The Lifegiving Home: creating a place of belonging & becoming by Sally & Sarah Clarkson is an excellent tool to build healthy, long-lasting, loving relationships in your family. From a mother who’s known for creating a lifegiving home and her daughter who was raised in it, they tell their story about a home where a real family learned to flourish, grow, and belong.
I will spend the year posting each month from the chapters of The Lifegiving Home and the companion book, The Lifegiving Home Experience: a 12-month guided journey by Sally Clarkson with Joel Clarkson (Sally’s son). The focus of these posts will be the nuggets of wisdom that I’ve gleaned from the Clarkson’s that pertain specifically to those of us that have been sidelined due to illness, low-energy, recovering, or using a significant amount of time for healing.
Let’s face it, at least for me, being sick for decades put an additional burden on my husband and sons. Now that I’m healing, I’m thrilled at the opportunity to fill their emotional buckets however creatively I can. I’m excited to embark on this year long journey of seeking out these creative ways to show my appreciation and love.
New habits take time and agonizing over where to start after years of neglect can deflate even the most eager of us. Taking the year to slowly incorporate these should help bring peace to this enjoyable process. But, also, it should allow us to let go and not feel inadequate or guilty for something we had no control over. I’m confident we’ll all recognize traditions or rituals that we may have forgotten, or not even realized, that have been building little by little into the lives of our family.
The Lifegiving Home
“In our deepest hearts, we want home to be a place where our spirits are filled. A lifegiving haven of warmth, rest, and joy that will encourage everyone who enters it; a welcoming respite in an isolated culture.”
“This companion experience to The Lifegiving Home provides practical touchpoints to guide you in your own plans, ideas, and dreams for what you want your home to become.”
This is a distinctly Christian book (along with its companion), which I love. But I also believe that the beauty, order, & nourishing environment that the Clarkson’s speak about can be enjoyed by anyone eager to bring vibrancy and joy into their life and those around them, supporting “growth of body, soul, and spirit”.
Purpose of a Lifegiving Home
In the first four chapters, Sally and Sarah alternate chapters laying the foundation of why you should create a lifegiving home and then challenging you to think about your home and what it could look like according to your own family’s personality and situation.
“Each of us longs for a place to belong, a connection that gives roots to our wandering lives. Our hearts hunger for a community where we are intimate members, a sense of belonging to people who love us.” – Sally Clarkson
I appreciate that Sally acknowledges, and even celebrates, that not all homes look alike and are not even necessarily a structure. “What makes a home is the life shared there, wherever that may be.”
And her thoughts on us becoming a homeless generation were thought provoking. I certainly agree with her observations of a different kind of homelessness; one that is spiritual and emotional.
To accomplish these creative ideas laid out by the Clarkson’s, planning and being intentional become very important for the difficult times of brain fog, low-energy, or deep healing that are inevitable. Taking these first chapters to heart will cement the vision of what our homes could look like, boosting us through the challenging days. “Cultivating the life of home requires intentionality, planning, and design. There must be someone (or several someones) to craft the life, the beauty, the love, and the inspiration that overflows from that place.”
Thankfully, a home is not only for those that live there, it also overflows to all those that enter. We can be building relationships outside our family while simultaneously building our family bonds. “A home that says welcome opens hearts to real relationships. “ And, “relationships are the core focus of celebrating life together in a place.”
A Word About Feasts
“Eating is not just about filling our bellies – or at least it wasn’t meant to be. There is something about preparing food and sharing it that enhances relationship, builds community, even fosters spiritual connection. I believe every meal should be a celebration of life itself as we break bread and enter fellowship together. And the way those meals are planned, prepared, and served enhances the connection and the celebration. Every meal, in other words, should be a feast for the senses and the spirit.”
But how can this be accomplished while on a Nutritional Balancing (NB) program!?! NB has changed some of the special meals and traditions that our family has enjoyed. Right now I’m a little puzzled how to handle this but I’m confident I’ll be able to come up with new traditions, tweak some old ones, or determine they’re valuable enough to splurge a couple times of the year. Over the course of the year, I will be searching out how to combine NB and feasts because meals together are about more than just food.
Is This Even Possible While Healing?
When I stop to think if this is even doable considering all the time needed for healing, I find hope and encouragement from Sarah. “It was a fight for my parents, I know. Every day was a battle to bring order to mess, peace to stressful situations, beauty to the chaos wrought by four young children. My parents struggled, and I watched them…I knew the effort it took my mom to bring a sparkle, once more, to the eyes of all those hungry, restless little people round the dinner table, particularly when sorrow was in her own heart.”
This brings me comfort and inspiration that even the family that wrote the book on this topic had struggles and had to work at it…to fight for it. We’re in the battle right now, but it’s a battle worthy of pursuing and winning. This battle to “bring order to mess, peace to stressful situations, beauty to the chaos” wrought by a sick mama and a sick family.
The struggles of littles have passed for us, but now the fluctuation of teenage hormones and sick bodies are even harder. The pull of media and culture that previously didn’t exist when they were younger is a constant battle now that they are moving into adulthood. Sick bodies gravitate to the escapism of mind-numbing screens or the over-busyness of activities. When you’re sick sometimes you really can’t see it and don’t have the energy to take the seemingly difficult road. Navigating that road to adulthood with a healthy respect of media and time is a challenge. But, that is a bigger topic I’d like to explore more in depth in another post. Sarah has some excellent points and research to consider.
Yes, I do believe it is possible! It will be a struggle and take extraordinary effort at times, but with great rewards of healthy, loving relationships in a “home that nourishes, nurtures, and sustains life and beauty…that supports vibrant, joyful, productive living and supports growth of body, soul, and spirit.”
We Can Always Begin Anew
“The narrative of home, the new creation of belonging, is one we can always begin anew, wherever we dwell. We don’t have to have a perfect family, a healthy background. We don’t have to have lived in one place. We don’t have to own a mansion or even a home.” – Sarah Clarkson
Yes! We don’t have to have a perfect family or a healthy background. We can still begin anew. Come join me as I monthly explore the nuggets of wisdom from the Lifegiving Home for those of us that have been sidelined!