Home Brings Us To Our Senses

To me, one of the most important jobs about being a mother and wife is the power we have to help form bonds between the members of our family.

Not only does our attitude toward our job matter immensely (How do we view our role?), but to the extent that we are deliberate about making a home, we have tremendous influence over this generation growing up under us.

Last night the smells rolling out of the oven were particularly tantalizing. It wasn’t a grand meal–just three dishes, but the aromas hovered invitingly over the kitchen.

I thought about how strongly our sense of smell is tied to experience–you know how it works. Years later, a familiar smell can bring memories surprisingly real back to you.

And I wondered if I realize how privileged I am–we all are–to use these senses to build stronger family ties? Are they just little things, or do the senses of home play a bigger role than we think? When combined with repetition, the senses can really have a powerful effect on the feeling of security and familiarity, a very important part of a child’s life.

Can I appeal to their sights by looking to make our home more inviting, more beautiful? Do they see Mom and Dad hugging, smiling, playing together?

Does the taste of meals remind them of someone who took the time to cook their favorites? An occasional splurge of hot chocolate or apple cider? (Growing up, we always had “Chocolate and Biscuit” for breakfast on Christmas morning. This continues to be a favorite tradition, and now we all gather around my parents’ table–3 generations, enjoying a simple and powerful memory-tying experience.)

Does home remind them of yummy smells from the oven each day? Will they remember how Mom smelled as they sat on my lap to read?

Is touching an integral part of their lives? A soft brush on the cheek as I whisper to them how much they are loved? A pat on the back when I walk by, a squeezed hand that communicates my appreciation?

What do they hear? Music? Singing? Laughter? Scripture? Affirming tones? Their name?

“The body is the soul’s prison unless the five senses are fully developed and open. The senses are the windows of the soul.” William Blake

Tying the heart strings…it just makes sense.

5 thoughts on “Home Brings Us To Our Senses

  1. I thought of this just the other day as I baked a berry cobbler for a special after dinner treat. I have recently had another newborn and it has been especially difficult for me to get back into the routine of meal planning, shopping, and cooking. As I prepared one of the first full, from scratch meals I have cooked in months, I started to tear up thinking of the blessing of cooking meals for my family. So many of my childhood memories are tied to food. The godly women of my upbringing are inextricably tied to the memories of the warm, nourishing food they cooked for me. I pray that I can create memories just like these for my children as they grow up. I think you are right, Kelly. God created us with five senses and I am sure He would have us engage them all when ministering to our husbands and children!


  2. I remember smells from my childhood and they do bring back vivid memories, many pleasant, some unpleasant.

    My first memory of a pleasant time in church and my first introduction to Jesus Christ at 4 yrs. old when I smell crayons.
    The smell of a smoke from a wood fire brings back warm memories of Fall and Christmas with my loving family and friends. Also fun in the Summer on camping vacations.

    After my first child was born my sense of smell became suddenly stronger. I started baking, cooking and doing crafts that my children would experience and remember when it came to all holidays and family occasions. It never fails when they smell something they say, “I remember this occasion”.


  3. Kelly, this is so lovely and provacative. It is something I have thought about often. The smell of St. Ives lotion will always remind me of my mother, who would put it on after her nightly bath. The heat of the bathroom would fill the next three rooms with that scent, and it always makes me feel sleepy and safe. I could tell many more stories; that is just one. I remember, when I chose “my” perfume, I made certain that the scent appealed strongly to my husband and that it evoked the sort of feeling in my children that they would come to remember and love. Isn’t it glorious that God gave us sensing bodies? There are so many ways we can appeal to them to create true sanctuaries for our loved ones.
    Love in Christ,


  4. Oh, I love this post! Thank you for sharing this with us, and may it inspire us all to make an extra bit of effort today.

    Early on I learned my husband’s favorite smells: bread baking and newly cut grass. I’ve tried to bake bread while he is around to smel it regularly, knowing that its a way I can show him my love. I wonder what other smells our daughter might come to tie to her memory of our home?

    For a great-smelling homemade applesauce recipe, visit my blog!
    Sincerely, Heather
    Hearthside – http://www.ournewhearth.blogspot.com


  5. I was at my dear neighbor’s moving sale last weekend and she told me how she shall greatly miss the aroma of our baking. We do not live very close. I was surprised, to say the least. She said that when the breeze was blowing just right…. mmmmm ! I once had a lost salesperson stop at my door to ask directions. His secondary comment was something to the effect of…. Ohhhhh, you’re baking bread, aren’t you?! I would have offered some to him but it was for us, it was for another family. He had a dreamy, memory-filled look on his face.
    Have any of y’all ever left home baked goodies for your rural mail carrier? It is such a simple and yet rare treat to give to others. I taught myself to bake and cook and then taught my children. We can all get creative in the kitchen now. Mmmmmmm!


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