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January 22, 2019
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My brothers and I had a children’s book titled We Were Tired of Living In A House. It was my favorite. I used to read it to my younger brother repeatedly and imagine what living in a treehouse would be like. The story follows a group of children who decide one afternoon that they no longer want to live in a house. They pack their belongings and try different living situations like living in a tree, a cave, and at the beach. Eventually, after their adventure in the elements, they return home with treasures from their various attempts at a new dwelling.

I remember the cover of the book and its illustrations, but the theme that we can make a house of just about any place stayed with me the most.

Any house can be a home, but houses aren’t homes until you make them so.

I did not know then, but I would move dozens of times in my lifetime. First, we followed my dad’s nomad construction profession, then moved when my parent’s divorced. We moved again when my mom remarried, and I moved out on my own after high school.

Eventually, I married a young Air Force Lieutenant and our marriage was a series of moving and moving again. I began to hate even the thought of moving.

Admittedly, I still don’t like moving and starting over in a new town, but I found a way to love  the process of turning a house into a home.

All of those new dwellings challenged the designer inside and I developed a knack for taking a boring or awful house and making it into something beautiful. There is an immediate rush of joy and excitement as I walk through a new place and decide the changes. Together, my husband and I repair the broken and remove the unsalvageable. We add light by cleaning windows and removing outdated drapes or additions. I pick a color palette and he paints. Then we change fixtures and choose flooring, and decide what furniture will go where.

Over time, every surface is cleaned and the whole place begins to shine.

Known in my family for saying “It takes three years to move in and get a house where you want it,” I am working on our new old house. My last move was a year and a half ago and sure enough, the To Do list is still long. Next on my list is replacing the vanities in the bath. They are from the 90’s and too short even for me at five feet tall. I would also enjoy a vegetable garden. Recently, I decided to find a large plush rug for the dining room, and possibly makeover the main guest room. Full of of odds and ends from previous houses, it looks a little worn out.

Making a house into a home takes work.

It is a healthy habit for families to make a house their own, keep up with repairs, keep it clean.

With every family member involved, it is how we take ownership and teach the responsibilities of owning a home.

We feel accomplished when we add things that make our dwelling fit our lives as they change. A clean healthy house gives our children security and roots.

We felt at home in our new place within weeks of moving in, because we worked on it together and made it our own. That thought leads me back to the most important thought on home, worth repeating.

Any house can be a home, but houses aren’t homes until you make them so.

Barefoot and writing,

This morning, I looked up We Were Tired Of Living In A House. It was written by Liesel Moak Skorpen with whimsical art work by Doris Burn and published in 1969. There are still copies out there with the original art work. Here is the cover.

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