Monday, November 26, 2012

A Lesson from the Cosby Show

I wasn't feeling well yesterday, and I decided to relax and watch the Cosby Show while I ate lunch. I think my two favorite episodes played during that hour of time I had to myself while the boys napped.

The episodes covered the grandparents' 49th anniversary and when Theo had to "rent" a place in his house. I have always liked the Cosbys. Their family is pretty awesome, but I noticed something that I hadn't really noticed or cared anything about before.

They dressed up. Not just to go out for some reason. They had the grandparents over, and they wore SUITS. How often do we wear our everyday clothes when we invite someone in or go visit someone? I think people would actually look at me funny if I dressed up when I had them over...our "nice" now is jeans and a nice blouse. We all are "comfortable."

I wonder what life would be like if we "dressed up" when we met with friends. Would it make any difference? Do you remember a time when if you went somewhere for dinner, you took something? I'm blessed to have a few friends like that, or we will just swap taking care of the entire night. But still I wonder, would my home be even more of a haven if tomorrow, when I had my friends over, we made it a "dress up" event? Would we all be uncomfortable, or would we all be showing each other even more respect and love by showing how special their coming is...special enough for our best long as we weren't planning on playing wii. :)

I wonder how I would feel if I dressed my best for me. At any time. For any reason. Would the world be a little bit brighter? Would I be able to make people feel special? Would I feel more purpose? Would my husband feel more special? Would my sons sense something special about our lives? Would I go more places? Try more new things? Meet more new people?

I wonder if somewhere along the way being comfortable overshadowed the joy we could feel at true hospitality. We could find comfortable dress clothes if we wanted to dress up, right? But we might have sacrificed something special. Or maybe all this was just because my head was in a fog during an episode of the Cosby Show. lol. Either's food for thought!

UPDATE: I wore my jeans and nice blouse and my husband wore jeans and a shirt when our friends came. My friend was wearing jeans and a nice blouse, but her husband was in a suit (he came immediately to our house from work). I almost snickered when I realized I would have fit in if I'd dressed up...even though it would've been unexpected. This morning as I update this, the question still plays in my head. And I think it's very possible that I'd be asked over and over why I was so dressed up, but rather than that making me uncomfortable, I could give them the answer, and maybe...just maybe...that would make a difference in a life.

Finishing up Making my Home a Haven Challenge

I, sadly, missed linking up last week at women living well, but I'm not going to miss it! Last weeks challenge was all about the kitchen. I realized before Monday that I had been living out the challenge to bring special meals to my family for a couple weeks. Finally feeling healed from having sweet Landon, I started meal planning, and I made an array of homecooked meals that filled my house with pleasant aromas. All of these dishes were new to my family. There was only one dish I didn't like (even though it was cooked right). And out of all of the meals, Austin (my sweet 20 month old) ate them ALL.

I didn't cook as much last week, though. We cleared out all the leftovers. I think I had worn myself out. :) I did cook Thanksgiving dinner, though. My husband was off the two days before thanksgiving, but I wanted to spend all of those days soaking in time with him and my boys. So on Thanksgiving morning, I got the boys up and we watched the parade and relaxed around the house. Then I got the potato salad cooked during nap and got the turkey prepped. I managed to have Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey, potato salad, stuffing, peas, and gravy ready the minute my husband walked in the door.

He thanked me...oh, I don't know...around 10 times. No exaggeration. It was a special moment for us. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I'm glad he enjoyed my effort. This is the first Thanksgiving we were apart for most of the day, so it was important to keep something traditional for us.

This week our challenge is to decorate. I'm SOOO excited about it. This is my first Christmas with both our boys. Makes it feel so special. We have our tree set up, but we haven't had time to decorate it. Adam is off tomorrow and Wednesday, so I look forward to decorating during that time. I'll have to take pictures, as I haven't been adding many pictures to this blog, and I think this is the perfect part of the challenge to start.

Hoping your holidays start out merry and bright!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Closer to "Haven Status"

We are to week 2 in the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge. This week we are to keep our candles burning and play soft music, remembering to pray for peace in our home and to practice gentleness.

I have to admit, I had a hard time getting started with the music, which is surprising because I absolutely LOVE music. I think it was deciding how to go about the challenge. In the end, I decided to play my local Christian station at a low volume.

My husband has become interested in this challenge, and he turned the volume up slightly so it could be heard very lightly in our bedroom. I didn't think too much about gentleness or peaceful relationships intentionally, but I have had quite a few opportunities to choose how I react to situations in my life. I have chosen to not speak many of the thoughts that have crossed my mind because I knew I would essentially be saying them to "hurt" because I was hurting, and I don't want to continue the cycle.

My tv has come on less due to the challenge, and I often think of curling up with the hubby and sleeping in our living room where the music softly plays. It makes me think of times I led Disciple Now groups and I stole away to spend some time quietly in the Word.

I can't say that it has made a huge difference in my life...yet. It feels like it's just a seed right now. As if my mind is being renewed a little more each day, and I am heading more to the simpler life I crave.

I know I'm not just doing this for the challenge of it all at this point. This is going to be a lifestyle change. The music will continue to play, and the light will keep burning. And hopefully, as I go, I'll grow, and my light will shine a little brighter, and my music sound a little sweeter.

UPDATE: I realized that I have explored a new hobby more in the last two days. Rather than just sitting and waiting on my son to finish his meals after I finish, I have worked on my sewing at the table while talking to him and my husband. I actually completed my second project this morning. Something about music being in the background rather than tv influenced that as my attention is not drawn in so many directions. It's so peaceful, and I am thankful for the time to do something I enjoy in the tiny moments afforded me. I'm glad I'm blogging about this challenge...I notice little details so much more when preparing to link up than if I had just been going about my day.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Making Your Home a Haven Challenge 1

I am super excited to take part in the challenge to make my home a haven. The challenge has weekly components as follows (taken from

November 5th -Go buy an extra large candle and light a candle everyday in your home.Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home.
November 12th - Play soft music everyday in your home. Focus on using peaceful words and maintaining peaceful relationships. Work on gentleness this week.
November 19th – Focus on the kitchen, the heart of the home. Cook things with pleasant aromas – like homemade bread, pies, and cookies.  Remove discontentment and give thanks to God for the home God has given you in which to create a haven for your family.
November 26th - Decorate! The holidays are upon us.   Be creative as you make your home warm, cozy and inviting for the holidays. 

I began week one a little early when I came across the post announcing the challenge. So I found one of the best smelling candles I could. My home quickly smelled like baked apple pie. I remembered to pray for peace (even if only quickly) in my home everytime the candle caught my eye. The timing of this challenge was particularly important. My husband and I have been in a short season of a complete lack of peace in our home. One of the first things my husband said to me upon seeing (and smelling) the candle was "You love me." After I asked him to not blow out my candle (which he had done two days in a row) I realized that he thought I was lighting it right before he got home to make things nice for him. This is one of the few times I hadn't blurted the "cool new thing" I was doing all over the place. I asked him why he would blow something out that he thought was meant to make things nice, and he said he didn't want to waste it. So I told him I had plenty more candles and I could buy more if necessary, so we can leave it burning. As I am writing this, I have realized that during this time, peace has returned to my home again. The tension has left, and we are once again going in the right direction. My husband and I even shared a slow dance to the credits of a movie (and no...this is not a normal occurence.) :)

I keep my candle in the kitchen, and the smell permeates my entire home. At night, when we are watching tv in the den after the boys are in bed, I turn on a battery powered candle that looks like the real thing as well. The light of that brings a different feel to the room as well. Isn't it amazing what one item can do for the home. I know that my prayers are being answered, and it feels quite different around here.

But I have to ask myself the question: is it really just that God heard my quick prayer and answered quickly and efficiently...or could it be that when we seek peace, we act more peacefully? In my case, I think it's a little of both. Seek and ye shall find...