As I shared yesterday, I am going to begin a new series this month devoted to the home and homemaking. Well, as it also turns out, for our Gabby Moms assignment this month, we were given a copy of Eternal Encouragement magazine to review. Each issue has a theme, and this one was Chaos (which is a tongue-in-cheek acronym for Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome!). Though all kinds of chaos is discussed, I thought I'd focus my review on the home aspect of the issue. I have been blessed with very hospitable parents (especially my dad). Our home wasn't particularly immaculate, but it was always available for people to drop in, hang out and catch up . There was always time for people. The house was secondary. This one lesson from my parents was priceless.
Now, as I have my own home, I have tried to emulate my parents' values, but it's a lot harder nowadays. But if I really am honest about it, it is because I am selfish. Yes, it's the truth. To keep a home ready and open for others to drop in is not usually on my list of priorities. People take time and emotional energy. If there are children involved, mess is usually included. Then there's the issue of food. I sometimes struggle with getting dinner on the table for my own family, much less serve something to others. And cleaning? All it equates to is more work! And I don't really want more work, thank you very much.
That was why this issue came at a good time for me. I read through the entire 32-page magazine in about two hours, and it was like hearing a bunch of different speakers (authors), looking at the topic from different angles. Like being in class, I took lots of notes and looked for things I can apply. I was definitely not disappointed. Here are ten quick tips and thoughts I came away with. I hope they help you too.
1. Give yourself grace as a mother when it comes to housekeeping. My home doesn't need to be featured on the cover of a magazine to be hospitable. Piles of laundry on the couch are all right. However, I also need to remember that grace doesn't mean an excuse, and that I am still called to keep my home tidy.
2. Train my children (including our soon-to-be-adopted daughter Anah) to be hospitable. When I am hopsitable, they can also learn how to be hospitable. (Just like my parents taught me.)
3. Realize there is a difference between "clean dirt" (messes that happen simply because people live in our home) and "dirty dirt" (signs of neglect or poor housekeeping). Accept the clean dirt. Find ways to get rid of the dirty dirt.
4. First impressions are important. If I work on making my entryway tidy, then it may be easier to overlook the rest of the less than perfect house. I can do that.
5. Consider preparing freezer meals so that I am ready at a moment's notice to extend hospitality to others.
6. Invite my children to help in the cleaning process. I loved Lorrie's very practical ideas on how to do this using a pack of post-its! I don't have to do it alone!
7. When I allow my home to become chaotic, my house begins to control me. Therefore, it pays to invest the time to make it work for me instead of letting the mess become my slave-driver.
8. In our day and age, with our disconnectedness, increasing isolation and individualism, hospitality may be more crucial than ever.
9. There is a difference between being hospitable and entertaining. God does not ask me to put on a show. He asks me to welcome others into my home in the name of Jesus.
10. Ultimately, hospitality is not about me. It is about serving God and loving others. It is not about how I look as a housekeeper. It is not about the food. It is about the relationships.
All in all, as I begin this home series this month, this issue came at a good time. As we begin to think about how to move back into our home, I am reminded that ultimately I need to think about preparing our home to receive others. When I make this the priority, and not about my personal preferences and ease, I think I will design my home differently.
As we continue on into the series on housekeeping, keep that it mind. I am cleaning my home for a purpose, that God may be glorified and others may be blessed. That makes it worth it.
Product details: As always, I am given a copy of this magazine in return for my honest review. It comes in either a print or digital version. Both are identical. As a bonus for subscribers, you also get access to the EE Etc. site, which provides additional articles 8 times a year. What I appreciate is that these articles are written for the Christian homemaker, wife and mother. It has a very neighborly feel, which as a city-dweller, I miss in sophisticated Southern California.