Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Dennis and I don't spend a lot of time on "home improvement" projects unless we really have to. We were thinking about getting a "fixer upper" when we moved to Lansing, but steered ourselves away from having to work on endless projects that would take time away from what we really wanted to invest our time in. We painted a few rooms--our living room into a cozy red, and the family room a light vanilla.

As for furniture, most of our stuff is garage sale deals or second hand. Every few years, we might add something. We like to blend old with new. It's a gradual thing.

I make the lion's share of decisions of how to decorate. Dennis has a few requirements, but he leaves most of it up to me. As a woman, my environment tends to be an expression of my personality and tastes. And as a woman, I face the temptation of making my environment be an indicator of my self worth.

The essence of a home is not how it appears. You might have the finest decor, but it doesn't matter if there is no love there. The heart of a home is how the residents treat each other. People focus how inviting the great room is or how luxurious a master suite is, as though their lives depended on it but neglect to serve each other or listen to each other.

As women, we have an eye out for magazine covers, perusing Pottery Barn catalogues, watching HGTV, and Martha Stewart tv programs. But there is a difference between interior design and making a home. For me, home is a retreat, a refuge not just for the occupants but also for our guests. I like a feeling of intimacy and a warm and comfortable spirit in my home. Yes, a great home involves what you see, hear, touch and smell, but it also is made up of things that you can't sense physically but what you can sense spiritually. That not only are you welcome but you also belong here. That there is history of something intangible but vital occuring under this roof. That God resides here with you. That prayer occurs often here. That restfulness and nurturing occurs often here. That there is a glimpse of our home in heaven somehow occurring here.

You can't buy these things. You won't find them on the internet. And they have to be experienced in relationships to be known, and a heavy investment of time is required.

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