As a mom, I strive to make our home a haven for our family. My goal is to ensure home is our refuge from the frenetic world around us. I’m always on the lookout for ideas and resources to help guide toward this goal.
I’m happy to have found the book “The Lifegiving Home,” written by the mother-daughter team of Sally and Sarah Clarkson, as a new resource for ideas to hone our family home life. I received the book for free from the publisher, Tyndale House, to facilitate my honest review.
This book has many helpful insights for cultivating a Christian home. As I read this book, I found myself marking pages so I can refer back to thoughts and ideas. That’s unusual for me since I generally like to leave books in pristine condition, but this is a book that can be used as an ongoing reference.
The book is packed with wisdom from Sally Clarkson’s experience as a mom who worked with her husband to build a strong home culture for their family. She relays how they moved often, so it was not all about the place. In chapter one, she says:
“we focused on creating home out of less tangible materials – traditions, habits, rhythms, experiences, and values. It was in the love and acceptance we shared, the comfort and warmth we enjoyed together, the spiritual and intellectual connections we fostered, and the traditions we celebrated together that we found both refuge from the world outside and the strength to engage it creatively.”
In part one of the book, Sally Clarkson and her daughter Sarah Clarkson discuss the importance of home in our lives as well as its spiritual significance in shaping people to honor God.
In part two of “The Lifegiving Home,” the Clarksons address the seasons of home on a month-by-month basis. It features Sally Clarkson’s expertise in cultivating their family culture and Sarah Clarkson’s experience growing up within the framework her parents provided.
This part of the book has practical ideas for parents as they guide their children through the seasons of life. One of the specific things I marked in my book was the Stop! Look! Listen! technique for teaching children the heart of good manners in the February chapter.
Although I like the premise behind the monthly structure, this part of the book felt a bit forced into the monthly construct. Many of the topics that were addressed were not really month specific so it could have been organized differently, but I get the vision behind it.
The purpose stated on the back cover of the book is for the Clarksons to provide their family story as a treasury of wisdom about home life. It’s very specific to their own family culture, which is heavy on music, classic books, art, family feasts, and tea time. It really doesn’t include a variety of suggestions that may apply better for families that are different from the Clarksons. With that said, there are plenty of things about the Clarkson family story that can be used as ideas and inspiration for creating your own unique home culture.
One of the passages in the book that resonated with me most was within the chapter about the month of March. Sarah Clarkson articulates the joy of finding beauty amidst the brokenness in the world and using that to inform home life. Her words encapsulate my viewpoint as well.
“despite the grief of life in the broken places, my heart still catches glimmers of what life was meant to be, echoes from the shattered gladness of original Creation….Every experience of joy I find is the promise of a coming and complete redemption. This is what I believe my home should communicate. This is the atmosphere I want those who come into my sphere to taste – the goodness of God made tangible in food, in pictures, in music, in the way they are served. I want my home to reflect the deepest affirmation of my heart that God is with me, that He has given me every good thing. I want my home and life to be an invitation to feast, to touch, to savor, and to know the goodness of my beautiful God.”
That passage is a lovely reminder that our homes matter; they can be a beautiful, lifegiving place for our families and guests. “The Lifegiving Home” is a worthy resource for assisting in that goal of creating a family home that nurtures minds, bodies, and souls.
Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for a complimentary copy of “The Lifegiving Home”
by Sally and Sarah Clarkson to facilitate my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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