May 16, 2011

Making a Home that Serves You

Does your home serve you, or do you serve it?

Every morning little feet pitter-patter into my bedroom, straight over to my husbands side of the bed.  There is a flurry of excited whispers and then, if it is not still too early, my husband gives them the okay to go put on their rubber boots.  Then my sleepy husband rises, dresses, and takes 2 or 3 excited children into the backyard, still donning pajamas tucked into their bright rubber boots, to tend to the chickens.

They do all this as stealthily as 3 and 4 year old children do anything, as to let mommy sleep.  But sometimes I peak outside my bedroom window and watch as my kids skip across the backyard, hand in hand with their daddy, to do this one chore that they truly love doing.

This is a special thing that my kids share with their father.  And they won't always share it.  There will come a time when my kids would rather lay sleepily in bed than jump in backyard mud puddles on the way to the coop.  Or maybe, there will come a day when this chore will become a morning ritual all their own while daddy dozes with his head next to mine.  But for a season, this is magic.

And then, when I rise and prepare breakfast and set about tidying up the house, I find myself greeted by boots and mud.

It would be so easy to find myself grumbling as I pick up these boots day after day.  It would be easy to mutter something half under my breath but just barely loud enough for my husband to hear...

...something about the coat closet only being ten feet away. 

...something about how I just cleaned this floor yesterday.  

...something about how I already have enough to do.

Something I can't take back.

But this pile of muddy boots and floor is so much more than that.  It is a symbol of something precious.  I don't want to ruin it.

If the whole point of our homes were to keep them nice and pretty, to shine them up and show them off, then maybe it would be okay to nag our husbands about where the boots land.  Or the socks that miss the laundry basket.  Or a million other little things.  Because we would be here to serve the house.

But the house is here to serve us.   It's a tool we enjoy as part of this incredible life we share.  And so instead of changing the way we live to make for a cleaner house, I needed to change the way the house serves us to meet the way our family is using it.

I got a little wooden rack thing at a thrift store for 2 dollars.  I don't know what the rack was originally created for, but in our house, it is a spot for boots.


It's not the perfect spot for a line of rubber boots.  It's not the most convenient spot.  It isn't a radical solution.  If a magazine were going to come into my house to take pictures (yeah right!), I am certain they would be moving these rubber boots.  But in our house it is a beautiful sight.  Because the lives that this house serves are magical, full of excitement and wonder over little pleasures,

....and muddy. 

We clean and decorate and organize our homes, not for the sake of our homes, but so that our homes can be better backdrops for the lives we live in them.  Love your home for the life that thrives inside.

In what ways are you serving your house's needs?  How can you turn it around today so that your home is better serving your families needs?


  1. Lord,
    Help me to keep my home clean enough to be healthy, messy enough to be happy.


  2. Staying organized is so difficult, but I think that with the right system in place (one that's intuitive for everyone in the home) makes staying clean and organized so much easier!!

    I feel like this is just so much easier said than done. When I get off of work, all I want to do is make dinner, eat it then go to bed! It takes so much effort to actually put everything back in place! Is that just me?

  3. I love this post for so many reasons, but especially about the house serving you. Even tho' it sometimes takes a long time for me to figure out what the problem really is and how my house can serve me, once it is figured out, Wow, what a difference.

    @leslie, sometimes I forgo dinner and just go straight to bed! :o)

  4. 1st time here - love your writing. i have a suggestion for your little boot rack. with a perm marker or acrylic paint, draw the outline of each pair of boots. as the little ones grow to need bigger boots. keep the same spot but make their outline bigger and put the date of the new pair on the toe of the new outline. if you can keep it for years, you can see them grow and grow and grow!

    and it might help remind the big one and the little ones to stand their boots on the mat.


  5. Thank you so much for this inspirational post. I really enjoyed it!

    You hit the nail on the head.

    I think so many of us that love being organized can get distracted with perfectionism and miss what is really important. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Thank you for reminding me that there are more important things than a little mud on the floor, and that sometimes those annoying, messy spots are the result of truly beautiful, memory-making moments.

  7. If I could take a picture and let you all see my tile entry you would be amazed. Why you might ask?
    The entry that is used always is the one through our garage. The number if shoes to boots inside that door is never the same. I gave three children but with those three I have 20 more that call our home, home. At any given time I never know how many will be home. But when I walk in my door I then know who all has come home to say hello. And that entry place is a Place of Love.
    Yea it is a messy spot of the house but it is a spot that shows much love
    And we sure love these kids to adults when they come home. So do worry about people but don't worry about the crowded and messy tile.
    From Teresa in Sheridan Wyoming
    Where we in this home share love!

  8. Lovely words from a lovely mum and wife, I love this post for so many reasons, but especially about the house serving you.I love being organized but so many times can get distracted with perfectionism and miss what is really important. Thanks for the reminder!
    I´m from Argentina, have 3 kids (7,5 and 1 months) and discover your post yesterday and I love it !! I read your feeling and I recognized myself like breasfeeding, catholic, love craft and cooking, and etc. I fell great because most the time I´m feeling a freak...jaja,
    Sorry about my english, thanks a lot to help us being so generous
    Maria Laura

  9. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this post...tears were rolling down my face reading this! You are wonderful!!! & you speak so much truth...I just adore this! Thank you for the wake up call about life & our homes!!!


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