I've been pondering this for about a month.
What does welcome feel like in my home?
When my sweet daughter Aisha came to visit with her baby girl last month her first words as we came through the front door and she laid her bag upon the old kitchen table was "Mum, I love your home! It's so welcoming - so comfortable." She'd never been here before, so I took notice of her delight and stored those words away for another day.
For a few weeks now they have been turning over and over in my mind...
...and the other night when I told Aisha we had renewed the lease on this house for another year she again repeated how much she loved being here, how comfortable I had made this 'home' and how it had inspired her to create that same welcoming atmosphere in her own home, almost 3,000 kilometres away from here.
This entire year has been personally devoted to re-learning and immersing myself into "gentle domesticity" and a big part of that has been focused on my heart attitude, not just the decorating of a home.
(you can read more about that here)
I've not achieved many of the plans I had in January but as time goes by I understand that change, good and lasting change, is a gradual journey along a path that will offer constant distractions and sideroads - but that's okay because you end up widening your view of the domestic heartland to include wondrous and beautiful things and ideas you'd not previously considered.
And here I am today pondering "welcome".
The list in my mind of all I want this home to include didn't have a column for 'people atmosphere' - just furnishing and decoration. Yet my dear daughter, a mother and wife and homemaker herself, saw beyond the things to the way she felt as soon as she crossed my hearth.
Her smile held a warmth of emotion, so impulsive and real, and any feelings I had that she'd be disappointed with the simplicity of old and obviously worn furniture, hand made adornments and lack of modern 'polish' were swept away in that instant.
She saw me in this home, and it welcomed her.
So I'm re-inspired to push forward with my simple home making ideas because they inspire her. After all, making things for my own pleasure and displaying them throughout my home environment is also tangibly adding the essence of me - Jenny the wife, mother and homemaker - because they make me happy. And a happy home is a welcoming home.
I've been to the library for more inspiration because I intend doing something about our little dining area. Plans I had a few months back have changed somewhat because I took one of those side-roads and discovered ideas with more appeal...
Colour is important to me these days, and mismatched vintage appeals...
Perhaps it's because I personally feel welcomed and comfortable when things aren't 'too perfect'?
Those sideroads also offer insight into self, which is welcoming too.
But there's one thing I know to be most important in creating a welcoming home.
Does it welcome my dear husband, the love of my life, when he walks through our kitchen door after a long day at work?
Do his eyes rest on my delighted eyes and widening smile at his appearance?
Can he see that I've made our home a sanctuary from the outside world, a place where he can drop those tense and weary shoulders to rest and refresh?
An embrace, words of love whispered in his ear, a dinner prepared with love and joy while he showers and changes, a candle lit and cutlery set..."welcome home my love".
Not often fancy, very often simple, just how he likes life.
Yes, they makes this his welcoming home.
A welcoming home.