Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Upon Domesticity, or how God is changing my attitude to my home

Whether we share our home with other adults, a family, our parents or we live alone, our attitude to it says a lot about us. A large proportion of this blog is about my struggles in getting my home in order. I tend to refer to it collectively as housework, but really it is much more than that. I love to be hospitable, but that means as a minimum having some where for your guests to sit!!

Anyone who's stayed with me will tell you that often clearing a chair or floor for sit or lie on is the first thing I have to do. Not having to do this would mean I am freed up to take their coat, sit with them, and have a drink. Having a tidy, organised home, means I have more time for other things, more space for them-not material things. Whilst I can invite my most intimate friends over when my room is a tip, it shouldn't be that way. I would like to be able to be hospitable without having such distractions.

Like so many people, I loath housework. Why do we hate it? I think for a number of reasons, and not just laziness. I can think of two main reasons: the first and easiest is because I'm tired, and very frequently, lazy. The second reason is more complex, and I imagine is the same for many people, regardless of whether your house is immaculate or looks, as my mother fondly says, like a bomb's just hit it. A lot of it comes down to feelings of inadequacy. No matter how hard I try, I just can't be the ideal woman, with the perfect house.

But who says I have to be the perfect woman? Where did I even get this idea?

The world: magazines, television, other people's houses and lives. Did you notice that everyone else always seems to have the spotlessly clean home, the happy children, and dinner on the table at 6.

Products are sold on the premise that, if you purchase them, you will be as happy/successful/attractive etc as the person in the advert.

Mr Muscle will not make me love the jobs I hate. Nor will Country Living make me a domestic godness.

As a friend of Leila Lawler, over at Like Mother, Like Daughter, once pointed out, there are two things you need to sort first off: food on the table, and clean clothes in the cupboard.

{These taste great and are so quick and easy to make, I had them for brekka before work on Saturday}

That's it.

I know I certainly struggle with these two things. There is simply no point in me worrying about the colour of my room or fussing about how clean the floor is if I don't even have food in the house or a clean uniform for work tomorrow.

It has taken me 6 years to begin to get a handle on washing the laundry. Yes, really! I'm hoping it won't take me another 6 to get a handle on putting it away promptly. Still, better to master one thing at a time and enjoy a habit well begun, than lament the failure of half a dozen. Maybe laundry isn't an issue for you, perhaps it is meal planning or making time for people or to read God's Word. Or just having time to day dream or think without feeling guilty.

As I pursue my goal, here are some points I think I would do well to remember:

Do it for God
There is no point in me attempting to organise my home if the only reason is selfish motive. My attitude must be that in doing so, I'll be freed up to do other things. Like bale for my friends, or make fancy dress costumes out of old wedding veils - more on that another time perhaps.

It's finished
Jesus has died...and rose again. Our sins have been paid for. Nothing we do or don't do can affect this, providing we are trusting in him. Our certain hope of salvation won't dissipate if I give a guest beans on toast for dinner, or I haven't hoovered before they come.

We are not perfect yet
God is saving the best until last, so whilst we can try now, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to be more content, less lazy, less concerned about what others think, we won't always succeed.

The alternative to 'all' is not 'nothing', it is 'something'
I am an all or nothing person. I blitz my room or I leave it a dump. I'm learning that this isn't the best way to live. Don't try and do it all at once. Looking after a home is about building good habits, one at a time. It's only now I've got on top of the laundry, that I'm beginning to think about planning what I'll eat each week. Then I'll move onto clearing out my wardrobe and my clothing. A little a time is okay. Really.
Above all, remember that to struggle is no sin, but to struggle and refuse to ask the Lord for His help is disobedient and foolish-He loves us, and like a good earthly father wants us to ask for his help when we need it.

Thursday, 19 November 2009


Sorry, that was quite loud, but cake it is. A decent amount too. And one more success sojourn into gluten free, dairy free baking.

Sadly, the gluten-free thing was a success - I do feel much better. Having dinner outside of home, especially restaurant, is a bit of a trial. The whole thing feels so embarrassing, asking so many questions, and then feeling bad for not always believing them (though not without good reason).

Cooking at home is challenging, but is improving. Having bought an adult GF cookery boook, I found a lot of the recipes a bit, well, antsy. Then I discovered 'The Gluten free cook book for kids'. Yes, I know - I always did have a taste for children's books.

Not so Gluten free for kids. Chicken nuggets, meatballs, Spanish tortilla, meatloaf. And brownies.

Oh, those brownies!!....ah hem.

I have stacks of recipe books, but probably ever make one or two recipes out of them. This one already has a very wrinkly spine, additions written in biro and post-its coming out of every side.

An old university friend came to stay last weekend. Katie and I would have been friends six years this September just gone. It feels like we've always been. I really value her faithfulness, her love of books (especially children's ones!), her willingness to keep visiting even though I've yet to make it to the Isle of Wight. She is very kind. And because her mum has coeliac disease, she has no fear of gluten free baking. Hurray! A partner in crime...

We baked togther on the Friday evening: I made banana bread with walnuts, she made lovely little cup cakes, both from Adriana Rabinovich's fabulous book.

I would like to experiment and see if I can eat oats. If not, I may buy some gluten free ones in now and again as a treat - I would like to try Leila's fruit crisp topping. I mean, how good does that look?!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Remember, remember...

I paused this evening on the communal balcony to watch the fireworks displays across our local area. From the fifth floor we have a beautiful panoramic view from both sides of the flat.
As I watched them, I was reminded of one of Dad's anecdotes from his time in Iraq, how at some of the darkest moments in the first Gulf war, the sky of Bagdad, lit by orange flares and the flames of burning buildings, had resembled the beauty of bonfire night at home.

From the improntu firework display, to his keeping up with the housework, dusting the inside of his armoured vehicle with a paintbrush to keep the sand of the desert at bay, even in the thick of fighting, soldiers will look for the familar, the domestic. Many adopt wandering animals as pets, share the sweets from their rations with children not so very different from their own at home, and play football with them in the street. Daddy was no different.

Men and women have sacrificed their lives up and down the ages, so that we might enjoy these small pleasures of life, as well as the larger causes of freedom and justice.
So please, enjoy bonfire night with it's excitement and colour, and give thanks to God for those who gave much for you to be free to enjoy the everday delights of this world and the next.

"Two voices behind the line in France, May 1916"

'The roads are all torn';
'but the sun's in the sky,'
'The houses are waste';
'but the day is all fair,'
'There's death in the air';
'and the larks are on high,'
'Though we die-';
'it is spring-time, what do we care?'
'The gardens are rank';
'but the grass is still green,'
'The orchards are shot-torn';
'there's bloom on the trees,'
'There's's war all around';
'yet is nature serene,'
'There's danger';
'we'll bear it, fanned by the breeze.'
'Some are wounded';
'they rest, and their glory is known,'
'Some are killed';
'there's's peace for them under the sod,'
'Men's homes are in peril';
'their souls are their own,'
'The bullets are near us';
'not nearer than God.'

David Westcott Brown
(killed July 15, 1916)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...