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7 February 2008

Finding home

I was very busy at work this week. We're moving to a another building soon and I've been getting removalist quotes and finding out what we need to do to change our phone, internet and electricity, as well as going to the new building to work out where desks will be placed so our electrician can install new outlets. I've also been trying to get our financial records in order because our previous bookkeeper left, I'm the new bookkeeper and our treasurer is away. Add to that a report for tonight's committee meeting, dealing with our clients and interviewing new volunteers, and the three days went by in a flash. I'm going to take it slow today, go to the meeting tonight and get back to my work here tomorrow. It's good to take a day off from everything occasionally.

Some of the comments left are very special to me. I really love knowing when readers see a way to change and when they suddenly "get it". There was one such comment a couple of days ago: Jenn said...
I've been lurking about for a while now. Enjoying your posts on the simple things in life and thinking about life on the other side of the world. I have thought about this post all day! I often feel guilty for wanting to just be at home. But now I realize that is how it's supposed to be. My home is my HOME. It's where I am nourished, where I rest, where I pray and where I love.

That's right Jenn, you got it! Home is where you're nourished, it's not just a building.

When I had my eureka! moment, I suddenly knew that if I wanted to feel comfortable in my own home, if I wanted a safe and pleasant place to live where I could nurture my family and myself, I had to make that space myself. I had to make my home what I wanted it to be. This is one of the many significant and life changing things that you can't buy in any store, anywhere in the world. A home is not made with appliances, new dinner plates or big flat screen TVs. A home has a much more complex character than that. A home is the sum total of the work you put into it and the joy you get out of it.

For me, making a home meant developing a routine that met all my needs and then following that routine as well as I could. It is important to me to have a clean and comfortable bed to sleep in every night, so I make sure I make the bed every morning, the sheets are clean, there are enough pillows, we have books to read, a light to read under, cool sheets in summer and flannel sheets in winter. We also like having warm fresh bread for lunch, so I make that happen every day. Just after I make the bed, I start the bread so it's ready for lunch. Neither of us likes a dirty floor, so I sweep every day. We love having morning tea together on the front verandah, so I make sure we have a nice hot pot of tea and something home baked like pikelets, orange cake or muffins, or a million other things. I love organic fresh vegetables, so Hanno does a lot of gardening to ensure a reasonable supply. We like using good soap, so instead of buying "natural" soap for $3 a piece, I make it at home. Washing is hung out in the sun because it's lovely to look at, it smells of sunshine when it's brought in and it saves a mountain of money running the clothes dryer. I hope you get what I mean - we have identified what makes us feel comfortable and cared for and we make it happen in our own home.

But it is not only the work that defines a home. It is also the joy you find in being there. It is taking the time to relax and recover, as well as having a secure place to watch your family grow into strong and capable people.

Our home is where we are really ourselves. Sometimes we are weak here. It is where we are naked and vulnerable but it's also where we find our strength. We wear what we want, we sleep without fear, we wash, cook, eat, read, create and regenerate. We enrich our lives with our work because we know we are doing what it takes to make living here exactly what we want it to be. We see a reason for the work we do - it's not something we put off until it must be done, we do our work because it gives us our lives and our home. Whatever we put into our home in terms of housekeeping and gardening, we get back again ten fold.

So you see, your home isn't just the address you spend time at between work days and trips to the shop. Home is the place that will enrich your spirit and make it possible for you to gain the strength to live. And as Jenn so eloquently put it: "It's where I am nourished, where I rest, where I pray and where I love."

Only you know what it is that makes you and your family happy; only you can make your home the place that produces that particular kind of happiness. You don't create a home by creating a showpiece - that's just a house. A home is created first in the heart and then it is pieced together, bit by bit, with all members of the family playing their own part, to make it a home you all thrive in.


  1. Rhonda,

    Wonderful post!!! I sometimes feel guilty for making our girls stay home all weekend:) I could just be home enjoying our garden, making a nice meal together. Isn't this what life is all about.

    I get to stay home during the day homeschooling our girls. I can honestly say I never get tired of being home.

    I do like going out:) It is nice to come home to a organized and simple home:)



  2. Wonderful post Rhonda. I'm trying to take the time to make my home the haven I want it to be. The problem is my husband and I have quite a different perspective on what a haven is. He's high-tech, computer, hoarder guy. I'm simple, uncluttered, untechnical, candles and flowers kinda girl. We have no open space in our house and it drives me insane. I feel as though I can't think most of the time. The husband on the other hand loves it and gets mad whenever I suggest getting rid of some stuff. How do you make your home a haven when you and your spouse clash on what that actually is?

  3. Rhonda, that post is beautifully written and so thoughtful. My home, quite simply, is my sanctuary and I love it. In fact, I'm quite a hermit because there's no place like home. I can be 'me' - whatever that means at any given moment.It may not always be beautifully tidy, but I feel so comfortable there, and the more I put in to my home, the more I get out of it.I've rarely any desire to be anywhere else, and feel so fortunate.

  4. This may be the most well said piece ever written about home. Thank you for saying it. It touched me. There is so much that calls for a home to be a show piece, but if my home was that way, my family would not be at home.

  5. You make so much sense Rhonda. I love being at home, it's my natural habitat. Thank you for your wonderful blog and thanks for the laundry powder recipe which is a roaring success.

  6. Oh Rhonda what a wonderful post-home is where we are ourselves and where we "grow" ourselves!

  7. Thank you for giving us "permission" to seek the peace of a simple, quiet life. :)

    I have been thinking about the suggestions you made about starting small, and have decided to work on packing school lunches for my daughter, rather than having her buy school food. It's not a matter of money, but a matter of doing for ourselves what we are able to, of developing the habit of self-sufficiency when we have the means.

    She is not excited about the prospect--yet, lol, but I'm hoping to convince her that this will be a fun test of our creative skills! ;)

    Robin in Ca.

  8. Hello everyone! Thank you. Good luck Robin.

    Michelle, it's tough when you're not on the same page. Do you have a room where your husband could put all his stereos, TV and high tech gear? Make it "his" room. On the other hand, especially if all his stuff is all around the house, maybe you could have a room of your own. That could be your haven. Whatever you do though, I think it would be a good idea for you both to sit down and chat about what is important to each of you. You both need to be happy at home and hopefully you'll be able to work out a compromise that will suit you both. Good luck, love, I know it's tough when your tastes are so different, but talking it through might reveal a way around the problem.

  9. I loved this post. I'm fortunate in that the boys and I are all pretty much homebodies, and I'm trying to make the place more and more comfy for us to enjoy, particularly during the weekends they're with me.

    I need to channel your paragraphs about making the environment one that we're comfortable with.... vaccuuming is something I hate and the kids have inherited that. I need to harness the desire to create a Frogdancer-family-friendly environment and drag that vaccuum cleaner out more often, and use it with a different attitude.

    But apart from the odd bit of housework *sigh*, our home is our haven, and we love it. I feel so glad that the boys would rather hang around here with their friends or just with each other than disappear all day somewhere else.

  10. Thank You Rhonda, I totally agree with Robin you have given us permission to enjoy our homes. So often we feel that we have to go out and to be very truthfully I would prefer to stay at home where I have penty of things to do and where I enjoy being.

  11. Excellent post!
    I've been pondering a lot of these things lately because I've been re-organizing and de-cluttering.
    I plan to bookmark this post for future inspiration.

  12. Thank you Rhonda. How refreshing it is to see someone encouraging others to value what they do as homemakers. You are truly an inspiration.

  13. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I like it at home (but I do feel the pressure to be doing something 'useful' that is , using the 'training' and earning money). I do love reading your blog and the comments and finally today I made soap using your recipe (slightly altered). Thanks.

  14. Ummm...yes. All of that. And more.

    It doesn't seem so much like work when you look at it that way.

    I know it's summer for you but I thought I'd share that we have 6 inches of bright shiny new snow!

  15. I love hearing people being so happy in their own home. We have just moved to our own block of land, and we're loving being here. Unfortunately, the small living space (shed while we wait for house), is quickly becoming cluttered. Do you have any good tips on getting rid of clutter?


  16. Thanks, Rhonda. You affirm so eloquently what I have increasingly been feeling about my own home. We live in an extremely affluent suburb of NYC - people work hard at outside jobs, and they have all the trappings to show for it. We are slowly making our own path amidst it all - starting an organic garden, ordering chickens for the first time (they will arrive in 2 weeks!), focusing on frugality and sustainability, getting ready to home school our kids (unheard of in this "top notch" school district). I believe we started on this path 2 years ago, when we adopted a 7 year old boy from Africa. This is certainly not "the norm" where we live, but it so profoundly changed our view of the world and strengthened our ability to follow our dreams without any concern for what others think.
    With every decision we make that is better for our family and the earth, and less
    about "keeping up with the Joneses," we feel this renewed strength. Thank you for enriching my day with your wise meditations.

    Kate in NY

  17. love this post and i agree with others that it's so cool that you and H are so in harmony on this...

  18. Wonderful post! I like the parts about a home being created with little bits. Just curious if you have a cost comparison of what you homemade soap costs versus the store bought $3 bar.

  19. I just had to share how my coworker says "oh well, its back to the real world" after a weekend or holiday off from work. But my unvoiced thought immediately is: No, this is not the real world. Being at home is the "real world".

  20. Beautifully said Rhonda. Home is definitely my haven and is the place where my work & efforts seem most meaningful.

  21. Hi Rhonda,
    I just came across your post and instantly felt at home here. I've been on the journey towards what you've accomplished for quite some while, and I love what you have to say. I'll be back again and again, I'm sure.

  22. This is a good post explains the difference between a house and a home. Thanks.

  23. Hi Rhonda,

    I have been reading quite a few of your posts and I wanted to say thanks for making me feel so normal. I live very simply and do most of the things the way you do, but you have taught me to do so much more. You are amazing and we are blessed to know you. My home is my haven and I love being here.

  24. Amen! I love being home and doing 'home' things, even if it's just watching HGTV from the couch (then I get decorating ideas and ways to make my home and yard even better!) When I leave in the morning for my part time job (just a few days a week), I say, "Goodbye house, I love you, I'll see you later!" Ahhh.... Home Sweet Home


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