My daughter is in the kitchen whipping up a gooey-ooey batch of Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies. I hear cabinet doors banging, bowls clanging, the mixer whirling, the oven door slamming, and the timer beeping. My son is at the dining room table which is the central part of the house, as the living room and kitchen are both connected to it. He is making some sort of art project, which I am sure has something to do with my wedding anniversary tomorrow (15 years married to my split-apart). There are clear shoebox containers full of markers, crayons, glitter, glue, crazy shape scissors, stamps, stamp pads, and construction paper strewn all over the my yellow tablecloth with the vines and berries on it. Even though I know that our ‘Little Hurricane’ will completely destroy the kitchen and that my ‘Thoughtful One’ will probably get marker on my favorite table cover, it is all worth it, because these are the sounds of a happy and love-filled house.
Earlier today, we sat at that same dining room table when my husband came home for lunch (we are so blessed that he can come home to us on his lunch break everyday) then we sat there for a lesson on the parts of the ear. Later tonight, we will sit there again for a delicious homemade dinner, then a very competitive game of chess. It is an old oak table with six Windsor chairs that I picked up on craigslist for $200 when we had to downsize. The rest of the furniture in the dining room consists of an extremely old china buffet that I got for free, a bookcase with all of the kids homeschool books on it, and the piano from my childhood. It is very pretty, as I painted all the furniture black to give it a sense of unity, and decorated it with homey American country decor. It makes you want to pull up a chair, tuck in to a warm meal, and stay a while for a good long chat with family…..what a room!
We will finish off the evening in our equally homey living room. My husband doesn’t really care for the sofa and loveseat that I picked out, and he is not particularly fond of the huge rusty barn star that I hung on one of the walls, but he does love the warm feeling that envelopes him when he sits in this room. There is a beautiful fireplace that emits wonderfully warm heat in the winter, a few cozy chairs, and more of that good ole’ American country decor (which is so cheap when you buy it in thrift stores). We will read some of the books on guidance for teens that we bought from Rod and Staff, have our family devotions with the curriculum from Pearables, and then we’ll read from the New Testament. My favorite part of the night, however, are the discussions. Our teens come up with all sorts of questions about their life paths, on who their future mates might be, what marriage will be like, and guidance for their walk with Christ. I wouldn’t trade those talks for anything in the world!
All of this sounds pretty simple, I know. Some people might even think that my typical day sounds like the most boring thing in the world, yet this is the type of home life that I have longed for. Three years ago I had much more expensive furniture in my dining room and living room, and all of it matched. I had decor that took hours, days, weeks, months, even years (not to mention many dollars) to accumulate, and was very carefully and artfully placed. I remember crying when we were forced to sell it off piece by piece trying to save a house that we could no longer afford after my husband lost his job. Eventually we did lose the house, and I had to create a new home with secondhand furniture and thrift store decor. All the while, I asked God over and over again why He was putting us through this. I am so ashamed that I did not trust Him more. I knew that he had a plan for me, and I did try to accept His plan the best I could, but it was not until almost two years after all of that happened that I really began seeing the magnitude of what He had done. Yes, we had all been humbled (and my husband and I felt humiliated), but we see now that he gave us our life back. He gave us the freedom to lead simple lives that can focus on Him and raising our family the way that He wants us to. Homeschooling would have never been an option if we were still living in that big beautiful house. I would never have gotten to spend this simple day with my children, nephews, and husband, because I would have to be working. Nothing would have ever been simple had God granted us our wish to stay on the path we thought was the right one.
Now? It is very simple…….a big house and expensive things means you have money to spend but no time, but a simple humble home means you have time to spend with the family that God has blessed you with, and that my friends, is priceless. So, what do you have to spend?…..and better yet, does it make you happy?