“Frodo was now safe in the Last Homely House east of the Sea. That house was, as Bilbo had long ago reported, ‘a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.’ Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.”
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
As a lover of great literature, Rivendell, in Lord of the Rings, captivated my attention and Sarah's and Joy's attention. It happens that one of my favorite coffee shops in Oxford is adjacent to Exeter College where Tolkien attended. It has the most amazing view of the city from the tower near the student rooms. So, when I pass by, I imagine him having conversations with his friends and living in this space where God had access to his imagination.
Because he was a soldier in WWI and lost so many friends, I can imagine that sadness as a backdrop for why he wrote the part about Rivendell--knowing how important it was to preserve all that was beautiful after a war that tore the world apart.
And so from his lovely description of "the last homely house," I garnered even more ideas of what my home would be. Picturing our home as a place that remembers all the great life from eras gone by and that captures its beauty, has been one of our goals, that has given us hours and years of collecting and crafting and nurturing over the years.
A library that holds all the great books of children's literature and classics and great thinkers, biographies and writers is a must. And now, due to Clay's kindness to move his office to the basement, I have our library as a tea room of sorts. With comfy chairs, a tea set, art and paintings from my background all over the walls, with candle light and music--it is a lovely getaway where I can share heart-to-heart with all in my wake.
A well-stocked kitchen with all sorts of home-made recipes crafted over years of testing, with all the holiday food; food for those who are ill; birthday fare; winter-cold-night soups and breads and all sorts of healthy variety in between.
Fireplaces where stories are told and ideas discussed and children are cuddled.
Bedrooms with comfy chairs and piles of books in baskets to encourage reading and quiet times and of course candles galore.
Piano, guitars, drums, flute, dulcimer--all collected over the years--some more used than others, but all for practicing producing music of all sorts.
Games and book baskets and art books and cd's and Pandora and dvd's from all imaginings to instruct, inspire, soothe, comfort and to stoke the imagination.
Clusters of chairs, grouped together to encourage great and close conversations--rockers on the front porch; setees and big chairs on the back deck; gatherings of chairs in 2's all over the house to make a close meeting and discipleship time for all who are there.
And of course a bookshelf in every room, with each child collecting his own library.
A suitable place for traditions celebrated and momentous occasions retold and the Bible read, over and over and over again--to remember Him and stories of faith and heroes and courage and holiness.
This is what I have had in my heart to shape--a home that breathes life and truth and love into all who would enter--
To make sure my home, for my family and friends, is indeed the last homely house and that all that has been excellent and worthwhile over the ages is celebrated in its walls--
because everyone needs a place to belong and a home where welcome is always fresh with all who cross the doorway.
But now, I am in a far off land, in a tiny flat without my "things", but with space to bring the life of God's artistry and love into every space. The lifegiving home must start with a heart that says, "I will be the hostess of life here within these walls to serve all who come here so that they may taste and see that the Lord is good by being here with me."
Please listen to the podcast today, I think it will encourage you. It is about having a heart for your home to give life in the middle of a real life of busyness, unexpecteds, weariness and sinful people. I pray you will be encouraged.
Be sure to get your copies of the Lifegiving Parent and the Experience Bible Study. Clay and I will be doing a podcast series on the 8 Lifegiving principles you need as a foundation in your home. Can't wait.