Home.  I find this to be a beautiful word, don’t you?  It conjures up such feelings of comfort.

What makes a house a home?  Certainly these two words differ.  A house has four walls and rooms between them.  But a home has heart in it.  It could be just a humble place to rest your head, but for it to really feel like home, there needs to be a sense of safety.  To really increase the feeling of hominess, there might also be delectable aromas of cooking food, or the eager, tail-wagging greeting of a dog, or, best of all, the presence of family or friends who are deeply loved.

As many of you know, I’ve been kind of betwixt and between homes for the last few months.  It was a tiny bit unsettling to not have a semi-permanent place to rest my head.  But now… sweet relief, I hit the Home jackpot.  It feels infinitely worth it to have stayed in ten different places in the last five months if I can now live in this lovely, lovely home.  (By the way, the ten different places include motel rooms when I traveled, emergency overnights, and one lovely dog-sitting opportunity.)

Part of what makes this “new” home so special is the person I share it with.  Neala was referred to me by someone on Facebook.  She was living in a different country, but she felt very drawn to the tiny town in which I currently live.  So, Neala and I sent each other a couple emails and then spoke on the phone.  We both had a clear feeling that the other was safe and suitable and possibly even “meant to be.”  We have similar spiritual beliefs, similar positive energy, and the same desire for and ability to clearly communicate.  We are so grateful for one another.

This particular home we now live in came furnished.  It was furnished by a woman with wonderful taste and included beautiful furniture and an extensive collection of artwork and fine crafts.  Neala obtained permission for us to clear out some of the furnishings so that we could “make this place our own.”  How fun it was to choose what we loved best and put the rest aside for the owner to pick up later (now two days ago.)  How fun it was to rearrange furniture and paintings and create little altars everywhere.  We look around our home each day and we feel extraordinarily blessed.

But it is equally true that I am infinitely blessed to have had many homes away from home.  When a strange man pounded on my door one evening a couple months ago claiming that someone was chasing him with an axe, I quickly sought out friends to stay with.  Bless Gary and bless Ann and her husband, Dave, for each giving me a room in which to stay for a few days!

And when I traveled down to New Mexico to work for a few days last month, bless Lauri for opening her sweet home to me.  And when I came to stay with my parents for a couple weeks, bless my niece, Sarah, for creating such a great room for me, pulling in beloved pieces of furniture from storage and even hanging my own art upon the walls.  And when on that same trip I needed a small break from the duties of parental caregiving, my friend, Edie, opened her home to me.

Years ago, when I parted from my husband, my dear friend, Julia, opened wide her arms and her home.  Ten years later when I tearfully left another relationship and home, Barbara opened her home to me.  Three years ago when I was on the verge of burnout and breakdown from full-time caring of my parents, my friends, Mike and Judy, opened their home to me.  Two years ago, when I was healing from the shock of a breast cancer diagnosis, Barbara and Phil opened their home and their hearts to me. 

Last year when I was considering returning to the Southwest, I was blessed to be welcomed into the home of Heidi and Deanna for a few weeks. And in March, when I finally moved to this beautiful remote mountain town, Cindy spent weeks clearing out her things, painting walls, and moving in beautiful furniture so that I could have a sweet room of my own when I arrived.

I am so grateful for my new home, but perhaps even more importantly, I am incredibly comforted by the knowledge that should I ever lose my home or have the need to live elsewhere, there are dear friends in this world who would very willingly share their home with me.  I am so blessed.

Thank you for the blessing of Home, even when it’s away from Home.

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