Home ~ A place of Welcoming

summer afternoon

My family is hiking today without me. After last weekend's hike in the rain I put my hands up in surrender or was it put my foot down in defiance??

I wanted a weekend day to do something I wanted, without character building or learning to make-do. I wanted to garden or sew, maybe work on photos for developing. In short, I wanted a day for me. Well today I have it. It's a gorgeous summer's day so I'm outdoors weeding, transplanting, mulching and pruning.

The house is quiet, neat and tidy. No projects spread all over the floor, no dirty dishes stacked, no slamming doors, no persistent interruptions to my plans. No handsome husband to bounce my thoughts off of, no 10 year old to admire my garden accomplishments, no chatty 8 year old asking questions every 5 minutes or so and flashing me his gorgeous grin, no 6 year old flouncing around in funky outfits pretending to be royalty.

No family. What is this home with out my family? Very empty.

I'm not complaining, really. I needed this day and it's all very nice but I am looking forward to their arrival home at the end of the day. Which brings me to a thought about my home. I've been thinking about this for a couple weeks. What started me on this was the one word project "home" theme this month at Shutter Sisters. Then this week I read an interview with Amanda Soule about her new book Handmade Home. Asked to describe her home in one word, she choose cozy. 

There are many things I want my home to be; tidy (it gets that way before bed), clean, healthy (food and environment), comfy & nicely decorated (slow process), simple & not cluttered. And I make progress in all those areas on a daily basis.

But I realized this week that I don't want my house to be clean for the sake of cleanliness, though attracting vermin isn't good either, or simple for the sake of simplicity.

I like all these attributes because for me they make my home feel more welcoming.

doing dishes by candlelight

We have a lot of people in our home on a regular basis. We host home church gatherings, have taught healthy eating courses in our living room, our extended families stay weekends or weeks at a time, travelers have laid there heads here and we currently have a boarder living in Laurent's room for 3 weeks.

I want all these people - friends, family and strangers to feel welcome here. But the people I want most of all to feel welcome are my husband and children. This is their place for resting, creating, learning, eating, growing and sharing. Without them this house is just that and nothing more.

I don't want to tidy my children out of their creativity or clean my husband out his resting - does that make sense? This home is for my loved ones who inhabit it and for the people we are asked to share it with.

Today I write this for myself because if it's on the blog I am accountable for having said these words. Because in the thick of family life I don't always feel this way. But when everyone is away all day and I'm given time to think I realize a messy floor is of more comfort to me than a silent house.

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  • Naomi

    Naomi on Aug. 8, 2009, 8:49 p.m.

    I agree whole-heartedly! Sometimes I think I'm going insane with the chaos in my home. And then, on the rare chance that both my kids take an afternoon nap for more than an hour, I start thinking, "what am I going to do with myself?" I can think of lots of projects to work on, personal or household, but there is something rather boring and empty about a household without children. My house may not be clean, and seldom is it, but I remind myself every day, it is about the family, it is about the joy, it is about life. And somehow it almost completely takes the guilt away about my house being a mess when someone drops by unexpectedly. I am so glad I have a growing family, even if I do need to grow some more patience!


  • Ann

    Ann on Aug. 8, 2009, 9:04 p.m.

    Oh, this is a very good reminder for me. I often catch myself saying things to my kids like, "You're not going to wear those muddy shoes in MY kitchen, are you?" Thanks for your blog and for giving me something to think on/act on today!


  • Jody

    Jody on Aug. 11, 2009, 4:02 p.m.

    I read what has been in my own thoughts so many times....and it causes a tear to sneak over the rim of my eye. Being a mom is often so consuming -- we wear so many hats, don't we? It is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding things I will ever do with my life. Being blessed with 2 lovely girls - different & unique as day & night from each other, I am immersed in 2 seasons of life....A daughter who is 20 - a young woman searching for independence, yet still living at home between college breaks and "trapped" (so, I think she feels) in her adolescent life of Saturday chores and the same ol'thing! ha ha! My youngest being 10, is in that test & try.....test the boundaries, try to cook, test a new theory, try a new author. In the day to day, "No shoes in the house", "you can't leave for your friend's house until your Sat. Work is done"..... I too have often wondered if I was adding other things to the list that were indeed perhaps, "Tidying the life out of our home". Life is messy sometimes. Mud is messy -- but Puddle jumping is sooo FUN! and though I LOVE to feel sand between my toes at the beach.....I want to walk barefoot on my hard wood floors and just feel the cool wood -- NOT sand :>) Hmmmmm ~ that balancing act again.... It is freeing and good for us all to enjoy the spontaneity of the fact that the sun is out RIGHT now.....and the cleaning of the room, or the washing of the laundry can wait. (unless of course the little 'Housework Faerie" would care to drop by! LOL) What is it they say: A home is where you hang your hat..... it's where you rest your feet, where you snuggle on the couch and where you are free to 'just be'. All those other things are important, and they have their place - but, oh there IS NO PLACE like Home.
    It beats a clean 'house' any day. And though we can't wait to have that 'coveted moment' of silence...laughter is what fills home with JOY. I do so agree with your WHOLE thought process!!


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 11, 2009, 10:16 p.m.

      Wow thanks for visiting and commenting Jody. Having been in your home I know how welcoming it and you are. You truly have a home, not a house. Love and miss you, must get together soon.


  • Jenn

    Jenn on Aug. 12, 2009, 1:22 a.m.

    You said: "I realize a messy floor is of more comfort to me than a silent house. "

    Oh, wow, yes, I agree whole-heartedly. I would have to say I would like my home to say LOVE. That one word...more than any other. Welcome is nice, calm is good, peaceful...yeah!

    But love. I want people to feel the love when they walk in the door...because there is so much love in this house!


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