There is No Place Like Home

I believe this much is true:

Every house has the potential to be a home. This is true whether you live in a castle, a McMansion, an apartment, a mobile home, or anything in between. It is not about the physical structure, it is about the heart and the attitude of those living within the space. The potential is always there. Home is not about square footage or upgrades or granite countertops. A huge commercial industry would have you believe otherwise, but don’t buy (literally) into the false promises of “things” that others will always be trying to sell you. You can have all of those “things” and be happy or you can have all of those “things” and be miserable. Quite frankly, it is not about “the things.”

I remember watching an episode of Oprah, years ago, following a trip she made to Africa where she sat in a hut with a local woman who had attached scrappy bows to the inside walls of her tiny home to decorate the sticks and mud of her home’s construction. It was inspired by her heart and done within her means, however limited. This woman thought her home was beautiful. And because of that, it was.

“It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt
Similarly, I remember Angie Smith talking about an Indian woman’s pride in her home following Angie’s trip with Compassion International to Calcutta. Angie said there was barely enough space for more than one person to sit in this woman’s home-approximately the size of a small American closet-and yet this woman’s pride in her home was overwhelming! She welcomed the Compassion missionaries to the door and said, smiling, with utmost sincerity and pride: “Do you like my home?” Clearly, her heart was there.

My dear friend Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage wrote this incredible book called “Creating an Inspired Home.” Somehow I was lucky enough to be a friend who, a few weeks back, got an advanced copy to review.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Layla, she and her husband Kevin are renovating a darling cottage, “the Lettered Cottage,” with relatively limited means and a huge dose of heart. Layla combined her professional training in interior design and her own experience in renovating to write a book that teaches us how to use what we have and can reasonably afford to create a home that is the real deal. You know-the kind of house where it doesn’t matter what the kitchen countertops are made out of because the family and home cooked meal in that kitchen are so consuming and comforting that no one would stop to notice. I love Layla’s book and I know you will too, but this post isn’t meant to be about marketing. It was just the impetus of a lot of reflection on my part on what an “inspired home” really is and how we can navigate our way toward that goal without being sidelined along the way.

For more thoughts on this subject, you simply must read this blog post, “Dream Homes are Relative” by new blogger House & Harmony.

In closing, I will offer this: the countertops in my kitchen are granite. Black pearl to be exact, with a beveled edge. I know this because at one point it seemed like a monumentally important decision. It was not. Those countertops have nothing to do with the fact that my house is my own inspired Home. The fact that I stand in that kitchen nearly every night, cooking dinner with my husband and best friend, occasionally slow-dancing to Frank Sinatra songs coming from my laptop-that is Home.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Matthew 6:20

If you made it all the way through this post, thank you! Leave a comment and I will choose one commenter at random to receive a copy of Layla’s book, Creating an Inspired Home. You are going to love it-and I promise it will get you thinking on the issue of “house” versus “home.” **update: I will select a winner thursday night, March 4, 2010*****

For now I am off to bundle up and take a walk in this frigid March air to see I can’t encourage a certain someone to come on out and come HOME πŸ™‚ Things are about to change forever. I cannot wait.


  1. What a beautiful and much needed post. Our culture has taught us to always want the bigger and better, even when you can’t afford it, when in the end, it is all meaningless to our Lord.

    Your are such a blessing, Erin, with your blog. You have touched my heart in so many ways! Thank you again for this post and for your continuance of blog blessings!!

  2. What a beautiful post – and so true! It is never the things that make a home, it is the people and love within it. Your little boy is blessed to be coming into such an inspired home! (Hope it is not much longer until he arrives – I remember this bit, and how excited I was waiting for our little boy – who is now 17! Believe me, it is worth every second!!)

  3. What a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing. I am a follower of House and Harmony but didn’t get to see the post yet. It was beautifully written and brought tears to my eyes. Dream homes are relative.
    Health and happiness to you Erin!

  4. What wonderful thoughts! Your words are so true. I find these sentiments so inspiring, and anything inspired by love will be pure greatness.
    Home is where the heart is!
    xo Jenny

  5. man, i don’t want to be number one. But I don’t want to take a chance that I want make it back to comment. I want you to know how much I agree with you. We just did a kitchen remodel and friends come in a say sweet things about the granite and it is pretty, but it didn’t change my home. This house was my home before it had granite, this house has been my home most of my life (we live in my chilhood home) It has the stories of my life written all over it. I look around and see the table I sat at when I decided to stop living my way and gave myself over to Him. I can feel the wood under my feet that my sister and I used to slip across. I can look into the bathroom where I have nursed the booboo’s of my children. I know that in this room my husband asked my father for my hand in marriage. These are the things that make my house a home not the granite. Good luck on that walk.

  6. Very well put Erin πŸ™‚ I hope someday to come see your inspired home and have you in mine-and i’m even more excited for you know who!!! Hurry him up all ready. I say it’s spicy food week! Make some Fajita’s tonight in that fancy kitchen of yours! Love you. S

  7. What a great post Erin. I love the music of Frank Sinatra and think it is very sweet that you and your husband spontaneously dance to it in your kitchen. Home is indeed where the heart is.

    Thank you for such an inspiring post.

    ~ Tracy

  8. The tiny fixer-upper we lived in for years used to cause me much frustration, until a 10 year old guest commented that she loved visiting our “happy house”. That precious complement has made me desire a “happy” house above any accessory.

  9. Layla inspired me to paint my kitchen cabinets ….Black best thing I have ever done in our home. I would LOVE to recieve a copy of her book. I also LOVE your blog, thanks for the passages, and look forward to seeing your baby pictures! :)- jennifer

  10. Isn’t Layla splendid. Loved your little words on your website too deary. You have such a way. Not much longer now and you’ll have your little man. Lovely post.

  11. Thanks for another lovely post ! I needed this today πŸ™‚

    Best wishes to you and the little one.

  12. This book seems wonderful and of course I would love to have a copy. I have been reading your blog for a while I am in awe of your transparency and gentle spirit. This post is what I needed to hear. We so often get caught up in the material things of this world and forget that this world “is not our home”. Thanks for the inspiration and I can’t wait to see those pictures of your little one! What a blessing!

  13. Great post Erin! Even when there seems to be a lot of “work” to do on our little house, it does always feel like home, thanks for the reminder. I hope you’re feeling good and best of luck as you await the final moments before seeing your son! Also, thanks for the book giveaway–how kind.

  14. I love your blog and Layla’s too. I’m so happy to hear that she has written a book. She is so talented, I would love to win a copy. πŸ™‚

    I hope your walk does the trick! πŸ˜‰

  15. Erin,

    Post sweet post (about home) When that nesting instinct kicks in and you find yourself with a sudden burst of energy – you know like renovating a bathroom – the baby will soon be on his way!

    Thank you for your beautiful post.


  16. word!

    i’ve stopped longing for mo’ money…a nicer car…better clothes…the newest _____. instead, trying to focus on being content and enjoying the many blessings i already have. life is WAY better this way.

    i have your bebe gift…if i can figure out how to give you access to my flickr acct you can pic your fav and then i can edit/print/ship. πŸ™‚

    xoxo kh

  17. This post came at the perfect time! I have slowly been turning my apartment into a home, and the next room on my list is my bedroom. (It shoulda been first) I want to love it, I just don’t right now. Hopefully soon πŸ™‚ You’re so lucky to get an advanced copy!

  18. Hi Erin…I’ve never commented before but now is the time to say what a lovely blog you have..the Lord has blessed you with the gift of writing and the ability to see beauty all around us…just lovely…praying all goes well with your little bundle of joy!


  19. I can’t believe it’s almost time for your little one! I can’t wait! πŸ™‚ This is a beautiful post. Thank you.

  20. Great post! I have been following Layla’s blog and thought of you both this weekend as Chris and I ventured out to the Flea Market. I CAN’T WAIT FOR SPRING!! As for your post, I can’t agree more. Chris and I often reflect on our favorite two bedroom apartment that had an awesome wooded view and a sort of jack and jill bathroom…life was not too shabby as apartment people πŸ™‚ Although, that said, I do love my home πŸ™‚

  21. Oh, one more thing…if you have not seen it yet, pick up the new Pottery Barn Kids. They have the cutest Easter baskets πŸ™‚

  22. I really like this post. It’s so true that your home is not only what you make it to be but what you THINK it to be. I think that’s a lesson we all should remember.

  23. Always inspiring us Erin. Soo excited to see layla’s e-book.

  24. I love all the work Layla and Kevin have done and would love to read her book.
    How are you and the baby feeling these days?
    My grandbaby is due very soon, and I thought you were too. We are so very excited!

  25. Layla’s book so sounds like something I need . . . must keep the right perspective on home! Thanks for introducing us to House and Harmony too. She looks like a kindred spirit!

  26. Thanks for the inspiration. You are so right about “things” becoming the focus when they will never, in themselves, bring true happiness.

  27. That was a really great post. And how sweet of you to include a link to my blog. Layla’s book will be an inspiration to many, I’m sure of it! She is so very talented!

  28. I’ve never left a comment but I’ve been reading for a while. I love your blog, it’s so inspiring and uplifting, I always look forward to reading it – thank you!

  29. Your writing is amazing and beatiful. That is why I love, love your blog! It is very inspirational and uplifting.

    I like to think my house feels like a HOME and I really hope my kids, family and friends do too!!

    Hopefully that walk you took encouraged your little buddy to come on out.. πŸ™‚


  30. I watched The Secret Life of Bees the other day and I loved the way the house was decorated and the love that was so prevalent in the interactions of the characters and how it was reflected in the details of the house. It really inspired me to want to bring even more love into all the details of my home. Needless to say I am superexcited that Layla wrote a book about this! Thanks for giving us a chance to win it.

  31. Baby Marvelous is going to be so blessed in the home that you’ve created to welcome him in to. I’m just antsy with excitement that he’s set to make his grand debut any time now. I do hope you’ll share him with us once he’s here.

    I will be sending up special prayers for the baby to make a safe and quick entrance into this world, and that you will have an easy recovery. God’s blessings upon all of you.

  32. A sweet perspective from obviously a sweet heart. You are right…you life is about to change forever but what a sweet change. Good Luck!

  33. In appreciation for this lovely posts and all the others, I have something for you over at my blog. Hope you have a chance to stop by!

  34. Believe it or not, this is the FOURTH time I’ve typed this comment. For some reason I keep pressing some button on my keyboard that takes me back. ARGH!

    Anyway, I loved your post and I love Layla’s blog… AND I would love to win a copy of her e-book!

    BTW, when will we get to see what your whole nursery looks like? I’m prego too, due June 7, and I need some ideas!

  35. Oh, what a beautiful post! The words and truth of it touched me.
    Best wishes as you anticipate welcoming a new precious one into your home…for you’ve already done the welcoming into your heart!

  36. What a wonderful post- I just read the other post you suggested- and tears came to my eyes. I am so happy for you and your little one to come. You make me step back and realize that our mismatched house really can still be a home. Despite what pottery barn is trying to tell me. = ) Thanks.

  37. So true about homes. For waht it is worth, my husband and I have never owned our own house. Hopefully, in the next year that will change. However, during our 10 years of marriage, it has been my number 1 priority to make the house feel welcome, lived in, and something I want to come “home” to every day. Thanks dfor sharing your post. I love Layla and all of her design ideas and would love for the opportunity to have a copy.

  38. I love when bloggers post about other bloggers! What a great way to find more sites to check out. I would really like to win a copy of Layla’s book – maybe my house can be transformed too!

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