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I stared at my home one last time as I fluffed the pillows on the couch, anxiously waiting.
My social worker was ten minutes late for my home study and my nerves were extremely frayed. I had so many worries and mixed thoughts. Was this a space that a child could call home? Did my home give a warm and inviting feel?
I tucked in the kitchen chair when I saw her car come up the street. Smiling, I greeted her and proceeded to show her my home.
Let me tell you something. There is nothing, nothing, more vulnerable than having a complete stranger come in your home and analyze it and your life in a few short visits. The fate of my status of motherhood and the fate of my future children rested in her hands.
She sat in my living room and idly chatted with me as she snacked on the cookies I had just pulled out of the oven. We talked about the view, the backyard and what I did when I spent time at home.
Before I knew it, she was headed out the door singing praises of my home and myself. And just like that, the tension poured out of my body and out the door.
As I turned around I was able to see my home without criticism and worry. And I saw what a beautiful home I have.
I was finally able to just relax and kick up my feet. (Yes, they’re totally resting on my giant adoption binder.)
It was in these moments that I was able to breathe again. To appreciate the little things that God had given me, and the huge blessings He had dropped in my lap.
It was in this reflection that I really had to question myself:
what has made this house into a home?
You see, when I moved into this house, it was definitely not a home. The walls of the house were barn red and forest green. There was very little light throughout the home. And there was very little warmth.
A few coats of paint, plenty of throw blankets, some soft lights, and a well-worn chair have definitely helped me in feeling like this is home. But we all know that’s not what it is.
If you look in the picture with my feet up, you’ll notice the feature wall in my living room. It is filled with pictures of the family God has blessed me within the last year. Not the people I was born to, but the people who love me. The two signs on the wall say: “Together we make a family.” and “Nest. noun, 1. A snug and comfortable, or cozy residence or situation; a retreat, or place of habitual resort.”
I have tried so hard to make my home a place of comfort for the people who spend time there. And now as I prepare to welcome my son to his first ever home in his four years of life, I have so many questions on how to make this house a wonderful home for him.
I would like to share with you some easy ways that we can make our houses into homes for those we love, and those yet to come.
Set an atmosphere of peace.
While furnishings and paint aren’t all that makes a home, they definitely help in setting the atmosphere. Find well-loved, but comfortable furnishings for my home makes relaxing at the end of the day something to look forward too.
If we look at how my home looked when I moved in, vs. how it looks now I would say there is definitely a difference and an atmosphere of home.
I would like to add that this wasn’t something that happened overnight. This happened a little bit at a time here and there. A $50 couch from FB Marketplace, an old chair from my parents, and two sticks to make the most meaningful symbol my home could hold. And little by little, my house became more of a home. But that isn’t all that makes it a home.
Make Space for Memories
One thing that has really been laid on my heart, is that my home can easily become a space for chaos and frustration. And how that tension can easily change the atmosphere of my home. Even knowing that there will be hard moments, and there already have been many hard moments in this home, the important thing is that my family knows even through the hard moments that this is a space for love and kindness.
This is a place where memories have been made, where adventures have taken place in the great expanse behind the house, and where many more memories have the ability to grow and flourish.
While my son may have many tantrums, and be very scared (and I won’t blame him, I would be too.) I know that if I continue to keep myself and my emotions in check and follow the Good Book, then I can continue to provide an atmosphere of support and protection for my son in any stage of life.
Because I know that after weathering storms that there is always that promise of a rainbow. God wants us to take time to treasure our loved ones for as long or as little as we have them. So instead of focusing on the chaos and the frustrations of life, I want to choose to focus on the simple things in life and the memories that are waiting to be made.
Create a Foundation
I want to leave you with this sweet poem by Annette R. Hershey called My Foundation (source):
This structure is very special.
It means the world to me.
It began on a strong foundation,
A very secure place to be.
When I have been threatened,
It has sheltered me from the storm.
Individual bricks placed by loving hands
Make up this solid form.
The walls echo with sounds of laughter,
The decor shows signs of wear.
Warmth emits from every room,
Reminiscence events for us to share.
My parents are my foundation.
They mean the world to me.
The structure is our family,
A very secure place to be.
What can you do today to start making your home a place of love and kindness?