In the years preceding 2008, my husband and I used to take drives to the country on the weekends. Slow rollers down county roads dreaming of one day having a piece of the land that we loved. Sometimes, we would just drive country areas admiring the beauty of it – the homes in progress and those with gorgeous scapes. We talked aloud; daydreaming together. Those are favorite memories of mine.
When we purchased our 1279 sq ft starter home 5 years prior we were thrilled. We labored in every inch of that home renovating it. However, there came a point in time when I grew discontent with our space. I’m disappointed in myself now as I look back and reflect. However, I didn’t stay in that discontentment, and that’s the most important thing to remember now.
Storms came through our area – one of those hit here and there types of storms with wind damage and tornados. The street directly behind us had some major tree damage from high winds. Our home, thankfully, wasn’t affected. My husband happened not to be working the day following, and we drove around while surveying some of the hardest hit areas. (One of those, ironically, just a few miles behind where we currently live) Homes destroyed. Businesses destroyed. Livelihoods disrupted. That day I regained my contentment, and I was ever so thankful for our home we had both worked hard for. I remember being in our room seeing the sunshine through the window that beautiful spring day hearing chainsaws in the distance. I was reminded of how I enjoyed sounds of a neighborhood – quiet muffled mowers in the background mixed with birds chirping and the breeze blowing.
Not long after that storm we were making one of those daydreamer drives and went to an area we both really liked – acres and acres where not too many houses could be seen. I remember rounding the corner on that county road and seeing a for sale sign; both of us were a little stunned. We had talked about this area and the possibilities for so long, but rarely did this particular area have acreage tracts in our price range.
Here are some random pictures I was able to find of our country house.
It all happened slowly yet quickly at the same time. That was April… by the first week of June, we were on our raw 10-acre tract in a camper with 3 girls! It’s true house building will test you – but never had I had so much respect for my husband and the way he worked to build our home. We worked together. We worked hard. And, 4 years later we sold it. Wait. What? Yes, we did. On that itself I could write pages and pages. And, to this day, I tear up when I hear the Miranda Lambert song The House That Built Me.
From there we went to a 23 year old home on 1 acre. A home that was old, clean, and badly stuck in an era of wallpaper, white walls, and berber carpet (even in all the bathrooms!). The inventory of houses didn’t leave us many options and at the time we couldn’t stand the thought of paying more in rent for less house. We both liked the layout of the house and many of its features. Even through the jewel-tone flowered wallpaper, it had a feeling of home. In our almost 5 years here we have touched every single room in some way or another to bring it up-to-date and infuse it with our sense of style. We still have things to accomplish, but it still feels like home.
In the upcoming holiday season, many of us will be gathering with family and friends in our homes. We have hosted many gatherings in our homes, including our small starter home; and yes even in the process of remodeling. Remembering the reason we gather and the memories made is what matters. No matter your surroundings you can have a sense of home and welcome. You don’t have to have all the latest trends and furnishings, and you don’t even have to be in a home that you own. Being content in our homes and the welcomeness we extend to others will be the best home you can have. Hospitality is a ministry that is truly more about a “feeling” of welcomeness rather than the physical aspects of the place. Don’t let your lived in home run a daily comparison on what you see in pictures online (or drives to the country). My hope is that I can help you make your home what you want it to be using resources that you have, while not fretting about the things we cannot have.
My heart to your home,