Sunday, December 17, 2017

welcome home ~ christmas version

Keeping up with the Joneses...  What's trending now...   Living that life would totally wear me out. I can fully and completely admire what someone else has done with their place, but it's not my motivation for what we "have" to do with ours.  Instead, I want to feel warm and at ease in my space, and that may or not look like the Pinterest prize or Insta image of all time.  More than likely, it doesn't.  And it is so, so hard to accept that for so many of us.  Me included.  

At the end of the day, I want our home to hug us when we walk in, and I - more than anything - want others to feel the same way.     

A favorite author of mine has within her some marvelous quotes.  Shauna Niequist in The Power of the Living Room and Present Over Perfect says,

"The heart of hospitality is when people leave your home they should feel better about themselves, not better about you."

Wow.  Now that should be our motivator.

Keeping that in mind, this year, I totally embraced decorating our front porch.  I didn't scour the internet for the top hits for decorating (although that can be so fun sometimes!).  I just wanted to do something that encouraged a smile or that "hug" for those who walk by.  I wanted to make it in such a way that when the front wheels of our car hit the driveway in the evening, I couldn't help but smile.  I really wanted to pull together a few things that said nothing more than, "Welcome. You. Are. Home."  My favorite place.

For us, it's a happy sight in the day, and in the evening, it is cozy and slightly illuminated, with a soft spotlight from the yard and a simple strand of white lights around the doorframe.  There isn't a single thing up there purchased within the last several years.  The garland and wreaths we've had forever.  The hall tree we purchased from Big Lots about 15 years ago - it was once cream and I painted it shortly after we moved to this house.  The dry sink is one of my favorite finds from a tiny roadside junk store in Southern Indiana about seven or eight years ago.  John chopped a bunch of wood from trees we removed a while back, so that's been fun to see the sink full of nature.  We got the sled last year from John's home... a really sweet reminder of his childhood.  And speaking of childhood, the chalkboard was part of the boys' art easel they had as little ones.  Could cry now, thinking about them standing at it as two- and four-year-olds.   

I don't want to see this season move too fast.  When I am feeling the desire to decorate, I definitely find I desire it most this time of year.  It's just comfy.  Wood and greenery have been our favorites since we married, and that's always easy during Winter months.  But I also want this season to move a bit slower so we can.  In a way, these next few weeks force us to sit more closely, a little longer, even a little quieter.  I want to be in others' homes and them in ours.  I want to feel welcome and I long to welcome others.  So, I encourage all of us:  Don't just keep up with the Jones's.  Invite the Jones's.  And rather than putting all of our energy in being like everyone else, and then posting about it, let's do everything we can to ensure those we do host feel really good about themselves when they leave our homes.  In the end, that's bound to swell our own hearts in return, and way more than 1,000 likes ever could.

Happy Hosting,