November 13, 2014

Take Pride in Your Home.

What follows is a post I wrote the other night -- I had to go to my in laws yesterday when I planned on posting this, so I got a little behind.  This post is a little "scattered" as I was having trouble concentrating.  The point I want to make is to enjoy your home no matter where you live. The humblest of homes can be the ones filled with a lot of love and happy times. 

No matter if you have a lot of money, or are barely getting by, take pride in your home.  Your home could be a little 1 bedroom apartment, a small rented house, a starter home that you are purchasing or your dream home.  It doesn’t matter where you live, take pride in it.  Don’t look at what other people have or where they live.  Don’t put down where you live, it is your home.  Don’t think about what you don’t have or wish you have, this will only make you unhappy. 

I have lived in small apartments, a one bedroom rental house that was a little dilapidated, a little two bedroom ranch that we bought to the old, old house we are in now.  I am happy because we are able to live on one income and have a life beyond my being tied down with a full time job outside of the home.
One of the biggest killers to a budget is envy.  I totally understand why God warned us of this in the scriptures.  If you think about it, envy causes people to purchase a lot of things that they can’t afford or need. 

You’re invited over to someone’s home for coffee or a meal and it is beautiful.  Not only is the kitchen state of the art, but the entire house is just beautiful with hard wood floors, woodwork and the beautiful lighting.  You are shown from room to room and you admire all of the furnishings and little art pieces.  You have a wonderful evening and then you drive home.  All the way home you think about that beautiful house and how if you could only have the same house, you would be happy and not want anything else in life.  You pull into your driveway – there is no garage.  You get out and kick at the gravel on the driveway.  Why can’t we at least have a paved driveway?  Then you walk through the yard, onto a creaky porch and as you reach for the door handle, you look up at the door and it has peeling paint on it.  Goodness, can’t we even afford a decent door?

Yep, I know the scenario well. I have lived it, yet I moved beyond when something happened.  I had some friends with beautiful homes that worked so much that they rarely spent time at home.  They had a lot of stress in their lives because they worked constantly and didn’t have much free time.  They were busy running their kids to all of the dance classes, sports events and much, much more.  Families became worn out and relationships became fractured.  In the course of a couple of years I saw friends get divorced.  I’m not saying that new homes cause marriage problems, but their decision to “own” high end homes, cars and furnishings, along with giving their children everything they felt they should have, led to living far beyond their means  and the stress that came with it. 

I learned that it doesn’t matter what others think about where you live or what type of home you own, it only matters to you.  When it comes down to it the one thing that everyone must learn is to ignore the envy and move beyond it. 

Also take pride in your home.  I’m not saying be prideful.  I’m saying that we need to take care of what we own and in so doing create a warm home environment for your family.

We purchased our house in 1997 and have a lot of work to do on it.  Most of what I have to do is remove decades old wallpaper and then repaint it.  There are floors to refinish and one room needs the paint stripped off of the wood trim.  It is very time consuming, but I have the time to do it.  When the kids were living at home and when I was working full time, I didn’t have the time to renovate.  When you live on one income you can purchase an older home that is very affordable.  Then you work on it a piece at a time and make it into something beautiful. 

We have had to buy big ticket items for our house this year.  In March we had to replace a furnace and the central air conditioner.  In September the water heater had to be replaced.  We had to put on a new roof a couple of years ago.  Next year we need a new front porch floor.  I’m not sure if we will be able to do it on our own and may have to hire it out.  No matter, we are still ahead than if we would have bought a new house back in 1997.  Even after 17 years a new house could have needed a new furnace and the things that we have replaced in our old house.  Not only is our mortgage low, so are our taxes.  Purchasing this old house way back then was the best decision we ever made.  It was because of this old house that I can remain home.   We do not know a lot about remodeling or home repairs.  We learn as we go.  Thank goodness for the internet and You Tube.

When you don’t have a lot of money, you can still make your physical structure of a house, into a home.  Even if you rent and can’t paint a lot of things, the best thing you can do is keep that little home of yours neat and clean.  Less is definitely more and the simplest of decors, can be the best.  Too much stuff or clutter of knick knacks can make a space look over the top.  Worn couches and chairs with worn areas or spots can look very inviting with a quilt thrown over them.   I have had to repair upholstery myself with a needle and upholstery thread.  One couch we had years ago was getting so worn on the fabric that I purchased a skein of rug yard in the same color as the upholstery and wove it in and out to cover up a worn spot. 

I am always amazed at the simple things in a home that make it look so pretty.  Dollar store votives, on a mirror with a little greenery is so pretty on a counter.  Pretty valances in a kitchen made from a fabric remnant can add a pretty little touch.  A little doily under a picture on a side table, looks so homey. 

Don’t get caught up with what you think people think of your home.  It doesn’t matter what they think as you are the one living in your apartment, rental house or purchased house.  Don’t buy more house than you can afford and in fact go one step further and buy far under what you can afford.  Better to purchase a home under your budget than to over extend yourself and be unable to enjoy the life God gave you.


Paula said...

What a wise post. After the recession and the aftermath of underwater mortgages and foreclosures, I said it didn't matter how much house people could get their hands on, only how much house they could hold on to.

The wisest thing my husband ever did was insist, when we sold our first house and started looking for this one, that we buy what we could pay for in 15 years on a conventional mortgage so that we wouldn't owe in retirement. As fate would have it, he got Parkinson's Disease and got bad enough to have to take early retirement just a couple of months after the mortgage was paid off. I truly believe God was guiding his thinking.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I couldn't have said it better! I don't care what other people think of my home. I love it! I am so grateful to have a roof over my head, food on the table and never having to work ever again! My little house makes my life affordable. And that, is priceless!
I keep my home clean and neat. I spend two hours a day, regardless, keeping it neat and tidy. Makes a BIG difference.

Sandy said...

Wonderful post. Lots of gold nuggets in this post.

Anonymous said...

Amen! The homes I love the most are small cozy homes. Welcoming and not pretentious.

Melinda Lewis said...

You are wise to point folks in the right direction. Affluenza: Buying things you can't afford, with money you don't have, to impress people you don't know.

Lee Ann said...

I put your FIL on the prayer list at my church

allisamazing said...

I enjoyed browsing through your blog and am your newest follower :)

Anonymous said...

I agree, we should be house proud. I try to remember that even if people who live in Mcmansions have gobs of $ & no stress, their house, and mine, are just temporary dwellings . Earth is not our homeland.
I thank God for my modest home in this safe neighborhood. He must have put me here for His reasons....maybe to reach these neighbors for His kingdom?