“Give her the product of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates.”
Proverbs 31:31

I remember reading A Kings Daughter in my high school days.  It’s a book full of short stories that reflect the desired character of a godly woman.  I don’t remember all the stories now in my old age…. But one has always stood out to me and probably has been my favorite and impacted me greatly as a homemaker and that was the story about the old woman in a run down house.   The story goes somewhat like this;
Young girl sees an older lonely woman in a run down dirty home.  She visits the older woman daily or as often as she can.  Soon she has to move away.  She is sad. She brings the older lonely woman a Violet plant to take care of since she is moving.  The woman sets the violet on the windowsill so taht the sunlight can help keep the plant healthy.  She watches the plant day after day realizing that this beautiful plant makes the rest of the home so filthy looking.  She decides to clean the windows to let in more sunshine and not make it to pitiful like she is.   Once the windows are clean she slowly page by page begins to perk up the home making it clean and inviting.  Months, or is it years? later the young girl comes back home for a visit and is amazed by the transformation of the “old dirty home”.  The picket fence is fixed up. The house is clean and maintained and the yard is full of blooming flowers instead of overgrown weeds.   The story shows how the old tired woman grows into a cheerful woman that keeps her home inviting.

Often we do the daily mundane things in life.  It can get extremely exhausting.  The good Lord knows I often begrudge my role as a woman and caretaker of my home.  What is the point in cleaning if its just going to get dirty?  Because we are setting a lifestyle and habit and even environment.   I don’t expect a Better Homes and Gardens home with four messy learning children.   I could work for that environment but I don’t think that we need to fall to the other extreme where our children have no life for fear of getting down and dirty.  On the other hand, I try to encourage an attitude that gets the whole family involved in a clean and healthy environment.  Its exhausting work.  It seems never ending.  Its becoming a lost art in the realm of families and I have to wonder if its not hurting us in the long run.

It is a good thing to have a clean tidy home, note that I did not use the word spotless.  I begin to see character traits being built into the children, qualities like; Responsibility, good stewardship, hard work ethics, gentleness and patience (mom needs a lot of this when working with absent minded children ;)) focusing on one thing at a time, etc etc etc.

I recently felt in a funk.  I was tired from being up all night with the baby and to make matters worse, my atmosphere was laziness, dirtiness and grumpiness.  The house needed the daily cleaning and I excused myself because I did not get adequate sleep the night before.  Now, this may have worked well if I had sat on the couch and read to the kids instead but what actually happened was I wasted the day on the computer.  I got even grumpier over this fact but did nothing to change it.  I didn’t get up and put the clean dishes away.  I didn’t go and make my bed. I didn’t sweep the floors.  Nothing.

I made the meals and rinsed the dishes and sat back down at my computer just scrolling. The endless time wasting scrolling.

So, when it was time to pick my daughter up from ballet I decided to make the best with the rest of my evening.   I went to the grocery store and bought $12 in the market fresh bouquet they have.  Yep. Frugal me spent $12 on flowers that will hopefully last a week.

I couldn’t help but think of that story I read as a highschool student about the lonely old woman that had a transformation over a small violet plant.   I needed a bit of cheerfulness in my home… so I went and bought $12 in flowers. A bit extravagant I know but they make me smile and I needed some smiles. With mama smiling, the kids are picking it up once again and there is joy to share all around. $12 extravagant in that perspective?

The house began our own transformation.  The children were called in and cheerfully told to pick up their toys and I set about to making a dinner.  Yes, I admit, I even tried to go through the drive thru of Del Taco but I knew I would not have enough time to get my food and to my daughter’s studio with the long line of cars wrapped around the place.  So a chicken salad it was with sauteed mushroom and collard greens… no the recipe was terrible but we managed to eat… most of it.   But you know what, I felt better seeing those bright cheerful flowers on my table.  The house needed to reflect those flowers.  The house is still messy even as I type this but it’s a different feeling.  It’s not a feeling of repetitive useless cleaning but one active household. A household that is not spending all their time in front of the TV or iphones or whatever gadgets are out there today.   We’re creating, building, playing, using, having a home cooked meal, getting a good nights rest, and much more.  It’s all about the attitude and if its the woman that makes the atmosphere of the home pleasant then we have a very important job ahead of us and need to make the best of it.

So now I have a visible reminder for me. The reminder not to have a a clean house but to have a clean attitude.

“She opens her mouth in wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  (Proverbs 31:26-27)