If These Walls Could Speak

 

One of the best things about teaching has to be teacher supplies. If I were an elementary school teacher in a public or private school my favorite part would be setting up my room year-to-year. As a homeschool mom, I still love all the supplies, but I don’t want my home to look like a brick and mortar school.

When we began to take seriously what God says in Deuteronomy 6, verse 9 jumped at me. “Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” The context here is our job as parents to be impressing the commands of God on our children at all times and in all ways.

As I thought about the decor in my house, I was challenged by the simple thought that my kids see our walls day in and day out…how could I use those walls to bring glory to God and to show my kids who they are in Christ?

I began stripping my walls of pretty prints of Italian scenery and boogied over to Hobby Lobby as quick as I could say, “50% off all wall art and home decor.” It was an inexpensive under-taking, though I re-did every wall in my house. (Seriously. Ask my neighbor. He hung every single wall hanging for me, to prevent the inevitable debates that result when David and I try to hang things together.) ***please note: there is nothing sinful or wrong about the way my house was previously decorated…and frankly, I could have made many of these changes while keeping my previous wall hangings. Please don’t feel judged…that is not my heart at all***

Today, everywhere my children look, they see a message of belonging, our family, who they are in Christ, and principles of God. There are so many ways to bring scripture alive in the life of our family and to live out discipleship. I challenge you to use your walls as a discipleship tool in shaping the lives of your children and capturing their hearts for God’s Kingdom.

 

This is our “identity” wall. I love the chalk board as it’s easy to change up the message on it. As I change the passages on various chalk boards around the house, it is making an imprint on the lives of my kids. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite pictures of our kids…holding their baby sister for the first time. I want them to know how each one is such a precious gift from God.

 

  

I use “Project Life” cards  to change up different passages or messages during different seasons.

 

 

 

This chalk board hangs in our kitchen. We change up the frame with seasonal washi tape. I recently caught my daughter setting up this chalk board for Valentine’s Day. I think she has captured the vision for our walls.

 

 

 

 

 

My good friend’s daughter made this for me as a birthday gift. I hung it by the computer to help us all renew our minds when using the internet and other computer technology. (Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, admirable, if anything is excellent, or praiseworthy think about these things.)

 

 

 

When guests enter our home, I’ve tried to make it clear who we live for and who we love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hung up these two inexpensive shelves from Ikea and got some frames to set on top. Our kids display art work and their handwriting passages in them. These are my favorite wall hangings in the house and I know they love their art as a centerpiece!

 

 

Each of the big kids got to pick a special wall hanging to put over their individual desks.

 

 

 

Hospitality Ready Home in 15 Minutes

Hospitality Ready Home in 15 Minutes

Homeschoolers live in our homes…I mean we REALLY live in them. I serve twenty-one meals around my table each week and snacks in between with a minimum of 6 people at each of them. Kids are ALWAYS around. This means…toys, books, clothes, socks, diapers, dishes, crumbs, papers, pens, crafts, are around…all day long, every day.

We think of our home as a haven and want our doors open to family, friends, and neighbors as often as possible. My goal isn’t to impress our guests with an amazing home, but I do want people to feel comfortable and not worried about sitting on week old wet socks or a crumpled bag of Cheetos.

Here are some ways that we reign in the chaos so our home can be “hospitality ready” within 15 minutes.

Give Up Perfect: Let go of “Pottery Barn Catalog” perfect. Open the door with a smile and a “I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you so much for coming!” This first step is most important. If an unexpected visitor walks into my whirlwind, I smile, ignore the mess around me and invite her in with confidence, warmth, and grace. She didn’t come to see my cleaning skills. She came to see me and I am going to set aside thoughts of self and love her.

Clean up every meal, right away: It is our goal to keep our kitchen clear every day, after every meal. We accomplish this by assigning the following jobs: unload dishwasher, load dishwasher/clean dishes, clear and clean table and countertops, sweep floors. Each of my older kids is assigned one of these chores for an entire day. We rotate jobs daily so no one is stuck all week with the same thing. Mom supervises and helps in areas that need help. If the kitchen is always clean…half the battle is won.

Light a Candle: I know it’s not very granola of me to fill my house with flaming bowls of cancer…but I do love a Bath-n-Body works three-wick candle. The scent and the warmth makes for an inviting space. (And yes, I have an entire drawer dedicated to candles.)

5 minute round-up: Before beginning this step, turn on loud music. We have a special “friends are coming” playlist we blast as we work through these steps. Once the playlist is on and properly amped up, we take a laundry basket and go into every room where a guest might wander and we collect any superfluous items lying around. When everything is tidied up, the laundry basket items get distributed to assigned bins. Each family member has their own temporary storage area where displaced items are placed. The set up is right in the heart of our home, between the kitchen and family room. The containers are like white-washed tombs in that they look beautiful on the outside, but the beauty stops there; the insides are a disaster. In order for the system to work well, bins need to be emptied regularly.

Quick Vacuum: While one person is piling up the laundry basket with clutter, another family member can trail with a vacuum for a quick sweep. Nothing feels better than the carpets and floors having a face-lift before you open the door.

Lysol wipes: You may not have time for a heavy duty bathroom scrub, but if you do a quick wipe down you won’t feel mortified when your guest wants to use the loo and you remember the last time you walked in it looked like a crime scene.

My kids and I have this down to a science and we can entertain at the drop of a hat. Not only is it great for hospitality, but it’s fun to do before dad gets home, or before a school day begins to start the day with a clear head and space.

 

 

The Day Cupcake Moved Her Cup

The Day Cupcake Moved Her Cup

Glasses of water were poured out to our guests last week as we welcomed them into our home. Not wanting to be left out, our two year old ran to get her own cup and fill it with water. After taking a small sip, Cupcake took her special, ceramic mug and set it at the very corner edge of the table. 

Cupcake and I noticed the room full of people looking at that cup, and then Cupcake watched as my eyes turned toward the table. She quickly blurted, “No, mommy no! Don’t take my cup!!!” I smiled at her strong and sweet insistence that the cup remain in her control. “I’m not going to take your cup away,” I reassured and smilingly knelt down to look in my daughter’s big blue eyes. “No, the cup will stay there as long as you want it to. I would like to ask you a question though.” 

“OK Mommy.” The eyes stared at me with curiosity. 

“Do you agree this cup is close to the edge of the table?” (I got a positive head nod in response.) “Hmmm, what do you think might happen if someone bumped the table or the cup?”

I saw the wheels in her brain turning as she answered, “The water might spill!”

“That’s right! Water could spill out. Can you think of anything else that could happen?” I was met by silence, so I went on. “Maybe nothing at all! Maybe that cup will just stay right there and be totally fine. But there might be some other possible things that could happen to the cup. Can you think of anything?”

“The cup could fall down and break!” She replied proudly.

“Yes! I agree! The cup might fall down and break. So, there is a possibility that water could spill, the cup could break, or maybe nothing will happen at all. I know this is your special cup and we don’t have another one like it. Are you OK with taking the risk and leaving that cup by the edge of the table, knowing there is a possibility it may break?

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” (Slowly, her head shook back and forth.) “Oh, you aren’t? What do you think you would like to do about it?”

With confidence, my two year old daughter moved her cup from the edge of the table to the center. We continued our visit with our friends without any angst in the mother~daughter relationship. Wisdom was built in my child and her sense of freedom with her cup was never removed. Our relationship stayed in tact as she felt she could be trusted to make a good decision. 

Later I told my husband about the interaction and I told him how simple the problems are of a two year old and how much more complex things get when children are older. David then said something very wise. “There wasn’t anything simple about how you dealt with this situation. I would say most of the time I see a situation like you described and the parent would say, ‘Move that cup before it breaks!’ Or the parent would just go over and move it themselves. You took a simple situation and turned it into an opportunity for connection, wisdom, and responsibility. Most two year olds don’t get that kind of foundation.” So, I share “The Day Cupcake Moved Her Cup,” so another family might see the cup of water on the table as an opportunity instead of a hindrance.