May 04, 2010

Order of Operations: Environment

Blue Ribbon Winners

The home environment is like a garden. To keep a garden you must plan it, prepare it, keep it weed and pest free, and fertilize it. Without all of those steps you will have a haphazard harvest at best, and nothing to show for your hard work at worst.

Plan: Knowing what you want your home to be like is the first step to getting there.

Prepare: Knowing what your priorities are, making sure you have the tools, and setting up the routine are your next step.

Weed and Pest Free: Finding out what is in your way, disciplining yourself and your children, removing the things that prevent you from order and peace, protecting yourself from distractions...

Fertilize: Quantity and quality time - love, hugs, kisses, and encouragement... the selfless act of serving others.

The master gardener for the home is mom and the tool she wields is home management. That means mom must be an excellent manager of her home if she wants to reap the best harvest for her efforts. Sad, but most of us don't get a course on home management before we get married, have children, and own a home to manage. Most of us (including me) are far from experts at this monumental task... trudging through the mud and weeds as we try to eek out daily life - one mistake at a time.

Natural sign of love - heart made from small tomatoes

The environment of your home includes your home decor, your meals, your things, your time together as a family... every aspect of your life that can be managed - is part of your 'environment'. Many times we allow these things to just 'happen' rather than guiding them. I know I need to be reminded often that each choice I make is affecting our days... and that even these little things (like paint colors, lasagna, trash taken out, and family movie nights) can have the ability to shape the way our hearts are growing.

I love the way J.R. Miller (author of Home Making) describes the trust a husband has for his wife:

"He has confidence in her management; he confides to her the care of his household. He knows that she is true to all his interests - that she is prudent and wise, not wasteful nor extravagant. It is one of the essential things in a true wife that her husband shall be able to leave in her hands the management of all domestic affairs, and know that they are safe."

What power we have. If only we could wield it well.

And here's a quote for you when you are thinking of ordering out pizza because the day has been taxing and you just don't have the energy to cook:

"There is no doubt that many a heart-estrangement begins at the table where meals are unpunctual and food is poorly cooked or repulsively served. - J.R. Miller"

That makes you feel just wonderful about yourself, right? [We ate out tonight, so I'm eating my own words.] While that quote might be a wee bit on the harsh side; I do believe that if we put a little more thought in to our days, went a little farther in each other's shoes, and tried a little harder to serve one another... our homes would greatly benefit.

Like gardeners have garden clubs, so we women can admonish one another and help each other along this journey. We can all share the little victories, the best tips we have, the things that we are struggling with. Do you have any favorite home and life management books for women?

I've been reading 'Life Management for Busy Women: Living Out God's Plan with Passion and Purpose' by Elizabeth George. Her first few pages had me hooked. She compared God's promise of renewed strength if we wait on Him (one of my favorite verses - Isaiah 40:31 ~ "they shall mount up on wings like eagles") to us jumping out of bed with our 'feet hitting the floor running' and running ourselves in to the ground. Soaring vs. Smashing: what will it be?

With a little forethought, a lot of prayer and some extra love, our efforts will build for us a garden like Eden and a harvest that spills over beyond anything we ever imagined.

Share your tips on home management or your favorite books on the subject below! I'd love to read them and I know that a lot of the moms who stop in here to visit would, too.

For more on this series, see the first Order of Operations post.

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Credits: Photo top - EJMphoto, Photo middle - crlocke1


Penney Douglas said...

I really like The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer. She gives lots of ideas for making our homes more beautiful and artistic. This is a big weakness of mine. The ideas she mentions are easy and inexpensive, but I've had to change my views of the importance of how things look and are presented because of what I've read in her book.

Jeanne said...

Ah, Penney's beaten me to it. Hidden Art for me too. No matter how often I read this book it never fails to inspire me.

Lessons at Blackberry Inn by Karen Andreola is pretty good too.

sprittibee said...

I can't wait to read them!



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