“Whatever your circumstances, let your premises reflect orderliness, beauty and happiness.” – Spencer W. Kimball
I first heard this quote in the early years of my marriage, about 8 years ago. I was attending a local Women’s Conference at my church and it was shared in a class that offered tips and tricks on decorating on a budget as well as creating an organized, beautiful, happy home. This quote seemed to sum up so many feelings I had about a creating a home even since I was little! I was reminded of when I was a kid and how I loved to clean and organize my room. I was constantly moving my bedroom furniture around and decorating my walls and shelves and making it “beautiful”. It was something I loved to do! (To be clear, there was a need for that constant cleaning and organizing—I tend to be a bit messy and not so great at cleaning up as I go…hence the frequent clean up!)
Jump forward to early married life. My husband, Alan, and I were fairly new parents to twin boys and had just moved in to my parents converted garage apartment. Alan had quit his job to go back to school full-time to get a Master’s degree in Accounting which meant we were living on our savings and the kindness of my parents. To say we were on a budget was an understatement! Though I remember enjoying the class, the thing that really stuck out to me and stayed in my mind was the quote from Spencer W. Kimball. We were given bookmarks with the saying on it which I displayed prominently on a bulletin board covered in family pictures and other inspiration. I read it over and over to help me feel a bit more upbeat about our living situation, concentrating on the part about happiness. And it worked! Even though we didn’t have much, it was fun to make it our own beautiful home. We created many happy, wonderful memories as a family of four in that small space, and we even did a pretty good job at keeping it organized and clean.
A huge thank you to Brianne Cartwright of @design_wright for this beautiful print! You can find it at the end of this post.
Now that we are in our own home (going on five years) with a much busier family life, I have come back to these words and thought more about how I can apply them to our family. “Whatever your circumstances, let your premises reflect orderliness, beauty and happiness.” We have 4 children, 8 years and younger. 4 small kids = toys upon toys, books, lots of clothing and shoes scattered about, and messes being created constantly. Along with the normal everyday messes, I have started my own small business working from home making signs and hosting craft nights and that keeps me busy! When I’m creating, I’m also making messes. And instead of cleaning up those messes, I just keep going until it’s time to pick my older two up from school, run them to various activities and get dinner started. The mess gets pushed aside and I tell myself I’ll clean it up “later”, which doesn’t happen often enough. My once upon a time desire to keep a well-organized seems to have been lost. We’re busy. Just like so many of you are busy! (Are you getting tired of that word yet? I am!) I feel that our home is full of beauty and happiness, but too infrequently do I consider it “orderly”.
When I was asked to contribute to The Small Seed, and told the month of June would be focusing on “A House of God” I got excited! I hoped this would be an opportunity for me to create order in our home! I reflected on a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 109 vs 8: “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God”, and knew that this was my chance to really get organized and turn my House of Chaos into a House of Order!
I started a list of trouble areas in our home that seem to constantly have piles of “stuff.” It didn’t take long to figure out that my list was going to overwhelm me. I needed a full-on overhaul! But that didn’t faze me! I was excited to get moving on it and started out strong. I got rid of bags and bags of clothes, books we no longer read, home décor I no longer loved, but you know what? My excitement fizzled. As I pondered on why my attempt failed to create a House of Order, I realized that I completely skipped over the meat of the scripture listed above, and went straight from “Organize yoursel[f]” and jumped to “establish…a House of Order”, without following the pattern that was outlined. There was a lot I failed to do in between! I decided I needed to break down the scripture, and I hope by sharing it with you here it can help you create a house of order in your own home as well:
1. Prepare every needful thing. What exactly does that mean? Doing a little research I found that “needful” can also be interpreted to mean “of highest priority.” Dallin H. Oaks shared this about “needful” things, “Jesus taught about priorities when He said, ‘Seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.’ Seek…first to build up the kingdom of God’ means to assign first priority to God and to His work. The work of God is to bring to pass the eternal life of His children, and all that this entails in the birth, nurturing, teaching, and sealing of our Heavenly Father’s children. Everything else is lower in priority.”
Woah! After reading this I realized my priorities definitely need some rearranging!
2. Establish a house of prayer. I love these two scriptures about praying always: “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” : (Alma 37:37) Also, “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
I certainly pray but not as frequently or fervently as I should. Why would I waste an opportunity to counsel with my Heavenly Father? Another item to add to my list!
3. A house of fasting. The Lord commands those who are physically able to “give [our]selves to fasting and prayer” (1 Corinthians 7:5). We are to seek the Lord through fasting (see Ezra 8:23), and to humble and to chasten our souls (see Psalms 35:13; 69:10).
Oh goodness. Another thing I’m not doing great at. I use the excuse that I get headaches when I fast and so it is just too hard. While it’s true that I do get a headache after a long day of fasting, I’m pretty sure I’m missing out on many blessings that my Heavenly Father would love to share with me, and a true house of God, because I’m not following this counsel.
4. A house of faith. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:5–6.)
I have faith in God. I have faith in my Savior Jesus Christ. But do I have faith that they can help me create a home of order? I won’t know unless I ask, will I?
5. A house of learning. “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118.) Jesus counseled: “Come…learn of me…and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28–29.)
I’d do well to spend a little (or a lot) more time in some of the “best books” and quite a bit less on Instagram and other social media.
6. A house of glory. President Thomas S Monson wrote, “Our house is to be a house of glory. For our house to be such, we need to be square with God, fair with others, and honest with ourselves. One cannot be one person and pretend to be another…By being consistently good, we can ensure a house of glory.”
Great counsel!! And I love the last part—I need to try harder at being “consistently good”!
7. And then finally, “a house of order, a house of God”!
Ironically instead of getting discouraged at all the things I need to work on as I work through this scripture, I’m excited! By working hard on each of these directives from my Heavenly Father, I’m working towards establishing a House of God for both me and my family. And He won’t leave me to do it on my own. He stands by ready to help, all I’ve got to do is ask.
Katie’s Bio: I’m married to my high school sweetheart and we celebrate 10 fabulous years at the end of this month. I’m a mom to four great kids, twin boys (8 yrs old) a cute girl (4 yrs) and another sweet boy (2 yrs). I’m a big fan of bright colors, crafting of any kind and making my home a happy and meaningful place with homemade signs and decor. I also love helping others create a piece of art to display in their home, made by their own hands. Hosting Craft Parties is definitely at the top of my “favorite things” to do list!