What does “home” mean to you?

As I sit here enjoying the late-afternoon glow on the red cliffs and shimmering golden leaves outside my window with the sound of the kids happily playing downstairs, I feel a strong sense of “home.” Beauty and peace and harmony – that’s home (in a good moment like this one).

I felt “home” last week as we carved pumpkins out on the balcony – same place, same people one year older, different pumpkin designs, gradually-increasing carving abilities in the kids, same expressions of grossness combined with glee as little hands pull out pumpkin guts, same excitement, same frustrations here and there with how long parts of the process take and how many little people need help simultaneously, same sense of awe and accomplishment when the finished jack-o-lanterns are lit and we all stand back to admire them. And when the kids all stood on the front steps in their Halloween costumes before setting out to trick-or-treat – same place they’ve stood for Halloween photos for 4 years now – that was “home” too. And there are so many “home” things that tie us together and to this place around Christmas – don’t even get me started. Traditions that have a location attached to them, that just feel so “right” when they’re reenacted year after year with the same backdrop and props – that’s home.

As I turn and tuck my skewampus-sleeping kids under their covers each night and kiss their soft cheeks and admire their peaceful faces – that’s home.

It’s “home” when we sit around the dinner table talking about our days and enduring plenty of interruptions and frustrations along with lots of moments of real learning and connection as the kids learn to carry on a conversation and reflect on what happened that day.

When I read to the kids and we’re all snuggled on the couch – that’s home.

It’s “home” when we hear the garage door open when Jared’s getting home from work and all the kids gleefully run to greet him. Greeting and saying goodbye – “home” is a lot about these things.

I’ve had these thoughts on my mind because my parents just rented out the home where I’ve lived off and on since I was 4 years old. I remember the day we moved into that house. Mom and Dad got us the rare treat of a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner and we had a picnic on the hideous pink carpet in the living room of that house. They told us kids that we could wipe greasy hands on that carpet and the matching pink drapes because they’d be ripped out as soon as possible to expose the great views from the windows and nice hardwood floors under that carpet. Little did they know how much would end up being exposed by us all as we lived in that house! Thirty-five years later, that house is brimming with our best and hardest moments and memories. My youngest sister, Charity, wrote this great blog post about the house where we grew up – the none-too-fancy, often way-overcrowded, usually quite messy but always beloved “J.B. Mopeltel” (somehow I came up with that name for our house as a 4 year old and it stuck). To understand more about what “home” can mean, read Charity’s blog post here:

http://drippingwithpassion.blogspot.com/2009/10/ode-to-house.html

All of this makes me think about what will feel like “home” to my kids as they look back on their growing-up years. It makes me value a sense of place – but also realize that “home” can and really should be memories and people and feelings more than it should be any one place.

Question: Anyone want to share what “home” means to you???

Challenge: To discover new ways to make your house a “home.”

*Photo by Simon Howden at www.freedigitalphotos.net

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