Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Home Decorating

I’m thinking a lot about our home lately. Maybe it’s the assurance of Spring soon emerging now that the holidays are over, or perhaps it’s due to the great sofa sitting in my garage begging to be recovered. Our master bath desperately needs some love and updating, and in the last month or so little fingers have gingerly peeled off a 6-inch portion of toile wallpaper (as evidenced above) in our downstairs bathroom. We’ve had several color swatches inconspicuously painted on the exterior of our garage for a couple of years now, the trim expectant for new, more interesting colors. Our amazing backyard could be even more amazing if we chose to invest some time and money into it, but then again, that takes time and money.
The list goes on.
Lots of ideas for our home. Lots of wish-lists and to-do lists, and even some goal-lists now with the new year. But what swishes around my mind constantly is not so much the actual decor of our home. Instead, it’s what I envision for our home’s fragrance and atmosphere: an inviting, safe and thrilling dwelling for the precious people who inhabit it. Domino and Country Living are of no help here. What I desire for my family can surely be accomplished without new paint or light fixtures, without new wallpaper or a bathroom remodel.
What do I dream of for my family, for my home? Our reality is clutter, noise, and lots of dishes dirtied every single meal. It’s piles and piles of paper, skateboards littering the driveway, and the boys begging for the Wii rather than books. For this girl who loves order and cleanliness, I’m realizing that people laugh more when rooms are messy. Don’t understand the science behind that, but it’s true. I would never want anyone to feel uncomfortable in my home (our children included!) because it’s too “together.” Yet it’s a constant tight-rope act to find that balance of keeping some order (so important to me) yet letting go of it so my family feels completely comfortable and at peace within the walls of our home.
A few days ago I posted on the impacting novel, “The Shack” by William P. Young. He describes a garden that took my breath away - it paints a vivid picture of how I envision our home:

“As he rounded the trees, he saw for the first time a magnificent garden and orchard somehow contained within a plot of land hardly larger than an acre. For whatever reason, Mack had expected a perfectly manicured English garden. This was not that!
It was chaos in color. His eyes tried unsuccessfully to find some order in this blatant disregard for certainty. Dazzling sprays of flowers were blasted through patches of randomly planted vegetables and herbs, vegetation the likes of which Mack had never seen. It was confusing, stunning, and incredibly beautiful.”

So, English garden? No. The constraint would be stifling for all six of us. Perfectly trimmed hedges and a politely blooming landscape? Not likely. But a garden exploding with laughter and brilliant colors? Now, I can get excited about that!
On a practical sense, what does that mean for me and how I envision our home?
- Laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.
- Safe. A secure place for open communication that produces love and squashes shame. For our kids to know they really can talk with us about anything... even when (especially when!) it’s uncomfortable for us.
- Christ-dwelling. An environment where the King of Kings is not only welcome but present. Even when (especially when!) Mommy’s mad or exhausted, or when kids are bickering. A place where we worship in the midst of real-life dailies.
- Romantic. Victorian wallpaper? Um, no. By romance, I’m referring to the beauty of marriage, that our kids will be enveloped with a healthy, authentic picture of marriage. My blogging friend Llama Mama recently wrote about romance in her post entitled "Rome Ants," and this is what I’m talking about. Helpful here that I’m married to the man of my dreams.
I am reminded often that it’s a gift to be married, a privilege to raise these treasured children, and an undeserved bonus to have a home to call our own.
Lord, help me to be a wise steward of all You are entrusting me with... thank you that You are my personal Decorator. Your presence overshadows any meager attempts I might make to prepare a beautiful home for my family.
And one more thing, Lord... if we go to the trouble of re-wallpapering the bathroom and little fingers again find the seams, will You remind me of that “lots of laughter” thing??