Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Sanctuary

I take no credit for this concept- I'm 100% borrowing it from Rachel Anne over at Home Sanctuary.

This is our little townhome.

(Sadly, I just realized that this picture is two years old- because both my sister's car (the white jeep) and my car (the red Saturn) have been totaled since then.)

It's pretty cute.... they're not new, but we like the brick and we have the ONLY tree on our row. I love decorating it- we have simple fall decorations outside, as you can see, and put up a wreath and a simple lighted garland for winter. This past summer, I planted some perennial flowers under the tree and put potted plants everywhere- it was definitely the cutest house on the row.

Inside I've tried to create a homey little place, even with all our mis-matched hand-me-down furniture. (Alas, I can't find the camera anywhere, or I'd show you a picture... when I find it, I'll add one.) I have some cute fall and winter decorations I place about, and I think Husband and I like it and a are glad it's home.

But often, it's quite messy. Somehow the laundry never gets put away, and we're always digging through the laundry baskets to find our clothes for the day. The dresser and any other flat surface gets loaded with piles of goodness knows what. The kitchen seems to always be dirty, whether it's the stove or the floor or the counters or the sink.... and I often lament how cleaning and tidying and laundry NEVER end.

And I have a very bad attitude about it.

See, I inherited the direct correlation between cleanliness/order and my personal functionality from my mom, but still, I've realized I have a bad attitude about having to put things away, clean things up, etc. etc. etc. (and I do mean three etceteras, because it really feels like the minute I finish, I have to start again.) And I get crabby, because I have a full-time job as a teacher and, until recently, have been in grad school, and I don't want to spend my evenings tidying and cleaning and putting laundry away.

But here's where the idea-borrowing comes into play. A few months ago I stumbled onto Rachel Anne's blog, Home Sanctuary. Each day she posts a "small thing" that can make a difference in the idea of making your home a sanctuary. I never really got into them, because I was cranky and crabby about doing more work, even if they were "small things." But, because, I love being a Company girl, I kept reading, often thinking, "I wish I had time to do that."

Anyway, the other day, Rachel Anne was reflecting on how Small Things Matter. In it, she wrote something that really stuck with me.

"My reality is that I'm a tired mom, living on a shoestring.
I'm haphazard in my organization and quite a few of my ideas are half baked, at best.
But I've got this unshakable belief that a home can be wonderful,
even if you don't have it all together.
I believe that God takes the little bit that you have,
and He can make much of it.
I've seen what can happen when I give just a little extra effort into making my home feel nice."

Here's what really got me.
She goes on:

"I've noticed a change in the atmosphere when I approach things with a "sanctuary" mindset instead of a begrudging one. I've even seen beauty in the chaos of family life. Those aren't just "small things." Those are BIG things. AMAZING things!"

Oh, okay, I get it. I have a crabby attitude. I am VERY bregrudging of the fact that I need to clean and tidy and order.

But perhaps, if I chance my mindset, if I choose my attitude, desiring that my home be a sanctuary for myself, for Husband, for our basement rent-ing friend, and for anyone else who might stop in, well, then perhaps I won't mind so much.

In fact, I believe it's NOT just a perhaps. I believe I will NOT mind as much. I believe I'll be able to take joy in the things I do to make our home a sanctuary.

If I were going to have a New Year's Resolution, this would be it. I want to have a different attitude. I want to find joy in cleaning and tidying and doing small things.

I want to make my home a sanctuary.

Thanks, Rachel Anne. (And God.)


  1. Beth - I LOVE this!!! (wiping small tear) I still have to work on my own attitude so much..but it makes all the difference when my heart embraces sanctuary rather than being bitter about things like dirty socks. There can be joy in doing small things...but you know I really think that having the online friendship of our community of company girls helps make that joy a little more possible. I'm so grateful for you and that you shared this on your blog...thank you!!

  2. I love Home Sanctuary too! Rachel does such a great job of encouraging us in creating that sanctuary. Love your post! You are so right about the attitude we bring into our homes. I sure need some adjustments in this area...which is on my goals list for this year.
    I love the way your home looks from the outside...You've done a great job. It's so much fun to decorate!
    Happy New Year!

  3. I've been working on my attitude for the last year or so and it's slowly getting better. It's not an automatic switch and I still have as many crabby days as joyful ones, but that's a better ratio than before!

  4. Your home looks very cute, Beth! Thank you so much for being transparent with your attitude; I feel so much the same way (I've had a bad day, I don't want to pick things's "only me", so why should I bother...the list goes on!).

    But having a safe, pretty, comfortable place to call home makes such a difference; doing the small things is worth it.

  5. What a beautiful post! I totally understand the crabby attitude...I am trying to turn that around as well...I want to have a joyful spirit about creating a home that is a sanctuary, because it is (both my attitude and my work) noticed and emulated in my children....Thank you for reminding me!

  6. I work on this attitude too Beth. I remember that it took a awhile for me to realize that my attitude not only helps me, but helps my family. I get to set the tone. If I'm crabby, so is everyone else. I needed to realize that I am the one who likes order and sanctuary the most...and I need to make it happen. The fam catches on and helps at's when I expect them to help and they don't for whatever reason that my attitude goes south, ya know? The martyr thing is not far behind if I'm not careful.

    My bad attitude is about managing the day to day of our finances. many times we have decided together that hubby would do all or part of this. he doesn't get to it. doesn't matter why...he doesn't and then it becomes a mess. SO, inspired by your post I am going to take over the day to day managing of our finances (again--I used to do it for years). And I am going to be joyful about it...and see it as freeing him up and serving my family. (duh.)


  7. Dude - our laundry permanently moves from the washer to the dryer to the floor in front of the dryer. And there it stays! Until someone rummages through it in the morning's desperate attempt to get everyone dressed and out the door. It's the laundry rule in our house. You are not alone! :)


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