One last place to think about as I walk through our home...the great outdoors. I don't know about you, but have you noticed how small the back lots are of many new homes nowadays? Some are really no bigger than a postage stamp! The whole lot is taken up by a huge house, with very little left outdoors. We have been blessed with a good-sized lot that allows for different "areas" to enjoy.
On the flip side, with a big yard comes a lot of yardwork. I know because that is my husband's bane in life. We do not have extra in our budget to hire a gardener, so guess who has to mow the lawn? I always hear him groan when the weather starts warming up and the grass starts growing again.
I wish we could say that we spend a lot of time outdoors. I think the kids have spent more time outside now in our temporary home because there is space to ride trikes and scooters at high speed in the parking lot. Our boys are going to be disappointed when their bike paths are going to be around the corner and back. They have loved having the entire church parking lot to cruise around! Perhaps I will need to invest time in setting up more outdoor play options that will draw the kids outdoors.
Right now, we have a playhouse to play in, grass, and a basketball hoop. We also have small plots where Janna has planted bulbs and where we have attempted (unsuccessfully, I might add) to grow our own vegetables in the summer. Dan also found a wooden bench for us to sit on and read when the weather is nice. I have found the kids outside with their schoolbooks on a sunny spring day.
So as I think about our backyard, I think of several goals and purposes for it: 1. A place for the kids to get out and stretch their legs, run off some energy and be noisy. 2. A place for quietness and retreat. 3. A place to tend a garden. 4. A place for outdoor storage.
One day, it would be nice to entertain and eat outdoors and enjoy some al fresco dining with friends and family, but we manage to do that now with a picnic blanket. There's something about eating outdoors that makes it much more adventurous, don't you think? Someday, we'll invest in a grill so that I can have some other cooking options to consider. It would be nice to have it also serve as a serving counter as well. Maybe not now, but a girl can dream, right?
We do not need a playhouse, as the one that my husband has built (and painted to match our home) has been doing pretty well for about 10 years. We hope that Jonathan and Anah will be able to enjoy it now. When they outgrow it, I am thinking that corner of the yard is prime real estate for a retreat area in the future. If we can figure out how to create some shade, put in a water fountain and set up a table, that would be wonderful. I can imagine a swinging bench would be a nice touch. Some container plants can give it color and beauty. I don't have a layout in mind, but I am putting together a collection of bits and pieces.
I have to confess I am not a big outdoors person, but it's mainly because I like my indoor comforts. If we can find a way to make it comfortable, like with comfortable seating, shade and beauty, I think I would probably enjoy it more. It would make the outdoors another "room" in our home with space to spread out, explore and recreate with one another.
Heavenly Father, You have created so much beauty in creation. I have yet to learn to appreciate all You have made outdoors. Guide me into ways that would help us to make the most of what we have so that we might enjoy Your delights. May we establish our home in wisdom and fill it with Your precious and pleasant riches. In Jesus' name, Amen.