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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

By Norma-Anne Hough


Its early morning. The storm which raged throughout the night is over. I sit sipping my early morning coffee on the patio looking at the devastation in the garden. Huge branches of trees lie all over the garden, there are leaves everywhere, the bird bath laying on its side, yet through it all the trees have stood firm. The river at the bottom of the garden is running strongly, carrying debris to the mouth.

Looking at the garden, I reflect on our life and family home. The many storms that have threatened destruction yet we have weathered them all. Many branches have been damaged and fallen away but these are the things in our lives which we needed to be rid of.

When we knew I was expecting our first child, Dave and I made a commitment that I would be a stay at home mother, no matter what the cost. Little did we know then, the tests that would come our way? While we still lived in the same city that we had grown up in, with friends and family close by it was fine. The time came though when Dave was offered a job away from our home town, then the storms began. We were tested on every aspect of our marriage, yet God was in control.

In times of real difficulties I would remember the words from our wedding hymn:
“Except thou build it Father,
The house is built in vain.
Except thou bless it Savior,
The joy will turn to pain.
But naught can break the union
Of hearts in Thee made one,
And love Thy spirit hallows
Is endless love begun.”
O Father all creating. Words by John Ellerton 1876.

Our home is an open home. There is love, laughter and chaos!
It might not always be spick and span but it is lived in. My children have always been encouraged to have their friends over. Being a stay at home mum has had many financial hiccups but the blessings that have abounded far out number the financial hiccups.

When my older two daughters were at college the house was filled with young people. Having a swimming pool was an added attraction during the summer months. It was wonderful seeing the young people having fun and being part of it, even if it meant making endless toasted sandwiches and caramel tarts! Some of my happiest memories are of my mother being there with all the young people. She thrived on it as it brought back memories of when we were that age. All the boys especially loved her and included her in all their nonsense knowing they would be rewarded with something good to eat. I often wonder at how God always provided for our needs, even when times were very tough there was always enough for extra guests.

When Bronwyn met Harley something happened which to this day still amuses me. Whenever she came home after being in his home she would go into our formal lounge and begin rearranging the coffee table and furniture. Everything had to be perfect. I watched with interest for a time before asking what her motivation was.
“Oh mum, you must see how beautiful Harley’s house is, nothing is out of place. Elaine is very particular.”
“So you find our house a dump?”
“No don’t be stupid, just that Harley even says our lounge is rather messy.”
“Really” I replied, “how embarrassed you must be to live here then.”
She stormed out the house followed closely by Mandy who let her have it. Bronwyn soon realized how different we were as families and told Harley that was how we lived and he could take it or leave it. It is with great amusement that I see their home is a “lived in happy home.”

There is much cleaning up to be done around the garden. I think of the debris in our lives which has been washed away by the precious blood of Jesus, how through Him and His love we have been able to weather the storms. As much as I have to clean up the garden after a storm, so too do I need to acknowledge daily that I need Jesus and His cleansing power in my life.

“But as for me my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24 vs 15d.

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This article has been read 825 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sara Harricharan 06/05/08
Indeed, a truly lived in house! I loved the verse from the wedding and the ending, it was just right. ^_^
Kenneth Heath06/07/08
Hi Norms, I really like this one. The warmth of your home flows out in this article. Your home has always been a loving, open, welcoming home and we as guests have always felt special. I have never seen it untidy or messy. I don't do clinical, I prefer homely just like you. Then the cooking...mmmm, I can understand the boys liking to "linger longer", you rock! Love Ken.
Debbie Wistrom06/08/08
I loved the transparent look into your life.

I also think it is great that you can take the time with coffee inthe morning after the storm to assess instead of jumping right into clean up.

I learned a lesson from this,
thanks for sharing.
Jan Ackerson 06/08/08
The storm makes a great metaphor.

A suggestion: Avoid using exclamation points in narrative. It's far better to choose strong words to indicate strong emotion, and save exclamation points for dialogue.

I loved the hymn; I'd never heard that one before.
Joanne Sher 06/08/08
A very good message painted quite vividly. Enjoyed this very much.
Chely Roach06/08/08
What a lovely testimony to your homelife...great meessage.
Betty Castleberry06/08/08
I like you. You are my kind of "mum". I prefer comfortable and lived in to spotless, too.
I do have one suggestion. You might want to put the author credit for the song as a footnote instead of sticking it into the body of your story. To me, it's a slight distraction that interrupts the flow, although I don't know if it's really wrong. This was a really good read, and made me think of when my daughter was still at home and her friends came over. Well done.
Lyn Churchyard06/09/08
What a great home you created for you children - I would feel very comfortable visiting. This would also make a very good devotional. Good stuff Norms :-:
Beckie Stewart06/09/08
This is my kind of home as well. I did notice some grammatical errors, but otherwise, the description was well done. This is a nice piece.
Joshua Janoski06/11/08
I loved the wedding hymn and the lesson being taught here. I really appreciate you sharing this. It blessed me. :)