This is the third part of my my mini series featuring guest posts from women who have transformed the way that I view family.
I will always remember the first time I met the Nicholsons. It was a blur of new faces, both human and furry! About half-way through introductions, I made the mental note that I should be counting, but I knew it was already too late.
Stephanie, is the mother of six of the most amazing children on the planet, but also of everyone who walks in her front door. In addition, she is doula, and gave Daniel and I private Bradley-method childbirth classes. The classes were great, but more than that, Stephanie welcomed me into the most hospitable home I have even experienced.
I was floored. It wasn't spic and span. Their home was lived in. It wasn't quiet. There were kids and animals and music everywhere.. and guess what?! There wasn't an apology for any of it!
Why should there be? Why do we need to apologize to guests for the fact that we live in our own homes?
I want my home to be like that... lived in with an abundance of evidence that the entire space is filled with love.
I thought it might be interesting to hear perspectives on their home from Stephanie, as well as her oldest daughter Shay. Today we'll start out with Shay's writings about growing up in a purposefully welcoming home.
Shay is a lovely college student, ESL teacher, and writer to boot! She blogs about her life and journey with Type 1 diabetes on her blog Just Same Changes.
what a topic.
how do you even begin to tell about your own?
especially if like me, you come from a large family.
so the topic at hand: living in a large family and remaining sane.
okay okay so that's not exactly it...but close.
i am the oldest in a family of 6 children (though they are all taller than i am and most are driving so children is a relative word),
2 parents, 3 dogs, an un-godly number of cats, 6 dairy goats, 3 horses,
7 chickens (we would have 15 but between the neighbor's dog and my brother's memory loss when it comes to putting the chickens up, several have turned up missing..hmm)
and other assorted breathing creatures that i can't remember.
its a crazy, wonderful and super busy household!
(behold how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity!)
when i say life is all kinds of crazy wonderful, i mean its CRAZY wonderful.
there are so many things my parents have done right. so many they haven't done so right too.
but one thing is certain, the good out numbers the bad.
my parents have done an amazing job raising all of us.
sure, there are moments that make their hair turn gray (grey?) just a little faster than normal, but all in all our family is great.
one of the things that i have been most blessed in watching and living out in my own life is that my mom and dad have done a great job in keeping our hearts at home.
my brothers, sisters and i LOVE being at HOME.
we love being together.
whether it's cleaning the kitchen together, family movie night, cooking dinner with 20 different genres of music playing, watching a baseball game,
or working on a project together (see also: mucking the pasture)
we love being with each other at home.
mom has made home our refuge.
comfortable. warm. welcoming.
but she has also let us be involved in making our house OUR home.
we not only were able to pick out paint colors for our bedrooms, my sisters and i picked them out for the whole house.
the kitchen is my domain and mom has for the most part, relinquished her plans and let me organize and make it best for me.
( see also: there comes a time in the life of oldest daughters when they just NEED their own kitchen. mom gave me the kitchen before i went to find my own)
our house is THE hangout.
we always have someone over.
college students, friends from church or out of state, the couple that just had a baby and just needs a nap and someone to hold the baby. the up and coming music group, the girls sewing ball gowns, whatever, whoever.
mom has made our house open and in turn has made it so we want to be here.
to have our friends here. to live life here. to eat here. to play here.
some practical ways that has helped this become our normal are as follows:
praying together. this is a big one though it doesn't always happen daily.
eating together. hearts are woven together through good food and good conversation.
saying yes when your teenagers and college students ask to have a few friends over. (see also: or 14. but who's counting)
make home more appealing than other places. this varies between families but its possible.
always have coffee in the pot.
let each person express their talents, interests and personalities in your home. let them make it theirs, however this may happen. if you can't be yourself at home,
you will quickly find another place to express yourself, and chances are it's not going to be as good as home can be.
i could go on and on....but i won't bore you. just come visit and you will see what i am talking about.
*sings song from fiddler on the roof*
our family has a few awesome traditions that i will be passing on to my own family someday.
(also see: i am totally single and totally ready for my own kitchen. know any great single men? )
okay, back on topic...
my family has a cool tradition that my uncle started many years ago.
when you marry into my family or turn 13 you get a family bracelet.
it's called the Island Hook from the Virgin Islands.
and it is super cool!
its the running joke that you are not officially family unless you wear the bracelet.
apparently kenny chesney is a family member 'cause he also wears one..
(link for picture:http://www.sonyaltdstore.com/catalog/3mm%20SS.SS%20Hook%20Bracelet%20(S10).JPG )
making balish (our Hungarian christmas cookie) on christmas eve is a favorite tradition.
my granddad, or if he isn't here, some of the men-folk are in charge of hand kneading the dough.
then us girls roll it out, fill it with apricot, raspberry, nut or prune filling, bake and then eat them like popcorn.
seriously, even the prune, which are not the first to go, soon get eaten.
if only the calorie count was the same....but who counts calories at christmas?
or ever really.
i could go on, but those are my top few favorite family traditions. this post has gotten MUCH longer than originally intended but thanks for reading!
thank you Lindsey for asking me to guest post!
this was great topic choice and i enjoyed writing about it!