Monday, September 7, 2009

The Farmhouse and Your House

Driving through the Midwest, there is something very quaint about the rolling acres of cornfields, the neatly-painted red barns and the tidy and well-kept farmhouses that dot the land. The farmhouses seem to beckon visitors in, and I imagine them to be as spic and span, crisp and clean on the inside as they appear on the outside. This may not be the case, but as one drives past, the pride of ownership is so visible, it would be hard to imagine the inside of the home would be sloppy when the outside is so neat.
     Seeing these farmhouses motivates me to scrub and clean my own house. While I do not live on a Midwest farm, I can (and should) do my best to inspire the feeling inside my home that I feel while driving past the outside of these homes. From outside appearances, I picture them shipshape inside, smelling of fresh air and sunshine. Beds are made neatly and crisply, a breeze blows through the windows, there are fresh flowers in glass vases decorating various rooms of the house.  Thinking about what it could be like inside conjures up a peaceful feeling that I would like to recreate in my home.
      But creating this idyllic image begs the question--how do you do it when you have young children underfoot? What lessons can we learn from farmhouse wives? While I haven't interviewed any for this post, I imagine they would cite their hard work ethic as key to their success. Have you ever noticed you don't see many lights on in the farmhouses past dusk? Early to bed and early to rise. I don't imagine hard-working farmhouse wives would be sitting inside, flittering away much time in leisure pursuits if their work for the day wasn't done. I imagine they would set their hands to the task before them quickly upon rising, and then they could enjoy leisure later in the day without guilt. I imagine they would involve their children in the family chores and work alongside them to get the jobs done as quickly as possible. Granted, there would be a learning curve where one must patiently train children to do the chores properly. This training will probably take the first several years of a child's life, and will reap rewards if Mom does not give up when the learning seems slow (and messy!) at first. I'm sure there are other tips we could all learn, but I think the real key to recreating that peaceful, quaint farmhouse feeling is having a close relationship with Jesus Christ.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
-Colossians 3:12-17

So what do you think of when you see farmhouses? What tips have you learned for keeping your home neat and tidy, especially with young children? Please do share!

(Related post: The Fragrance of Beauty in Our Homes)

1 comment:

  1. Well I dont think our house is super tidy all the time, but I am renovating our bath with 3 kids under foot! It's been hard, but yes, bedtime and nap time are keys! A little at a time, and now it's almost done! Nolan has too much to do, so I am trying to take on some of his tasks also, so he can spend time with the family also. I learned to mud, varnish, hang shelves (on the studs) , and caulk. Now, Nolan doesnt have quite as much to do when he gets home from working all day.