The LifeGiving Home {Jan, Feb, Mar}

Flowers January and February (especially February) can be dreary months when stuck inside from the cold of winter. I'm from Michigan so this is definitely true here!

I love the feel of January, though, because there's sense of something new and refreshing. The feel of a new beginning and fresh goals. Yes, I am a goal maker!

Originally, my word for 2016 was Rhythms. But as I continued in the weeks, I realized I was going and going and going nonstop and I was burning myself out. The last thing I needed was something MORE to do. So, my word changed to two words: Practicing Rest. There is still a rhythm to this and that is to practice it, even a little bit, everyday. So, I guess you could say I'm practicing the rhythm of rest.

Rhythms, Routines, and Rituals

Sally shares some excellent rituals to strengthen or include into our own rhythms. Everything from devotional routines and meal time routines to cleaning routines to the reading-hour routine. We probably all do these in some capacity. But what can we do to strengthen them? What can we do to make them unique to our family? Special particularly for them?

There is no one right way to live life in a home. No one size of routine or rules or order fits all. Homes with young children will be quite different from a single-adult home. Elderly adults will order their lives by different life rituals than will single adults, young marrieds, or university students. But the more carefully we plan our days, the better our homes will provide us with freedom and enjoyment as well as purpose and accomplishment.

Familiar rhythms and routines give structure that provides leadership and personal care to all who live there. When children and guests know what to expect, they also know how to ask for their personal needs to be met and understand what part they play in the life of the home. -Sally Clarkson

Rhythms and Routines

Growing Lifelong Relationships

The whole reason for creating a life-giving home is to cultivate and nurture the relationships under our roof...whether they live there or come in for a visit.

While setting the atmosphere is a start, the key to a life-giving home is really the building of relationships. Taking the time we need to cultivate those relationships and not allowing the details of everyday life to get in the way of that.

I love what Sally says regarding the building of relationships throughout this chapter:

In taking time to build close relationships, we learn that people are more important than things or material possessions.

Our lives become what we live and model.

The way we use our time will help others know that building a relationship requires a commitment of time and sacrifice.

Sally also goes into some of the most foundational and practical ways to express love, beginning with good manners.

Teaching good manners has become somewhat of a lost art today. Yet it's the most basic way to show love to others, by honoring them through simply being polite and courteous.

She also shares some of the most practical ways to say I love you, including:

  • kindness and sympathy
  • focused attention and time invested
  • words of encouragement and affirmation
  • serving others
  • saying "I'm sorry"

Other ways to express love can include the celebration of birthdays -- not just the day itself, but celebrating the person and making them feel special and valuable. These celebrations don't need to be fancy by any means!

As our family has grown, we've done away with large, elaborate birthday parties and have instead kept the celebration inside the family and a few close friends.

We will all go out to an activity of a child's choosing and I'll cook their favorite meal for dinner. After dinner, they'll open a few presents and we'll enjoy cake together.

Activities can include anything your budget allows. We've gone roller skating, bowling, put-putting, to the movie theater, to Build-A-Bear, even to the park! 

We've built many special memories through these activities.

Rollerskating 2015


What says "love" in your home? What more could you do to express love?