Renew- Home #1

April 13, 2015

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the idea of home.  I first starting reading Southern Living magazine when I was 17, and I’ve barely missed an issue since.  Back then I thought I would certainly be living in my perfectly decorated dream home by the time I was almost 30.  Bless my 17-year-old self!  Learning what home really means has definitely been a process for me. This topic is outside the area of what I typically write about, but I want to share a bit about my own journey with renewing my ideas on what really makes a home.

I spent the first eight years of my life living in a trailer.  I will never forget how hard my parents worked for our first house.   My dad spent nine months building it himself.   He would come home late from work each night, eat dinner quickly, then go outside and work on our house until the early morning hours.  I remember the day the carpet was finally in the house and we couldn’t wait–we just had to pull our mattresses inside and sleep in our brand new house.  When I think of this house I think of loud talking and louder laughing.  Pancakes in the morning and grilling at night.  Blackberrys in the summer, colored lights at Christmas, and lots of room outside for a girl with lots of imagination.

For a while home was a dorm room, then later a house with poor lighting and five laughing friends.  This house will always make me think of nightly 3 course dinners, friends that are still like family, and growing up.  It was during this time that I start realizing that a home doesn’t have to contain your actual family, it doesn’t have to be permanent, and it doesn’t have to look perfect to be wonderful.  This is the place where I decided that as long as I am lucky enough to have a home, I will do my best to use it to bless other people.

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The party never stopped at this house.

Next, home was a rental house with Will.  This house was so special to us, and I’ll always remember it being full of people visiting, laughing, and eating together. This is also where I first started to love decorating my house.  We didn’t have much money and literally everything we owned was very, very old, but we did the best we could with what we had.  I have never (and still do not) consider myself very good at decorations of any kind.  I am absolutely terrible at crafts, and if left on my own I will unintentionally hang all wall decor in a straight horizontal line around a room.  But people gave us such nice compliments about our first little house, and I started to think that it might actually be possible for me to make something look good.

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Baby Charlie at the old house.

In August of last year we bought our first house.  I can’t exaggerate how long we looked or how hard we prayed to find exactly the right house.  There were so many decisions to make–Which neighborhood? How expensive? How big? Did we want a house that we would have to make any changes to? And we got so much advice–Buy the worst house in the best neighborhood you can afford! Remember, your house is an investment! Oh.  I would NEVER want a house that needs work.  Are you sure you want to get into that? Are you sure that’s big enough? That is so overpriced! We really did get some helpful and wise advice, but ultimately everyone wants something different in a house so we had to pick what was best for us, and I think we did just that.  Our house was built in 1983, and we were lucky to be able to do a good bit of work to the living room and kitchen pretty quickly after moving in (and what an adventure that was!).  It isn’t new or big, but we feel so lucky to live here.

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Christmas at the new house.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that many people spend a lot of time being really dissatisfied with their home.  I am guilty of this myself at times.  It’s so easy to get caught up with what we want, what other people have, and the flaws with our current home.  But I wonder what would happen if we renewed the way we think about home.  Because when I think back on the different special homes in my life–and I bet this is true for you too–I don’t think about the way the house looked at all.  I think about the people that were there.  That’s what really makes a place home, and everything else is just extra.

That doesn’t mean that we stop wanting our houses to look good.  I feel pretty confident that I will never stop wanting my home to look good.  But if we really think about the purposes that many of us want our homes to serve–to be a safe place for our families, to be comfortable, and to be welcoming to others–we realize that our home can do these things even if it doesn’t yet look exactly the way we want it to look.  This summer, while we were waiting to close on our house, I read the book The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith, known on her blog as The Nester.  In her book, The Nester talks about embracing imperfect houses, what really makes a place home, and how something doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.  Reading her words was such an encouragement to me, and it really made me evaluate what’s most important to me in a home.  Another book I recently read and enjoyed is Home is Where My People Are by Sophie Hudson, author of the Boo Mama Blog.  In her book she writes about how home is ultimately where the people who matter to us are, and how we can find these special people wherever God brings us.

I still have so, so, so many things that I want to do to my house.  I LOVE working on my house.  I never do this, but this month I am going to be adventurous and share a couple of very small, very inexpensive, and very non-fancy ways that I have “renewed” my home recently.  Know with all your heart and soul that if I can do these projects, you can too.  But much more importantly, by reading these words I hope you find some encouragement that your home–whether it’s a trailer, dorm room, rental house, apartment, starter home, or forever home–is a place where you can find contentment and joy right now, even if it doesn’t look perfect.  And you know, if you really think about it, perfect is kind of boring anyway:)

What’s the best thing about your home? What are some special memories you’ve made there? What would you do to if you won a million dollars? Because a girl can always dream!

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Megan April 14, 2015 at 3:01 pm

These were such great words. As always. I am so blessed to have been welcomed in to almost all of your homes, save the trailer, but I know that I would have been welcomed there as well!

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