Coming home from vacation was kinda hard. Our time at the beach with the kids was laid back with lots of time to talk and hang out. At the end of the week it was hard to leave the kids. The week was too short.
The house we stayed in was nice, but in my opinion it lacked several things that make a house homey—thick towels (nothing fancy—new towels from Target will do), furniture that isn’t too worn out, and plenty of lighting (even Florida has cloudy days and nighttime). I thought about this a lot on the way home. The urge to make our house more homey and make every day in our home a celebration of life grew in me as we drove home.
Once home I came up with a few simple ways I can make our house more homey this summer.
Garden/Compost—If you live next door to me, you know what a sad state our garden is in. Every year I vow to plant a garden and take care of it. Every year I plant something or maybe enough volunteer plants from the compost pile grow to count as a garden. Two years ago when we hosted Katie and Joe’s wedding in our backyard we made the garden plot a flowering beauty. But most years our compost pile lies naked, attracting flies. Other priorities keep me from watering it and weeding it the so-called garden.
After enjoying the fresh produce of the South on vacation, I vowed to grow my own even if it wouldn’t be ready to harvest until October! Gene caught my enthusiasm and built a beautiful compost box. It has wide wood slats with a door on the side and the top. It looks like a piece of furniture in our garden. As soon as we arrived home I planted several plants of watermelon, cucumber, broccoli, and cabbage. Pumpkins had already started to grow from the remnants of last Thanksgiving’s pumpkin chunkin’ contest. We mulched the garden with grass clippings (just like my neighbor who always has an amazing garden!). It is neat and orderly!
New Recipes—I have two recipe books that I am working my way through. The first is The Lost Kitchen Cookbook. The author Erin French has a wonderful story of second chances that she shares throughout the book. Her recipes are ingredient-driven as is her restaurant, The Lost Kitchen, in Freedom, Maine. I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, eating there would be on it.
The second cookbook is the Magnolia Table cookbook by Joanna Gaines. Joanna takes comfort food to a new level. She shares family recipes, many of which she has made her own. Both authors share a love of feeding the people they love and others as well. I share that love too.
For Fathers’ Day I want to try the steak recipe from TLK Cookbook and the Potato Gratin Mini Stacks from the Magnolia Table cookbook. I’ll be sure to share the pictures with you next week.
Taking care of what we have. I think much of what makes a house homey is taking care of what we already have. Gene mows the yard and the making-it-pretty chore is mine. This summer I am making it a priority to keep the plants watered and garden weeded. In the house I am more intentional to put things away instead of letting the clutter collect until cleaning day. Doing these two things alone will keep our home pretty and company ready any time.
I don’t do any of these things to the point of perfection or being a slave to my home or yard. If you drove by my house you would probably think I don’t see anything special.
The reason I do these things is twofold. One reason is it fills my soul in a way I cannot explain. It simply makes me happy. Another reason is it makes our place (what my grandma used to call one’s home and property) welcoming to all who visit. And that also fills my soul in a way I cannot explain.
Every season of my life has not allowed me the time to give the attention to the details of our home the way I can this summer. I am thankful I have the time and opportunity this summer.
After working on my personal mission statement, I see that making our house homey is one way I share the love of Christ with everyone who comes through our door.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.