Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The Atmosphere of Our Home
A little while ago my sister in law walked into my house. She stopped in the doorway and said, "Awww, your house is so homey!" I thought "homey" was just a nice way of saying "lived in", but then she went on...
"It's the atmosphere of your home. You can feel that it's full of love."
I think this is one of the sweetest compliments I have ever recieved. I've been dwelling on those words ever since. She has too and you can read her beautiful blog about it here.
What makes a house feel like home?
Before our house was finished, we had stopped by to check on the construction. It was an empty house with bare walls and no couch to curl up on, but as my children ran around laughing and playing hide-and-seek, this empty house was full of life and for the first time...it felt like home.
I think that to truly experience something we use all of our senses.
This is probably the first thing we think about in making a house a home. We paint the walls, pick out the furniture and add our collections. But sometimes it's not just what we add, but what we don't. Clutter can add anxiety to a beautiful room. It just feels chaotic and overwhelmed.
I have been working on clearing out all the clutter and only keeping what I love. Beauty doesn't only come from matching furniture and the perfect accesories. I love filling my home with things that tell a story, things that hold a memory.
Isn't it amazing how a scent can instantly take you back to a favorite moment? I love when my house is infused with the smells of dinner simmering on the stove or fresh baked bread or cookies from the oven. But even if you haven't been busy in the kitchen, you can freshen up your home. Light a scented candle for no special occation or throw open the windows and let the smells of the season blow through.
We are blessed to live in the middle of the woods. In the stillness of the morning I am awakened by birds singing and the occational wild turkey gobbling through the yard. Then my children rise and our house is reenergized for the day. Little feet running down the hall, cereal bowls and spoons delicately clinking. The sweet sounds of a busy morning.
But there are many times in my day when the noise can be overwhelming. The TV is on. Video games beeping. Kids are fighting. The baby screaming. I just need peace!
We turn off everything and turn on worship music. It is amazing how this calms my home.
Of course we think of homecooking and elaborate holiday feasts, but how good do these foods really taste when there is no one to share it with?
Our times at the dinner table are not just for nourishment, but for nurturing and reconnecting. This is where our family is reunited and shares about our day.
It is also a place for hospitality. God has really been stretching me in this! "Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." God doesn't ask us to be stressed out and host the perfect dinner party, He just wants an open door and an open heart.
So brew a pot of coffee and invite someone in!
I have flipped through so many magazines looking for decorating ideas...and at first glance these rooms are beautiful...but then I picture my family there and it just doesn't look comfortable. Not just the furniture, but the museum feeling. A room you can't touch. I would be so scared that my kids would break or spill something. I would constantly feel on edge.
I felt that way when we first moved in. Brand new carpets and 5 kids...I was having an anxiety attack over it. But, then the first spill happened, the house has been broken in and the world did not come to an end.
A friend shared with me that she lets her little girls have tea parties with her grandmother's cherished tea set. She knows it would be safer locked up in the china cabinet, but who ever made memories while staring at a china cabinet? Take a risk. Let them touch. Stuff is just stuff, but memories are cherished.
So today, I hope I encouraged you to take a look around, breathe in deeply, listen intently, savor every bite and grab hold of everything that makes your house a home.