November 28, 2012

Looking Up

Usually, my house looks lived-in. I have never been one for the house magazines and home decorating. There's nothing wrong with making your house beautiful, mind you. There are days when I wish I had the 'eye' for it. But, alas, I don't think that's my niche.

Often, I allow my living space to affect my "mind-space", if you will. Example, if my home was cluttered and untidy, my mind felt the same. If physical things were misplaced and disorganized around me, it was mentally exhausting to try making plans for anything.

I find life is just easier when I'm organized. For example, getting ready for an outing is obviously more difficult when things are just scattered everywhere. It's one thing to grab my purse on my way out, but when I'm caught wondering where I placed the keys last, things can get a little tense! "Why can't I find my keys at the exact moment I want to go somewhere?!" I've often shouted. So as much as I desire everything to be put in its place, I'm no expert at it myself. It would take me a short novel probably, to write about how I got over my need to having everything "organized" and tidy. In a nutshell? I'll try.

Rob and I married young. He was 23, and I was 21. We bought our fixer-upper house 9 months into our marriage and began a 6-year long renovation. Yes 6 years. This was no redecorating folks. He lifted the house 3 feet, doubled its square-footage with 3 more bedrooms (1 with an ensuite bathroom), a playroom, and garage, plus he rebuilt the kitchen and another bathroom and laundry room. Except for the priceless help of precious friends from time to time, he did the majority of the work himself without hiring trades. Living in the middle of a major renovation like this raged war on our relationship countless times. And, I had 4 babies during 5 of those years. When all I wanted to do was "nest" for the new little one, we were bashing down another wall, or vacuuming up drywall dust again. (And let me just say for the record, drywall dust is awful stuff to clean up). I groan with ladies who lament about these things! I did not have a place for everything, and keeping everything looking tidy and Better Homes & Gardens ready was a far away dream. Cooking in an unfinished kitchen whilst competing with power tools and screws and plumbing materials on the counter was my reality. If renovations didn't help change my compulsive need to be organized and tidy... having kids helped push me even more in that direction. We are trying to train good habits of cleanliness and tidiness into our children. But a 3 year can only clean so much. My 6-year old is learning the value of being organized however--after she loses art work, or special treasures, only to leave them on the floor for someone else to pick up. "Find a special spot for those things." I often hear myself say. Tripping over toys, or random socks taken off after the morning chill has worn off... or a discarded tea-towel once used as a super-hero cape earlier, are not really frustrations to me as much anymore. Yes, I still get into a dither (to put it lightly) sometimes about getting everybody to help tidy up. But I don't feel so tired now when I am in my house among what some people may think is chaos if they walked in.

Today I realized I have started to look "up". Yes, above the scatterings on the floor. I remember there was a time when all I could focus on were odds and ends strewn all over the floor. But I don't notice it near as often anymore. I find myself looking up above the mess.

Looking Up. 

When I was pondering this more today, I thought to myself, "Yes, I am looking up, physically. I am not so focused on what's going on down there... on the floor. What about spiritually? Am I looking up spiritually? Looking above and beyond the nitty gritty of daily life spent with small children? During those lonely, or frustrating, or disappointing times, am I looking up to my Heavenly Father?"

This picture is taken of the same room in my house, with random things on the floor. Just at a different angle.

Things look so much brighter and nicer when I am looking up.


  1. Your two room photos provide such a vivid example of our change of perspective when we look up instead of down. As long as we live on this earth our lives will have clutter--emotional, physical, and even spiritual. I think walking amongst the clutter, but keeping our eyes above it, is what keeps us moving forward, and perhaps that is what makes us disciples.

    The world is so much richer with the internet, and I so enjoy reading your posts. Blessings to you in Madagascar.

    1. Hi Susan, thank you for the visit here. Our perspective must be focused upward - but how easily we are distracted.