Making Home: Daja

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“I believe that a godly home is a foretaste of heaven. Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.”  (Jani Ortlund)

Making Home

Today I (Kristina) am interviewing Daja.  In our last Making Home post Daja interviewed me and told you how we met, and while it’s all true, I thought I would take a moment and expand on some of my thoughts on meeting Daja.

I  remember the first Sunday I saw her walk into church with her family.  At the time she had just had her 5th child.  I had never been around a large family like that so I have to admit I was curious how life worked.  What I found was a beautiful Christ-centered family.  Daja and her husband Gana, both being pastors themselves not only have plenty of love for children (8 now) but for anyone else God has cross their path.  Hospitality is not just a word tossed around but is daily lived.  As Daja and I have grown into close friendship, I am so grateful for this woman who lives this journey with me.  I hope you enjoy getting to know her a little bit better.

Gombojavs Easter 2014

Kristina:  How would you define being home-centered?

Daja:  I think C.S. Lewis said it really well, “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”  Being home-centered means that all other spheres of life support that of the home.  It means that my life–my real, authentic life–happens at home.  I may go to the store, the school, the gym, the office, etc. but my life is home.  If there is a tug-o-war between any of those other spheres and home-life, those others have to give way to home.  Home is the most important.

Kristina:  I know you read a book called, Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes, how did it impact your opinions of being home-centered?

Daja:  I’ve always been a homemaker.  And I’ve always believed that it was right for me.  Radical Homemakers, however, challenged the post-industrial-revolution idea I had that women were homemakers and men were breadwinners who had to go outside the home in order to make things work.  In ages past everyone built their lives from home–men, women, children.  When they went out–to earn money or socialize or whatever–there was always the goal of returning to and supporting the home.

Shannon Hayes wrote, “More than simply soccer moms, Radical Homemakers are men and women who have chosen to make family, community, social justice and the health of the planet the governing principles of their lives.  They reject any form of labor or the expenditure of any resource that does not honor these tenets…our culture has been hostage to a form of organization by domination that fails to honor our living systems, where “he who holds the gold makes the rules.”  By contrast, Radical Homemakers use life skills and relationships as a replacement for gold, on the premise that he or she who doesn’t need the gold can change the rules.  The greater our domestic skills, be they to plant a garden, grow tomatoes on an apartment balcony, mend a shirt, repair an appliance, provide for our own entertainment, cook and preserve a local harvest or care for our children and loved ones, the less dependent we are on the gold.”

Daja & Gana Easter 2014
Kristina:  You and your husband have a vision of both of you working from home.  Can you talk about your thoughts on a family that works from home together?  What does that look like?

Daja:  My husband works for himself as a skilled carpenter and handyman.  There have been times in the past where we have considered him getting a “regular job”….you know, like regular people. But we’ve been unwilling to give up the freedom working for ourselves provides.  In fact, we are aiming for further freedom by one day–hopefully soon–sustaining ourselves on our own farmland.

This has meant, of course, that there have been compromises according to the standards of our modern culture.  We don’t drive the newest cars, go out to restaurants very often, see the latest movies in theaters, or wear designer clothes.  We have to choose–daily!–to live simply and to say no to some things so we can say a greater yes to the life we really want to live.

Kristina:  How do you raise your children to be home-centered?

Daja:  It helps that we have a lot of kids!  No need to look elsewhere for stimulation!

Also, as much as possible we try to model this for them.  It’s the little things, really.  Want pizza?  Let’s make it, rather than ordering it.  Need extra pocket-money? Let’s see what we can make to sell or what we can use to barter to make our dreams come true.  Something broken?  Let’s see if it can be fixed or repurposed before we rush out to replace it.

Gombojavs on a Bridge
Kristina:  What are you most enjoyable home-centered activities?

Daja:  I love to see my sons work with my husband.  Already the older ones (11 and 10 years old) can handle many household repairs.  It makes me so proud!  I love to see my oldest daughter being her creative self–spending hours painting or drawing, or decorating cakes.  She’s becoming herself and that’s awesome to watch.  Even just playing in the sand or mud with the little kids. So much fun!

We read a lot of books together as a family.  Usually after dinner, I read a chapter or two.  We also like watching old movies.  Right now the kids really love Katharine Hepburn.  When it’s time for a date night, my husband and I usually build a fire in the fire-pit in the backyard and retreat there with a bottle of wine and some cake.  It’s our favorite thing and costs nearly nothing.

Daja at WorkKristina:  Where do you struggle the most?

Daja:  I could totally live without matching any more socks or filing any more papers.  I am the worst at collecting paper clutter.  Perhaps I need a secretary!  It really is a thorn in my side.

Kristina:  Can you speak to others out there who may be wondering what they can do to be home-centered?  Perhaps you can especially speak to the young woman or young man who sees themselves desiring a home-centered life and wondering if they will ever find someone who will share that vision with them.

Daja:  I would love to encourage all young people not to put off marriage and family.  I know there is the common-sense advice to finish college and buy a house and make money and yada, yada, yada, before getting married or having children.  But honestly, if your goal is to live your life from home and to go against the grain of our gold-is-god culture, find someone who desires the same thing and start making it happen.  If it means you’re poor, that’s fine.  Be poor together. Work towards your dreams together, rather than building two separate dreams outside your home and later go through the painful process of trying to bring the two together.  Radical, I know.  And I know that a lot of people will disagree with me.  I’m OK with that.  I met my husband when I was 18.  And we were married by the time I was 21.  We had our first child 10 months later.  Everything wrong according to the wisdom of this world.  But we aren’t building a family to conform to the pattern of this world.  We are building a family that will transform and transcend the pattern of this world.
(We believe in Home-Centered Living.  We believe it’s good for women, men, children, society, the earth. This post is part of an on-going series we are calling, “Making Home” looking at the lives of homemakers and those striving to live Home-Centered Lives. )

  1. johanna - June 26, 2014

    Such a great interview! And that picture on the bridge! 🙂 The last sentences make me feel comfortable, being the only married woman with children in my circle of friends (age~26-29), the only one “with a real home”, as my best friend says ;). My husband and I met when I was 17, and this can work very well – like you said – we, our lifes, carrieer etc grow together, there aren’t two ~grown up lifes/carrieers/personalities with completely different opinions that have to made compatible.. But still I think too much about ‘the world’s’ opinions (would call it ‘Zeitgeist’) instead of just following what feels good for us. And not only because of that, I like your blog 😉

  2. april - June 25, 2014

    Thank you so much you two, and your families. It is so nice to see, read, about other families out there that believe their home is more than just a building, and that the members are what make it a home. Again thank you.

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