Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Lifegiving Home-- Creating A Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson

 Over the years I have read a few of Sally Clarkson's books. Her wisdom and advice has really meant a lot to me. I love reading about the rich home environment that she and her husband crafted for their children. I have often wanted to peek into their home and see some of the practical things she did. The Lifegiving Home is just that. Month by month she explores a central theme for creating a life-giving home and then goes into detail about the ways in which they did that.

Home is a place that has always had strong connotations for me. Whether that was my family home growing up, or the home I live in now. I am a classic introvert and home is where I recharge.  To me home means a refuge where I am free to be me, I am safe, I can fully relax and I can make mistakes. Home is where there is true comfort.

I want to give my children strong, positive feelings about their home, too. I hope that this is a landing place for them. The selfish part of my mom-heart wants them to desire to come home when they are grown. Whether they live down the road or across the world, I hope this is a place they want to return to visit. For these young years, I feel like home is the perfect laboratory for growth. I hope we can discover together what it means to be part of the Holeman family.

While I so desire these things, I also find myself a little intimidated by the work involved. I often feel like my home is just not enough. Our home is small, often feels cramped and we have limited financial resources. On top of that, I lack self-discipline in keeping positive habits going. I found it encouraging that the Clarkson's moved 17 times, 6 times internationally. They lived in all manner of homes, even the home of her mother-in-law. Sally didn't have perfect circumstances or millions of dollars. Creating a life-giving home is not dependent on your home itself. I love this quote from the book-

"Nothing is required for the making of home except a heart that loves God, an imagination fired by His Spirit and hands ready to create. And, well, a bit of courage too." (p.20)

Over time the Clarkson's developed a lot of family rituals and traditions. My advice is not to get bogged down or discouraged if you feel these are not feasible in your home. Sally and Sarah both encourage the reader to explore what makes one's own family special and mindfully incorporate these things. Sally, her husband and children were all unique parts of a formula that produced her exact home environment. This book is a great inspiration to explore what makes your family unique-- and, how to use these things to bring honor to God and life in your home. As Sally says-- "Never allow these ides to burden you" (p.32)

Part One of the book focuses on "thinking about home." Sally and Sarah both delve into what makes home so special and sacred. They give a nice foundation for why the reader should care about cultivating their home at all. You can immediately tell that this is a topic they are passionate about and have spent many hours contemplating.

Part Two goes chapter by chapter through the months. Beginning with January, each month has a theme- for example in January it is Creating a Framework for Home; Rhythms, Routines and Rituals. Sally and Sarah take turns writing different chapters. The author of each chapter lays out the broad idea behind the theme presented. Next is the "In Our Home" section, where the practical ways that these ideas were implemented in the Clarkson house is fleshed out.

Some of the idea in the "In Our Home" section I don't see working for our family in this season, or maybe not for us at all. I loved the broader principals that surrounded them though. For instance, the Clarkson's had a dedicated tea time on Sunday afternoon. This formal tea was complete with china and a special baked good. Personally, I love this idea and can see our family doing something similar. However, I can see this not working in some homes. Sally acknowledges this and encourages the reader to "consider instituting other family rituals that serve the same purpose in your family... The point is to carve out time and make it special-- different, set apart and beautiful." (p.91) So, while every idea may not be an across the board fit for your own family, get creative. Again, mindfully examining your own family and using Sally's ideas as a springboard.

My advice is to read this book slowly and take the time to contemplate these ideas. I read with a pen in hand. Each time an idea or quote jumped out at me, I underlined it. I know that this is a book I will be re-reading in the years to come. Truly, this book has really inspired me and convicted me of some areas I need to strengthen. It really renewed my vision for the home I want to create for my family. Sometimes in the craziness of everyday life, I really lose sight of that. I want to simply survive the day. However, I want more for my families life than just survival. I want to create a home where my children learn to love God with their whole hearts. I want to create a home that knits us together tight. I want my home to be a lifegiving home!

I received a copy of the book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment