Today I am going to start a new blog series, called “How To Cultivate A Gracious Home”.
What do you think of when you hear that phrase? What is it that makes a home feel gracious?
Is it the overall look of the place? Is it the flowers blooming next to the front entrance? Could it be the seasonal wreath on the door? Or is it maybe the wonderful smell of something delicious wafting from the kitchen? Perhaps you are impressed by the neatness of the space. Could it be how the table is set? Or is it the beauty of the food that is being served? Maybe it is the welcoming smile or the warm hug from the host that greets you at the door.
I believe all of these things combine together to create a genuine feeling of graciousness. In my lifetime I have visited many abodes that exude this ambience and it is such wonderful thing!
The most important thing that I have learned from all of my visits to several gracious homes, is that the women who manage them are keenly aware that they set the tone!
Since we are going to be talking a great deal about the word “gracious” in this post, let’s start by looking in the dictionary to see what the word actually means.
gra· cious ˈgrā-shəs
Synonyms of gracious
1a: marked by kindness and courtesy
a gracious host
b: characterized by charm, good taste, generosity of spirit
d: marked by tact and delicacy : URBANE
2: MERCIFUL, COMPASSIONATE
3a. archaic : PLEASING, ACCEPTABLE
Now that we really see its true definition, it begs the question, “do I display these attributes in my home and do I create this type of atmosphere for my family and friends?”
Wow! That pinches my toes a bit! Yours too maybe, I suppose?
We have a few examples from scripture like the Proverbs, 31 woman, and the list of all her admirable achievements. And while I do frequently remember her, I most often think of the story of Mary and Martha, when they hosted Jesus in their home. I ask myself, “which one am I, Mary or Martha?”
Which one are you?
Maybe like me, a blending of the two?
Am I thoughtful, calm, peaceful, diligent and usually pretty organized? Then my home will reflect that. If I am stressed, disorganized, and ill at ease, my home will most likely reflect that too.
I have taken note of several amazing women who have battled serious health issues, loss of family members, relationship difficulties with children and marriages and yet, their tone and demeanor remained graceful and poised. Their homes continued to be a place of warmth and welcome!
We all know very well that life is in the habit of throwing us curveballs, creating situations where schedules and normalcy are all but abandoned. During those times, our homes can still be gracious. Meaning that they are ruled by kindness. When events are out of our control, we absolutely must depend on God to keep us balanced. This is why the hard work of establishing a sweet tone in our home is especially important!
These special places, where I have been deeply impacted by gracious home-keepers, left no doubt about a few things.
- faith was the cornerstone of the family
- thoughtfulness and gentleness were the norm
- a helpful attitude was expected
- respect for others was essential
These homes just seem to weather the storms of life a bit easier.
And yes, all homes and all families are definitely different. And life is NEVER perfect, but consistently, what I’ve noticed is that gracious women roll with the punches.
When life ruffles their feathers, they just dry their tears with one hand, and smooth their feathers with the other. They have decided ahead of time they are going to handle what comes their way, no matter how difficult and remain true to their beliefs while they do so.
And however strained it may be, they maintain a sweet “tone” in their home and display a deep seeded joy, hospitality, a welcoming sensibility, and graciousness.
The idea of domestic graciousness does not mean the house is always spotless or perfectly organized. It does not mean there are always gourmet meals on the table or that the home is decorated to the nines. It doesn’t even mean that everyone in the family gets along.
Let’s face it, a dwelling can be beautifully decorated, perfectly clean, with a gourmet meal on the table three times a day, and still feel cold, uncomfortable and unwelcoming.
Maybe you have been in a truly gracious home before and you sensed that it had a calming warmth to it! You almost feel comfortable and relaxed there from the moment that you arrive. There is an unspoken general sense conveyed, that “all will be ok”.
It is as if it is their “mission” to make you feel a sense of belonging and ease.
Perhaps we could all benefit from pondering, “if I were asked the question, what would I say is the mission of my home?” Is it my mission to have a welcoming, comfortable, and gracious place in this world for for my family and friends to gather?
I am sure you are aware that businesses often write out mission statements in order to keep their purpose clear.
It may seem silly or over the top, but I believe that it is a great idea for the home-keeper to write out a mission statement, to help keep the mission of the home clear as well. It is a great way to zero in on the focus of what’s important to you and those with whom you live.
Do you feel that you are called to serve your family and friends with your home?
Is it your family’s goal to be a blessing to your community?
Are attributes such as kindness, honesty, faith, helpfulness and respect regularly displayed in your home?
These are all things that can be reflected in your mission statement.
So… why don’t you write out the mission for your home!
Frame it in a simple frame and put it where you can see it!
But remember, we must set the example in all the things we list, if we want our family to follow suit.
I believe that, ultimately, setting the tone or mission of the home begins with our belief system. To me, it is vital to refer to the attributes that come from the fruit of the spirit. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, meekness, faith, and self-control and are our guiding principles, so those are the qualities that I feel I am called to display in our home. Putting these all into practice just tends to make life better!
To sum it all up in three simple sentences, the gracious homes that have meant so much to me have the following qualities in common:
• A faith-filled dependency upon God
• A defined mission for their home
• A decidedly sweet tone in their home
Do you find that to be true as well?
Tell me your thoughts on what you think it means to cultivate a gracious home. I would love to hear your comments!
In the coming blog posts, we will be discussing the well-appointed home, tips on hosting overnight guests, entertaining friends and family for meals, gracefully managing the home, and more! I will be creating videos to accompany many of these! I hope that you will read, watch, comment and share your ideas so that we can all learn together!!
Remember to keep home sweet and until next time, may the good Lord bless and keep you!
Bye Y’ all,
Sharon at Southern Bella Home
1 Peter 3:8
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.