Learning to Cultivate a Family Culture

Family Culture pic

So this post is all about the home, and “homey”- like things.  (I think I am using homey in the right sense…)  Anyway, before I share some thoughts that I have been mulling over lately, I am going to briefly list some of my current faves on all things pertaining to home life.

Some of my favorite “homey” things right now are…

RAR-Banner1Read-Aloud-Revival.  You guys.  If you are a nerdy mama like me and would like ideas on how to foster a reading culture in your home, you’ll love RAR and founder, Sarah Mackenzie. The reading lists that are given are my fave.  Sarah blogs at amongstlovelythings.com, which is also a site I frequent.

untitledOwn Your Life, by Sally Clarkson.  There are so many nuggets in this book that I probably wouldn’t give it justice.  One takeaway for me from this particular book is “What values do I want to set in place for my life, including my marriage and within the home itself?”  Sally Clarkson paints a picture of the ideal home (not perfect, but ideal), and how we can decisively nurture core values in our home.  There are questions for reflection at the end of each chapter that I want to go back through and journal my responses.

mp_headerMemoria Press.  This is the homeschool curriculum that I will use with Kara in the fall.  I am a little premature in calling this my fave, especially since we have yet to begun homeschooling Kindergarten, but I am pleased with the material so far.  What I really like about Memoria Press is that it is a packaged curriculum with lesson plans laid out for each week, so I do not have to reinvent the wheel so to speak.  The quality is top-notch, and it is what Highlands Latin School uses in Louisville, KY.  It is a Christian classical curriculum, and I think it will go along well with our Classical Conversations (which is another one of my faves).

Magnolia-LogoMagnolia Homes (Joanna Gaines blog).  I just love HGTV’s Fixer Upper!  Chip and Joanna Gaines are just super fun, creative, witty, and can make a pile of mess turn into a gorgeous home.  Joanna blogs at Magnolia homes, and you can find decorative ideas, and deals on Magnolia merchandise.  I just love this seed packed idea: “Sprucing Up Seed Packets”

I’m also digging…

  • cookbooks for kids (I’m considering Raddish for Kara in the near future, maybe next year)
  • being outdoors (while the weather is nice)
  • Judson sleeping through the night (which means mama is sleeping through the night.  Score!)
  • more alone time with Travis
  • grilling out (especially grilling enough for leftovers- me for the win!  Yes!)
  • Far From the Madding Crowd– read the book, seen the movie, love them both!

Lately I have been ruminating over this idea of cultivating a family culture.  It is not an original idea by any stretch of the imagination.  I am learning that every Christian home will look different and should look different from one another, except on two truths:  God is supreme, and homemaking takes work.

“There needs to be a homemaker exercising some measure of skill, imagination, creativity, desire to fulfill needs and give pleasure to others in the family.  How precious a thing is the human family.  It is not worth some sacrifice in time, energy, safety, discomfort, work?  Does anything come forth without work?”  ~ Edith Schaeffer, What is a Family?

The Work of the Home

Yes, the cleaning, disciplining, teaching, instilling, repenting, forgiving, and repeating takes work.  It is not easy work.  But who says work can’t be fun?  Ok, maybe a better word is “joy”- or “joy-filled.”  Fun gives almost a sense of easy- without effort or pain.  Envision homemaking as a joy-filled work, then.

Moms, have you ever thought about what legacy you want to leave your children?  How will they remember their home when they are parents themselves?  I have been giving this a lot of thought lately.  Maybe it’s postpartum hormonal flux, or nostalgia of transitioning from one stage to the next in my infant son’s 1st year (this could be our last year of infant firsts), or maybe I simply need to establish a vision for our home.  Why?  I think it’s important, and is what the stuff of life is made of- the living, breathing, present presence of the people, traditions, values, activities, tastes, and smells of what makes up home.  I’m learning to savor the little years- wiser moms have counseled me with this, and I think they are right.  Parenting just gets more complex, abstract, and not as cut and dry as right from wrong, “our house rules” and such as the years go on.  Or so I hear.

Family Values

As I have been giving this some thought, and if I could choose a word to describe the legacy I want the Fleming home to leave for our kids, it would be joy.  Not some kind of sappy, disconnected giddiness- eww yuck- but a sincere, deep-seated, rooted, joy that springs up out of adversity, struggle, celebrations, disappointments, wins, and losses.  There are some other things that I would list as family values that I think are fixed or will be fixed throughout our lives.  Here are some of them:

  • The Table– eating, sharing stories, welcoming guests, and togetherness around the table.
  • Reading– daily reading aloud to my kids, reading in front of them- particularly reading my Bible, but other books as well.
  • Holiday traditions– doing a lot of the same things year after year, doing something new each year, and reflecting on years past together.
  • Ministry and Missions– serving in our church, doing local missions (intentional outreach as well as specific mission projects), and going on mission trips together as the kids get older.
  • Music– singing, playing instruments, listening to great music while cooking, doing schoolwork, or chores.
  • Prayer– before meals, before our day, for ourselves and for others as needs come up.  For it to be natural in our daily conversations- that we would be aware of God’s presence.

What are some of your family’s values?  I enjoyed thinking through ours, and I am still processing what sort of legacy I want to leave my kids.

This idea of a family culture- that mothers in particular determine what sort of home they want to cultivate- is new to me.  I guess I never have really given it much thought until recently.  I am a visionary thinker, so developing a vision for the home sets well with me- it makes sense.  I may not be able to get all of the details down on paper, but I can describe what I want my home to sound like, smell like, look like, etc.  It is a process.  And I am in the beginning of it all.  Relishing.  Dreaming.  Planting tiny seeds that I hope will one day sprout joy into my little babies’ hearts.

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