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Now that Mrs. Clean no longer lives at this address… I am forced to concede.

This is my house. It’s where we live. And even with all its flaws, I love it—cobwebs, crookedness, quirky-ness and all.

When my children are grown, as my husband and I grow older, yeah, we might remember the linoleum splitting along the middle of the kitchen floor because of the foundation shifting or tree roots growing underneath…

screaming at spiders in the early days (how silly)…

tiny dehydrated tree frogs hopping with their last ounce of strength, down our hallway in search of water…

the bat that found its way into our daughter’s room from the attic (through holes in the barn wood/siding on her ceiling)…

and the black snake curled up in the music room, unnoticed as she walked by, yet very much noticed by her friend coming behind.

Emily, did you know you just walked by a king snake?

She screamed. I jumped into a chair. Her friend helped my husband catch it and took it outside. Still have NO idea how it found its way in!

Along with those memories I’m hoping they’ll also remember:

holiday dinners and fancy teas with family and friends…

girlish giggles in the wee hours of the morning at sleepovers…

family nights with a movie or games and big bowls of popcorn…

snacking on cherry tomatoes straight from the garden…

devouring pumpkin pudding topped with fresh whipped cream on autumn mornings, and slurping frozen fruit smoothies in July when it was too hot to cook…

walks through the country, cuddling on the sofa, long talks after bedtime, a cheerful vase of roses from bushes out front, and big hugs for more reasons than I can count.

This home is for nurturing the people who matter most in my life.

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porcelain-79415_640As I write this, though, a few related thoughts keep detouring me.

For example…

Dried grass on the carpet in my living room (for days in a row) and hair in my bathroom sink now means I am no longer a boring woman. While constantly driving to and fro, keeping appointments, meeting people, involved in ministry, attempting to make a difference, ad infinitum, I’m rarely home long enough to start and finish a task within the same time period. Leaving my house only tolerably clean.

Hmm… being messy makes me more interesting, more appealing to society(?) That’s what I’ve been told.

Have to admit, I’m hoping still to someday find a balance between clean and not-so-clean, because I’m starting to miss my sanity.

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Another mental tangent:

With so many mommy bloggers and authors declaring freedom from the tyranny of perpetual cleanliness, I think we should be aware not to go to the other extreme.

Slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating meat and drinking wine: Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!  –  Isaiah 22:13

This condition became the precursor to the Jewish nation going into captivity.

One sign of a culture moving away from God is the lack of taking life seriously, an unconcern for His creation, a scarcity of respect and compassion for others, and a degeneration of civilized behavior and moral values, with a tendency toward apathy and laziness. None of which are good for us. Nor do they honor God.

(In other words, I don’t want to become a barbarian.)

Perhaps cleanliness really is next to Godliness, kept in the right perspective.

Loving those around us is the second great commandment.

And teaching our children the skills necessary for managing their resources is part of loving our children—training them to be good stewards, caretakers of their bodies, surroundings and belongings.

How much wasted time is spent looking for keys or pens or overdue library books? How much money is wasted on purchases of items we already have, but can’t find?

While staying home to raise my kids, loving them was often demonstrated by insisting they persevere through difficult or boring everyday tasks, expecting them to keep their rooms picked up, teaching them how to use the washing machine, corralling them to help with dishes, suggesting they look for ways to be a blessing—all of which become part of a well-bred life.

Parents’ loving training should shape future adults who benefit their society, rather than drain it.

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cleaning-268112_640And:

The Will it matter in eternity? question.

Working and being responsible is part of what God created us to do. In the Garden work was given to Adam before the Fall. Work is good. And work done with all our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10) brings a sense of accomplishment, pride in doing a job well, the pursuit of excellence, raising the bar on our expectations.

You’ve heard this before, I’m sure, but it’s still true.

Things don’t have eternal value, but God uses the common things in our lives to mold us and teach us Biblical principles. Our work is God’s way of providing for our physical needs, and one way to point others to Him.

Lastly, the spider’s industry shows what can be accomplished with diligence.

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Our home has flaws, as does yours, I suspect.

It’s clean enough on most days, as close to spotless as it will ever get on special occasions, and very much lived in. Safe, comfortable, cozy, a place where memories are made and tummies are filled, where prayers are given (and answered), stories and dreams and apologies are shared, and hugs are given.

Just what a home should be.

The country critters keep it interesting.

And now that this nest is empty, I have more time for whisking away those unwelcome invaders.

Or not.

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