Four small children and two tired adults live in my fairly small 1970s tri-level house.
We got it through a miracle (thank you St. Jude!) and are the happiest little family because our church and school is a 6-minute walk away. Since I’m perpetually late to everything, it really helps to be super close to the campus where I spend 80% of my waking time.
When the miracle of getting our house happened, another miracle occurred not too long after that allowed us to completely re-landscape our backyard. We promised each other and God, and St. Jude our intercessor, that we would always open the doors of our home and use it for good for the people of God. The day they poured the concrete on our beautiful back patio we carved a little “+JMJ” into the cement to always remind us of the one who gave us this gift and the holy family we aspire to be.
We have hosted countless gatherings, dinners, parties and an annual Pentecost bonfire in our backyard that last year gathered 150 of our closest friends and neighbors.
Fast forward 6 years later and we just finished a 14 month major renovation that included a new and very beautiful master bathroom (invest in a rain shower, you’ll never regret it!), a beautiful walk-in pantry, the most perfect French toile wallpapered main floor powder room (for all those guests at all those gatherings) and a mudroom worthy of holding all the coats and boots and hats and gloves that naturally accompany small children.
I rearranged a few things in my house as a result of the changing space and ended up with; now try not to scream… a white sofa in my living room. It goes absolutely perfectly with; now try not to scream again… my two matching antique Victorian silk pink armchairs. (Think Versailles, seriously. They’re fabulous and were a gift from a dear friend.)
Now, I know what you’re thinking. How am I going to get the ketchup off the white couch when a child inevitably walks in there and uses it as a napkin? Does crayon come out of pink silk? And the answer is that it mostly does with enough gentle blotting.
I know it seems stressful but honestly, the beauty is worth it.
Having a small space in my home that is truly beautiful is the difference between being grumpy and being grateful. Reading or even just resting for a few moments in the living room is an instant mood lifter. Anytime I’m feeling blah I just take a few moments and lock myself in the powder room and remind myself that there is some order in my home, chaos does not exist in this powder room!
I was listening to a podcast recently and the woman was talking about beauty and art and why it matters and why it’s worth it.
She was talking about how it’s okay to move away from everything being practical. She said they didn’t build cathedrals because they were practical, they built them because it was a way to draw our minds closer to the mystery and the beauty of Christ.
I wanted to clap when she said we were not made for practical, we were made for glory! Amen!
Making my home beautiful inspires me to invite more people over and encourages me to constantly have an open door for friends and neighbors. And most importantly, it reminds me to be grateful for the many blessings in my life and to seek and recognize God’s glory, goodness and beauty in all things— from wallpaper to friendship.