On Dust Bunnies and Decorating Blogs

On Dust Bunnies and Decorating Blogs

I’ve always dreamed of hav­ing a blog that show­cases my beau­ti­ful, per­fectly staged home. I so love look­ing at those stun­ning pic­tures with every­thing per­fectly in place. They are so serene, so gor­geous. They inspire me.

But then I look around and laugh.

The thing is, I love that sort of thing. I love dec­o­rat­ing, inte­rior design, mak­ing things beau­ti­ful. It’s just that my house is not the show­case I feel it would need to be in order to pull off some­thing like that.

How do you get a house­ful of chil­dren {Or their toys. Or laun­dry. Or what­ever else they are drag­ging around.} out of the camera’s eye long enough to take those stun­ning pictures?

I can get dis­cour­aged. I remem­ber a day when my house was spot­less. We even had a maid back then.

That was before chil­dren. We don’t have a maid any­more. I think I did the maid thing backwards.

I love to dream and imag­ine my house with just the right paint color, the coor­di­nat­ing fur­ni­ture in per­fect condition.

I have a beau­ti­ful leather sofa. With a flower gar­den painted on the back of it with a black Sharpie marker. It’s quite striking.

I really don’t see it any­more, but I know every­one else does. It’s actu­ally the first thing you see when you walk in my house. It’s right there after the entry­way, into the liv­ing room. All its glory star­ing right at you.

Faith did that when she was about 2. She wanted to make it pretty for me. I never got angry at her for it. I thought it was pre­cious. She drew that for me? Aw. I mean, I was shocked at first, but never upset. But it won’t make the gor­geous pho­tos I see in the blogosphere.

I have a mish­mash of things col­lected from around the world. Our home is warm and invit­ing, or so I like to think. But we live here. ALL of us. So that doesn’t make for gor­geous inte­rior design photos.

I think my strug­gle is more about being con­tent than it is with hav­ing a per­fect home.  I find that I can become dis­con­tent because I never seem to have time to get to those things. I long for sum­mer break so that I have at least a few hours freed up in my day. Not that those hours aren’t taken by some­thing else. In so many ways we have such beauty and delight. We have been blessed abun­dantly. Yet, we get bogged down with the stuff, the dust bun­nies, just the keep­ing up with the basics, sel­dom get­ting to the Martha Stew­art (or who­ever is the go-to per­son for design today…I’ve lost track) in us.

I decided years ago, after many tears and frus­tra­tions, that I needed to let the things give a bit in order to prop­erly take care of the more impor­tant things in my life: my fam­ily. I decided that lov­ing my chil­dren, bear­ing patiently with them, pour­ing out my life for them was way more impor­tant than per­fec­tion in my home. I’d rather have them under­stand the per­fec­tion of Christ in the imper­fec­tion of life. I want them to know that I value them way above hav­ing things just look that way.

I know some peo­ple seem to pull it off. I admire them. I don’t really know how things go in their home, if the chil­dren feel val­ued and loved. They seem to, so I don’t have rea­son to doubt that. These moms must be way more on top of their game than I ever will be.

Yes, we still like it tidy around here. It’s just that we don’t always achieve the “photo ready” stan­dard. Okay, not just always, often. I look at those pho­tos and can’t find a sin­gle dust bunny or cob­web. How do they do that? How do they find time to make every­thing always look so good? Maybe we are only get­ting a shot at the one room that they poured into for that photo. Maybe just on the other side of the cam­era is chaos.

But maybe not.

I feel like Mrs. Tit­tle­mouse. You know. From Beat­rix Potter’s book. She’s a tidy lit­tle mouse who has all these insects pop­ping by unex­pect­edly leav­ing lit­tle dirty foot­prints every­where. She’s con­stantly clean­ing up behind them. She’s adorable.

Mrs Tittlemouse 2

I feel her pain.

But the crea­tures mak­ing the dirty lit­tle foot­prints in her home are not her beloved chil­dren. They are unin­vited guests. Surely that makes a dif­fer­ence. Or maybe not. I sup­pose our hearts should be wel­com­ing of whomever the Lord puts into our homes to min­is­ter to, chil­dren or strangers. Some­times we are incon­ve­nienced by peo­ple we don’t actu­ally love.

But I sup­pose that’s another post for another day.

For now, I will con­tinue to move along in my life, min­is­ter­ing to my chil­dren {and beloved hus­band, of course}, enjoy­ing other peo­ples’ gor­geous dec­o­rat­ing blogs. Try­ing not to envy. But being refreshed by view­ing their beau­ti­ful photos.

And gig­gling at my leather sofa graced with the gift from Faith.

Mrs Tittlemouse

I sup­pose the tidi­ness will come again one day. Unfor­tu­nately, that will most likely come with a house empty of chil­dren with dirty feet. I’d rather fight the dust bun­nies than think of the days with­out them.

I linked over at Joy­ous Notions.

I want to, but he won’t let me…

I want to, but he won’t let me…

At the Fam­ily Eco­nom­ics Con­fer­ence last week, I was priv­i­leged to par­tic­i­pate on a panel con­cern­ing hos­pi­tal­ity and min­istry. Many really good ques­tions were asked, which we were able to address. I enjoyed lis­ten­ing to the other pan­elists, and I learned much of the grace of the Lord from these godly men and women.

One thing that seemed to res­onate with those in atten­dance was the point that things don’t have to be a pro­duc­tion to be hos­pi­tal­ity. A sim­ple meal shared with joy and thanks­giv­ing is so much more enjoy­able than a 5 star meal served on china if it means that rela­tion­ships are strained and the bud­get is exceeded.

One ques­tioner asked what to do if a father/husband is hes­i­tant to open their home to oth­ers, but the daughter/wife still wants to extend hos­pi­tal­ity. This can truly be some­thing that is dif­fi­cult to live with. Like many other areas of fam­ily life, we must remem­ber that we are com­manded to honor and respect our fathers and hus­bands. We can con­sider alter­na­tive ways to express hos­pi­tal­ity. For exam­ple, per­haps he wouldn’t mind if you brought cook­ies or a meal to some­one in need. But, some­times the issue is big­ger than we think. Per­haps it is an oppor­tu­nity to hear your hus­band or father’s heart on the mat­ter. In all respect and sin­cer­ity, go to him and ask for ways that he would be will­ing to let you extend this grace to oth­ers. And, with humil­ity and sin­cer­ity, ask him what his hes­i­ta­tion is in this area. You just might be sur­prised by his answer. But, before you do that, maybe you can trou­ble shoot it for yourself.

How do you han­dle the fam­ily bud­get? Is he work­ing long and hard, only to find that the money just isn’t quite meet­ing the needs to keep the house run­ning at his expec­ta­tion? Do you com­plain about not hav­ing enough money to do or buy things? We must learn to be con­tent and thank­ful for how God pro­vides for us through our hus­bands or fathers.

How have you han­dled sit­u­a­tions in the past when you were expect­ing com­pany? Were you joy­ful and gra­cious while prepar­ing the home for your guests? This was once my biggest strug­gle. While the fam­ily enjoyed hav­ing com­pany over, NOBODY enjoyed the process of get­ting the house ready for them. I was a bear, grumpy, yelling, frus­trated, angry. Ugh. It was any­thing but pleas­ant. Are you like that? Has your fam­ily learned that this is not a happy expe­ri­ence? Could this be why he is hesitant?

And then there is the issue of clean­li­ness. Is it pos­si­ble that he is embar­rassed to bring peo­ple into your home? Your home, and the state of your belong­ings, reflects on his abil­ity to pro­vide for you. It directly and imme­di­ately shows whether or not he has his house in order.

Can you per­haps take a quick inven­tory and see if any of these issues might be a fac­tor in his unwill­ing­ness to open his home. We need to be care­ful not to assume that the prob­lem lies with an unchar­i­ta­ble hus­band. It might be more with us, and he is hes­i­tant to tell us. I don’t usu­ally enjoy self-examination. But, I’m thank­ful for it. I’d much rather fig­ure it out before I need an exhor­ta­tion from some­one who loves me. If you sus­pect that one of these areas is lack­ing, maybe you can spend a few months build­ing a rep­u­ta­tion that is more hon­or­ing and godly before you approach the sub­ject. Maybe he will notice the extra effort and the sit­u­a­tion will be dis­pelled. But, please remem­ber that this is not a manip­u­la­tive tac­tic. He doesn’t owe you the results you are hop­ing for. Even if you don’t get what you want, if these changes need to be made, then you will be blessed and your fam­ily will be blessed by the results.

I pray that you will be able to extend more hos­pi­tal­ity in the future. If he still says no to peo­ple in the home, con­sider a meet­ing in a park. Pack a pic­nic that shows thought and love. One of the sweet­est and most gen­er­ous times of hos­pi­tal­ity that some­one showed us was a pic­nic in the park. They packed lunch, and it was var­ied and abun­dant. They had a lot of options, but not a ton of things within each option. For exam­ple, they had var­i­ous veg­eta­bles, but none of them indi­vid­u­ally would have filled any­one. And crack­ers, sand­wiches, cheeses, fruit. Sim­ple things, but some­thing for every­one. Aller­gies could be worked around, peo­ple could eat what they liked with­out draw­ing atten­tion to what they didn’t. It was fun. The chil­dren had the free­dom to play out­side with­out fear of break­ing any­thing. Per­fect for a sum­mer day!

Enjoy this won­der­ful prov­i­dence and grace of the Lord. May you be blessed and sanc­ti­fied as you reach out to others.



I have to admit it: I’m a tea snob. Does that sound bad?

I seem to have a rep­u­ta­tion of lik­ing tea. But, in all hon­esty, I’m really picky. Some peo­ple call it “par­tic­u­lar.” Any­way. I like to host lit­tle teas, and big ones. But, I’m not a huge fan of most of it.

How­ever, I have a tea that I love. If you come visit me, I will offer you a cup. Those who accept are never dis­ap­pointed, as far as I know. I have it imported from Eng­land. Seri­ously, that Boston Tea Party thing was a huge mis­take. Why couldn’t they have dumped Mar­mite over or some­thing? We would have never known. Who in the US, who is actu­ally from the US, eats that stuff any­way? Those guys really sac­ri­ficed for us, and we are still pay­ing the price.

vanilla tea

Whit­tard Vanilla Tea


See that crum­pled up box? That is liq­uid vel­vet, as my dear sis­ter in law described it. It was brought across the pond, sent from my dear friend, via a young lady who was headed our way. I feel so loved. She sent a few boxes for me. When we travel to Eng­land, I snatch up the entire inven­tory in the local shop. I asked the sales lady last time if she had more in the back, and she told me no. She didn’t even go look. I think she’s still hold­ing a grudge about Boston. When my friends visit me from Eng­land, they bring a suit­case full for me. I rea­son that they need an empty one to head back from here to there with all sorts of Amer­i­can things, like guns… kid­ding. But, they do like to shop here as well.

Enjoy­ing a cup of tea with a new or old friend is such a sweet thing. I love the con­ver­sa­tions that ensue. The way the warmth just fills your body. I can feel my body warm up as I drink it. I’m a snow­ball most of the year, so the tea helps me cope.

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