Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Home for People Who do Stuff

As part of my upcoming Year of Simplicity and Poverty, I am thinking a lot about how that relates to my home and posessions. Everywhere I look on the internet, on Pinterest and on Facebook there are articles telling me how to declutter, complete with pictures of magazine homes with everything perfectly in order. I read these and spend the next week driving everyone in my family nuts. We are going to simplify. Minimalism! Thats what we need, or a new system. Something that will finally tame the chaos. If I can just get rid of enough stuff, everything will be OK.
Jerusalem Workshop Nell Howard

The problem is that this never, ever works, and after a decade of parenthood, I'm starting to think it just never will. A lot of those houses you see in magazines aren't made for people who do things. They are made for people who visit their houses on evenings and weekends, not people who live and work there full time. There are nine people living in this house and all of us are doers. We cook, we build, we create, we draw, we write, we read, we play music, we explore, we pray, we serve, we tinker, we learn; in short, we really live in this house. This is not just a house, it's a workshop, a gathering place, a school and a studio.

Ultimately, that is a good thing. It's what I've always wanted my home to be, a place where love and creativity reign. I want to raise saints and scholars and craftsmen, people who put their heart and soul into their life and work. People who see their life and their vocation as one and the same, and who use the gifts they have been given for the benefit of the world, as a sweet smelling offering to the God who gave them those gifts.

Atelier d'un luthier Anthony V

Climb a mountain. Look into the bottom of a pond, or a forest. there is order there, but it isn't, by any stretch of the imagination, tame. It's alive. I want my home to be a reflection of that. I want my home to be a place that is teeming with beauty, truth and goodness. In a lot of ways, it already is. I need to look at it like a gardener looks at their garden. Where do I need to prune to make space for the things that nourish us? What do I need to let grow? How can I make a fertile soil? What needs to be watered? What needs to be brought out into the sun, and how can I create shelter from the cold? How can all of these things, growing independently and doing what they were made to do, work together to create a place of beauty?

.Office de tourisme
Bless us, O Lord, and these, thy gifts, which we are about to recieve from thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord. Amen. 
Pears and grapes still life cbransto
It seems to me that those words apply to so much more than food. How can I look on all of the gifts I have been given, physical, spiritual and personal, and use them for the purposes for which they were intended, or give them away with an attitude of gratitude and abundance? That, is the question. That is definitely going to involve some decluttering. It is definitely going to involve some bins, and some traditional organization. It's also going to invovle some letting go of expectations created from years of reading Better Homes and Gardens and embracing some of the mess of real life. 

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