Last year around this time, we were walking through houses, entertaining the possibility of selling our first fixer-upper and buying a home that better suited our family’s next chapter (#suburbia). I was the one that had a particularly hard time with this, because I had become very emotionally invested in our first home. I turned my heart to prayer, because I was feeling so conflicted in what the right decision was for our family.
When we walked through this house, I thought of our furniture. I had an odd idea of how many of my family members I could sleep in this house, if need be. I thought of holidays I could host, things like that. I pictured my home full of my nieces and nephews with couches made into beds, and the guest bedroom full. This idea made me feel like this was our home. This idea came with it warm belonging, and a little stepping stone I needed to envision a life beyond our first little home.
As the story goes, we threw care to the wind, sold our house, bought this house and all things lined up to make it as seamless as possible.
A few months later, my family would indeed fill the beds and couches and trailer as we prepared for, and buried my dear sister. My house was a sacred space in those days, as the service of others came pouring in to carry us through mourning. That week, seventeen broken hearts found shelter in the walls of this home.
After that sacred week, I truly realized what a healing power our homes have. Homes have been used for as long as time sheltering those in need, acting as a refuge or sanctuary for healing hearts. Our homes have the power to heal, protect, nourish, and fulfill our souls.
Over the last ten years of motherhood, and turning my heart to God, I have been brought to the home in wonder many times. Scriptures that taught to “point our doors to the temple.” Teachings of our homes being a sacred space, just as the house of the Lord. That idea has continually brought me peace, and purpose. It has continually made me push forward to create a loving home, a home the spirit may dwell in, a home that everyone feels loved, and welcomed. A home that can be a refuge from the outside world.
I had a limiting belief last year that the home I lived in was special in that it was the only home that would feel that way for us. I worried the loving home we lived in, was the bones of the house we dwelt. As I recalled back on the many, many, many (seriously, I’ve moved a lot) homes I’ve lived – the big house I lived with my family before my parents got divorced, the little loft apartment I grew up in with my dad and sister, the first apartment I lived on my own in, the house I lived when Mr. Miller and I fell in love, my sweet little home in Austin Texas where we got engaged, the first townhouse Mr. Miller and I moved into together, the tiny 900 sq ft condo we brought our first baby Harlo home to, the rental home we really became a family (and birthed Stella in), our wonderful first home we owned (and birthed two more loves into), and remodeled after decades of living in rentals… Leaving out about a dozen or so others I have called home at one point. Each one a special part of my story.
“Peace will not come from the outside world, it will come from within your home.”
– Richard G. Scott (For Peace at Home)
(this quote has become a mantra, or theme of sorts to guide our family over the years.)
I have been studying the home, and homemaking (professionally, some might say! *wink) as a work-at-home mom for the last ten years. I have also been studying how to make my home a place the spirit of God can dwell for just as long. This year, it seems so fitting that I would feel called to bring my children home for their education. It seems the Lord brings me “back to the home” over and over in my prayers as answers. Where to prioritize my life and time, how to live a happy and joy-filled life, where to direct my talents and strengths, how to protect my children and teach them to build their own relationships with God… “At home, at home, at home.” the spirit whispers.
With the lord, she learned to create a life she loved.
(a note I scribbled down during conference spring ’15 that has been written on my heart ever since.)
I will continue my effort here at home, and hope it may inspire you to do the same in yours. Please don’t wait for your dream house to start investing in your home. I think back to each effort I made to make our little rentals feel like ours (ie: lots of painted second-hand furniture and frames), and no effort was wasted. I look back at photos of old homes and don’t see the frustration for what wasn’t ours (which I know I felt at the time), I see such creativity in how we made a home with whatever we had. Just like the stories that inspired me so much as a girl, about my own parents who married young and had nothing to start their lives together.
We have loved this beautiful home back to life after years of abandonment, and this home has seemed to wrap our family in more love than we could ask for. A happy home is really all I’ve ever wanted, and if I look closely, it’s exactly what I have.
(Taking some time away here has been necessary, but I hope to be posting again soon! I’ve got loads of drafts ready. 😉 What do you want to hear about first when I’m back full time?? Your prompts would help a lot for me to jump back in!)
I love everything you write, Cass! I’m an OG follower. My favorite post you’ve ever written is called “Choices” and you published it a few years ago about your decision to stay home with your kids despite the sacrifices and it helped me make the same decision. It’s bookmarked on my computer, it spoke to me so. I would love to read more about DIY projects around the home, how to make our own backyard havens, how to foster good sibling relationships for our children, fun traditions or recipes you have for the holidays, your experience with adopting a dog. Always love your style and beauty posts too!
Cass, I just love your outlook on everything. You are such a breath of fresh, mama, air. Your posts always make me stop and think about how I can apply what you’ve talked about in my own life. And I love this post so much because I’m now thinking of how I can make my home a warm and happy place for my family and friends. I would love to see a post on a typical day in your home, activities you love to do with your kids, how you manage life as a mama with 4 little ones and still get things done, recipes! Thank you for all of your words of encouragement and inspiration. You are one amazing woman to follow. 🙂