After twenty years of living in the same house, here is what I have grown to appreciate most about this place I call home.
Moments of silence are becoming more important to me in my middle-aged years. Perhaps this is because raising boys can be less-than-quiet at times. Everyone was home all the time for several years because we homeschooled. As the boys have grown and sleep in more often, early morning hours provide much-needed time for contemplation and study.
By nature, I am a planner and feel happiest in clutter-free spaces. Or at least an organized pile of specific, related items. Maintaining a routine cleaning schedule is important to me, yet I enjoy mixing up my typical regime. I do this to combat my inherited OCD tendencies and because cleaning can be a drudgery. I love to listen to an audio book while I’m cleaning the bathrooms, tidying up one of the boys’ rooms, or tackling an organizational overhaul.
I desire my home to be a place to relax and unwind. We may gather to watch a Sunday afternoon football game. Before dinner, we often do our own quiet activities in the same room. The dogs curl up on their beds. The cat stares at me until I raise the footrest on my chair so that he can nestle in next to my knee.
As much as I like to have a plan, I want to be flexible for others. Because I see my home as a place of personal solace, I also know I need to open my home and invite others inside. This isn’t always easy for me to do, especially if the day reveals unseemly chaos. But, I realize that being a healthy person requires quality interactions.
When we moved into our home twenty years ago, I studied Swedish decorating. I gravitated to the spartan windows coverings. I chose blue, yellow, and white for my main color palette in my kitchen. Splashes of red accented the dining room. I kept our room decor warm and neutral.
We lived the first few years in our home with white walls. Then, we chose a color palette for the house I continue to love. Yellow in the kitchen, taupe in the family room, lighter taupe for the hallways, and a brown-red in the dining room. My favorite color is a deep blue on one entry wall that is also in our middle son’s rooms. The other boys chose their own colors within the palette, but I smile that this blue, for many reasons, will remain a mainstay.
Because we homeschooled, our home reflects joint-effort through chores and activities. When one of us hurts, we all hurt. When one of us experiences success, we all experience success. Certainly we five independent souls have our personal wants and needs. As our family grows through marriages and grandchildren, those wants and needs will expand. But, I hope the blessing the five of us have established as a circle of trust will extend to those joining our family’s future efforts.
By no means do I claim my home as holy. I never want to consider it a shrine. There have been sweet, tender times as much as dramatic, traumatic ones. Yet, as a family built on faith and sealed by vows, a sacredness fills this space. I treasure the awakening moments when God meets me where I am. So, when where I am is home, I do believe in the holiness He alone provides to these rooms.
Did I mention this house has been home to three boys? Remember we have two dogs and a cat? I’d be guilty if I didn’t admit I hate for anyone other than the people living here to go down into “the depths of despair” (a.k.a. the basement).
Every home requires home improvement. These walls have nicks, scrapes, holes, and stains. The foundation continues to settle, and one of the bathroom windows won’t open anymore. Some of the doors need adjustments and new hinges. Or we simply need to invest in new doors. Our ten-year-old-guaranteed carpet has survived another decade.
I learned two days after we closed on this house that it would never be perfect. Before we moved in, we discovered the kitchen floorboards buckled from a water leak caused by an over-torqued valve. Then after we moved in, the water heater quit working. I fully admit I had a rip-roaring tantrum and didn’t even want to live in this otherwise pristine home. Oh, how much this place has taught me, not only about home improvement, but self-improvement. I’m blessed to have known myself better here.