This summer has proven to be a season of good things begun and completed in my household. We worked and played hard, and we certainly met our goal of spending more time with each other in the midst of it all.
After our home school year concluded at the end of April, we kicked off a long list of household organization and renovation projects that I’d been wanting to do for months. I cleaned out and reorganized my kitchen, donating many things, selling others, and rediscovering old treasures from my collection of vintage and antique dishes and kitchen pieces that I put to good, new use.
Some pieces were a bit hard to let go, like the dishes we received as wedding gifts more than twenty years ago.
Others were a no-brainer, like the ridiculous number of plastic cups and storage containers we used when my kids were toddlers. We tossed nearly everything, used some for non-food storage, and replaced the rest with glass pieces.
Once I started in the kitchen, I couldn’t leave the dining room and living room untouched. I studied many inspirational photos on how to arrange an entertainment center and bookshelf, and I had a marathon evening of decorating those areas as well. I pulled everything off every shelf, weeding out what I no longer needed, especially many dated books and CD’s.
The assistant at our local library visibly sighed when I brought in several boxes’ worth to donate to their ongoing used book sale.
“You’re still taking books for the sale, right?” I asked.
“We shouldn’t be, but we are,” was his long-suffering reply.
I handed them over gratefully. After all, what else would I do with used books?
Anyway, I stayed up one evening that week until 2 a.m., until all was re-arranged to my satisfaction.
We also repainted some old benches, completed the renovation of my daughter’s bathroom, and refreshed the boys’ bathroom with a rich, charcoal-colored paint on the walls and new hardware. (They say it is far more masculine and they love it!)
And, we finished painting all the walls in the public spaces of our house a light dove gray, a project we began a couple of years ago.
What I love most about the changes we accomplished this summer is that they were inexpensive. Although they took a great deal of labor and time, and a bit of imagination, they didn’t cost a lot – a blessing, as we are investing in new windows for the entire house.
To celebrate a summer well-spent, we took a few days off this past week. We spent a day at a nearby lake, canoeing, kayaking, and picnicking. Another day, we ate out and went to see The Lion King; and on Friday, we began the day with a Christmas-morning-worthy breakfast of steak and eggs, along with other favorites. Later, we played everyone’s favorite games, and that night, we gathered around a fire and made s’mores.
Now that nearly everything is cleaned up and freshened up in our house, I feel ready to face the school year. Because I work from home and home-school my kids, I want my house to be clutter-free, yet comfortable – a haven from the rest of the world.
My husband and I hope that my kids will look back on these summers as times in which they learned that work isn’t something to be dreaded; rather, learning how to do such practical tasks as changing the oil in the vehicles, mowing the lawn, driving the tractor, house painting, gardening, preparing healthy meals, and managing a budget can be empowering, rewarding, and fulfilling.
Even if they end up being city-dwellers, they’ll be equipped with the confidence to take on new challenges – we hope!
As I typed away about our summer, a few verses came to mind that often hovered on the edge of my thoughts these past few months. May they be an inspiration and encouragement to you as well, as we finish one season and enter another!
Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. – Psalm 90:1
That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace. – Psalm 144:12
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. – Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:19
Let all things be done decently and in order. – 1 Corinthians 14:40
How did you spend your summer? Are you a DIY-er? What do you do with your used books? I’d love to hear from you!