What does it mean? It is well. I’m going to attempt to answer what it means to me, because when the pressures of life come, I tend to tap these keys and get all transparent.
It feels like I should be talking about how to DIY your way to a beautiful house. But there’s a time for everything, so this time, I’m talking about something that I love even more: how to love the home you’re in.
In my adult life, I’ve lived in an apartment, one with gray carpet when gray wasn’t cool and pink counter tops. PINK. Counter tops. Pink counter tops have never been cool. I’ve lived in one of those little, bitty, yuppie houses that is on a brick street downtown, where I walked our dog (that I never liked), to eat breakfast in a yuppie part of town that made me feel more important than I was. I’ve lived in a fixer upper and I swore to the heavens it was the last. But golly, that fixer upper was a magazine worthy dollhouse. It took all our money but loved so many people well. I’ve lived in a basement. It had 60s rattan furniture and terrazzo floors, but it was home, it was oh. so. home. In that basement, I felt love and family and community like I’d never felt before. I’ve lived in a big, fancy house on a lake. You know the one everyone passes by and says: one day, I’ll have a house like that. I hated that house. It had wallpaper, and faux wood floors, and faux everything, and I hated that house. It didn’t feel like me. I went back to the basement. I liked that better. I’ve lived in another a lake house, a small one, but one with white sands and water fed by clear springs that my babies swam in for 9 months of the year, from dawn ’til the sun went down. That little house showed us more love and more pain than any house ever should. It was a home. I’ve lived in a subdivision track house that was not mine, but I did the best I could to make it feel like ours, and it was a clean slate of sorts for another stage of life. I have lived in a tiny house that I adored, all six of us, in 1100 square feet of cottage goodness. It had a laundry nook in the kitchen, and made my procrastinator self actually keep the laundry done. It was a miracle house. I showed that house off like it was a mansion. I started my business in that house…decorating a few mansions for other people.
I now live in a large house that I love, one that takes entirely too much time and energy to maintain, and clean, and blow the leaves, and vacuum the floors, and dust because the air vents have been there for nearly 100 years. One whose work is never done. And is the culmination of all I’ve ever asked God for in a house. It has history, and brick floors, and wood floors, and gorgeous tile, and molding, and a pool, and acreage, and a garage, and a guest house, and a brick driveway, and a brick patio, and a sun room. It is a beautiful house.
But the dis-content…the cancer that we choose, it takes over sometimes. I walk up a very steep set of stairs to my master bath. Old houses create dust in their spare time. Brick patios grow moss. Luscious, tall trees don’t keep their leaves and create a. Lot. Of. Work. Old houses cost more, more, more. Tree-filled lots keep the sunshine from coming in. Gorgeous marble tile is very sensitive and spots easily. A basement laundry room makes you forget that the people who live in your house actually need clothes to wear. Pools are a lot of work too, and now you’ve got triple the amount of laundry to do in wet towels.
It’s easy to be discontent. I get it.
But today, I choose to lay it down…
I invite people over, which makes me clean like a mad woman and stay on top of things that would normally slide by and pile up. Those people I invite over…they’re the ones who don’t care how gorgeous your tile, is or how many leaves or towels are on your brick patio. They don’t care about your light fixtures or counter top surface or fancy anything.
Know what they care about? What every person cares about when they walk into a home?
They care about the smells…of your favorite candle burning, or the food cooking in the oven. They care about the beautiful artwork that your friends or your kids have made for you that you proudly display in your dining room. They care about the music playing and the sounds of little feet and voices that echo off the walls. They care about the savory tastes of the food and the wine that you’ve served them. They care about the 1960s feather sofa that you’ve recovered three times, that absolutely swallows you whole and makes you want to cuddle.
They care how you’ve made them feel. They care that they were Invited. Included. Loved. They care that when they walk through the door, you haven’t apologized for what your house is not, but that you’ve been intrigued by them. You’ve seen them.
And it’s all worth it. And you feel grateful that you have a place that allows you to be a giver. That is what a home is. It is a bank of what you have to give. And it starts with the ones who live there.
I forget this part the most.
I had a dream of one day having a space that teaches people just like me how to love and nurture the home they’re in-the garden they’ve been planted in. That dream has come to fruition and I’m testing it out on guests and making plans for how it will work in the future…the pictures you see, are that space. My hope is that I could inspire you in any home and at any stage in life, to say, “It is well.”
PS: We think we’ll give the guests our big house and the kids and move in to this little dream spot we have above our garage, with the artwork from our best friends and the softest sheets and a candle that’s always burning and a kitchen that’s small so it requires eating out every night, yes?