Is your home simply a place to live or is it more than that to you? By the time I was 18, I’d moved 83 times. During my coaching certification as an adult, one of the exercises we were asked to complete included drawing a picture of the home we grew up in and describing the lessons we learned in each room. I’ll never forget the feeling of such deep hurt when the instructor asked us to do this. It made me feel angry, sad, and picked on that they assumed we had all had a home.
Finally, when I was 25, I bought my first home and started to create what I wanted my kids to know their home as and what having a home should feel like. After a couple years getting my home just right, I decided to sell it so Greg and I could buy a much bigger home for our family that gave us 24 ½ years of joy. Together, we worked hard so our kids could grow up in the home I had always dreamed of. Was it big and beautiful? Sure, but that’s never what mattered to me. What mattered to me was living in a home that was filled with warmth and love where all felt welcome.
Throughout time, our home was a place where we welcomed many others for an evening, a week, a month, or an entire summer. To those in our lives, our home was a place to gather for fun and to celebrate one another. It was a place to pray and mourn together after the loss of a loved one. Alas, our house had not just become a home for us, it had become a home for many.
Over the last 24 ½ years, Greg and I calculated we’ve had over 4,000 guests gather in our home for more occasions than we can count. During these many years we’ve been blessed by our home and feel so grateful for all those who felt blessed by it as well. Our home was never perfect or fancy, it was lived in and it was welcoming. It was everything I had ever hoped it would be plus more.
During the last three months as we prepared to sell our home, it was very bittersweet. It was a tough decision to navigate, especially as others tried to tell us how to feel or questioned why we would sell now. In the end, it all came down to being the perfect time for us to share our beautiful home with another family. With our kids fully grown and onto the next chapter in their lives, it was time for us to start our next chapter, too.
For the moment, we’ve decided to spend a year renting an apartment that overlooks a beautiful cornfield. Now that we’ve taken this next step, life feels simpler, slower, and more peaceful. It’s my hope to visit many friends and celebrate with them in their homes over the next year as we now have a quarter of our previous space available to gather.
Reflecting on the recent sale of our home, my heart is filled with gratitude knowing that I learned what a home feels like and was able to raise my kids in a home filled with so many wonderful memories. I’m happy that our home was a place my mom and siblings could gather to create new memories together as adults. I’m blessed that our kids grew up in a stable and secure home that always had enough food and a safe place to sleep. While I’ll miss our big fires and holiday gatherings, my heart will always hold the beautiful memories we made.
This week, I encourage you to consider what a home is to you and if your current home reflects all that you want it to be for yourself, your family, and others. When the time comes for us to welcome others back into our homes, I hope that yours is everything you’ve dreamed of and more! What does living your exceptional life look like to you? What does HOME mean to you?
Whose home has had the biggest impact on your life? Why?Let Annie know your plan!What lessons are you teaching in your home? Which ones do you hope others will remember?