The old saying "Home is what you make it" rings true in my life.
I cannot count the many and varied homes where I've lain my head at day's end these past sixty years, but I have learned there's a few essential ingredients which can be added to wonderfully transform any dwelling (whether that be a house, a flat or apartment, a caravan, a cabin, a yurt or a tent) into a welcoming home and a place of sanctuary for those who live inside or those who visit.
I was fifteen when I had to leave home and it was a shared room at the YWCA which became my first dwelling outside of family life. I had to leave school abruptly and quickly got a job to pay my board of $27 per week (my wage back then was $36 per week), which included breakfast and dinner from Monday to Friday, and three meals a day at weekends. What a life change that was for a girl in her mid-teens, yet in so many ways it was the making of me as I learned lessons about being personally responsible for my own care and the necessity to budget and save if I wanted shoes, underwear, medicine or bus fares to and from work on rainy days (on sunny days I walked 45 minutes into the city to my workplace). And over the following months that little room became my home, my place to stop and rest and ponder and sometimes cry. Though meagre in possessions apart from a bed, record player and chest of drawers, my 'home' was also a sanctuary and I believe it was in that narrow little cubicle style room that my love for creating a home was birthed.
I think it may also have contributed to a dislike of clutter because to this day I need everything in its place and not too much stuff to visually overwhelm my eyes - hence our regular de-cluttering and culling of 'stuff'.
A calm, serene atmosphere with order, gentleness, plants and soft furnishings in every room is my personal 'home' environment recipe, and this has never altered despite the many varied places we have lived - whether that be a one room cabin, former convent, townhouse or large home full of corridors, nooks and crannies. Knowing what visually and emotionally nourishes my soul and the souls of my family, within four or twenty four walls, has allowed me to set up 'home' within days of each move.
And just since marrying Mr E we have moved back and forth across Australia twenty two times!
Praise God we bought our first home last year so now we have a permanent address as well.
But not everyone's idea of a home sanctuary is like mine. Over the years I've made friends who embrace cluttered surfaces, friends who no longer have visible walls because they are lined with bookcases, friends who have husbands who 'collect' and friends whose homes overflow with crafting things, pets or some other personal hobby. And they are happy because their homes express who they are and what brings them joy.
HOME is no one size fits all, it's what you make of it, it's how a person stamps a dwelling with their own signature.
Home is where your heart rests, where it delights in the surroundings you have created for yourself and those you love, home is where you want to be.
I also appreciate there are those who do not have their own home but live in someone else's house, and that can offer a challenge at times. This is when having your own room or a set of rooms can be like a blank painter's canvas if you take time to consider what brings you joy creatively and set about adding those things to your personal area/s. It may be nothing more than a pretty quilt, a few beautiful cushions, a couple of potted plants, candles and framed photos...but if you love them, then they are evidence the space you dwell in is in fact your 'home'.
(if you've missed the first two blocks the links are in my sidebar)
Yesterday Blossom and I went in to Spotlight as they had a very good sale and she needed fabric for dresses and some craft supplies for herself, Cully May and Rafaella to make gifts, whilst I needed threads. Seems I always need threads, so when there's a sale I stock up.
Anyhow, when we were walking through the aisles of fabric the little girls discovered a large stand of hats, alice bands and fascinators. Well, you know what happened next, right??
Afterwards we took them out for lunch because they were so good in Spotlight, which isn't easy for a 20 month old and a 3 year old surrounded by so many colourful distractions.
I'm so blessed to be Cully May and Rafaella's nana.
May your weekend be abundant in homely blessings, joyful family gatherings, inspirational conversations, creative moments and the ever bountiful love of Jesus,