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I’m not sure what it is about housecleaning, but for some reason the hum of my Rainbow Vacuum turns me into a philosopher. I wasn’t always this way, but since we moved to the Mack Pack Ranch, I’ve been challenged as I clean to have a deeper appreciation for my blessings. When we first moved in, our home needed LOTS of work. Drawers in the kitchen and bathrooms were prone to falling out if you opened them too far. The tops of the closets hadn’t been cleaned in so long, I found a coupon for a Free Large Sandwich or Medium Size Coke from McDonald’s depending on who won the Seattle vs. Washington game 9/28/86.  The offer expired 10/5/86. There was this Goose patterned contact paper in the bathroom shelves that I’m certain my mom had in her kitchen when I was a kid. And don’t even get me started on the orange carpet! FullSizeRender 4

Well, over the last year we’ve been painting, and tearing out carpet and fixing things that have gone into disrepair and cleaning, and cleaning and cleaning. (Thank the Lord for Norwex!) As I’ve been doing all this work, I keep thinking, “How does something get like this?” When the house was built, I’m sure the original owners didn’t intend for things to start falling apart. But over time and with varying levels of neglect, poles in the horse stalls rusted out and handles and hinges got worn out from overuse.

So why I’m I writing about this? I once heard a realtor say, “If you want to sell your home, walk out and then walk in and imagine you are a guest. What things do you notice? What stands out that needs repair or catches your eye in a pleasing way? Make the changes you notice and you’ll sell faster and get more for your home.”  When it comes to our homes, I think we sometimes get so used to seeing things the way we are that over time we stop noticing. After so many times of not fixing the crooked picture frame on the wall, eventually we stop even seeing it. We tell ourselves “I’ll get to it later” and then we never do. Taking a step back to evaluate improvements we can make will go far in increasing our home’s value. 21586781_10214664737590880_8636381699819235822_o

Our personal lives are much the same. Taking time for self-improvement and self-care can go a long way. It’s good to ask ourselves, what can I do today to be more wise, to be more kind, to be a better me. When we neglect to make improvements to ourselves, we can fall into the trap of the mundane. We start doing things because they are easy, but not because they are beneficial. Microwave food can only sustain you for so long. Marriage and parenting are that way as well. We can get so used to doing the same thing every day that we fail to nurture and make improvements along the way. Those first few years, especially with a newborn can be so difficult. It’s easy to just go into survival mode. And trust me, I know survival mode! But it’s also important to reconnect with your spouse and remember that your marriage is what started this whole crazy family adventure and when the kids are all grown, it will once again be just the two of you. Take time to date. To remember why you fell in love. Listen to each other’s dreams and plans. Hear their frustrations. Date. When we took on the Mack Pack Ranch, I’m sure many people thought we were crazy. It hasn’t been easy, but slowly our vision is becoming a reality and we are seeing the benefits of our hard work. If things were easy, everyone would be doing it. But to grasp hold of the amazing, sometimes we have to do the hard things. Schedules can get hectic, but I’ve learned that we make time for what is important. We’re going on a date tonight…yeah, a Monday. But, we are that important to each other. What can you do today that will keep your home, self and relationships maintained and thriving? It’s worth it and so are you.