After 34 years of homemaking Joyce Newhall understands that a "home built with love has rubber walls". In her early married years, Joyce and her husband rented the upper floor of their home, showing hospitality and kindness to their tenants. They were stretched seemingly to the max with the arrival of 4 children in 4 1/2 years' time! And they welcomed the opportunity to grow again by hosting teenage foreign exchange students in their home, eventually adopting one as a permanent member of their family. Through her willingness to think differently and trust God's plans, Joyce has seen first hand how love stretches and expands the capacity of a home and a heart.
Joyce spent over 16 years as a full time homemaker, including raising 4 children and doing all the things. She lovingly referred to the early years with them as "happy chaos". As they grew and the children's schedules quickly outweighed Joyce's, she had to learn to balance a new set of challenges armed with prayer and her calendar, aka "The Matrix".
Her nest has been empty for a few years now, and Joyce enjoys her work outside of the home. But she still keeps her home ready and welcome to fling open the doors for whoever needs a place to land. And her children know they can always return here for a rest, a listening ear, and a cup of Joyce's over-the-top homemade hot chocolate.
Want to hear more of Joyce's story of home? Click the link below to listen to the full episode.
Full Episode Transcript:
Do you ever feel like your space is stifling your home making? Maybe you dream of a bigger home so your large family can spread out more. Or you're hesitant to show hospitality in the smallness of your dorm room or studio apartment. In today's episode, we discover that a home built with love has rubber walls. Hello, homemakers and welcome to the art of home podcast where we are exploring how homemakers cultivate a place to belong. I'm your host, Allison Weeks. I'm a wife, a mom, and I've been practicing the art of home for over 29 years. We are halfway through season three of the art of home and we just want to say thank you so much for listening, for following for subscribing, sharing with others and for sending us such encouraging messages about how the podcast is helping you and your practice of the art of home. We are seeing steady growth in listenership and I give most of that credit to you, our audience. Every time you share on social media or recommend the podcast to a friend. You're helping us grow. So thank you. Keep sharing. keep commenting and liking direct messages on Instagram and let us know what other questions you'd like us to ask these homemakers that we interview. We're producing this show for you. So tell us what you'd like to hear. In today's show. I'm talking to 34 year homemaking veteran Joyce Newhall. Actually, Joyce feels like she's been home making even longer than her 34 year marriage. She remembers feeling like her college room was a home where she could make others feel welcome with a comfy chair and a ready tea pot. Today Joyce has a plaque in her office that reads a home built with love has rubber walls, she has seen firsthand how love stretches and expands the capacity of a home no matter what its size or limitations. where love is there's always enough and there's always room for one more. So whether you're carving your fall pumpkins or raking up the leaves, we hope you enjoy Joyce's story of home. All right, I'm here with my friend Joyce Newhall and Joyce before we go back to the beginning of your homemaker story, why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are today.
Okay. Well, I have been married to Scott for almost 34 years. And we have four married children. And currently three grandchildren. We've got two in heaven and two on the way. I I serve at the Bible study fellowship headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, but I'm really from Indiana, we lived in Indiana for 38 years. Our whole married life we lived in one zip code. And we thought that was pretty neat until we moved here and we love it here. So it's been a great adventure for us. Yeah. So that's a little bit about us. We cover four time zones with our family. And that includes Canada we have a daughter who is from Vietnam who became a part of our family about 11 years ago Wow. And so she's up there now and we're we're just we're really spread out but yeah, love to see each other when we can
That's awesome. Yeah, this is a lot different than Indiana a lot less snow that's for sure.
A lot less snow and a lot more sun Yes Yeah, but we love We love both places.
Uh huh. That's good. Do you get to go back to Indiana pretty often
pretty often. The fact that we've got kids from Bellingham Washington all the way to Ohio and Colorado and so we we have to travel quite a bit so we fit Indiana in there, but my siblings and my my mama's still live there. So I'm actually going back next week to celebrate her birthday.
And it's going to be so pretty because the colors for fall. Yeah, should be pretty, pretty well underway.
just getting started. Nicely those reds, and I love the red and the yellow. Those are my two favorites.
I really missed that we used to live in the Chicago area, and I miss those definitive or seasons. Although I don't miss the brown out is what we called it. It was like eight months where everything was brown.
You're not wrong. I don't miss that at all. No, no.
All right, well, let's go back to the beginning. Okay, so when did you first become a homemaker?
It's such a great question. And I thought about it. I would say probably when I went to college. I had a room that was mine my own room my freshman year. And I remember thinking I want this to be a place where people can come and it was a really, really small room. So I did whatever I could. But then by the time I was a senior I also again for the first time since my freshman year had a room that was all to myself and it was a bigger room because I was a senior and so I had a like soft chair in there and I always had like a little teapot ready for people. So that was that was a place where people could come and we could just have good conversations. And so I felt like I was a homemaker then
yeah, yeah. That's really cool. Okay, good. So how was it different when you went from having your own little college space to then being married and living with another person?
That was a big change. But I, I felt comfortable right away, Scott, and I felt comfortable together. He has always been one who's willing to pitch in and help me, which is great. Because we, we actually bought a duplex when we got married. And I was a teacher and I had a little money saved. And he was just finishing college. And so we had an up-down duplex. And it was really old home built in 1923. And so it had a lot of little quirks about it, and you know, little secret compartments and big old farmhouse sink. And it was just a really neat, interesting home. But upstairs, we had tenants. And so one of them had a washer and dryer, and we didn't have that. And so she said, If you let me use your basement, where the washer and dryer could reside, you can use our washer and dryer. Oh, so we shared the washer and dryer. So I felt like my home was was also the home of the two women that lived upstairs, because they could just come in that back door and kind of in and out. And so I was caring for Scott and caring for them. And they were actually older than I was. But I still felt like because I owned the home. I wanted them to feel comfortable there too.
Yeah. Did you have any training? When you first started homemaking, whether in college or when you were married? I mean, did your your mom train you or your grandma? Or did you have any kind of skills when you left home?
I did. And it was my mother. And I'm grateful for that. She grew up with two sisters and a mom. And so she had, you know, chores to do a little bit here and there. But when she got married, she didn't have a lot of skills. And that bothered her a lot. And so she really wanted us to have the skills. And so I started cooking when I was probably six or seven, wow. By the time I was nine, I could literally make like a whole course dinner by myself. That's amazing. And she let us mess up in the kitchen. And you know all that and laundry and cleaning. We had five kids. So there was the you know, the rotating chore chart. And so we literally learned how to do all the house things. So I knew how to do everything. Yeah, that's great. Yeah, my mom didn't. And so it really bothered her. So she didn't want that repeated.
She was very intentional to ensure that happened. Yeah, that's really cool. So what was your steepest learning curve? Once you you were out on your own and keeping your own home? What was the hardest thing for you?
This is not hard to figure out. I know what it is. I organization does not come naturally to me. I like things organized. But I'm not naturally Okay, a detail oriented person with the tiny details of keeping everything orderly. And so you know, and those things just don't magically happen. And that was one thing I didn't figure out. My mother is very naturally that way. And so I just assumed and so was my sister actually. And I just assumed that, that I knew how to clean things. And I knew how to cook things. And I even know how to sew things. But just keeping it under control. Yeah, I wasn't great at that.
What was it that helped you to sort of master that skill of organization? Or where do you feel like you went over the the hill and you had kind of reached a level of competency?
that's also a great question. I remember being a young mom, we had four kids in four and a half years. So I used to call it happy chaos, our life was crazy. But I would come to the end of the day. And sometimes I felt like have I accomplished anything today really. And I regularly listened to focus on the family while I would be doing my chores around the house or taking care of the kids. And I remember one day, this woman named Sandra Felton spoke and she was talking about this book she had written called the messies manual, okay, and she started describing the different ways that you might be a person who has a messy home. And I I literally started sobbing listening to her because I for the first time like heard myself and realized I literally will walk circles sometimes in my kitchen, not knowing which thing to do first. And but I felt a little bit like there is hope for me. So I bought her a little book and you know she kind of gave some tips have just how to get yourself under control. And, and I, I wasn't it didn't come quickly. But I figured things out as time went by and I started to learn what the low hanging fruit was and to figure out what can I fix now and then. And I learned to accept help from my husband. He would offer things sometimes. I remember one time coming home from somewhere with the kids. And he was cleaning out the refrigerator. And I thought, oh, gosh, he does not think I'm doing a good enough job. And really, it was just him trying to love me and help me, you know, so I learned, I learned a lot in those early years.
That's great. Yeah, that's really good. Well, let's talk about balance a little bit. Did you ever work outside the home?
I did. I was a teacher for three years. And then I had four kids in four and a half years, and I stayed home for 16 and a half years. And then I went into human resources, which was nowhere on my radar when you know, when that began, it was gonna be a 10 to 15 hour a week, little side thing that turned in about three months in it turned into a 40 hour week job. And I found myself on the management team. And so I, I just didn't expect it. I was also at that point, I was also teaching Bible study with Bible study fellowship as a teaching leader. And so that was like having another full time job. And those two things were overlapping with each other. And
at that point, did you still have children at home?
So really, you had like three jobs,
I kind of had three jobs.
Oh, my gosh. So how did you how did you manage that? What did you do to like, keep sane?
You know I'm so grateful that God had laid down so much foundation during those 16 years that I was home, of how to do a lot and keep a lot of plates spinning. You know, I did leadership at church, and I did serve in Bible study, fellowship all those years, and I helped with school and those kind of things. So I learned how to juggle a lot. And delegating is really important. And so I shared the load with the kids. And I shared the load with Scott and, and he shared his load with me, and I think that's a part of it, too, is you can't carry all the balls yourself, right? Just have to figure out which ones you're supposed to carry. Right? There were times I felt like, I'm an epic failure. You know, I mean, just being honest. But then I realized, no, that's not true. That's okay for for them to do that. Or it's okay for him to do that. And for us to share this together, because we're a family.
Absolutely. So yeah. So I want to talk a little bit about having four kids in four and a half years. What kind of special challenges did that present?
Well, that's a good question. I, I, I enjoyed it. I think, if it's, if it's special challenges, probably would be keeping them all clothed, keeping them all alive. But that really, that really was okay with me. I think that was part of what was okay is, at the end of the day; do they all love each other? Do they all love Jesus? Are they treating other people well? And so we invested a lot of time there. The special challenges of just...the matrix I called my calendar, the matrix. Because, you know, we had choir and basketball and football and soccer and volleyball and all the things we did piano lessons and viola, and, like so many things they all wanted to do. And little by little we did it all. But I did have to say, you get to do one sport, and one other thing, you know, Oh, sure. There's four of you. And so I we can't be everywhere at one time. And we all we all need to spend some time together. So
yeah, yeah. And I'm sure that the fact that they're so close in age, they're probably very close.
They are now as adults. Yeah. And and they were then too. Yeah. It's funny, even though they were that close, we still had to into Okay, yeah, the first two are a boy and girl. And they are just they were like, joined at the hip. And the younger two. Were the younger, you know, the little boys, the littles, which they didn't really love. And so we had to stop calling them the little boys. Because that's, you know, you're you're going into junior high. You don't want to be called a little little boys.
We did the same thing. Yeah, yeah. Let's talk about expectations. We sometimes go into our home life, we get married, we have certain expectations about what it's gonna look like and be like, did the day to day reality of that life match any expectations that you might have brought in?
Yes, I was really grateful. My my expectation was that I would get To stay home with the kids, and do the cooking and do the, you know, make cookies and all those things that I kind of dreamt of doing. The expectation that my house would magically be clean all the time. I don't know how come I had that expectation. But it was not real. I had to figure out how to make that a reality. But the family life was exactly what I what I wanted it to be when the kids were little. And then as they got older, you know, there, there's always challenges. And then we learn to kind of figure those things out together.
Yeah, you know, were there any particular challenges that you had to face as a homemaker that stand out to you?
This one was kind of surprising to me. And it led to something that was neat, but it was surprising to me, because I was a stay at home mom, I felt like, you know, I'm here all the time, I'm keeping the house, the kids come home by that time, you know, I my, my daughter's in third grade. And, and I'm making dinner one night, and she says to me, Mom, I really miss you. And I was thinking to myself, I mean, I'm here all the time. I'm at school with you. Sometimes we go to Bible study together. You know, like, That surprised me that she would say that. But she had three brothers. And we had a busy schedule. And there were you know, there were chores to do and there was cooking to do and they're all that kind of things. And there was just this general, like, yes, life is pleasant. But she needed some one on one time. And so we decided that we would get up early in the morning, a half an hour early before everybody else got up. And we would have tea together, which kind of harken back to my college years when tea was my way to connect with people. And so the boys got wind of it, and then they decided they wanted in. And so then I began rotating, you know, every day belonged to a kid. And we had one buffer day, you know, during the week, because we only had four kids nor five days. But I think that was something that was surprising to me. Yeah. as a as a homemaker who was home with my kids all the time, I thought that they would feel connected.
That's really interesting. So what did you do at your tea time?
Oh, that's a great question. We would, I would just ask them questions and listen, talk about school, talk about know what, what was hard for them, what was they were struggling with the good things, talked a lot about God, just who he is, and how he was there with them. I remember. Our middle son is hilarious. He's just he's hilarious. And he's a great storyteller. And when something funny would hit him, he would just blurt it out in school. And I'd go to the parent teacher conference, and I would hear something about him. Yeah. And it always was like, he's not trying to be disrespectful. And so I remember sitting on the floor, you know, in, in our fairly cleaned up house with a blanket over us, and we're drinking tea. And I just said, Stephen, you know what I you know, I talked to your teacher yesterday. And when something funny comes to your mind, I think you should just tell your jokes to Jesus. And he would come home and tell me like, Mom, this is what I did. You know, and it's still I mean, it's still a funny thing in our family today that he would tell your jokes to Jesus so you don't get in trouble in school. You know?
That's so great. I love that. Yeah. Okay. Oh, funny. All right. Alright, let's talk about hospitality. We show hospitality to the people that don't live here, obviously, when we invite them in, but we're also showing hospitality to one another all the time, because we're cultivating a sense of belonging in our homes. So how do you intentionally show hospitality to family members that that lived here when they were all here?
When so when everybody was growing up? Yeah, yeah. That's that's a fun question to answer. I think the biggest way is that we did little things for each other. Make somebody's bed and leave them a note or put a piece of chocolate on their pillow or invite them into something that you were doing and make them be a part of it. So cooking was not just mom's job, but a lot of times I would invite the kids to do it with me. Yeah. And and I think projects, Katie and I did a lot of wallpaper stripping. And you know, the boys helped me in the garden and different things like that, where it was We were together in it. And they felt like this was, this was their place to show them. And I also think, a part a part of it, I think you're going on to talk about how we offer it a hospitality and other people. But I felt like part of offering hospitality to my own children and to Scott was that their home could be a place where they could invite someone else in, right. And it felt safe for them to do that. And not like it had to be perfect. It just had to be warm and welcoming. Yeah. And silly little things. Like, I love to make homemade hot chocolate. And I like to make just plain old on the stove popcorn with real butter on it. Oh, yeah. So if we were, you know, doing something, like on a Friday night watching a movie or whatever, they'd go, mom, will you make the hot chocolate? Oh, and so it was like a requested thing. Because and they'd say nobody makes it like you do, which is absolutely not true. But you know, I mean, it's just cocoa powder and sugar and salt, but I and a lot of vanilla. But, but it was something that they knew that was kind of unique and special. And so those were the little things that I think made them feel homey in their home.
That's really special. Okay, so I'm going to ask because I'll get asked, Can you share that recipe with us? Is there an actual recipe, or are you one that you just kind of eyeball it,
it started out with an actual recipe like literally on the Hershey's cocoa box on the side where it just you take a quarter of a cup of water and you know some cocoa powder and you stir it in there and put the salt in. But over time, truthfully as the years have gone by, it's really now it's an eyeball thing and I I play with it like oh, I've got some Carmel macchiato. coffee creamer in the refrigerator. I wonder if that would be good. You know, it's like it's, it's like that.
So you use water, you don't use milk?
Well, that's just a tiny tiny little bit of to get the cocoa powder and the sugar, salt. Okay, then you add them then it's like milk and half and half cream or whatever I have that can make it really rich and yummy, then yes, that okay, and if I ever put anything like coffee creamer in it's like a splash for flavor. But really, it's just the it's the cream, like heavy cream or half and half that makes it really delicious.
Well, yeah, of course.
And then not be and then just whip up a little real whipping cream to make, you know, we've got like I get on the top. And if you have Hershey syrup, you may or may not drizzle that all over the top of it.
That sounds. That sounds like a real winner. Absolutely.
It's kind of like a food group into itself. That's great.
Well, you touched a little bit on hospitality to other people wanting your children to feel like they could bring anybody here and they would be welcome. Are there any other ways that your family showed hospitality to outsiders?
Well, we had two foreign exchange students. And wow, that was really special. We had one from South Korea. And she lived with us for a year. And then and then we had my turn and she became our daughter. She lived with us her senior year of high school. And at that point, I was in a string of we ended up with five high school graduations five years in a row. And so, but she just became a part of our family in a, in a forever kind of way. And so having having her, you know, come and live with us. We had somebody else come in and live with us once for about nine months, who just was in a place in life where they needed to do that. And um, and that was also a really special time. You know, he was didn't grow up in our home. But he was really special to us and and we learned a lot from him. And he learned a lot from us. And yeah, it's really cool. Yeah.
When you're now daughter came to stay with you. And she's from Vietnam. Hanoi, so how, I don't know if you can speak for her but what were some of the challenges that she faced because I'm sure home life here was very different from home life in Vietnam, you know, just the culture is so different, right? Are there cultural things that she had to sort of overcome or you guys had to overcome to make her feel welcome here? Like she was really a part of the family?
Yes, we we had to learn what was important to her even just simple things like things to eat. You know that I think, I think eating, sleeping, those are the things that make you feel really like those are things that are that are big, and at that point, she really wasn't a cook. She you know, she had people in her home in Vietnam who, who did cook and so so she didn't We learn how to do it. But she knew what she liked to eat. And so we kind of did research and we kind of figured things out. And I found it an Asian market and we would go there and, and find things that like, looked and felt like home to her. And then we figured out what to do with them. And she's an amazing cook. Now, I love it when she comes because she'll cook for us now. And she's a great cook. But she was, she was 15 when she came to the US. And then we had her her first year. And then we we got her when she was 16. So she was a senior in high school, but she was very young and just quickly became a part of us.
That's really cool. So would you, if you if someone out there is listening, and they're thinking about bringing in exchange students? What advice would you give them?
Oh, that's a good question. I would say just be open, I think that's the hardest part in the beginning is helping real conversations to happen. And there's the temptation for them to maybe go and stay up in their room and get on a zoom or FaceTime or whatever, with their, with their family at home. But just be incredibly intentional to have them at family meals, or when you go out and do something and she was going to school with with our youngest son at that point. And so they have the car ride every day. And so if those are just the daily things, and then being really, really open when their struggle like this is not working out in this one little area, like I need you to whatever and invite them into doing the home tours and all those things. And that opens the door to I think for them to be able to say this isn't working out for me in this area. Like I don't feel comfy here. And so, you know, we had those kind of conversations rather early and, and and it bore a lot of fruit, you know,
after great Yeah, yeah. Really cool. Well, thanks for sharing about that experience. That's really unique,
really sweet to us.
We will get back to Joyce's story in just a few minutes. Right now it's time for historical homemaker hints, the part of the podcast where we highlight some of the helpful and not so helpful hints doled out to homemakers throughout history. Today hints come from the American frugal housewife in 1833 homemakers guide by Mrs. Child. Here are two handy tips for Mrs. Child to tell if your eggs are bad. To prove whether they are good or bad, hold the large end of the egg to your tongue. If it feels warm, it is new, but if cold it is bad, in proportion to the heat or cold is the goodness of the egg. Another way to know is to put the egg in a pan of cold water. The fresher the egg The sooner it will fall to the bottom. If rotten it will swim. Now I've known this last tip for quite a while I remember it as dead eggs float like dead men float so does a dead or rotten egg. There you go. I'm not sure about the one where you touch the end to your tongue and it's hot or cold. Maybe that has to do with if you have chickens and you're literally bringing them right in from the chicken coop. I don't know. But I do know that the second tip works about dead eggs floating so you can use that one. Mrs. Child gives the following recipe for citrus infused brandy. Have a bottle full of brandy with as large a mouth as any bottle you have, into which cut your lemon and orange peel when they are fresh and sweet. This brandy gives a delicious flavor to all sorts of pies, puddings and cakes. Right? I'm sure it was just for baking purposes that she was making this brandy. And finally Mrs. child would never waste money on a trip to the spa when she can DIY her sauna at home. People in general think they must go abroad for vapor baths. But a very simple one can be made at home. Place strong sticks across a tub of water at the boiling point and sit upon them entirely enveloped in a blanket feet and all okay are you getting this ridiculous mental picture. The steam from the water will be a vapor bath. Some people put herbs into the water. Steam baths are excellent for severe colds and for some disorders of the bowels. They should not be taken without the advice of an experienced nurse or physician. And great care should be taken not to renew the cold after it would be doubly dangerous. I love that she goes to the trouble of giving us a disclaimer about checking with our doctors first and then she tells us we shouldn't catch a cold right after doing our DIY sauna. I don't know how you're supposed to control that. But at the same time she's telling us to put boiling water in the bathtub. lay some strips of wood on top and sit over it. Hmm. I don't know, Mrs. Child. Well, that's it for today's historical homemaker hints. As always, please remember this segment is for entertainment purposes only. And I leave it to you, the listener to determine the safety and soundness of this advice. Now back to Joyce's story.
Alright, let's talk a little bit about the seasons of homemaking. Okay, so how would you say that your role as a homemaker has changed over time?
So when the kids were little, or even when we were very first married, you know, it was Scott and I were both working when we first got married, right. And so we, we literally just shared everything we shared the cooking, we shared, the cleaning was, and then, you know, the next season was I was home, and he was working. And he had multiple things he was doing, because when I stepped out of teaching, we lost more than half our income. And then we had all these kids. Yeah. And so he was just a trooper, and you know, he was working at a bank, and he was in the Marine in the Marine Corps reserves. And he had a lawn care business. And so he was doing all the things, to make it so that I could stay home. And I was so proud of him. And I wanted our home to be a place that he felt like he could come at the end of this hard day. But also, I was working really hard during the day. And all young moms do you know, I see them now I my daughters, I've watched them with their kids, and they're working really hard. But I think just the then the swirl happened, you know, when the kids are little, your schedule kind of drives family life Exactly. But when they get a little bit older, their schedule drives family life, and you, you put yours in between the hours. And so we had to work really hard to even as a husband and wife, I think, to maintain that. You know, we used to have in house date nights after the kids would go to bed. And so I would try to make our home like a really nice and cozy place for us to do something special, even if it was just at home. And so and then as, as the kids went off to college, when the last one left for college, I remember we dropped him off, and we walked in the house. And I kind of I mean, I already let three kids go, I didn't see this coming. The first two went 12 hours from home. He was only two hours away. And so it felt like I would be fine. I had done this right except wrong. And I walked in the door and I looked at our big huge kitchen table. And knowing that it was going to be just the two of us eating at it. And I thought, I don't like to see that table like that. And so I thought I have two choices. I can be just a hot mess over this. Or I can do something different. And so I took the leaf out of the table and his Christian look smaller. And I said to work like I just thought, well, it's August and it's hot and it's not really fall but I need to do something. So I went and got all my fall decorations out. Yeah, they decorated and I thought you know, it'll just be like, I'm turning a corner here. I'm just making a decision. And like all good children do then we weren't really empty nesters very long we we had post college kids come home and stay with us, which was great. Yeah. But for that year, we were experiencing something different. And then marrying them off. That was another step because our daughter came in she did she taught she taught her first year after college and she lived with us. And we were called the roomies unless she she was done working, you know, after school. So when we would get home, she had like dinner ready for us. Wow. Oh, that's family, I highly recommend that. And of the people in the family who's naturally organized, it's my daughter, Katie. She's terrific at it. And so, you know, she, she could have run the whole thing single handedly and was wonderful at it. So when she left and moved to Ohio from Indiana, that was another moment of really, truly having to let go. That kind of surprised me. I thought I like she went to college. 12 hours from home, I will be fine. But I was letting go in a new way and handing her over to Eric, which was the most joyous thing I've ever done. But yeah, I was still really hard.
And then moving here was another big step. Because we had lived in that house for 20 years. And when we moved to Texas. Scott was actually still in Indiana, closing up shop and I needed to be here to start my new job. You know, he was he was moving so I could do this work that God had called me to do. And he saw it as an us thing. And so part of what I needed to do was get us a home and I had never bought a house by myself. So I went around with a realtor and I, I kept walking into houses that I thought, I feel a little bit like I'm in prison in here, I don't, you know, it was just just the architecture was different. And that, you know, not a lot of big tall trees and lush green grass and open wide open spaces, like we had in Indiana. It's just a lot different here. And and then we walked into this house, and I thought, this is it. I'm home. And I knew that I was home. And I was really anxious to get him here. And you know, we closed on the house, and we moved in. And we worked on unpacking boxes one at a time until we got them all done, because we were both working. But I feel like really home here. And that's great. Yeah.
Sounds great that you had the opportunity to do that. And that you were brave enough to do that by yourself. I mean, I guess you had to you really didn't have a choice. But yeah, I know what you mean, it's the architecture here is different, probably than what you were used to in Indiana, and in other parts of the country. There's sort of a hill country look right.
And I love it now that I'm comfy with it.
I know. But it would have been very foreign to you was coming from the land of lots of arts and crafts style architecture, and you know, just very traditional style. Very different.
Yeah. So I love like the arches, and, you know, the brick and all that. I love that. So, yeah. All right.
Well, I'm glad you found a place to be at home. How are you still challenging yourself to grow as a homemaker where you are right now in your journey?
You know, it's funny at my mother in law, my mother, my mother was not willing to change things up ever. Like her couch sat in the same place for literally 42 years in her living room. And, and her pictures on the wall were the pictures on the wall and all of that. My mother in law about every six weeks changed her house, I'm not exaggerating, like Wow, she literally would like switch things up. She was like one who would go to a, an estate sale or a garage sale, and she'd find new little doodads, and she sold, you know, home interiors for years. And all back in the day, you know, that was the thing. And so she was one who just liked to, to change things up. Yeah. And she would talk to me about decorating and you know how to put things together. So it would make a little grouping or whatever. Yeah, and I'm not super great at that. But that is a place where I have intentionally been watching, especially even since I've come to Texas, as I've gone into the homes of my friends who I work with, and I have just experienced that they've got a beautiful, just a piece of art. And, and I've really started paying attention to that. So I've been looking at art pieces and things that I never really did before. But I I feel like in this stage of my life, like that's a place I want to grow is learning how to do that.
Yeah. More the aesthetic side of your environment. Because I think you you've got the whole emotional and relational side down. There's love in these walls and you can tell but I know what you're saying about wanting to sort of stretch yourself in a new area and maybe it's that for you. It's that aesthetic side. Yeah, your house is lovely. You have lovely things and they're all tied to memories. As we were going through before we started recording and you were telling me all these stories.. that's my favorite kind of decor. Is the decor that it means something like this came from my friend so and so who brought this back from her trip to wherever or all the pieces in your china cabinet that came from your kids' mission trips. Yeah. Which is amazing that they thought to bring that back for you. And I love that you've used it to decorate in your home. That's really special.
Thank you. Thank you.
How are you intentionally passing on your knowledge as a homemaker, as a wife, as a mom as a whatever fill in the blank to the women coming behind you?
Primarily the women coming behind me right now are my daughter and my, my daughter, my daughter who's I still can only out call her my daughter and my my three daughters in law. And the truth is, I share my experiences pretty openly with them. The places where I've bumped my nose against the wall or the things that went really well. And my son in law works at a place where they talk about reverse mentoring. And I have, I have discovered that my daughters are all amazing at decorating. I mean, they Wow, really, some of them have been asked, Hey, will you do the decor at this wedding? Or will you come and they're just like, naturally, really good at it. And they have all very different styles. None of them are exactly like the others. But I feel like part of part of passing on. What I have learned is, is then seeking what they are learning. And it's kind of a neat thing that, you know, I learned from them, and they learn from me. So that's the concept of reverse mentoring is that they train me to train. The old person is getting trained by the young person. But in the process of doing that, it brings up a really neat conversation. And then, and then I can pass on the things that that I have learned, as a mom, as a wife, as a friend or sister.
Yeah, I love that so much. I've never heard that term before reverse mentoring. Yeah, but I mean, that's what we're trying to do with this project is just encourage women, we need each other, you know, and, and we want people to listen to the show and be encouraged by the stories of the women on the show. But we also want them to go into their neighborhood, their community, their church, and find those women that they can connect with and mentor or do reverse mentoring. Yeah, because we have so much to learn from one another. And it doesn't matter what age you are.
We really do and I think in the process of opening up and saying, I've got still more to learn which I loved your question like, in this stage of your life, what are you trying to learn? Because I feel like in part of that, it really opens the door for you know, for for us to help each other and for me to share the things that I've learned some by intentional learning and some by the school of hard knocks Yes, you know,
Alright, we're going to talk about home making tasks and this section is a rapid fire quick answer. Okay. All right. You don't have to just give me a yes or no or a short answer. You can tell me a story if you want to, okay? But feel free to elaborate or not.
Okay. All right.
All right. One homemaking task that you love
cooking. It's, it's, I think it's an extravaganza, it's just fun to me, I like to bake and I like to cook. I like to cook because you can just play. Like I imagined that this would taste good with this. And sometimes I play a game with myself. If I you know, don't have a pantry full of things that I have planned for a recipe or something. I'll just say, Okay, I like what can we make with this. And I just think about the fun. Cooking is also super fun to me. Because when we go on vacation with our kids now they grew up experimenting in the kitchen. And so now the kids each will take you know, the each couple will take a night or a day, and they're in charge of whatever we have. And it's always something better than whatever I would make. It's so much fun. So cooking is something I love and and baking too.
Awesome. Do you have a favorite resource that you go to for recipes or inspiration?
Well, I have learned to use the internet now. I yes, I do that a lot. I have a really old cookbook that I got. Gosh, I think it was the early 90s. It's called nut bread and nostalgia. And it It came from like the junior league in South Bend, Indiana.
Those are the best cookbooks, those Junior League cookbooks.
I love that thing. It's got really old pictures in it. And then like little you know, historical when you were having this kind of gathering you would do blah blah blah you know a little explaination, and then, you know Bev's creamy chocolate squares might be the best thing I've ever made. It's like this multi layer you know, like gooey, gooey chocolate brownie kind of thing on the bottom and then a creamy center with like a ganache chocolate on top. It's ridiculous. It's just so you don't make it all the time. No, but when you do you won't eat the whole pan.
So fun. I love Junior League cookbooks Yeah. All right, how about a task that you hate?
Oh gosh. A task I hate I really think straightening is my worst thing straightening just making sure the clutter is put away okay. I may or may not have called it debris. When the kids are going up. I'm like, the bomb has gone off and now we have to clean up the debris. So yeah, that's probably my my least favorite because I actually liked doing things like clean a bathroom, because it sparkles when you're done and I actually really liked that the mirror is all clean and you know, it's just putting away toys or papers or whatever.
But you're gonna have to do this again in probably 20 minutes. Yeah. I'm in the empty nest brain, actually. But yes, when you have four children, or years apart, yeah, you're pretty much cleaning up all the time. Alright, how about a task that you grew to love?
laundry? I would have said laundry was my most hated task when the kids were little. And I discovered when we moved into this house, because the other two houses I've lived in my laundry was in the basement, and I have a first floor laundry and it's like, fabulous. It's light, and it's above ground. And it's finite, and I can actually accomplish it. And I realized I didn't actually hate laundry. I just hated going into a cold dark basement. So there you go.
That makes total sense. What about your worst homemaking fail?
Oh, gosh, I think that happened when I was a little girl actually, oh, my mother was, like I said, very, very willing to let us just do things in the kitchen. And we have this very beloved family cookie recipe called Dunkin platters. And you make these giant, they're giant cookies. And so it's like a, it's like a quadruple batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. Okay, so a double batch would be like a quadruple batch. And why would you ever make less than a double batch? Right? So. So I'm talking like, two pounds of butter. And wow. So this is like it was giant. And somehow, I decided that the recipe didn't call for teaspoons of baking soda. I put a half a cup of baking soda in Oh my God. And I did. Of course, the dry ingredients are the last thing you put in before you put in all this, like cereal and Grape Nuts and all this stuff. And I I made the first taste and I was like, I don't know how I'm going to tell my mother this. Like, I don't know how I'm going to tell her because this is probably you know, I was thinking my head as a little probably nine or 10 year old girl. Like, that's a lot of money right there. Yes. And I called her over and she was a champion. She was a hero. She said, Well, I guess we're just gonna have to throw this away and start all over, aren't we? Oh my goodness. And it was one of those big Tupperware fix and mix bowls like giant like yeah, full. Oh, my God cookie dough. And she just quietly dumped it in the trash. And she I don't know how she had all those ingredients still in the house, too. But she had five kids. So maybe that's why. But she brought a