Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's a Haven, Not a Fortress

Gotta admit I was a bit intrigued when I came across the invitation to consider some Home Goals over at nesting place last week.  I've done quite a few posts on dealing with clutter and homekeeping along the way, but to me this challenge goes beyond that.  It's actually quite personal.

I've been mulling this whole idea over since then.  And these 3 goals have evolved.  I'm heading toward keeping them in the months ahead.  {And I think it's safe to say that my husband's on board!}

Our first home was right in the middle of the action.  It was small.  And we didn't care.  A week never went by without someone stopping in at some point - for coffee, soup, ice skating on the pond in the woods, a party, or after church on Sunday nights.  We had lots of friends and we loved having them over.

Along the way we chose to move way out in the middle of nowhere.  And subconsciously I began to make excuses why people wouldn't want to drop by.  "It's too far."  "It's out of the way for them."  "They won't want to use all their gas to come up and back."

And slowly but surely we stopped inviting people to spend time with us in our home. 

Sooner or later, I realized that if we asked them, they came.  Gratefully.  Oh, a few had reasons they couldn't come that seemed a bit lame.  But the point is that I stopped looking for excuses not to extend the invite.

Here's where we live.  And we'd love to have you come over for dessert.  An open house.  Dinner.  Brunch.  A meeting.  The weekend.

And it works.  And I want to do more of it this year.

About the time we moved way out in the middle of nowhere, I headed off to work and then back to school.  Many of the old friends had moved away.  We changed churches.  The girls were soon off to college, and I was busy heading into the next season of life.  I became stretched, stimulated, exhausted, and focused on homework/papers/projects/endless commuting.  Home became a quiet place, an escape away from the demands from the outside world. 

Drop-ins and invited guests dwindled to a trickle.  I loved the peace-filled, tranquil haven we had created, and even more so after the demands of ministry and counseling became a part of my life.  The boundaries I set were helpful, but they were too rigid.  The house became a fortress, keeping me safe from the craziness of life.

And we slowly became just a bit isolated ... kind of like a couple of hermits.  Things got a little lonely sometimes, even though my husband and I enjoy each other's company.  We'd reminisce about back-in-the-day when we had all those friends to share life with. 

Now we're making choices to share the restful haven that's evolved over the years with others.

We invite you here because we care about you and we enjoy your company.  Trust me, I'm fairly sure there's no way you'll be impressed with my culinary skills.  Or my possessions {most have come from garage sales or someone's attic along the way}.  And yes, there's a reason why the candles are lit - don't look at the dust!  Don't check out the kitchen floors!

We just don't care about those things.  We extend an invitation simply because we want to enjoy your companionship.  And think that maybe we can bless each other in some way.

Because in the end it's all about relationships.  Listening, loving, and serving each other well.

Oops ... gotta run.  Company's coming for dinner ... and I think something's burning in the oven!


  1. I grew up on the outskirts of a very small town and can totally relate the feelings you have about company. Hopefully you were able to save what was in the oven! A few blog friends and I introduced a new challenge idea Monday and it would be so fun if you want to join. If you have a second, check in at to learn more, and feel free to email me if you have any questions!
    Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

  2. Happily, the ham survived, the potato casserole didn't quite boil over ... a good time was had by all!

    Thanks for dropping by, Karah!

  3. I liked what you wrote and I agree with it.

  4. Wow Linda!! Have you been peeking in on my thoughts?? Haha... The same thing have been going on in my head also. Although some of the reasons for becoming a fortress are somewhat different. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Sheila Beggs

  5. I have a feeling that there's more than a few of us in this boat! And we're feeling some kind of desire for a change ...

    Thanks for sharing, "Nana"! {Sheila is Alexa and Brooke's other grandma ... and boy, is she a great one!}

  6. Popping over from the WLW blog hop! This was wonderfully said! I feel like you've pin pointed the matter precisely in defining the home as a place set aside to escape or a place of welcome. I grew up in a "fortress" and can hardly remember having guests in our home. Since marrying and having my own home, I decided that I would create the opposite in thinking of my space as being warm and welcoming to guests. However, I've had no guests! We've only been in our current town for about a year. However, our church and his job are both located elsewhere (30 min-1 hr away). Beyond those two entities, where do es one find friends? We know two couples from our previous town that have moved nearby. But, after multiple invites and multiple (lame) excuses from them, I'm ready to give up with them which leaves us back to having no one beyond ourselves. We'll be here another year and it feels much like we're hermits in a fortress, and that's exactly what I didn't want. Any ideas?

  7. Sounds like the doors you thought would be open have closed, Whitney. I'm wondering if God might have other doors that are waiting to be opened. Unmet neighbors, people in your local community?

    I'm wondering if there are people all around you who are dying of loneliness and would love an invite for a cup of coffee ... but are too scared/introverted/not confident enough to make the first move!

    Go for it! And let me know what happens!

  8. Just what I needed to hear!

  9. Yes! Let's toss all those crazy, stress-filled expectations we put on ourselves when it comes to opening our homes to others.

    Go ahead and have fun as you open your door and your heart, Kristin!



Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...


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