Updated: Jul 27
The holiday season has officially arrived. Pictures of towering Christmas trees, yuletide and evergreen mistletoe dangling above perfectly-arched doorways are flooding both television and computer screens alike. My heart swoons for such festivity and beauty. Gorgeous decorations. Spotless wooden floors. Glowing fireplaces. Garland trailing up hand-carved banisters.
Picture-perfect images. Images that in my life are simply not reality for our family. And that is just fine by me.
You see, sweet friends, we have totally and completely flipped our house. My husband is s.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y. the handiest man I know. No joke, and definitely no exaggeration. He has almost single-handedly turned this blank canvas of a pet-damaged property into a gorgeous living space we have grown to absolutely love. And let me tell you, living in a “reno” totally places perspective on the important versus insignificants needs in life. Doors. I have learned that sometimes, it’s better just not to have them. They are not a necessity, especially when stained with cat urine. Painted walls. We still have our upstairs hallway and bathroom yet to paint. Drywall repairs are visible with every step taken to the upper floor. But, colorful or not, they are walls that keep us warm and safe. We have a hole in our second bathroom closet. Due to exploring the possibility of a large master-bath remodel. But, do you want to know a secret? It just takes one little hand to shut off that blemish and close it off to the rest of the world.
Our fireplace is not in “working” condition and hasn’t been since we purchased our house. Our tree is not “real”. We have had more broken ornaments in the past two years than new ornaments coming in to replace them. Our walls are splattered with unanticipated artwork. Our house is not the picture-perfect, neat-and-tidy, movie-set-approved scene, aglow with holiday cheer. Toys are strewn in every place imaginable (and unimaginable). Dust bunnies are curled up under shelves and inside pantries.
And to be honest, friends, I have begrudgingly resorted to comparisons. Between what I see rolling through the movies and my computer screen to my own reality. Because, I just can’t keep it as organized as I would like for it to be. And if I were to sum it all up in two simple words: organized chaos. I know where e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. is, but to the outside eye, my method of madness would almost certainly not make sense.
I love our house. Although it took quite a while, it totally and completely feels like “home”. Despite one side of the dining room being used a storage center for an overflow of decorations, wall art yet to be hung and secret boxes waiting to be opened, then wrapped. And random piles of art projects scattered about. Even through the dog hair sprinkling the couches and television stand. It. feels. like. home. Our beautiful, scattered, warm and “loved” home.
Recently, I was brought full circle to an amazing life lesson. One that I have carried with me daily through this journey of “creating” our own home…regarding my measure. As a person. As a mother. As a wife. As a housekeeper. As a teacher. As a friend. And more.
I have learned, sweet friends, that…
My measure is not based on the décor, square-footage and grandeur of my home. But instead, on my willingness to open it up to others, with warm hospitality and cheer, despite the “mess” that may be visible to others.
My measure is not based on a glowing holiday fire, the perfectly placed Christmas decorations, or whether or not I burnt our annual batch of cookies. But instead, on my spirit remaining steadfast in the purpose of the season.
My measure is not based on the clothing I wear; the style, brand or cost. But instead, on my focus to let my heart, soul and personality remain as my best accessories, allowing me to shine from the inside, out.
My measure is not based on whether or not I show up in my Sunday best, every. single. weekend., in the pew of our church. But instead, that even when I do miss, I am still living my life as a dutiful, purposeful, accepting Christian woman. (Of course I would always love to be there, as would God so desire for me to as well, but with three little ones and occasional weekend work for my husband, sometimes, it doesn’t pan out…always a significant goal for myself and our family. But even more important? The way. I. live. my. life. in. His. name.)
Oh, and please do. not. get. me. wrong. In no way am I a perfect anything. Mother…wife…friend…a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. I am human. “Things” are fun to have. And I have more “things” than I should. I am a constant work-in-progress. Far from the potential I have yet to reach. But I am working. On opening my eyes more and more each day to the ways that I can give and exist that don’t place barriers in between my presence and my faith.
My measure is purely based on that which is tucked away in the deepest part of my heart. Engraved in my soul. That I strive to let pure light, joy and kindness spill from my own life into the existences of those around me. Whom I know, or perhaps do not know.
This post is part of ember grey’s Grateful Heart Mondays.