So, it’s been a little while since I last wrote, I’m sure I missed February.  But, in the time that I have missed, I have definitely learned a valuable lesson that I’d love to share with everyone else.

My parents have this fantastic house.  It’s one of those reclaimed, ancient houses, the kind that make you think you just stepped into an Anne of Green Gables novel.  At least on the outside.  Then you go inside and suddenly you’re in Renaissance Italy.  It’s just amazing.  But what makes it so incredible is that friend or stranger can go inside that house and feel completely at peace, at home.

Why, you may ask?  Not just because it’s beautiful and warm.  Not just because the blankets are folded on the side of the couch.  It’s not even because of the wonderful cast iron wood stove in the living room that serves as a glorious fireplace during the holidays.  While all of those things do add to this homey feeling, the primary reason is because their house is clean.  They have a cat, a young one, who’s very rambunctious and crazy, but my mother keeps up with the litter box.  They have friends over frequently, but the dishes are always done.  They have grandchildren that play with toys on their living room floor, but it’s always vacuumed.  There are no piles of laundry, waiting to be done.  The bathrooms don’t make you feel like you need to wash your hands three times.  It’s just clean.  And when there is a clean house, the Spirit can reside.

I’m an artist.  That usually falls under the category of “organized chaos” or sometimes even just plain chaos.  I’ve been pretty set in my ways for most of my life now, not really into keeping things tidy, because I like a little clutter.  It fits my thought process.  But, while I’ve usually had it tidy enough that the Spirit can be present, it seemed like a distant presence.  More like he was watching from afar.  But it didn’t seem to bother me at all.  Even with my two year old daughter, I didn’t mind living in a mess.  That’s a little embarrassing for me to admit, but it’s the truth.

Then something changed.  It wasn’t a little thing that just happened and I didn’t notice.  Actually, it was kindof a big thing.  My husband and I decided we wanted to get a cat.  I’ve had cats my whole life, excepting the last six years when I’ve been away from my parents.  So, having a cat has always been very important to me.  So, we got a beautiful little ginger kitty and he’s just full of life and cuddles.  But now I had a cat and a baby.  Uh oh.  Seems like something had to change.  If my daughter was going to stay healthy and safe from allergies, I needed to vacuum.  If she was going to keep from getting sick, I needed to clean the litter box.  And while I’m at it, how about the dishes and the laundry?  What’s the point of cleaning if you’re only going to vacuum?

It was then that I realized that it’s really not that hard.  What was my problem?  I think I can safely say it stemmed from pride, my unwillingness to take the necessary time to keep my house clean.  But now there are other things to consider, namely, our health.  And so began my desire to keep my house as clean as my mother’s.

I’ve kept my clean house for almost a whole week now, I’ve vacuumed three times, my husband changes the litter box every night, and I run the dishwasher every evening before bed so that in the morning, I can put them away and start fresh.  For the first time in years, I’ve been completely caught up on the laundry.  I’m still an artist, but I actually clean up after myself now.  All my supplies are put away every night.  This is the longest streak I’ve ever had, and I’m completely excited!  My house, while a tiny little apartment barely large enough to house us all, is finally feeling like a home.

I’m so glad that I have finally learned to lower my pride and do what needed to be done so that I can have this feeling of peace with me every day, not just when I visit my parents.  I know that I have God to thank for that, and I do.  I hope that those of you who read this will have learned something useful from it also.