As we talk about the cooler months, it will be a great opportunity to plan ahead!
Home is Best
What makes your home the best and what could you do to make it even better?
What repeated rituals, rhythms of life, words spoken have become the ways that shaped your family culture? What do your children think of when they talk about your home? Shaping home culture takes time and forethought, but also shapes the foundations of faith and strength of relationship by what is practiced every day.
Warm fires blazing, candles flickering, music wafting softly amidst people chattering gives a picture of a home filled with life, beauty and fullness of daily celebrations in these lovely chapters. The cold of fall and winter weather mean more hours in doors, a season designed by God. But to occupy little and big minds and bodies sometimes requires planning.
When the places inside a home are intentionally crafted, these seasons can become the places where stories are read to inspire the heart, ideas discussed over hours of munching breads with body-pleasing warm soups. Discipleship is vibrant with time to discuss stories of Biblical heroes and quiet times to reflect on what one will become in their own life. These "pulling in" seasons can build deep souls, vibrant imaginations, close friendships.
Meals do not have to formal or fancy. Limited time to cook has made me craft my home meals with simplicity. Sally emphasized that since meals are shared 365, three times a day, it is a time to captivate the attention of all who share these times with discussions of ideas, sharing of stories, listening to opinions shared, and cultivating a family community around friendship and sharing of hearts, souls and minds.
Personalities differ and circumstances change and so shaping these important rhythms of eating together can be planned to suit your own personal life demands. Simplicity is the rule for our family. I don't have the time I used to in order to create new, delicious meals that most my family would enjoy as often as I used to in another season. Some of my young ones are still developing their palettes and don't appreciate new creations as much as I do.
Yet, regular meals shared by everyone over and over again gives children the opportunity to develop tastes that will eventually become welcome to them over time.
In my home, I keep things simple and we still enjoy our meals. :)
I also place my focus on keeping the home clean and organized and clutter-free, while it seems an obvious endeavor, is one I strive to stay on top of because it brings peace to everyone and makes being home much more enjoyable.
It is the giving rhythms of home that provide the right atmosphere for passing on the essential heart attitudes and warm relationships in life.
Blessed and Blessing
November is the season of giving and gratitude. We use it kind of as a refresher to remember to give and be thankful all year 'round.
Some ideas shared in The LifeGiving Home book include:
- Harvest Festivals, where everyone brings food to share
- Meals or plates of cookies or fruit breads for Friends
- Handwritten expressions (notes, cards, etc)
- Giving to missions or other non-profit
- Serving as a family in a soup kitchen
- Developing a heart for prayer by focussing each day on thankfulness
We must learn how to nourish a heart that is keenly aware both of God's abundance as it comes to us and the needs of the world around us. The grace of home is that it is a place where we are deeply nourished and given the capacity to be givers in our turn. -Sarah Clarkson
The Rhythm of Celebration
Christmas is a wonderful time for celebration. Everything feels different as joy often takes over the home and lights and sparkle brighten up the room and spirits.
We aren't just celebrating a season, but a Savior. The air is filled with wonder and worship. When you celebrate Christmas in love and service, you don't need to explain what Christmas is "truly" about. Simply live it and your children will know.
Create and strengthen those beautiful traditions during this season. Bringing close friends and daughters together over traditional lunch fare year after year, having carol sings where families share baked goods, celebrating a simple "Shepherd's" meal only with candlelight, garners memories that cherish the astonishing event of "God become man through a tiny baby," and the amazement of children is cultivated while faith is shaped through the loving atmosphere is cultivated around the grace, love and artistry of the ever-living Christmas story. Some ideas include:
- Observing daily Advent readings and weekly candle-lighting of advent wreaths
- Going to or having a yearly Christmas Tea
- Reading Christmas books and watching great Christmas movies, snuggled together on cold evenings
- Having a family gathering of the closest friends with a progressive dinner, traveling to homes over different courses of a meal.
It is in celebrating these rhythms that souls are shaped into habitual worshippers. Familiar traditions speak to adults long after they have left home because of the deep imprint of God's love and family culture shared over and over again over seasons.
Make a place at home that means to belong.