Saturday, October 07, 2006Combining Practical with Beautiful
I don't want to ever take on the tone here of "makin' it through the day", and so on. -Our vocation is far too sacred and beautiful to be reduced to simply being tolerated and survived. It is indeed one full of blessings and joys. However, I think that we all need those little bits of inspiration and brightness throughout our days to remind us of how truly beautiful and joyful life can be throughout all the chaos and noise. There are so many ways which we can fill our home with little pleasures and beauties, which lift our spirits here and there. (Similar in the way that in a beautiful church, although you are already peaceful in spirit as you pray, there is still that wonderful aroma of incense or burning wax and the beautiful statue or painting to delight your senses in a good, healthy way, lifting your heart and guiding it to God.)
We can do something similar in our own homes just by making it a bright, cheerful place. There is something to be said for filling a home with true beauties, things which delight the senses and your spirit. There are simple ways of doing this which I became very attached to when I first made my own home. The following are only a few.
~I keep some delightful-smelling handmade soap to keep at my bathroom and kitchen sinks. Every time one of those daily tasks comes up requiring me to wash my hands, it becomes a pleasant thing: something I look forward to, even.
~You may like to choose a dishsoap for your everyday dishwashing that you really like. My favorite coventional kind is JOY's Lemon. It is the freshest lemon smell I have been able to find amongst all basic brands at Safeway-type stores. When I started buying that brand/scent for it's particular smell, I found myself wanting to do dishes more.
~Place a vase of flowers on your windowsill where you do your dishes, or on a shelf where you fold your laundry... The minute you approach your task you have a delightful something waiting for you. They could also be the weeds/flowers your children picked for you that day in the front yard. That's the best kind!
~I find that taking showers, even when short, down-to-business and practical, are made very relaxing or invigorating when I have a favorite soap, scrub or oil on hand.
~Why put the garlic you use for the kitchen in a little tupperware container or cup when you could put it into that beautiful abalone shell you have from the beach, just sitting in your closet? Put your garlic or whatever of the sort inside something lovely you can look at all day!
~ If you are a cloth diaper user, take the time once in a while to hand-scrub a badly-stained diaper with a sweet-smelling gentle soap. -When you hang such diapers to dry in the sun, they smell heavenly.
~Hang herbs in your kitchen... Don't throw away any roses or lavender when they're done blooming; hang them in little bundles throughout the house. ...Place your favorite icon, picture or statue of Mary in little spots throughout the house... spray your clothes with lavender-water while ironing... play classical music or whatever music brings you joy when you need that cup of coffee/wake-up call...put the fruit in a lovely fruit bowl instead of leaving it in the plastic grocery bag on the counter...you get the idea.
Basically I am trying to stress that things need not be just practical. You can combine practicality with beauty. Also, these are simply aids in helping the work you do day-in, day-out to become more joyful. However, it's important to keep in mind that the work itself should be something you take pride in and are not just tolerating. The laundry you fold can become a real joy if you try to fold them properly and presentably. The dishes you wash can become a real joy if you scrub them with hot water and good soap, so that they are squeaky-clean for your little ones (and yourself) to use for food and drink. Even the cloth diapers you wash can become a joy if you can scrub the stubborn stain out with your own hands! Need I go on? So sorry this is so long. I hope that you made it to the end to reach the important points.
And, of course, the bottom line is that all of our daily tasks should be done with utmost love, keeping in mind that it is an HONOR to serve our loved ones: our husband, our children and anyone who lives within our homes.
~Sia, back in Vancouver, WA
Labels: useful ideas