I loved all the replies to my plea for help about why we clean our houses. Thank you. So much excellent input and food for thought.
Jeff and I had a long chat about it as well, and we came up with some great ideas for our home.
1) We want to teach our sons to be responsible, and we want to prepare them for life so that when Jeff kicks them out at age 18 (he says to me with a giant grin so I'll know he's not entirely serious), they'll survive on their own. We can just picture them huddled in the corner of a barely furnished studio apartment slurping ramen out of an old, beat up tupperware bowl.
2) We want to practice respect IN community, respect OF community, respect FOR community. (And lots of other prepositions regarding respecting community.)
3) We want our home to be ready to receive tired, weary souls who need a place to rest. That includes Jeff's soul at the end of the work day, family and friends who come to visit, dinner guests, neighbors who need to borrow sugar, and stray raccoons. Okay, maybe not the raccoons.
We talked a lot, too, about what specifics we'd like to implement, and in the end, we came up with a vision for our home.
Wiktionary's definition is, "A place of safety, refuge or protection."
Yes. That's what we want. Our dream, actually, is to host others as a ministry. Big cabin in the woods, guest wing, little cabins on the other side of our meadow, maybe a campground, free housing for pastors on sabbatical, missionaries on home assignment, etc. This is our dream.
31 Days to Clean said I should write out my mission statement. Then it said, "Now dress it up! Make it pretty, put it in a frame, just be creative and have fun! Put it somewhere where you can see it every day."
Well, since Day 2 of this challenge tells me to clean out my refrigerator, I decided to really fully embrace her suggestion for Day 1 and take time to express my, you know, perfectionistic side. (And my procrastinationistic side.)
My favorite bits are that Jeff came up with the concept, and our kids like it, too. They get it. Our whole family is on board.
So... now I have to face the Day 2 challenge of actually cleaning something. Wish me luck as I pysch myself up to go make our refrigerator a sanctuary... for, uh... food... or something like that.