photo by: Shirley/Oklahoma/May 2009
"Love Lives Here"
originally written 10 Oct 10
posted 30 Dec 10
Those who are familiar with Tolkien’s Middle Earth
will understand this introduction best.  : )
I have long wished for my home to mirror the elegance of Tolkien’s Rivendell (home of the elves) but my reality is more like Bilbo’s Bag End home…
piles of books and papers, a bit too much clutter, and since I am without a gardener named Samwise, I also have weeds in my flowerbed.  ; )

Since moving to our current home,
I have struggled with the expectations of others
(as well as my own) of how our home should appear.
It’s all too easy to fall into a trap of false expectations
that cripple one’s ability to open their homes and hearts to others.
I know in my head and heart that a home’s appearance
is not as important as it’s “feel.”
Can our family feel comfortable and loved in this place?
Can our guests feel comfortable and warmly welcomed?

As hard as anyone can work, the reality is
that physical perfection is always temporary.
Laundry, dishes, cleaning…all are an endless cycle in this life we live.
Plants & flowers grow and decay.
Some homes that were once immaculately kept now lay in unwanted ruins.

There are only 24hrs in each day…
and never enough time for all that we wish to experience.

When I look back on the homes I’ve visited/experienced,
it is not the “magazine worthy” decorated ones that spoke love the loudest.

Too much “stuff” has been gathered 
n an effort to maintain décor in our nomadic lifestyle.
The result is a weighty feeling of being overwhelmed.
God offers freedom in His Love…
what we receive from Him and what we are expected to share with others.

We can’t focus on love if we are distracted
by maintaining masks of perfection.
Let it go
Who cares if your bed isn’t made?
Who cares if there are weeds in your flowerbed?
Who truly cares if your trees aren’t perfectly manicured?
Do we want homes known for splendor or homes known for love?
Some can manage both…but most of us don’t have enough time
for all that is required…one often has to give way to the other.

As has often been the case for our entire military journey,
I feel more like a caretaker of this house than one
who will live in it the rest of our days.
I desire to take care of the place but I no longer
want this lack of meeting false expectations of perfection
to hold me back from opening my home to others.

I live in a unique house.  I live in a safe neighborhood.
I was once told that where we live…we have a standard to “live up to.”
I rebelled against that idea.
I grew up a poor city girl in WV, ridiculed by peers because I didn’t have
the right brand name on my butt. Brand names have always irritated me…
so I typically avoid them as well as other symbols of “status.”
To be told that I live in a neighborhood where
I had to fit a certain model of perfection irritated me.

My home has never been perfect.
It HAS been better…before I had children…
before I started writing…but it has never been magazine-worthy.
As much as a rebelled against that stereotype
thrust upon me with a few careless words,
I also unknowingly embraced it.
I felt that my house had to be perfect before it could be open.
I see now that is a lie.
For almost 3 years we have lived here and perfection has not been reached.  Paper piles still multiply like bunnies.  There are weeds in my flowerbeds…again.  The landscaping is not perfectly trimmed…
although we have gotten better at maintaining the height of the grass.  ; )
I have been hindered by a standard of perfection we cannot reach on our own
(and because of other goals that rightfully took priority,
could not pay someone else to do it).

Yesterday we had another party with our boys and some of their friends.
I was reminded that I LOVE having people over…
feeding them…hearing them laugh…listening to their stories…
hopefully making them feel welcome and loved.
This morning it hit me that the perfection is not important…the love is.
When I die do I want people to remark about how beautifully decorated
and maintained my house was?  Honestly? 
No, I wouldn’t care about such a temporary goal.
What I want is to have people know that “love lived here”
because Love is eternal.

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things,
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:31-33

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13

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