Prepare a Place

Have you ever been in the market for a new home? Our eldest is preparing to move into her very own apartment next month, and will be needing to start “adulting” soon… setting up bills, arranging for furniture and necessary appliances… like a coffee machine! Not to mention the budget balancing in order to pay for all those things! Things are about to get real!

I remember when we bought our first house. (It’s still the one we live in, so I guess it’s our only house!) My two requirements were: a big bay window and an “eat-in” kitchen. The house we bought had neither. Technically, there was a small table in our kitchen, and our original, large, living room aluminum window was eventually replaced with a bay window… but not the romantic window seat with throw pillows that I had imagined. But it’s our home. We’ve raised our kids here, and now the dog lives here, too, and eats the cushions that are left.

Photo by Harmen Jelle van Mourik on Unsplash

The hubby and I often swing into open houses, just for fun. One day, in the dead of winter, we toured a 5-car-garaged mansion with heated drive ways and a child’s walk in closet the size of our master bedroom. I’m sure the realtor guessed that we were well out of her league with our mis-matched winter woolies on and rosy-cheeked expressions, but she graciously showed us around the chef worthy kitchen with its fancy Italian granite counter tops and copper faucets in gold trim. We ooo’d and aww’d appropriately and told her we “would think about it”.

It’s fun to dream about your ideal dwelling place, isn’t it? I can spend hours on Pinterest designing a room, or scrolling through “” and seeing what is available in our price range (especially since Covid restrictions have limited drive by open houses). I love a good reno show where they take an old home and make it “new”. I particularly love century homes and the restoration of old wood beams and fine, spiral staircases with polished banisters….oooh, goosebumps! Homes with character — and a yard with a chicken coop! Gets my juices flowing, I tell ya!

Honestly, I am a terrible decorator. Mostly because I’m cheap and lazy, and although I love to spend the time looking… rarely does it filter down into our actual living space. These days, I’m lucky if the dishes get put away, let alone displayed in open shelving with antique brass fixtures. Occasionally, I am inspired, and do a few Insta-worthy tasks. Here are a few I posted about in the past: Hosting a Fall Brunch, Home Made Lovely, Christmas Oranges (Yes, I did finally make the garland!!) and How much is Too Much? If you follow along with my blogging journeys, I’m sure you will see more, as I tend to write about such things.

My latest collection of books for review included a devotional called A Place Called Heaven. And although I may not write a formal review for it, the first devotion had me musing about this very topic: preparing a place. God is currently preparing a place for me in Heaven. Can you imagine what it might look like? Spiral wood banisters with grand cathedral stained glass windows? Chicken coops in the backyard? Real adult coffee makers on standby for when St. Peter comes for a chat? But even more than that, what am I doing now to prepare for that place? For my eternal destination with the Creator of the Universe? Am I living day-to-day with hopes for the future in my heavenly dwelling? Who am I asking to share the journey with me? Serious questions to make me think.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”

John 14:2 (American Standard Version)

Home Made Lovely

“My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,

    in secure homes,

    in undisturbed places of rest.”

Isaiah 32:18

God wants us to be content and secure in our homes. Certainly, this involves so much more than the brick and mortar, or the knick knacks that aline our shelves, but those, too, have a place in the peace process. I cannot work in a cluttered workspace. Yet, my home has fallen short in this department on more than one occasion… especially as I have gotten older. Clutter has taken over and my “style” has reflected my attitudes of “tired” and “run-down”. Plus… I’m cheap. Depressingly so. We have been blessed with an adequate bank balance but I cringe every time I make a “frivolous” purchase. Could I make that cheaper? Could I get it second hand (even if we spend all the money we save on gas travelling to get it?) Do I really need that $10 candle even though our house smells of slightly skunked dog? It’s a funny little debate I have going on in my head… on one hand I crave the Fixer Upper farmhouse decor and the designing trends of HGTV, and on the other, I once again accept the 80’s hand-me-down furniture with hopes to refinish it into a more modern, shabby chic piece…someday. Am I alone in this conflict? Help a girl out… tell me you all struggle with this too!

I share this inner turmoil with you so you will see how delighted I was with one of this month’s books on my review list. Home Made Lovely by Shannon Acheson popped up in the early fall on some of my blogger-friend’s feeds and I instantly wanted to get my hands on it! Number one, the author is from Toronto, Canada! (which is important because her resources are accessible here, in Canada and don’t have to be shipped in from the US!) and she is a Christian decorator/entrepreneur (which means she balances her work with her faith). Let me tell you, the book did not disappoint! I read it from cover to cover. Yes, read her words, not just looked at the pretty pictures!

And there are pretty pictures. It’s a great coffee table type book, with a hard cover and thick pages… the kind of book you could give as a housewarming gift or wedding shower! Still, it was the balance of the book that I was impressed with. True to decorating do-it-yourself form, Acheson includes a 3-step decorating process on finding your style, looking at colour wheels and furniture layouts, but her book also includes being grateful for the home you have and sharing hospitality… no matter what the state of your home.

Chapter 3 is dedicated to well, dedication. Acheson shares how to fill your home with written scripture (with plenty of examples and resources!) as well as how to have a “house blessing”. The hubby and I did this for our current home, way back when we first purchased it, and I can tell you, we have seen God bless in our home, in our neighbourhood, and in the friends we have shared it with. It’s a pleasant addition to a “decorating book”.

Acheson shares her faith
and her tips! (photo: homemadelovely)

The final chapters include some easy-to-make recipes and some descriptions on the gift of hospitality… again balancing faith with creating pretty table displays. Honestly, it has me craving dinner parties and breakfast brunches with my neighbourhood ladies! (Stupid Covid-19 Pandemic!) Maybe I need to pull out the fancy dishes for the teenagers? Naaaah.

And so my friends, I’ve been candid with you on the state of my house before (see these posts: The Green Debate, If the Shoe Fits, or How Much is too Much? ) and you know enough about me to appreciate my, ahem, frugality, shall we say? But I am turning a new leaf! We had a new shower put in our basement recently (finally… thanks again to the pandemic!). It’s forced us to “touch up” some baseboards and molding… not to mention tackle the dust layer leftover from drywall sanding…maybe we should paint and think about guest soap… or try and achieve the spa look with teak tiles from Ikea (this is tip number 36 in the “75 budget decorating ideas” chapter!!). Yup, I’m inspired! Stay tuned … because the hubby just ran panic stricken at the thoughts of another home renovation. And I am sure decorating will lead to some interesting muses to write about. Join my in this adventure! (perhaps this is a good time to suggest signing up for my weekly muses via your email inbox??) Click here if you want to see me miserably fail at making my home lovely!