UPDATE: Just wanted to hop on a second to say it is not too late to be entered in the give-away for one of Jill Savage’s books My Heart’s at Home. If you haven’t read the following post and interview with her, read on!! For the rest of you I wanted to answer a couple questions I have been getting a lot lately. They are both “yes”.
YES….I will be writing about the reason we chose to sell our home and reverse the American Dream, going from nearly 8 acres, a pond, creek and woods to hunt in, along with a custom-built, 2,950 square foot home to a modest 1608 square foot ranch in a subdivision lot near town. I just haven’t found time—with all of the down-sizing, basement-finishing, garage-sale readying that I have to do—to be able to sit down and write it. Also, I have a few other pieces to write including a Proverbs 31 devotion that was due LAST WEEK!!! (Sorry, sweet Rachel!) And…..
YES….I do plan on writing more about my weigh loss and helping to facilitate some of you cyber-friends dropping some unwanted poundage as well. I’m doing my best to get around to that one too!!! (If you don’t know my story of losing over 100 pounds, scroll down to May and a post called American Idle)and the series of posts left for a week or so after that, which are found in the end of May, beginnng of June) Also, please leave a comment if you are interested in a once-in-a-while post and comment sharing on topics related to being strong and healthy in order to serve our families. (i.e…..weight loss and exercise, recipes, tips, helpful Scriptures, etc…) I’m game if you are!!! Chat at you soon!
I just realized something. I live in the land of beige!!!
Yes ma’am. This new house we bought is wonderful for our family. Just big enough. Brand spankin’ new. (It was a spec home that a very reputable builder built two years ago but, in our poor Michigan economy, was unable to sell.) In a great subdivision. Located just three or four minutes from town. I have only one complaint about our new abode.
It is a little heavy on the beige.
Beige siding. Beige carpet. Beige linoleum in the kitchen and bathrooms. Beautiful beige ceramic tile in the entry way. Beigey-taupe walls.
Every single one of them.
Now, this beige overload was one of the factors that actually drew us to this house. All our furnishings would match!!! No need to purchase new comforters and such. Our old ones would do just fine. However, we did have to sell our old living room furniture since this living room is so much smaller. So, while we are waiting to find something new on Craig’s List, we decided to put the sectional, that will go in our basement family room when it is finished, in the living room for the time being. Guess what color it is?
Yep, you’re one step ahead of me!!!
So the other day, as I was having a nice-and-neutral meltdown about all of this with my dear friend Suzy on the receiving end of my “phone-a-friend” cry for comfort, I had an idea. I needed to do something, ANYTHING, “pretty” in my home.
You see, because we are really only half moved in- (still waiting for the basement to be finished with the family room, and two teenager’s bedrooms) we are in a holding pattern. The kitchen is set up. One bathroom has a clear shower curtain liner in it. All of the kid’s clothes are neatly folded—okay piled—in laundry baskets in our master bedroom while they work out of them acting as temporary dressers. They grab a blanket and pillow to bed down somewhere every night. (There is one twin bed in Spencer’s room which they take turns using.)
But nothing “pretty” had been done yet. No color anywhere!
So I grabbed the gift card that our realtor gave us to Bed, Bath and Beyond and I hunted me down some “pretty”. Shower curtains, towels and rugs. I stayed up late that night and got all of the pretty in place.
Now two rooms have splashes of color. One bathroom in terra cotta and sage green. One in chocolate brown, pale aqua, and lime green.
Ahhhhh…..what beauty. I keep walking in those bathrooms just to get me a quick fix of pretty.
Now, we still aren’t to the place to be able to hang much up on the walls. The place is still 92% beige. But the splash of color was the fix I need.
You know, sometimes as a mom, we too get in the beige rut with our mothering. Our routines and responsibilities have us stuck and stagnant. What we need is a fresh new perspective, some creative ideas and a healthy dose of encouragement. You know, a splash of color!
Ta da!!! Enter my friend and partner in mom ministry, Jill Savage. Many of you may already know her as the founder and director of Hearts at Home. Maybe you heard her on Focus on the Family. Perhaps you’ve had the pleasure of hearing her speak.
I know her as Jill. My decade-plus long friend. Fellow mom, cook and carpooler. She does what I do, just a state or two away in Illinois. And she LOVES to encourage moms. So this week. I’m letting her do just that here on my site!
Enjoy the following info about Jill and interview with her about her latest book My Heart’s at Home. Then, see how you can win one of three copies of this ‘splash of color’ mothering book.
It may be just the shot in the arm you need!
Sweet, color-other-than-beige blessings,
Jill Savage(www.jillsavage.blogspot.com) is an author and speaker who is passionate about encouraging moms. She is the author of five books including Professionalizing Motherhood and her most recent release My Heart’s At Home.
Featured on Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman magazine, and Family Life Today, Jill is the founder and director of Hearts at Home (www.hearts-at-home.org), an organization designed to encourage, educate, and equip women in the profession of motherhood. Jill and her husband, Mark, have five children and make their home in Normal, Illinois.
Jill, tell us a little bit about what prompted you to write My Heart’s at Home ?
I was pursuing some personal growth opportunities through professional counseling. Most counseling sessions begin by looking at your childhood experiences. When I asked my counselor why that was so important he said, “The first 20 years of a person’s life lay the foundation for the 70 or more years of their adult experience.” As I pondered his statement I began to move from thinking about the home in which I grew up to the home Mark and I were creating for our children. Right now, we parents are laying the foundation for the rest of our children’s lives. That’s a pretty big responsibility!
As I continued along this line of thinking, I began to recognize that our home plays many roles in our lives. Home needs to be a safehouse where we feel loved and respected, a rest area where we pull off the highway of life and find the refreshment we need, a trauma unit where we can find healing from the hurts of the world, a church where the foundation of faith is laid in our life, a playground where we laugh and play together, and a pep rally where we are celebrated and encouraged. These are just a few of the many roles I explored in My Heart’s At Home.
I also began to realize that in the same way that you need a blueprint when you are building a house, moms and dads need a blueprint as they are building their family. My hope is to cast a vision for parents on the importance of home and the many roles that home plays in our life. If we have a vision for the home environment we’re creating, we’ll be much more intentional as we mother everyday. In fact, the subtitle of the book is “Becoming the Intentional Mom Your Family Needs.”
In your book, you speak of the many roles that home plays in our children’s lives. Which role or roles do you most enjoy??
I love home as a playground. I enjoy it when our family plays together whether it’s a pick up game of baseball in the backyard or a board game on the dining room table. I’ll admit, though, sometimes it’s hard to play when I feel like there’s so much to do. That’s when I have to remember the importance of home being a playground and that I have to let things go in order for us to play together.
I also enjoy home as a church. I like sharing my faith with my children and seeing the lightbulb of understanding going on for them.
On the flip side, which role is the toughest for you as a mom?
I think that home as a trauma unit is hardest for me. I’m not a real emotional person and I don’t get my feelings hurt very easily. Because of that, I can tend to be an insensitive wife and mom. I can approach disappointments in life with a “buck up and move on” attitude rather than recognizing the need to grieve. Having the vision of the importance of home being a trauma unit has helped me to be more sensitive and caring when life throws someone a curve. Without that vision in front of my eyes, I would (and did!) add more pain to an already painful time in my husband or children’s life.
How has your approach to mothering changed over the years since you welcomed your first child?
I’ve learned to not make mountains out of molehills. The oldest one is always the guinea pig and I fear that many times we battled over things that really didn’t matter. I think that particularly happened in the teen years. I’ve learned to hear my kids out and let them dream rather than playing the realist and telling them why their dream isn’t practical. Someone once said that moms need to learn to be dream makers rather than dream takers. I’ve definitely learned that over the years.
I’ve also learned that letting go is an important part of the mothering experience. In my early mothering years I tried to control too much. It’s not easy to let go, but it’s important and it helps our kids grow into the mature, responsible adults we want them to be.
I hear often from many weary and burned out moms who seem ready to throw in the towel. What encouragement can you give them as one who has already launched a few adults from the nest? Why should they “keep on keepin’ on”?
It took me many years to learn to adjust my definition of accomplishment. When my kids were younger I would get to the end of my day and think, “What did I accomplish today?” Usually the answer was “not much.” But that’s not true. Moms need to redefine accomplishment—you see a mom won’t really get a feeling of accomplishment until 20 or so years have passed. That’s why moms need to recognize that everything they do today is for one very long-term goal: to raise a morally responsible, respectful, loving adult. So every story that you read (for the 20th time in a day!), every bottom that you wipe, every meal that you make, every sporting event you attend, every consequence you give, every loving word you speak, every task that you teach, every snuggle that you have on the couch…every one of those things work toward your goal of raising a morally responsible, respectful, loving adult. What you do when they are 2 makes a difference when they are 22. That’s the ultimate goal a mom is working toward.
When you are ready to throw in the towel move your eyes from the short term goals that keep getting frustrated to the one long term goal you are working toward. And not only that, move your eyes from the mountains to the Mountain Mover. You and I aren’t designed to mother alone. We’re designed to walk this journey in relationship with the God who created us and loves our children even more than we do (can you imagine that?)
Any other advice or insight into what this book is all about?
Today’s world offers moms a lot of wonderful opportunities. Often times we become so enamored with all that’s available to us that we forget the importance of what is happening at home. Raising a family only happens once in our life. We can’t go back and do it over again. And believe me, the time flies by so very fast. My prayer is that My Heart’s at Home will help moms (and dads!) keep their focus on home and the importance of making it all it can be. In a world that offers so much I long for more moms to say, “I can do that sometime…but for now my heart’s at home.”
What is next for you and the rest of the Savage clan?
We’re just five weeks away from another wedding. Our daughter Anne was married two years ago and now our son Evan is getting married in August. It’s hard to believe that my hands-on mothering season is already over for both of them. With three more at home there’s still a lot of mothering going on, but it’s going by much faster than I ever imagined.
I also just finished my sixth book and it will release in February 2009. Real Moms….Real Jesus will look at the human experience of Jesus and how his experiences on this earth allow him to be a Savior that understands us. For instance, when Jesus walked through a crowd everyone wanted to touch him. People would just want to touch the hem of his garment to find hope and healing. Most moms experience something similar. We have a baby attached to our breast and toddlers attached to our legs and then when we fall into bed at night we find a husband with a gleam in his eye! It feels like everyone wants a piece of us! Yet, Jesus understands that because when we lived on this earth everyone wanted a piece of him, too.
I’m very excited about this book and my prayer is that it will connect moms to a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to chat with us today, Jill!!!
Okay, now for the give-away…… Leave a comment any day this week letting all of us cyber-friends know either #1–what is one way you have found to keep your heart at home OR #2–what is your biggest hindrance to keeping your heart at home. Also feel free to hop on with any doses of encouragement you can give to any of the rest of us who leave a comment in that second category! Both Jill and I LOVE to see moms connect with each other and ultimately with God. Your comment must be left by midnight Sunday. Jill will choose three random winners to receive a copy of her new book and we’ll announce them on Monday.