Sunday, November 15, 2015

Home to Me

Home. It's nearly my whole world (and especially so since I started staying at home when the twins were born). Paul and I have been building up our home in bits, whether in the duplex we started in when newly married or the ranch style house we bought almost 5 years ago. I have much to be grateful for and too much to say.  The following I'm sharing with you is little bits and pieces, notes and highlights of our happy home strung together day after day, year after year, moment to moment. Come on in and sit. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and imagine it was really me. 


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Home is comfort. Warm mugs of tea. Soft blankets for cuddling on the couch with the kids. Bowls of soup familiar. Cold winter nights, dark enveloping us early. Dim lights and soft music. Candle flickering, encouraging me to keep bright my own flame.

Home is loud.  Saturday family dance parties to Metallica (+orchestra) songs. Three small boys shooting invisible guns and roaring their lion jaws.  Paul stomping in to tackle & tickle & destroy. Music streaming through all the speakers: Taylor Swift singing us through pick up time.

Home is humble. Popcorn ceilings and blinds to be replaced---someday. Tiny fingerprints on the windows & a dining table with happy scars from lingering meals with loved ones. Our things made beautiful by our use of them. This is no museum home. This is the real thing. Wooden floors that know our dancing feet. Walls that listen in on our reading voices.  A counter that has held a thousand meals. 

Home is intimate.  Vulnerability lays her head here with us. We are challenged & split open. Spilled milk. Long days. Whiny kids. Disappointing each other & saying sorry & trying again and again to love with our hands pouring coffee and setting the table. This family here--we know, we see each other & ourselves--this is our chance to come to harbor & drop anchor only to be shaken on shore just as we were rocked at sea, to get so close that we can't help but understand more, know more, to see truth and set pain free. 

Home is color.  Vibrant children's book illustrations. A heap of just clean laundry on the dining table. Thomas's watercolor paintings & the mess of toys at my feet. And the food! Red peppers slices and green beans snapped by little hands. Muddy faces and green leaves to stare up into and through on warm summer days. Sparkly eye shadow applied with stolen moments from kids. Pumpkin bread, butter melting, on a crisp fall day. 

Home is creativity. Blank canvas propped on the easel. Long financial conversations for us to come together & think big. Little routines & habits built daily by intention. Family values set to work in real time. A new recipe posted to the fridge for Saturday. Making a simple dinner from bits of things found in the fridge--and somehow, by magic... by love, feels special all the same. 

Home is school. Textbooks marked with bright post-its for tomorrow's lessons. A school basket stuffed with exciting things to learn. Math manipulatives lined up on the kitchen counter while I cook just three feet away. Sharp pencils, eager & ready. Broken crayons. And books everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.  Words lift up off the page and make us laugh, make us think, make us know. We savor all those things in books like little threads of gold weaving into our hearts & minds. But then we get up off the couch & off the floor & learn by doing. Our life is our school. We touch truth in the physical. In crawling caterpillars and bark peeled, in awkward conversations with neighbors and the hateful kid at the Y.  How to measure flour and clean a toilet well and fold socks into each other and the time it takes for the cupcakes to bake.  

Home is renewal.  Clean sheets. Sunday naps. Sitting in one of our big chairs just to simply sit and be silent.  Nights of vegging out with Netflix, slow mornings with pancakes, laughing (coffee cups in hand) at the funny things the kids are doing. Hot showers for thinking & resetting. Thick socks. Lotion pressed into cracked feet & clean clothes ready to face another day to be filled in with little, colorful notes of pride in hard work and gratitude for good things. 

Home is happy.  Memories of years past twinkling on the Christmas tree.  Happy heart ache for small bodies quickly growing out of clothes.  Leaning into just being & letting things be.  Cooking side by side and remembering all those other times aproned up and arguing, making too much & cooking big & loving it.  Board games. Lifted glasses. Feet intertwined under table while we talk with our eyes and ignore just a little the kids surrounding us from every reach. 

Home is goodness. Interruptions that pierce selfishness. More water for little mouths. A bowl completely full of eggshells and still not enough. Clothing the naked (all the time naked). Wiping tears. Listening carefully. Choosing peace, building it up. Pouring on the grace & giving space for ugly, bumbling growth. Praying for our daily bread. Loving as Christ urged--because even though I've said yes to these people, they are still imperfect and hurting and hoping like me. Fully loving them and not just in beautiful aims but hard won small acts of service is a daily yes, an hourly yes, a constant yes to love in ways I didn't think I was capable of before, in ways I wasn't capable of before.  Home is the sacred place opened up to me, door wide- a gritty real, a beautiful domestic, a humble space to dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 

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This post is part of the “Home to Me” blog hop, hosted by Julie Walsh of These Walls. During the two weeks from Friday, November 13 through Thanksgiving Day, more than a dozen bloggers will share about what the concept of “home” means to them. “Home” can been elusive or steady. It can be found in unexpected places. It is sought and cherished and mourned. It is wrapped up in the people we love. As we turn our minds and hearts toward home at the beginning of this holiday season, please visit the following blogs to explore where/what/who is “Home to Me.”

November 13 – Julie @ These Walls

November 14 – Leslie @ Life in Every Limb

November 16 – Rita @ Open Window

November 17 – Svenja, guest posting @ These Walls

November 18 – Anna @ The Heart’s Overflow

November 19 – Debbie @ Saints 365

November 20 – Melissa @ Stories My Children Are Tired of Hearing

November 21 – Amanda @ In Earthen Vessels

November 22 – Daja and Kristina @ The Provision Room

November 23 – Emily @ Raising Barnes

November 24 – Annie @ Catholic Wife, Catholic Life

November 25 – Nell @ Whole Parenting Family

November 26 – Geena @ Love the Harringtons


  1. That was lovely, you were able to so clearly describe many of my own feelings on home that I could never have verbalized so beautifully. Thanks for this!

    1. I had a difficult time saying just one main thing about my home. Throwing lots of little bits seemed fitting though. Home is such a beautiful chaos to me. So many things going on all the time.

  2. So beautiful! Pure poetry. :-)

    1. I have been reading poetry the last couple of weeks as a way to slow down & feel peace. Maybe that's why. :)

  3. This is beautiful, Ashley! Thank you so much for participating in the blog hop -- what a wonderful contribution to it. :)

    1. Thank you, Julie, for inviting all of us in to participate! :)