What family and home mean

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.” ~ Sarah Dessen, What Happened To Goodbye

Today I read and loved Emilys post, How To Make a House Into a Home. It made me think about what “home” really means.

For me, home is about my family – those beautiful, spiritually gifted, intelligent, talented, hilarious, wonderful, and, yes at times, totally frustrating, people, who God so generously blessed me with to make me grow up and be more. 

Our family
Left to right: oldest daughter Heather, me, youngest daughter Leah, Ray, and middle daughter Eden

 

Our grandchildren: Eden's son Jacob, Heather's daughters Annabelle and Violet
Our precious grandchildren: Eden’s son Jacob; Heather’s daughters Annabelle and Violet

Home is also about the little things, like decorating the dining table with bright, cheery sunflowers that I got on sale at Price Chopper.

You only live once and I love sunflowers.

Sunflowers
Sunflowers

It’s also about the big things, like the birth of a baby sister or brother, a husband’s new job, a new move (right now we’re trying to buy our rental home and I’m praying we don’t have to move again!), a car accident where God protected your family, or a dream-come-true trip.

Home and family are at the forefront of my mind, since our youngest daughter Leah’s birthday is tomorrow. It’s so hard to believe she’s almost grown. It seems like yesterday she was a baby in a pink gown at the hospital. Ray loves to tell the story of how we “stole the pink gown from the hospital.” The hospital staff told us we couldn’t take the gown home as it belonged to the hospital to provide for new baby girls, but I loved seeing Leah in it – she was so cute! Ray said it would be okay and we packed it in my suitcase to take home. For years I felt so guilty about that pink gown and repented to God…but Ray loves to teasingly remind me every once in awhile.

Leah with violin
Leah with violin

I’m baking a yellow cake with chocolate frosting for Leah, and we have a couple of gifts for her (but this isn’t a spoiler post! I can’t say what they are yet!).

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting www.bakingthroughmsbh.files.wordpress.com-2010-03-slice1
Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
www.bakingthroughmsbh.files.wordpress.com-2010-03-slice1

I’ve always believed that everyone’s birthday should be a special day where that person’s life is especially celebrated. To know they are loved and their life has meaning and purpose.

I had a friend in elementary school named Angie, who told me her birthday was that week, but she’d never had a birthday party in her life. I could hardly believe this, as our family always celebrated birthdays and holidays. I told my mom this and we planned a surprise party for Angie with cake, ice cream, balloons, and a gift. She cried and was so touched by our love. 

Despite my dysfunctional family of origin, which I share about in my book, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love, this memory of what we did for Angie is one place I am revisting and dusting off to find a hidden gem.

Mother Father Son and Daughter (8-11) Having a Picnic and Chatting

Ideally, as Emily writes, “Family should be a safe place, a haven, a house of laughter. It should be unguarded and free, a refuge where Mom and Dad rejoice in their kids, and where the kids feel delighted in.”

That’s my desire for my family and home. 

“God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” ~ Psalm 68:6, NLT

I like Emily’s questions on her blog post and am going to re-post them here for you and me to think and journal about.

Feel free to leave your comments below.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

  1. What does “home” mean to you? Does it conjure up cozy feelings, or feelings of loneliness and isolation?
  2. Do you feel you’ve been homesick or homeless your whole life? Why/why not?
  3. Hospitality means helping someone to leave your house feeling better about themselves than when they came. How should we live, knowing this world is NOT in fact our home? How can we practice hospitality –in our daily lives, whether it’s at high school, college, in the business world or in a house– in a way that represents the kingdom of heaven?
  4. What do you picture when you think of heaven? Does it feel “homey”?
  5. Are you wanting to revisit the past and dust off places that “home” means to you? If not, why?

 

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