Creating Beauty Amid Book-keeping

I finished my bookkeeping for 2020. Finally. After many new developments in 2020, I fell desperately behind in keeping up with the farm accounts. My “to-be-filed” basket began overflowing as the months wore on with little attention to filing or accounting. All bills were paid, and legal requirements met, but our books were a neglected jumble of papers on December 31st. Thanks to tax deadlines, I buckled down and got everything reconciled, filed, and set up meetings with our banker and accountant. As with every other year, I have committed myself to staying on top of things this year and being more prepared this year.

I wonder how long that resolve will last this go ’round?

Now to turn my attention to happier matters! Like budgets and accountability and saving and planning for next homeschool year. Yes, I really do like planning and discussing all these things. Personal budgets that is, farming budget is a headache. I am a planner and enjoy thinking of all the good things that we’re going to do this next year, all the things we’re going to save up for, all the trips/outings we want to have, all the good habits we’re going to start, and all the things we’re going to study. Planning is a beautiful activity that stays so lovely on a creamy sheet of journal paper.

If only that beauty could permeate the reality of my life. Huh. Progress is surely being made in the beauty department, if not at the idealistic pace of my journal checklist, but it is coming along steadily. Henley and Becca are able to do most chores around the house and are adding beauty to their own spaces in their own ways. Becca loves small things and texture. She constantly drags blankets, scarves, pillows, rugs, and loose bits and pieces to make her space more textured and interesting. She also is very good at setting up playscapes with the wood blocks and unicorns, both lovely kinds of toys. Henley enjoys a well-set table and a colorful room. She builds with LEGO as much as possible and likes to display her creations on her shelves and window sills. She also keeps a teapot and tea cup service nicely spread on a lace table cloth beneath the windows in her room, always ready for hosting a party with whoever needs a rest and drink.

The unique styles of creating home and hospitality in my home are delightful to witness. Most especially, I love seeing my home transform into a more clean and organized place with the help of my daughters. Truly, housekeeping is not my hobby nor my strong suit and with so many better things to do, it has not been the top priority in my household. Not that we lived in squalor or anything, but there definitely are dust, cobwebs, and dirty dishes in the sink on a regular basis. But something has shifted since the start of our new school year (which was last June). We have been working on habit training as part of our homeschool, more specifically, the habit of doing chores every morning. Henley sorts and switches laundry while Becca unloads the drain-rack and organizes the shoes. They both get dressed on their own and make their beds, Henley makes mine 4-5 days a week. Henley wipes down the bathroom surfaces with disinfectant wipes and Becca feeds the cats. I am then able to start the washer, scrub a sink-full of dishes, vacuum, and wipe the kitchen counters and table. I even have time to wash windows and door handles on occasion. Oh, and best of all, the girls dust. I hate, hate dusting. It feels so useless in a drafty, old house in the country. Nevertheless, I think it’s important for my furnishings to be wiped cleaned each week, and I think it’s good for my girls to practice a task that requires such attention to detail. And I think it’s good when I don’t have to do it.

It’s fantastic to see the progress of my kids in caring for themselves and our family. It’s even better to see my own abilities to cook, organize, clean, and accomplish things expand and improve over time. Learning to motivate and teach my kids to help with the house, has transformed my former angst towards all things housework, into appreciation for the daily practice of putting things in order and creating lovely places. Rather than having more possessions or a bigger house, cleaning the house and caring for the possessions I do have, actually has the power to inspire gratitude and contentment.

That’s my hope this year. To live with more gratitude and contentment for the life I do have. This rather than spending time and energy scrolling for more things I don’t have…and probably don’t even need. After all, more things in the house means more things to dust.

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