Recently I was asked to address a group of relatively young homemakers. I say relatively young because anyone who has been around only thirty plus years is considered young to yours truly. Many in this age group are just beginning to experience the various shades and tones of life that will shape who they are. They may consider themselves in the throws of a somewhat ordinary lives but from my vantage point they have exciting and meaningful years ahead that will be influenced by their beautiful hidden lives of a wives, mothers and homemakers.
As I was pondering who these women were, that I had yet to meet, I began to focus on the topic of The Art of Making a House a Home. I was told that this topic had been suggested by the ladies and that they had expressed true concern about their abilities to create a genuine home environment. Needless to say the topic was loaded with hundreds of possibilities but given only a forty minute time frame I decided to highlight the word Art thus elevating what most of us consider ordinary to something extraordinary.
Extraordinary is what I consider the care of the home to be when it is coupled with love and a professional touch that moves it into an art form. I know most might consider this to be a bit of a stretch but when we consider what is needed to produce a great painting or a musical score, much of the same ingredients are necessary. It is true that to produce what is considered exceptional art one needs to be given the gift of talent but putting that aside we find the common ingredients of love, perseverance, order, and fortitude to be the foundations for unleashing the talent.
Since this was a talk directed to women I reminded them that by their very femininity they each have a special nurturing gift that makes it possible to turn a house into a home.
It is true some may have a special knack for interior design but that doesn’t make a house a home. Putting our heart into what we do and striving to do it as well as we can, considering our individual circumstances, are the ingredients to create that special atmosphere. The late John Paul II once said: Every home worthy of the name is above all a sanctuary created by a mother. She is the one to set it up in accordance with her particular personality.
We seldom think about all we do in our homes as various forms of art that our children will cherish and eventually pass on to their families. In the moment we easily laugh at their insignificance but they actually are part of a lasting and unique image that make a house into a home. My grandmother, my aunt and my mother produced the greatest hot fudge sauce for sundaes. It was their special recipe that I grew up making under mom’s supervision. For years it was a running joke in my own family that I needed to bottle it, label it and get it out there. Instead I have passed it on to daughter, granddaughters and nieces. Every visit back north I know I will be in one of our family kitchens boiling up a batch that they all claim is the best. I know years from now our granddaughters will be doing the same thing for their families and it will be the best.
The hundred and one things we do daily in the home may not be recognized as special but when wrapped up with loving warmth they take on an art form that becomes uniquely yours. We all enjoy going out to dinner and being served by someone who cares. The one who cares puts herself into what she is doing and as a result elevates the experience. There usually is a quality of professionalism that shines through which puts us at ease, making us more comfortable. Our favorite restaurants are more than the cuisine. As important as that is, without a professional atmosphere filled with an accent of genuine service, the restaurant would not be elevated to the level of “favorite” any more than four walls of a house could be elevated to the endearing term of “home”.