Today's post was written by my youngest sister Emily, who is lovely, talented, and generous, lives about 1000 miles too far away from me, and blogs too sporadically at The Only True Adventure. I'm so excited to share her thoughts with you today as part of my Why Make Beautiful Things series!
Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.
Beauty can be found everywhere, even in unexpected places.
I have found myself in many unexpected places over the course of the last couple of years. Marrying a military man will do that to the plans you have for your life.
Growing up on a farm, home was always a steady comfort. Farms can’t up and move one day to the next, and so I had the beautiful childhood most only dream of right in the same house that my parents brought me home to from the hospital. Fireflies in the summer, sledding in the winter. Familiar quirks of an over century-old farm house were wonderfully predicable (top stair on the 2nd floor squeaks if you don’t want to wake dad up). Our house was always there to welcome me home when I returned.
When Luke and I got married, I knew that for the first time “home” was going to become a fluid term, and one that was certainly not on my terms. You know the old adage, “Home is where the heart is.” Well, we have our own – “Home is where the Army sends us.” Within the first ten months of marriage, I moved twice and Luke moved three times. We have lived along the southwest edge of the Chattahoochee River in Georgia and now at the base of the Front Range Rockies in Colorado. Both very different, both beautiful in their own way.
For each new station, we have chosen to live on post in military quarters. Army housing is probably better than what you’d imagine it to be, but it’s a far cry from HGTV’s standards. White walls, tile floor, and a cookie-cutter layout make creativity a necessity if you don’t want to accidentally walk into your neighbor’s house and make yourself a cup of tea before you realize your mistake. For this reason, I have tried my best to make our house feel like “home,” even if it’s only home for a few short years.
In bachelorhood, Luke had a bunk bed, hand-me-down desk, and a duffle bag worth of civilian clothes to his name. I’m pretty sure he thought I was crazy when I suggested that we needed more than a folding table for our dining room set, let alone hanging hand-painted creations on the walls. But with time and the patience that only newlyweds can hold for one another, we have arranged and rearranged, bought everything from couches to coffee cups, and drilled into drywall like we owned the place. Luke is actually more surprised when he comes home from a few weeks in the field if I haven’t moved furniture or hung something new. It’s an ever-developing process.
Now, with my new home set up, I only had to sit back and wait for the friends to fill it. There have been times where that wait has been longer than others, but the friends I have made have always seemed to be worth the wait. I have met some amazing ladies and their families on this military adventure, who have taught me what true sacrifice, love, and compassion look like every day.
Before I became a military spouse, I always felt like home was where you could escape from the world (and spend the day in pajamas, of course). There are some days I still feel that way, but more and more, I am seeing how beautiful it is to open up your home to others. When you bring someone into your home, it’s an invitation into your life, the sacred space you share with the ones you love most in the world. It is the literal doorway to new, intimate friendships.
The friendships I have made within this community are unlike any other. If military spouses know one thing, it’s the need to reach out to others. All of us have been new in town before, and have needed to build life from the ground up, including our homes and friendships. When our parents and siblings are often times far away, we quite literally become family to one another– we trade babysitting for coffee dates, bring over dinner for when the day has been too long, and have each other on speed dial for good or bad news alike. Most of these relationships started with a simple invitation into our homes - to coffee, dinner, or for a plate of brownies in a gesture of welcome.
Having a beautiful home does not always mean filling your walls with DIY projects or the latest magazine trends. I’ve found there is a lot of beauty in having friendships where the sink full of dishes and baskets of laundry on the couch don’t hinder inviting people over. Never be afraid to bring someone into your “mess” – it’s your life! When I feel like my house is too messy for company, I always remind myself that if I dropped by to see a friend in her home, I wouldn’t care if the floors had been swept or not. I’m just happy she’s hosting me! Hospitality comes in many forms, and is always a true gift we can give to one another.
Creating a home that is warm and welcoming is an attitude of the heart. Our physical homes are merely the manifestations of the hospitality that first starts within us. Through my journey as a newlywed military wife, I have redefined what home means to me. From that experience, I know that the beauty of hospitality that I see in others and the beauty I want them to see in me should be rooted not in location, but in love.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Why Make Beautiful Things week.
-Read my thoughts on the seven reasons why making things beautiful matters here.
-Visit this post to see pictures of the beautiful and fun vintage dresses (which used to belong to my Granny!) that I have been wearing this spring.
-Friday, Steph will write about the importance of taking, printing, and displaying beautiful family photos.
-AND on Sunday, I'll be hosting a special giveaway with seven beautiful items that I know you are going to love from Kayla Phillips Design, Steph Zimmerman Photography, and [un]common workbasket. You don't want to miss it!