A week and a half ago, I ended my three-year journey in my first “home of my own” – what I affectionately had termed “The Wee Little Nestie.” They were a beautiful three years as I stepped out on my own away from my parents’ home for the first time and experienced my first three years of teaching at the same time.
That sweet little apartment was the place where I first learned what it meant to create a home that I loved – a home that expressed who I was – and a home that was a place for God to teach me His goodness and faithfulness while living alone.
I loved the tree outside my dining room bay window and taking pictures of it in all its beautiful seasons (I am so like Anne in how trees become friends!).
I loved my dining room in general – especially eating breakfast while the sun rose and flooded it with light.
I loved slowly accumulating decorations and making its personality shine … I loved decorating for Christmas and coming home to plug in the lights and be surrounded by cozy sights and smells.
I loved the grounds of my apartment complex – how well they were kept up, how there was a little fountain and bridge just across the way, and how there were so many rustling trees around the three-story buildings with green shutters.
But more than anything, I loved having people over. The baking night my first summer there (and learning that when you run out of mixing bowls, a trifle dish will also do the trick!) … the Anne tea party with Sarah and Hailey and Maddie … hosting family when the wind storm hit (including Thanksgiving dinner!) … the Valentine’s movie night with the Whitworth girls where we watched The Holiday … movie nights with Lisa, Emily, Jessica, Christina, Molly, Lauren, and Nikki … sleepovers with friends and nieces … decorating the tree and having an “Office” marathon in our onesies with Molly & Renee … having a hot chocolate party for my birthday … and so many other moments of sharing a cup of tea with a friend who stopped by for an hour or two of conversation.
I think I accomplished my goal of creating the home I’d always wanted to create – a haven, a beacon of safety, a cozy and comforting place. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but it was a place I always looked forward to coming home to – a place where I could rest my tired feet and weary soul when the world had taken the wind out of my sails.
And now it’s time to do the same – only now in a darling little house with a dear friend for a roommate! We have yet to name our little cottage, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something suitable for a house with so much charm and character.
It amazes me that this house has sat here since 1910 … that it has existed on this street for one hundred and seven years. When I stop to think of the 107+ stories that must be held in its walls, I am fascinated – and just as eager to contribute to its history. I love thinking about the hundreds of conversations that will be held here – the laughter that will ring out – the tears shed – the memories made – all the joy of living packed into its welcoming arms.
I remember what I discovered when I lived on campus in a minute dorm room with concrete walls – that any place can be made a home through the love of the people living there and the expressions of their loves and interests. The home takes on the personality of its inhabitants and whispers that to all who enter. It doesn’t matter how big or small the place is – how modern or vintage it might be – how flashy or stoic the façade is – because at the end of the day, if there’s a candle to light, a comfy couch to curl up on, and a mug of tea to wrap your hands around – it’s a place worth calling home.
And I’m pretty sure that between Nikki and I – two tea-loving, adventuresome travelers and writers who love working with kids – this cottage will have more than enough personality and love to give away.
Here’s to new adventures, new experiences, and new ways of discovering all of God’s grace and faithfulness. He is eternally worthy to be praised.