Friday, March 13, 2015

"Swept and Good Order" ~ The Mistress of the House


The mistress of the house is doing her daily rounds.

She moves about the kitchen, tidying it up, carefully putting her dishes away. She examines the living room to make sure the chairs are adjusted to a proper position. Everything is artfully arranged and pretty. Warm blankets on the couches are neatly folded and laid gently to the side. She fluffs up the pillows and places them in an inviting display.

Everything is in "good order".

Her steps are like a symphony as they click through the halls. They create a beautiful melody. There is a rhythm to her household routine and it plays for her family a lovely and familiar tune.

She manages her home like an artist who is never finished with the art. It takes constant attention and care but it is always beautiful because this is where her loved one's live, laugh and love. This is where her loved one's can cry and are comforted. 

This is her home and it is her living masterpiece. 


"And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order."
~ Luke 11:25

"That they may teach the young women to be sober,
to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home..."
~Titus 2:4-5a

{For more gentle homemaking inspiration, visit here.}


34 comments:

  1. I love all your posts about homemaking Jes, but at the same time I often feel discouraged reading them. My living room is definitely not "artfully arranged and pretty." We have no furniture and so are using the seats from a broken down van as furniture. There is a giant ugly hole in the ceiling where pipes leaked and we had to remove the moldy ceiling tiles. Basically our entire house is a wreck and we have no money at all to fix it up. I work so hard to keep it clean and it is still too embarrassing to have guests over. Do you have any advice for me (or others with little or no money to work with) on how to make my house a comfortable home? I feel very strongly that it is my responsibility to my family to make them a nice home, yet I feel that I am failing because I can't think of ways to do this with little or no money.

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    1. Hi Laura, thank you for taking the time to share your heart here today. I wanted to first say with warmest sincerity that keeping your home clean is the most important step for comfort and is a huge blessing to your family (please don't underestimate that!). Also, here are some ideas! The local penny-savor and Craig's list are always offering free furniture that people simply need to get rid of for space (or clear out estates of family members). We were able to get furniture that way when a client's grandmother had died and the family didn't want to deal with anything as they were well off. We received lots of pieces from their storage container. We cleaned them up real good and as funds permitted, we painted a few pieces and slowly had a nice little nest. If you do go that route, make sure to take your husband or other strong family member with you for your safety. I also have found most of my fabrics that I use for pillow covers, curtains, etc., at Goodwill and garage sales for a few dollars (sometimes even a quarter or fifty cents!). I hang these pretty fabrics across areas that are a bit unpretty for a pleasant look. A recycled jar on the table full of plants or wildflowers in your back yard always lends a homey hand. Embroidering pieces of cotton or using a pretty picture from an old calendar or book and framing them for your walls is another lovely way to add charm (you can get frames at the dollar store). We also share some printable Bible verses to use as wall art. Recycling all your used jars and filling them up with your rice and beans makes a lovely display (we share some labels here that you can also place on them for extra loveliness). I hope this helps! (We also have a thrift thinking tab on our side bar that may be helpful.) Happy homemaking Laura and may God bless your efforts!

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    2. P.S. I will try and share some ideas in more detail in a future post if that would be helpful...

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    3. Thank you so very much, Jes, for your kind reply. It was helpful to me. I know in my mind that it is possible to make a home for very little, but when I look around me I just get so discouraged sometimes and my emotions get a bit out of hand. I really do appreciate your suggestions, and I would love to see a post in the future aimed specifically at homemakers on a very tight budget.

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    4. Hi Laura, I think we all get overwhelmed at some point! :) I find it best to write a list and slowly starting chipping away. Start today in order to see some results tomorrow (a plan of action always feels better! :)

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    5. Dear Laura Jeanne,

      I feel so glad that you chose to share your discouragement with Jes. She shared some good ideas. I know what its like not to be able to fix things up like you'd like to. Even after 28 years, most of what we own was either given to us (usually second hand) or bought second hand.
      Please don't be discouraged. You've got to get creative. Find the things that cheer you. Maybe a candle burning (often cheap at yard sales), music playing (try Pandora or Spotify on-line if you don't have a collection), the fragrance of supper simmering on the stove shouldn't be underestimated!

      I find that when I think about what I can do instead of what I cannot do, it helps.

      When I didn't have furniture for my living room, I baked cinnamon rolls and sold them to businesses in town for their break times. Perhaps there's something you could do to make a few dollars here and there. I get to squirrel away all the money I make by selling books on-line to buy my school books and whatever I can use PayPal for.

      As for hospitality, years ago we had people over even when we had to sit on the floor,

      We once went for Sunday dinner to someone's house and they served a simple bean soup with cornbread. Inexpensive, true, but hospitality was given as they shared what they had with us, and we enjoyed our time very much. Their situation and home was similar to yours, but it was the friendship offered that I remembered.

      If blogs and Pinterest discourage you, don't look at them! If you do, just let them be jumping off points to think about what you can do with what you have available to you.

      For now, think about the things you have that you do enjoy and how you might make the best of them.

      Here are a couple of posts from my blog that might be encouraging to you:

      40 Ways to Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without
      http://harvestlanecottage.blogspot.com/2013/06/forty-ways-to-use-it-up-wear-it-out.html

      A Few Ways to Enjoy Homemaking
      http://harvestlanecottage.blogspot.com/2008/08/something-to-think-about-few-ways-to.html

      God bless you Laura Jeanne!

      Jes, I do hope you don't mind me answering, too!

      Sincerely,
      Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

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    6. Glad to have more encouragement all the time! Thank you for your valuable input Laura!

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    7. I came over from Laura Lane after reading her post - so glad to have found two new blogs. Jes, check your area for a Restore Habitat for Humanity Store - and any of you doing remodeling, think about donating usable items and left over construction materials to the Restore Store - most cities have one. You may be able to find some items you can use for your home and I would ask there if they know of a church group or other volunteer group that would help with minor home repairs.
      Fabric is your friend in decorating on an extreme budget. I had a cabinet with a broken door - I took off the door and made a curtain to cover the front and if you don't sew, put a square of fabric or tea towel attached by clothespins on an inexpensive little rod instead of a curtain. Fabric stores have discounts on discontinued fabrics and large pieces of fabric can be cut from inexpensive sheets from discount stores. Baskets are also inexpensive solutions to storage and are also pretty.
      Consider talking with your pastor, if you have one, about your difficulties. He may be able to put you in touch with an agency or group to give you a hand. Sometimes we have to be strong enough to ask for help. It helps me to be a better person if I help others - so let others help.
      Finally, many with picture perfect homes are not happy - too caught up in impressing. I like to keep a neat home because I want my family to have a clean place and because I have an artistic eye and like pretty things, but pretty does not have to be expensive. Many of the china plates on my wall cost $1 and I know that may seem like too much when there are bills to pay, but maybe put aside even just a couple of dollars a month and buy a plate, a candle, a pretty piece of fabric, a mason jar.
      God bless - hope things get better.

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    8. I know I'm late in finding this post, but in case you see this and would like another suggestion, try finding a Freecycle group in your area. It's a community of people who offer and/or receive items from each other that the original owner no longer wants.

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    9. Thank you for sharing this Sue! This is new to me also! :)

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  2. Love the scripture quotes and your description of the keeper at home, JES. It's a great privilege to be able to stay home and be a blessing to our families.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  3. This is a lovely post--a bit of encouragement as I spent the day getting things in order. OUr homes can be comfortable and lovely without spending much, but I do understanad Laura's feelings. We struggle with clutter, the joy and untidiness of 3 teenagers and two pack rat parents, too many pets and days filled with activies that take away from time cleaning and straightening. We have to do lots of cleaning whenever company comes. This week, I have been determined to clean for my family, especially my husband. It is a wonderful feeling! Having said that, I want to encourage Laura. We have all been in situations where for one reason or another we feel self-conscious about our homes. And I know that women can be especially unkind when talking about someone else's housekeeping skills. We should all take a cue from this lovely post and from Laura's heartfelt response to be kind and uplifting to others who are working to make their houses and apartments their homes.

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  4. You're so right, that's a blessing to have a home and a family whom take care of, and how don't do it all with deep Gratitude and Love .... thank you dearest JES for these so beautiful thoughts and quotes.
    I wish you a Joy-filled end of the week
    Dany

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  5. Such a timely post. I love that I am the keeper of my home and every thing has it's place and order. We don't need to have everything, to have a inviting and warm home. I have all that I need and Jesus is my provider of all.

    I love the scriptures, those are indeed marked and highlighted in my bible! Great reminder :)

    I hope you have a lovely weekend, Jes.

    Blessings,
    Amy

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  6. Beautiful words, JES! It is a blessing to be at home, and to be here to care for my family and their needs! I also appreciated your kind advice to Laura, and what great advice to check craigslist for free things. We have friends who moved to our area with only what they could fit in a mini van, expecting their first child. They rented a home with no furniture, just a bed. Within a week or so, by getting "free" things off of craigslist, they had almost all the furniture their little home needed! Especially this time of year with spring cleaning, many people just want stuff "gone".

    It is always an encouragement, and blessing to visit your site, and I hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful weekend!

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  7. PS... I think it would be great to share a post on how to spruce up your home with little or no dollars!

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  8. I was encouraged so much by this post.
    Thank-you!
    Linda

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  9. Wonderful post!! I love "playing" in my home.... re-arranging things and creating different vignettes!
    Thanks so much for stopping by!!

    Hugs,
    Deb

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  10. Love this. So much encouragement!

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  11. Although I'm supportive of women working in careers (I work in politics myself) I love posts about women homemaking and taking care of things. It is just beautiful and feels RIGHT to me. :)

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    1. I appreciate that Sarah Jean. I worked out of the home for years before having my children and longed to make my home nice.

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  12. Hi Jes, Love this post and the inspiration is gives to those that love to feather the nest!!
    Beautiful and thanks for sharing.
    Hugs, CM

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  13. This is absolutely beautiful Jes! You've created such a peaceful image in my mind. This sweet post has reminded me of the precious role we have as homemakers. 'Warm blankets on the couches are neatly folded and laid gently to the side' ... I love this line! And this one, 'She manages her home like an artist who is never finished with the art'. I love this whole piece and I think I'll add it to my journal for re-reading. Your gift of writing is beautiful Jes. Thank you so much for encouraging all of our hearts with this post! xx

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  14. I like how peaceful you portray it!

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  15. Thank you so much for sharing !
    Visiting from ROI :).
    Wilma. Shabby Royale.

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  16. This is a beautiful and encouraging post. I try and keep the house clean and tidy and I have improved over the years, although I am still not "there" as I call it. We have lived with second hand all of our married lives and have been blessed by the gifts of others. I am now frugal because we have to be and it is somewhat fun to try and find things for the home without buying new. Thanks for sharing this great post at Good Morning Mondays Jes, it is always a blessing.

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  17. This was so beautiful, my friend, and very encouraging to my heart. The Lord continues to use you in my life and I am so thankful to know you through blogging. Blessings to you! And thank you for sharing with Roses of Inspiration.

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  18. Such beautiful truths! This is surely an encouragement and blessing to homemakers. How lovely these words are. I believe my favorite part of your post is: "She manages her home like an artist who is never finished with the art." How perfectly said.

    Blessings to you!
    ~Jazzmin

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  19. I LOVE this post! You have such a gift for painting pictures with your words, words that inspire and encourage.

    Such a blessing to visit!

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  20. This is beautiful Jes. I loved the description and I think my husband sees it this way but, on reading it I wondered if God saw it this way...my masterpiece? Interesting way to look at it.

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  21. Hi Jes, Happy week to you! I enjoyed reading this post again along with the comments. Spring has sprung here in southern Missouri, and I'm ready to start sprucing things up a bit.
    Be blessed!
    Laura

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