Simple Priorities at home

I just read a friend’s post on another blog. It was a major wake up call. Where are my priorities? I know I’ve posted on things like this before, but this is different. I mean at home- where are my priorities? I am lucky and blessed enough to be able to stay home with my kids. The youngest only has one more year home with me….I can’t believe it, but I digress. Her post was actually about being gentle with yourself when you have small children and to not feel bad when you have to put other things outside the home off so you can take care of your home. That got me thinking…do I put other things above my home– well…..ummm….hmmmm…..yes.

At any moment if you dropped by my home would definitely have that “lived-in” look, but more like it’s been lived in by zoo animals, not 2 adults and 3 kids. I’ll admit it, I DO NOT like to clean, I never have, just ask my parents they’ll tell you. (Ok so maybe don’t ask them b/c I’d hate your vision of me as a domestic goddess from birth to be blasted to bits, lol). No seriously, keeping my house clean, not high on my list of priorities. BUT–that’s not why God gave me the ability to stay home, He didn’t say “Go stay home so you can lay around the house watching soaps and eating bon-bons.” He gave me this blessing so I could take care of my family. That unfortunately (well for me) includes keeping up with my house. My kids have the same problem as me, their rooms are trashed, and there really isn’t anyone to blame but me….I know- you can says “Do as I say, not as I do.” but there’s also that nasty little saying “Actions speak louder than words.” So, why would my kids think taking care of their stuff is important if I don’t even take care of my house.

I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I decided to stay home. What I mean is what did I think I was going to do??? I’ve tried all kinds of different things to make me stay on track with cleaning my house, and they work, when I do them. But if I don’t make them a priority it doesn’t matter. My home and keeping it neat and tidy (not like mansion or museum clean, just picked up) MUST become a priority in my life. If I am taking care of my home, my kids will learn a multitude of lessons from that. If my house is picked up, then I can sit and read books instead of saying, “just a minute, mommy needs to do this first”. I know it may sound silly to think of being able to keep your house clean as a blessing, but it is. If I grump and complain while I do it, then my kids will, and they do–believe me.

Not only will having a nice house benefit me and my kids, but it will benefit my husband too. He works hard all day and I can’t imagine what it feels like to come home to a “trashed” house at the end of the day. If he does his part, surely I can do mine. Plus I know it’s something that he needs. He feels like he can relax when the house is clean, and when it isn’t he feels like he has to keep working once he gets home. This is my job, it’s what I chose to do as a career. So I’m guessing I need to treat it that way a bit too. I’m betting that if I had a boss, a promotion and raise probably wouldn’t be coming my way any time soon. I know I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when he comes home and it’s clean too. Plus, I can work on my hobbies when it’s done. Bonus!!

It’s relatively simple, if I keep up with my house other things will fall into places. I’m pretty sure that a large part of Simple Living for me, is to make my house neat and tidy, so I can enjoy other things. God gave me a gift, I am able to stay home, and I need to use that to take care of the other gifts he gave me. One of them being this beautiful (to me anyway) home out in the quiet country on 10 wooded acres. Thank you Lord for my blessings, help me remember that as I take care of my blessings I am teaching them the love that you have given me. 

 

God and the beach

This last week my family and I had the opportunity to meet up with some great friends in Gulf Shores, AL. I think we were almost more excited than Christmas. I’ve seen the ocean before in Hong Kong, and seen beaches miles long in MI. But nothing compares to watching my kids see the Gulf for the first time. To see the excitement and wonder in their eyes. The only thing they were more excited about was seeing their friends. The first evening we were there we just viewed the ocean from the balcony, partly I think in awe of it. But the next morning we were down there bright and early picking up seashells and the kids “accidentally” getting soaked in the cold water. We all had a blast. As I sat there in the mornings looking out at the beach from our balcony or from the window in the workout room, I was amazed at all the beauty of it. Even the sound of the ocean is beautiful. It is so amazing to me to know that God made all of this just for us to enjoy. I know there’s a lot of science behind all of it and how it all works to make the world go round, but when you are on vacation- it’s simply there to enjoy. God loved me, enough to give me this opportunity to view His creation. To top it all off I got to spend time with the ones I love, my family and our very dear friends. This time was so special, it was our first official vacation as a family. Every other trip we’ve been on has been to see family or to see friends that are as close as family. One of the best parts of this trip was that we got to see some of those friends too. We only get to see each other once a year or so b/c of our locations, but God knew just what to do to make things work out so we could enjoy this time together. You know how most of the time when you go on a trip you are ready to head home after a few days….well, not this time. I don’t think any of us wanted to leave. It was a fantastic time. We got to see dolphins from our condo and when we went on a dolphin cruise, it was surreal to see them in nature. We also went to an alligator farm which was so much more fun than you would ever imagine. We even got to hold a baby alligator- it was crazy. We hung out on the beach, and grilled out by the pool. Plus, my friend and I and our girls got to do one of my favorite things- SHOP!! It was such a great time. The boys went to the Naval Aviation Museum too. This is the time that memories are made. I pray that my children will remember this trip and how God blessed us by making it possible for us to go and showing us the beauty of His creation.

Growing up

I remember being 10 and thinking- “In only 6 more years I can drive.” Those six years seemed to take forever. Then all of a sudden I was 16 and driving and dealing with all that high school teenage drama. Then came college and more “high school” drama, with a bit more stress added in b/c I was on my own. Now I sit here at 35 and look back and I wouldn’t go back there for anything. I love being a grown-up. I love my freedoms and respect my responsibilities. I love where I am in my life, and wouldn’t change it. As I sit here and look at my life, I have stress, but it is meaningless b/c of the blessings I have. Four months ago a dear friend of mine lost her life to cancer. She has young children who she will never see grow-up. She won’t get old and sit on her front porch with her beautiful, aging hands, hold those of the husband of her youth. Life is so short, it can be gone before you know it. I’ll be honest, I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile now. Trying to figure out if I should right it or not. Is it worth it to even state my opinion on this topic, but as of today–I’ve kind of had it!

When we graduate high school we are expected to grow up and move on to college or work or some other area in life. We are expected to leave the childish behaviors behind and join the adult world. My question is–why is it that it seems so many people don’t. More times than I care to count in the last 2 weeks my life has been affected by childish “high school” drama. People need to wake up and realize that it’s time to move on with their lives. God did not put us here to stay in one place but to grow and expand our horizons. If we constantly revert back to the childish ways of dealing with things we don’t like how can we ever truly do that. It’s especially sad when the people acting this way have kids. How will their children ever know what a grown-up is supposed to act like? Are we creating a world of 35 year old plus, high school kids?? Most of the stuff that people act so childish about isn’t even important. Who cares, if it doesn’t affect your quality of life and your ability to chose to pursue happiness. If you or one of those close to you aren’t grievously injured in one way or another by the situation, MOVE ON! GROW UP! Life is short, you could be dead tomorrow and never experience those precious moments with your family, just like my friend. If I have learned anything from the loss of my friend it’s that this “stuff” isn’t important. Nothing is important, but God, your family and your health. If you have those things and especially in that order, you can deal with anything, and if it doesn’t fit into those categories IT DOESN’T MATTER. Be thankful for the blessings you have. God has given us more than we can ever hope to deserve. Don’t discredit him by acting like a childish teenager when something doesn’t go your way. So- keep your nose in your own business, focus on and be thankful for your blessings, and if something comes up that isn’t exactly the way you want it to be-get over it. Don’t do things to be spiteful. I mean seriously- how appealing is that, it makes you a grumpy person and NO ONE wants to be around a grumpy person. I think this sums my thought up nicely.

 

“Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.” Ronald Reagan