Some friends are naturally welcoming, naturally a bit crazy. That’s my friend Tanya Herrold. I think she hesitated a bit when I asked her to write a few paragraphs for this series on making our homes peaceful dwelling places because she doesn’t see herself as a writer, but I knew she would have wisdom to share. Take a minute and see if this helps…

Tanya’s daughter, Ayanna, enjoying dinner.

Family time is very important to us so that is where we focus. When we eat dinner – no matter where are – we do not use electronic devices or allow other distractions. This means we do not answer cell phones, we don’t use iPods, televisions or e-readers. We focus on each other. It is our 30 minutes of peace, which we savor often, more than the food. In fact, Ayanna, our daughter, will be the first to scold you for using these devices, as she did me when I took the picture of her and my mom.

Ayanna swims six days a week – you can imagine that creates chaos, especially when the team was searching for a permanent pool and we were driving all over. We printed the calendar so everyone knew where we had to go and what time we needed to be there. This helped the peace along with me being in charge of bringing the drinks and snacks. I have made the choice to use the drive time to and from swimming as some peaceful family time as well. I turn down K Love radio and ask Ayanna not to listen to her iPod. We chat about everything – boys, family, girl stuff and of course, we solve the problems of the world all within the confines of our vehicle.

We work really hard at planning and organization too. These help but, the organization doesn’t always last and some times, you just can’t plan! We have made the choice to capture each moment we can – after all Ayanna is closer to leaving home than she is a baby and Billy and I, well, we will be together forever!

I think one thing that will help you remain peaceful, which will help the whole house, is to not be too hard on yourself. Creating a peaceful dwelling is a constant battle as we balance work, kids, spouses, animals, family and friends. Phew – that is a lot and there is more! Let things go and give yourself credit for all you do! Pray before you begin each day and be at peace with yourself and who you are in Christ.

Tanya got in a little bit of trouble for pulling out her cell phone to take pictures at dinner. She did it for a good cause, though — to show you her daughter and her mother!

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