Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Emotional House

The Emotional House by Kathryn L. Robyn and Dawn Ritchie
Published by New Harbinger Publications

I picked this book for two reasons: the title intrigued me and the picture on the cover made me feel very relaxed. With a very different cover, the title could suggest a very unhappy habitat. However, the calm colors and the picture of the woman reading made me have hope that this book might be the answer to making our home a relaxing haven.

One thing that I have realized after reading this book is that our home is not particularly good for us in terms of our emotions. Sure, it is a place to eat, sleep and do chores but it isn't exactly a haven or a place that we really want to come home to. I have learned a lot by reading this book. The difficult part will be to put it all in place.

My Impressions

I go back and forth about whether I like this book. It is actually a lot of work to read because you are creating a notebook that will contain a journal, a room-by-room section (with measurements, needs, plans, etc.) and other sections for impressions, ideas, emotional responses and step-by-step plans. So, you can't just race through the text to get to the end which is my normal way to approach a book.

In addition, it will cost quite a bit to follow this book's instructions. Redesigning and redecorating are both costly projects. Although there is no time frame suggested for changing your house to reflect who you are, there is a built-in pressure to get your home "right" so that you can be emotionally balanced. Who wouldn't want to get themselves straight as soon as possible?

However, the book did make me realize that I use many rooms in my house for purposes other than what they are made for and then under utilize other rooms in my home. For example, the living room is should be for entertaining. Yet, in our home, our living room is our reading/computer/and devotional space. The kitchen should be for cooking and eating. But it becomes a home office on a daily basis (that is where I am writing now). We are on track in the bedroom as we don't have a television there (that should be for sleeping and intimacy only). However, we need help with our underused guest bedroom -- it has become a storage space. 

The book also reminded me of both the power of color in a room (it has a handy section that explains how colors can make you feel) and the objects in each space of a home (our stuff should make us feel good). Our home is in sad need of color and I know that is one rather inexpensive way to make a home be more appealing. Also, I am now aware of the stuff we have set about each room. I should only display what we like or what has happy memories and associations for us. Just because someone gave it to us as a wedding gift is no reason to continue to display it. That is also a cheap way to make a positive change!

What this says about my Christian faith

At one time in my life, I had plans to change a closet into a very tiny prayer space. It never materialized. Reading this book made me think again how important it is for me to have a space for time with God - a space in my home that is just for talking with God, reading devotionals and scripture, and listening to that small, still voice.

The most helpful part of the book for this was the five year personal planning guide. In this guide, I was to look at one area of my life, such as spiritual, and make some priorities or goals for each of the next five years. For spirituality, my final goal in five years was to be in a good spiritual "place." The years leading up to this had such goals as regular fasting, getting a spiritual guide, and going on yearly spiritual retreats.

Also important is the idea of the home as a haven: this includes a haven from forces of evil. Blessing a home, anointing rooms in a house or having a service to bless the occupants seems like a necessary part of being a Christian. However, most Christians don't think about this. Nor do we seem to realize how vulnerable we become when our homes are not places of peace. Surely peace in the home is important as even Jesus instructs the disciples on their way to spread the gospel to let God's peace descend on each home they visit.

I had a really hard time writing this blog and now I am wondering if it has something to do with the fact that my home is not a place of peace. It is hard to see the positive parts of an emotional house when your home is all full of negative energies. Three weeks after finishing this book, I don't think I will be doing a great renovation. However, I do think I will be trying to create a prayerful space and also spend some time in blessing my home.

Peace be to your house!



  1. Definitely like the "new look" you've created a new space! Yes, it helps to have a place that you use for listening and talking to God....I like the fact that I can hear the birds from my space....

  2. One small step at a time! They all count.