I want my house to be crazy clean so clean it could be in a magazine. I dream that my home looks like a catalog of antiques and comfort, the kind that makes you want to curl up and read a book. I want perfectly thrown “throw blankets” casually hanging on the back of my favorite chair. I want to have candles lit during the day and sunlight dancing across my floor. There should under no circumstances be a mess in my kitchen except that one beautifully placed coffee mug representing a day starting off correctly. Vacuum lines in the carpet make my heart soar, and a freshly made bed sings of comfort to my soul.

Sadly my reality is piles of wolf hair and dust bunnies scattering across the floor when I turn on my ceiling fan.

I have two beautiful, large wolf husky mixed puppies. They leave Yorkie sized piles of hair in every corner of my home. I vacuum, and I sweep the floors, but by the end of the day, there is more hair.

There is one pile of laundry that I work on the most often. That collection belongs to my 6’6 lumberjack of a husband. Because he is the only one required to leave the house and show up at work in clothing that is clean, so his laundry gets done first. A couple of weeks ago I thought I was all caught up. The house was clean and there was no laundry in sight. I was ready to have a sweet talk with those dust bunnies to tell them to get out. Dusting is my favorite chore to do. When I was young, we would spend Saturdays cleaning. Once my mom was satisfied with the progress of the house, she would hand us dust rags, aka old cloth diapers, and it meant we were almost done for the day. Dusting became the universal signal that we could soon go out to play. Even still I save it for last, I guess to reward myself for all the work I have finished and to signal my nostalgic brain that life is good and the cleaning is almost over. As I started to get my dusting tools out my children brought out their laundry. Each of them with their basket of dirty clothes. Apparently, it had been three years since any of them did their laundry. “This will not do,” I told them. I’m ready to dust and be done.

This is real life. I am sitting at my desk with laundry on my bed, children doing school, dogs walking around leaving their hair on the floor and the dryer is going. It isn’t what I dream of when I think of how I want my home to be, but there is a level of comfort in knowing that my children are close and learning. The tossing of laundry in the dryer is like background music, and the jingle of the dog’s collar makes me feel safe.

If you choose to stop by I will most likely be in oversized sweatpants and no bra or makeup. There will be full sized blankets all over the couch because my children bring their beds with them when the wake up each morning. There will most likely be dishes in my sink and down the counter because I can’t run the dishwasher and heater at the same time or it flips the breaker. There will be dog hair on my floor, and there will be dust bunnies.

There is also a large comfy couch I will invite you to sit on. There is a movie closet that is alphabetized, and there are beautiful antiques everywhere. We have a big, beautiful dining room table to eat all of my husband’s delicious culinary experiments at together, and although you will leave covered in dog hair, my puppies will love you as long as you are kind.

You could say that my preference on how clean I want my house to be has not changed, but my willingness to see past what I don’t like, and to remember what I am building has. Do I want to sit here at my desk in a clean space with candles and music? Yes. Will the laundry and the dog hair keep me from writing? Nope. Is there a perfectly thrown blanket waiting for me to sit down and snuggle with my kids? No, there is school work and snacks and full sized comforters everywhere. Will this keep my children from learning and enjoying their day? Not a chance.

I may have mountains of laundry, but that means we have clothes.
I may have dishes to wash, but that means we eat yummy food.
I may even have dog hair in the corners of the room, but I have two great dogs that make me feel safer at night when my husband is at work.

I am on a journey this year to create joy. To change my perspective when the negative comes out to ruin my day, and to find the positives that I know are there if I just take the time to see past the dog hair and the dust bunnies.

May you find a moment to see past the negative that is often so close and look for the joy you know is right there.