family:
* Take 5 minutes before bedtime to gather together (maybe on the bed or sofa) and read a short Bible story, devotion or scripture. Talk about what it means. Go around and have everyone share what they would like prayer for. Mama or Dad can pray for those needs or each person picks someone to pray for aloud.
* Say grace over every meal, giving thanks to the Lord for His provision and mercy.
* Whenever you hear an ambulance teach your kids to pray for the hurting people who are waiting for it to arrive.
* When you pray, either alone or with your family, find scripture verses that apply to your situation and pray those verses ( Lord you said in your Word….I believe it is true)
* Pray when anyone is sick, worried, if you need strength, protection, provision, joy, or any kind of help.
* Pray for your children’s or grandchildren’s future spouses…I did! God blessed me with awesome mates for my grown kids.
* Begin writing your blessings in a Thankful journal .
Here are a few resources if you’d like to start having devotions with your kids:
“The greatest gift of all is to become the blessing! “~Ann VosKamp
Well, darlin’, I hope this encouraged you today! If it did, would you let me know? I’m so happy you stopped by!
I’ve been so busy creating something special for you! A HUGE PROJECT that will be ready to launch in just a couple weeks! I can’t wait to share it with you!
Until then, May God Bless your darlin’ heart!