On Motherhood To Train

Where there is no vision, the people parish…

Lately, I have been reading through the book, Finding Your Purpose as a Mom by Donna Otto with a group of women at our church.  We are 5 or 6 weeks into the study and it dawned on me that I have never intentionally explored my role as a mother and home-maker.   I have done many-o-study on having a healthy marriage, or being a better friend, having courage, or breaking chains… but  have never taken an intentional Biblical look at my role as a Mother.  (Side Note: I say the word “Home Maker” not as a job title, because even women who work, are essentially still the ones who “make the home” for their families.  I just don’t want to confuse that phrase with the “job title” some SAH mother’s give themselves.) (Moving on.)  I have really enjoyed this book and digging to the roots of motherhood and my role in my home.

First off, I think society has put the cart before the horse when it comes to our homes.

Girls, we must take back our homes from Pinterest, we must take back our homes from HGTV, we must take back our tables from The Food Network.  Instead of spending hours preparing the perfect croque monsieur (which is a fancy French grilled cheese) to present at our dining room table, we must first have a vision for the laughter, the manners, the conversations that are to be had there!!  The beautifully painted canvases and charming mason jars mean nothing if you do not have bonds of friendship and trust between family members.   I would choose a self confident child over a hand made “quiet book” on Pinterest that took me 16 hours to make.

When you close your eyes and picture a vision of your home, does it go deeper than the color of the walls, the dream of marble counter tops and the smell of Ina Garten cooking her famous slow-roasted-filet-of-beef-with-garlic-parmesan-mayonnaise in your kitchen?  (which sounds kinda gross to me, but I googled “popular Ina Garten recipes” and this was at the top of the list…)

I am going out on a limb here and sharing something with you that I feel is a little private….”My Vision”.  Nothing is on this list that I want to hide from you, and maybe it will be an encouragement to someone…. so I am posting it anyways.  (I still feel like I am sharing a page out of my diary with you; your’e welcome.)

This is my vision for my house.  Sketched out for all to see.  You may agree with it, you may not… that’s okay with me.  (that rhymed, *sigh*) Your vision for your home might be completely different, or it might look parallel to my own.  But, the question I am going to ask you is:

Have you purposefully and intentionally mapped out a vision for your household?

Until last week, my answer was “no”.  I would defend that “no” with excuses like:
  • My vision is in my head…
  • I want it to be full of love (and warm fuzzies), laughter and joy… (the more vague the better)
  • The vision for my house is ever changing… 
But to be frank, I had never been asked to write my vision down, and I have never had enough self discipline to do it on my own, I am too busy washing clothes and changing diapers!!  In chapter 4 of Finding Your Purpose As a Mom, the author asks you to specifically map out a vision for your house hold.  She asks you to ask yourself questions like:
  • What does it smell like?
  • What do people notice when they walk in your home?
  • What is heard in your home?
  • Who do you want to see in your home?
Questions I haven’t let enter my mind.  Besides my husband, I am solely responsible for setting the tone and the atmosphere of my home.  This task is up to me, and me alone.  There are few things in this expansive world that are totally dependent on me, and my home is one of them.  Am I viewing it with this much importance?   I have been viewing the “keeping of my home” as a chore, rather than a responsibly or a privilege, and to be completely transparent I haven’t really had an “end goal” in mind.  I am in need of a serious reformation.
This last weekend we went to my husband’s grandparent’s house for the day.  The drive is around 45 minutes and since I have had motherhood, homemaking, parenting, etc at the forefront of my mind I started to consider his grandmother’s home.  
His grandparents live on approximately 5 acres in a valley nestled outside of a small town in southern Oklahoma. It is the epitome of peaceful.   Mammy (his grandmother) is an avid gardner and in the summer time you are greeted with overflowing impatience and caladiums.  She is also a talented home decorator, in her day she would probably have given David Broomstead a run for his money on HGTVs “The Next Design Star”.  She has perfectly hand picked every decoration, piece of furniture, and picture hanging on the wall with intention and purpose.  They live frugally, but have an abundance of wealth.  Their relationships are rich, their hospitality priceless and their love is genuine.  The moment you walk in the front door you are greeted with a smile and warm embrace, you smell the fresh clean air, and you could eat the comfort up with a spoon.  If his grandmother has any forewarning that you are coming over, something is baked and waiting for you. As the homemaker, she has created a legacy within the walls of her home.  This atmosphere of peace does not happen by chance.  She has poured years of her life into her family and her home, making great sacrifices along the way because she knows those whom she loves are worth it.  
My husband’s grandparents have been married 55 years (I think?), and her home is still ministering to people.  (specifically to me)  Her vision for her home did not stop when her children grew up, married and moved out of the house.  Her relationship with her grandchildren runs deep because the time and energy she invested in them, opening her home to them for weeks in the summers, and attending nearly every sporting event each of them had.  Now that she has great-grandchildren, her home is filled with new toys for babies, toddlers and kids.  In the summer, they fill up the kiddy-pool days in advance so the water can be warm upon the kids arrival.  Her home is her ministry.  (And as a side note his grandpa is a saint, but I am specifically focusing on the womans’ role in the homemaking today
Do you know someone with a home like this?  A home that someone has poured their life into?  A home that is grander than a house, one that exudes acceptance, grace, and love the minute you walk in.  A home that ministers?  (I know of several, this one has just been on my mind recently
Proverbs 29:18 says “Where there is no vision the people parish.”  Maybe this is why the “family” has perished in our society.  As mothers and as fathers we have neglected to sit down and make a vision for our homes, a vision for our family, a vision that extends past the years our children are at home?  The culture we live in requires our nose to be constantly on the grindstone and when it comes to our families, either we are too busy to be intentional, or we are just too.dang.tired.  (I understand! Mee tooo.)  We must pause and consider to what destination we are leading our families?  That direction directly affects the generation you are raising and can set a path for future generations to follow.  You, as a parent are the catalyst in your small nuclear family, where are you taking them?

Let’s get serious for a second.  Would you be aimless, half-hazard or reckless if you were given a longterm task at work?  

NO
If you were starting your own company, would you write our a 15 page business plan? (Well, you would have to if you were applying for a loan.)  

If someone tasked you with planning a community wide event; the planning process begins with a vision, and then it takes months and months to execute.  

Or say you were given a longterm goal to reach, would you sit down, map out where you want to go, and devise a plan on how you will get there? Of course you would. 
Maybe you respond by saying, “Um, hello Heather… I am NOT a CEO or an event planner, or a community strategist.  Why is that relevant?”  
I respond by asking, how much more significant are our homes and families than the “important” events, goals or businesses these jobs are created for?  If an “event” requires that much planning and forethought, shouldn’t we put a tiny amount of mental effort into the strategic planning of our homes? 
In Donna Otto’s book, she provides an example of how to map out the vision for your home.  I simply started by drawing a little house in the middle of a piece of paper.  From that I listed the things I most wanted to see happening in my house.  The smells, the noises, the sounds.  Some of them will not be a reality, like “no trash” or “no plies”, but it is a vision I have, nonetheless.  (I value a clean and open house, over clutter and junk; that is my preference.)   When putting pen to paper, I dug through memories I had as a child, experiences I have had as an adult, things I value, people I love and I considered what I want my children to remember, and what I want my future granddaughter-in-law to feel as she walks through my doors.

I challenge you to do the same.  Write out the vision you have for your home.  It can look like mine, it can be a list, it could be an interpretive dance if you are so inclined, but do it.  DO. IT.

It sounds cheesy, (I know, I felt that way too.) but it is therapeutic and so helpful.

Thanks for reading.

2 final thoughts: 
– You don’t have to be married or have children to have a vision for your home.  Young couples, one parent homes, grandparents or singles should have a home with a purpose, just as much as homes with small children should.
-I am sure over time, my vision will evolve to fit the needs of my maturing family, but for now: this.is.my.vision.

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12 Comments

  • Reply Brittany

    Heather I am definitely going to check that book out. My small group at church is almost done with a book so I am going to suggest this one. Thanks for writing. I seriously enjoy every word. I always laugh out loud at your honesty!

    February 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm
    • Reply Heather D.

      Brittany,

      I highly recommend this book!! Esp with a small group, or a group of friends wanting to do a book study. Its been so convicting and eye opening!! I really needed it, and I didn’t even know it. 🙂

      The book is currently out of print, but you can buy copies on Amazon fairly easily. You just cannot go to Mardel or Lifeway to purchase them.

      February 28, 2013 at 11:23 pm
  • Reply Lauren Flake

    What a fantastic post! Love your “doodle” of your vision for your home. I just became a stay-at-home-mom and really need encouragement in stepping away from the Pinterest boards and focusing on meeting my family’s most important needs.

    Your description of your grandmother-in-law’s hospitality and peaceful home reminds me so much of my mother-in-law’s house..always welcoming, loving, clean and without clutter but REAL. She is such an amazing person and is serving more and more as a mentor to me because my mother has advanced Alzheimer’s disease.

    Lauren @ For the Love of Dixie
    http://loveofdixie.com

    February 28, 2013 at 3:50 pm
    • Reply Heather D.

      Lauren… You hit the nail on the head, yes REAL… we must have warm and inviting homes, but they must be real, with real life and love happening within their walls.

      And… your comment means so much to me bc my grandpa is suffering with Alzheimer’s disease as well. He has been in a care home for 4 years, and has just been placed on Hospice. Aren’t we lucky when God sustains us with other examples and mentors when our parents or loved ones are ailing? Thank you Jesus. I said a prayer for your mother, and for you. 🙂

      Heather

      February 28, 2013 at 11:17 pm
    • Reply Lauren Flake

      So glad you commented at my blog because I didn’t see this reply! I appreciate your prayers and am so sorry about your grandfather.

      February 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm
    • Reply Lauren Flake

      P.S. Right now, I’m hosting an online Scentsy party to promote the new Forget-Me-Not warmer benefiting the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (and my consultant is donating her commission from the party as well):
      http://loveofdixie.com/support-alzheimers-research-with-scentsy/

      March 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm
  • Reply Kerry Fountain

    Hi Heather–

    I am so glad that you stopped by my blog and asked me to visit you. You hooked me in with this post (so I am now a new follower :-)).

    I loved the questions that the author of the book asked- how do you want your house to smell, what will people notice about your home when they walk in, etc. because they really made me sit down and think about it. I am somewhat embarrassed by the scrapes and scars on my laminate flooring, mismatched furniture, etc BUT I also don’t worry when the kids and dogs are playing in the house….or that the dogs love to cuddle with us on the furniture…or that the kids move the furniture so that they can dance with their friends. I would much rather have a place where the kids feel at home than a museum where they aren’t allowed to touch things. So while I would never have thought that I had a plan for our home….I guess in a way I do.

    I also love the insight on your husband’s grandparents home….cause that is what I try to accomplish with my home…..bring in what I love and create a welcoming environment for those I love…..

    Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

    February 28, 2013 at 1:16 pm
    • Reply Heather D.

      Kerry,

      Thank you for your sweet comment. The questions the author asked had never even occured to me. Especially, how do I want my house to smell. Automatically, I thought “Not like a dirty diaper!!” ha. But in honesty I want it to smell like home cooked meals, and open windows. And, the toys on my floor mean we have children who love to play, and the dirty dishes in the sink mean that we eat together… To look at these hinderances through the lens of “my vision” brings me more peace. Thank you for reading. Can’t wait to read more from you as well.

      Heather

      February 28, 2013 at 11:14 pm
  • Reply Michell Pulliam

    Hi Heather!! I soooo love this post! We are to make our homes havens for those who live in it and for those who visit!! Every household should have a vision. Our scripture for our family and home is Proverbs 24:3-4(AMP)! Thanks so much for sharing my friend and thanks for linking up today! Have a blessed evening! 😉

    February 28, 2013 at 5:07 am
    • Reply Heather D.

      Michell, thank you for the encouragement. I too love that verse.

      3:Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation],
      4: And by knowledge shall its chambers [of every area] be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

      Thank you for stopping by.

      February 28, 2013 at 11:11 pm
  • Reply Erin

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Very excited to find your blog, old pal. May I add you to my sidebar blog list thingy? I already did, because I’m that excited to read…but thought I’d officially ask…you know, to be polite and all. 😉 Such a good post, friend.

    February 27, 2013 at 10:31 pm
    • Reply Heather D.

      THANK YOU!!!! 🙂 And sure, I don’t mind you adding my blog to your side bar thingy. Maybe I need a side bar thingy to add your blog too 😉

      February 27, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Thoughts welcome, please share.