The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Finding the sacred in everyday life
A peaceful house doesn’t have to be quiet or perfect
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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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Oct. 22, 2012 12:01 a.m.

My friend Linda Gordon has one of those homes where you always feel welcome. Always. It’s not about the paint color or keeping up with the latest Pinterest craze — it’s about her whole family’s attitude. That’s why I knew I wanted her to share her wisdom on creating a peaceful home. (And if her name sounds familiar to you, I’ve written about her journey of faith in the past.) I always learn from her, and I think you will, too…
When I told my husband I had been asked to write about our peaceful house, he smiled the knowing smile of the one who has shared my house for almost 26 years.  He then said ” Yeah, it is pretty peaceful.”
I am a law abiding, first born so I find rules both necessary and comforting.
We picked up our first set of house rules at a craft fair.  The list of 10 if/ then statements includes if you wear it … hang it up, if you spill it … wipe it up, if you open it… close it,  if you  empty it…  fill it,  if it rings….answer it.   It would be a great house if all of these occurred, but to me the last 2 are the most important:  if it howls … feed it, and if it cries… love it.
Are there really rules for a peaceful house?  I can’t say, but here are some thoughts I had about ours.
A peaceful house does not have to be a quiet place. The peace that comes from a rowdy, joke filled dinner conversation can linger for days.  Laughing so hard you cannot even eat, can be more filling than any food.
A peaceful house is welcoming. There is always room for one more; even if it means you have to put pillows on the floor because the chairs are full.  It also means stretching dinner to fill a plate for everyone who is there, including the ones you were not expecting.
A peaceful house is kind to all who enter it.  Greet people by name, run to welcome them or at least stop what you are doing to look at them, ask about their day, expect them to answer you in complete sentences, and make adjustments in your surroundings so you can hear the answer.
A peaceful house honors the life that enters it.  Each person is someone of value that must be learned from and about.  Some days it takes real effort to appreciate someone you live with; but if you keep going with the hard conversations instead of allowing doors to slam, the atmosphere of the house is different.  A peaceful house has to hear the voices of all who live inside it.
A peaceful house must be a haven for every person who lives in it. For this to be true, you may need to change a little bit about yourself so all can feel comfortable there. When you know who you live with, you learn what they value.   Everyone knows the feeling of walking into the house to find the thing they hate the most waiting for them.  We also know that on the other side; if we are proactive, we can prevent that situation for someone else.  If we practice behaviors that lead to our values; then maybe the house can indeed be peaceful.

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