Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What makes a Sanctuary?

What  is a sanctuary? A cottage retreat, a day spa, a quiet dust free space where everyone whispers? I recently read this talk from an old Women's Conference about creating a sanctuary in your own home. Making your home the place that your family loves best. Funny and inspiring.  It sounded a lot like me at the beginning when she talks about what great examples of parenting she's had then says this:

With examples like these--combined with a wonderful husband and professional experience writing about family issues--you would think creating a sanctuary for my own children would come naturally. It has not. My personality is headstrong, demanding, and 2 easily exasperated. My children are closely spaced and not perfect. What comes naturally to me are unrealistic expectations, shrieks of agitation, overdramatic looks of disapproval, and long-winded lectures. 

That really sounds like me sometimes.  Especially the "shrieks of agitation."  So since I read this I've been thinking a lot about my home as a sanctuary.  What makes a home a sanctuary? Does that mean I need to have a perfectly and expensively decorated home where soft music wafts through the air to the scent of home baked bread? I don't think so.  I think a sanctuary can be in any home regardless of the size of your bank account, decorating ability, or baking prowess.   

A favorite scripture says this:  "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establis a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God; That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord; that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord; that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High."

Now that's the ideal sanctuary.  I feel like I have kind of given up on some of those things. Mainly the order and organization aspects.  In my journal a couple of years ago I wrote:

"Someone said that cleaning your house while your kids are young is like shoveling your walks while it's still snowing.  Although this is a true statement, snow is sparkly, clean, fresh, & white. The messes my kids make, are not."

Feels like I just stopped shoveling to some degree.  I'm going to try to be better and get back to the organized and ordered version of myself.  (It should also be noted that school is about to start and 5 of the 6 kids will be messing up some other structure for 4 to 7 hours of the day so that should help.)  As I was searching for ways to help, I came across this blog:

HOME SANCTUARY  I know, crazy.  You'd think it was written just for me.  The author of the blog gives you ONE SMALL THING to do each day to help your home become more sanctuary-like.  You can even sign up for her program called "Company Girls" and earn points for doing these little things and then she gives away prizes.  Check it out.  I'm going to add her small things to my daily to-do's. 

Cleanliness and organization are only one part of the equation though.  President Hinckley gave a talk that was later made into a brochure.  He talked about the four cornerstones of a happy home. The whole talk is found HERE.   Please read the whole thing.  It's really good.  However, the cornerstones are:

Respect for one another

The soft answer

Honesty with God and one another

Family Prayer

It is such a great talk.  I am going to re-emphasis these cornerstones in my life. Especially "the soft answer."  I noticed that whenever I enter other sacred sanctuaries, the soft and smiling answer is the order of the day.  And it does make you feel nice.  

I decided that I want to do a few HOME SANCTUARY in the making give-a-ways.  Here's the first one:

I think that one of the best things that can create a home sanctuary is for parents to love each other.  Have you read the book "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman?  You can click HERE to take a 30 second quiz to find out what your "language" is- how you feel loved and respected.   I am going to give away a copy of this book along with a few dry erase markers. 

Why dry erase markers, you say?  Because my brother and sister-in-law have a great tradition that they have done since they were married.  They were counseled to tell each other they love each other every day.  One of the ways they do this is by writing each other LOVE NOTES on their bathroom mirror with dry erase markers.  FUN, huh!  

So if you'd like a copy of this book and the dry erase markers, just add a comment.  A winner will be picked next Tuesday. 

UPDATE!!!  My hubby just reminded me of this great talk given by President Monson February 9, 2008.  Called "A Sanctuary from the World" Such a great message and more great tips: A pattern of prayer, A library of learning, A legacy of Love.  Check it out!