House or Home?

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“A house is made of walls and beams, but a home is built with love and dreams” William Arthur Ward

So what is the difference between a house and a home?  If you looked up the definition, you would see how similar they are.  But when you ask people their interpretation, you quickly see there is a big difference between the two.    A house is a structure, something very concrete.  A home, however, has a much more personal meaning.  It evokes a feeling of belonging, and many times comfort and security.  While money can buy a house, it takes heart and soul to make a home.  The good part about this is heart and soul is something that every single person has.  And it doesn’t matter the size of the house, the number of people living in it or where it’s located, you can make it a home.  Many people spend so much of their lives waiting for perfect that they miss living.  Life is made up of thousands and thousands of everyday ordinary kind of days. It is in those everyday ordinary kinds of days that a house becomes a home…that heart and soul are added to the brick and mortar, and the beautiful transformation occurs.  This transformation doesn’t require large amounts of time or money, just a desire to celebrate the ordinary.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Find a space where you can have a seasonal display
  • Have rituals that celebrate first… the first day of school… the first day of fall….first snow
  • Burn seasonal candles
  • Change your door decorations and outdoor flags monthly
  • Keep fresh flowers in your home-grocery store bouquets can last a long time when you change the water daily
  • Cook in season 
  • Hang your sheets outside for a fresh sunshine smell
  • Play music and dance
  • Display pictures of family and friends throughout your home
  • Start a collection or, if you already have a collection, display it in a unique way
  • Buy a chalkboard and collect quotes to write on it
  • Find a small Christmas tree (thrift stores are excellent sources for these) and decorate it for different holidays and seasons
  • Grow herbs in pots on your kitchen window sill…and use them in cooking
  • Fill your home with laughter
  • Entertain often…and by entertain, I don’t mean elaborate dinner parties.  During fall and winter have a tray with assorted teas and hot chocolates…stick some slice and bake cookies in the oven, and you have a party.

As we approach this busy time of year, a time where people, time, and resources are stretched to the breaking point, slow down and savor your surroundings and take the time to create a haven for yourself and those you love.

Routines As a Form of Self Care

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I feel that routines can be a daily form of self-care in our hectic lives.  Children receive much comfort and security in knowing what comes next in their daily lives.  If we are honest, adults aren’t any different in this regard.  And while I realize that routine isn’t always possible in our everyday life, it is something we can strive for.  Begin with your morning and evening routine.  At the beginning of the year, I made it a goal to get up an hour before my children do.  While I haven’t been successful every single day, I have had more successful days than not and I celebrate that victory(extending grace to yourself is an important part of self-care too!)!  I have found that this time in the morning is a very important part in how my day unfolds. And it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or time-consuming.  My ideal morning routine consists of drinking a mug of warm lemon water, having some time to read, journal and pray and having some time on my yoga mat to stretch and do a short yoga routine.  It’s completed in under 45 minutes and,  in my opinion, is the most important part of my day.  after investing in myself and taking the time to fill my cup back up, I am ensuring that I have something to give to others.  My evening routine consists of putting the house to bed (general pick up and put away), putting the children to bed,  then some personal time.  Most nights that means a hot bath, some chamomile tea, journaling, and reading.  I try to keep electronics out of the bedroom during this time, and again, celebrate the victories instead of beating myself up when life gets hectic.  Self-care doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive.  It just takes a little discipline, a bit of planning, and a belief that you are worth it…because you know what? You ARE!!

The House That Built Me

Dear Little White House on Arthur Road,

Thank you. Thank you for making us feel welcome the first time we walked through your cheerful red door. Thank you for loving us when we weren’t really lovable…when we yelled at each other…when we slammed doors and closed hearts….when we cried tears of frustration and fear and hurt….your comforting walls always brought us back together again….maybe a little scared up from battle, but wiser…thank you for that. Thank you for helping us see that we were still a family…because families come in all shapes and sizes. Thank you for showing me that starting over is scary and hard, but doable and that I was very much up for the job. Thank you for teaching me that a home is the people, not the place. We have celebrated birthdays, and Christmas and the first day of school and the last days of school…and hundreds of everyday kind of days thrown in between…and those are wonderful gifts. Thank you for showing us just how blessed we are by the wonderful friends that have passed through your door….and all the love we have been shown while living here. Thank you for providing a place of refuge….of safety and security. No matter how bad it was storming outside your walls, I always knew I could come in and lock the doors and I would be safe. When I found out we would have to leave you, I felt like a part of my heart was dying. I felt like I just didn’t have it in me to start over again….I was tired. I thought I would never feel safe or secure again. But I was wrong. You see, I thought I felt brave because of you….which was silly because when you truly love someone you don’t want them to depend on you for their strength and courage…you want to help them see, no matter how painfully hard at the time, that they are strong enough….and I know you have loved us these last two years. And now I know….it’s not your four walls that make me brave….no, it’s because at some point, during these last two years, I BECAME brave. Thank you for that.

Love
Kelly, Caleb, Hannah Beth, Colton, and ZooeyIMG_1892

Buttercups

The buttercup has always been my favorite flower….I remember every single year in the spring my mom would buy me a big bunch at Market Basket….the smell just smelled like spring and new beginnings to me. When I lived in Mt. Pleasant there was a field I took the kids to every year to pick buttercups…we named it Buttercup Field. I haven’t been to Buttercup Field since 2012…the year that marked the end of so many things in our lives. Recently, however, I have begun to see that endings are also new beginnings. So today after church I told the kids we were going to Buttercup Field and they were so excited…because they remembered …they had just been waiting on me be ready to remember too. So we turned down the street and looked to the right with eager anticipation for the field of yellow that had always been there….but it was gone. Totally and completely gone. The field had been plowed up and there wasn’t a single buttercup to be seen. We were so disappointed. As I turned the car around Colton asked “Momma where did they go? Didn’t they know we would be back?” img_5488“I guess they got tired of waiting,”  I said. It was quiet and then all of the sudden Colton said “Momma stop the car!! Look!!! They didn’t get tired of waiting…they just crossed the street to a new home to wait for you to come back!!!” And sure enough there they were…across the street…not as many…but the ones that were there were bigger and their stems were stronger and their color was brighter. Then I realized why I love buttercups so much..they are resilient. They can be trampled down…choked out by weeds…and even have their home destroyed..and they will find a way to cross the street to a new home where they will bloom again…bigger, stronger and with more color than ever before. They tell my story….and God knew that story all those years ago…and gave a little girl in a red brick house exactly what she needed to one day cross the street and bloom again…..