How Pleasant Is Your Home?
I read a lot of Grace Livingston Hill books and in one of them she refers to a woman’s home and her responsibility in the home. She said the responsibility was "to make it pleasant for those to whom she had been given."
I really started thinking about those words. I was to make my home pleasant for those whom I had been given. My home (husband and/or children too) are special gifts and treasures that have been given to me too. I wonder how often we disappoint God because we abuse and neglect those treasures that He has given us after having faith and confidence that we would take care of them and treasure them in the same way He does.
If we were given precious jewels, we would polish them, store them to protect them from nicks and tarnishing and see that they were carefully maintained. We wouldn’t allow them to become buried and forgotten under piles of dirt and dust and stuff. Do we care for our homes and families in the same way we would care for a treasure– by making sure they are well maintained and cared for?
If you give a gift of great value to one of your children, how do you feel when you find it lying out in the rain and weather being neglected? We have all been given a special gift – our homes yet so many of us neglect them or regard them as unimportant.
It doesn’t matter if that home is small or large, if it is in a great part of town or a not so great part of town. We have a responsibility as women to make our homes pleasant for those we love. Men and children can’t do this. That doesn’t mean they can’t help take care of your home but they don’t have the ability to make a home "pleasant" in the same way that a woman can. Don’t worry guys– you have other very special gifts and jobs we gals don’t have and I am speaking in general terms. I know there are always exceptions.
Let me give you an example. We just got through painting Tawra’s house. As we were painting it, we were talking about how none of the male members of our family and extended family like to paint. They hate it. A majority of guys don’t like to paint unless it is for profit.
I said, if left to themselves, I bet most men would never paint one thing (except maybe their cars :):). They couldn’t care less if the walls of a house ever got painted or if curtains were ever put on a window. Most men would probably never put anything on a plate, instead eating their food straight from a can and drinking from a carton.
Why? Because men think in terms of comfort and necessity and painted walls or curtains don’t fit into either category. Those things only spell unnecessary work and painted walls do not add to their physical comfort at all. Eating out of a can– well that means one less dish to wash.
That leads to this next statement from the same book "Home without a woman… was a shell with the spirit gone." We add the spirit to our home. Yes, you can live without painted walls, curtains and decide to eat out of cans but painted walls, curtains and such are what add that spirit to our homes. They are what make a home "pleasant."
Have you made your home pleasant? Does your family hate having to leave it each morning and can’t wait to get home at the end of the day or do they dread coming home? What kind of spirit is in your home? One of warmth, comfort and joy or is it cold, dirty, tired and unkempt?
Only you can make a house a home. God has given you a special gift and treasure. Don’t neglect it. Appreciate it and take care of it.
photo by: indieman
Thank you… This was the motivation I needed today!!
I loved this little story. Thank you for reminding me not take my family for granted.
Love & Blessings,
Great inspirational article for the homemaker! I know we all get stressed and discouraged with housekeeping at times but this is all so true.
My husband is so appreciative of how I keep house and the little things I do to make our house a home. It makes me feel so special when he notices these things and compliments or thanks me.
I also love it when my kids leave for school in the mornings not stressed because I’ve made it a point to have their clothes clean, helped arrange breakfast with them and helped organize school papers and homework.
I do have to work outside the home at this point. We are trying to pay off debt so I can stay home. I still make my husband, kids and home my ‘career’ though. The work I do outside the home is only a ‘job’. I can’t wait to be able to stay home and devote more time to my family and home. I’m an old fashioned girl! :)
Thanks Jill for this nice reminder of how important women are to a home!
Do you ever remember hearing someone say “I lived in a dump or a dirty house and enjoyed it?” I only can recall people positively reflecting on how their parents created a warm, loving, clean and safe environment It is a shame that being “creatively domestic” is somehow seen as backward and unimportant.
Jill, thank you for this article. It was such a good reminder for me.
I love Grace Livingston Hill books. They are so instructive on how a Godly woman lives her life. They really are beautiful, even if only fiction. They teach a woman the gifts that God gave her, and how to use them. I love old-fashioned things too, so that is another plus. Women are made different from men. That was the whole point in having 2 sexes. Each has special gifts to give to the other to make them WHOLE. When we mess around with the differences, we ruin what God intended for us to give the world. Thanks for the lovely inspiration Jill.
I like Grace Livingston Hill also. Have you ever read Jannette Oke? I love her Love Comes Softly series and also the Canadian West series.
I also sometimes like to just read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. I know…they are really books for children. But I LOVE them. The simplicity, how hard Laura’s ma and then Laura worked at making their little houses homes. They had things so hard but took pleasure in the little things. I’m inspired to be a better person when I read these books. I also love reading all the housekeeping/cooking details in the books. So neat to read what it was like back then.
I don’t know if Bea does but Tawra and I love Jannette Oke and have read most of her books too.
Jill, I just recently read the biography of Grace Livingston Hill. I found it at the public library. I can’t recall the exact title though. It was very good and I learned a lot. She had a very hard adult life. Many chanllenges to face, but she faced them and got through. My great grandmother kept such a neat, clean home. I loved to be at her house. It was sort of like a fairy tale. Our home was rather messy. My mom had no interest in housekeeping. I would love to build a little two bedroom home just like my great grandmothers. It was so cozy
! She lived next door to my aunt and uncle and they decided to move away, so she bought the house next door to us and lived there for a couple of years till she died. She paid attention to details, a tablecloth, a bowl of fruit on the table. She sewed many dresses for my sister and me, and she was a fabulous cook. I love the old days too. I long for a simpler, less hectic lifestyle.
I haven’t read her biography but reading between the lines of her books I had the feeling there were several hard things she much have went through. I know she was widowed and remarried and I think divorced. Knowing how she felt about divorce and all I figured it must have been pretty bad for that to happen. I will have to try and find it to read. I think Tawra or someone mentioned it to me so I really must try and find it. You know how it is being sick. Sometimes it takes awhile to get around to these things. :) :)
Angie, I love Janette Oke books. I have read them all I think. Even though the TV shows are good, I think the books are even better. I love books about how a real Christian woman deals with life. How her Faith and Trust in God help her get through all challenges in life. I also love the Laura Ingals books. There are also many books that I have borrowed from the library with pitcures of all the houses Laura’s family lived in, and Pa’s fiddle, and the actual artwork he did for his children, etc. They are lovely picture books. If you have never seen them, go to the library and look them up. They are worth looking for and reading. I also have a cookbook with the recipes mentioned in Laura’s books. There is a recipe for Molasses Candy that is poured on snow gathered in baking pans to help cool, that I would like to make.
Jill, and anyone else who likes Grace Livingston Hill. Look for the book by her at the library called “The Story of the Lost Star, A Christmas Tale.” It is a “children’s illustrated book, but the illustrations are lovely. “Currier and Ives” type. The back of the book says, “In the week before Christmas, John Powers, a poor typesetter, receives a curious ad for the Lost and Found column of his newspaper. Someone has offered a $10,000 reward for the return of the Star of Bethlehem. If he hurries before the morning papers are delivered, he could find the star and become wealthly enough to marry the woman he loves so dearly. In the story, beloved author Grace Livingston Hill tells a charming tale of revelation and redemption set in the simpler times of yesterday.”
The Anne of Green Gables books by Lucy Maude Montgomery are my go to books. I have read the entire series so many times I have had to replace the books several times.
Lucy was raised by very strict grandparents and married a very strict Minister. She wrote about an orphan girl as her sort of escape from the real world.
The Japanese flock to PEI every year to see where Anne grew up. Many people get married in the village.
Anyone who likes the simple life should read them.
Lucy has many books of short stories as well just the Anne books caught on much better.
I have never read any of Grace Livingston I don’t think but Jeanette Oke I have read many of hers.
Our used book store can’t keep them on the shelf he says.
I also read the five little peppers but even as a child I thought the mother was not a very good one. I guess I figured the mother should do more to help her children than just sitting and wishing. Oh well I did enjoy the books.
Love Anne of Green Gables too. Really enjoyed the movies. A bunch of ladies from church when for a week end to a lodge in the mountains. There were about 20 ladies and girls from 5-60 years and we spent most of the week end watching the movies. I was amazed at how no matter what the age we all still loved Anne of Green Gables.
jill .. i didnt know u were an ann (ann with an “e”) shirley fan ..
my daughter and i love her! .. in fact, one xmas i bought about a dozen of the anne of green gables books (they were a $1 at walmart) and i gave them all away as special gifts to all the females in my family and friends ..
some treasured them and some asked why? ..
i told them they had to read the story of the little orphan girl .. and the funny mishaps she went thru and got herself into (bc of her imagination) ..
we also love the little house on the prairie books too (even if they are in the children’s section of the library) ..
someone told me to re-read farmer boy (about almanzo wilder) .. the wisdom of his parents could be used even for today ..
not sure about that comment bc its been a while since i have been at the library ..
i also love all of the janette oke books too and the new ones she has written with some man (cant remember his name) .. but they are Bible based books (not sure if there are any truths to them but bc they are based in some of the times of the Bible, they are interesting …
i will have to look up grace livingston hill’s books too …
thanks for sharing this :D
I love your story. I’ve been focusing on keeping the simpler things special…not just simple. I have an unrelated question for you though…can you tell me about the beautiful, colorful picture you have at the top? I am all about having many colors. If these curtains are something in your house, I would love to know where you found them and/or made them…??? I’m getting married soon and want a multicolor theme! Plus I would love to do something like these curtains in my den for “my” space. :o) Thank you!
Jodi so sorry but some of our pictures we get off of the internet and some are our own. This one just happens to be one I found. I too loved these curtains and wish I could find something like it. I love, love, love multicolors myself that is why I picked this picture. Sorry I couldn’t be any more help but maybe one of our readers has an idea.
Congrats on your up coming wedding Jodi. I bet you are excited. Love weddings!!!!
Actually, I do! If you can search online for “brylane home” they have lots of curtains and home goods that are too pricey. I may have seen something like this in there. I have 90 inch windows and they have panels, drapes, that aren’t too expensive . they run a lot of promotions and discounts, so you could get lucky. I find their items to be of pretty good quality for the money.
On another note, I’ve been reading about these terrible storms in the southwest and southeast and sincerely hope all of you are well and safe!
Thanks for the info Donna. I will have to check it out. I know I have been concerned about everyone who is getting hit so hard with the storms and hope you all are doing ok too. Usually we are the ones here in Kansas getting hit but for some reason they keep missing us not that I am complaining mind you.
I’m sorry, I mean’t “not too pricey”.
Thank you for this…. it has hit my heart quite hard. And I am thankful for this. Being a single mom, with quite a low income, I get lost in the heaviness of life, but my two boys… they ARE treasures, and I need to show them that, including in the home I give them. I fear it’s almost too late, because they are 15/13, but…. perhaps I can still use these last few years with wisdom and purpose.
Sherry I’m sure it isn’t too late. I admire people who see there is a something that needs to be changed in their lives, are willing to admit it and then do something about it. I always say if you can see something needs to be changed than you are halfway there.Kids too are really amazing. They can see when mom or dad are trying to fix things and make things different.
It may take time but if you stick to it change usually happens. So glad the post was of help too you and don’t be too hard on yourself being a single mom with 2 boys does have its ups and downs even with the best of them.
Thank you all for the info and attempted help. It’s funny, but with all the storms out east that WERE happening then…and I just went back home to Arkansas/Missouri (pronounced Mizzeruh) :o) and the storms they’ve been having…I’m counting my blessings as well as all those I hold dear. Reaching out to those coping with prayers and thoughts.
@Jill…thank you for the congrats…trying to come up with centerpieces now so am browsing these pages like crazy :o) Love all you and Tawra and friends have to offer! Thank you!
I have not heard it put into words before but you are so spot on! I always look around our tiny little home and really hate leaving it each day so does my husband it is so cozy now. We just love our humble little home. I love caring for it and enjoy being there so much. Thank you for stating that sentiment so well!
Thank you Jill for your words. I sometimes need to be inspired about things around the home and you have hit the nail on the head. It is nice to remember that we have a lot of impact on what goes on in our homes. Sometimes I forget. I appreciate this site very much. I have been looking for just the perfect site and I do believe I have found it. Thanks again.
What Grace Livingston Hill book was this in Jill? I like her books and would like to read it if you remember the title. Thanks.
It has been so long ago since I wrote this Bea I can’t remember which one of her books it was in. Sorry.
I have a real desire for a cottage. Our home was built in 1999, but is not really that big. Because we live in Florida, and the housing market is not that good, we really can’t sell and move and be ahead financially. But I began to realize, if I think of my home as a cottage, it will be. I can make it beautiful and cozy. Also I remember in another article, Tawra talked about making the house work for you. This really got my attention. We may in the future turn a bedroom into a den, maybe even take down a wall to extend the dining area into a den. I’ve been playing with lots of ideas. Just because the house as built with a room labeled a bedroom, why can’t you use it for something else?
Ah Darn. Well thanks anyway. If I find the excerpt in my reading I will let you know.
I have always felt this was about family and home, but never had the word to express it so that others might understand what I’m talking about. This concept matters so much and in our push to “make money . . . hurry hurry hurry” world this art is being lost to our young homemakers. Well put without making someone feel down about themselves. I’m loving the Godly wisdom you’ve been sharing. Thank you.
Angela here is another story many people love on this same subject that I thought you might like. It is called When Queens Ride By. We also have a free e book of this.
I so much like the story “When Queens Ride By”. I wish I had read it in my more formative years, but it might not have had the impact it has without the life experiences I’ve had. As it is, it has changed my outlook on what my true obligations to my family are. It is a real struggle to make needed changes in my life, but I’m still trying. I’ve found all the Grace Livingston Hill books to be an inspiration. The characters are people trying to live with Godly values in a world that disparages them, just like today.
I too love love love Grace Livingston Hill. I had the chance about 40 years ago to buy a whole collection of everyone of her books for $.25 each. I didn’t know who she was at the time and thought that was too much to pay for books. Am I sick I didn’t get them – big mistake.
One of my most favorite book series to read is the “Little House on the Prairie” books. I read through the entire series as an adult, about five years ago. They were so enjoyable to read and centered on family love and devotion. The series is not just for children but for everyone.
Sometimes I think it would be a lot easier to be a man (not caring about so many of the things women care about)but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun – caring about the things women care about! :)
I loved this article and all of the comments people have posted! I also love Anne of Green Gables and the Little House books, and you have inspired me to read them again. I am currently reading Laddie, a novel by Gene Stratton-Porter, and it is both interesting and inspiring to see how the family took care of the home and farm they owned.
So, gals, what do you suggest for a homemaker with walls in need of painting, and windows that need curtains, and hubby does not want you to paint walls or put up newer curtains (old one has holes). Your’e right, he does not want to spend time or money on them, and does not want me to do so either. We are on a pretty tight budget.
Thanks for any advice! He’s a nice guy, but our home is in need.
There are a few things you could do. First go with the flow. Let me give you an example. The outside of my house needs to be painted so bad and there is no way it can be painted. There is no curb appeal at all on top of that. I wanted to put shutters on it to add a little bit to it but first of all it would cost about $120 for all of the windows. The other thing is new nicely painted shutters would only make the in need of paint part of the house look worse. Solution. I bought some really rustic boards made up the shutters (they cost only $18 total). The rustic look goes with the unpainted look on the house making it less glaring plus people’s eyes will be drawn to the shutters and not the unpainted house.
You can do the same type of thing with your house.
~ Hang a large dramatic picture on the wall trying to cover up as much as you can. If you don’t have a picture take a large cardboard (you can get them for free every where) and cover them with a huge (I mean huge 4’x5′) collage (sp) of pictures either family ones or even pictures of say bright colored flowers torn from magazines.
~ Tightly wrap squares of cardboard with fabric from old clothing or sheets or decorate with almost anything and make a large arrangement on a wall of these.
~ Find a bunch of very tall branches and spray paint them or if you even can’t do that leave them as is and twist a strand of white lights (you can get those at the dollar store)around, or just leave them as it.
~Be very dramatic using large amounts of things. In the winter I find mounds of evergreens for free and pile them with some pine cones I picked up on my mantle. People’s eyes go to the mantle first thing not the unpainted walls.
~ For curtains if you don’t need them for privacy take them down and don’t have any.
~ Do you have some sheets you no longer use any more. I open up the end with the wide hem and slide them on the rod for some very long dramatic curtains.
~ If it is someplace like a kitchen replace them with some pretty dish towels, dolies, aprons, napkins arranged in a cute way over the rod.
~ If you need to keep the curtains then patch the worn spots with appliques squares, hearts, rough cut flowers, cute buttons. Use fabric and buttons from old clothing that matches your decor. Don’t forget that things like old jeans and squares from those would work in places like a boys room.
~ If you need the privacy, if you have a chunk of lace dip it into some liquid starch then carefully smooth it on to the bottom part of the window pane.
If you can’t do any of these then just keep your home as neat,sparkly clean but with a comfortable lived in look as you can. I lived for a very long time with the plaster falling off my walls in big chunks for a long time. I also had a couch that had seen better days. It had a slip cover that was worn out when I got it and springs poking out so that if you didn’t sit just right they would cut you. This was my living room furniture. I lived with those for many years. Keep it clean and as homey the best that you can. People notice a dirty house more so then a worn and tired one.If you still have questions holler because I have more ideas if you need them.
One of my favourites growing up was “Little Women”. I’d be very grateful if somebody could enlighten me about the pickled limes that Amy took to school in a paper bag and got caned for.
Here you go Magdalen. A recipe for pickled limes.
I really enjoyed this. Amen!! I just discovered you on youtube checking out cheap birthday party ideas. Im thankful you see it the same way I do. I only have one child and being a single mom, it becomes difficult sometimes to keep up with trends, clothing, feild trips, and even food. A birthday party can be awesome without all the jazz! Its about being w the ppl who care and love you. Stay humble.
Thank you for reminding me not take my family for granted.This is the motivation everyoe needed