We went to our most favorite place in the North Georgia Mountains this past weekend and it always makes me think about home. Not because I miss being at home (though as a homebody that is always a thing) but because the house we stay at feels like home. Not because we have any ownership or have done any work or made any decision over it. But when you pull in the driveway, the feeling of being home is undeniable.
Part of it is the sweet, people who own the house… their spirit of generosity and hospitality is present even when they’re not. It’s a second home but they’ve created an atmosphere that is more welcoming than you can find anywhere. I think most of it is just who they are, but I also think there are some key ideas we can apply to our own homes.
- Generosity: I honestly don’t think that if I had a beautiful home in the mountains, I would be so generous with it. They are the most welcoming, hospitable hosts and I have never been there with them. That says a lot. You can really tell that the more others enjoy their home, the more they do as well. Y’all. That’s huge. What if we looked at our own homes that way. We have a chance to practice that same level of generosity and hospitality to the people we serve within the walls of our own homes daily. Whether it’s meeting simple needs, finding ways to serve or host, our homes can be tools of generosity. Isn’t that beautiful?
- Meaning: Some of the things have not changed in this house in the 20 years since they built it but it is the most beautiful place and I think it’s because there is nothing tied to a trend but everything carries meaning and beauty. Family art, collected items from travel, quilts and blankets ready to keep you cozy. It’s not just a design, it’s a feeling that carries through every square inch. Now it takes a long time to achieve this but we can think of how out thoughtful layers at home can add up over the years to something more special and magical than any perfect, trendy look.
Expectation: We all want our homes to serve us and others well. That is really what they are there for but I think the key is expecting those needs and this family does it so well. They’ve stocked their home with everything you could need. Tiny bathroom toiletries, all the kitchen supplies, instructions by the coffee maker because it works a little differently than most, extra supplies for everything. We can do really do the same. Be sure there are guest towels and extra supplies in easy view in the bathroom, drinks easy to get to (and permission to grab what you need from the fridge at anytime) books and snacks and overall the permission to genuinely be at home. That permission is rarely given verbally but a feeling that you pass on to anyone who enters.
- Simplicity: No one could call this home “simple” but simplicity can mean something very different. Everything has a purpose and a place. There is just enough of anything you need and plenty of room to breath. Blankets to grab, supplies for anything you might need to do, but no worries about how it all works or what to do. The house breathes peace and tranquilly. Now we will all have days at our everyday homes where there is too much laundry, too many dishes, and just too much but taking lessons from how this home works can still help us. What are the extras we find ourselves juggling that rob us of that peaceful feeling? Are our cabinets busting with one thing but we seem to always be searching for more of something else. I think simplicity is really a way to achieve balance in our homes that will trickle down to balance in our everyday lives.
I’ve been going to this house for nearly 15 years and the feeling of home only gets stronger and stronger each time. It refreshes and inspires me and all those who enter. Goodness, isn’t that a good goal for home too… to refresh and inspire all who enter. Our homes are such a gift and it’s a sacred task to think about how that can be a gift to others too.