Hi, friends. Last month I was in Minneapolis to meet a team of people, now new friends, who will be helping me publish a new book. I told them I loved seeing their personal spaces, where they work and live so much of their days, all individual expressions of their personalities and interests. Now when we trade emails and phone calls I can picture them. It helps me feel more connected.
Since there are many of us and we are too scattered around the country to chat over coffee, I thought I might invite you into my home for a little tour. I wish you could drop in because my home is my cozy retreat. I have to admit, though, that my house definitely hasn’t always looked this way. Raising six kids didn’t allow a lot of time to focus on presentation. We lived busy lives filled with meaningful messes. But now as an empty nester, it’s much easier to keep tidy with just Dennis and me. I hope that seeing this will inspire you with some easy, practical ideas for adding beauty and meaning to your home and also help us be more connected, too.
If you came to visit you’d walk through our little fenced in front patio area. Since our house is set off the road a bit, I love to have some form of welcome adorning my front gate. Burlap ribbon woven through our Gathered Round with an authentic southern greeting is the perfect way to make people feel welcome when I don’t see them arrive. And of course, I always have my Old Glory whipping in the wind.
C’mon in! Feel free to wipe your shoes on the floor mat. Can you tell how much I love that burlap ribbon? I used some of the same roll to loop through the My Shield plaque, which says, “The Lord is my strength and my shield,” so that it would double as an entry wreath. It’s been a delight to create these pieces for women who want to make statements of faith in their homes for all who enter to see.
Since a front entry sets the tone for the guests who enter in, I hung my Easter banner front and center to celebrate the season of Lent/Easter and I’ve left it hanging to remind me every day that “He is Risen!” I enjoy using touches of spring green with my urn of white painted branches, which I keep out year round in various places and in recent years I’ve used it as my Christmas tree!
One of my favorite things is mixing patterns and colors and all sorts of old things together. That little chest of drawers is a recent find at a local flea market. I wanted something smallish between the two chairs that also had storage. Voila! Three drawers now filled with a bunch of our Christmas ornaments. So much more convenient! Our living room really is where we live. And it’s a reflection of both of us from the deer over the fireplace, killed by my husband and one of many throughout our house, to the tall mantle clock, which belonged to my great grandparents.
It’s usually just Dennis and me for dinner these days so this is where we eat most of our meals. Such a change to the days of feeding hungry multitudes. (The kitchen is to the right and the living room is to the left.) But we’ve eagerly pulled up that drop leaf now that our daughter is home. Sometimes we eat something fancy, but usually we are eating after full days at work so we typically go with something simple. I really wish you could see the view from this spot because the sunsets are so beautiful and little reminds of God’s love to me as the master artist.
Here is where we eat, by adding leaves to the table, when the kids are home with our sweet grands. And this is where we ate all the years we were raising our six. It’s even the same table and chairs, though we did refinish it a few years ago. It was badly needed as I am sure you can imagine. This is more of a formal room and I enjoy that. I like having a special room for special occasions. Cozy and practical is great but sometimes I like to elevate a memorable event or moment with extra attention.
Whatever kind of meal it is, this is the place where it’s prepared. My favorite thing about my kitchen, remodeled in 2007, is the window along the back wall. The natural light adds so much warmth, no matter what the temperature is outside. And I am thankful for every chance I get to glance out at God’s wonderful creation of hills and lakes.
For all the time that we spend in our kitchens and for the amount of chores we do, daily reminders of who we are doing all this working unto are a must have. I hung His Royal Names Adorenaments from birch branches in that favorite kitchen window. You may remember this from the post we did after Christmas but the sun shines through and the glittering names of Jesus catch my eye, helping me worship even in the mundane moments of daily tasks.
All of us women have more unpleasant chores and duties than we’d like. One of them for most of us is our laundry. This is my laundry room, also remodeled in 2007. I’m grateful I have a laundry room when I think about my grandmother who did most of her laundry by boiling her farmer husband’s work clothes in a huge iron pot over a wood fire outside in the yard! Mundane doesn’t mean the same in my generation as it did in hers! Keeping our homes, our clothes, our bodies, and our lives clean is endless work and it can feel so unimportant, but in reality these tasks are essential to be available and ready for God’s use. And really these actions are part of how God works in our lives.
When sorted piles of laundry aren’t covering the floor, I also use this space for my craft room/office. It’s not really because I like laundry so much, but over the years it was the only place I could devote for my creative endeavors. I would guess you need a space that’s yours, too. Is there a spot in your home where you can cultivate the unique gifts God has given you? Do you have a special cake decorating supply drawer? Where do you hide your guitar and song writing stash? A secret workout closet or a gardening shed? Whatever it is, remember that while your current season might require more in other areas, God didn’t give you a talent or passion for something if He didn’t intend to use it. If not now, then some day.
This is our downstairs guest bath. As I said earlier I love old things, especially family pieces. The large center mirror we bought at an auction early in our marriage for $2. On either side of it are framed old black and white photographs of many of our ancestors on their wedding days, most dressed in black because it was more practical. And on the vanity a little collection of nativities, one from my college days, the tiniest one from a long ago trip and the one on the left from our collection. I love having nativities out all year since the story of Jesus is truly timeless! Right?
On the back of our home is a screened in porch, which is beyond inviting any time of the year. The Texas limestone fireplace makes this a cozy spot in the fall and the screened windows make this an enjoyable sunset watching haven, safe from pesky summertime mosquitoes. Since we use this space year round, you’ll see several holiday pieces that I never put away: the Leave Him Thanks wreath to remind us of gratitude, He is Risen quote so that I rejoice in Christ’s conquering death intertwined with the Nativity to signify the reason for Christ’s humble birth one long-ago Christmas night. Wish we could sit here for a chat. It’s super comfy and peaceful.
Thanks for stopping by and joining me on the tour. Hopefully you’ve felt warm and welcome. If you’d like to make your home more meaningful with reminders of truth, check out our full collection here. You’ll find some of the products featured here and more. May you and your home be Ever His.