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21 September 2009

Work in progresss

Thank you so much for the thought and consideration you put into yesterday's post. The young lady in question emailed overnight to say she was quite overwhelmed with the response. She doesn't live in Australia or the US and asked that I not say where she is from. She said both she and her husband read every comment and they had a good talk about their situation. Things aren't looking so grim for them now and they feel they have a direction to head in, whereas before they were quite confused. So thank you for your thoughts, you helped a couple who needed to read them.

Carrying on from yesterday's post I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore the feelings connected with being at home and knowing that you make your own home what it becomes - be that good or not so good.

I've written before that housekeeping and homemaking were very low on my list of priorities when I first came home for good. I say 'came home' because up until that point, my home wasn't what it is now - it was just a place to sleep and invite people around to if we didn't go out. Pathetic. I'm wiser now, my home has taught me many things, including that if I didn't take the time to be at home, if I didn't fluff my nest and make it the warm and secure place I wanted it to be, no one else would and I would continue to search shopping malls for junk to make me feel better.

That split second when you suddenly realise that home is not the enemy and that looking after it is an act of love for all your family and a gift to yourself, is a powerful moment of absolute clarity and insight. You're aware that you make your home what it will be, no one else will do that but you, and whatever work you put into your home will be a reflection of you. It is an opportunity and a challenge. It will show what is important in your life, it will highlight those things you treasure, and, in turn, will reflect your tastes and interests to all who visit you.

When you realise that your home is your work in progress you are given the opportunity to make it the comfortable and protected place that all families need to relax, renew their energy, and grow closer to each other. The real challenge here is when you don't have a lot of money to spend but want a cosy, interesting and welcoming home. Most young couples fall into this area and the trick is not to fall for all the advertising hype and rush to charge up your credit card with the latest fashionable furniture. Smart couples search op shops, thrift stores and road side throw outs for bits and pieces that will suit their purpose. They build their homes on older furniture that is either free or very inexpensive and then modify it to suit themselves. The end result is a home unlike a million others who fell for the advertising. They have the satisfaction of working together to find what they need, and no credit card debt. My own son and his new wife are doing this right now. They have our old lounge suite and picked up a dining suite from a road side throw out. Their home is a delight to visit, it's comfortable, inviting and interesting. We are going there for lunch on Thursday and I'm looking forward to it very much. Working together through hard times is one of those things that draws couples together, it bonds them like nothing else.

But the furniture and bits and pieces you put in a home are not the full story. This story is completed by the work done by the homemaker and the feeling of contentment that comes from it. And whether you're a homemaker who does most of the work in the family home or if you're the delegator of chores and director of operations, the result is the same. A functional and secure home will nurture all who live there.

When I worked for a living and shopping was part of my recreation I used to be bored if I stayed at home. I wondered what on earth homemakers did all day. Now I know. I was lucky enough to wake up to myself, ditch the shopping and return to my home wholeheartedly. And anyone can do that - those who work outside the home and those who work in it. Accepting the power you have to make your home what is can be, to provide nutritious food, to shop according to your budget, to keep a clean home, to teach young children that everyone contributes to the welfare of the family by doing chores and helping, to look after what you own, to mend, recycle and reuse what you can, to live in an environmentally sound way and to express the love you feel for your family within the confines of a safe and peaceful home is the true gift of a homemaker.

You make your home what it becomes - it is your work in progress.


  1. I love being home! It is such a sweet place for all of us to grow. Thank you for your inspiring words and a bit of motivation to clean up the little messes left from the morning's work. Have a wonderful day!

  2. Dearest Rhonda,
    We have been in our new home for just over 3 months now. I love my home. As I sat down to dinner last night with my husband & 3 yr old we each hold hands & thank each other for something we are grateful for that day. My husband said thankyou for making this house warm & homey. What a beautiful thing for him to say. I love being a homemaker. It's such a rewarding job.
    My 3 yr old helps me bake biscuits, change the bedsheets, wash up, water the garden, vacume etc. I admit it does take longer but the joy I see on her face when she is helping her mummy is priceless.
    She has started preschool one day a week. It's a Rudolph Steiner school. The children are so nutured at these schools & loved.
    They bake bread rolls every week & my daughter is so proud to show me her baking for the day!
    Take care & God bless

  3. I love being home and taking the time to make it a home for my family. Another beautiful post Rhonda Jean - thank you.


  4. Thanks Rhonda :) Through reading your writing and a few other things, I'm learning to love my home.

    Today I had a thorough clean up around our bed. I even took a (not very good!) picture for the blog :)

    It's up on it's own on a mezzanine type floor, with just a linen cupboard and a skylight. I threw all the blankets off and out of the cupboard (wow, that was fun!), gave everything a good shake, threw all the sheets in the wash, and a couple of them even went in the rag bag.

    I also gave everything a good hoover and clean, and got rid of all the crumbs and tissues (I do love breakfast in bed, and am NOT willing to compromise for the sake of a few crumbs!)

    I am SO looking forward to going to bed tonight :)

    Thanks for your inspiration once again


  5. I continue to be amazed at your ability to look inside my head and put it in writing so beautifully! ;o) Thank you again for such an inspirational post. When I need some perking up I just "go read Rhonda" :oD

  6. Oh, and speaking of making your home your own, there's a picture of our living room here:

    That's Mr Daffs' doing, over many years, and none of it was bought new :)

    And nobody else has a living room like it... I'm learning to love keeping it clean! (although wouldn't mind if there was a little bit less stuff in it, lol!)


  7. What a wonderful reminder and encouragement, Rhonda!

    As you probably know we moved house a few weeks ago, and the people who've come to visit so far have commented on how "homely" and lovely I've made it look. I took it as a compliment. :)

    Cath in Sydney

  8. I love being home!! I just posted a blog about keeping things upbeat at home that you might enjoy.
    I think you already have these things down pat, but take a peek anyway when you have time.

  9. Lovely post! Your home is so beautiful and warm. I'm glad to know that young couple was helped by your blog and the comments. I wish them well.

    We have decorated our home "on the cheap" with all the ideas you've presented. Curbside trash, thrift shops, yard sales, etc. We bought a few new pieces to "anchor" it all, but mostly our home is a collection of things I've had a great deal of patience and time to find. I love it! I also recently made my own curtains, and I'm proud as can be that Our home was recently featured on our neighborhood's historic home tour, and if you'd like to see pictures as well as some details about where I've picked things up, how much I paid, and my new curtains, here's the link for you all...

    I'd love it if you'd come visit! I love being a homemaker, but gosh sometimes I feel it's so unappreciated. Thanks for your words, Rhonda Jean.

  10. Good morning Rhonda, I know exactly what you mean by 'coming home'. It's so peaceful when home-the-enemy leaves and home-the-sanctuary comes. It's all in our approach.

  11. This post is so very timely for me. :) I would love to hear/read anything you have to say about keeping your home neat and tidy with small children running around. I feel like I am fighting a losing battle sometimes. lol If I even start some other project the rest of the house gets just awful. The past few weeks I'm canning and would be so completely embarrassed if someone stopped by unexpectedly.

  12. I loved this post. So well said!

  13. Hi Rhonda;
    Its great that you continue writing about these things - home, homemaking, encouragement and keeping focused on the simple things in life. I never tire of reading about them. Its really nice to be able to reflect over what you write so please keep writing these types of posts when you see the need to. They help me keep focused when life becomes "busy" and all over the place! Thanks!

  14. Thanks for your inspiring thoughts, I often leap off the computer to go do the things you have reminded me about. You also make me feel better about doing them.

    I love being at home (mostly at home except for teaching some Tai Chi classes)it works well for us and our son (who is now 12) could no imagine life any other way.

    We have always valued me being able to be at home but you make me feel like I am not alone and am valued in this role. T

    Thank You

  15. Thank you for your post Rhonda. I do love my home but have found it a burden of late. Busy days helping hubby at work (we own our own business), three kids at home on school holidays and me catching every cold that is floating around has lead to a complete feeling of "what the heck am I doing". You post has helped to put some of into perspective. I have a long way to go but am at least standing at the cross roads and know where the sign is pointing. Love your blog and it's a daily read and inspiration. Thank you.
    PS Any tips on being organised - other than being organised that is...vbg.

  16. I feel the same, when I start to doubt all that I love about being home..........I read your words, and it makes it all make sense again....
    I too would love some ideas on organising my week. I am a mother of three, two at school and baby M, turning one on Thursday...some days I just drift from thing to thing, and never get anything accomplished....I need some structure to my days....being home for all these years you would think I have some routine, but alas, no........would love some helpful hints.......Suzanne.xx

  17. Thank you for the encouragement to invest more of oneself in the home. I have always been at home, never working more than part-time. I have somewhat backed away from doing anything much to make my "imprint" on the home, you might say, because my husband has wanted to control most of it. But the kitchen has been left to me and in ways our bedroom one needs to start someplace!

    My heart goes out to the young couple mentioned in the earlier post. My husband lost his job due to downsizing when we still had 2 children at home. Our daughter had health issues beyond the scope of ordinary doctors (all we could have for about the 20 months he was unemployed) so we took his retirement out ("giving up" 1/3 of that to the govt. of course)and used it to suppliment the meaily amount we were given in unemployment (which did not even cover our very modest house payment). One main reason so we could continue to pay for the best doctor for our daughter. But we found that GOD somehow helped that retirement money to last for 20 months and we were even able to help a few other people during that time. Yes, we ate cheaply and simply, but it was good. We called going out to eat at McDonalds or some like place, a more or less "date". I began to LOVE thrift shopping and yard saling then. The most wonderful thing was at the end of that time, our son and my husband graduated together. It was my husband's 2nd degree that has served him well since and our son's Master Degree. They walked together wearing the gold cords that magna cum laude graduates have. I gave them a fine reception (with the help of friends) down by the river at a brand new hotel and convention center. People said it was the best party they had ever gone to. My husband says to this day that those 20 months were the best time of his life...going to college and graduating with our son. We used to sing a song in church long ago when I was a child that went: "Little is much when GOD is in it". I have found that to be true.
    Blessings, Elizabeth

  18. Thank you so much for this post! It really cements some of the concepts I've been slowly realizing. For the longest time I've wondered why my home doesn't feel like a cozy refuge - the answer is I haven't put in the time to make it one! Thank you for sharing so freely, I really appreciate your blog.

  19. Thanks for this reminder that 'home is where the heart is'.
    My youngest daughter has just started university and although she is currently still with us I think it won't be long before she spreads her wings. My husband and I have decided this is a positive thing for all of us but it doesn't always feel like that!Nevermind, I have 2 grandchildren to 'mother' now!!

  20. Maybe if your daughter-in-law and son wouldn't mind, you could take and post pictures of their home?

  21. I will take a cosy home over a pottery barn home anyday but my culture still makes me feel inferior for not having fancy furniture and a lake view. Thank you for your perspective! It reaffirms my daily life!

  22. Rhonda Jean, I love the picture with the sail boats and picture frames, it really reminds me of my home I grew up in! I REALLY LOVE that! Love this post too!


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