Today we are chatting about my favorite chapter of Courtney Joseph’s encouraging book Women Living Well, Chapter 17 on Making Your Home a Haven.
On page 173 Courtney writes, “What makes a home a haven? Is it having a well-decorated home that looks as if it popped out of Better Homes and Gardens? Is it a home that has massive amounts of toys, food to feast on, video games stacked high, and every movie imaginable to view? Is it a certain number of square feet, a separate bedroom for each child, or the neighborhood in which you live? No. It is not the things we have or the things we do not have that make our homes a haven. It’s you, my dear reader; you are the key to making the home a haven.”
I grew up in a single-parent home. Because my mother worked full-time and my older brother had a job too from the age of 14, often I found myself at home alone. When I was in early high school, a new family moved in around the corner and on the other side of the street. The father was the new pastor of the local country church, the one with the big white steeple that I could see from out my bedroom window. The mother was a stay-at-home mom of two small children.
Even though the mom was very busy with church responsibilities, raising two children, volunteering up at the local elementary school, and cutting hair part time in her home, she still found time to reach out to me as a lonely teenager. She quickly became an example for me of how to make a home magnetic.
People flocked to her home. Teenagers. Young moms. The elderly at church. The local neighborhood children. And most of all, her own family loved being in that home. Her family was content to hang out within those four walls because she made it her aim to make it a haven.
Her house wasn’t anything extravagant. It was a church parsonage, average in size, and rather ordinary. However, her home was simply magnetic. This was mostly due to her welcoming demeanor and the way she made you feel when you were there.
Here are some principles I’ve learned from her life that I have tried to implement in my nearly three decades of marriage and almost twenty-five years of parenting. They will help make your home a warm, inviting place:
Be excited to see them.
When your family members or friends enter the room, notice them. Smile. Be happy to see them. Give a hug or a pat on the back. Make your family and any guests feel you are thrilled to see them rather than give the impression that they are cramping your style.
Have a least one room where you can visit without clutter closing in.
It is difficult to visit with friends or enjoy playing a board game or sharing a snack if clutter is closing in. Make it your aim to have the main living area clean and junk-free so that you can relax and spend time together in peace.
Serve simple food but plenty of it.
No need for fancy food for your family or even for company. Just make sure you always have san ample amount of simple food around for those who may need a bite to eat.
Make muffins or homemade granola bars in double or triple batches and freeze them to pull out when you have need for a simple snack. Make cookie dough and roll it into balls to freeze for a day when you want to serve fresh cookies hot out of the oven. Ask your family what their top five main dishes, side dishes, and desserts are that you make. Then, make a point to prepare these foods often.
Listen, remember, and bless.
Pay attention to your family members and even your children’s friends. Listen for little hints and mentions that will clue you in to what they love.
Did your son say he’d love someday to attend a certain sporting event? Did you overheard your daughter mention a new book she really wants. Did one of your kid’s friends tell the story one day of their grandmother who passed away mentioning how she made the best peach cobbler ever? Save your pennies (go without lattes or that new clothing item you really want) and instead surprise your son or daughter with their desired item some day for no reason at all. Or, track down the grandmother’s peach cobbler recipe and serve it one day when that child is at your house.
Live your priorities.
Although outreach is important, remember that family comes first. Don’t pull out all of the stops for company and then neglect your own family. Pamper and praise them inside of your home as you make it a magnetic place where they long to be.
Are you in? Let’s all purpose to make our home a warm, magnetic place—a haven where God is honored and all are welcome.
Through her daily blog, writing ventures and many speaking events, Karen’s passion is to provide women with creative inspiration and doable ideas to help them live their priorities and love their lives. She is the Director of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team and is a contributor to Focus on the Family’s magazine Thriving Family.
A popular presenter at Hearts at Home moms’ conferences, Karen is also the author of five books including The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized, and A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others.
She has been a guest on national media shows including The 700 Club, At Home Live, Engaging Women, The Harvest Show, Moody Midday Connection and Focus on the Family. The mother of three, she and her college sweetheart Todd just celebrated their silver anniversary. You can find her blogging at http://www.karenehman.com.
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