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Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  265 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Keeping House is a wide-ranging and witty exploration of the spiritual gifts that are gained when we take the time to care for hearth and home. With a fresh perspective, mother, wife, and teacher Margaret Kim Peterson examines the activities and attitudes of keeping house and making a home. Debunking the commonly held notion that keeping house is a waste of time or at best ...more
Hardcover, 175 pages
Published April 9th 2007 by Jossey-Bass (first published March 28th 2007)
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Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: misc-non-fiction
Wonderful surprise! In my experience, books like this tend to be both legalistic and sentimental, addressed solely to women who are assumed to be wives and mothers who wouldn't (or shouldn't!) dream of doing any meaningful work other than taking care of their families. I have zero tolerance for such books but someone gave this to me, so I thought I'd give it a chance. I'm so glad I did.

Peterson describes the concept of "home" in ontological terms and explores our universal longing for a home -
Jessica Snell
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I liked it very much, and thought I'd share a bit from it.

Her thesis is that keeping people clothed and fed is something that Jesus endorsed as a worthwhile activity (she quotes the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25), and so it is an honorable activity that can be engaged in for the love of Christ. She says,

"There is undoubtedly more to the merciful service that Jesus describes in Matthew 25 than caring for the daily needs of the members of our own households. Housework is a begi
Jennifer McMaster
Beautiful, rich allegorical writing and I found this book so encouraging in its emphasis on finding joy in the repeat, every day, mundane tasks of life as we care for our homes, for those we love and live with, and for those we bring into our homes as guests. Each chapter was filled with gems that influence one's perception of the importance and necessity and even beauty of serving and providing for the basic needs that every human being has. The chapter on Food was especially delightful. ...more
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kim Shaver
Shelves: non-fiction
If you love a book with an openhanded measure of perspective (as I do) this book will resonate. It's a reminder that we're human creatures. We live in dwellings, we take nourishment from food, we rest, and we understand the order provided by a family unit. It's a reminder of the pleasure and contentment we find when these needs are met with predictability. And so the work it takes to meet these needs, even if the benefit of the work disappears within the day (i.e. a meal prepared and then eaten) ...more
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"Housework is all about feeding and clothing and sheltering people who, in the absence of that daily work, would otherwise be hungry and ill-clad and ill-housed."

I love this book! I think after years of being home with children and doing the often tedious daily tasks, it reminded me what important work this is. It also encouraged this first born female in "good enough" with regards to the standard of housework.

I loved her thoughts on hospitality.

A timely read for me.
Sep 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Delightful, encouraging book for a Christian homemaker. Neither patronizing nor dismissive, this gentle book encourages the reader to look at the day to day mundanities with half an eye to eternity. This is not another 'Shut up & make your husband a sammich' book. ...more
May 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Really dry. I appreciate her take on Christian homemaking i.e. not worrying so much about how great your house looks, but rather focusing on creating a haven, hospitality and keep things simple.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's a symptom of the problem Peterson is writing about that I felt a little weird telling people I was reading this book or having someone see the cover. There's something so very June Cleaver about the expression "keeping house." And something so very undesirable about being associated with June Cleaver.

But Peterson sets the bar simultaneously higher - making caring for your home an act of spiritual service - and lower - freeing you from the picture-perfect, unrealistic ideal on display in eve
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who find keeping the home mundane, those who struggle with their attitude about homekeeping.
Shelves: homekeeping
Margaret Kim Peterson takes a look at the seemingly mundane tasks of cleaning and hospitality and sheds a new light on them. She shows how the tasks of maintaining one's home is is a spiritual discipline, how it relates to scripture and that what we do for the least of these is doing it unto the Lord, whether that is scrubbing toilets, folding and putting away vast amounts of laundry and washing endless dishes. She helped to take the drudgery out of the daily work and replace it with a spirit of ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book is a rather exhaustive look at house keeping. My take is that the author is attempting to get readers to look at tending house as an important, spiritually nourishing, poetic task. While I think it is important to not take the work of cleaning, preparing meals, and washing up for granted, I do think the association Peterson makes between these tasks and Biblical ideals to be a bit inflated. A pleasant read if you love minutia!
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
A theology of housekeeping? Seems an unlikely topic to be interesting, but this book was simply fantastic in its exegesis and treatment of the seemingly mundane tasks of life - keeping a house, clothing and feeding yourself and others - to reveal their seminal importance in life and matters of faith. Great read, and I'd read it a second time. ...more
Chelsey Hancock
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the first part of this book - it helped me find joy in everyday tasks and taking care of our home. But towards the end she started getting a little preachy and pretentious so I had to stop. So I'd recommend to read the first few chapters and then stop when she starts talking about specific home tasks and things like that. ...more
Jul 05, 2013 rated it liked it
preface : "Of course housework is about making a home, but a Christian home, properly understood, is never just for one's own family. A Christian home overflows its boundaries; it is an outpost of the kingdom of God, where the hungry are fed and the naked are clothed and there is room enough for everyone." ...more
brooke sellers
Sep 08, 2007 marked it as to-read
My friend Joy recommended this one. She said it's about finding the sacred in the ordinariness of keeping house. But not in a Martha Stewart way. She thought I would like it and she is probable right. ...more
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Delightful and insightful--a fabulous way to look at home and the keeping of it. A must read for everyone, who lives in a dwelling alone or with others, who loves to keep house, or who has a love-hate relationship with keeping house.
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I was initially a bit dubious about picking up this book, worrying it would be preachy and anti-feminist. But a friend of mine spoke highly of it, and I decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did. I appreciated the focus on mindfulness, gratitude, and hospitality.

May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I will read again and again as time passes. It's not a quick read, necessarily, but it's a solid, interesting take on "home-making". It's one I feel like I could learn something new from each time I read it. I really, really enjoyed it. Maybe something for a book club?? ...more
Jul 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007
i didn't want to like this book- but i actually did.

quick read. the author's premise is the holiness of housework. the author used the Word and tied it to different aspects of homemaking.
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful, spiritual look at house work. Helps me find the zen in things like dishwashing, laundry, and grocery shopping. A welcome perspective on the mundane, told from a Christian perspective.
Summer Andresakis
Oct 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
This is not a book on how to keep house. It has no ideas, tips, guides or instruction. This is a book about justifying biblically why you should keep House. If you are reading the book you probably don’t need justification, biblically or otherwise, on why you should keep House.

The author spends the whole of the book using bible passages to justify the various aspects of keeping house or to justify in her opinion of how far a Christian (which I am not, by the way) should go in doing so. “If you
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was simply a great read. As the title suggests, it was not so much about HOW to keep house but instead a philosophical look at WHY. I couldn't put it down. Read it if you need biblical encouragement to joyfully stay- the- course, serving the Lord Jesus through your litany of "Keeping House". ...more
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A refreshing look at the philosophy behind housekeeping for people in any demographic, not just people who list "homemaker" as their profession. I appreciated that it challenged me! ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a great resource for a high school student or someone needing to discover or re-discover the joys and the reality of keeping house.
Kelsey John
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kelsey by: Leanne W
Great thoughts on what a home should be (pages 27-29):
1. An Inn - A place where a traveller can go for simple accommodations and safety.
2. A Sanctuary - A place set apart for relationship.
3. A City - An active place with lots of people, not isolated.
4. A Castle - A place of rich, ceremonious beauty. This can involve beauty beyond necessity, but it can also just mean a humble place with structure and attention to detail.

When I read pages 77-81, I gained a better appreciation for the value and sat
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith
This book provided comforting reassurance that housework matters. It's a good investment of my time. Providing for my family's basic needs, making my home a sanctuary and a refuge is important and valuable. ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I think a good representative quote of the message of this book is this: “…perhaps the sacred and the mundane are not so separate after all…perhaps they touch each other at more points than we sometimes imagine” (p. 141). Peterson argues that the act of keeping house is far from insignificant. She points out that many of our daily tasks are used in the Bible to represent spiritually significant events (i.e., the idea of a home being prepared in heaven for us, the Father providing our daily bread ...more
Carla H.
Jul 26, 2014 rated it liked it
In reading this book as part of a study on the spiritual discipline of 'practicing the presence of God', I found this book thought provoking. I appreciated some of her concepts on how our daily domestic lives for a sort of spiritual litany with their own ebb and flow. Most of the time she maintained that individuals and households need to form their own practices and processes within a broad framework. Every now and then, though, she would get kind of legalistic; for example,she asserted that it ...more
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
The big ideas of this book were enlightening and gave me opportunity to reflect on new ways to think about keeping house. At times, the writing is rather boring, (e.g., how to sort laundry) so I skimmed those paragraphs. The idea that housework is similar to the work that God does was intriguing to me. Much of God's work is about feeding, clothing, and cleaning up after others...again and again. Sounds familiar. I appreciated the author's insights. This isn't a genre that I am familiar with, but ...more
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
What a great perspective on "housework" (a relatively new word, a telling fact that I learned from this book). The author contrasts our culture's attitudes toward the work of creating a home with its practical realities and compares it to the greater reality of our heavenly home. Thoughtful, lovely, and ultimately very encouraging. Terrific reassurance that the everyday acts of feeding, clothing, and sheltering people are meaningful and important. I need to reread this book at least once a year! ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
I thought this book was an excellent primer on the ways that keeping house intersect with our Biblical call to provide for the hungry, clothe the needy, and generally live in community with others. The author takes a very Biblically-informed approach without becoming preachy, and there is also a good bit of practical advice and ruminations. I also liked that the author does not imply that women, particularly, or only full-time homemakers should engage in "keeping house," but that it is a task me ...more
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Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
76 likes · 11 comments
“A household has to be tended if it is to flourish and grow. Housework is never 'done' in the same sense that gardening is never done or that God's providential involvement in the world is never done. Housework and gardening and God's providence itself are exercises not in futility but in faithfulness - faithfulness to the work itself, to the people whose needs that work serves, and to the God whose own faithfulness invites our faithful response.” 5 likes
“Human beings, who were created to live in harmony with each other, the earth, and God, now find themselves distanced from or at odds with their fellow humans, their physical surroundings, and their Lord. Redemption, then, consists in healing these breaches and restoring right relationships among all of these parties.
The things we eat play a part in this. The contemporary American diet is too often a case study in alienation, consisting as it does of foods that come from all over the world and are available all of the time... just as global communication technologies erode the time people spend talking in person to people they actually know, so the constant availability of foods from all over the world erodes the connection people have to their own local environment and the foods associated with it.”
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