The first winter we lived in the Pacific Northwest, we broke a record for the wettest winter in the history of man. The clouds dripped cold, wet rain until it felt like it might even rain in the house. One day, I lifted the shades in the bedroom and found moss growing up the insides of the windows.
Starbucks enjoyed a nice boost of business that year. So did the library and the McDonald’s that had the indoor playground. So did the doctor’s offices, because all those places were filled with drippy-nosed children who hadn’t seen the light of day in months. The germs went wild.
Meanwhile, my mommy friends and I plotted to hijack a plane and force it to deposit the frizzy-haired, fleece-clad lot of us in Hawaii. Or Arizona. Actually, we’d be happy if the plane simply flew up over the cloud cover so we see that the sun was still there. Beautiful sun.
We were all suffocating under the monotony of endless sameness. Every day, the same gray clouds pressed down. Every day, the same icy rain kept us inside. Every day, our waking hours exceeded our creativity by at least six times. We were grumpy.
What was lacking that winter was anything new. We all felt like we were shriveling up even in the midst of all that rain.
It became painfully obvious that we needed some variety.
Most of us already knew that. “Variety is the spice of life,” right? But that winter, we felt it.
Mothers need variety. Children need variety. Without it, life becomes exceedingly boring, even wearisome. Children often respond to that boredom by acting out. Mothers often respond to that boredom by becoming depressed, short-tempered, or withdrawn. It’s a bad combination.
But change, even a little bit of change, can breathe new life into a dreary day. It helps us to enjoy our children more because change is restorative. It awakens a part of our soul that was created by an infinitely creative God. With abandon, He filled the darkest corners of the earth and the deepest depths of the ocean with strange and beautiful things. The universe is so full of the treasures of His Creation we will never come to the end of them. Man has tramped all over this world, and yet he has only begun to discover the inventions of a God who did not limit Himself when creating this home for us.
Remarkably, the God who ordered everything so perfectly also made everything so perfectly unique. Every blade of grass is the same in its composition, yet each one differs in its form. Each snowflake is just as much a snowflake as the next, yet no two are alike. Each day, the sun rises and sets in the same way, yet every day is new.
Bringing variety into our homes is one of the ways we reflect the image of God. God is creative, and when we are creative, we are like Him. None of us is creative to the same degree as God, of course, and we do not all reflect this aspect of His character to the same degree. I am often humbled when I see the creativity of others that is much more like the creativity of God than my own.
But to be creative does not mean I have to come up with the ideas myself. It means to create, using whatever resources are available, even the ideas and inspiration of others. That’s why God made Pinterest.
If you find yourself getting into a rut with your children, and each day seems mundane and uninspiring, and you find yourself lacking enjoyment of them, it might be time to get creative. Look for ways you can bring some newness and change into your home.
Not everyone thrives on the same amount of change or even the same types of change, but even very simple things like a fresh haircut or getting new books at the library can make you and your child feel renewed. It can spark fresh excitement and enjoyment in your relationship.
Here are some ideas:
*Do a toy swap with a friend. What could be more fun than having some new toys or puzzles to play with for the week?
*Have a picnic lunch on the living room floor, complete with blankets and lemonade.
*Help your child decorate her room.
*Take the kids out of school for the day and go do something special as a family.
*Take a different way home, or follow a road and see where it goes.
*Eat at an ethnic restaurant you’ve never tried before, or research a country and make your own ethnic cuisine. Don’t forget to decorate appropriately!
*Try a new craft! Have your kids ever used pastels? Clay? Beads? Check out Pinterest for an endless supply of ideas. Pick one and surprise the kids.
*Rearrange the furniture.
*Eat by candlelight.
*Get out your old CDs and educate your children on “good music.” Don’t forget to dance!
*Throw a tea party.
*Play a physical game with your kids, like tag or Twister.
*Slip love notes to your kids under their doors.
*Plan a day trip! Don’t tell your kids where you’re going. Just load them up in the car and let them writhe with anticipation.
*Create a scavenger hunt in the house or yard.
*Visit the elderly. Bring a list of questions and try to learn more about what life was like many years ago.
*Hide Easter eggs…in January.
*Get new coloring books and crayons. Don’t skimp on the new crayons. It’s fun.
*Make a new dessert. Let the kids pick!
*Choose a family to bless. Make up a basket of goodies, personal products, or food items and drop it off on their doorstep. If you live in the city, create gift bags full of sample products, non-perishable food items, and other necessities and hand-deliver them to a panhandler.
*Make and send cards to a deployed soldier.
*Make pretzels. Let the kids shape their own!
*See how big of a blanket fort you can make.
*Put everyone’s name in a bowl and let each person draw a name. Spend the day doing special things for the person you picked.
These are just ideas to get you started. The possibilities are endless, just like the creativity of God. Why not pick one thing to do this weekend to breathe some newness and creativity into your home. You will find that you and your children enjoy the change.
Please join us on Monday for Day 23. Only eight days left!
For further thought:
1) Some children struggle with change. If you have a child who does not like most types of change, you may need to focus on making the changes less dramatic, like changing your own bedroom or simply putting fresh flowers on the table. Don’t let your child’s uncertainty keep you from doing anything at all. Simply do things more slowly.
2) We learned in our post on constancy that creativity without constancy is chaos. Even though creativity is one aspect of God’s character, so is order. If you are a very creative person, you may need to learn to balance your creativity with some structure so your children don’t feel like they’re living in a state of chaos. Read the creation account of Genesis 1. Notice how God ordered His creation to reflect both aspects of His character. Does your home reflect both order and creativity?
3) What are some of the ways you have introduced variety into your home? How do you keep things interesting and new? Please share in the comments!